Sunday, November 09, 2008

National Debt Report October 2008

Per www.treasurydirect.gov, the newest National Debt statistics are in.

As of November 6, 2008:

Publicly held:
$6,358,998,910,837.97

Intragovernmental holdings:
$4,265,731,316,960.28

Total:
$10,624,730,227,798.25

Interest Payment October 2008:
$18,984,305,636.29

Interest Payments Fiscal Year to Date:
$18,984,305,636.29

Gifts to reduce the public debt September 2008:
$42,512.35

Gifts to reduce the public debt FY 2008:
$2,189,358.89

Gifts to reduce the public debt FY 2007:
$2,624,862.42

Cross posted at http://nationaldebtbusters.blogspot.com

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Farheen Hakeem - Building TRUST across party lines

Farheen the Green. That's all partisans want you to see of her. Yet her supporters are able to transcend simplistic notions continually parroted by the media. Farheen Hakeem is marshaling a multipartisan force rarely seen in American politics.

One could assume an Obama supporter would vote solely along party lines. This is not so in 61B as evident across the district. You see more Farheen signs paired with those of Obama, AL Franken, and Keith Ellison. Norm Coleman supporters also tout Farheen signs. They no doubt see she is of strong character and unwavering in her principles. Her issues may be different from conservatives, but her consistency and professionalism are appealing to them. Farheen has earned the respect and trust among the diverse community of south Minneapolis.

Farheen's final get out the vote literature let's residents know where to vote and what to bring for same day registration. She asks voters to consider supporting political diversity at the polls - meaning voting for whoever they see fit but not forgetting a check by Farheen Hakeem.

Her opponent has chosen another route: vote partisan only. He has a rather insular logic on his literature: "because I am DFL endorsed and because I endorse Obama, you should vote for me." Unfortunately, he does not inform voters as to where to go to vote or what to bring to register. The residents of south Minneapolis deserve better than the myopic elected official Hayden clearly wants to be. Rather than being TOLD how to vote, Farheen gives voters the information to not only vote, but actually make them think about who they truly support.

Farheen's differentiation from Hayden can be articulated through her vision:

  • Repeal the Minnesota PATRIOT Act
  • Enact Single-Payer Univeral Healthcare
  • Environmental Justice ( Farheen opposed the Mid-Town burner, Hayden and the Sierra Club did not )
  • Improving Education - The core of Minnesota's budget and our collective future
  • Improving transportation and transit ( Farheen has attended forums and meetings, while Hayden did not )
  • Homelessness - not just throwing money at it, but solving the root causes
  • User Friendly State Government ( Farheen has been at every community event in 61B, and major event in Minneapolis. She will be visible to constituents long after she is elected, Hayden has not )
  • Children and Youth rights
  • LGBT Rights - beyond marriage
  • More here ( not unabridged )
It is clear that Farheen Hakeem is the most capable and sensible person to represent the heart of Minneapolis. No one has refuted this beyond naive rhetoric. On Tuesday, November 4th Vote Green with Farheen Hakeem!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Anti-Endorsements

Who and what NOT to vote for
( AKA the names to cross off your ballot )

President - John McCain: Four more years - really? Seriously? Honestly, can we really afford four more years?!? And do we really want a deer caught in the headlights to take over when he keels over? This is real life people, not some fantasy island where it would be entertaining if he were to win - there would be REAL consequences. One tiny example: he might, oh, end the world as we know it by bombing Iran!

U.S. Senate - Norm Coleman: A snake-like career politician. Or should I say chameleon-like? Once a "progressive" DFLer, then a staunch conservative Bush clone, now morphing his image into the likeness of a "moderate." Does he think Minnesotans are idiots?!?

U.S. Congress - 3rd District - Erik Paulsen: Come on. Ashwin Madia and David Dillon are far better candidates than Erik!

U.S. Congress - 5th District - Barb Davis White: Her energy and tax policies are worse than Bush. At least Bill McGaughey supports single-payer Universal Healthcare. And I have seen more Dean Barkley signs throughout the 5CD than hers! ( not that I have even seen any of Bill's )

U.S. Congress - 6th District - Michelle Bachmann - I thought this jester would be re-elected easily in this district. Her latest gaffe was one Bachmannism too many! Adios Michelle! She has enough fans to publish a book like that un-funny Anne Coulter character.

MN House 61B - Jeff Hayden: Does anyone even know who this guy is? He's not "scary" as some of the above clearly are. But his contempt for the electoral process is quite unsettling. Just because he has the endorsement up and down the DFL doesn't mean he is a shoe-in. Where is his political courage? Where is his long-term activism and name recognition? A Republican has no chance of winning in south Minneapolis, but Farheen Hakeem has shown she will engage her neighbors. This is what Vote Smart has said about Jeff Hayden:

Jeff Hayden repeatedly refused to provide any responses to citizens on the issues through the 2008 Political Courage Test when asked to do so by national leaders of the political parties, prominent members of the media, Project Vote Smart President Richard Kimball, and Project Vote Smart staff

This open seat previously held by Neva Walker is clearly not important to Mr. Hayden. The fact that Mr. Hayden has NOT received the endorsement of Neva says more about his campaign - that and no one in his district seems to know who he is. They do notice the signs - but know Farheen Hakeem because she actually has an active campaign.

One ironic liability for Mr. Hayden is his endorsement by the Northwest Sierra Club. This is the same Sierra Club that endorses Clorox products, and yet did not oppose the Mid-Town Burner to be built in Phillips - at all. Clearly, Mr. Hayden did not abstain from parading around this endorsement. Unfortunately, the Sierra Club does not worry about environmental justice, as they are another facet of the green-washing movement begging Americans to purchase "green" SUVs.

MN Senate District 61 in 2010 - Hussein Samatar: Come on DFLers, you know this is pretty sad when you endorse someone more than 2 years before an election! No one even knows that Linda Berglin intends to step down and you have the gall to hand pick like this?!? I understand it is part of your SOP but dang. Maybe I will write him in for Soil and Water or Hennepin County Judge - that way I can say I voted for him before I campaign against him in 2010.

Anyone who intends to run for Minnesota Senate in 61 should run as a Green. At least you would have a shot at winning, the DFL endorsement is always fixed before anyone even knows there's an open seat.

Mayor - New Prague - Craig S. Sindelar: This former mayor ran a paper campaign last election cycle, and lost to Bink Bender by less than 100 votes. Bink actually campaigned and had lawn signs. Sindelar did not. So what has this real estate agent and owner of half the homes in New Prague decided to do this year? Post his own lawn signs on his rental property! The town is littered with his signs. He isn't door-knocking, but assumes he can win with his lawn sign campaign!

