Meanwhile in Lansing

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan House approved the first of two right-to-work bills Tuesday that would weaken union power in the historical labor stronghold as hundreds of protesters rallied at the Capitol. The Republican-dominated chamber passed a measure dealing with public-sector workers 58-51 as protesters shouted “shame on you” from the gallery and huge crowds of union backers massed in the state Capitol halls and on the grounds. (Washington Post)

Lansing, Michigan: Thousands of union workers and community members flood the front lawn of the state Capitol to protest union-busting legislation, December 11, 2012. (via)

Feefees hurt in Michigan: Tea Party advocates protest union supporters, get yelled at

Joe.My.God: “Early this morning Tea Party advocates traded screams with union supporters on the steps of the Michigan Capitol Building.  Breitbart has posted the below video.”


WHERE do these plutocracy-supporting, low-wage-jobs-loving, Koch and Walton ass-kissing, shoot-themselves-in-the-foot people come from?

How Wall Street’s plutocrats consumed American industry and its blue-collar heart

Steve Fraser discusses the “archaeology of decline,” or “another Great Migration — instead of people, though, trillions of dollars were being sucked out of industrial America and turned into “financial instruments” and new, exotic forms of wealth.  If blue-collar Americans were the particular victims here, then high finance is what consumed them.  Now, it promises to consume the rest of us.”

Camden, New Jersey, for example, had long been a robust, diversified small industrial city.  By the early 1970s, however, its reform mayor Angelo Errichetti was describing it this way: “It looked like the Vietcong had bombed us to get even.  The pride of Camden… was now a rat-infested skeleton of yesterday, a visible obscenity of urban decay.  The years of neglect, slumlord exploitation, tenant abuse, government bungling, indecisive and short-sighted policy had transformed the city’s housing, business, and industrial stock into a ravaged, rat-infested cancer on a sick, old industrial city.”

That was 40 years ago and yet, today, news stories are still being written about Camden’s never-ending decline into some bottomless abyss.  Consider that a measure of how long it takes to shut down a way of life.

Once upon a time, Youngstown, Ohio, was a typical smokestack city, part of the steel belt running through Pennsylvania and Ohio.  As with Camden, things there started turning south in the 1970s.  From 1977 to 1987, the city lost 50,000 jobs in steel and related industries.  By the late 1980s, the years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency when it was “morning again in America,” it was midnight in Youngstown: foreclosures, an epidemic of business bankruptcies, and everywhere collapsing community institutions including churches, unions, families, and the municipal government itself.

Burglaries, robberies, and assaults doubled after the steel plants closed.  In two years, child abuse rose by 21%, suicides by 70%. One-eighth of Mahoning County went on welfare.  Streets were filled with dead storefronts and the detritus of abandoned homes: scrap metal and wood shingles, shattered glass, stripped-away home siding, canning jars, and rusted swing sets.  Each week, 1,500 people visited the Salvation Army’s soup line.

The Wall Street Journal called Youngstown “a necropolis,” noting miles of “silent, empty steel mills” and a pervasive sense of fear and loss.  Bruce Springsteen would soon memorialize that loss in “The Ghost of Tom Joad.”

And no one can forget Detroit. Once, it had been a world-class city, the country’s fourth largest, full of architectural gems.  In the 1950s, Detroit had a population with the highest median income and highest rate of home ownership in urban America.  Now, the “motor city” haunts the national imagination as a ghost town. Home to two million a quarter-century ago, its decrepit hulk is now “home” to 900,000.  Between 2000 and 2010 alone, the population hemorrhaged by 25%, nearly a quarter of a million people, almost as many as live in post-Katrina New Orleans.  There and in other core industrial centers like Baltimore, “death zones” have emerged where whole neighborhoods verge on medical collapse.

One-third of Detroit, an area the size of San Francisco, is now little more than empty houses, empty factories, and fields gone feral.  A whole industry of demolition, waste-disposal, and scrap-metal companies arose to tear down what once had been. With a jobless rate of 29%, some of its citizens are so poor they can’t pay for funerals, so bodies pile up at mortuaries.  Plans are even afoot to let the grasslands and forests take over, or to give the city to private enterprise.

Unprecedented for the United States, these numbers come close to the catastrophic decline Russian men experienced in the desperate years following the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Similarly, between 1985 and 2010, American women fell from 14th to 41st place in the United Nation’s ranking of international life expectancy. (Among developed countries, American women now rank last.)  Whatever combination of factors produced this social statistic, it may be the rawest measure of a society in the throes of economic anorexia.

