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Ear to the Ground

Where’s Labor?

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Posted on Nov 26, 2008
Unions for Obama
my.barackobama.com

Unions, including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, helped lift Obama in key states like Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Not only is Barack Obama packing his inner circle with neo-liberal Clinton stalwarts, he’s also avoiding the question of labor by not including any representative of workers in the economic policy team he announced Monday. What gives?


Politico:

The markets rose on the news of Barack Obama’s economic policy team Monday, but some labor spirits fell.

Obama’s team of treasury secretary and four top economic advisers, introduced as the hands that will steer America’s economy, had no particular ties to the labor movement. And Obama’s secretary of labor was not introduced as part of that team — a suggestion that that post will retain its second-tier status and quiet voice in matters central to economic policy.

“I wish that [the secretary of labor] would have been among them,” former Michigan congressman David Bonior, a labor stalwart and member of Obama’s transition team, said of the group at the Chicago press conference. “I hope they take that job seriously.”

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By cyrena, November 30, 2008 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment

Xntrk,

You forgot how judgmental *I* could be??????????

That’s hilarious. I’ve just looked through the comments since 15 or so hours ago, and YOU are ALL OVER the damn place, insulting and ranting at everybody you can. What a clueless and wasted bag of hot air you are. You should start an alternative fuel source with all of the shit you write. Or you could just go hang out in one of the new tent cities, and hire yourself out as a hot air blower to keep the people warm in their tents.

For the record X, I didn’t LOSE my house; it was STOLEN. That was a decade ago, and in hindsight of course, one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. Ah yes, it’s one of those ‘blessings in disguise’. The older I get, the easier they become to recognize. So much so that by now, I guess I’m just one super blessed human. (comparatively speaking that is).

Also for the record, I didn’t SLEEP through the 90’s, or the 80’s, or the 70’s. In fact, I was working my ass off, (as in LABORING)  and acquiring valuable education and experience at the same time.  And my efforts included ALL labor functions, including the backbreaking and stress-inducing ones. So you don’t have a clue.

As for political activism and the labor movement, the boycotting of table grapes, etc, etc…I helped write the book. Even gave Chavez some of his best ideas. Bet you didn’t know that either, eh? That’s because you’re clueless, even if I am laying it on a bit thick myself.

Congrats on making it to 71, and thanks for the work you did with the Boeing workers. My 84-year old still politically active father sends his thanks as well, since he and my mother depend on his pension. They’re among the few corporations/industries that are still disbursing pensions, considering how many others have bit the dust, or at least managed to sever hundreds of thousands of employees from their “pension rosters”. 

I’m not sure you get that part of the real time goings on though X. In fact, you’ve displayed a very limited and sketchy knowledge of the labor movement in the US, which isn’t all that unusual for the average American. (sad but true). Yours is limited to a specific time in history when you were personally involved, and it’s further limited to your particular ‘tree’ in the forest of the history of the movement itself.  People of your generation, (and mine) generally have expected to labor in a particular industry or even at a particular company their entire working lives,  and then retire and collect the money that they’ve paid into the system. But I saw the handwriting being re-written on THAT wall over 25 years ago. I think you missed those memos, and you don’t have any knowledge of the labor movement prior to the 30’s or 40’s, if that.

Consequently, you can’t put anything that happened since, in the proper context. Most Americans don’t.  Most Americans haven’t taken the time to study Labor Laws or the legislation that has taken the teeth out of any kind of protection and security for workers. Most Americans have made few connections between same deregulation that destroyed the financial markets,  AND overturned so much of the work and sacrifice of the early movement. Many Americans, (apparently you included) are unaware of how much of what was accomplished on a Federal level, in terms of protection for workers, is ignored by local legislation.

So X, I think you need to catch-up. Maybe you could do some reading, instead of just blowing all of that hot air. I highly recommend Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History”.  After that, you might check out Sheldon Wolin’s “Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism.”

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By cyrena, November 30, 2008 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

2 of 2
No, I wasn’t aware that McKinney was on the No Fly List. As a veteran/alumnus, maybe I should send her a welcom e to the club note. I think there’s a million or so names on the list now, thanks to y’alls selection of Dick Bush and their fascist ‘war on terror’.

