DAVID MCCALL – President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) on November 15, 2021, unleashing $1.2 trillion for tens of thousands of projects nationwide. It is upgrading transportation, communications, and energy systems while building back manufacturing capacity, generating hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs, and investing in the middle class.
GARY M. FEINMAN – The New Gilded Age, wars along the Russian border, a global pandemic, battles for women’s rights, even the Titanic: history does rhyme with the present. Yet as former New York Times columnist Bob Herbert once observed: “If history tells us anything, it’s that we never learn from history.”
SONALI KOLHATKAR – Of course Americans deserve to work fewer hours. But unless the move to a four-day workweek is accompanied by a massive pay raise, it merely frees up time to work more.
TOM CONWAY – Workers at Blue Bird Corporation in Fort Valley, Georgia, launched a union drive to secure better wages, work-life balance, and a voice on the job. The company resisted them. History defied them. Geography worked against them. But they stood together, believed in themselves, and achieved a historic victory that’s reverberating throughout the South.
BOAVENTURA DE SOUSA SANTOS – More than 100 years after World War I, Europe’s leaders are sleepwalking toward a new all-out war. In 1914, the European governments believed that the war would last three weeks; it lasted four years and resulted in more than 20 million deaths. The same nonchalance is visible with the war in Ukraine.
SOMALI KOLHATKAR – Masses of refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, and elsewhere have faced racially motivated hostility in Europe. Now, Ukraineâ€™s refugee crisis is revealing Western double standards.
PRABIR PURKAYASTHA – Hyper-capitalism has systematically weakened regulations to help capital at the cost of consumers. The verdict on the Elizabeth Holmes case simply illustrates the growing post-â€™90s disregard for consumers.
EBONY SLAUGHTER-JOHNSON – The anger surrounding teaching children a more expansive (and truthful) version of American history can largely be understood as a backlash to the Black Lives Matter era, the victories of which have been largely symbolic and localized. The legislative entrenchment of affirmative action will be spun by conservatives as â€œreverse racismâ€ that hampers the educational advancement of white children. That argument will hold traction among conservatives, moderates, and progressives. As we prepare for the possibility of a post-Roe future, it might also be time to anticipate a future in which affirmative action is unavailable as a means of promoting diversity in and economic mobility through higher education.
SONALI kOLHATKAR – Those seeking to squeeze Americans while boosting corporate profits and the wealth of the richest few have for years poured resources into shaping a false narrative that people donâ€™t want tax revenues to be used to pay for things that people need. Itâ€™s time to expose and upend such a regressive theory.
BETSY CRITES – Fear can be a great motivator â€“ and a great manipulator. Those who oppose cuts to military funding play on our fears to convince us that any reduction in the defense budget would be a dangerous threat to our national security and to our economy. But is this level of panic justified? An examination of the assumptions that underlie the fears will expose just how shaky those assumptions are.
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.
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.
TAMATA STATON, LAURA CARVER & PHILIP CARVER -An economically efficient policy would place a price-adder (tax) on fossil fuels based on their carbon-content. Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) has introduced legislation to price carbon emissions — the Save Our Climate Act of 2011, H.R. 3242. Revenue is collected at the point of first sale or import. In the first ten years, the IRS would return 80 percent of the revenue to the public on an equal, per-person basis. The other 20 percent would go toward deficit reduction.
DAVE JOHNSON- The highly-profitable company Verizon — the 16th largest corporation in America — is asking its workers for givebacks amounting to as much as $20,000 each, while tripling the compensation of CEO Lowell McAdam from $7.2 million to $23.1 million. The company made $22.5 billion in profits over the past four years while paying its top five executives $283 million over that period. Because of this the company has earned the nickname â€œVerigreedy.”
Jim Cook – After all the talk about “the 1%”, who are these people really? Where do they work and how much do they really make? At the top of the list is Tim Cook, who replaced Steve Jobs at Apple.
JOHN DARLING – Tea Party and Occupy supporters found that they have many similarities at a forum in Southern Oregon. In their first public outing together, Tea Party and Occupy backers â€” and an audience of 200 â€” found a lot of common ground. They agreed that corporations, lobbyists, the military and the federal government have a huge amount of power, are “bought,” and aren’t very responsive to the needs of the average person.
LAWRENCE S. WITTNER -“World military spending reached a record $1,738 billion in 2011 — an increase of $138 billion over the previous year. The United States accounted for 41 percent of that, or $711 billion.”
CRAIG CLINE – Former Vice President Dick Cheney is the fortunate beneficiary of a heart transplant. I hope his new heart has more compassion than his old one did.
