Category Archives: The Nation and Beyond

Doing What We Can: Climate Change and Inequality

By Mark Gamba, Mayor City of Milwaukee

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

Inequality and the Need for Unity: An Introduction

By Peter Nordbye, Chair Democratic Party of Clackamas County

The existential crisis of our time, nuclear war, has a new partner: climate change. We have lived under the threat of nuclear extermination since 1945. We have gone from “duck and cover” to bomb shelters to a belief that our institutions have in place safeguards so that no one crazy enough to invoke mutually assured destruction ever could. We have stopped above-ground testing and, with few exceptions, nuclear proliferation. We have even reduced the number of nuclear warheads. We have stared into the abyss of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and said “never again.” Continue reading

Lake Oswego Councilor’s Personal, Poignant Protest Caught on Video

With one memorable exception, virtually all major policies imposed by the Trump administration have caused division among party lines. That exception, of course, was the immigration strategy enforced in early May that separated children from their parents after they crossed the Southern U.S. border. As Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned at the time, “If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. … If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.”

As a result, nearly 3,000 children, including scores under the age of five, were removed from their parents and placed first in Customs and Border Protection facilities, then in shelters provided by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Continue reading