How will Clinton or Trump "Bring the Jobs Back"?

A bit of anecdote here.  A former college of mine traveled to Chihuahua Mexico where a US auto parts manufacture had set up a factory to make steering wheels.  He was there to install equipment we had sold to them via their offices in Massachusetts.    Here’s what he saw.  A woman was operating a highly technical machine that manufactured the air bags.  Another was expertly sewing the leather upholstery to the steering wheels.  Others were wiring the harnesses that would connect all the controls from the steering wheels to the cars various duties.  Do any of these sound like low skilled jobs?  To me, they sound very similar to the ones I saw back in 1973 when I was an inventory supply clerk on an assembly line at Xerox where we built the Model 4000 copier.  It was the “entry level” job that I got after graduating from high school with a C+ average.  Adjusted for inflation, I was paid about $45K a year, plus health care and two weeks vacation.  Actually, if I worked the line as an assembler instead of just supplying it, I would have made a lot more.

So how much did the people in Mexico make?  About $8.00 Per Day.  I guess $8.00 a day is better than the national average of $5.00 a day.      And then there is the issue of job safety.  The .1% in the USA complains about too many job killing regulations.  Here’s what happens after safety regulations are lost.

 

And what about this?

Syracuse University professor Jason Dedrick estimated the additional cost of carrying out the assembly work in the USA, and says that it would add $30-40 to the cost of an iPhone.  

Take the poll at the end of the article and see that almost half of those participating would not spend a dime more to buy USA, so much for the “invisible hand” that Adam Smith wrote about….

 

Down-spinning the platform battle

The DNC platform negotiations are gathering rather more attention than usual. And how they’re going, and who’s exercising influence … well, depends on whom you ask.

Here’s the AP:

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A draft of the Democratic Party’s policy positions reflects the influence of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign: endorsing steps to break up large Wall Street banks, advocating a $15 hourly wage, urging an end to the death penalty.

Impressive! By any previous standards this is pretty darned progressive. Yet here’s the take that’s typical of the Sanders supporters on my various feeds:

During a 9-hour meeting in St. Louis, Missouri on Friday, members of the DNC’s platform drafting committee voted down a number of measures proposed by Bernie Sanders surrogates that would have come out against the contentious Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), fracking, and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. At the same time, proposals to support a carbon tax, Single Payer healthcare, and a $15 minimum wage tied to inflation were also disregarded.

via Betraying Progressives, DNC Platform Backs Fracking, TPP, and Israel Occupation | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community.

Two thoughts on this:

First, it’s right for the Hillary delegates to take their lumps from the Sanders progressives on the substance. I obviously support a carbon tax, and we need to run screaming away from fossil fuels ASAP. Fracking should end. Palestinian dignity ought to be supported — we’re overdue for a new narrative and public language on Israel/Palestine and Hillary’s not giving us that.  Single payer would be great.

That being said, there’s a tendency to measure the strength of one’s commitment to goals (stop global warming; health care for everyone) with a particular set of means (carbon tax; single payer). And simply put, those two policy tools are really, really hard to get passed and stay passed. In some really fine posts, (here’s the other one) David Roberts at Vox has taken on the political problems of the carbon tax*. In Australia they passed it (yay!) … and then repealed it (boo!). With single-payer, the Vermont legislature agreed to it in theory … and then couldn’t fund it. Oh well.

Political sustainability is a big part of economic and environmental sustainability. Simply put, the HRC platform people are looking towards the general election, and they see the political cost to Dem candidates as prohibitive. And with the House and Senate potentially in play, one can see the reason for playing it “safe”; whereas flipping both houses of Congress would really be a “political revolution”.

Somewhat dishearteningly for political true believers, you typically make a choice between the strength and “purity” of your ideas, and the breadth of your coalition. But considering the mood of the country — and the demonstrated appeal of Sanders’ agenda — I’m willing to bet a Democratic Congress would be pretty darned progressive. But you gotta win first.

The necessities of stopping climate change and getting health care for everyone haven’t gone away. There’s more to come in the platform negotiations. The Sanders people are doing their job, and bringing energy, vision and passion. I hope they will come to acknowledge their own power, and claim credit for their victories and influence along the way. This will keep people engaged, thereby growing their influence.