Sindelar is a small-town advocate. That is, he believes it should stay small so he can control it. The anti-Wal Mart, anti-Coborn's, and anti-roundabout voters will support him. Anyone that knows him personally, outside the business community, will realize he is an angry and out of touch ego-centric man. New Prague deserves better than this sad man. Nothing personal, Craig, but you should stick to your shady business enterprise and stay out of politics! ( Does anyone know who Laura Brod is supporting? You can respond anonymously - she can always deny it later! )

Voting No - Why not vote yes? And I am talking about every amendment, referendum, and change on the ballot for Minneapolis and Minnesota. Yes for schools and the future of our students. Yes for Minnesotan environment and unique culture. Yes for school board accountability with fewer at-large seats. Is three-eighths of one percent increase in the sales tax really worth squabbling about when it leaves a long-term legacy? Minnesotans deserve more than what we get for our Federal taxes - let's keep more of our money working for us here! Vote Yes in November!

Of course, if the Minneapolis school referendum fails, Co-chairs Keith Ellison, R T Rybak, and Hussein Samatar will be the ones to blame. I personally have never seem them campaign for this, so perhaps they are just making it look better. I have seen many school board members attend neighborhood and political meetings to rally support. Nonetheless, I support more money for schools. Though I believe charter schools in Minneapolis should gain some of the referendum money.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dave Ramsey's Thoughts on the Elections

Dave, which bozo should I vote for in this election? Who’s going to fix the economy? Who’s going to give me the most money?

Well, I’m here to remind you that you’re going to fix the economy because your personal economy is up to you. It's not Washington's job to fix what's going on with you. If you are waiting on Washington to change something, you've got a long wait!

You’re going to give yourself money as a result of your hard work and persistence. Waiting for money to be taken from others and given to you is a spirit of envy, and it's wrong.

I’m not here to tell you who to vote for. But I am here to tell you that the government doesn’t have the capacity to fix your problems. Washington is full of bozos, and I am doing my part to send a lot of them home!

This economic mess is a reality, but we can each only control one thing—our reactions. Does this stuff define you? Only if you let it. The weird thing about the economy is that YOU are the economy! I learned this the hard way. I got my real estate license when I was 18 years old. By the time I was 21, interest rates had risen to 17% fixed-rate … and I still sold houses. How? Because I worked hard.

As bad as USA Today meant a recent article to be about what we think of the suffering economy and upcoming election, I think it’s rather encouraging that no one thinks that President Bush or Barack Obama or John McCain can fix the economy!

This may be the beginning of the biggest level of prosperity this nation has ever known if we don’t look to a candidate to fix our lives. How about we say, "I’m going to vote for the candidate who’s going to fix the nation. I’m going to fix my life, so leave me alone and let me do my own thing."

Don't react based on fear or panic. Don’t look to Washington to fix your problems. Why would you do that? At what point did Bill Clinton fix any of your problems? At what point did he cause you to prosper? At what point did George Bush end your career or cause you to prosper? When did Ronald Reagan fix your problems? Guess what? I liked Reagan the most, and while he was in office, I hit rock bottom and filed bankruptcy—but it wasn’t Reagan’s fault. It was mine.

So when you go to the polls in a few days to cast your vote, don’t get caught up in following a political party or candidate without knowing the issues they support. Do your research so you can make educated decisions.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Forget third parties in 2008 debates

It appears that third party candidates have blown their only chance at mainstream media coverage. It's unlikely they will have any shot this election year, apart from MPR. Perhaps one of them could go to Ohio and convince Joe the Plumber to endorse them?

America needs to hear alternative visions. Greens know that energy independence is an illusion - let's end our addiction! Greens know health-care is a right - let's stop corporate HMO rationing! And the majority of independents believe that our national debt will hinder the livelihoods of future generations - let's stop overspending!

At some point this may change. The media may decide dichotomy is too boring, and add more perspectives and political movements. Otherwise it appears the two "major" parties will lead our nation to downfall, as is currently underway.

Monday, October 06, 2008

History made Sept. 30 as National Debt hits $10 Trillion

History was made on Tuesday Sept. 30, 2008, the last day of Fiscal Year 2008 for U.S. Government accounting purposes, as the National Debt crept up over $10 Trillion for the first time ever. There was no fanfare, no balloons, no real mention of it in the newspapers. This was an important milestone in American history and it went by as an average day.

On Sept. 30th, the total debt amounted to $10,024,724,896,912.49

Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Letter to My Congresswoman

Written on Oct. 2, 2008 at 10:14 p.m.

Dear Congresswoman McCollum:

I find it amazing that you have already voted to increase our National Debt by $700 Billion, and the fact that you are even considering supporting an even bigger bill of $810 Billion is completely unthinkable.

It's bad enough that we pay nearly $500 Billion each year on the interest on our National Debt but you want to raise that to $600 Billion. How much Federal Spending is enough? I highly encourage you to vote NO on the Wall Street bailout package. It's time we have some financial responsibility back in Washington and New York. Main Street American's right here in St. Paul, your home district, cannot afford this.

In addition, I would like to know your reasoning behind the vote, and what you plan on doing to eliminate our national debt. Please put it in writing to me at:

(Edited)

Sincerely,

Jeffrey S. Williams
Constituent

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Gingrich: We Need Action Now

Replace Secretary Paulson and Suspend Mark to Market
by Newt Gingrich (more by this author)
Posted 10/01/2008 ET

Following Monday's failure of the Paulson plan in the House, it is imperative that our leaders not hesitate to bring stability to our financial markets.

We need action now.

The Paulson Plan - is dead. The time has come for Congress to turn its attention to a plan that does the right things the right way instead of trying to fix the wrong way of this monstrosity of a Wall Street bailout bill.

As I said to Fox News' Greta Van Susteren Monday night, and spoke about at the National Press Club on Tuesday, there are two steps that could be taken that would send a needed signal to the world financial markets that America has leaders who recognize the gravity of the crisis and are capable of putting aside narrow partisan self-interest for the good of the country.

Step One: Replace Secretary Paulson
A plan that relies on the former chairman of Goldman Sachs presiding over disbursing hundreds of billions of dollars to Wall Street is a terrible concept and inevitably will lead to crony capitalism and the appearance of - if not the actual existence of - corruption.

The American people understand this and they don't trust the Paulson plan. Congress should never have been faced with this as its only option to solve the financial crisis. Congress never should have been confronted with this bill. And one man, above all others, is responsible.

That man is Henry Paulson, who may have been a great deal maker for Goldman Sachs, but has been an utter failure during this economic crisis.

It's time - passed time, in fact - for President Bush to fire Secretary Paulson.

President Bush should replace Paulson immediately with someone more capable of forging a deal that the American people can trust. Secretary Paulson's Deputy at Treasury is Robert Kimmitt. He does not have the Wall Street background that made Secretary Paulson so difficult to trust as a negotiating partner and should be much more open to alternatives because he has less invested in the "Paulson" plan.

Kimmitt need not go through the actual confirmation process to immediately take over negotiating with Congress. The sooner Paulson is replaced as the chief negotiator for the administration, the sooner we will have a deal the American people can support.

Step Two: Suspend the Mark-to-Market Accounting Rule
The second thing our leaders should do immediately is simple and uncontroversial: Suspend the "mark-to-market" accounting rule that is exacerbating this crisis.

Under this artificial rule, the value of assets of banks moves up and down with economic conditions, regardless of their underlying worth. So in a time of economic crisis - such as the current subprime mortgage crisis - the value of bank assets gets caught in a downward spiral, causing investor panic and a drying up of credit.

