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Archive for February 22nd, 2011

Late, Late Night FDL: Union Maid

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 22nd, 2011 5:48 am by HL

Late, Late Night FDL: Union Maid
Billy Bragg performing Woody Guthrie’s Union Maid…

Billy Bragg and Co. — “Union Maid”

Woody Guthrie is more relevant today than ever before…!

We’re all Cheese Heads today…

If you’d like to contribute to their cause please see newdealfarmgrrrlll’s excellent diary… Supporting the Protesters in Madison

What’s on your mind tonite…?

Tragedy upon Tragedy
Earthquake in Christchurch, revolution (and repression) in Libya.

Christchurch Cathedral as it was via tkw954 at flickr.com

That is Christchurch Cathedral before the latest earthquake that struck overnight. Here is how it is looking now. At this point at least 65 have died.

Meanwhile, in Libya, it is even worse:

Human Rights Watch reported that at least 223 people had been killed in three days, not including the deaths on Monday. There were no immediate accounts of the Monday toll.

Monday’s toll was undoubtedly bad considering:

Two Libyan fighter jets landed in Malta on Monday. The pilots reported that they had been ordered to bomb Libya’s second-largest city, Benghazi, the cradle of the six-day-old uprising. But the pilots chose to defect instead.

It seems like only yesterday…because it virtually was, that our last President was bragging about normalizing relations with Gaddafi’s regime. His unblemished record continues.


Tweeting Noise

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 22nd, 2011 5:47 am by HL

Tweeting Noise

By Cam Cardow, The Ottawa Citizen

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American Nabbed in Pakistan Has CIA Ties
Last month’s arrest in Pakistan of one Raymond Davis, an American working security for other U.S. operatives in Lahore—and an American with clear employment ties to the CIA and previously to Blackwater Worldwide—has made for additional diplomatic strain between the two nations.  —KA The New York Times: Without describing Mr. Davis’s mission or intelligence affiliation, President Obama last week made a public plea for his release. Meanwhile, there have been a flurry of private phone calls to Pakistan from Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all intended to persuade the Pakistanis to release the secret operative. Mr. Davis has worked for years as a C.I.A. contractor, including time at Blackwater Worldwide, the controversial private security firm (now called Xe) that Pakistanis have long viewed as symbolizing a culture of American gun slinging overseas. The New York Times had agreed to temporarily withhold information about Mr. Davis’s ties to the agency at the request of the Obama administration, which argued that disclosure of his specific job would put his life at risk. Several foreign news organizations have disclosed some aspects of Mr. Davis’s work with the C.I.A. On Monday, American officials lifted their request to withhold publication. George Little, a C.I.A. spokesman, declined to comment specifically on the Davis matter, but said in a statement: “Our security personnel around the world act in a support role providing security for American officials. They do not conduct foreign intelligence collection or covert operations.” Read more

Last month’s arrest in Pakistan of one Raymond Davis, an American working security for other U.S. operatives in Lahore—and an American with clear employment ties to the CIA and previously to Blackwater Worldwide—has made for additional diplomatic strain between the two nations.? —KA

The New York Times:

Without describing Mr. Davis’s mission or intelligence affiliation, President Obama last week made a public plea for his release. Meanwhile, there have been a flurry of private phone calls to Pakistan from Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all intended to persuade the Pakistanis to release the secret operative. Mr. Davis has worked for years as a C.I.A. contractor, including time at Blackwater Worldwide, the controversial private security firm (now called Xe) that Pakistanis have long viewed as symbolizing a culture of American gun slinging overseas.

The New York Times had agreed to temporarily withhold information about Mr. Davis’s ties to the agency at the request of the Obama administration, which argued that disclosure of his specific job would put his life at risk. Several foreign news organizations have disclosed some aspects of Mr. Davis’s work with the C.I.A.

On Monday, American officials lifted their request to withhold publication. George Little, a C.I.A. spokesman, declined to comment specifically on the Davis matter, but said in a statement: “Our security personnel around the world act in a support role providing security for American officials. They do not conduct foreign intelligence collection or covert operations.”

