Category Archives: The Nation and Beyond

The Mueller Report — Take 1

There are two important concepts that need to be understood about the special counsel’s report. One is obvious, the other less so.

One is the question of whether or not the 2016 election was free and fair?

The answer is clearly NO.

“As set forth in detail in this report, the Special Counsel’s investigation established that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election principally through two operations. First a Russian entity carried out a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Second, a Russian intelligence service conducted computer-intrusion operations against entities, employees, and volunteers working on the Clinton Campaign and then released stolen documents.”

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Doing What We Can: Climate Change and Inequality

By Mark Gamba, Mayor City of Milwaukie

The last time carbon in our atmosphere routinely exceeded 400 ppm was three million years ago. At that time temperatures were 3.6 to 5.4 degrees warmer, and the ocean levels were 15 to 25 meters higher. Imagine if, instead of being above 80 degrees the last week in July, we were well above 90 degrees, and in August if we exceeded 100 degrees for weeks on end. With summers that hot in the Northwest, the probability of wildfires and forest fires increases. Energy usage would skyrocket as more air conditioners were installed, and our air pollution would rival or exceed Los Angeles.

These are not predictions; they are all already happening. Climate change isn’t something happening in some distant future; it is already here.

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The Effects of Great Income and Wealth Inequality

By Donald Klosterman

We live in an era of increasing income and wealth inequality. Many of us have come to accept this as normal. Some see it as an outcome of our technology, others of our culture. Be it nature or nurture, we are no longer in balance with our environment or our society. We see the “other” as someone to be feared rather than helped. We routinely denigrate our environment for short-term economic gain even when we are well aware of the costs of such actions. We allow ourselves to be convinced that our neighbors are inferior in order to justify our waging war against them.

It is ironic that human offspring require more time to mature than almost any other species. From birth through the next decade, without watchful elders, without a protective and nurturing society, few children would ever make it to adulthood. Yet, we create myths that rather than being social creatures, we are independent and born with a right to freedom that justifies us harming our neighbors. Our institutions rarely accept the notion that it takes a village to raise a child.

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Are You with the Workers or Management?

By Peter Toll

Labor Day always reminds me of this question. It also reminds me of my first labor strike in the 1950s when I was 16 years old and had just gotten a real job as a box-boy (grocery bagger) at the local A&P supermarket.

Greeting me on my second day of after-school work was a big padlocked chain across the store’s door. Huh? What is this? I need to go to work. I need gas for my beater of a car. What the . . . ?

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Part One: Inequality and Climate Change: Keep Hope Alive

Can we keep hope alive? Is it reasonable to hope for a better, more just economy in which the 1% control a lot less than 50 percent of the wealth and income of our county? Is it reasonable to hope for policies that mitigate rather than contribute to climate change? Can we hope that future generations will participate in civic life and revitalize a democracy now on life support? What must we do today to keep hope alive?

The percentage of annual income collected by the top one percent in Oregon is greater today than it was in 1929. This is also true for Clackamas County. The average annual income for the top one percent in Clackamas County is $1,338,000. The rest of us, the 99%, have an average annual income of $61,062. Continue reading