But I was in the club long before that. Even though I was ultimately never prevented from flying, I spent mulitiple hours in ‘interrogation’ anytime I had to transit through any gateway city, but they were always particularly fond of harassing me at the Caribbean hubs or gateways. And of course Texas, where I was apparently a thorn in more than a few sides.  I doubt anyone other than I can appreciate the irony of being questioned by the local ‘transportation authorities’ while in possession of the keys to the airport and the entire fleet. (master cockpit key).

For all I know, I could be on the post- 9/11 list as well.  I’m guessing not, if only because I haven’t been hassled the few times I’ve had to fly since then.  I wonder if I should feel insulted?

Meantime, Cynthia should take this as a blessing in disguise, and just stick to rail transportation. It’s a far more civilized way to travel in this day and age. The train is convenient, cheap, efficient, and in comparison to air travel.. almost stress free. I actually ENJOY it. No worries with “Behavior Detection Officers” lurking or following around the airports to check for facial expressions or whatever other possible terrorist behavior one might be perceived as displaying. No getting undressed in public at airport security checkpoints, and then running back and forth (like a rat)  through an electronic frame gadget that beeps indiscriminately, depending on how the machines were calibrated that day or week, while bozo strangers dig through all of ones personal belongings.  If one really wants to get the full flavor of the police state that we live in these days, they need only make the occasional trek through a US airport. It’s really the shits.

Since McKinney has such little discipline in controlling or properly channeling her hot-headedness, the Behavior Detection Officers would make her travel miserable, even if she wasn’t on the list, just like they did to her when she was still in the Congress.  Remember how the Capital Hill Police harassed her to the point where she had to whack that one policeman with her cell phone? Then they threatened her with an indictment for whatever, until she apologized for assaulting the guy.  That’s just too much drama and stress for a soon to be post-menopausal woman. Believe me, I know. There are easier ways for lifetime political activists to get things done, but it requires some developed JUDGMENT and intelligent personal discipline.  Those are the things that people acquire with age and experience,  and multiple occassions of biting ones tongue. Cynthia either never mastered it, or choose not to exercise it, which is certainly her right, and one that I’ve frequently exercised myself. But, there are always consequences for such outspokeness, and one should know that going in, minus illusions.

Well, time for you to get to the library there Xn…Another option would be to fill up a balloon with all of that hot toxic air, and just blow your own ill-informed ass into oblivion. Your choice of course.

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By Folktruther, November 30, 2008 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

Louise, as an Obiden apologist, I thought your including their endorsement of the EFCA, a bipartisan support for allowing workers to join the union, was a laff riot.  Sure it does.  You’ve got a great sense of humor.

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By KDelphi, November 29, 2008 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment

Xntrk—I live in a part of the country that has been feeling this “recession” alot longer than most. but, I have certainly noticed in MY neighborhoods, anywa, and most urban areas around here, that there is more and more “working class”. by which they many times mean, “poor”. I dont know how long the former middle class will put up with this. I dont wish armed insurrection, but, neither do I want to tolerate people starving in the streets…I dont know.

Some are saying that the “change” just meant a “change” “back to Clinton-economy(???) I do not think that that will be enough, given the circumstances…

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By Xntrk, November 29, 2008 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Frank Cajon, I have been mulling over a reply to your comments, and then I was sidetracked with other things, but I do want to comment. A Labor Party would be wonderful, but the big question is how? as the Dems are not going to acquiesce in a loss of power, and pay-offs.

The only successful usurpation of power by the workers and ‘lower’ classes in the past 50 years that managed it without an armed revolution, are the newly elected left-wing governments in South America. Some of them, like Chile and Brazil, and Argentina, are actually barely left of center, but compared to Pinochet and prior governments in those countries, they are flaming successes.

Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and maybe some others are more openly Socialist regimes - to the horror of the CIA and others in the Empire’

All of these Progressive and even Socialist Governments were forged by the working classes and peasants after severe financial crisis’s in Latin America.

The IMF and World Bank had imposed such rigid and costly terms on the money they needed to survive the financial crashes of their economies, that the Fascist Governments were no longer able to control the masses.

