|Progressive Calendar 07.29.10||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2010 12:52:51 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 07.29.10 1. Pentel for Gov 7.29 2pm 2. Eagan peace vigil 7.29 4:30pm 3. Northtown vigil 7.29 5pm 4. No to AZ law 7.29 6pm 5. War/identity 7.29 7pm 6. Erlinder/RwandaNOW 7.30 3pm 7. Palestine vigil 7.30 4:15pm 8. Presumed Guilty/f 7.30 7pm 9. Countdown 2 zero/f 7.30 10. Mike Whitney - Trillions for Wall Street, zilch for you know who 11. Jordan Flaherty - Rogue state/ A movement rises in Arizona 12. Sheldon Richman - Feeding frenzy/ Government has run amok since 9/11 13. David Macaray - Abandoning manufacturing/ Taft-Hartley revisited 14. James Petras - Mexico union v Pres Calderon/ Class struggle 15. ed - Too Dumb (improved song lyrics) --------1 of 15-------- From: PRO826 [at] aol.com Subject: Pentel for Gov 7.29 2pm Ken Pentel for Governor Campaign Update Below is my up-to-date schedule while campaigning in the metro area. Please contact me if you know of events, festivals, groups, and places where people are open to redefine politics and economics. I will be going out and meeting people randomly so call and join me anytime. (612) 387-0601 -Ken Ken's Schedule [This will be published just ONCE. Want it? Save it -ed] Thursday 7/29/10 * 2-6pm Nicollet Mall farmers Market in Minneapolis (You can meet me at 2pm in-front of the IDS Center.) * 8pm Taping at Northwest Cable Access Saturday 7/31/10 * 10pm Club Honey (see info below) 205 E. Hennepin, Mpls 55414 (Just East over the Mississippi on the Hennepin Bridge.) * Flyering campaign lit during the day, again, call me for specifics on location and time if you can join me. Sunday 8/1/10 - Farmer's Market, Minneapolis, Glenwood Ave. and Lyndale Ave. under the I-94 highway from 10a - noon. * 6pm Michael Cavaln's fundraiser - Ken has mic time Walker Church Tuesday 8/3/10 * 1:30-3pm "Meet the Candidate" (This can be published far and wide) Lucia's Deli, 1432 W. 31st St. Mpls 55408 (One block South of Hennepin and Lake) Thursday 8/5/10 * 2-6pm Nicollet Mall farmers Market in Minneapolis (You can meet me at 2pm in-front of the IDS Center.) Friday 8/6/10 Ken Pentel for Governor Fundraiser (see below) * 6-9pm Walker Church 3104 16th Ave S. Mpls 55407 Saturday 8/7/10 * 8pm National Poetry Slam Finals Roy Wilkins Auditorium 175 W. Kellogg, St Paul 55102 Rivercenter in St. Paul (Just next to the Xcel.) Ken Pentel for Governor P.O. Box 3872 Minneapolis, MN 55403 _www.kenpentel.org_ (http://www.kenpentel.org/) _kenpentel [at] yahoo.com_ (http://us.mc562.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=kenpentel [at] yahoo.com) (612) 387-0601 --------2 of 15-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 7.29 4:30pm PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------3 of 15-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 7.29 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------4 of 15-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: No to AZ law 7.29 6pm Protest: "Minnesota Says No!" National Day of Action Against SB 1070 Thursday, July 29, 6:00 Minnesota State Capitol, 75 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, St. Paul. July 29th is the day that SB1070 is set to go into effect. Since April, when Arizona's Governor Brewer signed the now-infamous law, immigrant organizations in Arizona and around the county have mobilized to say NO to this racist, anti- immigrant law. Here in Minnesota, the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAc) initiated the Boycott Arizona-MN (BAM!) Campaign to put pressure on the state of Arizona. Last week, the federal government announced that they're going to sue the state of Arizona to try to stop SB1070, but in the meantime, we need to unite as the immigrant community and allies to keep pressuring for SB1070 and other anti-immigrant laws to be repealed. July 29th is a national day of action that coincides with the date SB1070 is scheduled to take effect. On that date we're going to stand up in Minnesota to show that we are against racist laws. We want to send a message to Arizona to revoke SB1070, and to Minnesota's politicians that we don't want anti-immigrant laws here either. The time has come to take action! Sponsored by: MIRAc. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Call 651-389-9174 or email miracmn [at] gmail.com. --------5 of 15-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: War/identity 7.29 7pm Art Exhibit Opening: "The Art of Conflict: Identity in War and Displacement" Thursday, July 29, 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Tarnish and Gold Gallery, 1511 Marshall Street Northeast, Minneapolis. "The Art of Conflict: Identity in War and Displacement" visual art exhibit will feature works about violence and displacement from Iraqi and American artists. The opening event will include music, refreshments and an opportunity to meet the featured artists. The gallery will host the artists' 30 pieces of original work until August 28. The show's curator, Tricia Khutoretsky, says, "A process of reconciliation between two groups of people must involve honest, creative dialogue about the past and its effects on the present. "The Art of Conflict" will open that dialogue and engage Minnesotans in experiencing the impact of war and displacement