You are here

Books & Liturature

Series | Rebooting the American Dream, Part 6

    \r\n
  • 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country: Back to the Future
  • \r\n

  • Part 6: Medicare “Part E”- for Everybody
  • \r\n

\r\n

The Great Society is a place where every child can find knowledge to enrich his mind and to enlarge his talents. It is a place where the city of man serves not only the needs of the body and the demands of commerce but the desire for beauty and the hunger for community. It is a place where men are more concerned with the quality of their goals than the quantity of their goods.” - Lyndon Baines Johnson

Thom Hartmann, truth-out

(Image: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; Edited: to)

Truthout is proud to bring you an exclusive series from America's No. 1 progressive radio host, Thom Hartmann. Starting today, we'll be publishing weekly installments of Hartmann's acclaimed new book, "Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country." We invite Truthout readers to join us over the next 12 weeks as, chapter by chapter, we explore these groundbreaking ideas for national transformation. We continue today with....Medicare “Part E”- for Everybody!

There are two important reasons for having a strong social safety net, one based in sound economic policy and the other in our common humanity. So it’s no surprise that the countries that have strong social safety nets tend to have resilient economies and a higher quality of life.

\r\n

Ultimately, social safety nets are about managing risk and unforeseen contingencies. On the one hand, there are the risks that we want people to take, such as starting a new business. On the other hand, there are unforeseen events that are so severe - like becoming paralyzed in an accident - that no one person (unless incredibly wealthy) could handle the expenses associated with them. In both cases, by setting up a social safety net that distributes the costs of responding to them across the wide spectrum of society, we minimize both the societal cost and the individual suffering.

More...

Section(s): 

Government is not the enemy

\r\n

    \r\n
  • "We the People ... in order to form a more perfect union ..." Thus begins one of the crowning documents of human history -- the Constitution of the United States.
  • \r\n

  • Few statements have ever so nobly set forth the commitment of a people to their common life.
  • \r\n

  • Molly Ivins: The Politics of Greed
  • \r\n

\r\n

Peter Rogness, Minneapolis Star Tribune | MN

\r\n

Thanks to Evergreene Digest reader Charlie Bloss for this contribution

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of readers like you. Thank you!

Is government us or them?

\r\n

With no public announcement, we have changed from a people sharing a common life to several hundred million individuals who happen to live near one another, and we risk losing our soul in that change.

\r\n

"We the People ... in order to form a more perfect union ..." Thus begins one of the crowning documents of human history -- the Constitution of the United States.

\r\n

"We" was the first word. In the preamble alone, the phrases "establish justice," "domestic tranquility," "common defence," "general welfare" and "blessings of liberty" all appear.

\r\n

Few statements have ever so nobly set forth the commitment of a people to their common life.

\r\n

More...

\r\n

Related:

\r\n

Molly Ivins: The Politics of Greed, Molly Ivins, TruthDig
Anyone who doesn’t think this is a country where the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer needs to check the numbers—this is Bush country, where a rising tide lifts all yachts.

Section(s): 

Who’s Your Nanny?

\r\n

To avoid complete philosophical incoherence in tea party libertarian orthodoxy, something has to give: either the reverence accorded individual freedom for American citizens or the freedom for corporations to insist upon employment rules designed solely to pad the bottom line of corporate balance sheets.

David Coleman, TruthDig

\r\n

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

\r\n

First lady Michelle Obama, appearing at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga., talks about her “Let’s Move” anti-obesity campaign. AP / John Amis

\r\n

This week (Feb 6-12) a front page story in the New York Times reported about the trend of employers rejecting job applicants who smoke.

\r\n

Corporations are pursuing more intrusive engagement with the personal lives of employees. The first employer decision—to hire or not—may depend on the personal habits and lifestyle of an applicant that have no demonstrated relationship to job performance.

\r\n

The Times article reports:

\r\n

More hospitals and medical businesses in many states are adopting strict policies that make smoking a reason to turn away job applicants, saying they want to increase worker productivity, reduce health care costs and encourage healthier living. … The new rules essentially treat cigarettes like an illegal narcotic. Applications now explicitly warn of “tobacco-free hiring,” job seekers must submit to urine tests for nicotine and new employees caught smoking face termination.