Keep pushin’. We can get things done.

*I would be remiss if I didn’t include this hopeful rebuttal from Judy Weiss of the Citizens Climate Lobby, a very fine pro-carbon tax group.

Brexit: What will Hillary Clinton do?

Donald Trump, we know – in wake of the Brexit vote he ran to Scotland to tout his golf course. What with the reduced value of the British Pound, he’s hoping to get more international golf tourism to his resort.

We’ve not heard much from Hillary Clinton yet. Quick after the tragic Orlando night club shooting, Hillary spoke openly and widely about the evils of guns in this country, and what the US can do and should do. It was talk that came straight from the heart – clearly on a subject she has thought about deeply and she cares about greatly.

But that was then; this is now. Hillary Clinton is set to become our President in November. The tectonic plates have just shifted, and the issue of the campaign now has become evident: This will be a debate about globalization, about its winners and its left-behinds.

At worst, it is a debate that can turn into ethnic bickering and backlash against this or other group of immigrants or refugees. Let’s hope this does not happen – and it’s up to the political heads to steer the public sentiment clear of something like this. Immigrants and refugees have human rights universally recognized – and should also have representation rights, not at all recognized.

At best, the discussion can be about democratic rights and about participative democracy. If the Brits were allowed by the EU other venues to vote directly on a host of issues delegated to faceless bureaucrats in Brussels, then in my view this Brexit would not have happened.

We can feel smug that the US sees no danger of TXexits, ORexits, or other STATExits, as we might call them – still, our problem is a gridlocked Washington unable to pass legislation on a long list of issues – from gun control, to immigration, health care costs, college costs, campaign finance, you name it. These Washington issues often get controversial action either through Presidential executive order, or by a Congress act – then fall in the lap of a highly politicized US Supreme Court. This has now been our custom for many decades, but it speaks to the same inability to solve problems democratically, through vote, rather than through haughty technocratic court decisions.

We live in a new era after the Brexit vote, and it’s time to reform this old system of ours, in the US – and new system of theirs, in the EU.

The European Union might be easier to reform – simply because it’s newer. Certainly, sufficient pressure will be born on the EU in the months or years that will take to resolve Brexit into actual exit. That long exit process may bring change, and it may give European peoples a more direct voice in the workings of the EU.

But it’s time to hear what our leaders think about all this. Their opinion, unfiltered. Their view, not passed through polls and sanitized by experts to appeal to that mythical 2-3% of voters targeted to swing the Presidential election.

Speak, Madam Secretary. And speak from the heart.

The United Kingdom, 1707-2016. RIP

In the history of Europe few things have been as transparently good as the day the Berlin Wall came down: freedom — personal, cultural and economic — was to be had and a bright new world was created… a world in which walls came down.

“Brexit” is the opposite of that… Walls are going back up. Whatever hope one might have had after the fall of the Berlin Wall is now on life-support.

In a campaign that was breathlessly naive (“everything will be fine once we leave, don’t worry about it”, “the British people are tired of hearing from experts”) and egregiously mendacious (“money for NHS”, “Scary immigrants”, “nobody will regulate your pillows!”) the “Leave” campaign, spanning the entire spectrum from passive-agressively racist to nakedly racist, convinced the English people (not the Scots or the Northern Irish, mind you) to walk blindly into a caustic uncertainty, thereby signing the UK’s suicide note with a flourish.

This is likely the end of the United Kingdom. Scotland will exit and will flourish for it. In a decade they will have a larger economy than England. Englands military will suffer, as integrated into Scotland as they are… Irish reaction is yet to be gauged but if I were a betting man, I’d say the tipping point of Northern Ireland wanting full integration with the Republic of Ireland has been reached and breached. And if they don’t, what are they going to do, put armed Irish guards to the south looking across a border at armed Northern Ireland guards??? Are Northern Irishman again going to stand off against other Irishman, and again on behalf of the British? That always ended well in the past, dinnit?

The English people have traded their security, their status and their stature for a blind alleyway that will leave them smaller and more isolated then they have ever been. That they believe a pot of gold is hidden in that blind alleyway doesn’t excuse them from the coming pain, and the worst pain when they realize that there never was no pot of gold. I predict about two decades of shrinking ego before they re-apply for entry in the EU… if the EU is still around.

