Democratic Dereliction of Duty

by Jake Johnson, Common Dreams Worker justice advocates are growing increasingly furious over the national Democratic leadership’s refusal to act after more than nine million people across the U.S. were thrown off unemployment insurance earlier this week, an unprecedented aid cut that took effect in the middle of a surging pandemic and persistent economic crisis. The Biden administration and congressional Democrats had been aware of the massive benefit cliff for months, but there was hardly any push on Capitol Hill for an extension of the trio of federal unemployment insurance (UI) programs that lapsed on Labor Day—slashing benefits for roughly 9.5 million unemployed workers. In …

Read moreDemocratic Dereliction of Duty

DeJoy: “Run the Postal Service? I Thought You Said ‘Ruin the Postal Service.’”

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you are facing more catastrophes than you can count. Where do you even begin? This disagreeable sensation, once confined to an unlucky few, is now widespread among those who read the news. Our policy for staving off catatonia: expect the worst, hope for the best, and deal with one thing at a time. At the moment, because it’s dear to our ink-stained heart, let’s consider the U.S. Postal Service [U.S.P.S.]. Because it certainly qualifies as a catastrophe. Incredibly, there’s good news on this front. The District Court in Washington, D.C. ruled August 17th that the U.S.P.S. must turn over …

Read moreDeJoy: “Run the Postal Service? I Thought You Said ‘Ruin the Postal Service.’”

AMOC Amok, or, Species Bites Environment

This fortnight began with terrible news about the climate. It went downhill from there. The Guardian reported on July 27th—too late for us to deal with properly in our paper of July 30th, too important to leave out now—“many of the key indicators of the global climate crisis are getting worse and either approaching, or exceeding, key tipping points as the earth heats up.” “Overall, the study* found some 16 out of 31 tracked planetary vital signs, including greenhouse gas concentrations, ocean heat content and ice mass, set worrying new records. “‘There is growing evidence we are getting close to or have already gone beyond …

Read moreAMOC Amok, or, Species Bites Environment

The Grand Inquisitor’s Mistress

On July 12th, Judi Hershman posted an extraordinary 2,600-word document on Medium. In it, the self-described “former professional partisan” laments what she accurately calls, “our country’s biggest existential crisis since the Civil War.” It has come about, she writes, because “too many people like me stuck our heads in the sand, swallowed our doubts, [and] let the unacceptable slide, [having] convinced ourselves it was in the interest of the greater good….” Hershman attained this perspective, she says, through a long and close association with one of the most influential unelected figures in the Republican power structure. That emminent personage was Kenneth Starr: Grand Inquisitor during …

Read moreThe Grand Inquisitor’s Mistress

Big Weekend Gets Off to a Weird Start

The Fourth of July weekend started early in Los Angeles this year. On Wednesday, June 30th, the L.A. Police Department blew up two blocks in the middle of Historic South Central. Unfortunately, this was not a controlled fireworks display, intended to entertain the local residents and thereby create lasting bonds of amity and goodwill. It was more like the opposite of that. Seventeen people were hurt in the 7:30 p.m. blast; none had life-threatening injuries. Fifty residents were displaced from their homes for a week. What’s truly strange about this story is that it could have been a whole lot worse. Apparently responding to a …

Read moreBig Weekend Gets Off to a Weird Start

Wealth Hoarding Endangers Democracy, Report Says

by Kenny Stancil, Common Dreams The growing concentration of wealth in fewer hands—including among corporate robber barons’ descendants who continue, after multiple generations, to wield the “financial, political, and philanthropic clout” afforded by enormous inheritances to “advance their dynasty-building agenda”—intensifies working-class suffering in the U.S. and poses a threat to society and democracy. That’s according to Silver Spoon Oligarchs: How America’s 50 Largest Inherited-Wealth Dynasties Accelerate Inequality, a new report out June 16th from the Institute for Policy Studies. Analyzing data from Forbes, IPS tracked the assets of the country’s 50 wealthiest families—“including the Waltons, the Kochs, the Mars family, and many others, some well-known …

Read moreWealth Hoarding Endangers Democracy, Report Says