alternet.org — The end of the Chicago teachers' strike was but a temporary regional truce in the civil war that plagues the nation's public schools. There is no end in sight, in part because -- as often happens in wartime -- the conflict is increasingly being driven by profiteers. The familiar media narrative tells us that this is a fight over how to improve our schools. On the one side are the self-styled reformers, who argue that the central problem with American K-12 education is low-quality teachers protected by their unions. On the other side are teachers and their unions who are cast as villains. The conventional plot line is that they resist change, blame poverty for their schools' failings and protect their jobs and turf. It is well known, although rarely acknowledged in the press, that the reform movement has been financed and led by the corporate class.
If you support strong and effective government, then the unfamiliar glow you felt after last Thursday's debate was the satisfaction of seeing your opinions forcefully defended by a national candidate. There hasn't been much of that going on lately. But a deceptive question was asked in the Vice Presidential debate, while other important ones still haven't been asked of any national candidate. more »
History will judge us, at least in part, by our willingness to defend our moral principles against the corrupting influence of the Wall Street capos. So far their campaign cash and lucrative revolving-door jobs have kept them above the law, while their PR firms and personal salesmanship have exempted them from moral judgement in the inner corridors of wealth and power. more »
inthesetimes.com — I'll give it to Mitt Romney. During the debate he looked and sounded pretty “presidential”: good haircut, power tie, in command (total control, really) of the debate. Romney’s performance had the intended effect. Virtually every poll across the nation had his numbers soaring in the past week. Many show him leading Obama both in the popular vote and in critical swing states. Presumably, that means many American are now ”looking at Romney in a new light.” While his running mate Paul Ryan didn't do as well, for those who were swayed by Romney's performance, it might be prudent to think past his style or what positions he chose to take that night. Based on Romney’s record—as well as the agendas of his party, his running mate and the Super PACs to which he would owe his victory—let’s take a moment to envision what life would be like under a Romney presidency.
truthdig.com — Maybe I have been too harsh in judging Barack Obama’s economic performance. Instead of following George W. Bush’s lead in bailing out the bankers first, I wanted Obama to do more for beleaguered homeowners and less for the Wall Street swindlers who trafficked in toxic mortgages. But the president must have done something right, or the hucksters at Goldman Sachs wouldn’t hate him so.
alternet.org — To Mitt Romney, it seems, personal morality amounts to a roster of good personal habits (no smoking or drinking, a faithful marriage, generosity and compassion for ailing members of his faith community) that add up to a kind of personal exceptionalism that trumps whatever havoc his business behavior or political policies may wreak on the life of any poor schlub who should should cross his path. It all amounts to a kind of moral bankruptcy, in which the former Massachusetts governor presumes he is entitled to a morally superior reputation for which he has not kept up the payments. It’s not that hard to be good to your family and friends. If true morality is evidenced by how one treats strangers, Romney’s reputation as a moral actor should be under water. Here are but nine bits of evidence of the moral bankruptcy of Willard Mitt Romney. There exist many more, but life is short.
alternet.org — The following 1 percent wonders are doing just fine under Obama, but since their worldview is largely restricted to an obsession with their marginal tax rate, they can’t refrain from denouncing the president and thinking of new ways to thwart his re-election bid. The Romney men desperately want to see the first financier president, a man after their own cold hearts.
Matt Yglesias wrote an important post today about why Pete Peterson's ongoing crusade to cut the deficit is killing us. He notes that many serious liberals dismiss the (dirty hippie) idea that the focus on long term deficit reduction is wrong in itself in favor of the idea that it's simply wrong for the current situation. more »
creators.com — It's out! This year's list of American success stories has just been published, and according to its compiler, it "instills confidence that the American dream is still very much alive." Maybe you are one of these success stories. You might be a great public school teacher, for example, who motivated students to achieve new heights or an inventor who came up with an energy-saving device and got it to market at a fair price, generating a profit for yourself, the environment and society generally. No, no, no. Not that kind of success. We're talking money — the flow of mammon beyond regular people's wildest dreams. That's how Forbes magazine measures not only "success," but also a person's value: You are what's in your Swiss bank account. And, just to rank last on this year's "Forbes 400" listing of America's wealthiest people, you need more than a billion dollars in financial wealth.