In 2004, the European Central Bank issued this now eerily prescient opinion of the mark-to-market rule:

"With a real estate crisis or a stock market crash... [a bank] under [mark-to-market] accounting might aggravate the effects of the shock. Banks may be encouraged to react by panic selling and tightening lending standards, thus contributing to a further deepening of the crisis."

A Smart First Step
I've spent the past few days talking with businesspeople across the country - from Oklahoma, Georgia, Nevada and California - and they agree: this artificial accounting rule is needlessly making the financial crisis worse.

On Monday I appeared on Fox News' On the Record with Greta van Susteren and called for mark-to-market to be suspended.

I also wrote this op-ed yesterday for forbes.com urging the same course of action.

I gave a speech at the National Press Club in which I discussed in depth the need to end this problem now. You can read the text and view it here.

Then, later that afternoon, the Securities and Exchange Commission took a smart first step by issuing a "clarification" giving companies more leeway in estimating the value of mortgage related investments. You can read more here. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Chris Cox deserves credit for recognizing how this accounting requirement is needlessly exacerbating our current financial difficulties.

The Bush Administration's Expensive Legacy
Taking these two steps - replacing Secretary Paulson and suspending the mark-to-market rule - are absolutely necessary right now to give Congress the breathing room to develop a plan to replace the Paulson Plan and to re-establish trust with the American people.

The Bush Administration has now provided three case studies that have badly damaged the cause of conservatism.

First there was former FEMA head Michael Brown during Hurricane Katrina, whose incompetence convinced Americans that Republicans can't be trusted with governing.

Then there was Ambassador Jerry Bremer in Baghdad, whose decisions as the head of the American occupation of Iraq convinced Americans that Republicans can't be trusted to manage foreign policy.

And now we have Secretary Paulson at the Treasury, whose intransigence during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression has convinced Americans that Republicans can't be trusted with their money.

It's a tragic and very expensive legacy. No conservative and no Republican should doubt how much it has hurt our cause and our party.

Rebuilding Public Trust with a Work Out, Not a Bailout
As I told Greta Van Susteren Monday night on Fox News, the fundamental flaw in the Paulson Plan was that it was seen by the American people as a deal designed by and for Wall Street.

Congress needs to go back to the drawing board and develop, not just a financial markets rescue bill (which should be a work out, not a bailout) but also an economic growth bill.

This economic growth package should do two fundamental things:

First of all, it needs to provide relief for our financial markets that is based on lending troubled institutions the capital to restore our credit markets, rather than buying their bad assets. The taxpayers should be asked to extend these institutions a line of credit until they can get back on their feet, rather than blindly acquire these institutions' toxic paper. This is the essential difference between a workout and a bailout.

Second, the plan should stop the flow of $700 billion each year out of our economy and into the coffers of foreign dictators by achieving energy independence. Not only would our national security be improved, but this much new energy income would cause our economy to boom and government revenues to grow.

A Final Warning: Don't Allow the House Democrats to Move the Plan Left
A lot of people are scratching their heads over what would cause House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to deliver such a bitterly partisan speech minutes before the House voted down the Paulson Plan - a plan she purported to support.

I think it's likely that Speaker Pelosi deliberately delivered her highly partisan speech at the last minute to get precisely the result that she got - the defeat of the Paulson Plan. The danger now is that she and the liberal Democrats in the House will spend the next couple days re-loading the bill with all the leftwing pork projects that Senator McCain and the House Republicans were able to remove from it.

This danger makes it imperative that Republicans unify behind Minority Leader John Boehner in resisting moving any rescue plan to the left. The stakes are too high for the American people to allow liberal Democrats to use the current crisis to line the coffers of their special interest allies.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bipartisan Coalition Defeats Casino Socialism



The Wall Street Bailout bill failed to pass Congress. And the corporate media, Democrats, and President Bush are "shocked" that it happened. Bush said our economy would collapse within days. Democrats and Bush also wanted to ensure that their corporate donors get more of their money back. The corporate media said it was a "done deal." The American public were told it would pass, so don't bother try to call your Congressperson. The American people didn't capitulate as the so called leaders of our nation did. Now Wall Street is throwing a temper tantrum and dropping the values of stock they thought could be purchased with "free" taxpayer money.

Just a couple months before the election, the economy is looking in worse shape than ever. To buy our confidence, and our votes in November, the government wanted to bail out their long-term corporate donors. It appears that Americans are no longer fooled by such gimmicks. We defeated the biggest corporate handout of taxpayer money in world history! For once, the people of this country actually have had a say. It appears that for once, Americans are actually comfortable with change!

The Federal government has long felt its role was to end or prevent recessions. Unfortunately, by doing this they make future recessions harsher. After every energy spike, the US economy goes into recession. The Feds should have allowed it to run its course, assuming we believe in capitalism. But Democrats continually believe it is the taxpayer's job to "create jobs." And they were literally the party behind the bailout.

There were some leaders against the bailout. On the Republican side, our own Michelle Bachmann stated her opposition early on. The Democrat who best represents my own views is Representative Marcy Kaptur. Someone else the corporate media love to hate also took a stance against the bailout: Dennis Kucinich. Too bad the media determine who wins elections, because Kucinich could easily beat a insanely sad McCain-Palin.

In Minnesota, half of our elected representatives refused to give in to Pelosi's pleas to help out Bush's bailout. There were also many Republicans who enabled the American people to stop this corrupt handout of money that could be better spent elsewhere. In Minnesota, these representatives deserve great praise for their stance against George Bush and Nancy Pelosi:

Michelle Bachmann (R )
Jim Ramstad (R )
Collin Peterson ( DFL )
Tim Walz ( DFL )

This could be the issue that gains the Walz campaign some traction against the GOP. It is a very close race, and if he wanted to win he would vote with his constituents and not against them.

BAILOUT SUPPORTERS

Call these supporters of the Wall Street Bailout today:

Keith Ellison --- 202-225-4755
Betty McCollum --- 202-225-6631
James Oberstar --- 202-225-6211
John Kline --- 202-225-2271


Tell them that the only Americans supportive of the bailout are the corporations that stand to profit and the politicians who stand to get more political contributions. Everyone else stands united against this abhorrent form of government policy that is appearing before us.


These un-leaders deserve to be called out for their pathetic stance in handling our economic situation. None of them have proposed weaning the American public off of oil. Skyrocking energy prices are the primary culprit of our economic doldrums. They refuse to deal with the reality of Peak Oil and global energy demand, but want a "deal" with Wall Street before our government can no longer sell its T-bills to China.

America needs long-term solutions, not short-term election gimmicks. A rescue package for Wall Street is a future tax-bill for the working class. Democrats need to get the message.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Bailout Is a Band-Aid

The Bailout Is a Band-Aid: Housing Crisis Needs to Be Fixed
Thursday, September 25, 2008 4:18 PM

By: Christopher Ruddy
www.newsmax.com

Yesterday Sen. Orrin Hatch was hitting the airwaves.

The subprime crisis, he said, was the fault of the Clinton administration, who he said created the subprime mortgage crisis.