WILLIAM DERESIEWICZ – Freedom has become the be-all and the end-all of our political expectation, the full meaning of the American experiment. Justice is gone, and even more conspicuously banished is that term of terms for movements from abolitionism to feminism, for Lincoln and King: equality.
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.
GEORGE GOEHL – We live in an America where more than 46 million Americans live below the poverty level. This is the highest poverty rate since the Census Bureau began publishing such figures.
DAVID SWANSON – 1. Iran has threatened to fight back if attacked, and that’s a war crime. War crimes must be punished.
GLEN FORD – It was never in the cards for a plutocrat mayor to long tolerate a movement whose essential logic is the dissolution of his class. â€œIf the Occupy Wall Street movement has been about anything, it is the absolute necessity to rid the nation â€“ and the world â€“ of the collective tyranny of the Bloombergs, the dictatorship of the moneyed classes.â€ The next phase of the movement must more self-consciously â€œhave, at least, the goal of shutting down the infernal machines of capital.â€
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. Itâ€™s time to begin to name and in naming, to better understand this moment. So let me propose some words: â€œpolitical disobedience.â€
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.
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?
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.
BETSY CRITES – What do Durham and Afghanistan have in common? We are worlds apart, but we both have people who need jobs, health care, schools, transportation and sewers, and help for our homeless, elderly and hungry. Neither of us is getting our critical needs met in part because a war neither of us really wants is draining our economies, killing and injuring our young people, and depleting our spirits.
PETER BERGEL – On Tuesday night a reported 100,000 Americans joined Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz for a national conversation about breaking the partisan gridlock in Washington DC. It was another great example of the growing willingness of ordinary people to reclaim their power from those to whom they have delegated it, only to see it abused.
BRIAN J. TRAUTMAN – The debt deal cuts roughly $2.4 trillion in federal spending over the next decade without any new revenue streams. It slashes social services like education and health, and threatens to weaken the vital entitlement programs of our frayed social safety net. It is far from representing the shared sacrifice that an overwhelming majority of the American people had demanded of their elected officials in the days and weeks leading up to the debate and negotiation.
VERNICE SOLIMAR, PHD – Over the years, students and faculty at John F. Kennedy University have expressed a desire to apply principles of psychology, human development and human potential to social action, diversity and systems approaches to planetary issues…a major need for the 21st century was a new paradigm of leadership that would solve problems, shift systems and create opportunities that engendered respect and care of the community, ecological integrity, social and economic justice and world peace.
JOHN LAFORGE – Germanyâ€™s Chancellor Angela Merkel reacted quickly to nationwide antinuclear protests re-ignited by the still-out-of-control radiation disaster at Fukushima, Japan. The Chancellor first ordered the powering-down of the seven oldest and most dangerous reactors in Germany, and she halted plans for any new reactor construction.
SEN. JEFF MERKLEY – In the aftermath of September 11th, our nation went to war in Afghanistan. We had three goals: to dislodge the Taliban government, destroy al Qaeda training camps, and to bring to justice those who masterminded the attacks.
PETER BERGEL — For decades, beginning during the Vietnam War, our elected leaders have tried to mask the size of the national debt they have permitted to accumulate by â€œborrowingâ€ the surplus from the Social Security Trust Fund. This was done without consulting the public in any way, and largely without public knowledge, even though this money was set aside from all workersâ€™ paychecks in an insurance program guaranteed to provide funds for them in their old age. To be precise, the government purchased U.S. T-bonds with our insurance money.
PHIL DAVIS — What are 308,367,109 Americans supposed to do? First of all, despite clamping down on immigration, our population grew by 2.6M people last year. Unfortunately, not only did we not create jobs for those 2.6M new people but we lost about 4M jobs so what are these new people going to do?
ROGER VALDEZ — Itâ€™s not often that I actually see an energy efficiency program at work on the ground. But last Friday I got the chance to visit a family in Portland whose home had been retrofitted through the Clean Energy Works Program.
TOM H. HASTINGS: If stimulus packages for corporate sinkholes are good enough for the American taxpayer, why canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t we find $5.4 billion to create minimum wage jobs, with full health care benefits, for the 216,000 Americans who lost their jobs in August? Coincidentally, $5.4 billion is the amount the Pentagon will spend next year on unmanned vehicles, such as the Predator, which is killing so many civilians in Pakistan and turning our friends into our sworn enemies.
Brief insights: 1) No Longer Home of the WOPR; 2) What’s Happening to the Economy? and 3) George Carlin’s thoughts about the “American Dream”.