Although I believe the worst of it will be visited upon the English, the chaos attending disintegration of the UK will not be confined to the British Isles. Over the next few years the European Union will face another wave of exit attempts… Greece almost certainly… and France will try, and maybe even some others, but as the scope of the disaster in England slowly unfolds the taste for exit will, one hopes, gradually turn to ash on the tongue… that is to say, unless and until the resulting chaos enables some demagogue or another to stir up national hatreds. At that point, all bets are off. A de-stabilized EU is a scary thing.

Enter Vladimir Putin and his fever dreams of a Russia re-emergent. We might as well either consign the Ukraine to him right now or mobilize NATO. Help from the EU, and the hope of maybe someday even EU membership, was the thinnest threads of Ukraine’s hope against Russia and was Putins biggest fear. In the resulting chaos of the next decade or so… Goodby to all that. And if the Ukraine falls, well… Poland is going to have to do something about that. Will it militarize? Will it call on NATO? What about all the states that were once part of the former Soviet Bloc? You have no idea. You think the Tsarnaev brothers and their once-remove Chechen nationalism-cum-Islam was dangerous? Childs play. The further along Putin gets the more some Croat or Serb or Slovak vows never to serve a Soviet master again… and prepares for war. These are countries that are now NATO members… and there’s a reason for that. A de-stabilized EU only emboldens Putin.

Will all this come to pass? I don’t really know. I hope not. But I do know that this is an epic, world changing event, on the order of the Berlin Wall coming down, but in the other direction. That it was based on lies and transparent stupidity is the scariest thing of it all…

Myopic Nationalism Is Still Rising

In historic vote, Britons decide they hate 70 years of peace and prosperity:

“Yes, we remember recovering from World Wars caused by national pride. We then enjoyed our lives in the EU, but now I would much rather go out of this world feeling nationally superior, than allow our younger generation to enjoy that same integration, peace, and opportunity that we were able to enjoy.”
-70 y.o. Codger in the Midlands

Cutting Through the Gun-Rights Melodramatics

This was the post my brother shared with me on Facebook from another source, and my response. I think it is important to clarify that most of us are realistic that guns will always be a part of American culture, and to explain the limits to what we want to see happen, no matter how many times it takes:

THE POST

“The right is absolute. In a free nation, government has no authority to forbid me from speaking because I might shout “fire” in a crowded theater. Government has no authority to forbid me from using my fist to defend myself because I might also use it to strike your nose. And government has no authority to forbid me from owning a firearm because I might shoot an innocent victim. Government is there to assure that the full force of the law can be brought against me if I discharge that right in a manner that threatens the rights of others. It does not have the authority to deny me those very rights for fear I might misuse them. – CA State Senator (R) Tom McClintock, 2001.

“…any rational or reasonable control imposed without resistance threatens the absolute right, take my voice, take my fists, but by God do not take my guns…”(Gayle E. McCowin, US Army Retired, 2016)

MY RESPONSE

Wrong. It is illegal to shout fire in a crowded theater. In fact, THAT’S THE POINT. All constitutional rights-even free speech-are limited when they interfere with other’s rights-like the right to live.

We are not saying there’s anything wrong with guns or owning a gun or shooting a gun or hunting or target practice etc. or, yes, defending your home with a gun.

We are saying this: you do not have a God-given right to own a bazooka or a nuclear weapon, nor a God-given right to own an AR-15 or high capacity clips. Other guns yes. THAT IS IT. NOTHING MORE.

Rob McElhenney is among the coolest people ever.


Given all the anti-trans nonsense from North Carolina and elsewhere, Rob McElhenney has invited a high school student who was kicked out of her prom for wearing a tuxedo, to appear on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. This is such an excellent way, beyond boycotting the various states, to make the point that people deserve respect and to exercise their right to live in the manner that represents their identity.

"NO BILL, NO BREAK" ... LEWIS AND CLARK LEAD HISTORIC SIT-IN FOR GUN SAFETY...

Today, at 11:30 am Congressman John Lewis and Congresswoman Katherine Clark called for a sit-in on the House floor until a vote on gun safety was taken in the wake of the recent Orlando massacre.