Other Republicans have been laying blame on the financial crisis on minorities and illegal immigrants who got mortgages they simply couldn’t pay. They offer no statistical proof on this point.

Nor does the usually sensible Senator Hatch offer evidence when it comes to pointing the finger at the Clinton administration.

The attempt to deflect blame for the crisis is not simply wrongheaded; I think it will compound Republican political woes and bring us disaster again in November.

Doesn’t Hatch and Co. know that Bill and Hillary Clinton voters in the swing states will decide who becomes the next president? They are wary of Obama, but love the Clintons and remember the good economic times of the’90s.

As a conservative Republican of the Reagan type, I find myself in this odd place cheering on some of the sensible things I hear from Democrats.

Barack Obama said any bailout to Wall Street must not be simply a cash payout or a loan, but be treated like an equity investment in these firms. We want our money back and then some. Yes to that, I say.

And demands by House Democrats that the secretary of the treasury alone not be given a blank check for more than a trillion dollars of our money, and that we have complete transparency in the transactions, I say yes to that, too.

Fiscal responsibility, transparency and accountability — aren’t these things Republicans believe in?

The Democratic complaints about the Bush plan shows that our government is working. The executive branch tried to put a gun to the head of Congress and told them, “Sign this check or the whole U.S. banking system will collapse.”

Congress didn’t blink.

Don’t get me wrong. I am for a bailout, but one that is sensible and is a win-win for Wall Street, Main Street investors and taxpayers like you and me.

But remember the government bailout plan proposed by the president and modifications supported by the Democrats won’t fix the underlying problem: the housing market collapse. Home prices are continuing to fall, and fewer people are buying homes than ever. Foreclosures will continue.

Unless this underlying problem is fixed, the economic symptoms will continue. There are some remedies. But before I get to them, let’s review what has happened.

The Federal Reserve under Alan Greenspan gave the U.S. economy shock treatment back in 2001 and 2002 when it lowered interest rates to 1 percent — the lowest Fed Funds rate in recent history.

By pushing the pedal to the metal and backed quietly by the White House, the Fed injected massive liquidity in the U.S. economy, creating the largest asset bubble in history, according to the Economist magazine.

Incredibly low rates by the Fed were accompanied by an acceptance of the central bank for all sorts of exotic mortgage loans. No down payments. Interest only. No job and income verification. Get the picture?

Compounding this irresponsibility was then the “greed factor” that kicked in at several levels.

First were the local banks and mortgage companies that pushed mortgages, notably adjustable rate ones that offered extremely low introductory rates, and gave them to buyers who would not be able to pay back once the rates adjusted up.

Well rates have adjusted up and the crisis hit.

Many mortgage providers also encouraged loan applicants to lie about incomes and qualifications to approve these mortgages.

Wall Street as a whole had little role at this stage. But later, Wall Street took these mortgages, which had been rolled up into collateralized debt instruments, better known as mortgage backed securities, and sold them off to investors globally.

Wall Street failed to compute the risks involved in these securities. It was a failure, not a crime.

But many Wall Street firms, hedge funds and other investments took incredible, unwarranted risks using these securities. These firms would borrow money at low rates — say 4 percent — and invest in CDOs paying 6 to 7 percent. This small difference in rates of 2 to 3 percent, the arbitrage, would throw off enormous returns, especially considering little or no money had been placed on the table to buy the securities.

I have been told that Lehman and AIG played this leveraging game, investing only $1 for every $30 they held in such toxic suggestions. Again, what they did was not a crime. They took enormous risk and reaped huge returns — for a while.

Now they want us to pay for the huge losses that ultimately fell upon them.

Washington played a role in the mess too. The White House pushed for easy money and easy lending practices, many weighted in favor of the banks and lenders and against the consumer.

Congress, dominated largely by Republicans from 1994 to 2006, did an awful job in oversight. This is especially true after President Bush took the oath of office.

When Bill Clinton was president, the Republicans acted beautifully, working diligently to keep President Clinton on a center-right economic course. The results were great.

This seems like ancient history, but it’s important to have a clear picture of how we got into this mess. It may help us get out of it.

First, we need to know the “crisis” the Bush administration presented to us just last week is not a crisis that just popped up. It was apparent to many two years ago the real estate market was in a bubble and would bust.

And when the Fed moved in 2004 and raised rates from 1 percent to 5.25 percent by 2006 — a more than 400 percent increase in two years, it also led directly to those adjustable mortgages re-adjusting at very high rates. Homeowners got struck hard — with monthly mortgage payments on medium size homes mushrooming literally overnight.

The Fed increase rates started the credit crisis. The first tremors were apparent over a year ago when the Fed took emergency steps to give banks liquidity.

It’s important to remember that most adjustable mortgages created in the boom years still have not reset – and will continue doing so through 2011.

This problem will worsen unless Washington tackled the underlying problems.

The first thing the Fed must do to reduce the continuance of the problem is drop rates. It doesn’t have much wiggle room, because the dollar needs to be protected, but a small decrease in rates could have an enormous impact on those readjusting mortgages.

The second-most-important thing to do is for Congress to give a significant tax credit for new home buyers. Congress just passed a $7500 tax credit for new home buyers, though it’s not actually a credit but a loan at no interest.

The famed economist Edward Leamer of UCLA’s Anderson School says a $25,000 tax credit to new home buyers would put an immediate end to the fall in home prices. He suggests it would spur economic activity and government tax revenues would grow, more than covering the cost of the program.

Already home prices have fallen to reasonable prices and it should be a buyer’s market. But government can spur home buyers who keep staying on the sidelines think prices will fall more.

If this is done, home prices will stabilize and likely begin rising. All of the sectors that relate to the housing market will find relief.

And, most important, the value of those mortgage backed securities will increase as the underlying mortgages become current. Foreclosures will also abate.

The key to solving the financial crisis is not to simply send a blank check to Wall Street, but to get consumers buying homes again.

The National Debt Is An American Issue

Greetings. My name is Jeff Williams, blogger at National Debt Busters, finally responding to an invitation that was given to me months ago to post here regarding economic matters.

Since this is my first post, I want everybody to know that the National Debt is not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue. It is an AMERICAN issue that must be dealt with. While I personally am a fiscal conservative and tend to vote Republican, my blog is not necessarily aimed at furthering the Republican agenda. It is aimed at educating citizens (who are hopefully voters) about the size and scope of the National Debt and other economic issues that face this great nation of ours. There are areas where I agree with Democrats, disagree with Democrats and same with Republicans.

Most of the time, I merely post articles that have been posted elsewhere, giving full attributions to the original authors, because not everybody has access to the same sources of information.

In the ensuing weeks and months, I'll be making occasional posts on Multipartisan Minnesota on issues that we Minnesotans should care about from an economic perspective regardless of political affiliation. My hope, again, is to educate people on the economic ramifications of the political decisions made by politicians of all parties at the State and Federal levels. This is something that all Minnesotans and all Americans should care about.

Thanks for listening.

Jeff

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

End of the American Empire - time for change!