One other marker of this eerie story of a developed nation undergoing underdevelopment and a striking reproach to a cherished national faith: for the first time since the Great Depression, the social mobility of Americans is moving in reverse.  In every decade from the 1970s on, fewer people have been able to move up the income ladder than in the previous 10 years.  Now Americans in their thirties earn 12% less on average than their parents’ generation at the same age.  Danes, Norwegians, Finns, Canadians, Swedes, Germans, and the French now all enjoy higher rates of upward mobility than Americans.  Remarkably, 42% of American men raised in the bottom one-fifth income cohort remain there for life, as compared to 25% in Denmark and 30% in notoriously class-stratified Great Britain.

Meanwhile, for more than a quarter of a century the fastest growing part of the economy has been the finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) sector.  Between 1980 and 2005, profits in the financial sector increased by 800%, more than three times the growth in non-financial sectors.  …In the early 1990s, for example, there were a couple of hundred hedge funds; by 2007, 10,000 of them.  A whole new species of mortgage broker roamed the land, supplanting old-style savings and loan or regional banks.  Fifty thousand mortgage brokerages employed 400,000 brokers, more than the whole U.S. textile industry.  A hedge fund manager put it bluntly, “The money that’s made from manufacturing stuff is a pittance in comparison to the amount of money made from shuffling money around.”

For too long, these two phenomena — the eviscerating of industry and the supersizing of high finance — have been treated as if they had nothing much to do with each other, but were simply occurring coincidentally.

Here, instead, is the fable we’ve been offered: Sad as it might be for some workers, towns, cities, and regions, the end of industry is the unfortunate, yet necessary, prelude to a happier future pioneered by “financial engineers.” Equipped with the mathematical and technological know-how that can turn money into more money (while bypassing the messiness of producing anything), they are our new wizards of prosperity!

Unfortunately, this uplifting tale rests on a categorical misapprehension.  The ascendancy of high finance didn’t just replace an industrial heartland in the process of being gutted; it initiated that gutting and then lived off it, particularly during its formative decades.  The FIRE sector, that is, not only supplanted industry, but grew at its expense — and at the expense of the high wages it used to pay and the capital that used to flow into it.

Think back to the days of junk bonds, leveraged buy-outs, megamergers and acquisitions, and asset stripping in the 1980s and 1990s.  (Think, in fact, of Bain Capital.)  What was getting bought and stripped and closed up supported windfall profits in high-interest-paying junk bonds.  The stupendous fees and commissions that went to those “engineering” such transactions were being picked from the carcass of a century and a half of American productive capacity. The hollowing out of the United States was well under way long before anyone dreamed up the “fiscal cliff.”

Continue reading: Steve Fraser, The National Museum of Industrial Homicide | TomDispatch

And the GOP is calling for MORE austerity cuts for the rest of us while supporting an extension of Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy. How on earth do middle / working class Republican base voters justify this in their minds?

Michelle Malkin is a shitty person, but you already knew that

C&L: Who was today’s official Fox puppet, with all the GEORGE SOROS talking points memorized, defending the “poor, oppressed millionaires and billionaires and standing up to those evil union thugs and Occupy protesters”? None other than good old twitchy, angry Michelle “Internment Camps were a great idea!” Malkin:

According to Michelle Malkin, these strikes aren’t about protecting workers, but are about protecting entrenched big labor power. During an appearance on Your World, Malkin called the protests a “toxic combination of these left-wing activist groups funded by George Soros … along with a rag tag group of Occupiers across the country who’ve been fomenting this kind of agitation for agitation’s sake for more than a year now.”

She stressed, “People really need to understand that these big labor thugs do not have workers interests at heart.”

I didn’t count how many times the words “Soros” and “thug” were used in the video clip, but it was enough to convince me that Fox has subliminal messaging down to an exact science. The thing about both of those words in the context of Walmart and Black Friday? It’s a flat-out lie about George Soros being involved with this strike / boycott — pure Fox creative fiction.

And secondly, if there’s a group of thugs in this current situation, it’s certainly not the unions or the workers or labor. I think the more accurate term we could use here would be corporate thugs – those people who intimidate and rob their workers (and the taxpayers) to keep all the profits for themselves.

I believe Michelle Malkin would defend the money changers in the Temple against Jesus and his 12 thugs — after Fox wrote the talking points for her.

Related: 

Happy Labor Day weekend!


via: destroythegop

UNION.

