Progressive Calendar 07.29.10
From: David Shove (
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]
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

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_ (
_kenpentel [at] yahoo.com_
( [at]
(612)  387-0601

--------2 of 15--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
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]
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]

--------4 of 15--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
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]

--------5 of 15--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: War/identity 7.29 7pm

Art Exhibit Opening: "The Art of Conflict: Identity in War and
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 , email
info [at] or call 952-545-9981.

--------6 of 15--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
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.
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]

From: David Shove <shove001 [at]>

Blue Moon Coffee House
39th & EAST Lake Mpls
About 1.5 miles west of the river
Lots of free on-street parking. Bus line.

--------7 of 15--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
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

--------8 of 15--------

From: Jason Stone <jason.stone [at]>
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.

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:
And more here:

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]>
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

--------10 of 15--------

Zilch for You Know Who
Trillions for Wall Street
July 29, 2010

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 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

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

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]

[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
July 29, 2010

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

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]

--------12 of 15--------

Feeding Frenzy
Government Has Run Amok Since 9/11
July 29, 2010

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

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

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

Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation
( and editor of The Freeman magazine.

--------13 of 15--------

Abandoning the Manufacturing Sector
Taft-Hartley Revisited
July 28, 2010

"The most effective anti-poverty program ever invented was the labor
  -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

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]

--------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

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] 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]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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