\r\n

At the same time, over the past few months tea party leaders such as Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin have criticized Michelle Obama, her husband and his alleged nanny-state administration for telling parents what their kids should eat, how much they should exercise and whether they should sit for hours each day watching TV.

\r\n

More...

Section(s): 

The Tea Party is winning

\r\n

    \r\n
  • In his State of the Union address, Obama made a good case that budget cutting is too small an agenda and that this is also a time for more government - yes, more government - in areas that would expand opportunities and strengthen the economy. That argument has been entirely drowned out. If politics is reduced to a crabbed and crabby accountants' war, Obama loses. The country will, too.
  • \r\n

  • Austerity - a sure path to a bad economy
  • \r\n

  • Anti-Austerity Alliance Wins in Illinois
  • \r\n

\r\n

E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post | DC

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

Low Income Readers:  If you are on a tight budget, don't send cash! Just forward articles to your friends - and non-Progressives too ;) - and we need help building our Evergreene Digest community, you can invite your Facebook friends, that's a big help too. We are proud to have you with us.

Take five steps back and consider the nature of the political conversation in our nation's capital. You would never know that it's taking place at a moment when unemployment is still at 9 percent, when wages for so many people are stagnating at best and when the United States faces unprecedented challenges to its economic dominance.

\r\n

No, Washington is acting as if the only real problem the United States confronts is the budget deficit; the only test of leadership is whether the president is willing to make big cuts in programs that protect the elderly; and the largest threat to our prosperity comes from public employees.

\r\n

More...

\r\n

Related:

\r\n

Austerity - a sure path to a bad economy, David Blanchflower, Bloomberg News/Minneapolis Star Tribune | MN

\r\n

    \r\n
  • You want evidence? Take a look at what's happening in Britain now.
  • \r\n

  • Lesson From Europe: Fiscal Austerity Kills Economies
  • \r\n

  • Media Unwittingly Plays Republicans' Deficit Game
  • \r\n

\r\n

Anti-Austerity Alliance Wins in Illinois, David Moberg, In These Times

\r\n

    \r\n
  • A 300-member coalition helps raise taxes to save essential services.
  • \r\n

  • The Responsible Budget Coalition’s victory ‘provides a model for organizing,’ says Jeff Blum, executive director of USAction. ‘We can’t just be defensive.’
  • \r\n

  • Austerity - a sure path to a bad economy
  • \r\n

  • Citizens must be better educated about U.S. economic options
  • \r\n

\r\n


Section(s): 

Series | Rebooting the American Dream, Part 5

    \r\n
  • 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country: Back to the Future
  • \r\n

  • Part 5: An Informed and Educated Electorate
  • \r\n

\r\n


If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.…Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that, whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them right. —Thomas Jefferson

Thom Hartmann, truth-out

\r\n


\r\n

(Image: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; Edited: to)

\r\n

Truthout is proud to bring you an exclusive series from America's No. 1 progressive radio host, Thom Hartmann. Starting today, we'll be publishing weekly installments of Hartmann's acclaimed new book, "Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country." We invite Truthout readers to join us over the next 12 weeks as, chapter by chapter, we explore these groundbreaking ideas for national transformation. We continue today with....An Informed and Educated Electorate!

Talk Radio News Service, based in Washington, D.C., is owned and run by my dear friend Ellen Ratner. Ellen is an experienced and accomplished journalist, and a large number of interns and young journalism school graduates get their feet wet in reporting by working for and with her.

In March 2010 I was in Washington for a meeting with a group of senators, and I needed a studio from which to do my radio and TV show. Ellen was gracious enough to offer me hers. I arrived as three of her interns were producing a panel-discussion type of TV show for Web distribution at www.talkradionews.com, in which they were discussing for their viewing audience their recent experiences on Capitol Hill.

More...

Section(s): 

Wisconsin Resistance: Divided and Conquered No More?

\r\n

    \r\n
  • It’s no coincidence that the $130M deficit Gov. Walker says he’s addressing with his attack on public workers equals the corporate tax cut he gave in January.
  • \r\n

  • Madison is ground zero for resistance to the dismantling of workers’ rights and cutting anything in government budgets that serves human needs, while corporate “persons” get subsidies, tax cuts and are in-effect exempt from the law.
  • \r\n

  • Tell Wisconsin: Don't Sacrifice Employee Rights
  • \r\n

\r\n

Lydia Howell, Evergreene Digest

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of readers like you. Thank you!