Some attitudes never change, they merely solidify: Harry S. Truman on ‘the Republicans’

“Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home—but not for housing. They are strong for labor—but they are stronger for restricting labor’s rights. They favor minimum wage—the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all—but they won’t spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine—for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing—but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is a fine thing—so long as it doesn’t spread to all the people. And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.” — Harry S. Truman

via: sarahlee310

Tuesday morning’s 5 moderately interesting things

1) MITT ROMNEY – the GOP’s unofficially official presidential candidate

Mittmentum from here on out — Next month’s contests will take place almost totally in the Northeast — a region where Romney is thus far undefeated. In addition, a few of those states award their delegates on a winner-take-all basis — something only two states have done so far — allowing Romney to expand his delegate lead more quickly than he has to this point. He leads by about 300 delegates overall… Santorum may get a little momentum off his win — as the media continue to question Romney’s appeal to conservatives — but Louisiana is one of the last states that will put a magnifying glass on that problem.

Romney Disses Santorum: “I’m Not Going To Worry Too Much About What Rick Is Saying These Days — Mitt Romney brushed off Rick Santorum’s criticism of his ability to oppose President Barack Obama’s health care law, saying he doesn’t listen to Rick Santorum much anymore. “I’m not going to worry too much about what Rick is saying these days,” Romney said on CNN’s The Situation Room, telling Wolf Blitzer that Santorum is getting more outspoken on the campaign trail as he falls behind. “When you fall further and further behind, you get a little more animated,” he added.

2) ‘BADASS’ SANTORUM — now with improved Macho!

Rick Santorum Would Love to Be Veep of the ‘Worst Republican In Country’ (VIDEO) – Well this is awkward. The good Christian bitches at CBN asked Rick Santorum if he would accept a veep pick from worst Republican in the country Mitt Romney, and instead of pretending there was a chance of beating our Mittens, or cussing him out for asking the question, Rick Santorum said yes!

Rick Santorum Attacked John McCain For His Temper In 2008 Romney Robocall — Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s temper has been the news this morning for attacking a New York Times reporter who questioned characterization of Mitt Romney as the “worst Republican” to run. Santorum snapped at to the reporter saying “quit distorting my words It’s bullshit.” [...] The text of the call: “Hello, this is Senator Rick Santorum calling to let you know I am supporting Mitt Romney and urging you to support him next Tuesday… As a conservative I don’t agree with McCain on many issues and I don’t think he has the temperament and leadership ability to move the country in the right direction. Please join me and other conservative in voting for Mitt Romney this Tuesday.” [image: drunkonstevphen]

Santorum is so BUTCH — A defiant Rick Santorum on Monday defended his weekend attacks on both Mitt Romney over health care and on a New York Times reporter, saying, “If you haven’t cursed out a New York Times reporter during the course of a campaign, you’re not really a real Republican. I just said OK, I’ve had enough of this you-know-what,” Santorum said on “Fox & Friends,” referring to why on Sunday he accused reporter Jeff Zeleny of “bulls——”. “And so that’s what I did and you know, look, we’re out there slugging away … and we’re mixing it up.”

3) THOSE OTHER TWO

Gingrich begins charging $50 for pics at events — In a sign that his campaign is in need of fresh funds, Newt Gingrich on Monday began charging $50 to have a photograph taken with him following a campaign speech to Republican County groups here in the northernmost part of the state. It was the first time the former House speaker has charged those attending one of his public speaking events to pose for a photograph with him. Lately, a member of his campaign staff has been snapping photographs of any interested attendee and later posting them online at the campaign’s website, newt.org. On Monday night, those paying for a photograph were also told they could find their photos on Gingrich’s website, after they had filled out a form providing their credit card information.

Hello, Karma! “Lamestream Media” no longer cares about Newt Gingrich — Newt Gingrich has lost his last embedded print reporters, reporters on the trail confirm. The last two print reporters covering Gingrich full-time on the trail — from POLITICO and the Atlanta Journal Constitution — pulled out on Friday. The Associated Press pulled its embed after Tuesday’s Illinois primary. These and other print outlets will continue to cover Gingrich on occasion, but the sustained traveling press has been reduced to the television networks, which will remain. On the bright side, he’s still faring better than Ron Paul.

Piers Morgan asks Ron Paul why he is still in the race — He noted that Paul had obtained only 71 delegates, far behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. But Paul fired back, saying it was “way too soon” for Morgan “to write anybody off.” “What if Mitt Romney isn’t the best person? Why should we just throw in the towel?” [Paul] continued.