I am so proud of my friend, Katherine Clark, and all  members of the Democratic Caucus for standing up to the NRA and their Republican lap dogs.

Call your Congressman at 202-224-3121 and tell them to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, violent criminals and domestic abusers.

Fred  Rich  LaRiccia

Bay State Stonewall Democrats

Board of Directors

Fall Debate Schedule Set

Apologies for three consecutive diaries, but I just saw this and thought I would share.  These are the dates and venues for the presidential debates, but I don’t know who is invited.  My own preference is any candidate on enough ballots to get to 270 should be able to participate in at least one debate.

Monday, September 26th at Wright State University in Dayton, OH

Sunday, October 9th at Washington University in St. Louis, MO

Wednesday – October 19th at University of Nevada-Las Vegas

Vice-Presidential debate on Tuesday, October 4th at Longwood University in Farmville, VA

Food Fight: Inside the Battle for Market Basket

This is the title of a film I saw last night, which I think was very well done, though pretty clearly told from the perspective of those involved in the boycott two summers ago.  I thought it might be of interest and especially recommend it to EB3:)

Closest thing to a filibuster in the US House

House Democrats, including many if not all of our delegation, just passed the nine-hour mark in their occupation of the House floor demanding votes on gun control legislation.  Many Senators, including ours have joined them for at least part of the time, with Elizabeth Warren apparently making a donut run for the members.  This effort is being spearheaded by John Lewis, who probably of all members knows a thing or two about sit-ins.  Our own Katherine Clark seems to be Lewis’s co-leader in this, leading Rachel Maddow to point out that they can now be remembered as Lewis & Clark.  (I’m updating at 9:20 at which time the two of them are being interviewed by Rachel.)  Officially the House stands in recess subject to the call of the chair and the C-SPAN cameras have been cut off.  We are getting feed via Periscope from a California member, which even C-SPAN is using in lieu of their own cameras.  We just learned that someone is hitting the nearest Target for sleeping bags to accommodate an all-night stay.  This wouldn’t be an issue if the real House were more like model Congresses I have participated in whereby any legislation filed gets a hearing and those that clear committee get a vote.  In some cases the rules were that the plenary would still vote on a committee recommendation of ought not to pass.

UPDATE: There has now been a gathering of the public outside the Capitol in support of the Democratic sit-in.  We also expect the GOP to come back into the chamber shortly to attempt votes on other items.

Hey Charlie Baker, Are You Freakin' Kidding Me With These SJC Appointees? Do You Have Any Respect for the Justice System?

Rather than announce each nominee for the Supreme Judicial Court as separate appointments Charlie Baker has chosen to throw three appointments out there as a group and then send Karen Polito into the Governor’s Council to plead their case.

Unfortunately Charlie has appointed three unqualified people so far up Bill Weld’s ass we see their faces every time he opens his mouth.

Where are the Dems? They should be screaming about this.

Why? Here’s why. We have three nominees with zero appeals court experience. The SJC is the highest appeals court. Most SJC justices have appeals court experience. Trial court and appeals courts are like football and baseball. Sure they are athletes but that’s where it ends.

There are exceptions and no problem with that. Margaret Marshall and others. But here we have three people from the trial court asBaker’s fist nominees.

This is typical Republican-Yankee-elitist-fuck-you-attitude that believes they are above everyone else. We are their children and they know what’s best for us. Just ask them. Even though they never punched a time clock.

Take a look at these people. Kim Budd, daughter of Wayne Budd. Big Republican African American tight ass buddy of Bill Weld.

“Hey, my friend Wayne Budd is a black guy and he has a daughter who is a lawyer who is also black. Excellent. That solves our black problem.”

Fuck you Charlie.

David Lowry, husband of Bill Weld’s girl Friday Ginny Buckingham, remember her?

And Frank Gaziano. A Weld protege from the US Attorneys Office and trial court appointee.

Taken by themselves you really can’t complain without sounding racist or petty. But as a package? Holy moly.

What these appointments really show is Charlie Baker’s ignorance and dismissiveness of the law and justice system. He’s one of those MBA types that couldn’t care less about jurisprudence. One demential rich kid with no empathy for regular people and disdain for anything that prevents him from getting his way.

