With millions witnessing an abundance of publicized killings of unarmed black men by police, along with several racially charged shootings claiming headlines across the country -- the national discourse around racism has expanded to incorporate the need for stronger gun control laws.
Destitution means extreme poverty, something that separates the third world from the first. When people are homeless or hungry, they are said to be destitute. Does destitution exist in the United States, still the largest economy in the world? It certainly does, and on a large scale.
It's well established that union members earn substantially more than nonunion workers ($207 more a week), and are more likely to have health care coverage and solid pensions. What is less well known are the advantages that unions provide for all workers, not just those who belong to unions.
Today, the Earth got a little hotter, and a little more crowded.
It's hardly a surprise that Republican congressional leaders and their cadre of Democratic allies spurred on by Barack Obama are resorting to a bagful of parliamentary tricks to put the Trans-Pacific Partnership on a "take it or leave it but you can't change it" fast-track to enactment by Tuesday.
This so-called "trade" package is made up of 29 parts, with only five actually dealing with trade. Written in secrecy by 600 representatives of corporations and their allies, and shepherded by Michael Froman, our Trade Representative who came to this job straight from Wall Street -- has anyone ever heard of a conflict of interest in this administration?
"White Gunman Sought in Killing of 9 at Black Church in Charleston, S.C." It reads like a headline from another age. From 1963, to be precise -- the year another appalling hate crime was carried out against a strikingly similar target.
The Republican reaction to Pope Francis's climate encyclical, juxtaposed to the Democratic congressional rebellion against President Obama on trade, suggest that climate and energy are powerfully disrupting the grid-locked orthodoxy which has dominated American politics for the last decade.
Before Democrats entertain any more corporate wish lists, let's see what corporate America is offering in return. Trade adjustment assistance doesn't do it. A few Democrats may vote for the deal because they naively think TAA is a defensible trade-off. Most who hide behind this scanty fig leaf know exactly what they are doing.
There's a decent chance the 2016 presidential election will be about national security. If that's the case, recent spin by Democratic pundits may undercut former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's campaign before it has much of a chance to establish itself.
People often ask me whether being President has made it more difficult to spend time with Michelle and our girls. But the surprising truth is that being in the White House has made our family life more "normal" than it's ever been.
With the nation mourning the victims of the Charleston church massacre and observing the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, the June 16th commemoration of slave emancipation, there's no better time to confront the toxic influences of racism and easy access to guns that came together this week. "We can't accept events like this as routine," said President Obama. Actually, that was what he said after Newtown, several mass shootings ago. This time the president was, rightfully, angrier and wearier. "I've had to make statements like this too many times," he said, noting that "at some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries." That reckoning should happen now -- right now -- even as the Confederate flag continues to shamefully fly at full mast above the South Carolina state house.
When the U.S.' murder rate and mass shooting rates are stacked up against the rest of the world, it becomes clear that we not only have a problem -- we have a sickness -- and it is killing us, literally. And yet we go from mass killing to mass killing, numb for a day, and then we move on.
It's been a rollercoaster week in the political world, beginning with Hillary Clinton shifting the gears of her campaign by holding her first big rally, which was immediately followed by the man we're going to call "Jeb! Bush!" finally officially announcing his own candidacy.
Nothing makes slaughter right. Nothing explains gun violence. Hate is hate -- plain and simple whenever or wherever it strikes.
The resulting spending bill is a dream for the oil and gas industry, the coal companies, and other polluters, but a nightmare for everyone wants clean air, clean water and a healthy climate for future generations.