4) AMERICA’S RELIGION PROBLEM

According to Pat Robertson, homosexuality is “related to demonic possession.” Yes, this really is how the religious right thinks. [LGF]

Romney’s cousin: Mormonism is a ‘fraud’ — “There’s compelling evidence that the Mormon Church leaders knowingly and willfully misrepresent the historical truth of their origins and of the church for the purpose of deceiving their members into a state of mind that renders them exploitable,” he explained. [...] But Harvard Kennedy School Prof. Robert Putnam told BBC that the former Massachusetts governor’s religion is not often questioned in the U.S. because Americans value freedom of religion. “It’s not something you’re supposed to talk about,” Putnam said. “Whenever the issue of Romney’s Mormonism has come to the surface, there’s been lots of condemnation across the political spectrum for raising the issue of his religion.” “I’m not saying it’s not relevant, but it’s not talked about in polite company.”

The Religious Frenzy of a Court You Can’t Believe InWhat exactly are these people praying for? Are they praying for a return to the way things were? For the denial of health insurance due to whatever the whimsical opinions of corporate bureaucrats determine to be a pre-existing condition? For the right to be thrown into an overpriced, endlessly gouging “marketplace” the moment when you turn 25, and you’re burdened anyway with usurious student loans? Are they praying that the law be upheld? That the central place the insurance industry holds the way we do health care in this country be guaranteed in what looks like perpetuity, with the government’s power behind it? (This is where the conservative argument falls into incoherence. Conservatives are opposed to the mandate because of, well, Liberty (!), but they never pursue that argument to the point where they might discomfit the insurance companies because of, well, The Market (!). This latter, of course, is why conservatives supported a mandate as a market-based solution in the first place.)

Religious Right Prays for the Supreme Court to Overturn Health Care Reform — With the Supreme Court hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the health care reform law this week, conservative groups are reviving the apocalyptic rhetoric they developed when the law was passed. Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver and Matt Barber discussed the case on today’s Faith & Freedom, where Staver said that if the court did not overturn the law it would set “an incredibly bad precedent that allows huge power grabs, not just in this medical insurance issue but in every place else.” Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice emailed members that the law is an “atrocity.” […] The Christian Defense Coalition plans to “encircle” the Supreme Court to pray “that the President’s Health Care legislation is declared unconstitutional.”

5) CLASS WAR: GOP / ONE PERCENT VS. 99%

Trump’s Sons Under Investigation for African Hunting Trip – Donald Trump Jr., who stars on ” The Celebrity Apprentice” alongside his dad, and his brother Eric sparked outrage among animal lovers on Twitter earlier this month after photos surfaced of the two posing with animals they killed during a 2011 safari trip in Africa. Trump Jr. later defended their actions in part by tweeting, “I’m a hunter, for that I make no apologies.” …Trump Jr. may be a hunter, but TMZ.com reports the independent Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force says the South African safari company the sons used was not registered in Zimbabwe. The task force says Trump Jr. and his brother killed an elephant, a buffalo and a crocodile, among other animals. In one of the leaked pictures, Trump Jr., is seen holding a knife and the cut-off tail of an elephant. [image: Salon]

More tax cuts for T-Mobile! T-Mobile To Lay Off Thousands Of Workers After Taking Millions In Taxpayer Subsidies For Job Creation — About 3,300 employees work at those centers, and the company is planning to lay off at least 1,900 of them, while offering transfers to some (though it doesn’t yet know how many). Adding insult to injury, four of the centers that T-Mobile is closing received taxpayer subsidies worth millions of dollars, according to Good Jobs First: – Frisco, TX: $3.7 million – Brownsville, TX: $5.3 million – Lenexa, KS: $3.9 million – Redmond, OR: $1.3 million These subsidies took several forms, including sales tax exemptions, salary supplements for workers, and job training money. “T-Mobile USA’s decision to close seven call centers, employing 3,300 workers, is a bad one. It harms workers and communities, and in several locations, abuses taxpayers who provided funds to the company in exchange for employment and economic development,” said the Communication Workers of America. || And how big will the CEO bonuses be this year at T-Mobile? HUGE, would be my guess. 

SEIU Campaigning for Retirement Security — SEIU also issued a fact sheet that takes on a number of the right-wing myths that are being spread in an attempt to build support for cutting public pensions. The key points: Seven out of 10 public employee pensions are less than $30,000 a year, making them anything but lavish. Taxpayers pay little to no part of these pensions, which are funded by employee contributions and investment returns. Public pensions have survived for 70 years with no problem and only had any problems because of the financial crash, most of them are starting to return to their earlier strength. Public employees have shown a strong willingness to negotiate to improve pension systems and to work with governments to make through during tough economic times. Massive cuts to public employee pensions will not benefit the economy much or solve state budget crisis, but will be massively destructive to working families. There is no correlation between states that have underfunded pensions and the level of unionization among state workers — unions are not driving the problems we see with pension funding. || RELATEDThe Rachel Maddow Show: SEIU the Next Target for the Right Wing Smear Machine [larger image here]

Five ways Mitt Romney is fighting against unions / the American middle class

“It’s unions … that forged the American middle class—that great engine of prosperity, the greatest that the world has ever known,” President Obama has said.