Read more

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PHOTOS: The Best Wisconsin Protest Signs

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 22nd, 2011 5:46 am by HL

PHOTOS: The Best Wisconsin Protest Signs
The protests continue in Wisconsin, as Governor Scott Walker said Monday he will not back down from his controversial budget bill. As typical with rallies,…

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Dear Washington DC: The Public Is Smarter About Money (and Deficits) Than You Are
Some condescending politicians and pundits never miss an opportunity to talk down to the American people, especially when it comes to budgets. The members of…

HuffPost TV: WATCH: Howard Fineman Talks GOP Budget Cuts On “Hardball”
The Huffington Post’s Senior Political Editor Howard Fineman, along with The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson, appeared on MSNBC’s “Hardball” tonight to discuss the House GOP’s…

Huckabee: Birther Issue Is ‘Nonsense’
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Monday that birthers are wasting “time and energy” with their insistence that President Obama was not actually born in…


Fox Says Anti-Union Bill Is Need To Balance OH Budget, But Bill’s Author Disagrees

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 22nd, 2011 5:45 am by HL

Fox Says Anti-Union Bill Is Need To Balance OH Budget, But Bill’s Author Disagrees

Fox News’ Special Report portrayed legislation that would restrict the collective bargaining rights of public workers in Ohio as “the only way” to balance the state’s budget. However, even the State Senator who introduced the bill acknowledges that it will not “solve Ohio’s immediate budget problems.”

Special Report Portrays Ohio’s Anti-Union Bill As Necessary To Balance The Budget

Special Report: Ohio Governor Says “The Only Way” To Balance State Budget Is To Cut Collective Bargaining For Public Workers. From a Fox News report on Ohio legislation that would restrict collective bargaining rights of public employees

MCKELWAY: State Senator Kevin Bacon, whose committee holds hearings on this tomorrow, says that collective bargaining is so codified into law in the State of Ohio that it is virtually impossible for the state to balance its budget. 

[…]

Well the man behind this bill, of course, is Governor John Kasich, who rejects all criticism that this is a union-busting bill. He says this is the only way that he can get this state out of an $8 billion hole.

KASICH: If we get that done we balance our budget, $8 billion in the hole, without a tax increase, and we’ve cut taxes on income taxes, that’s going to send the message to the rest of the country that if they can do it there, they can do it in their state. And then maybe – guess what – they might actually be able to do something like this in Washington. We at least hope so.  

In Fact, The Bill Has Nothing To Do With Ohio’s Current Budget Deficit

Ohio Senator Shannon Jones Acknowledges Bill Will Not “Solve Ohio’s Immediate Budget Problems.” The ColumbusDispatch reported:

State Sen. Shannon Jones, R- Springboro, who is sponsoring the bill to eliminate collective bargaining for Ohio’s state employees, acknowledged in testimony before a Senate committee that her bill would not “solve Ohio’s immediate budget problems,” but she said it would “make a significant difference in future budgets.” [Columbus Dispatch, 2/20/11]

Dispatch: Jones “Not Pitching The Idea As The Solution To Ohio’s Budget Woes.” In December the Dispatch reported:

Sen. Shannon Jones, R-Springboro, plans to introduce a bill that would eliminate collective bargaining for state workers and weaken unions’ bargaining power at the local level.

Jones said yesterday that she’s not pitching the idea as the solution to Ohio’s budget woes.

“Nobody disagrees with the fact that we are in a time of declining revenues,” Jones said. “This is about giving management the ability to manage the largest cost in state and local government, and that is its work force.” [Columbus Dispatch12/31/10]

Report: Collective-Bargaining Rights Are Not Associated With Higher Deficits

Policy Matters Ohio: “The Right Of Public Workers To Unionize Is Not Driving The Fiscal Crisis Of States.” From Policy Matters Ohio:

We found that on average, the budget gaps of states with and without collective bargaining for public employees are similar in 2011:

  • The 9 states with no collective bargaining rights for any public employees face an average budget shortfall of 16.5 percent in the current fiscal year, while the 15 states (including the District of Columbia) with collective bargaining for all public employees face an average budget shortfall of 16.2 percent.
  • For the 42 states (including the District of Columbia) with some (or all) collective bargaining rights for some (or all) public workers, the 2011 budget gap averages 16.6 percent.
  • The 31 states (including the District of Columbia) with collective rights for state workers face an average budget gap of 17.6 percent while those without rights for state workers face an average budget shortfall of 15.1 percent. These numbers are all very close.

