guardian.co.uk — A picture of the man who has come to embody the inequities of Greece's financial crisis has begun to emerge, with friends and neighbors shedding light on the life of the elderly pensioner who killed himself in Athens on Wednesday. Named as Dimitris Christoulas by the Greek media, the retired pharmacist was described as decent, law-abiding, meticulous and dignified. The 77-year-old had written in his one-page, three-paragraph suicide note that it would be better to have a "decent end" than be forced to scavenge in the "rubbish to feed myself". "With his suicide he wanted to send a political message," Antonis Skarmoutsos, a friend and neighbor was quoted as saying in the mass-selling Ta Nea newspaper. "He was deeply politicized but also enraged."
robertreich.org — The returns aren’t all in yet on today’s Republican primaries but President Obama didn’t wait. He kicked off his 2012 campaign against Mitt Romney with a hard-hitting speech centered on the House Republicans’ budget plan – which Romney has enthusiastically endorsed. Here’s what the President had to say about it: "Disguised as a deficit reduction… it is really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It is thinly veiled social Darwinism." We are likely to hear a lot more about social Darwinism in the months ahead.
prospect.org — If there was a question President Obama tried to answer with his speech this afternoon to the Associated Press, it was this—“what happened to the Republican Party?” And to that end, he marshaled evidence from a century of political history to show that today’s Grand Old Party is dangerously unmoored from the American consensus, with a budget proposal that amounts to “thinly veiled social Darwinism.” To a large degree, Obama’s speech was filled with the frustration of liberals who see the extent to which the Republican Party has rejected the notion of a government that works positively within the economy. Obama’s challenge is to convince the public that Republicans would continue on that path if elected to office. At the risk of sounding too certain, I think he can do it.
Although we’ve only been back on the air for a couple of months, in your letters, e-mails and webpage comments a single theme emerges time and again – thank you for the reporting, for the interviews and for your commentary, you tell us, but the problems seem so insurmountable, the forces arrayed against us so large, what can I do, as one person, to make a difference? more »
In his newest book, "Rebuild the Dream," green economy pioneer Van Jones reflects on his journey from grassroots outsider to White House insider, shares intimate details of his time in government, and provides a blueprint to reinvent the American Dream. Along the way, he contrasts the structure and rhetoric of the 2008 Obama campaign, the Tea Party movement and Occupy Wall Street. Below are his thoughts on cheap patriots versus deep patriots, and the way forward to reclaim, reinvent, and renew the American Dream. You can order the book here, and a portion of the proceeds will support the work of the Campaign for America's Future.
The time has come to turn things right-side-up again and declare that America’s honest, hard-working middle class is too big to fail. The aspirations of our low-income, struggling, and marginalized communities are too big and important to fail. The hopes of our children are too big to fail. The American Dream itself is too big to fail.
newdeal20.org — The way to talk about the purpose and value of government and be persuasive is simply to tell the truth. This has been in short supply over the last generation. To the contrary, government has been demonized in much discourse. It has at least, to coin a new verb, been “skepticized.” Trust in government now is very low. But trust in government has been falling on balance since the late 1960s and took an especially large hit in the 1970s. The nation hasn’t truly regained its confidence in it ever since. In fact, the nation has been vulnerable to mythology and misinformation that has seriously damaged America’s future. There are many such myths, but the primary one is that any social program or any increase in government spending dampens economic growth. It is simply not true.
“EMPLOYEES OF U.S. SUBSIDIARIES OF GERMAN COMPANIES, ESPECIALLY T-MOBILE USA, SHOULD BE ABLE TO EXERCISE THEIR UNRESTRICTED RIGHT TO OPT FOR ORGANIZED REPRESENTATION IN THE COMPANY WITHOUT FEAR.”
In an ad in the NY Times yesterday, 11 leading German legal scholars and politicians called on Deutsche Telekom and other German companies to stop using American-style union-hating tactics at their American subsidiaries. In particular they asked these companies to “end all collaboration with U.S. consultants who advise employers how to fight employee representation.”
What is remarkable about this letter is the difference between European and American attitudes toward working people and labor rights. In Europe it's just a given that working people have dignity and respect. To Europeans it is shocking to see a company try to fight against its own workers! In the US working people face an atmosphere of constant intimidation, always pushing for lower wages, cuts in benefits, longer working hours, and subservience.