Where Safety Considerations Don't Matter; The Keystone XL Story

An explanation pre-decision on what will happen with the Keystone XL Pipeline, the danger present, and where people can go if they are interested in changing the circumstances. The Keystone XL Pipeline would be a ticking timebomb if built, so why are we considering it? MOPSA is the name.

When Votes Disappear

Until they outlaw public monitoring of vote totals completely, this is one of the few methods we have to isolate problems ourselves.

Federal Taxpayers Do Not Fund the Federal Government; The Federal Government Funds Federal Taxpayers

Well that title is blunt, isn’t it? I like blunt. That’s why I chose it. As I always say, blunt cuts through bullshit. It’s my bet that it is sure to cause irritation for those persons who play immature games of semantics with the word ’fund’. Good.   Look, we all know what people mean when they say, ‘Federal taxes don’t fund federal spending’; they mean, ‘The federal government does not require an income, and so, it does not spend the proceeds from federal tax collections’. Some people simply wish to confuse others by playing a game of semantics over the word ‘fund’.

Fear Will Not Kill Prejudice

...It will only drive our foe underground, where we can't face it.

Response To The Powell Memo: A Progressive Blueprint — Part 6

What follows is Part 6, the final installment of a direct rebuttal to the original Powell Memo, frequently using Powell’s own words, which instead offers a progressive plan to take back the country from the ravages the corporate oligarchy has committed on the American people and restore the freedoms and protections to which we are entitled. Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

Remapping the Beginning: Freeing the Nation's Foundation Story from its White Supremacist Chains

We can't merely take to the streets periodically. We must take to the streets and stay there until we turn the corner on what kind of country we want to be. But other actions are needed too. Among them is the coincident development/acceptance of a cohesive vision, one that doesn't merely view white supremacy as a morally flawed value, but that recognizes it as integral to U.S. history as we know it. This means that moving forward on this issue requires a massive rewrite of U.S. history in order to show the ways in which white supremacy has defined the nation from the beginning. It also means confronting all the nation's institutions in order to root out white supremacy's hidden presence within them.

Democrats: Nominating Kamala Harris in 2020? Or Chasing The White Working Class?

On a near daily basis since 2016, we've heard networks like CNN or MSNBC talk about the failure and necessity for Democrats to court voters in the white working class. It would appear Chuck Schumer missed the mark when he predicted that each blue collar Democrat who turned their back on the party would be replaced by a white collar conservative, itching to ditch Trump. Oops.

