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Prescription for pain in shutdown, budget cuts

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  • Both the impending shutdown and the GOP-proposed budget cuts are bad medicine, prescriptions for pain rather than for health.
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  • The impact of a shutdown, in fact, would hit hardest many of the same people who would be hurt by the GOP's cuts-only budget.
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Mary Turck, TC Daily Planet | MN

Thanks to Evergreene Digest reader Lance Heglund for this contribution.

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Minnesota's economy is healthier than those of many other states, but maybe not for much longer. Both the impending shutdown and the GOP-proposed budget cuts are bad medicine, prescriptions for pain rather than for health. The breadth of pain that will be caused by the shutdown is mind-boggling, from poor people receiving medical or food or other assistance to state workers who will join the ranks of the unemployed to highway construction workers, whose projects will be shut down. The impact of a shutdown, in fact, would hit hardest many of the same people who would be hurt by the GOP's cuts-only budget.

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Workday Minnesota's video of people in Rochester describing what will happen is powerful. So is the testimony that Bob Collins published on News Cut Wednesday (June 22):

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I have broken down sobbing twice so far at the news about the Minnesota government shutdown. I am a single mother of three young children, one with autism and receiving services and therapies through Medical Assistance and Waivered Services. I have a masters degree in Experiential Education, which is "hands-on learning" and I am going through bankruptcy and on the brink of foreclosure. It's not like I WANT to be on assistance, it's my situation, and this housing economy, and my soon-to-be ex husband also receiving a "disability" diagnosis of autism, which is a social and communication disorder.

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Robert Reich Solves The U.S. Economic Crisis In Two Minutes

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  • "The only way we can have a strong economy," Reich says, "is with a strong middle class."
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  • Watch as Reich literally connects the dots.
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James Sunshine, Huffington Post

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

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich knows what's wrong with the economy, and he says he can explain to viewers in less than three minutes.

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Since 1980, the American economy has almost doubled in size. But adjusting for inflation, most people's wages have barely increased, a fact Reich notes in a MoveOn.org video on YouTube. Indeed, the average American worker in 2008 earned $400 less than in 1988, when adjusting for inflation.

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Concentration of wealth among the richest Americans have also drained the country of its economic resources, consequently dividing the middle class and weakening demand, Reich continues.

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"The only way we can have a strong economy," Reich says, "is with a strong middle class."

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Watch as Reich literally connects the dots.

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The Republican War on Education

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  • “There will be no turning back,” Jon Sheller said. “Small schools and their communities will wither and die—and for what? A political maneuver to allow privatization of public education at the expense of Wisconsin’s history as a leader in student achievement. This is giving away our future.”
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  • The Corporate Dream: Teachers as Temps
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Ruth Conniff, Progressive Magazine

The public outpouring was incredible. People flooded into the capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin, from the urban neighborhoods of Milwaukee and from tiny towns in the northern and western corners of the state. They came to oppose Republican plans that would wipe out rural school districts, drain resources from city schools, and dismantle an entire statewide system of public education.

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They packed a hearing room and two overflow rooms, and waited all day to speak. Hour after hour, teachers, parents, and citizens gave impassioned, often tearful testimony. Jon Sheller, a former member of the Montello school board, and his daughter, social studies teacher Yedda Ligocki, talked about their little town, with 750 schoolchildren. “As in most small school districts,” Sheller said, the school “is the heart of the community.”

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The Corporate Dream: Teachers as Temps, Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report

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  • Just as corporations have revamped the private white collar workforce, replacing full-time, salaried personnel with “temporary” workers – a system in which some managers are officially temps – such are the prospects for teachers in the brave new corporate world of education “reform.”
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  • A Black Agenda Radio commentary
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Declining Democracy

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  • The corruption of our electoral process by economic interests is the root cause of the ongoing demise of democracy in America.
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  • The only sure, unalterable solution is to amend the Constitution to:
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1. Clarify that the Bill of Rights was intended for natural persons.
2. Declare that money and speech are not equivalents.
3. Guarantee that elections are free and fair.