Mitt Romney not only wants to turn his back on America’s middle-class workers, he’s also launching a new attack on their unions.

Take a look at five of the ways Romney is campaigning against the American worker.

KeepingGOPHonest.com

One word: VOTE

Wednesday morning’s 6 marginally interesting things

1) Rick Santorum

  • Santorum wins in Mississippi and Alabama – Former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) pulled out narrow wins in the Alabama and Mississippi presidential primaries Tuesday, bolstering his claim to being the conservative alternative to Republican front-runner Mitt Romney. “We did it again,” Santorum told cheering supporters in Lafayette, La.; that state will hold its primary March 24. “Who would have thought . . . that ordinary folks from across this country can defy the odds day in and day out?”

2) Mitt Romney

  • Romney Blows Another Chance To Seal The Deal - It’s clear your candidate didn’t have a great night when you have to go on CNN and remind viewers not to forget about the American Samoa caucuses. And Eric Fehrnstrom — the senior Mitt Romney aide who found himself in that precarious position Tuesday night — would probably admit: this was not a great night for his candidate. Despite early attempts to temper expectations for Romney’s performance in Alabama and Mississippi, tight polls and the candidate’s own election-eve bravado created the illusion of an open door — another chance to seal the deal with a big, hard-fought win.
  • Mitt Romney Said He Was Going to Win Alabama – Making it worse, his advisor Eric Fehrnstrom told CNN tonight: “I don’t think anybody expected Mitt to win Alabama or Mississippi. As Mitt said, this was an away game for him, and I think that’s absolutely true.”
  • Romney: Forever Awkward / Tone deaf – Mornin’, y’all,” said Mitt Romney recently to a Mississippi crowd. He started his day off right, he said, with “a biscuit and some cheesy grits.” That would be cheese grits, but never mind. Would Romney greet an audience at a Jewish Community Center with: “Oy vey, did I ever enjoy my loxies and bagels this morning!”? Or African Americans with: “Yo, dawg, wassup?” Actually, yes, he might. Forever tattooed in the memory is the image of Romney approaching an African American baby at a 2008 Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade. Pointing to the baby’s necklace, he said: “What’s happening? You got some bling-bling here!”

3) Your 21st Century Republican Party / American Theocracy

  • McConnell: I’m Filibustering Seventeen Judges Because Reid Made Republicans ‘Look Bad’ – McCONNELL: It is highly unlikely any of these district judges are not going to be confirmed. We’ve done a number of them this year. We’ve done seven this year. District judges are almost never defeated. This is just a very transparent attempt to try to slam dunk the minority and make them look like they are obstructing things they aren’t obstructing. We object to that. We don’t think that meets the standard of civility that should be expected in the Senate. And, so, any effort to make the minority look bad or attempt to slam dunk them that is sort of manufactured as this is is gonna, of course, be greeted with resistance.
  • PA Passes The Most Anti-Democratic, Anti-Environmental Law in The Country - Pennsylvania, where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed and where the U.S. coal, oil and nuclear industries began, has adopted what may be the most anti-democratic, anti-environmental law in the country, giving gas companies the right to drill anywhere, overturn local zoning laws, seize private property and muzzle physicians from disclosing specific health impacts from drilling fluids on patients. The draconian new law, known as Act 13, revises the state’s oil and gas statutes, to allow oil companies to drill for natural gas using the controversial process known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking, where large volumes of water and toxic chemicals are pumped into vertical wells with lateral bores to shatter the rock and release the hydrocarbons. The law strips rights from communities and individuals while imposing new statewide drilling rules.
  • Romney Promises To ‘Get Rid Of’ Planned Parenthood’s Funding – ”The test is pretty simple. Is the program so critical, it’s worth borrowing money from china to pay for it?” Romney said of federal programs. “And on that basis of course you get rid of Obamacare, that’s the easy one. Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that. The subsidy for Amtrack, I’d eliminate that. The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities.”Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s Dawn Laguens responds: When Mitt Romney says he wants to ‘get rid’ of Planned Parenthood, he means getting rid of the preventive health care that three million people a year rely on for cancer screenings, birth control, and other preventive care. This is dangerous and out of step with what most Americans want. Mitt Romney simply can’t be trusted when it comes to women’s health. He supports so-called “personhood laws, opposes making birth control affordable and accessible, and wants to undermine women’s health care… [RSRomney attended a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood in 1994 and his wife donated to the group from their joint checking account.

