Category: October 2011

The Meagerness of the Republican Debates, the Smallness of the President’s Solutions, and the Need for a Progessive Alternative

ROBERT REICH – Republicans are debating again tomorrow night. And once again, Americans will hear the standard regressive litany: government is bad, Medicare and Medicaid should be cut, “Obamacare” is killing the economy, undocumented immigrants are taking our jobs, the military should get more money, taxes should be lowered on corporations and the rich, and regulations should be gutted.

We the 99% Demand a Totally Different Federal Budget

DAVID SWANSON – We can fit our demands on a bumpersticker: “Majority Rule” or “People Over Profits” or “Love Not Greed.” But we don’t want to. Our government is doing everything wrong, and we should be allowed to present the full list of grievances. We can, however, give the world a thousand words’ worth in an image, a pie chart to be exact. Our federal budget funds the wrong things. We want it to fund the right things.

Selling Out Children to the Military

TERI SHOFNER – On Monday, October 17, a few concerned parents came to the business meeting of the Portland Public School Board of Education to ask that they turn away the military’s offer to take 5th graders out of school to a military base. We’ve been asking them very politely for several years, even though they have given us almost no notice of their intentions to vote on this military program called Starbase—and for the third year in a row they gave us less than one day’s notice, apparently hoping for minimal public turnout

How Gas Cars Use More Electricity Than Electric Ones

SEBASTIAN BLANCO – EVangelist Peder Norby, who has been having more fun driving and writing about his Mini E than anyone at BMW probably thought possible, recently wrote a most interesting post comparing electricity usage to produce gasoline to the electricity needed to drive an electric car. The short version: “It takes more electricity to drive the average gasoline car 100 miles, than it does to drive an electric car 100 miles.”

A Movement Too Big to Fail

CHRIS HEDGES – There is no danger that the protesters who have occupied squares, parks and plazas across the nation in defiance of the corporate state will be co-opted by the Democratic Party or groups like MoveOn. The faux liberal reformers, whose abject failure to stand up for the rights of the poor and the working class, have signed on to this movement because they fear becoming irrelevant. Union leaders, who pull down salaries five times that of the rank and file as they bargain away rights and benefits, know the foundations are shaking.

Does ‘Political Disobedience’ Describe the Occupy Movement?

BERNARD E. HARCOURT – Our language has not yet caught up with the political phenomenon that is emerging in Zuccotti Park and spreading across the nation, though it is clear that a political paradigm shift is taking place before our very eyes. It’s time to begin to name and in naming, to better understand this moment. So let me propose some words: “political disobedience.”

5 Facts You Should Know About the Wealthiest One Percent of Americans

ZAID JILANI – It may shock you to learn exactly how wealthy this top 1 percent of Americans is.
As the ongoing occupation of Wall Street by hundreds of protesters enters its third week — and as protests spread to other cities such as Boston and Los Angeles — demonstrators have endorsed a new slogan: “We are the 99 percent.” This slogan refers to an economic struggle between 99 percent of Americans and the richest 1 percent of Americans, who are increasingly accumulating a greater share of the national wealth to the detriment of the middle class.

Occupy Wall Street: The Most Important Thing in the World Now

NAOMI KLEIN – I was honored to be invited to speak at Occupy Wall Street on Thursday night. Since amplification is (disgracefully) banned, and everything I say will have to be repeated by hundreds of people so others can hear (a k a “the human microphone”), what I actually say at Liberty Plaza will have to be very short. With that in mind, here is the longer, uncut version of the speech.

Americans Finally Join the Wave of Healthy Global Protest

RANDALL AMSTER – “Hello, you’ve reached the people of the United States of America. We’re away from our desks right now, and perhaps for good — so instead of leaving a message for us, we encourage you to take your messages directly to the halls of power for their consideration. If you require immediate assistance, do not ask the agents of governments or corporations, but organize in your own communities instead. For directory assistance, get out in the streets and talk to others concerned about the direction of the nation and world. To be connected to an operator, follow the protest signs and/or the smell of teargas in the financial districts across the country. And if you should become disconnected … we are very happy to welcome you home to the movement!”

Green Transition is on the Global Agenda

HAZEL HENDERSON – Every country in the world is actively participating in preparations for Rio+20, the follow-up Earth Summit in Brazil, June 2012, to stimulate the transition to a green economy. The powerful 34 countries of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) have a Green Growth Strategy; the EU views “a transition to a green economy is imperative;” the U.S. focuses on “elimination of fossil fuel subsidies;” and Switzerland calls for a “green economy roadmap.”

Peace Lecturer Will Be Famed Palestinian Journalist

PETER BERGEL – Rami Khouri will deliver Salem’s annual Peace Lecture on October 19th at 7:30 p.m. at Willamette University’s Hudson Hall in the Mary Stuart Rogers Music Center. As this year’s Peace Lecturer, Khouri becomes the 22nd speaker in a series which has featured such luminaries as Daniel Ellsberg, Philip Berrigan, Helen Caldicott, Jonathan Schell, Dolores Huertaand many others. The lecture is free and open to the public. His topic is “The Arab Spring: Revolution or Evolution?”

What Needs Changing?

JONATHAN WILLIAMS – How do we win? How do we get our demands met? We need power. But what is power? How do we get it? Simply put, power is the ability to act; the ability to end the wars, the ability to convert our economy, the ability to change the world. But how do we get that kind of power?

10 Myths That Keep Us From Creating The World We Want

FRANCES MOORE LAPPE – From Diet for a Small Planet exactly 40 years ago, it dawned on me that humans are actively creating the scarcity we say we are trying to escape. Whoa! Why would our bright species do such a thing? Researching my new book, EcoMind, Changing the Way We Think to Create the World We Want (Nation Books), I discovered that it is the power of ideas.