The cost of the wall street bailout keeps growing

The New York Times has a set of graphs on the cost of the wall street bailout so far, both in dollars spent and in pledged.  So far, $1363 billion dollars has been spent.  $7.8 trillion, i.e. $7800 billion, has been pledged. 

To give you an idea as to how much that is, the US debt is over $10.6 trillion and total US government spending in 2007 was about $2.7 trillion.

Thanks to The Big Picture for the link to the NYTimes.

I Stand with Chuck!

I stand with Chuck Turner in his fight against the accusations the FBI has made against him.  I urge folks to check out the Support for Chuck Turner website and come out for the press conference and rally on Wednesday, November 26 at Chuck Turner's District Office at 51 Roxbury Street, Roxbury, MA 02119.

I'll leave you all with the following letters, which were emailed to me, but could not find on the web:

Case of Chuck Turner is different than Dianne Wilkerson
Howie Rotman
SEIU1199er at Boston Medical Center (ground zero)

I agree completely with Danny Schechter's call : *"Free Chuck Turner"
 "Free Ourselves"*.

Danny is *RIGHT ON* when he says "this is  not just an attack on a politician but an attack on all of us, an attempt to discredit a leader supporting the fight against a dangerous Biolab program.

As a civil rights and anti-war activist since the 60's ; and union activist for almost 4 decades at Boston City Hospital/ Boston Medical Center, I also have known Chuck Turner as a committed community organizer of the highest principles. When some people at Boston Medical Center tell me that they don't vote, "because all politicians are crooked", I always tell them that I understand their feeling, and hold similar views. And then I go on to say, there are a small number of politicians that I entirely trust. I always give as an example one politician that can be trusted… a COMMUNITY ACTIVIST… who just happens to be an elected official on the Boston City Council … Chuck Turner. Over the decades I have witnessed Chuck Turner turn up at
meetings for social justice causes that are totally out of the limelight, meetings where */only a handful/* of progressive activists have taken the time to show up.

From what I know about the character of Chuck Turner, I agree with Danny Schechter's statement below, that "we must *ASSUME* his innocence and see this for what it is: one last shot by a lacking in all credibility Bush Administration Justice Department in the aftermath of the Obama victory." From the FBI affidavit I have seen in print, this is a clear case of entrapment of a man that is not prone to be materialistically self serving. The FBI affidavit against Chuck admits that a "second attempt" to entrap Chuck with a monetary favor was futile.

Chuck Turner is not Dianne Wilkerson. Chuck does not have a lifestyle of house arrest for failure to pay taxes. He would not disrespect the people in his community the way Dianne did by refusing to pay condo fees , thereby putting the burden of upkeep of property shared with
neighbors on the neighbors who had to go to court to force Dianne Wilkerson to contribute her share.

Unlike Dianne Wilkerson, Chuck Turner would not put the people in his legislative district and surrounding communities at risk of DEATH by exposure to incurable biological pathogens used in weapons of mass destruction that are planned to be experimented on at a level 4 bioterror lab at the BU Medical Center Campus in South End/ Roxbury. Chuck is a leading opponent of the bioterror lab. Chuck is a principle author of the ORDINANCE before the Boston City Council on December 15 at 6pm, an ORDINANCE which seeks to ban research on biological agents used in weapons of mass destruction, that the United States used to justify its entrance into Iraq,  a search that turned up nothing.

(Ironically, if BU/ BMC 's level 4 lab was "found" in Iraq, that would have "justified" the US invasion.)

Support Chuck Turner !!!

Come to the Boston City Council Hearing on the bioterror lab on
December 15, 2008, 5th floor City Hall, 6pm.

"Danny Schechter" <> wrote:

Journalist and filmmaker Danny Schechter here….

I have known Chuck Turner  from when we worked together back in the l960's in the civil rights movement. He was always a committed community organizer of the highest integrity. He has also always been a principled and courageous stand-up public servant.