4) Womenfolk (make me a sandwich!)

  • Another Religious Freedom® Law Will Allow Employers to Fire Women for Using Whore Pills - A proposed new law in Arizona would give employers the power to request that women being prescribed birth control pills provide proof that they’re using it for non-sexual reasons. And because Arizona’s an at-will employment state, that means that bosses critical of their female employees’ sex lives could fire them as a result. [...] Yesterday, a Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed Republican Debbie Lesko‘s HB2625 by a vote of 6-2, which would allow an employer to request proof that a woman using insurance to buy birth control was being prescribed the birth control for reasons other than not wanting to get pregnant. It’s all about freedom, she said, echoing everyone who thinks there’s nothing ironic about claiming that a country that’s “free” allows people’s bosses to dictate what medical care is available to them through insurance. [...] Further, Lesko states, with a straight face, that this bill is necessary because “we live in America; we don’t live in the Soviet Union.” [image: WWJD]
  • Obama team hits Romney for ‘get rid of’ Planned Parenthood comment “Planned Parenthood is a vital health care provider for millions of American women, giving them affordable access to life-saving services like mammograms and cervical cancer screenings,” she added. “Even more offensive is that he would justify on fiscal grounds the elimination of Planned Parenthood, which represents 0.01% of the federal budget, even as he proposes a $5 trillion tax plan that would give massive tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires. Whether it’s his support for the Blunt amendment, which would allow any employer to drop coverage for health care services like contraception because of personal beliefs, or these extreme comments today, it’s clear that American women cannot trust Mitt Romney to stand up for them.”
  • imageFLASHBACK: Limbaugh To “Feminazi[s]“: Love Your Body, “Because Nobody Else Does” – Rush Limbaugh is a pioneer in American misogyny: He popularized the use of the slur “feminazi” against women who seek to be treated equally in our society. Although he originally claimed that the word referred to “a specific type of feminist” and that there were “not many of them,” Limbaugh has routinely used it to attack feminists, abortion-rights advocates, and progressive women alike. In October 2008, he dragged out the slur to attack the National Organization for Women (NOW) for promoting “Love Your Body Day.” In a press release on its website, NOW said the day marked “another year in our campaign to educate and encourage women and girls to say ‘no’ to negative stereotypes and ‘yes’ to awareness, health, and a positive body image.”

5) President / Democratic Party

  • Obama files trade case against China, warns Beijing on ‘skirting the rules’ - China produces at least 90 percent of “rare earths,” and U.S. officials charge that it imposes export restrictions that unfairly raise the prices paid by non-Chinese firms that need those raw materials, making these less competitive on global markets. “We want our companies building those products right here in America. But to do that, American manufacturers need to have access to rare earth materials which China supplies. Now, if China would simply let the market work on its own, we’d have no objections. But their policies currently are preventing that from happening,” Obama said, stressing that the high-tech manufacturing at stake is “too important for us to stand by and do nothing.” The decision struck another blow at China at a time when U.S. lawmakers and other critics of Beijing accuse the rising economic giant of unfair competition that costs U.S. jobs, notably in manufacturing.
  • AFL-CIO ‘enthusiastically’ endorses Obama for reelection – Leaders of the influential AFL-CIO labor federation announced Tuesday it voted “proudly and enthusiastically” to endorse President Obama’s reelection effort. “We feel that he’s put forth bold initiatives and put people back to work, put revenues back in the country, put out a vision that expresses opportunity and fairness,” said Gerald W. McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “We think he’s a good man.” The council spoke to Obama by telephone during its closed-door session, in which the president sounded “very engaged, very knowledgeable,” according to McEntee, who serves as chair of the AFL-CIO’s political education committee. The vote, among the AFL-CIO’s 57 member executive council, was unanimous.
  • Texas Democrats Look To Secure Alternative Federal Funding For Planned Parenthood In The State – Democratic lawmakers are trying to find alternative ways to keep Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas afloat just one day before the state officially bans the organization from receiving funding through the joint state-federal Women’s Health Program. Tomorrow, a new rule goes into effect stopping any clinic affiliated with an abortion provider from receiving WHP funds, and federal officials have said they will cut off funding to the state program if Texas bans Planned Parenthood from WHP. If the program stops, 130,000 women will lose their access to affordable health care.
  • Obama considers quicker exit from Afghanistan after Kandahar massacre – The president had those words for reporters from the White House this week, and echoed those sentiments again on Monday to KDKA in Pittsburgh. “It’s important for us to make sure that we get out in a responsible way, so that we don’t end up having to go back in,” said Obama. [...] But one day into the aftermath of the Sunday slaying of 16 civilians, the White House says they are looking for a faster way out of Afghanistan, even after already moving up the withdrawal date once in 2012. Prior to the latest episode, the US was expected to send 22,000 troops back to the States by September, leaving around 68,000 to stay until America formally forfeits in 2014. As for those remaining troops, though, Washington is now deciding if they should see an end to their tour as earlier as expected. [image: White House’s Flickr Stream]