Our economy is collapsing as Republicans go on about how Wall Street Socialism is GOOD and Democrats concede to Bush, again. Neither party wants to talk about change - REAL change. No partisan wants to say "The America we have had for the last 60 years is over. Life will be different from now on." That is the true reality, one that I thought it would take $250 a barrel oil to make true. It seems our economy is more fragile than I had thought.

The government is trying to instill confidence in the market, well I am not buying it. Nor will I respect their "leadership" in saving us. I want the bums thrown out - all of them. Every Democrat and Republican has failed at this point. Even my first term congressperson, Keith Ellison, has done NOTHING to prepare my district for this. Is there enough frustration like my own out there? Is switching from D to R or vice-versa really making a difference? There are those who who feel as I do, but they have to actually vote for change. ( Note to non-voters: make an economic statement instead. Stop shopping. Buy only necessities. And you might need some savings if your job disappears. )

Most Americans will have little hope to change Congress. Anti-Democracy activists have ensured that only major parties have any media attention, assuming they could get on the ballot. In Minnesota, one candidate shines very brightly: Senator Dean Barkley. The media here only mention him in 2 out of 3 articles, which is astounding in our elitist democracy. Barkley questions the need for the $700,000,000,000 bailout of Wall Street. I don't hear the Democrats or President Bush questioning, but wanting Republicans to vote with them so it's "bipartisan." Let's throw the bums out who got us in this mess and elect those like Dean Barkley!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Harry Grigsby supporting Farheen Hakeem


A day before the primary the Obama campaign made phone calls to its Minneapolis supporters, asking them to volunteer on a "get out the vote" initiative. They wanted members to show up at.... (drumroll please ) the Jeff Hayden HQ. Upon arriving at 9AM, they instructed their foot soldiers on the true nature of their calling: ensuring Jeff Hayden is endorsed. While on their valiant mission for a candidate they did not know, they performed an informal survey of 61B voters: it appeared that Hayden and Farheen Hakeem are currently tied. This doesn't worry Hayden as his main objective was complete, thanks to volunteers of a candidate not in the Minnesotan primary race.

Harry Grigsby, Jeff Hayden's sole DFL opponent, did not win the primary endorsement. Yet a plethora of average, and not so partisan, voters who tend not to participate in the primary supported him. His campaign did not focus on internal partisan organizing, but spoke directly to actual residents of 61B. His supporters, along with independents and undecideds, can easily vote for the candidate Harry Grigsby has now endorsed: Farheen Hakeem.

Harry knows that Farheen Hakeem is the candidate truly meant to represent the heart of south Minneapolis. While the Democrats tax us to build a stadium for a billionaire (Target Field should be Hennepin County Taxpayer's Ballpark), Farheen has fought against such unscrupulous acts. Her voice is consistently ignored by the corrupt powers that mock the needs of the working class. Fortunately, these powers cannot squelch her message as the campaign goes door to door to ensure victory in November.

Can the Obama and Al Franken campaign really spend much more time on this local Minnesotan race as November approaches? Not if they want to win. Fortunately, the voters in this small Minneapolis district can rest assured that one campaign will not ignore them. The volunteers on this campaign wear brown t-shirts that beg the question: "What does Farheen Hakeem mean?" It means fresh wisdom. In times such as these , when change is both crucial and vital, Minnesotans need such a leader. Vote for Farheen Hakeem on November 4th for Minnesota House 61B.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

November Predictions

Yesterday was an interesting primary election! It says a lot more than polls do about how those invested in democracy choose to vote! Based on the election info, I would like to make some estimated guesses at the general election. These are using current statistics, as debates and other political unknowns will come into play.

With regards to my support in November, I believe that candidates should seek to solve our intertwined energy and economic crisis. More "rebates" from Democrats or "drilling" from Republicans are both insufficient. I'd love to hear someone try to prove, without blatant misinformation, that they will be. My solution is an annually increasing carbon tax in support of green jobs.

President - I do not see Minnesota as up for grabs. It will go to Obama. Assuming there is no voter disenfranchisement issues this time, only one hour waits in Cleveland this year, Obama should win nationwide.

U.S. Senate

Coleman - 45%
Franken - 35%
Barkley - 20%

There are about 10% of Republicans who voted for Jack Shepard. These Republicans would most likely not vote for Franken, but would consider Barkley. The biggest loser is clearly Al Franken, because he lost nearly a third of his support to Priscilla Lord Faris. I really don't think he can recover such a hit. He's been trailing Obama for a while in Minnesotan support, and this is a bad hit. And there are parts of Minnesota where she almost surpasses him in support ( in 25A, Franken got 49% of the vote, Faris 46% )!

If Dean Barkley is allowed in the debates, his support could improve. Franken is no longer seen as viable against Coleman, which reduces any form of political momentum. Barkley will need to attract Republican votes that Franken obviously can't if he is to beat Coleman. Being a former U.S. Senator helps Dean Barkley considerably, assuming the media refers to him as one.


US House - 1CD

This race will be close. Still, I think that Brian Davis will beat Tim Walz, who is in his first re-election bid.

US House 3CD


The Democrats shouldn't cry too much about possibly losing 1CD, as Ashwin Madia should win here.


US House - 5CD

Ellison - 84%
Davis - 10%
McGaughey - 6%

I could be overstating Barb Davis White's support. Ellison's opponent Gregg A. Iverson received more votes in the primary than she did. I could also be overstating McGaughey's support, though he may get the anti-Ellison vote. Keith will win easily by double digits.

US House - 6CD

This is another close race. I would really like to see the last of Michelle Bachmann. Perhaps Tinklenberg will be able to gain enough support from moderate Republicans who do not feel Bachmann truly represents them.

US House - 7CD

Blue dog Democrat Collin Peterson should easily win.


In Federal races, it is difficult to really change current trends months before an election. These races tend to be media dependent and less "activist" oriented. Though get out the vote efforts are still very important.

As far as local races go, we will see. It will be up to local candidates to ensure that they stay ( or become ) engaged with the residents of their district. Candidates who accurately reflect their community's needs stand the best chance to be chosen to serve.

Minneapolis School Board

The voters of Minneapolis always support DFL endorsed. My fave non-DFL candidate, Mary Buss, did not make it past the primary. However, Doug Mann did and is seeking Green Party endorsement. I still like Lydia Lee and Jill Davis. Anyone else will have to prove themselves, assuming I vote for a third candidate.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Primary Election 08



US Senate

Tomorrow is the all important primary, and have done a little homework. I have decided to support Jack Uldrich for U.S. Senate. He clearly stated in one ad that off-shore drilling is like giving more cocaine to a coke-head. Sounds like he knows more about our addiction to oil than the "major" two-parties. You won't hear Al Franken mention anything about our nation's addiction to oil, you'll only hear it from people like Jack. Franken simply wants to end our "dependence on foreign oil" which will never happen if we never cut consumption.

I was appalled listening to bits of the RNC, when delegates shouted "Drill here! Drill now!" How much oil can be drilled in Minnesota? How about off-shore oil in Lake Superior? I'll bet there is oil that has runoff into Lake Calhoun - but that doesn't mean we should drain the lake, process the water, to get whatever is in it. Thankfully, Minnesota has no shale oil or uranium. Our best local energy solutions are solar, geothermal, and wind. But I didn't hear any catchy slogans about these at either "major" party conventions this year.