through art. Foreign conflicts can often seem far away, yet they are a continuing reality for many Minnesotans. Minnesota is home to around 90,000 refugees and 400,000 veterans. "The Art of Conflict" will provide an opportunity for these Minnesotans, and for all Minnesotans, to reflect on the human costs of war from both American and Iraqi perspectives. The show's programming will also include: a film screening of "The Unreturned," an award-winning documentary about five Iraqi refugee families produced by Nathan Fisher, a Minnesota native; talks by veterans, refugee groups, and others with experience of war and displacement; an arts therapy group for mental health professionals; letter-writing to Iraqis; and special tours for school groups. A digital gallery of the artists' work will be available on the IARP website. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Visit www.reconciliationproject.org , email info [at] reconciliationproject.org or call 952-545-9981. --------6 of 15-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Erlinder/RwandaNOW 7.30 3pm Talk by Peter Erlindar: "Rwanda NOW - Prospects for the Rwanda August 9 Election: What Are the Stakes in Central Africa for U.S. Progressives?" Friday July 30, 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Blue Moon Coffee House, 39th and East Lake Street, Minneapolis. Peter Erlinder, Professor of Law at William Mitchell College of Law, Lead Defense Counsel at the UN Tribunal for Rwanda, Past National President (1993-1997) of the National Lawyers Guild. Recently released from a Rwanda prison, Erlinder will talk about the country's upcoming elections. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Contact Gena Berglund, 651-208-7964 or gena [at] bergberg.net. From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu> Blue Moon Coffee House 39th & EAST Lake Mpls About 1.5 miles west of the river Lots of free on-street parking. Bus line. 612-721-9230 --------7 of 15-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Palestine vigil 7.30 4:15pm The weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul. The Friday demo starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30. There are usually extra signs available. --------8 of 15-------- From: Jason Stone <jason.stone [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Presumed Guilty/f 7.30 7pm Social Hour and Movie: Presumed Guilty Friday, July 30 Social Hour 5:30pm at Glaciers Cafe Movie 7:00pm at the Resource Center of the Americas Join us around 5:30pm at Glaciers Cafe for wine, beer or bevs on the main floor of the building that houses the Resource Center. Movie: Presumed Guilty is a new film by Roberto Hernandez and Layda Negrete on the often troubling ways of the justice system in Mexico. This is Hernandez and Negretes first film, which they made while seeking a way to spread the word about what they had discovered about peoples access to a fair trial in Mexico. Read a synopsis here: http://www.pbs.org/pov/presumedguilty/ And more here: http://clas.berkeley.edu/Events/series/usmexicofuturesforum/multimedia/presumedguilty/thestory.html The film has been on the independent film circuit for a while (with much acclaim), and will be shown on public TV on Tuesday, 7/27. You can watch it then or watch it at the Resource Center with your friends and neighbors and talk about it after. Come a little early (say, 5:30) to Glaciers Cafe for wine, beer or N/A bevs on the main floor of the building that houses the Resource Center. --------9 of 15-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Countdown 2 zero/f 7.30 Film Premier: "Countdown to Zero" Friday, July 30, 2:50 p.m., 5:00 p.m., 7:20 p.m., and 9:30 p.m. Landmark Lagoon Cinema, 1320 Lagoon Avenue, Minneapolis. "Countdown to Zero" traces the history of the atomic bomb from its origins to the present state of global affairs: nine nations possessing nuclear weapons capabilities with others racing to join them, with the world held in a delicate balance that could be shattered by an act of terrorism, failed diplomacy, or a simple accident. The film features an array of important international statesmen, including President Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, Pervez Musharraf and Tony Blair. It makes a compelling case for worldwide nuclear disarmament, an issue more topical than ever with the Obama administration working to revive this goal today. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI, additional dates, showtimes, and locations: Visit www.takepart.com/zero. --------10 of 15-------- Zilch for You Know Who Trillions for Wall Street By MIKE WHITNEY July 29, 2010 CounterPunch On Tuesday, the 30-year fixed rate for mortgages plunged to an all-time low of 4.56 per cent. Rates are falling because investors are still moving into risk-free liquid assets, like Treasuries. It's a sign of panic and the Fed's lame policy response has done nothing to sooth the public's fears. The flight-to-safety continues a full two years after Lehman Bros blew up. Housing demand has fallen off a cliff in spite of the historic low rates. Purchases of new and existing homes are roughly 25 per cent of what they were at peak in 2006. Case/Schiller reported on Monday that June new homes sales were the "worst on record", but the media twisted the story to create