We must ASSUME his innocence and see this for what it is: one last shot by a lacking in all credibility Bush Administration Justice Department in the aftermath of the Obama victory. This is  not just an attack on a politician but an attack on all of us, an attempt to discredit a leader supporting the fight against a dangerous Biolab program.

It comes just weeks after the FBI admitted it has NOT been pursuing white collar criminals connected to the housing and financial crisis because of funding cutbacks. Yet, somehow,  it has the money  and the time for a well calculated entrapment stunt like this.

I am confident that Chuck will discredit whatever case the government brings against him, and all of us who know him and love him have to stand with him against this smear on his distinguished career of public service.

Free Chuck Turner. Free Ourselves.

"News Dissector"

Live blogging the GRP convention

I have no idea whether there will be wifi at the GRP convention today.  However, I will be live blogging the convention, either here or on my twitter account.  Hope to see you there.

NOTE: I forgot my camera's download cable, so pictures will have to wait until tonight.  I'll put them up at the GRP flickr group.

10:10am Arrived and checked in

10:15am Didn't have wifi yet – twittered the 1st post, now have wifi, yeah!

10:20am Caught the last of the opening plenary:

  • Sandra Harris spoke on anti military recruiting
  • Nancy Lee wood speaking on peak oil
  • Ben Grosscup from NOFA speaking on community farm initiative

10:31am Plenary over, Nat Fortune, co-chair, is thanking plenary participants, convention comm. and Steve Baer for food, Telling us what is next and where the workshops are.  I will not post for the next hour because I have to go run a workshop.

10:40-11:35am lead the Growing Our Membership workshop – great discussion from members throughout the state about local organizing and growing our membership.  Focus on developing goals/strategy for you, your local area and the state party.

12:10pm Office holder plenary started.  Arthur Conquest, Brookline town meeting member, is speaking and, rightfully, chiding us for the lack of latino and african-americans at the convention, that we need to broaden our membership and that we must support Chuck Turner.  Amen!  

12:20pm Other candidate statements and open questions

12:55am Question: how do you keep elected offices accountable: Luc suggested using Chuck Turner's district roundtables

01:02pm Lunch is starting, GRP nominations for Administrative Committee to follow after that.

01:46pm Been having a fun time with the local McKinney campaign organizers talking about the lessons of the campaign.  Folks are eating and mingling.

02:12pm Merelice is talking about the rest of the convention with nominations and elections to the Administrative Committee and our representatives of to the national party up next.

02:26pm Nominations are being proposed and candidates are speaking:

Female Co-Chair: Martina Robinson, Jill Stein

Male Co-Chair: Eli Beckerman

Secretary: John Andrews

Treasurer: Merelice

Membership Director: Lee Scott Laugenour

Fundraising Director: David Dionne

Communications Director: Grace Ross, Lloyd Smith, John Andrews (withdrew)

Female National Rep: none

Male National Rep: Lee Scott Laugenour

Female Alternate National Rep: Jamie McLaughlin

Male Alternate National Rep: none

03:14pm Break up for workshops.  Since I am not running one, I will be taking pictures and posting them later.

03:58pm Heading home.  See you all later!

Update:  I heard that the winners for the elections were:

Female Co-Chair: Jill Stein

Male Co-Chair: Eli Beckerman

Secretary: John Andrews

Treasurer: Merelice

Membership Director: Lee Scott Laugenour

Fundraising Director: David Dionne

Communications Director: Lloyd Smith

Male National Rep: Lee Scott Laugenour

Female Alternate National Rep: Jamie McLaughlin

At least one person's take on the convention is posted at the GRP Facebook group.

… and good luck! You’re going to need it!

I wish President-elect Obama, and all of us for that matter, good luck.  One study states
that Massachusetts' unemployment rate will rise from 5.5% now to well
over 8% in Q3 2010.  With the US unemployment rate currently at 6.5%
and the broadest measure of Un/Underemployment, aka U6, at over 11%, Q3 2010 will be an unpleasant place for US workers.

Looks like the best policy is a massive increase in federal government spending on public infrastructure, energy conservation (someone has to install energy efficient windows and insulate homes), aid to states and localities, a health care system that covers everyone (oh say single payer), etc.