The shell game of the corporate-sponsored Tea Party/GOP is being exposed in Wisconsin. That state’s new millionaire governor, Scott Walker, swept into office with very big campaign contributions from the billionaire Koch brothers, David and Charlie, who own an oil company known as one of the country's worst polluters. The Koch brothers also own several Wisconsin-based natural-resources companies that are known as major polluters and defyers of resource-protecting laws. They also bankroll some Tea Party groups.

Gov. Walker’s first priority was slashing corporate taxes. It’s no coincidence that the $130M deficit Walker says he’s addressing with his attack on public workers equals the corporate tax cut he gave in January. This continues a trend illuminated by the organization Wisconsin’s Future.

Madison is ground zero for resistance to the dismantling of workers’ rights and cutting anything in government budgets that serves human needs, while corporate “persons” get subsidies, tax cuts and are in-effect exempt from the law. This war began when Ronald Reagan fired striking air traffic controllers demanding better working conditions right up to the bipartisan extension of George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the top 1% in December. Now, “budget deficits” are the mantra to justify anything, from House Republicans’ plan to slash half of WIC (nutrition for pregnant women and children up to age five) to Wisconsin’s Governor Walker’s assault on public workers. The real agenda is to break public unions.

This is an escalation of the 30-year war on workers---whether Republicans or Democrats are in office. Whether it’s race, gender and age discrimination or illegal firing for trying to organize a union, workers’ rights have not been enforced. If Gov. Walker wins, all workers will lose as union rights are erased across the country.

Middle-class and working people have paid higher taxes---especially local property taxes-- to make up for corporate tax cuts. Corporate rates are now at fourteen per cent or less and about a third of U.S.-based corporations, although moderately to extremely profitable, pay no income taxes. Corporate media keep that largely a secret from the American people. Based on statistics from the Office of Management and the Budget in the White House, individual income taxes are four times larger than corporate taxes.

You have to go to the UK’s Guardian newspaper to find out about a recent study by three academic accountants at Duke, MIT and the University of North Carolina, revealing corporate tax-dodgers. One example: General Electric paid 14 per cent tax rate over the last five years; workers making $30,000 pay 19 per cent. Wisconsin’s Future notes that what corporations pay in state taxes is often screened from the public.

Add up “incentives” big business get to “create jobs”: infrastructure paid for by the public, free or cheap land without having to pay property taxes for some years, payments for each job created or inversely tax breaks when companies move their factories--even when they move them out of the country. A “privatization” mania is cannibalizing government as public functions and services are taken over by Big Business from military contractors to deciding who gets social services--- at higher costs, since profits must be made when corporations run your schools or your wars.

It’s not public workers---teachers, firefighters, nurses, garbage collectors or social workers that are creating budget deficits in Wisconsin or anywhere else. It’s the relentless demands by corporate “persons” to be exempt from paying their fair share while government is expected to work for them educating the workforce, providing transportation, infrastructure and cleaning up pollution corporations create. Public schools get cut while billionaire sports team owners get public funds for new stadiums with lots of new luxury boxes for corporate executives.

These legal thieves are now calling themselves “the job creators” but, 75 per cent of all new jobs are created by much smaller business, who don’t get subsidized like Big Business does. In fact, corporations work mightily to undermine competition from Mom and Pop local businesses. What’s maddening is many profitable big companies are laying off workers and simply squeezing more out of the frightened, non-union workers that remain. The term “job creators’ is just the latest Ayn Rand mythology and “trickle down” hype.

As progressive populist Jim Hightower observes, corporations and the wealthy “see themselves as the Big Dogs and the rest of us are just a bunch of fire hydrants.”

For thirty years, workers have endured stagnate or cut wages, loss of benefits and replacing pensions with 401Ks. (The latter were hit hard in the Wall Street fraud-driven financial meltdown). Unionized workers in the public sector have been more protected from these losses and the Tea Party mis-directs workers’ anger and resentment towards unions---turning attention away from greedy CEOs with salaries and bonuses in the hundreds of millions, which they are allowed to protect from taxes.