So step up to the plate Democrats and rather than knocking the Governor’s Council lobby them to come down hard on the governor’s philosophy and criteria for choosing justices for the Supreme Judicial Court. Right now they are all showing me nothing.

July BMG Stammtisch


The Saloon

Talk about the fireworks (real and political). Come, enjoy some libations, and talk politics. This is the last Stammtisch before the conventions.

Our now-regular monthly BMG Stammtisch will happen two weeks from today — 6-July — at The Saloon in Davis Square at 7p.

Hope to see you there!

Wexit? [with poll]

Elizabeth Warren is being vetted to serve as Hillary Clinton’s running mate.  That puts her on a genuinely short list of potential candidates for the job of vice president, with all that that would entail for the Senate, the country, and especially for us here in Massachusetts.

So, on the eve of the “Brexit” vote in England, it’s time for a Wexit vote right here, where Warren first made clear her intention to run for Senate: Should she stay, or should she go?

Elizabeth Warren: representing you

Don't Be Scared of the Big Bad Wolf (of Wall Street)

“Our Betters” are rushing to tell us that Hillary Clinton had better not pick Elizabeth Warren for VP or they’ll cut her off. Well, so what? It’s not going to cripple the campaign the way “Our Betters” and even some of us normal folks seem to think it will.

Hillary Clinton won the second most expensive Senate race in history. Clearly she knows how to fundraise. But you know who won the most expensive Senate race in history? Elizabeth Warren. And I for one am willing to donate more to the campaign if she’s the nominee than I would otherwise, so as long as enough of us think alike, they’d be fine without the billionaires.

So perhaps each of them should do what they want, and not worry about if the Wall Street cash disappears. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, fat cats.

 

 

Tantrums by Toddlers on the Governor's Council

It seems that four of the members of the Governor’s Council, that vestigial organ of state government, are throwing their sippy cups at the news that Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito intends to preside at this summer’s hearings for Governor Baker’s three nominees to the Supreme Judicial Court.

Never mind that under the Constitution the Lieutenant Governor is also a member of the Council and presides when the Governor is absent. Also never mind that the Governor has “full power and authority, from time to time, at his discretion” to call the Council together. Also never mind that there’s plenty of precedent for the Lieutenant Governor to preside on occasions that the Governor regards as appropriate, like, for example, nominations to the state’s highest court. With a Trumpian self-regard, four Councilors have gotten themselves in a huff over the plan.

Councilor Marilyn Devaney of Watertown (who has been known to throw other objects besides her sippy cup) demanded to know why the Lieutenant Governor was intent on usurping “our duties.”

Councilor Robert Jubinville of Milton openly conceded that he wanted the spotlight: ”I don’t know why you want to take it away from us. This is a chance for councilors to do a hearing like we did with Judge [Ralph] Gants, to get some publicity and you’re taking it away.”

In response to the argument that Lieutenant Governor Murray had presided over the hearings for the SJC nominations of Governor Patrick, Councilor Christopher Ianella of Boston pouted thusly: “Murray at least asked.”

Councilor Eileen Duff of Gloucester went so far with her indignation to suggest that it might affect the votes on the nominations: “This is all about publicity, it’s all about press and it’s all about Karyn Polito. It’s not about the Governor’s Council and it’s not about the candidates. It’s absolutely disrespectful and outrageous….This administration is not setting these people up very well now for not having a whole lot of tie votes coming up.”

Really, these people are judging our judges?

Joke Revue: Crowd At Trump Rally Realizes They’ve Been Chanting ‘We Are Frightened And Helpless’ For Last Half Hour

Onion:

Crowd At Trump Rally Realizes They’ve Been Chanting ‘We Are Frightened And Helpless’ For Last Half Hour

TAMPA, FL—Saying they had been so swept up in the excitement of the moment that they hadn’t been paying attention to what they were shouting, the crowd at a Donald Trump rally in Tampa reportedly came to the realization Wednesday that they had been chanting the phrase “We are frightened and helpless” for the past half hour. “Looking back on it now, I guess we all started chanting ‘We’re so, so scared’ as soon as we got into the auditorium, and then when Trump came out onstage, it really picked up and we added the part about feeling completely impotent in the face of change,” said Trump supporter Colby Swanson, 45, who explained that, after thinking back, some attendees had started chanting “Rage is my only outlet” on and off while they were waiting in line to enter the event. “Boy, we were chanting it really loud for a while, especially after Trump said our country doesn’t win anymore and that we shouldn’t let Muslim refugees into the U.S. Come to think of it, towards the end there, I remember just yelling ‘The world has passed me by’ over and over again.” After recognizing their embarrassing blunder, the Trump supporters were said to have collected themselves and returned to their traditional chant of “Build the wall.”

