ROBERT B. REICH – MAKE REPUBLICANS VOTE ON EXTENDING THE TAX CUTS JUST FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS. After all the Bush tax cuts expire, have Republicans vote on an extending the Bush tax cut just for the middle-class. If they refuse and try to hold those tax cuts hostage to tax cuts for the wealthy, it will show whose side they’re on. They’ll pay the price in 2014.
PATRICK HILLER – In 1951 the U.S. gs partovernmentâ€™s Civil Defense Branch produced the film Duck and Cover. … Even at that time the usefulness of the proposed duck-and-cover maneuver in the face of the utter annihilation arising from a nuclear blast was questioned.
KATHY RUFFING – Social Securityâ€™s trustees recently reported that â€” over the next 75 years â€” Social Security will have a shortfall of 2.67 percent of taxable payroll, or 1 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). That is, raising taxes by an average of 1 percent of GDP could put Social Security on a sound footing over 75 years. How does that compare with the stakes involved with extending President Bushâ€™s tax cuts?
STIMSOM CENTER – In a unique study, three quarters of respondents favored cutting defense as a way to reduce the deficit, including two thirds of Republicans as well as nine in 10 Democrats.
EYDER PERALTA – A U.S. Navy variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35C, conducts a test flight over the Chesapeake Bay in 2011. As Congress struggles to rein in the federal deficit, a new survey finds Americans preferred to cut defense spending more than any other program.
DR. JOSEPH GERSON -Beyond this hysteria, peace, labor and immigrant rights activists and scholars are gathering in Chicago for the May 18-19 Counter-Summit for Peace and Economic Justice, to present the case against NATO-driven militarism.
MOVE TO AMEND – Vermont is poised to become the first state to call for an amendment to abolish the doctrine known as â€œCorporate Personhoodâ€ which gives corporations constitutional rights meant to protect people.
PAT GARAFALO – Income inequality in the U.S. is currently the highest its been since the 1920s, with the 400 richest Americans (who are all billionaires) having as much wealth as the bottom 50 percent of Americans combined. And as it turns out, just one wealthy family has managed to amass a fortune equal to that of the combined net worth of the bottom 30 percent of Americans â€” the Waltons, heirs to the Walmart fortune
BROOKE JARVIS – On December 3, just two days before Occupy L.A. was evicted by police, the General Assembly of the occupation passed a unanimous resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood.
J.A. MYERSON – Yesterday, no one had lived in 702 Vermont Street for three years. Vermont Street sits in East New York, the Brooklyn neighborhood where foreclosures are five times more frequent than in the rest of the state. Today, Alfredo and Tasha and their son and daughter moved in, with the help of a number of friends whom they’d never met. Some were from the advocacy groups Picture the Homeless and Vocal New York, others were clergy or members of the city council.
MICHAEL LERNER – Call Mayor Bloomberg of NYC, Mayor Jean Quan of Oakland, or whoever is your mayor and suggest that they support the Occupy movement by providing encouragement to social workers, teachers, clergy and others to go down to the Occupy encampments and volunteer time and energy to help those who badly need this support!!
JOSH HEALEY – Over the last two weeks, mayors across the country (apparently coordinated by the FBI) shut down many of the largest Occupy encampments, including in New York, Oakland, Portland, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, and more. Police arrested hundreds of peaceful activists, inevitably leaving clouds of pepper spray and millions of dollars in their wake. While I fully condemn the police raids, I also think they offer us an opportunity to move to the next stage: itâ€™s time to Occupy more than just tents.
MICHAEL MOORE – This past weekend I participated in a four-hour meeting of Occupy Wall Street activists whose job it is to come up with the vision and goals of the movement. It was attended by 40+ people and the discussion was both inspiring and invigorating. Here is what we ended up proposing as the movement’s “vision statement” to the General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street:
RUSS BAKER – Conventional journalism is increasingly irrelevant in a time of crisis. We find abundant proof in a recent column from the New York Timesâ€™ so-called â€œPublic Editor,â€ who is supposed to somehow magically represent the public interest and rarefied ethical values to the rest of the paper.
