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Gender: Female
Hometown: Wisconsin
Current location: Tejas
Member since: Thu Jan 17, 2008, 12:44 PM
Number of posts: 31,869

About Me

The most violent element in society is ignorance. Emma Goldman

Journal Archives

All-India strike hits banking, transport services

Solidarity with our sisters and brothers in India as they organize -

New Delhi, February 28, 2012

Millions of workers of all political hues have gone on strike across India on Tuesday to express their anger at soaring prices and to back demands for improved rights for employees, trade unions and political activists said.

The strike, which includes workers from state-run phone companies, bus drivers and postal workers, is a new headache for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government as it grapples with weakening economic growth and faces elections in several states.

Workers linked to the ruling Congress party have also joined the protest and have promised further action if their demands are not met.

The protests are not expected to significantly affect banks and financial markets in Asia's third-largest economy, but traders said there could be some volatility in the bond market if volumes are lower than normal.

"Volumes could be lower, but settlement should happen," said a senior dealer at a state-run bank.

The strikers have a long list of demands. Among them, they want the government to take measures to contain inflation, provide universal social security cover for workers in the vast unorganised labour sector, and to stop selling stakes in state-run companies.

"We will have to think about our future course of action if the government does not come forward with proposals on how it will react to our demands," G. Sanjeeva Reddy, president of the Indian National Trade Union Congress, the ruling party's trade union, said...

More here: http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NewDelhi/All-India-strike-by-major-trade-unions-today/Article1-818173.aspx

Happy birthday, Dr. Du Bois!

Today would have been the 144th birthday of WEB Du Bois, the great scholar, civil rights and peace activist.

Born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, in 1868, Du Bois quickly emerged as one of the 20th century's outstanding thinkers and social activists. Armed with a PhD from Harvard University, the young scholar came to national prominence at the turn of the century when he challenged Tuskegee University head Booker T. Washington's accommodationist policies.

His famous collection of essays, The Souls of Black Folk remains poignant and relevant even today. Du Bois went on to help found the Niagara Movement, a group of activists, workers and scholars devoted to fighting segregation and racism.


Handcuffed at the age of 83 during the McCarthy period of Cold War repression, Du Bois ran for the U.S. Senate in New York and won over 100,000 votes. He joined the Communist Party in 1961 and died in Ghana in 1963, the day before the iconic civil rights march on Washington, led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr...

Read the entire article here: http://peoplesworld.org/university-of-pennsylvania-awards-du-bois-honorary-doctorate/

A bug that I found for Elad -

I don't know if this always happens, but I found a post (OP) last night that was hidden by jury but still shows in someone's journal.

Just Don’t Call Her Che

LATE last month the British newspaper The Guardian asked readers to vote for its person of the year. The candidates included household names like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Egyptian techno-revolutionary Wael Ghonim and the Burmese pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. All placed far behind a striking, nose-ringed student from Chile named Camila Vallejo.

Though far from a familiar face in the United States, the 23-year-old Ms. Vallejo has gained rock-star status among the global activist class. Since June she has led regular street marches of up to 200,000 people through Santiago’s broad avenues — the largest demonstrations since the waning days of the Pinochet regime in the late 1980s. Under her leadership, the mobilization, known as the Chilean Winter, has gained nationwide support; one of its slogans, “We are the 90 percent,” referred to its approval rating in late September.

Ms. Vallejo’s charismatic leadership has led commentators to make the obligatory comparisons to other Latin American leftist icons like Subcomandante Marcos and Che Guevara. Yet “Commander Camila,” as her followers call her, has become a personality in her own regard. She skewers senators in prime-time TV debates and stays on message with daytime talk-show hosts hungry for lurid details about her personal life, while her eloquence gives her a preternatural ability to connect with an audience far beyond her left-wing base.

In perhaps the most poignant set piece in the year of the protester, Ms. Vallejo addressed a dense ring of photographers and reporters in August while kneeling within a peace sign made of spent tear-gas shells, where she calmly mused about how many educational improvements could have been bought with the $100,000 worth of munitions at her feet...

Much more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/29/opinion/sunday/student-protests-rile-chile.html?_r=1

GM to move all salaried workers to 401(k) plans

This was posted in Late Breaking News, but I'd like to keep a copy of these types of posts in our group as well. Many corporations have done away with pension plans in favor of 401ks (with the exception of places like law firms which will offer 401K on top of their pensions). A troubling development that folks are being left to their own devices trying to manage 401ks while owners continue to target Social Security:

GM to move all salaried workers to 401(k) plans

By Bryce G. Hoffman
The Detroit News
February 15, 2012 at 9:27 pm

General Motors has the largest pension obligation of any company in the United States, and the automaker had been hinting for months that it needed to do something to reduce the risk that liability posed to its financial strength.