The only Independence Party member who could beat Jack is former US Senator Dean Barkley. He spoke at the "Open the Debates" super rally with Ralph Nader, Rosa Clemente, Governor Jesse Ventura, and others. He has support of Jesse and former Congressman Tim Penny. He does have experience as a U.S. Senator, unlike Al Franken. We will see how both of them do in the primary tomorrow.

Minneapolis School Board

I have thought about this, read some discussions on e-mail and online. I intend to vote for Mary Buss, Jill Davis and Lydia Lee. Doug Mann's opinion on Curriculum Based Measurement (CBM) and Response To Intervention (RTI)literacy strategies is in the comments section. But both Doug Mann and Thomas Picks are perennial candiates for school board and other local offices. I don't think it should be discouraged for people to run for office, but it is a factor.

Judicial Offices - Associate Justice 3 :

For the Supreme Court Tim Tingelstad's website screams "extremist Christian", but he does believe in abiding by the Constitution. Something I rarely hear anyone talk about lately, being the Supreme Law of our land. Tim has a good point that having our judicial branch appointed by committee doesn't allow for accountability. He emphatically states: "The seats on the Supreme Court belong to the people of Minnesota, not to an individual, not to the governor, and not to committees. Our courts must be accountable to the people."

But My vote will be going to Alan Lawrence Nelson, because he's a Minnesotan with a worldview. He also has the experience necessary for the job.

Associate Justice 4 :

I personally like Jill Clark, who stated this about incumbent Lorie "Gildea votes overwhelmingly with Justice Barry Anderson. Justice Anderson is a well-developed jurist, but aligning so often with him indicates that Gildea is not." And I just liked her statements overall.

4th District Court - Judge 53 :

David Piper is running - and he called me just about an hour ago asking for my vote. I think he got a hold of some of the DFL candidate's supporter list. ( it's too easy to get on these, you just sign up as a supporter of say.... Al Franken ). It's tough to weed through six excellent candidates, but being a part of the DFL establishment doesn't bode well with me. I am most likely going to vote for Paula Brummel.

US House - CD5 :

No one. I am voting in the Independence Party primary, but have no intention of supporting their candidate.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sister's Camelot WINS Myspace Impact Award!!

When I initially voted for them, they were in third place and needed promotion. Sisters Camelot didn't even have a video to encourage voters, and thankfully did get one in time. Thanks to everyone getting the word out and voting because they won! Their reaction:

We are thrilled to receive this award and would like to thank everyone who voted, giving us this wonderful gift. We will use the money to continue rescuing organic fruits and vegetables from going to waste, and making sure t
hey end up in tasty dishes eaten by hungry people in our communities.
- Karen Eisert (Collective Member & Staff Member)


They will
be able to buy another bus and further expand their amazing work!

Thank you to everyone who voted for them! If you live in the Twin Cities, I encourage you to volunteer with them. It's fun and you get a bunch of food also!

Peace,

-Kevin

Saturday, August 23, 2008

DLC wins VP nomination with Joe Biden

While I had assumed Barack Obama would not capitulate to the Democratic Leadership Council, because he had said he was independent of them, he has. Joe Biden might as well be Joe Lieberman - both are war hawks who could easily transition to the Neo-Conservative wing of the Republican Party. Because, the DLC is comprised of the same liberals who espouse the Neo-Con agenda, they just never left the Democrat Party.

In 2005 when he received a DLC award, Senator Biden stated. "I believe that our military power is necessary, but not sufficient, to change the world. It will be our ideas and our ideals -- the things we value, the things we stand for, the same things that brought the Berlin Wall down -- that will nudge the world toward more freedom and democracy." Peace through strength mantra, again. Bomb the world to peace?

Sorry, Obama you have failed miserably in your
choice. I will not even consider voting for you, not that I have ever considered McCain. The DLC and NeoCons envision a world where America's military is sent from nation to nation to hang on to resources we "need." What we need is a world where all people are secure, not just the American people. Most Americans agree on this, but they also know that the power in the upper echelons of our society are difficult to rein in. Just ask Obama, who may not have wanted a DLCer but because he ran in the Democrat Party, has no choice. Hillary lost, they need the VP, and now we get another Cheney.

Cynthia McKinney has a different perspective of our military. She wants accountability, not an never-ending empire that loses Trillions in taxpayer money. You won't hear Joe Biden grilling Rumsfeld or any other NeoCon because..friends protect their own right? Watch the video and decide who is best to lead America's military and the world into a better future:


Friday, August 22, 2008

Which would you pick:McCain's War Economy or McKinney's Green Economy?


Unless McCain is living in some warped reality, which he is, the economy needs a LOT of work. Not being able remember how many homes you own is a bit disconcerting. I mean, Norm Coleman only owns one! And he rents his place in Washington!

Let's consider that if McCain considers the fundamentals of our economy to be just fine - then do not think he will address our addiction to oil. He will not address the need to properly ensure access to education for future generations of Americans. He will not worry about the growing National Debt or reducing our imperialistic ambitions abroad. Why worry about the Homeland when you have to prop up your empire instead? Because, Mr. McCain, empires fall. And they can do so gracefully, or they can collapse in a heap.

So, if the Presidential race were done by Instant Runoff Voting, I wouldn't even put a number by McCain - unless it were double-digit. In the #1 spot would be Cynthia McKinney, who I adamantly support and WILL be on the ballot in Minnesota. Her ideas for a Green economy are expressed in the video below:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Misunderstood "independent"


I just had my second conference call Sunday with CUIP, which stands for the Committee for a Unified Independent Party. Jacqueline Salit is chair and co-founder, and she facilitated the conference call. She was also on the Midmorning show on MPR, so I have heard some of what she had to say again during the conference call.

What is interesting is that she and CUIP really are at the forefront of a monumental change in American politics that few in the media truly understand: independent voters. People who choose not to label themselves with a party brand, but say " no party for me." I really admire the independent who does not worry about what is "best for the party." For instance when Democrats nominate an "electable" candidate, independents smell this right away as an act that is "good for the party" and not necessarily good for our great nation.

Independents are frequently relegated to second class citizen when they are not allowed to vote in primaries, because they are for "partisans only." Independents want political power too - just outside of parties. Minnesota has open primaries and same day voter registration - which works in favor of independent swing elections( partisans would call them spoiling elections ). It would be wise for any party or organization to recognize this demographic.

Take Action

I recently volunteered with Take Action Minnesota. My primary motivation to do this because they initially told me they were supporting Sen. Marty's Single-Payer Universal Health-care Plan. Excellent! I made phone calls using their automated/computer calling system, which I found annoying as it called people and made them wait for a volunteer to say "hi." I was calling on behalf of DFL candidate Jerry Newton.

What I disliked most was the script they had written up for us. It didn't feel like me saying these things, although I liked Jerry. I did call many voters who were self-identified as independents. The first question on my script was asking the voter a partisan question, and independents hate these ( as did I - I am no Democrat! ). One person told me " I am a staunch Republican." And I was like "Well, have you heard of Jerry Newton?" And she was "Oh, Jerry? Yeah! I like him, can I get a lawn sign?" So much for consistent partisanship.