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 (aâ€‰kâ€‰a â€œthe human microphoneâ€), 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.
PEACE ACTION – U.S. military spending is higher than it has been since World War II, at a level difficult to justify by any threats to the American people. A close look at U.S. military spending shows that it is directed toward threats posed by conventional opponents such as the Soviet Union. That is, we are preparing to fight the last war.
DOUGLAS E. NOLL – Those of us outside of Washington D.C. are faced with potential disaster if our elected representatives cannot compromise on debt ceiling limits. The conflict has spiraled into pure ideology. As a mediator and peacemaker, I deal with this type of conflict frequently.
WORLD PUBLIC OPINION.ORG – An innovative study has found that when a representative sample of the American public was presented the federal budget, they proposed changes far different from those the Obama administration or the Republican-led House have proposed.
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – According to a recent report from the prestigious Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), world military expenditures grew to a record $1.63 trillion in 2010. Middle East nations alone spent $111 billion on the military, with Saudi Arabia leading the way.
DAVID SWANSON – The White House has a handy website to mislead you about your tax dollars at http://www.whitehouse.gov/taxreceipt. It claims that only 26.3% goes to “National Defense.”
JO COMERFORD – [Today is Tax Day. It seems appropriate for Americans to know what their government is using their money for. Here is a comprehensive summary. â€“ Editor]
Six months after the start of the current fiscal year (FY2011), congressional leaders and President Obama have reached agreement on a budget for the second half of the year. In all the deal provides just over $1 trillion in spending over the last six months of the year, a cut of roughly $40 billion from FY2010 levels.
ROBERT DODGE, MD – The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2011 the International Year of Youth. This is in recognition of childrenâ€™s rights throughout the world and to realize the potential of children everywhere. The resolution proclaiming the Year signifies the importance the international community places on integrating youth-related issues into global, regional, and national development agendas. Under the theme â€œDialogue and Mutual Understanding,â€ the Year aims to promote the ideals of peace, respect for human rights and solidarity across generations, cultures, religions and civilizations.
BILL MCKIBBEN – Let’s consider for a moment the targets the federal government chooses to make an example of. So far, no bankers have been charged, despite the unmitigated greed that nearly brought the world economy down. No coal or oil execs have been charged, despite fouling the entire atmosphere and putting civilization as we know it at risk. But engage in creative protest that mildly disrupts the efficient sell-off of our landscape to oil and gas barons? As Tim DeChristopher found out on March 3, that’ll get you not just a week in court, but potentially a long stretch in the pen.
JOE COMERFORD – On February 14, the White House released the Obama Administration’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2012, which begins on October 1, 2011. As expected, the estimated $3.7 trillion FY2012 request contains a number of critical policy and fiscal goals, including:
Reducing the government’s annual deficit by placing a five-year freeze on so-called “non-security” discretionary spending, while eliminating a series of fossil fuel-related tax breaks and projecting an end to the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans in 2012;
Investing in education, with a goal of training more than 100,000 new science, technology, engineering and math teachers over the next decade;
Rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure with a substantial infusion of federal funds into high-speed rail, nationwide wireless, the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank, and a $28.6 billion (68%) increase in highway planning and construction; and
Promoting clean energy technology with the goal of one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.
BARRY-LEE COYNE: Whether you are a conservative or liberal or lie somewhere in between, I have a challenging question to pose: Do you really want to suffer from the pitfalls of Government-on-the-Cheap?
CRAIG CLINE: On January 4th, the Statesman Journal ran an Associated Press article entitled: â€œMost state budgets on path to even leaner times.â€ The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that state budgets are likely to fall $180 billion short for the new fiscal year. According to the Pew Center on the States, our own Oregon is ninth among the ten â€œworstâ€ states, and 30th among all states, with a 14.5 percent budget gap for 2009-10 (as of July 2009).