The 2 exceptions to this are also the 2 countries who are most heavily involved in our War on Drugs: Columbia and Mexico.

Those countries suffer from the same labor unrest that afflicted the rest of Latin America, but the Narco-Terrorists and militarists have so heavily armed the thugocracy that they have overwhelmed the workers and instituted regimes based on terror.

That is the biggest threat we face also. The twin wars promoted by Bush [Drugs and Terrorism] have so heavily armed the authorities, and instituted so many controls on the movement of the citizenry, that it may be mute, even if the Working Class decides to seize power.

A peaceful transition to a true Labor Party, and a government that supports Workers Rights is possible, but achieving it depends on our ability to erode the ability of the Right-Wing to control the dialogue.

There is a fine line between protests and riots, and the authorities know very well how to push us across it.

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By Xntrk, November 29, 2008 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ah yes Cyrena, I forgot how judgmental you can be.; especially for someone who slept thru the ‘90s in Texas [while Bush was Governor] and lost her house before she woke up to the fact that there is something out of whack with our economic system – and society.
  While I was “doing nothing but bitch” I also helped organize the Technical Employees Union at Boeing in the early ‘70s; marched in the anti-Contra/Reagan protests in the ‘80s; held meetings to promote a nuclear free world [also in the ‘80s]; Organized 16 Precincts in Washington State to promote Progressive policies rather then vote for Republicans [only one of them voted for McGovern in 1972], served on the Washington State Democratic Central Committee from 1984 till 1994 when I resigned from the Party and the Central Committee because of ‘Welfare Reform’; served as Chair of the State Platform Committee in ’92; and also participated in the ‘Battle in Seattle’ in 2000.
  Exactly what were you doing for Workers Rights and Progressive causes during those years? Did you even go so far as to boycott Table Grapes during the 1970s?
As for the ageism in your remark about being all a-twitter over this “new-fangled modern stuff”, I hope you are anywhere as near cognizant and active as I am when you are 71. Not all of us are like McCain, just as all younger women do not resemble Sarah Palin – Talk about being ‘a-twitter’, or is that “Twit’?
  What you are ignoring is that English is my native tongue, and while I hear the honey and sugar of Obama’s words, I see his actions and know that nothing has changed. We still get Lieberman. And Gates, and all the Goldman Sachs boys to bail us out of our financial problems. And when it comes to the Union Workers in Detroit, they are still sucking hind tit when it comes to any help from all the ‘Progressives’ we elected.
  Did you read that Cynthia McKinney was denied the right to board an airplane because she is on the ‘No Fly List?

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By Louise, November 29, 2008 at 7:01 am Link to this comment

cyrena,

Thanks. Once again you remind me there are those who DO understand! smile

Xntrk,

OK, forget about my feeble attempt to explain, and re-read the explanation from Obama and Bidens people. Maybe you can understand that!
Or not.

http://change.gov/

“..the president elect and the vice-president elect have put together an Agency Review Team to help them assemble the best possible leads for government departments. Obviously in the area of Labor, they will want representation from those with a history and experience with labor issues. But, will not be looking for someone with “rich experience” who might, because of the guidelines set above, find themselves in a conflict of interest regarding labor.”

~~~
http://change.gov/agenda/economy_agenda/

Labor Agenda:
Obama and Biden will strengthen the ability of workers to organize unions. He will fight for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. Obama and Biden will ensure that his labor appointees support workers’ rights and will work to ban the permanent replacement of striking workers. Obama and Biden will also increase the minimum wage and index it to inflation to ensure it rises every year.

Ensure freedom to unionize:
Obama and Biden believe that workers should have the freedom to choose whether to join a union without harassment or intimidation from their employers. Obama cosponsored and is a strong advocate for the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a bipartisan effort that makes sure workers can exercise their right to organize. They will continue to fight for EFCA’s passage and Obama will sign it into law.
Fight attacks on workers’ right to organize: Obama has fought the Bush National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) efforts to strip workers of their right to organize. He is a cosponsor of legislation to overturn the NLRB’s “Kentucky River” decisions classifying hundreds of thousands of nurses, construction workers, and professional workers as “supervisors” who are not protected by federal labor laws.

Protect striking workers:
Obama and Biden support the right of workers to bargain collectively and strike if necessary. They will work to ban the permanent replacement of striking workers, so workers can stand up for themselves without worrying about losing their livelihoods.

Raise the minimum wage:
Barack Obama and Joe Biden will raise the minimum wage, index it to inflation and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit to make sure that full-time workers earn a living wage that allows them to raise their families and pay for basic needs.

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By cyrena, November 29, 2008 at 2:40 am Link to this comment

Louise,

Another excellent post from you, including this part..

“..the president elect and the vice-president elect have put together an Agency Review Team to help them assemble the best possible leads for government departments. Obviously in the area of Labor, they will want representation from those with a history and experience with labor issues. But, will not be looking for someone with “rich experience” who might, because of the guidelines set above, find themselves in a conflict of interest regarding labor.

We want someone who has expertise and experience, a good working relationship with labor, and public service, but no vested interests…”

