Nov 072012

By Mary Grace Barry

“Time accomplishes for the poor what money does for the rich,” writes labor organizer Cesar Chavez in his “Good Friday Letter.” Published in 1969, the letter is addressed to E.L. Barr, Jr., the president of the California Grape and Tree Fruit League. Chavez’s farm worker’s union had enacted a table grape boycott in order to gain better working conditions. Staunchly non-violent, Chavez was troubled by growers’ accusations that strikers had been violent.  Continue reading »

Jul 272011

By Bernie Sanders

If there was ever a time in the modern history of America that the American people should become engaged in what’s going on here in Washington, now is that time. Decisions are being made that will impact not only our generation but the lives of our children and our grandchildren for decades to come, and I fear very much that the decisions being contemplated are not good decisions, are not fair decisions.

There is increased understanding that that defaulting for the first time in our history on our debts would be a disaster for the American economy and for the world’s economy. We should not do that. There also is increased discussion about long-term deficit reduction and how we address the crisis which we face today of a record-breaking deficit of $1.4 trillion and a $14 trillion-plus national debt. Continue reading »

Jul 132011

Dear Editor:

In your June 22 editorial, “Austerity comes to Lexington,” you wrote: “Austerity is always sold as disciplining government through the use of good business practice.”

Your comment reminded me that austerity is really a disciplinary practice of the body — not of governments or businesses, abstract entities that know nothing of being “austere” or “spendthrift.” We tend to treat governments and businesses as if they are living and breathing entities, and they’re not. We live and breathe; they do not. The point of this distinction is that governments and businesses do not suffer the pain of economic “austerity measures”— citizens (those breathing things called “humans”) do. Continue reading »

Jul 132011

NoC News Analysis

Well, now it’s shamelessly clear: prisoners are chattel.

Ohio is trying to close an $8 million budget deficit, and, as necessity is the mother of invention, it’s trying something new: selling state prisons to private corporations to raise money for the state budget. However, this isn’t simply a property sell-off of outdated and unused prison buildings. Rather, the state is offering prison packages: buy the land, the buildings, and your corporation gets the prisoners, too!

The best (meaning astounding) part is that winning bidders can even operate their new prisons with 20-year contracts, which include a per-diem payment from the state. In order to win the bidding, though, the corporations have to come to the table with all kinds of war-game plans like how they would engage in “hot pursuit of escapees.” (This quote from Linda Janes, the chief of staff for the Ohio agency responsible for the state’s prisons.)

Evidently, here’s how the Ohio plan goes:

First: Incarcerate a bunch of people.

Second: Refuse to raise state taxes because the state has to “tighten its belt.”

Third: Sell prisons and prisoners to private corporations.

Fourth: Pay corporations to maintain prisoners.

Seems like a strange business plan to NoC. Forget the fact that it’s completely immoral.

Jun 222011

Politics, as the saying goes, is always local. So while at the national level, tea party righties and socialist lefties have begun to join forces in battle against conservative and liberal coalitions over things like auditing the fed and stopping the illegal Obama war in Libya (and Yemen…and Afghanistan), things are bending at the state and city levels, too.

As has happened in many cities where expensive campaigns dictate the narrow range of candidate options (and thought), we Lexington residents elected a wealthy, unabashedly pro-business head honcho of a corporate, global construction firm to the office of city mayor, and we did it by somehow claiming him as a progressive, a clear alternative to the non local-first, big-business friendly then-current mayor (who has now started his own online city newspaper). Continue reading »