the impression that sales were actually improving! Here are a few of Monday's misleading headlines: "New Home Sales Bounce Back in June" - Los Angeles Times. "Builders Lifted by June New-home Sales", Marketwatch. "New Home Sales Rebound 24 per cent", CNN. "June Sales of New Homes Climb more than Forecast", Bloomberg. The media's lies are only adding to the sense of uncertainty. When uncertainty grows, long-term expectations change and investment nosedives. Lying has an adverse effect on consumer confidence and, thus, on demand. This is from Bloomberg: The Conference Board's confidence index dropped to a 5-month low of 50.4 from 54.3 in June. According to Bloomberg News: "Sentiment may be slow to improve until companies start adding to payrolls at a faster rate, and the Federal Reserve projects unemployment will take time to decline. Today's figures showed income expectations at their lowest point in more than a year, posing a risk for consumer spending that accounts for 70 per cent of the economy. "Consumers' faith in the economic recovery is failing," said guy LeBas, chief fixed-income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Philadelphia, whose forecast of 50.3 for the confidence index was the closest among economists surveyed by Bloomberg. "The job market is slow and volatile, and it'll be 2013 before we see any semblance of normality in the labor market". (Bloomberg) Confidence is falling because unemployment is soaring, because the media is lying, and because the Fed's monetary policy has failed. Notice that Bloomberg does not mention consumer worries over "curbing the deficits". In truth, the public has only a passing interest in the large deficits. It's a fictitious problem invented by rich corporatists (and their think tanks) who want to apply austerity measures so they can divert more public money to themselves. In the real world, consumer confidence relates to one thing alone - jobs. And when the jobs market stinks, confidence plummets. This is from another article by Bloomberg: "Consumer borrowing in the U.S. dropped in May more than forecast, a sign Americans are less willing to take on debt without an improvement in the labor market. The $9.1 billion decrease followed a revised $14.9 billion slump in April that was initially estimated as a $1 billion increase, the Federal Reserve reported today in Washington. Economists projected a $2.3 billion drop in the May measure of credit card debt and non-revolving loans, according to a Bloomberg News survey of 34 economists. Borrowing that's increased twice since the end of 2008 shows consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 per cent of the economy, will be restrained as Americans pay down debt. Banks also continue to restrict lending following the collapse of the housing market, Fed officials said after their policy meeting last month" (Bloomberg) Consumer confidence is falling, consumer credit is shrinking, and consumer spending is dwindling. Jobs, jobs, jobs; it's all about jobs. Budget deficits are irrelevant to the man who thinks he might lose his livelihood. All he cares about is bringing home the bacon. Here's a quote from Yale professor Robert Schiller who was one of the first to predict the dot.com and the housing bubble: "For me a double-dip is another recession before we've healed from this recession ... The probability of that kind of double-dip is more than 50 per cent. I actually expect it." There's no need for the economy to slip back into recession. It is completely unnecessary. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke knows exactly what needs to be done; how to counter deflationary pressures via bond purchasing programs etc. He has many options even though interest rates are "zero bound". But Bernanke has chosen to do nothing. Intransigence is a political decision. By the November midterms, the economy will be contracting again, unemployment will be edging higher, and the slowdown will be visible everywhere in terms of excess capacity. The Obama economic plan will be repudiated as a bust and the Dems will be swept from office. The bankers will get the political gridlock they desire. Bernanke knows this. On Tuesday, a $38 billion Treasury auction drove 2-years bond-yields down to record lows. (0.665 per cent) Investors are willing to take less than 1 per cent on their deposits just for the guarantee of getting it back. Bond yields are a referendum on the Fed's policies; a straightforward indictment of Bernanke's strategy. Three years into the crisis and investors are more afraid than ever. The flight to Treasuries is an indication that the retail investor has left the market for good. It is a red flag signaling that the public's distrust has reached its zenith. Presently, big business is awash in savings ($1.8 trillion) because consumers are on the ropes and demand is weak. The government's task is simple; make up for worker retrenchment by providing more fiscal and monetary stimulus. If private sector and public sector spending shrink at the same time, the economy will contract very fast and recession will become unavoidable. So, Go Big; create government work programs, help the states, rebuild infrastructure and support green technologies. The economy is not a sentient being; it makes no distinction between "productive" labor and "unproductive" labor. The point is to keep the apparatus operating as close to capacity as possible - which means low unemployment and big deficits. Increasing the money supply does nothing when interest rates are already at zero and consumers are slashing spending. Bernanke has added over $1.25 trillion to bank reserves but consumer borrowing, spending and confidence are still flat on the canvass. The problem is demand, not the volume of money. Bernanke knows what to do, but he refuses to do it. He'd rather line the pockets of bondholders, bankers and rentiers. This is from Calculated Risk: "This report from the National League of Cities (NLC), National Association of Counties (NACo), and the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) reveals that local government job losses in the current and next fiscal years will approach 500,000, with public safety, public works, public health, social services and parks and recreation hardest hit by the cutbacks. The surveyed local governments report cutting 8.6 per cent of total full-time equivalent (FTE) positions over the previous fiscal year to the next fiscal year (roughly 2009-2011). If applied to total local government employment nationwide, an 8.6 percent cut in the workforce would mean that 481,000 local government workers were, or will be, laid off over the two-year period." The cutbacks will ravage local governments, state revenues and public services. Emergency facilities by the Fed provided $11.4 trillion for underwater banks and non banks, but nothing for the states. The GOP is helping the Fed strangle the states by opposing additional aid for Medicare payments and unemployment benefits. Many cities and counties will be forced into bankruptcy while Goldman Sachs rakes in record profits on liquidity provided by Bernanke. It's a disaster. The bottom line? When Wall Street is hurting, money's never a problem. But when the states are on the brink of default and 14 million workers are scrimping to feed their families, it's time for belt-tightening. Explain that to your kids. Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at fergiewhitney [at] msn.com [Are the corporate rich sooner or later going to go for a fascist coup? If so, this article would support Sooner. -ed] --------11 of 15-------- A Movement Rises in Arizona Rogue State By JORDAN FLAHERTY July 29, 2010 CounterPunch Three months ago, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law the notorious SB 1070, a bill that put her state at the forefront of a movement to intensify the criminalization of undocumented immigrants. Since then activists have responded through legal challenges, political lobbying, grassroots organizing and mass mobilizations. More than a hundred thousand people from across Arizona marched on the state capitol on May 29. Today, hundreds more have pledged to risk arrest through nonviolent direct action. These are the public manifestations of an inspiring and widespread struggle happening in this state. The organizations leading this fight offer a vision for people around the US concerned with human rights. A Rogue State Yesterday, Federal District Court Judge Susan Bolton issued a preliminary injunction against sections of Arizona law SB 1070, which is scheduled to go into effect today. The judge put a hold on some of the most outrageous parts of the bill, such as language that mandates racial profiling by officers. However, Judge Bolton left much of the rest of the law intact, including sections that specifically target day laborers. For Arizona activists, the legal ruling represents - at best - a small respite. "It's not a victory, it's a relief," says Pablo Alvarado of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). "We're putting a band aid on a wound". Alvarado and the organizers with NDLON are part of a broad network of national organizations and volunteers who have joined with local organizers to fight not just against this unjust law, but also against a general climate of anti-immigrant hatred. "Arizona is a rogue state," says Alvarado. "We're going to use every single means that we have at our disposal to fight back". Puente Arizona, a Phoenix-based organization that describes itself as a human rights movement working to "resurrect our humanity," has formed Barrio Defense Committees in neighborhoods across the city. Emulating the structure of groups founded by popular movements in El Salvador, the community-based structure work to both serve basic needs, and also build consciousness and help bring people together. According to Puente activist Diana Perez Ramirez, the committees host regular "know your rights" trainings and ESL classes, and are organizing "Copwatch" projects. "We ask the community to unite and organize themselves," says Ramirez. "And we are just there to support that". More than one thousand people have joined these neighborhood organizations so far, with more joining every day. Puente has made use of volunteers from across the US, utilizing national support to help with local organizing, and initiating direct action with the support of out of town allies like the Ruckus Society, Catalyst Project, and various chapters of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). They have issued calls to action including a Human Rights Summer (modeled after the civil rights