Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy Human Rights Day!

Here's an idea: along with all that crap our rulers think we need to carry with us whenever they deign to let us move around on our own home planet, how about carrying something valuable and humane (even eye-opening, since the US won't recognize the economic rights that are part of the UDHR, signed or not, and of course routinely violates other parts or supports violations, which amounts to the same thing).

More free time? Instead of squishing your butt into the couch in front of the TV, how about calling Congress at 877-331-1223 and telling them, while we're bailing the corporate "artificial persons" who created this mess we're in, to bail out the people who are this country.

Tell them we need a Social Monetary Fund, not IMF-style Friedmanomics. Tell them to get those damn troops home yesterday - all of them! And tell them to close down Guantanamo and every othet torture camp in the world, CIA or otherwise. And tell them if we don't want to be the world's favorite target, we could start helping the struggling peoples of the world instead of propping up their murderous, torturing governments and manipulating their economies to serve us (and by "us" I mean primarily "the rich who are not us, but who want us to think they are.")

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Win for workers!

AP is reporting: UE workers occupying the Republic Windows plant in Chicago have won a major victory! Bailout recipient Bank of America has finally agreed - under intense pressure - to lend the company the money to pay the workers.

About time!

As always there is more they might have won: the right to run the plant themselves, as a co-op or something, for example. But this win is significant, and it might be just the beginning.

Certainly the Illinois Governor and US President-elect seem to see it that way. (Could it be that the economic crunch looks just bad enuf, like it might be ushering in a trend of plant closings, that the spirit of M. Keynes advises settling with workers fast, when their demands are confined to "the money we're owed" - in other words, before workers start demanding to keep their plants? That could still be next.)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hold your butts!

OK, if you haven't seen this yet, brace yourself; it's worse than expected (and we expected pretty bad):

“[…] employers slashed 533,000 jobs in November, the most in 34 years […]"

By the way, that's around twice what the experts were predicting. And the most dire warnings had us around 300,000 job losses per month by the end of the year - optimistic, it seems!

“As companies throttled back hiring, the unemployment rate bolted from 6.5 percent in October to 6.7 percent last month, a 15-year high."

Remember, that's official unemployment, which doesn't count millions of people by design.

“These numbers are shocking," said economist Joel Naroff [… And ...] The unemployment rate would have moved even higher if not for the exodus of 422,000 people from the work force. […]”

That means they gave up, so the feds just stop counting them. That happens every month, but usually not this many. With "underemployment" estimated around 11%, the real deal is a whole lot spookier than these spooky numbers!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A few Obama DO's and DONT's

Sometimes it's good just to run down the list. It is hard to imagine Obama being as bad as the W. (And this is just Latin America.)

Florida tomato pickers still want Obama to visit Immokalee, though. (See link below.) Slavery is still alive and well in America. So are a lot of things most people don't know about, especially in the fields.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More good news from Immokalee!

Subway agrees to farmworkers demands! Subway-bashing canceled nationwide!

Once again the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, those impoverished, mostly immigrant and largely non-English-speaking farmworkers from the Southeastern US, are showing us all the way.

Their patient, direct grassroots organizing, combined with smart, media-savvy coalition-building and corporate consumer campaigns have paid off again and again. The effect of meeting the workers themselves, in person - and the message that human slavery and other horrendous conditions exist right now in the US - is powerful. But so is the dedication of these workers, who come from Guatemala, Mexico, Haiti and from the Southern US. They've built their own organization, and nobody tells them how to run it.

Yet they are excellent listeners. They have worked closely with students, building on the anti-sweatshop and anti-corporate globalization movements, and the result has been a symbiosis that has developed power and energy and understanding on all sides.

First Taco Bell in 2005, then McDonald's in 2007, Burger King this year, and a few others along the way like Pizza Hut and KFC, then Whole Foods, and now the third largest fast food chain!


Depression, by any other name ...

“Private employers cut 250,000 jobs in November, the most in seven years, a report by a private employment service said on Wednesday, (Reuters 12-3-08).”