Roger Bybee

Why in the world are the taxpayers of Mississippi -- the very poorest in the nation, who are already enduring sharply-increasing economic inequality -- providing $1.33 billion in subsidies to the auto giant Nissan, which raked in profits of $3.3 billion last year?

That question has gained new urgency in the wake of a new study by Good Jobs First, the Washington, DC-based monitor of wasteful corporate subsidies, which examined the state's expenditure of public funds for Nissan's 5,200-worker auto-assembly plant outside Canton, Miss.

Corporations are playing states for fools. Across the nation, states are now pouring more than $80 billion in subsidies and tax breaks annually to corporations in a futile and counter-productive effort to retain and attract corporate investments in the name of job creation, as outlined in the outstanding series by Louise Story in the New York Times. This flow of subsidies is failing to generate family-supporting jobs and badly distorting the role of state government in a democracy.

If you've been wondering who is behind the hysteria about the "fiscal cliff," meet the Fix the Debt coalition of 95 CEOs of major firms.

Fix the Debt calls upon Americans for "shared sacrifice" in order to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, by embracing "a common sense solution to prevent disaster and renew America's economic strength."

"When Black Friday comes, I'm gonna stake my claim."
--from lyrics to "Black Friday" by Steely Dan

For Walmart, this Black Friday -- which actually started with store openings at 8 pm on Thanksgiving, disrupting family celebrations -- meant not just the kickoff of its lucrative Christmas buying season, but the first truly national challenge to shake its once rock-solid control over its 1.3 million "associates. Rallies by its workers and their supporters took place at an estimated 1,000 of its stores across the nation.

CEOs are using the Supreme Court decision to browbeat their employees about voting for Romney.

His Auto Task Force effectively side-swiped southeastern Wisconsin.

Gov. Thompson gave GM millions, even as it was planning to ship Wisconsin jobs to Mexico.

Biden spoke directly and powerfully to the insecurity that is widely felt among the working and middle classes, an insecurity that Romney and Ryan prefer. By Roger Bybee

Yes, he’s running for reelection in Congress at the same time, and now he has a formidable opponent.
By Roger Bybee

Forget About Romney’s Taxes. Focus instead on how he would reward companies to ship jobs overseas and dodge U.S. taxes.


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We need to improve the condition of workers this Thanksgiving weekend. Here's what you can do.

“Climate change isn’t an ‘issue’ to add to the list of things to worry about, next to healthcare and taxes,” Klein...

Real leaders need to lead a push back against the firestorm of fear about Muslims—not fan the flames.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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