~~~

THIS is exactly the stuff that I’m delighting in. The Agency Review Team is yet another 21st century idea for what we are hoping will finally become a 21st Century nation, so we don’t all perish from the same old shit that’s put us in what has seemed to be a perpetual decline for far longer than I wanna ponder.

This is how the ethical professionals and the smart folks do it, and Obama has ALWAYS been as transparent as he has been pragmatic in his plans for what he wants to do, and how he hopes to do it. I don’t think he plans to create 250 million jobs without some input from the Secretary of Labor. He’s a smart man, as my 84 year old father mentioned (with a bit of awe in his voice) at dinner yesterday.

And no, I don’t understand why some folks don’t get that either. The only thing I can think is that these people simply are not progressives, and haven’t adjusted to the passage of time. They don’t really WANT any change to their current circumstances. If they did, they would have done something before now, besides bitch.

It’s all this new-fangled modern stuff that has them all a-twitter. Maybe after the last 8 years, they’re just in permanent PTSD, and don’t know their asses from a hole in the ground.

Then again, maybe some of them never did.

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By Frank Cajon, November 28, 2008 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment

The first step in our liberation from class slavery was to throw out the fascist coup. That baby step accomplished, and a lock-step centrist sellout in place, we have four years to rebuild, and must do it by turning to the European model, a Labor Party with socialist roots and worker support. Of course, Obama backed the bailout, which is the ultimate betrayal of the worker; it was the expedient thing to do, and he could not risk the real chance of four more years of fascist rule by McPalin. Now, his true colors as a Clinton economic clone are showing through as the only noise he makes in support of worker rights is backing the Big Three-a corporate clusterfuck which has mismanaged its way to oblivion by pushing poorly built 3/4 pickups and V8 SUVs on the masses while ignoring the rotting planet for a generation.

The Democrats must either become the Labor Party or step aside. Our unions need to know that workers in this new Depression are going to side with the party that can guarantee economic survival and a voice in the process-and the GOP lite versions of many of Obama’s inner circle are not going to cut it. Sure, he is an upgrade. Anyone would be. The Democrats need to be sent a clear message that this bailout is NOT going to be accepted without a quid pro quo: a Labor Party, a Socialist New Deal, workers’ rights, national health insurance, $12 an hour minimum wage, guaranteed pensions and sick leave, and programs like CCC, WPA, and the great generation of our greatest leader FDR who lead us out of the previous collapse of the stinking ruin of capitalism. Write your Congressman today, and if he is a Republican, call him every week.

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By KDelphi, November 28, 2008 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

Labor unions in the US are so weak here that they are laughed at in other countries, which actually allow working people to make enough to raise fanmilies in a decent manner..

The Dems havent referred to “working class” for years, except when they talk about how “stupid” they are and that they are all “Reagan Dems”...way to win them over!! They dont talk about working class or poor, because they do not consider them a viable voting bloc.

Too many foxes and too few hens..YOURE “what’s for dinner”!!

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By dihey, November 28, 2008 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

Have you noticed that Senator Obama never uses the traditional expression “working class”? He always talks about “middle class”. Apparently he is blind as a bat. The working class works. What does the middle class do? Middle? If “working class” is now “middle class” what is the “lower class”? The jobless? The street people? Thieves? Wall Street Swindlers?