movements. Freedom Summer) and "30 Days for Human Rights," a month of actions culminating today, the day SB 1070 will become law. Just after midnight, as the law took effect, the first protest of the day began, as nearly 80 people blocked the intersection at the entrance to the town of Guadelupe, a small (one square mile) Native American and Hispanic community just outside of Phoenix. The town has a long history of struggle against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has been one of the main public faces of SB 1070, and most of the protesters (and all of the organizers) were from the community. Holding signs declaring their opposition to the new law and leading chants against police brutality, activists declared that Arpaio's officers are not welcome in their town. The stand off against police lasted more than an hour, before protest leaders in consultation with the town's mayor decided to open the intersection. Several more actions are planned for today. Working Proactively The Repeal Coalition, a Flagstaff- and Phoenix-based grassroots immigrants-rights organization, was formed in 2007. The group came together because they saw a vacuum in the immigrants' rights movement in Arizona. "Some of the left here were not being very audacious," explains Luis Fernandez of the Repeal Coalition. "The positions in the public debate ranged from 'kick them all out,' to 'get their labor and then kick them out'". The Repeal Coalition has staked out a position of calling for the elimination of all anti immigration laws, declaring, "We fight for the right for people to live, love, and work wherever they please". With this call, says Fernandez, "Now we have a real debate". When the coalition was founded, organizers brought in labor activists to advise them on how to build an organization along similar models to those that have built strong unions, utilizing house calls, neighborhood mapping, and group meetings. Although they are an all-volunteer group with little to no funding, they have developed a structure that has initiated large protests and provided direct service, and they are now strategizing more ways to take direct action in the post SB 1070 era. Fernandez says that this struggle is ultimately about overcoming fear and moving from reaction to proactive action. "We've been in a crisis in Arizona for a long time," he explains. "Even if SB 1070 weren't implemented, it wouldn't matter. The political crisis would continue". To address this crisis, Fernandez believes organizations must build unity across race and class. "Traditionally in America, when the working class starts suffering, instead of connecting together and looking upwards at the cause of the problem, they look sideways or downwards for who to blame". Most importantly, he believes activists must take action to seize the initiative. In this vision, he has been inspired by young organizers working on the federal DREAM ACT, a federal law that creates a path to citizenship for undocumented youth. "They came to Arizona and said, 'we're undocumented and we're going to commit acts of civil disobedience'.. At first, Repeal Coalition members tried to talk them out of this action, but the youth explained, 'We are going to lose our fear because it is the fear of being arrested or the fear of being deported that fuels the inability of political action'". The bravery and vision of these youth has inspired Fernandez to continue to search for new and bold ways to take action, rather than just continually respond to right wing attacks. "We need to set the agenda," explains Fernandez. "We have to say, 'No, you're going to react to us'". Despite a range of tactics and philosophies, one thing organizers here have in common is a dedication to exporting the lessons of their struggle. While Arizona's law is the first and most draconian, similar laws are pending across the country. And during this current national economic crisis, more and more politicians have found that they can score political points by demonizing immigrants. "The last two months we've had a lot of people calling us asking what they can do to help Arizona," says Fernandez. "We say, organize in your own town. You don't have to come to Arizona because Arizona is coming to you". Jordan Flaherty is a journalist, an editor of Left Turn Magazine, and a staffer with the Louisiana Justice Institute. Haymarket Books has just released his new book, FLOODLINES: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six. He can be reached at neworleans [at] leftturn.org. --------12 of 15-------- Feeding Frenzy Government Has Run Amok Since 9/11 By SHELDON RICHMAN July 29, 2010 CounterPunch Those who understand the exploitative nature of big government suspected that the U.S. response to the 9/11 attacks had little to do with the security of the American people and much to do with power and money. Still, the magnitude of the scam, as revealed by the Washington Post last week, is astonishing. Naturally, the politicians justify the growth in intelligence operations on national security grounds. To make sure such attacks never happen again, they said, new powers, agencies, personnel, and facilities were imperative. Now the truth is out: the post-9/11 activity has been an obscene feeding frenzy at the public trough. Any resemblance to efforts at keeping Americans