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In The Public Interest

Mr. President: Please send this letter

In the Public Interest

Here is an open letter that Barack Obama should write to Mitt Romney – pronto!

Dear Mr. Romney:

Not a day goes by without you blaming me for every slumping or stagnant economic indicator. Unemployment, increases in the number of food stamp recipients, government borrowing, and spending, home foreclosures, economic uncertainty for businesses, trade deficits — you name it. Only for droughts and hurricanes have you absolved me from responsibility.

Romney ignores corporate welfare

In the Public Interest

There was something missing from the release of a tape showing Mitt Romney pandering to fat cats in Boca Raton, Florida with these very inflammatory words: “There are 47 percent who are with him, (Obama) who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. These are people who pay no income tax.” Romney said his job “is not to worry about those people.”

Two conventions: profiles in decadent cowardliness

In the Public Interest

The Republican and Democratic conventions are mercifully over but their corrosive impacts on our democracy persist.

First, did you know taxpayers helped fund these conventions at a level of $100 million for logistics and police sequestrations of demonstrators in Tampa and Charlotte and an additional $18.2 million each for general convention expenses?

Where’s the war on lethal super-bugs?

In the Public Interest

What if two thousand U.S. soldiers were losing their lives every week in Afghanistan? Would the peddlers of the electoral politics of trivia, distraction and avoidance take notice? Of course.

Every week, 2,000 Americans, or about 100,000 men, women and children a year, die from mostly preventable hospital-borne infections in the United States. The toll may even be higher (Center for Disease Control updates its figures soon).

Harry Kelber challenges the AFL-CIO

“Why should I listen to anything Harry Kelber says?” exclaimed a visibly indignant Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO.

Maybe because Kelber, 98 years young, has been honestly fighting for labor rights as a worker, union organizer, pamphleteer, author, professor and overall hairshirt of the moribund organized labor movement for 78 years — or 15 years before Trumka, the former coal miner and United Mine Workers’ president, was born.

The media on presidential campaigns: Examine thyself

The media coverage of the presidential campaigns is a dreary repetition of past coverage. Stuck in a rut and garnished by press cynicism and boredom, media groupthink becomes more ossified every four years.

This massive mental motion-sickness confines reporters, editors and producers to the following all too predictable patterns:

Ryan afraid to debate his own budget plan

In the Public Interest

The cruel impoverishment of the debate among the presidential and congressional candidates took a gigantic leap into the pits with Mitt Romney’s selection of 42-year-old Rep. Paul Ryan from the deindustrialized town of Janesville, Wisc. Ryan is invariably described by reporters as “an intellectual leader of the conservative movement” and by fellow Republicans as a person “who tells the hard truths” to the American people.

The Democratic party sleeps on FDR’s legacy

In the Public Interest

Calling Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the rest of the Democratic Party, elected officials, political operatives and labor’s leader Richard Trumka. Thirty million American workers want and need a federal minimum wage of $10 per hour which is slightly less than their predecessors got in 1968 – yes 1968 – adjusted for inflation. What will it take for you to make this a priority?

Obama/Romney: Address the prison-industrial complex

In the Public Interest

Ever visit a major prison? The vast majority of Americans have not, despite our country having by far a higher incarceration rate per capita than China or Iran. Out of sight is out of mind.

We need corporate patriotism

In the Public Interest

What would happen if we asked the executives of the giant U.S. corporations, whose products constantly surround us, to show some corporate patriotism?

After all, General Electric, DuPont, Citiagroup, Pfizer and others demand that they be treated as “persons” under our Constitution and our laws. And, they expect unfiltered loyalty from American workers even to the point of blocking the organization of unions so workers can band together for collective bargaining.