Monday, January 30, 2012

The Muppets Attack Fox News

We Have Seen The Enemy

Here are Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee calling on the President to preserve military spending and staffing and cut domestic programs.  In other words fire policemen, firemen, teachers, nurses, forest rangers, road workers, librarians.  They really believe this!

Unions Are Growing!

Beware the amensiacs!  Look out for people who want to forget history.  Things like the Glass-Steagel and Civil Rights and Clean Air Acts.  Be very afraid of people who want to forget the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and what happened when there was no union to protect the workers.  We must do all we can to encourage union growth and to defeat the amnesiacs in Ohio and Indiana and Wisconsin who would restrict collective bargaining rights. 

Overall Union Membership Notches Up From 2010 to 2011

By Tula Connell
AFL-CIO Managing Editor

Overall union membership increased by 49,000 from 2010 to 2011, including 15,000 new 16- to 24-year-old members, according to new U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data out this morning. An increase of 110,000 in the private sector was partially offset by a decline of 61,000 in the public sector, making the rate of union membership essentially unchanged at 11.8 percent, with some 14.8 million U.S. workers union members.

Public-sector density increased from 36.2 percent to 37 percent though November 2011. Private-sector union membership remains at 6.9 percent. The largest increases in union membership were in construction, health care services, retail trade, primary metals and fabricated metal products, hospitals, transportation and warehousing.

Bottom line, says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka:

Despite an unprecedented volley of partisan political attacks on workers’ rights and the continuing insecurity of our economic crisis, union membership increased slightly last year. Working men and women want to come together and to improve their lives.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

How Did Norway Do It?

This article tells the exciting story of how Norway overthrew the 1% and built the modern nation it is today.  This is history most of us know nothing about.  It has enormous lessons to teach us.

Don't Believe "Military Spending Cuts"

Pentagon talk of cuts in military spending is smoke and mirrors.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Born On Third Base

Three Cheers For President Obama



Main Line Peace Action leader Jane Dugdale had a letter published in today's Philadelphia Inquirer.  Cutting military spending is the way to the future.
President Obama delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night.
SAUL LOEB / Associated Press, pool
President Obama delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night.
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Obama must target Pentagon
Three cheers for President Obama, whose State of the Union address targeted some of the culprits of economic woe for millions of Americans: fraudulent lenders and corporate offshorers of jobs ("Obama asks fair shot for all," Wednesday). The president vowed relief in the form of prosecution and tax-code reform, to hold accountable those who have profited from lax law enforcement and tax loopholes. He even braved the rough waters of Pentagon spending cuts, by offering to use war savings to plug the deficit and mend our infrastructure, an offer guaranteed to bring crocodile tears from a Defense Department that is used to ever-growing budgets. With the considerable amount of money allocated to the military, there is an answer to the question, "Where will the money come from to accomplish Obama's goals?" It has to come from shrinking the Pentagon. Is the president brave enough to target that culprit?
Jane Dugdale, Bryn Mawr

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How To Stop Campaign Spending

    Section 1. All campaigns for President and Members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate shall be financed entirely with public funds. No contributions shall be permitted to any candidate for Federal office from any other source, including the candidate.
    Section 2. No expenditures shall be permitted in support of any candidate for Federal office, or in opposition to any candidate for Federal office, from any other source, including the candidate. Nothing in this Section shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.
    Section 3. The Congress shall, by statute, provide limitations on the amounts and timing of the expenditures of such public funds.
    Section 4. The Congress shall, by statute, provide criminal penalties for any violation of this Article.
    Section 5. The Congress shall have the power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Read more:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Romney, Gingrich, And The Navy

These are certainly not the first times these two have been wrong, but it could cost us a great deal of money.  So could the Secretary of Defense's announcement that he favors maintaining eleven carriers.  Eleven!  When no one else in the world really has one!