safe is strictly coincidental. "The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work" the Post's Dana Priest and William Arkin write. "After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine". It would be a mistake to chalk up the government's conduct to bureaucratic bumbling. This is not bumbling. It is highway robbery. Everyone who was well connected, either in government or the "private" sector, wanted a piece of the action, and chances are that he - and many others - got it. It doesn't matter that multiple agencies do the same work and keep their findings secret from one another. It doesn't matter that the volume of paperwork is beyond anyone's capacity to absorb it. What matters is money, power, and prestige. This is the mother of all boondoggles. Chew on some of the numbers from the Post investigation and see if it sounds as though protection of American society was a national-intelligence priority: * .Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.. * .An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.. * .In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space.. Moreover, the Post writes, "51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks," and "Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year - a volume so large that many are routinely ignored. (emphasis added). Since 9/11 no fewer than 263 intelligence and counterterrorism organizations have been "created or reorganized". And what about cost? "The U.S. intelligence budget is vast, publicly announced last year as $75 billion, 2 1/2 times the size it was on Sept. 10, 2001. But the figure doesn't include many military activities or domestic counterterrorism programs". In other words, no one knows how much the whole thieving operation costs. According to Priest and Arkin, "[Many] officials who work in the intelligence agencies say they remain unclear about what the [Office of the Director of National Intelligence] is in charge of". It comes as no surprise that the mega-bureaucracy isn't even much help fighting wars: "When Maj. Gen. John M. Custer was the director of intelligence at U.S. Central Command, he grew angry at how little helpful information came out of the [National Counterterrorism Center]. In 2007, he visited its director at the time, retired Vice Adm. John Scott Redd, to tell him so. 'I told him that after 4 1/2 years, this organization had never produced one shred of information that helped me prosecute three wars!' he said loudly, leaning over the table during an interview" (emphasis added). These revelations should have any professed opponent of big government screaming bloody murder. So far the silence from conservatives has been deafening. Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation (www.fff.org) and editor of The Freeman magazine. --------13 of 15-------- Abandoning the Manufacturing Sector Taft-Hartley Revisited By DAVID MACARAY July 28, 2010 CounterPunch "The most effective anti-poverty program ever invented was the labor union". -George Meany There are three important things that need to be remembered about the 1947 Labor-Management Relations Act - commonly known as the "Taft-Hartley Act," after its congressional sponsors, Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, and House Representative Fred Hartley of New Jersey. First, even though political pundits and social commentators continue to talk - 60-odd years after the fact - about how Taft-Hartley was a necessary corrective, an antidote to runaway union excesses, a move that had to made to preserve the economic health of the nation, the legislation was far more toxic and insidious than these "reasonable response" accounts make it out to be. Taft-Hartley was the naked attempt to neutralize America's unions by revoking key provisions of the landmark 1935 National Labor Relations Act (commonly known as the "Wagner Act," after its sponsor, New York Senator Robert Wagner), the act that legitimized a union's right to strike, engage in collective bargaining, and serve as the workers' sole representative. Make no mistake, the vitality of the post-World War II labor movement was staggering - so staggering, in fact, that the federal government and America's leading corporations were in a state of panic. It's no exaggeration to say that never in our history had organized labor come so close to becoming an equal partner in the national economy than in the years directly following the war. Not only were unions full of confidence and buoyed by the support of a sympathetic public, they were fearless. In 1946, the year before Taft-Hartley became law, five million people had taken part in strikes. Five million people had put down their tools or shut off their machines to hit the bricks, to protest the fortunes made by war profiteers, to protest the picayune wages being offered union members. However, even though the working class was clearly on the ascendancy and the road ahead appeared wide-open, there were storm clouds gathering on the horizon. The realization that working men and women were now wielding genuine power - power that translated into independent political and economic clout - was scaring the wits out of the Establishment. It was that fear that precipitated the legislation. Second, the Taft-Hartley Act did precisely what it set out to do. It