The point is, the right of public workers to unionize is not driving the fiscal crisis of states. [Policy Matters Ohio,12/30/10]


Nir Rosen on Lara Logan Tweets: “I Was A Jerk” (VIDEO)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 22nd, 2011 5:44 am by HL

Nir Rosen on Lara Logan Tweets: “I Was A Jerk” (VIDEO)
Anderson Cooper took journalist Nir Rosen to task last night for his inappropriate tweets about CBS chief foreign affairs correspondent Lara Logan, who was attacked and sexually assaulted in Cairo’s Tahrir Square during the chaotic celebration following Hosni Mubarak’s resignation….

U.S. Officials Admit American Arrested In Pakistan Worked With CIA
American government officials now say that Raymond Davis, the American man arrested in Pakistan last month after shooting two men dead in Lahore, was part of a covert, C.I.A.-led team of operatives, according to The New York Times.

Report: Investigators Looking At Rivera’s Relationship With Consultant
State and local investigators looking into the personal finances and campaign accounts of freshman Rep. David Rivera (R-FL) are also looking into his relationship with a political consultant who has received $817,000 in fees from Rivera’s campaigns or affiliated political committees since 2006, The Miami Herald reports.


Crapitalism Rules?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 22nd, 2011 5:41 am by HL

Crapitalism Rules?


Wisconsin Republicans to Move Other Legislation

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 22nd, 2011 5:40 am by HL

Wisconsin Republicans to Move Other Legislation
With Wisconsin “braced for another week of protests and deadlock over a budget bill that would severely restrict public employees’ unions here,” the New York Times reports Republicans in the state Senate announced that the body would resume consideration of other matters.

“The move seemed intended to increase the discomfort of the Democratic state senators who have fled the state as a way of preventing a vote on the union legislation. Starting Tuesday, those senators, who are in Illinois, will have to watch from afar as Republicans continue the work of governing without them, taking up matters from the mundane to the controversial.”

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel notes Republicans may “force a vote soon on a bill that is abhorred by Democrats: requiring people to show an ID at the polls.”

A quorum of 20 votes is needed for lawmakers to take up fiscal matters, but just 17 votes on other matters. Republicans hold 19 senate seats.

Palin Show Received Public Funding
The company that produced Sarah Palin’s Alaska, the TLC show starring the former vice presidential nominee, is set to receive $1.2 million in state subsidies, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

The funding has led to criticism that then-Gov. Palin may have approved of tax credits for programs filmed in Alaska as a way of boosting her profile in the future. The subsidies under the law run until 2013.


Notorious Pro-Corporate Group ALEC’s Hidden Role in Stoking Class War in Wisconsin and the Rest of America

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 22nd, 2011 5:38 am by HL

Notorious Pro-Corporate Group ALEC’s Hidden Role in Stoking Class War in Wisconsin and the Rest of America
The American Legislative Executive Council works behind the scenes, using state-legislative stooges to implement the agenda of giant corporations and the super-rich.

From Food Crisis to Food Sovereignty: The Challenge of Social Movements
Agroecologist Eric Holt-Gimenez warns of the capitalist drive behind the resurgence of a Green Revolution in the fight to overcome the food crisis.


Should He, or Shouldn’t He – Obama & Mideast Peace

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 22nd, 2011 5:37 am by HL

Should He, or Shouldn’t He – Obama & Mideast Peace
I’d really really like to add a full-throated ‘go for it’ to the chorus calling on President Obama to offer his own framework for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Bernard’s NYT Magazine piece yesterday was mighty convincing about the gap between the sides…


Where to Find a Trillon Dollars
Even by Washington standards, a trillion dollars is a lot of money. That’s approximately the figure for the cumulative savings President Obama wants to extract from proposed federal budgets over the next ten years. While some of the money would…


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Leader Of Egyptian Unions To Wisconsin Protesters: ?We Stand With You As You Stood With Us?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 22nd, 2011 5:36 am by HL

Leader Of Egyptian Unions To Wisconsin Protesters: ?We Stand With You As You Stood With Us?

One of the most underreported stories about the pro-democracy movement in Egypt was the role of labor unions in the demonstrations, many of which were protesting against neoliberal right-wing economic policies just as much as they were protesting against the Mubarak dictatorship. During the uprising in that country, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka praised the role of organized labor, saying, “The people’s movement for democracy in Egypt and the role unions are playing for freedom and worker rights inspires us and will not be forgotten.”