Debt Ceiling is an Arbitrary Political Tool to Perpetuate Austerity

The United States has never hit its debt ceiling without Congress intervening to raise it, but the prospects of this occurring are becoming increasingly likely under the Trump Administration and the current Congress.    On July 28th, Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin wrote a letter to Congress to inform them that action would be required on the debt ceiling, as its expected to be reached by the end of September 2017. "I have determined that a 'debt issuance suspension period,' previously determined to last until July 28, 2017, will continue through September 29, 2017. As a result, the Treasury Department will continue to suspend additional investments of amounts credited to, and redeem an additional portion of the investments held by, the CSRDF, as authorized by law," Mnuchin wrote to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). He urged Congress to take action before their August recess, but they have not.    If Congress fails to act, the government would shut down as a result. The consequences of what could happen if congress fails to act are unknown, but they don't bode well for the U.S. economy to even face the possibility of it occurring.   "Honestly, no one knows. It would be uncharted territory. It’s hard to believe Congress would ever choose to run the experiment, but these are strange times.  Anything seems possible," said Dr. Stephanie Kelton, a Professor of Economics at Stony Brook University and a Fellow of the Sanders Institute, in an interview with me. "U.S. Treasuries are the equity that undergirds the global financial system, so a default on payments would, presumably, lead to serious disruption in financial markets."   The debt ceiling was a common point of contention during the Obama Administration, and has served as an opportunity for political opposition to leverage for political gain. Obama told Congress in 2015, "If it gets messed with, it would have profound impact for the global economy and put our financial system in tailspin." In 2011 and 2013, the debt ceiling debate engulfed Congress, as Republicans who held a majority used it to negotiate to achieve their own agenda. In 2011, the United States' debt rating was downgraded by the S&P for the first time, increasing borrowing costs due to how close the U.S. came to defaulting on their debt in 2011 amid the debt ceiling debate. Financial markets tanked in response to the crisis, experiencing the most dramatic volatility since the 2008 economic recession. The debt ceiling sets a limitation on government spending and the government's ability to regulate the economy and financial markets, as well as its ability to fund operations of the government. Though traditionally the ceiling has been raised without debate, during the Obama Administration, the Republicans in power used it for political purposes to the detriment of the economy; it's possible the Democratic Party will return the favor, or Republicans will try to attach policy in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, sparking a heated debate.    Economist Rohan Grey told me in an interview, "What happens regarding the debt limit depends on how policy actors choose to respond. There are discussions about prioritizing certain kinds of payments over others in the event the Treasury General Account has insufficient funds to over payments, but they are all ultimately speculative. My personal view is that as long as the Treasury Secretary has the ability to issue certain instruments to finance the deficit, such as platinum proof coins of whatever denomination he wishes under USC S 5112(k), he is obligated to issue such instruments to ensure payments are made." He added that credit agencies decide on their own to downgrade credit ratings at their own volition, based on predictions determined by the political climate, but since the U.S. produces its own currency, there is no tangible threat of actual defaulting or inability to pay debts.   "As the U.S. government is a sovereign currency-issuing government, it does not require bond issuance to deficit spend. Treasury bonds are issued by the government to establish and maintain a particular interest rate. Therefore, the debt ceiling serves no real financing purpose and it should be scrapped," said economist Ellis Winningham in an interview with me. "The debt ceiling functions solely as a political tool that is used to strong-arm the opposition, usually into accepting cuts to vital programs, under threat of deliberately preventing the federal government from ‘paying its bills’; an act which would then generate public outcry and, thus, political damage to the opposition." Winningham added, "The people are not separate from the federal government. Separate from politicians, yes, but not separate from the institution of the U.S. government. We are the government and the government is us. The economy is also us and it is ours. We the people create our own currency and it is time that we spend enough of our dollars into existence to reach the real ability of our economy to produce goods and services. I am talking about reaching maximum output and sustaining it indefinitely. I am talking about spending to achieve a condition of full employment, where all who are willing and able to work can have a job at a decent wage, and sustaining that condition in perpetuity."   On August 8, CNBC reported, "the decision could have significant implications on the markets because the Republican Party seems to be 'backing off the idea' of a 'clean' debt ceiling. A 'clean' debt ceiling refers to a lifting or suspension of the agreed-upon cap on federal borrowing capacity without any additional provisions." As the deadline nears, the economy and markets will likely respond accordingly, and the same partisan tug of war is likely to entrench Congress at the risk of shutting down the government and tanking the economy.    Joe Firestone, the author of the kindle e-book Fiscal Myths of the 2016 Campaign said, "The law setting the debt limit can be turned into a dead letter by the President within single Executive Order issues by the President requiring the Secretary of the Treasury to mint a single 1-oz platinum coin with a face value of $100 trillion and then deposit that coin in the U.S. Mint's Public Enterprise Fund (PEF) Account. The very quick result of that order, after another easy step, would be to add $100 trillion in reserves to the Treasury Spending Account, removing the need for the Treasury to 'borrow' any more money for at least 15 years, and also pay down nearly all outstanding Treasury debt falling due for at least that period."     Firestone added, "Don't fall for the idea that Congress can't raise the debt ceiling without cutting spending programs or raising taxes because we already have $20 trillion in Treasury debt, and can't afford to borrow any more money without increasing the already heavy burden on our children and granchildren. The truth is that 'we the people' don't owe that money. Our Federal Government owes that money and it is not like your household. Your household cannot create US sovereign money: bank reserves, currency, and coins. Your Government can, and it can do that in unlimited amounts since it is a fiat sovereign, unlike our state and local governments and governments like Greece and other Euro nations. Since it is a fiat sovereign it can repay all its debts subject to the limit, including the whole $20 trillion now outstanding, without taxing any of us an additional penny beyond the level of taxation we pay now. So, tell the Congress that the public debt is their debt and that instead of giving us a BS debt ceiling crisis, what they need to do is to repeal their debt ceiling law and just let the Treasury do what they have already delegated it to do, namely, spend what they have already funded in legislation they have already passed."

Incidence of White Privilege: Part 1

Something that Real Progressives stands for is the eradication of racism and any other kind of inequity in our society. Part of the process of doing that will be getting white people like me (and anyone else for that matter) to recognize the privileges we get from just being born to the right color parents, and talking about them openly to try and reach as many other people as we possibly can. My hope is that this will be just the first of many pieces written by various people both within the RP organization and anyone else who wants to talk about it. Perhaps we can create an anthology of real discussions of white privilege by both those who benefit from it and those who have been harmed by it.

Solve Racism With MMT

Recognize that racism is only a method of division that works to enslave the majority of the populace. It's time we recognize the real problem (economics) and work together to solve it by implementing strategies using the knowledge of economic reality (MMT).