A Very Real Threat From Drones

Drones don't just cause destruction, suffering, and death.  They are also a threat to the basic Constitutional principal that wars must be declared by Congress, not the CIA and the White House.  But around the world, especially last year in Libya, drones did their deadly work without so much as a nod from Congress.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Kucinich Amendment

Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio has proposed a Constitutional amendment that would forbid virtually all spending on federal elections, and would thus get the money out of politics to some extent.  And until we do get the money out of politics, the government is not ours.  Someone said, "The government is not broken; it's fixed!"  It is H.J. Res 100.  Call your congressman at 202-224-3121.

Why Banksters Love Food Stamps

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Margin Call

Last night we watched "Margin Call" (via Netflix) and it is definitely a film worth recommending. Starring Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, and Demi Moore, it's about a giant investment house that gets itself into deep trouble.  What is memorable is how amoral everyone is (what do they teach in business school these days?) and how little the big shots understand the mechanics of what's going on (other people have remarked on this condition all around Wall Street.  Worth a watch.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hazing On Wall Street

In this article Kevin Roose tells us about a jolly gathering of banksters at the St. Regis where they spoofed Occupy Wall Street and initiated a number of new practitioners to their fraternity.  It's interesting that none of the participants wanted to talk about it the next day, and a fair number of members decided not to show up at all.  One hopes this reflects some uneasiness on Wall Street.

Pork Barrel And Military Spending

Some people think that lobbying is a greater threat to our democracy than corporate contributions to political campaigns.  It is certainly a lucrative line of work.  It has been going on forever, and it seems almost impossible to stop.

Bill Moyers And Company

Bill Moyers is on WHYY-TV at Noon on Sunday in Philadelphia.

Watch: This week's show: Crony Capitalism

Web Extra: How Fannie Mae, Wall Street banks, and government agencies allowed the mortgage giant to avoid regulation and enrich its executives.

Quiz: Test your knowledge of Wall Street's financial jargon.
Bill Moyers and former White House budget director David Stockman discuss how politics and high finance have turned our economy into a members-only private club. (check local listings).

For years, high-ranking administration officials have spun through the revolving door between the White House and American big business. But how have they influenced the regulation of industries from which they came — and American democracy as a result? This weekend, continuing our sharp multi-episode focus on the intersection of money and politics, Moyers & Company explores the tight connection between Wall Street and the Washington with David Stockman, former budget director for President Reagan.

Also on the show, Moyers talks with Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter and columnist Gretchen Morgenson on how money and political clout enable industries to escape regulation and enrich executives at the top. In a web-exclusive video, Morgenson talks about the web of influence among government, big business and high finance.
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Reform Campaign Spending

Citizens tired of endless spending on federal elections (White House, Senate, and House) should be interested in HR-100, Dennis Kucinich's proposed amendment to the Constitution.  It would do away with massive (in fact all) spending by PAC's, unions, and billionaires on elections and replace it with reasonable government-provided funds for each candidate.  If you don't think the existing system has gone out of control, wait until you see the amount of advertising on TV and in your  mailbox this fall.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Call Your Congressman!   A new bill in the House, HR 1489, would restore the Glass-Steagall Act that mandated the separation of deposit banks from investment houses.  For decades it kept banksters from using piles of deposits to gamble on stocks.  Repealed in the Clinton years, many think its absence was a major cause of the unpleasantness of 2008.  Call your congressman and tell him you want him to cosponsor HR 1489.  The capitol switchboard is at 202-224-3121.

Meet The 0.01%

Monday, January 16, 2012

What Conservatives Get Right

The other day we were chatting with a fellow member of Occupy Norristown and she complained about people who abuse food stamps, who buy lobster and fancy steaks with them.  I was so annoyed by this obvious conservative baloney that I went home and looked into, our source of truth about urban legends.  Well, it really happened, and snopes has the sales slip to prove it.  So conservatives are not always wrong, and in this election year it behooves us to know just what they do get right and what appeals to the American voter.  Recent electoral history suggests they're doing well at that.  This blog piece by Thomas B. Edsall is well worth reading.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Honor Dr. King

Too many of the official tributes to Martin Luther King, Jr., have piously praised his nonviolence, the praise often coming from political leaders who themselves have committed great violence against other nations and have accepted the daily violence of poverty in American life. But King's phrase, and that of the southern civil rights movement, was not simply "nonviolence," but nonviolent direct action. In this way, nonviolence does not mean acceptance, but resistance - not waiting, but acting.
- Howard Zinn, from Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology (1990).