Krugman thinks that $600 billion of deficit spending is enough.  If the auto industry goes into bankruptcy, I can see needing much more than that, likely even if they don't, what with the rate at which the economy is falling. 

That said, I am not convinced that bailing out the big three automakers is a good idea, at least not without getting rid of upper management.  After all, these are the same folks who got themselves into this mess.  When the bailout is four time the market cap of the big three, perhaps the US government should just buy them.  Heck, the UAW and AFL-CIO might have enough in their strike funds to buy a good chunk of them.  51% and the unions get to call the shots and really make upper management's heads roll.

Congratulations, Mr. President-elect!

A delayed congratulations to Barack Obama, for winning a resounding victory as President of the United States.  I did not vote for him, as I followed Eugene Debs' saying that "I’d rather vote for something I want and not get it, than vote for something I don’t want, and get it," and voted for Cynthia McKinney instead. 

Most of my motivation in voting for Cynthia was that I felt she was the best candidate for the job.  However, another of my motivations was simply that she is the candidate of MY PARTY, and, DAMMIT, I support the nominee of my party, especially one who is devoting her time, money and effort to run.  I have been a candidate for a commonwealth-wide office twice.  Running for political office is difficult.  It puts a strain on your life and can put a wedge between you and your family.  As such, I cannot, in good conscience, turn my back on my own party's nominee.

For a Green-Rainbow to say that they won't support our nominee because we need to make sure Obama wins Massachusetts, as if there was any doubt about that, well … it makes angry.  I'll still love them and work with them, but it makes me wonder whether they will have my back.  As Utah Phillips has told us many times:

They were the people working down at the bottom, in the forest, in the mines, in the wheat harvest. Old Jack Miller, who ran the Citizen's Center up in Seattle, Washington, once said, “When we started in the forest, we spoke two different languages, and most of us had never been to school, and we couldn't read or write. We lived in our emotions, and we were comfortable there. We made decisions in our lives for which there is no language. We made commitments to change, to struggle for which there are no words. But those commitments carried us through fifty or sixty years of struggle. You show me people who make the same commitments intellectually, and I don't know where they'll be next week.” And then he added to that hardest of all things, he said that, “We, speaking all those languages, hardly speak to each other. Armed only with our degradation as human beings, we came together and changed the conditions of our labor and the conditions of our lives. You young people, with all you've got, why can't you do that?” Now, that's a very serious charge to lay at our feet.

That said, I am proud that the US finally elected its first African American President.  Took a far too long.

The rich are different from you and me. …Yes, they have more money.

I saw this back in October, but have been too busy to post, what with Cynthia McKinney's campaign, work and family. 

Doug Henwood reported this set of statistics about the distribution of wealth in the US in 2004.  By 2007, it was likely even more skewed to the wealthy than these numbers are.  For 2008, perhaps, it is less so.  However, while I have a feeling the wealth of those 10% with the most wealth have fallen noticeably, what with stock market falling 50% from its high, I have a feeling that the half of the population with the least wealth, have seen their wealth actually go negative since the housing boom went very bust.

What this table shows is the value of assets (Residential – i.e. home(s) & Nonresidential – i.e. stocks/bonds/etc.) owned by different segments of the US population in 2004.  The first row is the average over the whole population.  0-50 is the 50% of the US population with the least assets, etc.

% Residential Nonresidential
avg $111,055 $337,211
0-50 $12,859 $9,975
50-90 $134,217 $179,308
90-95 $299,964 $775,946
95-99 $549,156 $2,145,622
99-100 $1,423,091 $13,826,364

I am weak

I gave into temptation and got some the Agents of Gaming B5 ancients and Fleet Action scale Whitestars.  After cleaning and removing the flashing, I primed them as well as the Vorlon destroyers and three of the Shadow Scouts.  Man, those Shadow Scouts are great looking miniatures.  Out of scale, but great looking.

Oh well, more stuff to paint.