The Federal Government is like Chuck E. Cheese: MMT as Analogy

Chuck E. Cheese is a great analogy for the fiscal policy of the federal government because they are both “currency” issuers. The reason why this is all so important to understand is that MMT has far ranging implications for the progressive movement not just nationally but globally. Appreciating the reality MMT represents is a fundamental change in how we approach our government and its spending. It eliminates the debate over HOW we’re going to “pay” for something, and lets us ask if program X will improve our lives, then why is the government refusing to spend when it has no constraint? That will drive this revolution beyond complaining about the state of the world to demanding that the government spend in support of the public purpose.

If it's broken, FIX IT!

When we learn of corruption, why is our impulse to destroy the corrupted, rather than to heal it?

If You Can Deliberately Restrain Federal Spending, You Can Deliberately Expand It

Anti-austerity is a word, of which, culturally and socially speaking, perhaps the Spartans wouldn’t have approved of. We can accept that. It was a Laconian thing. We wouldn’t understand anyway. However, it is also a word, economically-speaking, that many orthodox economists and politicians understand but outright refuse to accept. It’s a neoliberal thing. We cannot and must not accept that.

MMT is Relevant to Everyday Life

Someone asked me - no - I lied - someone told me - MMT is not relevant to the average voter, the average American - it is irrelevant - then proceeded to tell me that Paul Krugman said it was a joke. He could not be less accurate but his critique is relevant because many do not pay attention and yet they wonder why they march in place.

Key Points to Understand Regarding Macroeconomic Reality

The concept that the US government has no money of its own by design and must tax and borrow to fund its spending is an imaginary concept.

Who's Afraid of MMT?

If you turn it the right way, the thing that will kill us is the very same thing that can save us.

Help All, Not Just the Elite

It's time for a systematic change. I believe we need to take a good hard look at our government programs, how they are failing us, and the draconian rules that have applied for too long to systems that should be designed to help those in need and those who are oppressed.

Stop Settling and Fight

It's time to stop settling for crumbs and empower ourselves to get what we need.

Duopoly is Dumbed-Down Government

Life is not black & white. We need government in full color.

Fight for Medicare for All Together

I've been watching the news and listening to people discuss the current plight of health care in America. The present health care bill, which is now before us, made me decide that I needed to express my opinion about this pressing matter.

Can This New Group Elect Bernies in South Carolina?

In the late 1970s, Bernie Sanders and his supporters started the Independent Coalition to address a then Red rural state in Vermont. And they did this to create the conditions for real progressives to be able to viably run for office. It resulted in Bernie being elected to Mayor of Burlington as a Socialist, electing down-ticket progressives to support him, and eventually breaking into Congress as an Independent.

A Chat With Conservatives: Bernie Bashing

A day or so ago, I wrote about how I grew up a Christian, Conservative Libertarian, and how meeting key people in my life, as well as discovering Bernie Sanders, led me to Progressivism. Well... my more Conservative viewership DID NOT like hearing about someone changing teams, AND they came to let me know.

Response To The Powell Memo: A Progressive Blueprint — Part 5

What follows is Part 5 of a direct rebuttal to the original Powell Memo, which offers a progressive plan to take back the country from the ravages the corporate oligarchy has committed on the American people.

A Brief Word on This Orphan Politics Nonsense

Look, I oppose policies of putting down unwanted animals in shelters. I find the policy to be quite disturbing. But if you, as an animal rights activist who makes the issue your main and most important issue, are successful in winning the battle against it, and no-kill shelters become the law of the land, what have you done for anyone or anything else? Nothing.

#OPINION: Thank You, Birdie

I was born to a lower middle class, white, Christian, Republican family in Massachusetts. My friends growing up were Libertarian. I, too, grew up believing that this was how I was supposed to think.

Is the ACA Worth Saving?

While people naturally become alarmed over Trump's changes to the ACA, it's the similarities that remain that are the real killers.

Osborne’s Call Not to Change Course On Austerity is a Murderous Demand

I shall skip my usual line-by-line critique and begin here, because, finally, a politician says something that is honest and it makes the news! The end of austerity does mean that we’re going to allow the deficit to rise, and we don’t care. And that is totally honest, because nobody in Britain should care if it rises. The UK Government is what we call ‘monetarily sovereign’. Osborne knows this as well, but he doesn’t want you to know that he knows. It has the exclusive, monopoly authority to issue British pounds. Actual pounds come from nowhere else. When the UK Government spends, it is literally spending pounds into existence to ‘pay for’ programmes.