Now, as tens of thousands of union members and other Wisconsin residents are taking to the streets to protest against Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) attempt to abolish collective bargaining rights for most public workers, a leader of Egypt’s largest umbrella group of independent labor unions is praising the Wisconsin movement. In a videotaped statement, Kamal Abbas, the General Coordinator of the Centre for Trade Unions and Workers Services, tells the Wisconsin protesters, “We stand with you as you stood with us.” He says “no one believed” that the revolution against the Mubarak regime would succeed, yet they were able to bring the dictator down within 18 days. He encourages demonstrators to stay strong, saying, “Don’t give up on your rights. Victory always belongs to the people who stand firm and demand their just rights”:

I am speaking to you from a place very close to Tahrir Square in Cairo, “Liberation Square”, which was the heart of the Revolution in Egypt. This is the place were many of our youth paid with their lives and blood in the struggle for our just rights. From this place, I want you to know that we stand with you as you stood with us. […]

No one believed that our revolution could succeed against the strongest dictatorship in the region. But in 18 days the revolution achieved the victory of the people. When the working class of Egypt joined the revolution on 9 and 10 February, the dictatorship was doomed and the victory of the people became inevitable. We want you to know that we stand on your side. Stand firm and don’t waiver. Don’t give up on your rights. Victory always belongs to the people who stand firm and demand their just rights.

Watch it:

Last week, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) said there are “similarities” between the movements in Egypt and Wisconsin, in that “that people are wanting to be heard, and they are taking direct action.” Additionally, Ian’s on State Street, a pizza place near the Wisconsin capitol building, has been taking orders from Egypt for Wisconsin activists. While the actions that Walker and Mubarak are taking are far from directly analogous, many demonstrators have taken to drawing satirical comparisons. Following Walker’s threat to call in the National Guard to deal with a labor strike, activists launched the site Mini Mubarak, humorously comparing the governor’s threat to the actions of the now-resigned Egyptian autocrat. (H/T: Michael Moore)

Disgraced Former Tea Party Leader Calls On Right-Wing Activists To Pose As SEIU Organizers

National tea party groups like Americans for Prosperity have been bussing conservative activists to Madison, WI to confront protesters there standing up to Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) union busting. But Tea Party Nation and Mark Williams, the disgraced former chairman of Tea Party Express, who was forced to resign after making offensive racial comments, are calling for a more radical approach. In an email alert to supporters sent last night, Tea Party Nation promotes Williams’ “great idea” to impersonate SEIU organizers at upcoming labor rallies in an attempt to embarrass and discredit the union.

Williams lays out a highly dishonest and fairly involved scheme to have “plants” sign up on the SEIU website to be organizers for an upcoming rally, dress up in SEIU shirts, and to then make outrageous comments to reporters covering the events in order to “make the gathering look as greedy and goonish as we know that it is”:

That link will take you to an SEIU page where you can sign up as an “organizer” for one of their upcoming major rallies to support the union goons in Wisconsin. Here is what I am doing in Sacramento, where they are holding a 5:30 PM event this coming Tuesday: (1) I signed up as an organizer (2) with any luck they will contact me and I will have an “in” (3) in or not I will be there and am asking as many other people as can get there to come with, all of us in SEIU shirts (those who don’t have them we can possibly buy some from vendors likely to be there) (4) we are going to target the many TV cameras and reporters looking for comments from the members there (5) we will approach the cameras to make good pictures… signs under our shirts that say things like “screw the taxpayer!” and “you OWE me!” to be pulled out for the camera (timing is important because the signs will be taken away from us. […]

Our goal is to make the gathering look as greedy and goonish as we know that it is, ding their credibility with the media and exploit the lazy reporters who just want dramatic shots and outrageous quotes for headlines. Even if it becomes known that we are plants the quotes and pictures will linger as defacto truth.

Williams is even hoping to make a few bucks off the idea, asking readers to “Please contribute!!!” as “I need to travel beyond Sacramento to the other SEIU rally cities and then Madison, and in short order!”

And Williams has no qualms about employing this treachery, telling his “plants”: “Chances are that because I am publishing this they’ll catch wind, but it is worth the chance if you take it upon yourself to act.” In an update, Williams say activists in Iowa, Colorado, Massachusetts, “and several other states” were already on board, and he said “Tea Party Patriot groups and individuals are flooding me with emails vowing to participate and come up with their own creative ruses!”

Williams’ plan appears to have been taken down from both Tea Party Nation and Williams’ own site, suggesting they perhaps realize this plan is entirely in the wrong, but view a cached version here, and screen grabs here and here.