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By mud, November 28, 2008 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

What gives? What were you expecting?

More of the same is what gives dummy. Expecting other then same is sadly insane.

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By hippy pam, November 28, 2008 at 7:02 am Link to this comment

There will be NO CHANGE until WE-THE PEOPLE force the government to make changes….We are all SHEEP-grazing in the fields until the shepherd[gubmint] sends us to the barn for the night…AND WE BLINDLY GO…...and DO WHAT WE ARE TOLD…..and BELIEVE WHAT WE ARE TOLD….remember the “BOSTON TEA PARTY”!!!!THAT SURE GOT THE “P.T.Bs” ATTENTION…..

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By Xntrk, November 27, 2008 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Louise says: Labor has and will have a voice, but the need to avoid anything that could be seen as lobbying for a special interest must be avoided.

For that reason, as the article noted, a lot of possible candidates may be disqualified. We need the best possible representative of Labor issues in the Labor department. But we don’t want someone heading up the department who brings possible conflict of interest along!

I do not understand why so many can not understand that!<<

What is to understand? Anytime you see the Working Class and Labor listed as a “Special Interest” you are the victim of a rip-off artist. That is like calling people who buy groceries, or drink water, ‘Special Interests’

It is the Working Class who produces the wealth of this nation - AND anyone who has to account for their time oat work, or answer to a boss, is a member of the Working Class.

It doesn’t change things to give them a fancy title and take them off the clock so they cannot collect overtime - they still work for a living and are members of the Working Class even when they would deny that.

In our society, this includes Doctors, Teachers, Nurses, Engineers, and many other Professionals, who were taught that they are somehow better then the Longshoremen and the Teamsters. Oh, they are also taught that because of their superiority, they may become wealthy - someday…

Louise’s post is actually an excellent example of the propaganda that has linked the Workers with Big Oil, Insurance Companies and Big Pharma as “Special Interests”.

Only in their dreams. Hell, most cannot even prevent their jobs from being shipped off-shore…

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By Louise, November 27, 2008 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

“The ethical guidelines released today for the Obama transition are tough and unequivocal. They will prevent some honorable people with rich experience from serving in the transition. That is a real cost but it is more than balanced by the strong signal sent by the President-elect. He aspires to attract to government able individuals whose highest priority is to serve the public interest. This is a very constructive step in that direction.”
http://change.gov/

So, having said that, the president elect and the vice-president elect have put together an Agency Review Team to help them assemble the best possible leads for government departments. Obviously in the area of Labor, they will want representation from those with a history and experience with labor issues. But, will not be looking for someone with “rich experience” who might, because of the guidelines set above, find themselves in a conflict of interest regarding labor.

We want someone who has expertise and experience, a good working relationship with labor, and public service, but no vested interests.

To that end, they have named the following to help select future department heads.

Seth Harris:
A member of the Obama-Biden Transition Project’s Agency Review Working Group responsible for the labor, education, and transportation agencies. He is a Professor and the Director of Labor & Employment Law Programs at New York Law School. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Life Without Limits Project of the United Cerebral Palsy Association and a member of the National Advisory Commission on Workplace Flexibility. He served as the Chair of Obama for America’s Labor, Employment, and Workplace Policy Committee and a Co-Chair of its Disability Policy Committee. During the Clinton Administration, he served as Counselor to the Secretary of Labor and Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Policy.

Tom Perez:
A member of the Obama Transition Project’s Agency Review Working Group responsible for the justice, health and human services, veterans affairs, and housing and urban development agencies. He is Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation under Governor Martin O’Malley. He worked in a variety of civil rights positions at the Department of Justice, including Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights under Attorney General Janet Reno. He also served as Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under Secretary Donna Shalala.

Ray Rivera:
A member of the Obama-Biden Transition Project’s Agency Review Working Group. Prior to the Obama Campaign, Ray was a Political Director for AFSCME, public employee’s labor union and a union organizer. Ray was born in Albuquerque, NM and graduated with a BA from the University of New Mexico in 2001.