6) Misc

  • Taking a time-out from trying to legislate women’s choices, Catholic Church Puts Legal Pressure on Survivors’ Network – Turning the tables on an advocacy group that has long supported victims of pedophile priests, lawyers for the Roman Catholic Church and priests accused of sexual abuse in two Missouri cases have gone to court to compel the group to disclose more than two decades of e-mails that could include correspondence with victims, lawyers, whistle-blowers, witnesses, the police, prosecutors and journalists. [...] “If there is one group that the higher-ups, the bishops, would like to see silenced,” said Marci A. Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University and an advocate for victims of clergy sex crimes, “it definitely would be SNAP. And that’s what they’re going after. They’re trying to find a way to silence SNAP.” [...] William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a church advocacy group in New York, said targeting the network was justified because “SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church.”
  • Bill Donohue: It’s ‘a Lot Less Expensive’ To Fight Victims Of Pedophile Priests – Donohue was one of the most vocal defenders of the Catholic Church during the height of the church’s pedophile scandal in the early 2000s, and more egregiously, he remains one of the only people to publicly attack the victims and their supporters. During a radio interview in 2009, Donohue downplayed the charges being leveled by victims because “almost everybody who was abused wasn’t raped.” He also dismissed complaints of priests kissing and engaging in “inappropriate sexual talk” to minors as a non-issue, saying that he “think[s] a lot of these people are gold diggers looking to get money from the Catholic Church.”
  • Celebrated war criminal / profiteer and beloved chickenhawk DICK Cheney says CANADA is ‘too dangerous’ for visit – Cheney was set to appear at an event in Toronto on April 24, but canceled on grounds that the risk of trouble from protesters was too great. Cheney’s last Canadian appearance in September of 2011 erupted in violence as protesters swarmed the entrance of the private Vancouver club where the former Bush administration official and Iraq War architect was speaking. The protesters rained down verbal abuse on attendees and, in once instance, choked a security guard. Vice President Cheney was trapped inside the venue for more than seven hours as police in riot gear attempted to disperse the crowd and quell to the resulting melee.
  • Americans hate regulations in the abstract, but love them in the particular – The overwhelming majority of Americans believe that government regulations of the food industry, car safety, workplace safety, prescription drugs, and even environmental protection should either be strengthened or be preserved as they are, with only a small fraction believing they should be reduced. [...] Americans also tend to favor more regulation when asked about specific industries: a plurality believe that the health insurance, energy, banks and big corporations are underregulated.

A message to the Republican voting base

Your ADD hurts us all.

William Saletan thinks the GOP candidates waged class warfare during the debate last night, with their many protests about over-taxing the proletariat. He says:

I’m not suggesting, of course, that the Republicans are actually Marxists. They’re just speaking up for compassion, social mobility, and progressive taxation. There’s nothing wrong with that. What’s wrong is crying “class warfare” when Obama does the same thing.

Saletan must not be aware of the proud tradition of double-standards inherent with the GOP. Whatever they do / say is fine. Different rules for Democrats though.

(Cartoon) Historical policy positions from corporations and Republicans on labor and jobs

image: abaldwin360

Labor Day: the middle-class was built by unions and will die without them

Artist – Mitt Priggee via Bob Cesca

Think Progress explains how the middle-class was built by unions and will die without them: 

…despite the many benefits unions have provided the United States, right-wing politicians and business interests have for years sought to undermine the ability of Americans to organize to demand better pay, benefits, and conditions. From the anti-worker Taft-Hartley Act to the recent GOP-led efforts to kill public worker collective bargaining rights, these assaults have successfully decreased union membership over time. In the prosperous 1950′s, nearly one in three Americans was in a union. Today, it is closer to one in ten.

This has had a detrimental effect on the American middle class. As the following chart from CAP’s David Madland and Karla Waters demonstrates, as union membership fell from the 1970′s to the present, the middle class’s share of national income fell as well:

So what’s the GOP Teaparty have to offer that would replace middle-class incomes and union-bargained benefits? A simple three-stage plan: the rich get richer, no minimum wage, and you never retire.  

