Take the money out of politics.
Put the people first!

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When congress increases the military budget, nobody asks "how will we afford it?"

When congress authorizes another 190 billion dollars in emergency defense appropriations, nobody asks, "how will we afford it?"

After 18 years in Afghanistan and several trillion dollars, nobody asks, "when will it end?"

But wasted resources on endless wars is not the most critical issue.

What is critical is the damage to our environment which is rapidly becoming incapable of sustaining human existence.

The Democrats Green New Deal does not even mention the military: perhaps the largest single source of pollution on the planet.

We can't really save the planet without addressing the most environmentally destructive force on the plant: WAR

 

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Changing the Dialogue of American Politics

 


  • Latest from the blog

    Carbon Dividend

    Whenever I hear a presentation on the carbon fee/dividend plan, it comes off sounding like a plan that would provide a Universal Basic Income derived from oil revenues. It is after all a public resource and perhaps citizens should be getting some revenue from that resource much like the Alaska Permanent Fund derived from oil revenues. The fund has paid an annual dividend since 1982 that has been as high as $2,072 per person, or $8,288 for a family of four. Still, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. I started getting suspicious when I heard the big oil companies were supporting a carbon fee/dividend. The plan would add a fee to fossil fuels based on the CO2 equivalent emissions of fossil fuels. Consumers would pay higher costs on virtually everything because energy is a substantial cost of production for most products. The fee would then be distributed to each citizen offsetting the higher cost. Clearly, it’s not a dividend based on revenue like the Alaska plan. It’s more like a sales tax where the consumer gets a rebate at the end of the year. In theory, low wage earners would get a larger dividend than they pay in fees but I’ve yet to see any actual numbers that would substantiate that theory. In global markets, the impact becomes much more complicated. Import fees would be imposed to encourage foreign producers to also implement the carbon fee and discourage companies from migrating to no fee regions. American consumers would still pay higher prices for those fees but there would be no dividend as the fees would remain in the country of origin. Oil exports would receive a rebate. That seems to incentivize exporting U.S. oil and allowing consumers to pay the higher cost for foreign oil. All of this will presumably be balanced out by tariffs and trade agreements. Every product produced would essentially require a carbon fee adjustment in an environment where it may be difficult to determine if it was produced with fossil fuels. I can’t imagine the complexity of that. The fee would affect the real cost of using fossil fuels and should create incentives for greater efficiency, alternative material sourcing, and renewable energy sources but it is not clear that these alternatives can match the economic growth demands of today’s economic models. That goes to the real problem of projected economic growth that exceeds the foreseeable capacity of the planet. That problem is not being addressed by a recirculating tax rebate plan. That brings me to what’s in it for the corporate denizens of wealth. The plan they support which of course is the only plan our congress would possibly adopt was drafted by the Climate Leadership Council, that includes a long list of major oil producers like ExxonMobile and BP as well as many other large corporations like GM and Pepsico. Their proposal provides for a carbon tax in lieu of environmental regulations including EPA’s regulatory authority of CO2 emissions, repeal of the Clean Power Plan, and an end to federal and state tort liability for emitters.” Here the theory goes, that market forces will eliminate the need for these regulations. In an environment of ever-increasing wealth inequality, with congress determining the market forces, I have a pretty clear idea of who the winners and losers will be.
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    MN ballot access among worst in the nation

    UPDATED PER AMENDMENT -WEEK OF FERUARY 17, 2019 Minnesota Senate Bill SF 752, Minnesota House Bill HF 708 (Ballot Access Inclusiveness Bill)   SYNOPSIS This proposal contains a comprehensive set of reforms to improve and modernize Minnesota's outdated statutory definitions of political parties. It encompasses revisions and modifications to arbitrary petitioning requirements, percentages, and timelines that as currently exist, create and sustain exclusivity to ballot access for the main two parties. Goals are to bring Minnesota's prohibitive standards in-line with neighboring states, to eliminate unconstitutional and inequitable restrictions, and to harmonize the various statutes while keeping robust system integrity and encouraging democratic participation. A formal request is hereby made for committee hearings to discuss these matters.   MAIN POINTS Section 1: Revises major political party threshold percent from 5% to 1%, for both direct petitioning and election results methods.(for reference WI, SD are at 1%, IA is at 2%). Section 2: Modifies our system into recognition of two simple tiers of political parties versus the current three tiers. (to become major and minor only, like all other states). Section 3: Allows petitions to be on common size 8-1⁄2x11 letter size paper(vs 8-1/2x14). Section 4: Modifies oath on nominating petitions to allow signors to still participate in the major party primaries. (“I solemnly swear that I know the contents and purpose of this NOMINATING petition, that I do not intend to vote at the primary election for the office for which this nominating petition is made, and that I signed this petition of my own free will.”) Section 5: Revises statute to allow signors to sign more than one nominating petition. Section 6: Modifies the number of signatures required into ratios of flat numbers based on district size for state, county, and municipal races (400 for State Senate, 200 for State Rep, 200 for municipals, versus the current statutes set at 500 for all). Section 7: Expands the days allowed to collect signatures from 14 to 88, by attaching the window to the general election vs the primary election (in alignment with the statutory window we have for Presidential electors). (WI gives 70 days, SD 112 days, IA 140 days). Section 8: AMENDMENT IS FILED TO REMOVE THIS SECTION (to give a political party the ability to approve a candidate’s affiliation with it prior to filing for primary ballot). Section 9: Addresses special election parameters. It adds 7 extra days for the SOS to conduct, adds 9 days to the (5 day)filing window, and reduces the number of nominating petition signatures required to half per the office sought.   Table 1. Petition signature requirements for major (recognized) party status   Table 2. Petition requirements and collection periods
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