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New Economic Perspectives has the article BANK of the COMMONS. by J. D. Alt. In discussing an assumption that Thomas Piketty made in his book Capital in the Twenty First Century, Alt says:

Instead of simply assuming, however—and in such an off-hand fashion!—that legitimate “democratic governance” cannot possibly be inserted into a central bank’s procedures for issuing fiat currency, why not try to imagine a way that it could? This is precisely what a “Bank of the Commons” might accomplish.

This is a very interesting idea.  One of the people commenting on the article claims that this was done in the 1930s and 1940s.

This idea isn’t far fetched at all.  We have systems almost like that in operation right now.  Think of government funded research grants.  What the NIH does right now is one example.  PhD’s at Universities and other research institutes write grant proposals, and the NIH funds some of them.  The current system is pro-cyclical though.  The amount of funding goes up when the economy is doing well, and it goes down when the economy is doing badly.  Highly qualified researches are dropping out now because of the lack of funding for good proposals.  I read of one newly minted Professor who decided to open a winery (maybe it was a brewery) because he couldn’t get funding for his biomedical research proposals.

The Bank of the Commons would not restrict itself only to research proposals by scientists with advanced degrees.  It would be open to anyone or any group that had a good proposal.  (Of course that is also true of some government grants now.)   However, the other difference is that a Bank of the Commons would be economically counter-cyclical, if that is the way we decide it should be run.

US Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey oppose President Obama’s Syrian rebel training plan

MassLive, the online arm of The Springfield Republican, has the article US Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey oppose President Obama’s Syrian rebel training plan.

U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey on Thursday broke with the president and opposed the request to train and arm the rebels for a war against Islamic state militants.

The Senate approved the request late Thursday on a 78-22 vote.

Warren said she wasn’t convinced the proposal to train and equip Syrian rebels advances U.S. interests or that it would be effective in pushing back Islamic State fighters.

“I remain concerned that our weapons, our funding, and our support may end up in the hands of people who threaten the United States,” Warren said in a statement. “I do not want America to be dragged into another ground war in the Middle East.”

I was thrilled to hear that my favorite Senator, Elizabeth Warren, has finally showing signs of developing independent judgment on foreign policy matters.  Through years of hard fought battles, Elizabeth Warren learned to be skeptical of the domestic policy statements of the powers that be.  I am glad to see that she now realizes that the propagandists on domestic matters don’t just automatically become honest brokers when they speak on foreign policy.

European Union Court of Justice Imposes Anti-Rasmussen Rule – Sanctions Cannot Be Imposed by Reason of Fabrication, Lies, Dissimulation

Naked Capitalism has the article European Union Court of Justice Imposes Anti-Rasmussen Rule – Sanctions Cannot Be Imposed by Reason of Fabrication, Lies, Dissimulation.

For the second time, the EU court has ruled that sanctions are illegal if they are based on allegations which cannot stand up in court. With an irony yet to be tested in the US, the EU court has also ruled that state organizations and companies targeted by sanctions have the same human right to due process, as human beings, Russian dissidents, and Americans.

The ruling ends two years of proceedings in Luxembourg. The Iranian central bank’s case was that EU sanctions were unlawful because they were based on evidence which was in error; because they violated the EU’s obligation to give defensible reasons for its action; because the EU had violated fundamental human rights, including the protection of property, the right of defence, the right to effective judicial protection, and the right to proportionality between act and penalty.

It is nice to see that a court thinks that truth matters. I think the court goes a little far in jumping to the conclusion that because a corporation is called “a legal person” in some laws, that this automatically determines what rights a corporation has compared to what rights “an actual person” has. It is true that “a legal person” has some similarities to “an actual person”, but it is also true that there are some differences. To ignore this truth is as bad ignoring the truth (or falsity) of allegations.

Other parts of the article cast significant doubt on our stance on Russia and the Ukraine.

Solving for Y with Elizabeth Warren and Suze Orman

Politico has the video Solving for Y with Elizabeth Warren and Suze Orman.

Full video: POLITICO’s Mike Allen and Maggie Haberman moderate a conversation with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and personal finance expert Suze Orman on ‘Solving for Y: Exploring Opportunities for the Next Generation.’ 09/17/2014 12:14 PM

I only got through the first 5 minutes before my browser crapped out. Perhaps you will have better luck.

