Shamus Cooke: If the teachers’ unions combined with other public sector unions, parent associations, and the community at large to demand fully funded public education by taxing the rich, the billionaires would find themselves without allies. Their money might then be put towards something useful.
Shamus Cooke: The housing market appears to be on a never-ending downward spiral, with the much-discussed “recovery” always around the next corner.
Shamus Cooke: The group organizing the national town halls is the “non-partisan and non-profit” America Speaks. But scratching the surface of this purportedly harmless group reveals a corporate snake pit. America Speak’s Board of Directors and National Advisory Board showcase an impressive list of corporate CEO’s, CFO’s, consultants, politicians, and elite law firms. Not a single voice from working people is to be found.
Shamus Cooke: The budget crisis phenomenon is international, and the international corporate elite are sharing ideas on how best to come out of the crisis unscathed. They’re blaming the recession itself on public employees, on “greedy” workers who earn the tiniest fraction of what rich shareholders make by doing nothing.
Shamus Cooke: Behind the military jockeying for power are economic interests. Controlling the U.S. economy are powerful corporations, who rely on the U.S. military to ensure them super profits overseas, including domination over whole regions — the Middle East, Latin America, the Pacific — that are viewed as the “exclusive economic zones” of U.S. corporations. The fact that China is now declaring itself master of its own zones is intolerable for U.S. corporations, which will stop at nothing — including war — to maintain U.S. military dominance over the globe.
Shamus Cooke: Rank and file Tea Partiers are, politically speaking, lost at sea in the dead of night, looking for the light of common principles. On land, those manning right-wing lighthouses are broadcasting ideas loaded with hidden motives into this ocean of conservative public opinion. What the Tea Party will become is presently unknown; but those with an agenda will do their best to steer lost boats at sea in their direction, with potentially dangerous consequences.
Shamus Cooke: FL-CIO President Richard Trumka offers a splendid vision: “The best way to fix the deficit is to create 10 million jobs now — the number of jobs needed to close our jobs deficit. This will require large amounts of public investment in the short term, which should be paid for in future years by taxing Wall Street. In addition to creating jobs for Main Street this tax will also curb short-term speculation and other Wall Street abuses that caused this recession.”
Shamus Cooke: The anti-teacher hysteria looks diverse on the surface, but underneath, this public controversy seeks to dislodge teachers unions: the right-wing trashes teachers’ unions outright, while the “liberal” media takes a more subtle, sophisticated approach, blaming the state of public education on “bad teachers” who must be fired and replaced.
Shamus Cooke: The first battle tactic against public education was to starve it. Politicians have consistently lowered taxes on corporations and the rich for the past three decades, thereby lowering state revenues that have created the budget crises in nearly every state. Consequently, public education is in a state of shell shock.
Shamus Cooke: The ability for millions of people to see through the muddle in Washington points to a larger distrust of the two-party system. Even as “progressive Democrats” and other liberal pundits bow before the health care industry by urging passage of “an imperfect” health care bill, workers, the poor and the elderly aren’t taking the bait.
Shamus Cooke: Unions and progressive groups must educate and mobilize their base to confront both the Democrats and Republicans over the protection of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. However, it is not enough for only the leaders of unions and community groups to pressure the Democrats over this issue, especially when Obama has made it clear that he prefers the advice of Wall Street CEOs.