Commentary, Opinion, & Analysis

A truly representative State Representative


by Berkshire Greens
Comment on Berkshire Eagle op-ed 7 Oct 2011. A letter published the day before by Pam Malumphy, an opponent of Mark Miller's, told voters about the GRP's promoting of clean elections, instant run-off voting, and marijuana legalization. GRP State Committee Representative Darlene Baisley sent the following letter to the editor, which Berkshire Greens also published as an online comment.

Berkshire Greens would like to thank Pam Malumphy for pointing out that the Green-Rainbow Party (GRP) reflects the opinion of the majority of voters in Berkshire County. Although she is running against our party's candidate, Mark Miller, she deserves credit for reminding the electorate that the GRP supports public campaign financing, a fairer voting system, and reform of the state's drug laws.

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Jobs for All with a Green New Deal


We can eliminate unemployment while saving the planet

by Jill E. Stein

Labor Day, September 5, 2011

President Obama’s new job proposals are intended to send a political message that the President cares about the dismal state of the economy. But America needs a decisive and immediate solution, not a limited gesture for the unemployment emergency facing 25 million workers in need of full time jobs that aren’t there.

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Back to School Reading


A Letter to President Obama from the Save Our Schools March

by Ruth Rodríguez
Originally published at NCLB Outrages on August 1, 2011.

Testimony

It's heartwarming being in the presence of so many great educators and families at this momentous "Rally" in the heart of our nation's capital. I feared that the takeover of our public schools by a bunch of greedy businessmen will continue unchallenged. And so, in the midst of this massive demonstration, I feel energized, I feel ready to carry on, and carry on I will until our public schools are truly democratic institutions; therefore Mr. President, here is my message to you:

President Obama, your policies are making a mockery of our democracy, and to the democratic values we hold so dear. When you insist on pursuing the privatization of our public schools with little or no regards to the concerns of teachers, students and families, you show a lack of faith in our community's ability to work with you in finding real solutions, and instead you are trusting the private sector and handed over the education of our children to the same corporate moguls and politicians that have shown that they cannot take care of their own business, never mind the education of our precious children.

[Click below to read this excellent letter.]

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The Republicrat Convergence: State House Speaker Pledges "No New Taxes!"


by Shirley Kressel

What heartless conservatives would balance a $1.9 billion state budget shortfall by service cuts to the needy, without any effort to take back the tax favors so long showered upon the rich and well-connected?  Was it the Tea Party extremists?  The right-wing fringe of the Republican Party?  No.  “No new taxes” was this year’s pledge by Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo, leader of the  dominant Democratic Party.

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Tax Holiday? I thought we were broke!


Article from PHENOM - Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts

by Max Page
Originally published in PHENOM at http://massphenom.tumblr.com/. Reprinted with permission of the author.

The stages of the neo-liberal budget cut game.  In Massachusetts. Where Democrats dominate all three parts of government.

 

1. Declare that we have to cut a billion or more to balance the budget.

2. Shake head, grimace, and speak to the cameras the following:  ”No one likes making cuts to schools, libraries, mental health services, and the homeless.  But these are tough times.”

3. Take away collective bargaining rights from municipal employees, because that is somehow necessary to secure $100 million in savings, even though municipal unions already agreed to absorb those cuts. Do not note that a large part of the  municipal budget crisis is due to state cuts to local aid.

3. Declare that “shared sacrifice” can’t include the wealthy.  Taxing the wealthy would be “wrong” during a recession.  But cutting jobs of municipal and state employees (who will immediately spend their money in Massachusetts on such luxuries as food and clothes) is “necessary.”

4. A week after passing this austerity budget, announce with a surprised look on your face that in fact the state has nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in revenues in excess of what was projected in the budget. Proceed to step 5.

5. Announce a tax holiday for August.

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Invert State Tax Structures To Eliminate State Budget Deficits


Flip It to Fix It: An Immediate, Fair Solution to State Budget Shortfalls, Documents Current Regressive State Tax Structures

In 2002 and 2010, Green-Rainbow Party gubernatorial candidate Jill Stein proposed to level the tax rates so that low income owners would no longer pay at a higher effective rate. She said this would largely resolve the budget deficit without raising the question of why one group should pay at a higher rate than another. Stein asserted that a regressive tax structure was not only unfair, but would never raise adequate revenues. Now United for a Fair Economy has issued a study that largely confirms Stein's points.

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Outreach on Earth Day


Berkshire Greens PAC is a major partner of Healing Winds Community Event

by Scott Laugenour

Berkshire Greens PAC participated in the Earth Day Community Event produced by Healing Winds. It was held in Lee on April 23, 2011. Snow and rain in the morning provided a good reason for the organizers to move the event indoors at the First Congregational Church in Lee.

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Carrying the Voters' Torch


An interview with Svandis Svavarsdottir, Minister of the Environment for Iceland from the Left-Green Party

by Scott Laugenour

Svandis Svavarsdottir has served the coalition government of Iceland for almost two years. Her Left-Green Party is part of the ruling coalition that was voted into power following the failures of Iceland's major banks and consequent public anger at the corruption and poor governance at the root of those failures. Prior to taking this position, Svandis served for three years in the Reykjavik City Council during a period of much debate on energy policy for the municipally-owned Reykjavik Electric Company. She was one of only two Left-Green party members on the 15-member council.

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Greens at Citizens United Forum


Green-Rainbow Party member Steve Luther made sure that the attendees and the Democratic Party organizers of a Feb 8 forum in Williamstown on the Citizens United Supreme Court decision were given a green message.

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Thoughts on "Howard Zinn: The People Speak"


A Call to Action

by Danika Rumi Padilla
This text was read by Scott Laugenour, GRP State Committee member at a Jan 27 screening of "Howard Zinn: The People Speak," sponsored by the Green-Rainbow Party. The text was written by a 14-year-old Berkshires resident.

Howard Zinn has inspired many, many people. I know because he inspired me, spurred me to question, to learn more, and sometimes even to act. I don’t remember exactly when I learned about him--sometime when I was around eleven or twelve--but I know it is because of him that I have studied social justice issues, because of him that I have ever questioned our current economic system and governance system, because of him that I can at least purport to be a political radical, disagreeing with the actions of ruling parties, protesting imperialism.

Howard Zinn woke me up to the importance of history, a discipline I had never truly found interesting until he showed me how history connected essentially with present-day events, how it revolved around fascinating struggles of people and deeply flawed systems which we still live with, in one form or other, to this day. Howard Zinn ignited in me a deep appreciation for the study and interpretation of history, not only as an act of learning, but as an act of social conscience. With that act, he also drew from me a great respect, appreciation, and admiration for Howard Zinn as a human being.

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