crippled the labor movement. Among other things, it outlawed wildcat strikes, jurisdictional strikes, solidarity strikes, secondary boycotts and secondary picketing; and, in an odd footnote, it required union leaders to take an oath that they weren't Communists (as if anyone who sided with the working class was a suspected Commie). Taft-Hartley prolonged the union certification process; it gave the federal government the right to issue strike injunctions; it expressly excluded supervisors from union membership and collective bargaining; and it severely weakened the union security clause (language under which joining a union was a condition of employment). By lengthening the certification process, management could now stall; with injunction power, the feds could now squelch any large-scale strike; by excluding supervision, bosses could now reclassify workers as "supervisors," thereby exempting them from union membership; and by de-fanging the security clause, 22 states now have right-to-work laws - five of which (Arkansas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Kansas and Florida) are embedded in state constitutions. The third thing to remember about Taft-Hartley is that, while it became the law of the land despite the veto of President Harry Truman, it was [two-faced -ed] congressional Democrats who assured its passage. Liberals and progressives like to place the blame on anti-union Republicans, but it was the Democrats themselves who pushed it across the finish line. Fact: A majority of the Democrats in congress voted to override Truman's veto. While many were Southerners ("Dixiecrats"), many were not. Had the Democrats simply supported their president - had they provided working people with the economic equivalent of the same privileges guaranteed to citizens under the Bill of Rights - Taft-Hartley would not have become law. All of which raises a question: If American voters were given the choice, how would they choose to be governed? Would they prefer that Big Business - with the blessings of a corporate-oriented government - dictated our domestic and foreign affairs? Or would they prefer giving working men and women an equal voice in determining policy? We can argue all we like about the practicality of regular citizens making national policy, but one thing can't be disputed: If regular citizens had been running the show, they never would have abandoned our manufacturing base. They never would have agreed to enrich international oligarchies at the expense of the American economy. Taking the greatest manufacturing power in the history of the world and dismantling it - relegating it to the role of industrial "spectator" - is something that working people would never allow to happen. Never. Only the U.S. Congress would see the wisdom in pissing away something that took 150 years to build. David Macaray, a Los Angeles playwright, is the author of .It.s Never Been Easy: Essays on Modern Labor.. He served 9 terms as president of AWPPW Local 672. He can be reached at dmacaray [at] earthlink.net --------14 of 15-------- The Electrical Workers Union versus President Calderon: Class, Struggle, Represion and the Rise of Narco-Power by James Petras July 29th, 2010 Dissident Voice We are confronting a monster; a force that ridicules, deceives and wants to destroy us. - Miguel Angel Ibara, member of the Mexican Electrical Workers Union, (SME) on the 80th day of a hunger strike.1 There is a direct relation between the rise of criminal gangs, the deepening of neo-liberalism and the repression of social movements and trade unions. Mexican President Calderon's firing of over 44,000 unionized electrical workers is the latest in a series of repressive acts which have shattered the social fabric of society. The denial of meaningful, well remunerated employment and the criminalization of legitimate trade unions like the Mexican Electrical Union (SME) has led to mass immigration and to an increasing number of young people joining the drug gangs. State repression and electoral corruption has prevented Mexican workers from redressing their grievances through legal channels and has aided and abetted the rise of a parallel narco-state which controls vast regions of the country and which recruits young men and women seeking to escape poverty. Over the past 25 years, Mexico has regressed socially, economically and politically as a result of the neo-liberal offensive, which began with the stolen election of 1988 in which Carlos Salinas robbed Cuahtemoc Cardenas of the presidency. Subsequently, Salinas signed the free trade agreement, NAFTA, which led to the bankruptcy of over 10 million Mexican farmers, peasants and small urban retail shop owners, driving many to immigrate, others to join social movements and some to revolt as was the case with EZLN. Over 10 million Mexicans emigrated since NAFTA. State repression and the forced isolation of the EZLN, in Chiapas and other rural movements in Guerrero, Michoacan and elsewhere, the denial of rural justice, forced may peasants to flee to the urban slums where some eventually became members of the emerging narco-gangs. By the turn of the new millennium Mexico's experiment with neo-liberal "reforms" deepened the systemic crises - inequalities widened, the economy stagnated and poverty increased. As a result, millions of