Friday, January 13, 2012

Save The Postal Service!

Time is running out on the postal service.  We have until May to effect real reform and preserve this important part of democracy.  An effective postal service is one of the few things that makes us a first world country (don't ask about education, infant and maternal mortality, infrastructure, health care, public transportation, etc.).  The post office is in many communities the very center of town life.  Removing it destroys the polity.  And the postal service provides good jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans who could, under current plans, be unemployed.  Join with Bernie to save the postal service.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

When Mitt Romney Came To Town

This is the trailer for a 30-minute documentary made in behalf of Newt Gingrich for showing in South Carolina before the Republican primary.  It's hard to picture many people giving up that amount of time to watch this tale of woe that amounts to an attack not only on Romney but on unfettered capitalism and the Social Darwinist thinking that has informed the Republican Party.  Romney calls this sort of thing "the politics of envy." It will be interesting to see where Romney and his party are when this fight is over.  One has to think that this sort of thinking started with Occupy Wall Street.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Romney Has Bain In His Background

It isn't only Democrats criticizing Romney's equity capital history at Bain Capital.  In his victory speech in New Hampshire, Romney complained about "the bitter politics of envy."  It's hard to be in the 1%.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

On Human Trafficking

State Senator Daylin Leach hosts a showing of the documentary "Not My Life" and a panel discussion with distinguished participants Saturday, February 4, 11am-1pm.  Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr.

What Drives Executive Salaries?

We all know that executive salaries are sky high, but how does that happen? Is it caused by board interlock?  By alumni connections?  By peer group networks?  And what does it have to do with contagious obesity?  Well, there's been some research.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ron Paul vs. Unions

Progressives who have become interested in the candidacy of Ron Paul ("He's for closing overseas bases!") should be aware of his sponsorship of some poisonous anti-union legislation in the House.  He clearly is more interested in employer rights than in the rights of workers.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Bill McKibben's Getting Mad

McKibben says it's time to get mad about giant corporate spending on our elections and our legislation.  We need to hold our legislators to account for their receipt of huge corporate largesse and their subsequent "public be damned" votes.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Who Are These People?

This is from Greenpeace Canada.  If you love tar sands, you should love it.  Some will find it heavy going.

How To Beat Incumbent Republicans

This is the way to Democratic victory in November: keep reminding Republican candidates and the voters that the House GOP tried to throttle Medicare in the Ryan budget.  They don't like to hear about it, but it's true.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Watch Panetta's Pentagon Cuts

If we have learned anything from the Occupy Wall Street movement, it is that the 1% has no trouble cutting spending that might make the 99%'s lives easier.  And that seems to be what Lockheed-Martin and friends have in mind for a slimmed-down Pentagon budget - cut salaries, pensions, and health care, not weapons systems procurement, nation-building, and overseas bases.  Defense Secretary Panetta knows his way around budgets, and his report later this week should be an eye-opener.  Meanwhile, keep building the USS Gerald R. Ford and the F-35.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Stamp Out The Fifth Fleet!

Green Night Out
Saturday, January 14
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Singapore Vegetarian Kosher Chinese Restaurant
1006 Race Street, Chinatown

City State
Philadelphia, PA
215-243-7103 and
GREEN NIGHT OUT welcomes History Professor Toby Jones, who will discuss "The Long War: Oil and American Power in the Middle East" at 7:00 pm on Saturday, January 14. Jones has called for withdrawal of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet from the Persian Gulf.

Enjoy this stimulating discussion and an endless supply of vegetarian kosher Chinese food for only $25/person. Green Night Out is open to the public. Please join us at Singapore Restaurant, 1006 Race Street in Chinatown. RSVP (space is limited) to the Green Party at 215-243-7103 and