I spoke with some of those in Take Action after, and they agreed with me on Single Payer. But they believe in an "incremental" approach to health-care. Is this the same type of approach being supported by more pro-lifers? Chip away at choice, until there is none? Incremental works when you are tearing something down - like the icebergs slowly melting in Greenland. There comes a point when they just sink. But how do you build up Single-Payer from..small pieces? But Take Action buys what polls are saying - that only 30% of Americans support it. Maybe Take Action could educate the public instead of capitulating to polls?

What Take Action has become, is a partisan organization. They believe progressive change can only occur through the Democratic Party, and electing more of them. They want to show the DFL that they are a grassroots organization that can mobilize its members to help them win crucially close elections. But they do this by alienating non-partisan independents. They also believe that third-parties are not a vehicle for any type of change.

But Take Actions says they want to hold the Democrats accountable, by running candidates against anti-progressive Democrats. They were doing this in Minneapolis, in House District 58A with Peggy Flanagan. Rep. Joel Mullery did not get his party's endorsement, and could have lost in the primary had she been able to stay in the race. Of course, when I asked who they would run against my senator, Linda Berglin, they were quiet. "Perhaps she is going to run for higher office?" was one thought. ( Linda Berglin is opposed to Single-Payer ) Why aren't they recruiting for this and just allowing the DFL to dictate the agenda of my district? They conveniently "forgot" to endorse Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer for US Senate, waiting until after the DFL endorsed Al Franken. Sounds like they just want to stay on the good side of the DFL, and not radically challenge them.

But this is why it is difficult for independents to support partisan organizations, we do not care whether the party thrives or crashes and burns. Independents want to get things done on health-care, deficit spending, oil addiction, and peace. None of these are issues either Democrats or Republicans are strong on. But they sure like to pretend like they are!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Support Sister's Camelot!


I just read a post that Sister's Camelot is one of three finalists competing to receive a MySpace Impact Award. They give away free food in various locations all over Minneapolis - and it's all organic! Seriously a great organization, that I think we should all vote on to ensure they get more attention.


Please vote for Sister's Camelot at: http://www.myspace.com/impactawards

impact awards speech

Sunday, August 10, 2008

My Guess: Chuck Hagel

I just got an e-mail announcing that Obama will soon be announcing is Vice-Presidential pick. Obviously, it will not be John Edwards. My guess for several months now has been Chuck Hagel, the Republican Senator from Nebraska. He was against the Iraq war starting in 2005, though he initially voted to authorize the war. Hagel is the maverick independent Republican that McCain used to be. It will make many Republicans seriously consider such a duo.

While I have told many people my guess, I never actually posted it here - so why not now before I can be proven wrong? I think Obama will want to appeal to be a bi-partisan leader who really wants change. I think he formulated this plan with Hagel a while back in the Senate. I do not claim to have any form of insider info. From my perspective of Obama's campaign, it seems to make sense. And if he chooses someone else, I hope it makes even more sense than what I have surmised.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Green budget hero


















I tried the Budget Hero Challenge at MPR today. I won all three of my badges and holding true to my values! I proved that you can balance the Federal budget, cut the National Debt, AND provide single-payer universal health-care to all Americans. I did what neither Dems or Republicans seems willing to do: improve the quality of our government, protect the environment, and cut the size of wasteful government. All we have to do is make major changes now and stick with them long-term. Try it and see how it works for you!

Of course, these would all be attainable if we elect some Greens to congress. In 2006, America had a paltry 29% voter turnout. If more Americans chose to participate and vote Green, we could change the direction of our great nation!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Obama vs. Cynthia and Rosa

I know many out there think Obama is 100% perfect - but take a look at his history. He's not very democratic, in order to get elected in Chicago he kicked his opponent off the ballot on technicalities. More info here: http://www.democracynow.org/2008/7/28/how_chicago_shaped_obama_a_look

Now if you compare Obama to Cynthia McKinney the differences are:

OBAMA....

  • Opposes trade with Cuba
  • Is against outlawing the Death Penalty
  • Opposes friendly relations with Russia in building a missile defense shield in former Soviet states
  • Is against Fair Trade ( He prefers "free" trade )
  • Opposes campaign financing for his own campaign ( supports it in others )
  • Adamantly supports a Mexican Border Wall
  • Believes there should be more Presidential powers, such as the line item veto
  • Is supportive of the USA PATRIOT Act ( especially wire tapping )
  • Opposes Single Payer Universal Healthcare ( what they have in Europe and Costa Rica )
  • Supports America's addiction to oil by allowing Off-shore oil drilling
Source: http://www.2008electionprocon.org/summarychart.htm










Cynthia McKinney is firmly on the opposite side of these issues from Obama. If you believe in a peaceful world, building walls and missiles is not the way to do it. Obama is just as much an enemy of peace as Bush, as scary as that may sound. If he is elected, which he probably will, the true Obama will become much more apparent.

The French Model....

In Washington, there always seems to be a lot of comparison to France. When we went to war with Iraq, France become the butt of jokes because they opposed it. Conservatives even declared war on everything French - until they elected a conservative. Now they like things French - especially their nuclear program!

Cynthia also supports a French model - cutting our bloated and wasteful military budget. France is cutting their military budget by 15%. If we did that and half started paying for the National Debt, the other half could be used for free college and health-care. We could be using more of our money at home instead of guarding such wonders of the world like Iceland ( no offense Björk ) and Kazakhstan.

Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente are part of a Global movement for peace, known worldwide as the Green Party. Obama and McCain both support a global arms race. They believe in the "peace through strength" mantra with a clear destiny towards failure. It is time to truly heal the wounds the 20th Century has left us with. Building walls and bombs do not create Global Security. With 35% of the world living on less than $1 a day, Global Security will come through ending poverty - not bombing the poor. It is time for America to envision and implement the path to a more compassionate world, for both ourselves and all those on Earth.

Check Cynthia and Rosa out at www.runcynthiarun.org


Peace,

-Kevin

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Legislative intelligence going offshore?

The United States Legislative Branch is showing little signs of intelligence regarding energy. Assuming they had any intelligence, that which they have appears to be going into the sea.

1) Off-shore drilling GOP ( the advertisment they are capitulating to located to the left )


Fact: Off-shore drilling will take 12+ years to go online.

Fact: Off-shore drilling endangers our coastline for centuries

Fact: Off-shore oil will NOT be cheaper than conventionally drilled oil, even ignoring insurance risks.

SO why do Republicans really think that off-shore drilling will somehow reduce the price of oil today? Oil speculators could conclude that more oil will go online 13 years from now, and therefore lower prices for such futures. This is quite a long-shot, because demand 13 years from now will be considerably higher than it is now. American production in 2022 will be lower even if off-shore oil comes online. If we allow off-shore drilling now, the speculators will be better able to determine if it will make a significant dent in prices in around 2016.