‘I’d Like You To Post Long, Aggressive Rants On Social Media,’ Says Bernie Sanders In Supporter’s Interpretation Of Speech

WASHINGTON—Addressing reporters after meeting with President Obama at the White House this morning, Bernie Sanders called upon his followers to post long-winded, extremely aggressive rants on social media, according to local supporter Ryan Bailey’s interpretation of the speech. “I’d like you to go on Facebook or Twitter and harass as many people as possible with spiteful, protracted tirades,” said the Vermont senator in Bailey’s inference of the speech, which demanded that he and any other voters still committed to political revolution reply to anyone who challenged their opinion with a barrage of sharply worded displays of sanctimony and condescension, as well as any number of personal insults. “If somebody tries to get you to calm down or walk back your rhetoric, don’t hesitate to double down by questioning their intelligence and maligning their integrity before blocking them entirely. Also, if you see anybody sharing a conflicting point of view anywhere online, it is imperative that you attack them at once with a series of furious and preferably misogynistic responses.” According solely to Bailey’s own perception of the speech, Sanders then concluded his remarks by asking supporters to send a threatening email to Democratic Party officials or members of the media.

Daniel Kurtzman:

“The latest polls show Hillary Clinton now leads Donald Trump by 12 points nationally. I guess she’s getting some traction from her new slogan, ‘Come with me, if you want to live.’” –Seth Meyers

“Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said in a speech today that he feels Donald Trump is not a racist. Said Trump, ‘Thank you, Ben Carson.’” –Seth Meyers

“Donald Trump celebrated his 70th birthday today. And I guess instead of blowing out his candles, he just insulted them until they put themselves out. ‘You’re too hot! You smell like wax! You’re the worst part of this cake!’” –Jimmy Fallon

“In a speech, Donald Trump said thousands of people in the United States are ‘sick with hate.’ Then Trump said, “I’d like to thank them for their support.’” –Conan O’Brien

“Bernie Sanders is set to meet with Hillary Clinton this evening. Bernie said the meeting will give Hillary one last opportunity to bow out gracefully.” –Conan O’Brien

“So much has happened during President Obama’s administration. Obamacare was passed. Same-sex marriage was legalized. He worked with 11 other countries to sign the historic Trans-Pacific Partnership. Whereas Donald Trump just walked around Epcot and insulted every country.” –Jimmy Fallon

“After his meeting at the White House, Bernie Sanders said he’s going to do everything he can to ‘make sure that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States.’ Bernie said, ‘I’m even willing to make Hillary my vice president.’” –Conan O’Brien

Idiotic Trump quotation of the week: “Ask the gays.”

“The LGBT community, the gay community, the lesbian community — they are so much in favor of what I’ve been saying over the last three or four days. Ask the gays what they think and what they do, in, not only Saudi Arabia, but many of these countries, and then you tell me — who’s your friend, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?” –Donald Trump in a boast that provoked widespread ridicule from the LGBT community, June 15, 2016

Massachusetts Needs A Better Governor

In today’s Globe, Stephanie Ebbert tells the kind of story we will read more and more until 2019. The people who provide childcare are absolutely essential to our economy because they let parents work without worrying about their kids. And these childcare providers are getting royally messed up by Governor Baker’s fix it scheme.

One child care provider estimates the state Department of Early Education and Care owes him $15,000 in unpaid bills. Another fears the department is going to ask him to pay back $80,000.

Day care center directors all across Massachusetts are scheduling one-on-one meetings with department officials to hash out unpaid and disputed bills from the past year.

The reason? The new technology the state launched last July to modernize its reporting and billing of day care subsidies still can’t handle the bills.

Why did this modernization of billing and reporting mess up?