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  • The Only Winner in November Will Be The Status Quo
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Sam Fedele, OpEdNews

Government by the Wealthy by Rolling Stone

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At some level, most Americans have an uneasy sense that government is no longer "of, by, and for the people." Industry sector groups and their paid agents have methodically elevated their roles from stakeholders and subject-matter advisors to political career-makers and primary writers of self-interested legislation and regulations. In a creeping process spanning generations, corporations, in executing their valid charters to grow revenues and reduce costs, have gradually insinuated themselves into government as organically and quietly as the roots of a willow into well tilled soil.

In 1961, Eisenhower signaled an early warning of a newly vast and powerful defense industry rooting deeply into a complicit Congress. Ike correctly saw the serious implications of this uncomfortably cozy relationship between the military, the defense industry, and the Congress, and courageously dedicated the entirety of his farewell address to its exposure. But little was done to counter the growth of this incestuous relationship and gradually, over the course of the intervening decades, industries from insurance and pharmaceuticals to energy and financial services have joined the Washington feeding frenzy.

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The Only Winner in November Will Be The Status Quo, David W. Culver, Evergreene Digest
And we will all continue to be the losers until we rethink our practice of politics and act accordingly.

“What we need,” Molly Ivins points out in her book, Bushwhacked,  “is to end the legalized bribery that has rotted the democratic political system.” She continues: “We need “public campaign financing. It’s this incestuous relationship with big money and failure to identify with the common people that has weakened our political process.”

As Senator Russ Feingold wrote in the Progressive: “It has become clear that meaningful campaign finance reform is a necessary precondition for the Congress to be able to do the people's work in Washington.”

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Obama Offers Token Troop Withdrawals While Maintaining the "War on Terror” Mindset

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  • President Obama passed up an opportunity to recognize our democracy and respect the views of the vast majority of the American people.
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  • Pure Orwellian Doublespeak
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Phyllis Bennis, AlterNet

If you are on a tight budget, don't contribute cash! Instead, contribute just by forwarding articles to your friends - and non-Progressives too ;). - And because we need help building our Evergreene Digest community, you can invite your Facebook friends to join us. That's a big help too.

President Obama’s speech tonight (June 22) violated one of his most important campaign promises: to “end the mind-set that leads to war.”

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To the contrary, his announcement of a token shift of 10,000 soldiers leaving by the end of 2011, and maybe another 23,000 in another year, makes clear that his claim tonight that “the tide of war is receding” remains untrue. The enormous current deployment of 250,000 U.S. and allied military forces (100,000 U.S. troops, 50,000 NATO troops and 100,000 Pentagon-paid contractors) in Afghanistan continues, and reflects not an end but an embrace of the mind-set of war, even with this small shift of soldiers. This was an opportunity for President Obama to recognize our democracy, to acknowledge and – dare I suggest? – even respect the views of the vast majority of the American people. Sixty-four percent of the people of our country believe the war is not worth fighting. When this war began in October 2001, only about 12% of people in the U.S. did not support it. So 64% opposition means a lot of folks have come to that realization now after years of escalating Afghan civilian and U.S. military casualties, years of a collapsing economy, and yes, years of hard-fought anti-war organizing.

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Washington: 'Let's Cut Spending!' The Public: 'Let's Raise Taxes!'

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The big lesson from this survey is pretty straightforward: public opinion is important, but we shouldn’t overestimate its importance to debates in Washington. Often, what the public thinks is ancillary to what actually happens.

Jamelle Bouie, Nation Magazine

Conservatives are fond of claiming the United States as a “center-right country,” but public opinion polling routinely shows a country of people who amenable—if not enthusiastic—about liberal solutions to public policy problems. For example, in a recent Pew survey, when asked what they would support to cut the deficit, large majorities support a grab bag of liberal policies: raising the Social Security contribution cap, raising taxes on high-income earners, reducing our military presence, and limiting tax deductions for large corporations. Here's a chart showing the survey results.

This holds true even when broken down by partisan affiliation. Along with 73 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of independents, 54 percent of Republicans support the Social Security contribution cap. Likewise, 56 percent of Republicans want to reduce our military commitments abroad, and 62 percent want to limit tax deductions for large corporations.