Gov. Walker’s sponsors David and Charlie Koch awarded themselves $11 billion in bonuses this year. (Oil companies get big subsides from the federal government; Congress refused to cut ethose utterly unnecessary subsidies, even as the House passed cuts to clinics serving poor women).

Listen to any call-in talk show and one hears everyday workers say: “I don’t have health benefits on my job and those unionized workers get Cadillac care!” “I haven’t had a raise in three years but those auto workers are making too much!” “The unions along with the EPA demand regulations. They’re job killers!”

This is classic divide-and-conquer in action.

If these people knew America’s labor history, they would know that unions brought us an eight-hour day, weekends off, wages above the sweatshop level of the countries corporations are shipping jobs to, health and safety laws (not enforced as they should be, as the Massey mine disaster and British Petroleum explosions exposed). I’ve lived in a so-called “right to work”/non-union state (Texas): without unions, there’s lower wages, no benefits and little social safety net for everyone.

Ordinary people in the Tea Party haven’t figured out what corporations know and are getting elected officials like Gov. Walker to act on: desperate workers means more power for the already too-powerful and more wealth funneled upwards from the rest of us.

Madison protesters at 70,000 this weekend are making new labor history. Only about 2,000 Tea Party opponents showed up, with “Joe the Plumber” flown in. In Hudson, Wisconsin, solidarity crossed state borders with Minnesotans standing with public workers on Saturday. It’s rumored that similar attacks on labor are planned in Iowa and Ohio, but, in Madison a prairie brush fire of resistance has begun.

Tues Feb. 22, 4pm Minnesotans will rally at the State Capitol in St. Paul.
\r\n


\r\n
Lydia Howell is a Minneapolis independent journalist and frequent contributor to Evergreene Digest. Tune in to her show “Catalyst: politics and culture” Thursday, 9AM on KFAI | MN, for updates on this struggle.

Related:

Tell Wisconsin: Don't Sacrifice Employee Rights, Change.org

\r\n

    \r\n
  • Targeting: The Governor of WI, The WI State Senate, The WI State House
  • \r\n

  • Started by: Iliana Echo
  • \r\n

\r\n

Section(s): 

Bill Moyers: America Can't Deal With Reality

Many people inhabit a closed belief system on whose door they have hung the "Do Not Disturb" sign.
We Must Be Exposed to the Truth, Even If It Hurts

AlterNet

If you like reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

Bill Moyers (l) and Howard Zinn

History Makers is an organization of broadcasters and producers from around the world concerned with the challenges and opportunities faced by factual broadcasting. Bill Moyers was the keynote speaker at the 2011 convention on January 27, 2011, in New York City.

Thanks to all of you for your welcome - and for the chance to be here among so many kindred spirits. Your dedication to factual broadcasting, to our craft and calling; your passion for telling stories that matter; for connecting the present to the past, has created a community whose work is essential in this disquieting time when "what is happening today, this hour, this very minute, seems to be our sole criterion for judgment and action." It is a sad world that exists only in the present, unaware of the long procession that brought us here. As Milan Kundera’s insight reminds us, the struggle against power "is the struggle of memory against forgetting."

\r\n

More...

Section(s): 

Chris Hedges: ‘Death of the Liberal Class’ on Book TV

Author, journalist and Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges takes his bracing argument from his latest book, “Death of the Liberal Class,” about the takeover of U.S. liberal organizations and institutions by the corporate state, to Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore., in this Book TV clip.

KA, TruthDig

\r\n

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

\r\n

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of readers like you. Thank you!

Chris Hedges, fellow at the Nation Institute, argues that America's liberal class has collapsed and with it the citizenry's protection against what the author deems, the "corporate state."  Mr. Hedges contends that the liberal class, which includes universities, labor movements, the press, the Democratic Party, and liberal religious groups, has been gradually corrupted by corporate entities.  He believes that without the existence of a liberal class there will no longer be checks and balances against corporate interests.  Chris Hedges discusses his book at Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon.

Click here  to watch Hedges’ talk on Book TV.

\r\n

More...

Section(s): 

Pages

Subscribe to Books & Liturature