Request Coakley, Healey, Gobi Lawn Signs Near Sturbridge

For the campaign season of the upcoming Massachusetts state election on November 4, 2014, I am going to deliver lawn signs for Martha Coakley, Maura Healey, and Anne Gobi in five towns around Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

My delivery area covers the towns of Charlton, Holland, Southbridge, Sturbridge, and Wales

The online request form is at bit.ly/1p2DOiO. The previous URL is an abbreviation of www.ssgreenberg.name/Campaign/LawnSignRequest.php

Charlie Baker’s reaction to NFL domestic violence

Martha Coakley has put up the video below.

To finish Charlie Baker’s sentence – “If we fired everybody who helped cover up for domestic violence, then there might be a lot less domestic violence.”

I have been thinking about just what it is about the Rice video that puts the behavior in a different class, it is not so much the punch itself, bad as that was. It is his callous behavior after she falls into unconsciousness. An NFL football player hasn’t the strength to gently lift his wife, carry her out of the elevator, and then care for her. He barely manages the energy to drag her most of the way out of the elevator. He shows no indication of realizing what an awful thing he has just done.

If this video makes you want to donate to the Coakley campaign, here is the link.

Who Do You Want To Run In 2016?

The Young Turks network is taking a survey as explained in the YouTube Video. Here is the explanation of the video.

Are you dissatisfied with Hillary Clinton as the presumptive democratic nominee for President in 2016? Are you hoping for a more progressive candidate? We want to know who you want, email us your choice of candidate at petitions@tytnetwork.com once we receive your choices we will publish petitions for your candidates at http://www.tytnetwork.com/petitions. We’ll leave your petitions up on our website until October 1st, at that point any candidate who has reached 1000 signatures on their petition we believe should be taken seriously as a legitimate progressive challenger to Hillary Clinton, we will leave those names up on our website indefinitely to see how many signatures those petitions get. Email your choice for a progressive challenger to Hillary Clinton at petitions@tytnetwork.com

I think that if your candidate is already on the list, you just have to go to the website above and cast your vote (sign the petition).

Robert Reich Explains the War on the Poor and Working Families

MoveOn.org has the video Robert Reich Explains the War on the Poor and Working Families.

On Robert Reich’s Facebook post, he asks if he is being too harsh with this video.

Here is the video.

I Democrats all over the country fail to make this the prime issue of the upcoming election, then perhaps they ought to lose control of the Senate, too.

An independent PAC is running commercials against Republican Charlie Baker for Massachusetts governor that hint at this issue. Martha Coakley, his Democratic opponent, ought to make it clear that Baker’s plan to solve whatever ills Massachusetts has by being harsher on welfare recipients is just part of the problem Reich is highlighting. Reich makes the point that you cannot fault people for not finding work when there are more people looking for work than there are jobs being offered. This puts the lie to Baker’s plan. This man, Baker, has no soul or no heart or neither one of them.

Am I being too harsh?

Cultural deprivation

I have posted on this blog about the study of “cultural deprivation” as a sophomore in college as being my epiphany about what Ayn Rand didn’t tell me, and what was wrong about her philosophy. This was back around 1963.

It just dawned on me that there is probably still some literature floating around about this topic.

You can do a Google search on cultural deprivation theory definition. At the time I did this search there were only “About 1,410,000 results (0.40 seconds)” according to Google.

Wikipedia has a very short article Cultural deprivation. Part of the article states the following:

Proponents of this theory argue that working class culture (regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or other factors) inherently differs from that of people in the middle class. This difference in culture means that while middle-class children can easily acquire cultural capital by observing their parents, working-class children cannot, and this deprivation is self-perpetuating.

Some of the other Google references try to blame cultural deprivation on the parents of the deprived. This misses the whole point as far as what I studied. You cannot blame people for not teaching what it is that they aren’t even aware of. That is the self-perpetuating part of the Wikipedia definition. “Self-perpetuating” is not a value judgment on parenting skills, but it is a description of the facts of life.

If your parents didn’t educate you on cultural deprivation, then it may be that they were not aware of it themselves. Does it help to think about that to understand what it means for the cultural deprivation of others less fortunate than you. People whose parents have no experience nor any inkling of the importance of books and magazines in the home (now connection to the internet), can’t blame, and wouldn’t even know to blame their parents? This doesn’t even cover the fact that these parents are unlikely to be able to afford nor have the time to provide these amenities.

When you are working multiple jobs just to feed your family, and you are separated by distance from the support structure of the older generations of your family, then it is more difficult to provide these cultural amenities.

It is much easier for society to try to fill in some of what is missing at home. This is the basic premise of the Head Start program.

Some Candidates Who Need Help Now

I just thought that you might want some links to the campaigns of a few candidates who could use your help. Right Now! – Put up lawn signs, contribute money, make phone calls, knock on doors, pass along these links.

Anne Gobi
for State Senator