Charlie Baker’s stunt of granting early retirement to get thousands of state workers off the payroll. The people in state government with the valuable knowledge of who was in the system and how the system worked were induced to retire early, thus taking the institutional knowledge away right at the time that knowledge was needed for the new system. Did Gov. Baker save the budget? Noooo…

The Globe learned, however, that the retirees included at least two senior officials integrally involved with the technology and three more employees who worked on the help desk for the new system. Two of the help desk retirees wrote the user guide for the Child Care Financial Assistance system, and the third was the help desk director. Those three were hired back after the faulty launch to help with calls from frustrated day care providers, the Globe learned.

Yes, Gov. Baker decided to put these employees on retirement, then he had to re-hire them because the job still needed to be done. In his desire to cut spending, he ended up creating even more waste.

Read the whole article. Take special care to read to the end where we see the new computer system can not account for how parents might have to send their children to one childcare place in the morning and another in the afternoon. Plenty of parents need to do that, but the system refuses to pay for it.

There are thousands upon thousands of parents in the Commonwealth who need good, affordable childcare. We could provide that, putting parents’ minds at ease, making families lives’ better… if our Governor had the vision for it.

We will see this again and again because as long as our Governor believes “we have a spending problem,” the Commonwealth will be neglecting the basic needs of our citizens: childcare, early education, K-12, public universities, transportation, mental health, and protecting the environment.

Because the Commonwealth has grown and is growing, we have a revenue problem, but our Governor has a lack of vision problem. He can not see how the Commonwealth is growing and will grow in the future. He is not taking care of the present, and therefore is undercutting our future.

Clearing the Air, Protecting the Climate . . . While Saving Money

As the legislative session moves towards a noisy climax, one of the many bills still moving towards possible passage is what the Boston Globe calls ”a heavily lobbied bill designed to diversify the state’s energy sources.”

That energy bill builds on prior successes in some ways, but if it is really going to reflect hard-won experience it will need to be improved. The final bill must offer greater competition among energy technologies while rising to the challenge of the essential environmental mandate recently affirmed by the SJC in the landmark Kain case - the decision that made it crystal clear that the mandates in the Global Warming Solutions Act must be taken very seriously.

I worked on legislation of this type across New England during my years at the Conservation Law Foundation. In Massachusetts I was part of the team that worked with the legislature to start building a clean energy future through successful efforts like “clean energy procurements” – a tool created by the Green Communities Act for our utility companies to buy power from facilities like wind farms.

Now that I am working for a wind energy company I am fighting the same battles, with an even better view of how practical efforts to shift our power away from fossil fuels can flourish or fail – and what can make the difference in getting the job done.

One lesson that I have learned through hard experience is the necessity of encouraging competition to drive down cost – and the current energy bill, in the form that passed the House, makes the mistake of excluding low-cost onshore wind resources from participation in the bidding process unless it is “bundled” with hydroelectric power.  Such bundling of resources is not inherently wrong – indeed, it might be a fine idea for the states to buy both wind and hydro and build a bundle after getting offers from both kinds of generation – but wind power developers should be able to offer a range of prices and options to the utilities and states buying on behalf of customers. Creating greater competition among electricity sources will inevitably lower energy prices for everyone who pays an electric bill.

As written, the House bill would unnecessarily reduce competition between hydropower and other clean energy sources, including solar and wind energy. Head-to-head competition between land-based renewables, wind and solar energy, and large hydro is the solution to meeting our clean energy needs in the cheapest fashion.

Equally as important is requiring the proposed clean energy procurements in this draft legislation to help ensure compliance with Massachusetts’ rising renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and to meet the greenhouse gas reduction mandate of the Global Warming Solutions Act and the Kain decision.

Massachusetts recently found its RPS, which is designed to tap into more land-based wind and other renewable energy sources to keep costs low for ratepayers while driving private investment into local and state economies, has a three-to-one benefit-to-cost ratio, producing annual net benefits of $217 million.

Delivering clean air in Massachusetts is important, but state lawmakers must encourage the kind of competition needed to do so at the greatest benefit for the state’s electricity customers.  The leadership of the State Senate is now in a position to steer the bill in that direction and ensure that we do what we can to help save the planet while saving money.

Seth Kaplan is Board Chair of RENEW Northeast, a coalition organization that brings together renewable energy companies and environmental advocacy organizations.