You might wish to vote accordingly.

Another Republican ‘jobs’ plan: using free inmate labor to replace public sector workers

One more gift to working- and middle-class America from Wisconsin’s own Scott Walker:

While Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) law dismantling collective bargaining rights has harmed teachers, nurses, and other civil servants, it’s helping a different group in Wisconsinites — inmates. Prisoners are now taking up jobs that used to be held by unionized workers in some parts of the state.

As the Madison Capital Times reports, “Besides losing their right to negotiate over the percentage of their paycheck that will go toward health care and retirement, unions also lost the ability to claim work as a ‘union-only’ job, opening the door for private workers and evidently even inmates to step in and take their place.” Inmates are not paid for their work, but may receive time off of their sentences.

Maybe we can all get thrown in prison so everyone will have a job! And this:

“The U.S. fabrication industry could [not] put a project like this together.” Right… ANYMORE!

Or ever again…? Gah!

Depressing post from Balloon Juice:

The new Oakland Bay bridge is being pre-fabricated in China by workers earning $12 for a 16-hour day, working at times 7 days a week:

“I don’t think the U.S. fabrication industry could put a project like this together,” Brian A. Petersen, project director for the American Bridge/Fluor Enterprises joint venture, said in a telephone interview. “Most U.S. companies don’t have these types of warehouses, equipment or the cash flow. The Chinese load the ships, and it’s their ships that deliver to our piers.”

He’s absolutely right: As long as government—which, after all, builds all the bridges—can outsource major projects like this to the lowest-bidding, most exploitative employer in the entire world, we’re not going to have an local industry able to build new bridges. Such is the monumental, self-serving stupidity of our Galtian/governmental confluence.

Thanks, state government ‘patriots.’

From the comments of that post: MikeBoyScout – June 26, 2011 | 10:13 am · Link

Ambridge, Pennsylvania where today about 16.4% of families and 17.8% of the population were below the poverty line.

American Bridge attracted thousands of immigrants who came to fulfill their dreams of work, freedom, and peace. The steel mills became the focal point of the town. Most of the employees were relatives of relatives and the small town grew, with wards separating the town into ethnic sections.

With the growth of the steel mills, Ambridge became a worldwide leader in steel production.[citation needed] The borough became known for bridge building, metal molding, and the manufacture of tubes (large iron pipes). During World War II, the American Bridge Company fabricated steel for the building of LSTs (Landing Ship Tanks). The steel was then sent by rail to the adjacent American Bridge naval shipyard in Leetsdale, PA where the LSTs were built. The area was also home to several other steel mills like Armco, the pipe mill which manufactured oil piping, and A.M. Byers, a major iron and tool fabricator. Eventually competition by foreign steel producers began to cause the share of the steel market for U.S. manufacturers to dwindle. With the shift of steel production overseas, the Ambridge Bridge Company ended operations in Ambridge in 1983. The legacy of American Bridge can be seen today from coast to coast, from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.

But wait. Michele Bachmann has a solution!

You see? Americans, too, could proudly earn $12 a day for 16-hour workdays!

I’ll say it again: Watch The Company Men. The ending of this movie is really going to be the only solution for America.

Sarah Palin’s Miracle: Can’t have a fish picker from Texas

http://fourthnight.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/palin_4_web5.jpg?w=218&h=349Andrew Sullivan begs Rebecca Mansour: “make me look like a fool for even wondering. Please.”

Geoffrey Dunn revisits the story that, far from dying, is gaining traction:

Hoping to disprove the conspiracy theory when I initiated work on my book–and to put the story to bed once and for all–I interviewed several close associates of Palin’s, including her friends and political allies. I was anticipating, perhaps even hoping, that they would tell me conclusively that Trig was her child. I was shocked by the response.

One close friend of Palin’s–a widely respected woman who had given birth to several children as well and who had close contact with Palin in Juneau up until the time of Trig’s birth–told me that “Palin did not look like she was pregnant. Ever. Even when she had the bulging belly, I never felt that the rest of her body, her face especially, looked like she was pregnant.” When I asked her point-blank if she was certain the baby was Palin’s, she said, “No. I don’t know what to believe.”

With Palin dragging herself aboard Trump’s Birther-Train and “defending” him from the “lamestream” media, she’s only reminding people about her own very weird, ever-changing, seemingly fictional story of  the labor and delivery of Trig. And as more people actually read her description of the labor and birth, they will wonder why she continues to refuse to produce the birth certificate and stop the speculation immediately — if she can, that is.

And that’s why this isn’t going away.