The Republicans also are ignoring the fact that oil corporations can have multiple oil spills, with little repercussion. If Republicans want to reassure the American people, they will pass strict measures on the oil companies. Exxon is still trying to reduce any type of settlements based on their Valdez spill. Since Republicans now believe that Global Warming is a fact, they should also tack on a carbon tax of $50 a ton for all hydrocarbons.

2) Clueless Democrats


Al Franken would not support a carbon tax. But he did support a Minnesota gas tax increase, before he decided he was against gas taxes! Franken's mind-numbing logic also concludes that a gas tax "holiday" would be a bad idea. So does he support a gas tax or not?

The Democrats somehow believe that changing the makeup of our strategic petroleum reserve will somehow lower gas prices. Do they not realize that it will have to be re-added at some point? The reserve exists to be used only in times of true emergency. These fools are clueless as to what an emergency is.

In Minnesota, we have opportunities to NOT support such short-sighted policies in the US Senate race. Both Al Franken and Norm Coleman are prime examples of oil drunks lacking the will to sober up. We should kick the oil-peddling mentality out of Washington, allowing generations of Americans a future with potential. Signing the Oil Depletion Protocol would be a good start. We could begin to transition away from the lethal road hydrocarbons are taking us.

Will Minnesotans be able to circumvent the binary Coleman/Franken frenzy? I have little faith the media will give the Independence Party candidates any time, especially as they are consolidating their journalism activities towards bland national coverage( Star Tribune - you are getting pathetic). In such an atmosphere, only Ventura could have cut through. Too often voters seek the media to tell them who they are allowed to vote for. The corporate mainstream repeat misinformation against any potential threats to the two-parties. I often wonder if all the media-parrots would decide not to vote if the media told them not to?

If we elect Franken or Coleman this fall, it will mean Minnesotan's have only to blame ourselves for this long-term energy crisis. I certainly love my state more than to succumb to such a level of ignorance. I would rather vote None-of-the-Above and have an election do-over than support either of these two ditzy clowns!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Twin Cities Pride

It was very uplifting marching in the Minneapolis Pride Parade. The positive cheers from enthusiastic supporters of Farheen's campaign were consistent throughout the parade, from start to finish. She will be a formidable ally in the state legislature with her undeviating support for LGBT rights. She knows we cannot have Minnesotans be treated unequally with regards to their personal relationships. She also knows that LGBT rights go beyond marriage, ensuring families from all walks of life the stability they rightly deserve.

Volunteering at the Green Party booth was also exhilarating. Many stopped by to see what the Greens were up to either locally or nationally. With 500,000 attending the event, it became apparent that many were from out of state but were aware of the Greens where they lived. We also handed out Farheen's custom made rainbow stickers, which were quite a hit! Several who stopped by recognized me as their favorite slot attendant at Mystic Lake. They were upset to hear that I no longer work there, but wished me the best in my future endeavors. The hours there were well-spent and am thankful for the opportunity to have been there! Special thank yous to Lydia Howell who made us sandwiches and tea!

I did end my time at the booth towards the end of the evening. It gave me time to check out all the other amazing activity going on at Pride. I stopped by several booths to chat. One I will particularly mention is that of the Log Cabin Republicans. I am thankful they are working towards the goal of inclusion. Log Cabin Republicans also tend to support Ron Paul, whose candidacy is also a step in the right direction for their party.

Alan Shilepsky, President of the Minnesota chapter was there to introduce their wing of the party to attendees. We had a fun discussion about energy, fiscal responsibility, and trade policies. Obviously we do not see eye to eye on many issues, but he did state that Greens truly live by their values, as opposed to other parties. My mom is a Republican, so I signed up to receive e-letters from the Log Cabin and will let her know what they are up to. ( She's also on the other side of the digital divide, and we do like to talk politics. She voted for Nader in 1996, but also Bush in 2000 & 2004)

I also was re-acquainted with a few ex-Mystic Lake employees at Pride. Good to see them and look forward to working with them on some future campaigns!

If you did not have the opportunity attend Pride this year, I hope to see you next year at Loring Park!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Amtrak Surpasses Northwest Airlines


In the past week, Amtrak , for the first time ever, has surpassed Northwest Airlines in traffic to its website. Americans are well aware the traveling by air is getting more expensive, as it consumes an immense amount of fossil fuels. Hydrocarbons and valuable commodities, are not going down in cost anytime soon. Trains are much more efficient, but in America, they are still slower. Not a very practical attribute in a fast-paced society.

This is changing, and the Midwest
High Speed Rail Association is at the forefront. They are advocating for high-speed rail starting at the current rail hub of Chicago. Many Minneapolitans are familiar with our current Hiawatha line. But the future corridor between Minneapolis and Chicago bears the same name. It would be wise to support such a line, especially as Northwest Airlines has no qualms about moving its headquarters to Atlanta. That and the Twin Cities will cease to be of value in a post-cheap oil world without transit.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Adri Mehra, Green Party 5CD Candidate, Responds to Republican Inadequacies on Energy Policy



Barb Davis White: wrong on energy, wrong on peak oil, woefully wrong on any solutions.

Ms. White also appears to not know or, worse, respect her own party’s history with regard to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In 1960, the administration of PresidentEisenhower – a Republican – ordered the preserve federally protected. Currently the area supports more wildlife than any other protected habitat in the Arctic Circle, featuring six different eco-zones and thousands of migratory animals. Even the most optimistic pillagers acknowledge that ANWR’s total exploitation would only buy the nation a few more years at current consumptionlevels – sort of like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic in hopes that the ship will stay afloat.

Furthermore, extracting shale oil through tar sands, sometimes known as “strip mining,” has proven to be about as useful as a Republican in the Fifth District. Besides causing 10 percent more environmental damage than drilling for crude oil (including excessive land and water destruction), the process is painfully unreliable and horrendously slow - thus rendering it costly and inefficient, and a grand waste of the energy we were supposed to save in the first place.

Finally, nuclear energy development should be off the table until we find a safe way to dispose of the thousands of tons of viciously toxic radioactive waste that will continue to radiate cancer-causing emissions for thousands of years. In addition, nuclear power relies on highly enriched uranium, yet another air-choking fossil fuel – but much more expensive and dangerous to mine than all other options combined. It is true that France has had some success with reprocessing its spent fuel for further energy usage, but even they acknowledge that they cannot reduce the toxicity of the waste. This is all to say nothing of the constant risk of an “incident” resembling the 1986 meltdown of the reactor in Chernobyl, Russia, which resulted in thousands of cancer-related deaths estimated in the years that followed.

Barb Davis White’s “solutions” for the global energy crisis are just another example of the zero-sum game the Republicans love to play with our planet’s future. Peak oil is more than just a theory – it’s a clarion call for all of industrialized humanity to seek the development of new renewable energy resources in this late autumn of our dialogue with Earth’s oil. U.S. oil production peaked forty years ago, and the rest of the world is less than a generation behind. The time for denial, mitigation, and simple conservation is over. We need to fully fund sustainable solar and wind energy NOW to prevent famine and global economic collapse tomorrow.

Adri Mehra
Minnesota 5th Congressional District Candidate for US Congress
Seeking Green Party endorsement