We are in an economic crisis. So, while it is important to focus on labor, especially with regards to the auto industry, it is more important to place people in charge of Obama’s economic recovery plan who’s knowledge expands beyond one field. Speciffically into areas where banking, investment, credit and loans are responsible for much of the crisis, NOT labor!  Labor has and will have a voice, but the need to avoid anything that could be seen as lobbying for a special interest must be avoided.

For that reason, as the article noted, a lot of possible candidates may be disqualified. We need the best possible representative of Labor issues in the Labor department. But we don’t want someone heading up the department who brings possible conflict of interest along!

I do not understand why so many can not understand that!

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Purple Girl's avatar

By Purple Girl, November 27, 2008 at 6:37 am Link to this comment

Are the WallStreeters Cheering or just ‘Whistling past the graveyard’?
Keep You Friends close, but your enemies closer.
How do you unravel and convict members of an organized Crime syndicate- Flip one of their most entrenched and ‘loyal’ co conspirators.
I have no doubt Summers, Rubin et al are ‘Hitmen’ for this Financial Mafia, but I don’t think they are the ‘Dons’. This Organization has been operating Long before they were enlisted as foot soldiers. It’s been about 50 yrs since the Warning came about the Military Industrial Complex (What is needed for such an Unholy alliance..Money).Obviously it had already been operating since Ike was able to identify it. could it be the same Treasonous bastards who highjacked our banking system and their Proteges (The Morgans, the Rockefellars et al).Of course they would call ‘Trickle Down’ Capitalism, and consider it’s methods a form of the Free market, they wouldn’t want Americans to realize they were infecting our system with Feudalism.How can there be a ‘Free Market’ when Corps own and Control all aspects of Society, including entrepenuership and innovation. Whats the Difference between a Family Crest & a Logo…Nothing if it controls the flow of resources and wealth away from the producing classes and held hostage by the ‘upper’ classes.
Greenspan must think we are idiots to claim he never recognized his fatal flaws in ‘Trickle Down’...Has he never picked Up a History Book, or how about the Declaration of Independence….which was OUR Declaration of Independence FROM a ‘Trickle Down’ system and a Caste System.
‘Trickle Down’ is at it’s Core UnAmerican, Treasonous. Therefore anyone who has gained wealth or inherited wealth from this system has accepted Illegal Goods- basically benefiting from Stolen goods.Anyone who has pertpetuated this Feudalistic system (which is becoming also a Sociological Caste system) should be prosecuted to the Highest level the law allows….TREASON.
“Trickle Down” Was the Crime of the Century, it’s time we prosecute it as Such!

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By Folktruther, November 26, 2008 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

The globalization of Clinton largely finished off the laabor unitions in the US.  Unions have no power if a corporation can move to a low wage country.

It is necessary to develop another form of people’s organization, possibly cooperatives.

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By BlueEagle, November 26, 2008 at 5:08 pm Link to this comment

I feel bad for all those people that labeled themselves democrats or voted for Obama thinking that there would actually be positive change in Amerika.

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By diamond, November 26, 2008 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment

You don’t have a labour party. You need one. The reason you don’t and that your unions have been rendered null and void might have something to do with the fact that union leaders were often shot at their kitchen windows by criminals hired by the right. The mafia also took many unions over and stole all the union dues which suited business and the corporations just fine because a union with no money can’t do anything for the workers. There’s no other explanation for why the richest country in the world pays a minimum wage of $5 an hour. 70% of Americans are working class so I can’t see why they can’t form their own party and give the Democrats something to REALLY THINK ABOUT. I don’t think there’s any other path to social justice for workers.

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By ProUnionProLabor, November 26, 2008 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

oops…...sits there…....watchin’

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By Xntrk, November 26, 2008 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While Obama has meetings to form his version of Change, the ALBA nations are meeting in Caracas to develop a monetary strategy that will protect them from the collapse of the economy in large parts of the world. Since these countries are considered aberrant outgrowths of Socialism and Communism, Alba doesn’t attract much attention here, but it has the potential to form a viable alternative to Western Capitalism for many underdeveloped nations. Much of Latin America belongs, or is considering joining - especially if the ALBA Bank takes off as an alternative to the IMF.