Mexicans fled across the border into North America or joined popular movements attempting to change the system. Two powerful social and political movements emerged, which sought to reverse Mexico's slide into political decay and social disintegration. On the political front Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the Presidential candidate of a broad citizens coalition, led millions to an electoral victory in 2006 - only to be denied through massive voting fraud perpetrated by supporters of Calderon. The second force, a coalition of trade unions and social movements, led by SME, fought to preserve the public social security system and state ownership of the electrical system from privatization and exploitation by the voracious predator foreign and domestic capitalist class. Mass mobilizations involving hundreds of thousands marched in Mexico City and throughout the provinces, while millions of consumers expressed their solidarity, as did all of the major trade unions in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere. What was at stake was not merely the jobs of the unionized electrical workers and the social security system but one of the most effective social movements defending a social safety net for the working class. By attacking SME and the social security system, one of the last major social institutions providing social cohesion, Caldera and the judicial system were further denying Mexicans legal political and social instruments through which they could aspire to defend their living standards. By destroying the social net via the privatization of public programs and institutions, by repressing vital social movements like the Zapatistas in Chiapas, the teachers and trade unions in Oaxaca and the SME in Mexico City, the Mexican State is effectively denying hope for improvement via democratic political processes. Neoliberal stagnation, state repression of democratic popular movements and the repeated theft of electoral victories by peoples movements in 1987 and 2006 has led to widespread and profound disillusion with politics as usual. Even more ominously it has turned thousands of Mexican youth into enemies of the state, and toward membership in the numerous violent narco-gangs. The Mexican states' rejection of peaceful electoral changes and its repression and denial of the rights of social movements like the SME has left few outlets for the mass frustrations which are percolating under the surface of society. In the last four years over 25,000 police, soldiers, civilians and narco members have been assassinated in every region of the country. Despite Calderon's militarization of the country, the 40,000 soldiers in the streets have failed to prevent the escalation of violence, clearly demonstrating the failure of the repressive option to end violence and prevent the disintegration of Mexico into a "failed state". The recovery and reconstruction of Mexico, begins with strengthening the social fabric of Mexican society - the promotion of the urban and social movements and in particular the mass democratic trade unions like the SME. These movements and trade unions are the essential building blocks for the transformation of Mexican society: the end of neo-liberalism, the repudiation of NAFTA and the reconstruction of a powerful public sector under workers control. To fight the twin evils of the corrupt militarized neo-liberal state and the violent parallel narco-state, which currently exploit and terrorize the country, a new mass based political-social movement which combines the solidarity of the trade unions like the SME and the popular appeal of political leaders like Lopez Obrador must coalesce and offer a radical program of national reconstruction and social justice. The alternative is the further disintegration of the Mexican state and the descent into a condition of unending generalized violence, where the rich live in armed fortresses and the poor are subject to the violent depredations of the military and the narco terrorists. 1.La Jornada, July 18, 2010. [.] James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, owns a 50-year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina, and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed Books). Petras. most recent book is Zionism, Militarism and the Decline of US Power (Clarity Press, 2008). He can be reached at: jpetras [at] binghamton.edu. Read other articles by James, or visit James's website. --------15 of 15-------- [Some song lyrics just beg to be improved. Here's one that did so, on its knees of note, to the first song improver to come along. -ed improved song lyrics TOO DUMB They try to tell us we're too dumb Too dumb to really be a Dem They say that Dem's a word A word we've only heard But can't begin to know the meaning of And yet we're not too dumb to know The Dems will last though brains may go And then some day they may recall We were not too dumb at all ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress for governor now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 Research almost any topic raised here at: CounterPunch http://counterpunch.org Dissident Voice http://dissidentvoice.org Common Dreams http://commondreams.org Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones
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