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Open Letter to the Labor and Antiwar Movements

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  • Bring together representatives of labor unions, communities of color, immigrant communities, and religious congregations into the planning process in all local areas for building antiwar actions.
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  • The other groups that should be included in the antiwar movement's planning process are the entire socialist movement, the entire Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,Transgender (LGBT) community, the entire conservation/environment movement, the entire human rights movement, the entire civil rights movement, the entire women's rights movement, the entire Atheist, Freethinker, Agnostic, Skeptic, Secular Humanist community.
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  • We ask all who support the labor/antiwar alliance as explained in this letter to join us as signatories of this open letter.
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Issued by the New National Assembly to Bring the Troops Home Now

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor John Stoltenberg

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

Antiwar groups across the country have called for massive protests against the wars this coming October. Actions in different cities and nationally are slated for October 1, 6, 7, 15 and perhaps other dates. Some are local or regional in scope, at least one is focused on Washington D.C. All of the major antiwar groups, while having some demands unique to their own formations, share the central demand of bringing the troops home now.

There is something else we all share: a commitment to making the October demonstrations as large as possible. Toward that end, we urge that every effort be made by peace groups to include unions on the ground floor in planning the actions.

A call issued by the Communications Workers of America and endorsed by the AFL-CIO for actions on April 4, 2011 resulted in a thousand rallies and marches being organized all across the country, with a cumulative turnout of an estimated 100,000. There was a distinct antiwar component in virtually all of these events, with speakers calling for bringing the war dollars home and using the money saved to meet human needs.

Consider also the demonstration of over 100,000 in Madison, Wisconsin in February of this year, which featured many antiwar signs and posters protesting astronomical war spending. This powerful demonstration took place at a time when Wisconsin public employees were told they must accept sharp cuts in benefits because of a manufactured budget crisis. This when the U.S. government is spending more that $10 billion a month to prosecute the war in Afghanistan.

The labor movement — confronted by multiple horrendous attacks from corporate America and their bought-and-paid for politicians — is more open than in previous periods to mobilizing its ranks as part of its fightback campaign and in drawing connections between war spending and the economic crisis. We now have a new opportunity to unite the antiwar struggle with the struggle for jobs and against cuts and concessions. We urge that this opportunity be seized for the October demonstrations.

We suggest these concrete steps to help unite the most powerful social forces in the struggle for peace:

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  • Bring together representatives of labor unions, communities of color, immigrant communities, and religious congregations into the planning process in all local areas for building antiwar actions.
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  • Encourage antiwar forces to join labor actions in those states where there is active resistance to the corporate anti-union agenda. For example, October is going to be the height of labor mobilizing against Senate Bill 5 in the Ohio referendum. Labor may be less willing to join an antiwar-led action but more willing to have antiwar messages/speakers in any planned labor-led action.
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  • Explain in all outreach materials how continuing the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya is connected to the continuing economic crisis that all working people face and how there is no solution to unemployment, lower wages, overcrowded schools, and substandard health care unless these wars are ended.
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  • Make clear that the economic crisis imposes a de facto draft on working-class youth, especially in communities of color, where young people are denied opportunities for education and jobs unless they enlist in the military.
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Finally, we ask all who support the labor/antiwar alliance as explained above to join us as signatories of this open letter. To do so, simply write natassembly@aol.com and advise whether you are signing on as an individual or a group or both.

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Americans To Teachers And School Districts: Stop Fighting And Start Teaching

While the teacher-versus-district disputes are usually well-reported, you tend to hear less about how these battles affect the community at large -- the local citizens who tend to be none too pleased to learn that teachers and administrators are fighting over their tax money instead of using it to educate the community's children.

AJ Barbosa, Huffington Post

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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.

When the Hesby Oaks School reopened its doors in 2006 after being closed for two decades, the community of Encino, Calif., had reason to be pleased. The Los Angeles Unified School District had invested more than $24 million dollars in the school's reopening. It was a big investment, to be sure, but one that promised to pay dividends. And indeed, over the years that followed, that promise was largely fulfilled, as the school’s consistently high test scores brought new families to the area.

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Five years on, though, that investment isn’t looking quite as good. To save money, the district has proposed a round of budget cuts that would lead to widespread teacher layoffs. Hesby Oaks, “the little school that could," as one first-grade teacher recently referred to it, is poised to lose no less than half of its teachers.

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