Evo Morales [who just won an important election for his new constitution in Bolivia] made these remarks at yesterdays opening session:

Bolivian President Evo Morales said Tuesday in this capital [Caracas] that the peoples of the World should clearly identify the capitalist system as mankind’s main enemy.
“In the capitalism, there is no human being, there are only consumers, there is no mother land, there is raw material, and there is a great asymmetry of families, countries and continents,” the Bolivian President said, talking in the 3rd Extraordinary Summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of America (ALBA) in Caracas…
…He exemplified that the money assigned by the United States and the European countries from Europe to the bankers to rescue broken entities is 300 times more than the figure dedicated to combat climatic change.
The basic services, among them the access to drinkable water, feeding and housing, have to be true human rights and not to be privatized, the leader pointed out…

As Progressives, Liberals, and Union Members in the US, I think it important that we are aware of alternatives to our present situation that develop in other countries. An interesting source of information is: http://upsidedownworld.org/main/

Let’s be honest with ourselves. The outline of Obama’s government and policies looks anything but promising for those of us who support true progressive and left-wing policies in the public realm. The appointees in every cabinet slot so far are simply re-treads from failed policies of the past. Waiting for the other shoe to fall is foolish under these circumstances.

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By ProUnionProLabor, November 26, 2008 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment

It just sets there…..watchln’

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By Xntrk, November 26, 2008 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Zeke says: When conservatives appointed pro-business types to these positions, left-liberals were understandably outraged and complained that these positions were intended to serve the interests of all Americans.  But change pro-business to pro-labor and your justified outrage just melts away?<<

Pro Labor, Zeke? And when would that have been??? The Democrat in Charge of Change has appointed nothing but conservatives to his administration so far, so it is undoubtedly unreasonable to expect an actual Union supporter to be Secretary of Labor. And who better to enforce the Bush/Clinton Free-Trade Agreements then an ardent Free-Trader?

My Gramma always told me “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride”. And, sure enough, I’ve done a lot of walking in the past 70 years.

When Reagan took office, the difference in the Department of Labor was like day and night. It has never recovered from that assault, and the workers have taken it in the neck and pocket book ever since.

Rather then expecting relief. or even fairness from the Obama Administration, the Working Class would be well advised to prepare for hard times and hard battles.

Appointing the chief apologist for the hiring of paramilitary death squads to kill labor organizers in Columbia is a pretty clear message as to what is ahead for organized labor here [Eric Holder, favored to become Attorney General, was the lawyer in the Chiquita Banana scandal, when the company was found guilty of hiring para-military terrorists to attack union organizers. At least 4000 died].

I am expanding my garden: Here in Hawaii, with increasing unemployment and foreclosures, as well as rapidly increasing prices for groceries and energy, Matson has just raised its shipping rates for all shipping to and from Hawaii. This does not include the ‘energy sur-charge’.

We cannot bailout the UAW, but every bank in the country has its hands in the pockets of the American Tax-Payer and Worker.

Pray for the Revolution, because it ain’t getting any better without one!

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By KDelphi, November 26, 2008 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

The headline should be “neo-liberals diss labor once again—labor maintains HOPE” that they will be thrown a bone

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By tmickey77, November 26, 2008 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

when you listen to the song Monster/Suicide/America by Steppenwolf released in 1969 it just as well been written last week. seems like the beast is getting much larger as time goes by and we are even more out of touch. where is America? do we stay asleep until it’s over and we are all doomed. who is this monster that’s divided us, made us self indulged to the point we don’t even care about our country being turned into what????? we are so busy fighting for what we think is owed us that the big picture is out of focus. we won’t know what’s hit us until it’s to late to fix it. wake up American’s and let’s put this monster back into the cave it came out of

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By troublesum, November 26, 2008 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

The suckers endorsed him without asking for anything in return.  “Once he’s actually elected then….”

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By Zeke, November 26, 2008 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When conservatives appointed pro-business types to these positions, left-liberals were understandably outraged and complained that these positions were intended to serve the interests of all Americans.  But change pro-business to pro-labor and your justified outrage just melts away?  Why can’t we all agree that it’s best when these key positions are not filled by a bunch of economic hucksters trying to impose a narrow agenda on everyone else regardless of what that agenda is?

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