A New Conversation about Public Spending Needed

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Tanya Acker: People who can’t read, however, are very easy to divide and even easier to command. No demagoguery can save us from that.

America’s War on Teachers

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Mark Naison: One question we must ask is why this campaign has acquired such strong bipartisan support and why the public has not spoken out more against it.

Stop Starving Public Universities and Shrinking the Middle Class

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Robert Reich: Public higher education has been the gateway to the middle class but that gate is shutting – just when income and wealth are more concentrated at the top than they’ve been since the 1920s, and when America needs the brainpower of its young people more than ever.

LA’s Secret Meeting Habit: Contempt and Arrogance or Just Bureaucratic Malpractice?

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Stephen Box: The open and transparent attempt to violate the Brown Act can only be attributed to contempt of the public, arrogant hubris, or complete and thorough ignorance of the law.

How to Confront a Candidate

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Bruce Reilly: The key to getting your issue on the map is to ask the candidate in public, with voters and media in the room. Even if you are creating your own media, the key is to get them “on the record.”

Occupy Oakland Takes Wrong Turn

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Randy Shaw: For all of its claims to represent the true democratic spirit of the 99%, it seems that once Occupy Oakland decides to close down a public facility or seize a public asset, that’s all the democracy it needs.

99 Percent Clubs: Online Public Square and Free Speech Zone

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Mark Naison: What we did not envision, when we created our 99% C lub, was how it would create an incredible online free speech zone and public square not only for club members, but for people with no direct connection to Fordham who found out what we were doing.

A “Peace Dividend?” Not Likely

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Joseph Palermo: Despite the redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq, during this dismal period of “austerity” the public isn’t likely to see any discernible difference in the government’s misplaced priorities.

Occupy Movement at the Crossroads

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Randy Shaw: Successful movements must be flexible enough to change tactics in the face of roadblocks, and activists’ camping in public spaces is not strategically necessary for the Occupy movement’s success.

The Public Banking Option: The German Model

BANK OF NORTH DAKOTA

Ellen Brown: Publicly-owned banks were instrumental in funding Germany’s “economic miracle” after the devastation of World War II. Although the German public banks have been targeted in the last decade for takedown by their private competitors, the model remains a viable alternative to the private profiteering being protested on Wall Street today.

Jobs: A Grand Bargain

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Brent Budowsky: Great presidents know the difference between empty public gimmicks and game-changing public policy. They demand creative ideas, not mediocrity or defeatism, from those who advise them.

Rejoice, FCC Kills Fairness Doctrine

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Sue Wilson: The final nail has been pounded into the coffin of the Fairness Doctrine. But there is much to celebrate. Wednesday’s FCC ruling shows the agency clearly understands that broadcasters do have an obligation to “serve the public interest.”

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Crunch Time for Public Sector Unions

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Shamus Cooke: Public sector unions must mobilize their members and the community they serve to fight back. They have no other choice if they are to remain powerful or even relevant.

Like Nixon, Obama Will Waste Lives to Get Reelected

President Barack Obama talks with Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., in the State Dining Room of the White House. (Photo: Pete Souza)

Ivan Eland: The public could be forgiven for missing the real message of Obama’s Afghanistan speech: “We’ve lost the war, but we are declaring victory anyway and getting out.”

When the Public Rises, We’ll Want an Ally in Congress

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David Swanson: I think Norman Solomon would make a better Congress member than I would, and than most of us would.

Keeping Public Schools Public

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Craig Williams: As progressives, we should also argue that educators need more funding just to deal with the increased poverty created in large part by the private sector.

LAUSD, Charters, and Insanity

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Leonard Isenberg: Ex-LA Mayor Richard Riordan, who is now chairman of the board of cash-strapped ICEF Public Schools, is now in the process of trying to get his board to vote control of the charter’s 15 schools over to Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, another large, local charter-school group.

The Death of Public Service

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Steve Hochstadt: Republican governors across the country argue that teachers and police and all the other employees of local and state governments make much too much money.

A Fair for What’s Fair

Madelyn Broadus

Diane Lefer: I get it now: When public education works, it’s transformative of the individual and of society. Maybe that’s why it’s under attack.

Would a Birth Certificate Matter?

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Steve Hochstadt: These opportunist birthers don’t believe in anything, except that they can promote conservative causes and their own public profile by doubting the facts.

Can Public Education Be Fixed?

Anthony Samad: We either invest in ourselves now, or pay later as a less competitive society. We need to fix ourselves before we nix ourselves.

Why the Attacks on Public Sector Workers and Their Unions

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Seymour Slavin: Ultimately, the way to overcome the fog of misstatements is to bring the truth to the American people. Thus, the attack against public sector unions can be viewed in its true light—protect the super rich and disarm the voice of the people—the trade union movement.

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Why We Should Trade Broccoli and Asparagus for Hot Dogs and Apple Pie

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Robert Reich: The requirement that everyone purchase health insurance, or pay a fine doesn’t appeal to many Americans. They don’t like the government telling them they have to buy something. But the healthcare system can’t work without this mandate. Only if everyone buys insurance can insurers afford to cover people with preexisting conditions, or pay the costs of catastrophic diseases.

The Shameful Attack on Public Employees

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., with Memphis sanitation workers.

Robert Reich: Public servants are convenient scapegoats. Republicans would rather deflect attention from corporate executive pay that continues to rise as corporate profits soar, even as corporations refuse to hire more workers.

Fetishizing School Chiefs Hurts Kids

Cathleen Black, with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (left) and outgoing Schools Chancellor Joel Klein.

Randy Shaw: Unfortunately, the media’s excessive and irrational devotion to school chiefs as saviors for the nation’s schools ignores the reality that no school chief, can overcome inadequate school funding by running schools like corporate turnaround specialists, and fetishizing their importance distracts from schools’ real needs. Education seems to be the only field where rising to the top requires no experience. Careers spent in the profit-driven corporate world are now identified as the best backgrounds for public school leadership.

Will The Public Ever Get Energized About Net Neutrality?

Sylvia Moore: As if the Supreme Court’s enthusiastic approval of oligarchy wasn’t enough, we’re facing another one of the biggest threats to free speech and democracy – corporate control of the Web.

The Otherworldly Attack on Public Education

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Carl Bloice: Why is it that the richest, most powerful nation on the planet, one that produces more and more billionaires each year and can spend one million dollars each on the soldiers it sends off to war, can’t afford to educate its kids? It remains a mystery to me that an administration that can spend millions of dollars to bribe states into facilitating its quite controversial school “reform” programs can’t come up with the resources to stave off the pending mass layoffs of teachers.

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