General Motors Co. is ending traditional pensions for its longtime U.S. salaried employees, but the automaker is softening the blow by giving all salaried workers an extra week of vacation.

All of the company's approximately 26,000 white-collar workers in the United States will now get defined contribution, or 401(k) plans, instead.

Those workers hired after Jan. 1, 2001, were already getting 401(k) plans instead of traditional pensions. Workers hired before that date will not lose the pension benefits they have already accrued, the automaker said.

GM said all U.S. salaried employees will also be getting bonuses tied GM's global performance, though details will not be released until Thursday.

GM also said it will give pay increases to workers with critical skills this year, but said there would be no across-the-board raises...

More here: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120215/AUTO0103/202150397/GM-move-all-salaried-workers-401-k-plans?odyssey=tab

It's the Wealth Gap, Stupid

I know I'm preaching to the choir in this group, but nice to see relatively mainstream sources starting to talk about this:

It's the Wealth Gap, Stupid
Why the truly alarming economic trend is not income inequality.

—By Reid Cramer
Mon Feb. 13, 2012 3:00 AM PST

When Mitt Romney bowed to political pressure and released his 2010 tax return, it showed, to no one's great surprise, that the Romneys are rich. Really, really rich. They reported income of more than $21 million, itemized deductions of over $4.5 million, and a total tax bill of just over $3 million. They made charitable contributions of almost $3 million, although more than half of that went to their church.

But what really stood out in the tax return—beyond the presidential candidate's 13.9 percent tax rate—is not that Mitt makes a lot of money, it's that he has a lot of money. Romney's finances are illustrative of the growing gulf between haves and have-nots. It's not about income equality; it's about the widening wealth gap.

In recent years, the fortunes of the Romneys and others in their cohort have continued to grow, notably diverging from the majority of Americans still struggling to deal with a slow economic recovery...

... Recent estimates indicate that the while the top 1 percent earn 21 percent of the nation's income, they possess 36 percent of total wealth. This is especially troubling because while income dictates how well you're doing today, it is access to wealth (the stock of resources) that creates opportunities down the line...

more here: http://motherjones.com/politics/2012/02/its-wealth-gap-stupid

Solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Greece -

The KKE hung 2 giant banners from the rock of the Acropolis on Saturday morning, the second day of the 48hr general strike. Hundreds of members of the KKE holding red flags and shouting slogans against the barbaric measures of the government-EU-plutocracy called on the people to a general rising up and state of alert.


Today in Greece:

Greece's parliament was expected to defy angry protesters on the streets of Athens and endorse a deeply unpopular package of savage austerity measures in order to try to avoid a sovereign default and retain the euro as its currency.

With eurozone leaders declaring it was time for Greece to put up or shut up and that Athens' promises could no longer be believed, Greece's two main political parties and the caretaker prime minister invoked apocalyptic scenarios for the country if the €3.3bn (£2.76bn) of cuts ordained by the eurozone were not supported.

Street battles between police firing rounds of tear gas and demonstrators hurling firebombs and marble slabs left Syntagma Square, the plaza in front of the parliament building, resembling a war zone. Rubbish bins burned as plumes of smoke and asphyxiating clouds of toxic chemicals filled the air...


NO WAR, NO SANCTIONS ON IRAN! From the Houston Peace Council -

Posted by paz on 2/08/12

Clear the Middle East of All Nuclear Weapons!

As the drums of a military strike against Iran are getting louder and louder, the leaders of the United States and Israel, in a good-cop/bad-cop style of approach, are trying to present the U.S. and Israeli public opinion with an apparently “inevitable” — but certainly false — choice. While the “bad-cop” Israel is threatening Iran with an immanent Bush-style “preemptive strike,” the Obama Administration, trying to look like a “good-cop,” is pretending to be “opposed” to such a unilateral military action on the part of Israel, while forcing other governments into taking part in the imposition of devastating economic sanctions on Iran and its people.

All this is done in the name of forcing Iran to stop developing its nuclear program. Yet, it is apparent to anyone who knows even the slightest about the U.S.-Israeli policy in the Middle East that the objective of both approaches is none other than imposing a pro-West “regime change” in Iran and establishing an imperialist “pax-Americana” on the whole of the region.
In doing so, both the U.S. Administration and the Israeli government are distracting the public eye from several very significant facts:


The US Peace Council calls for the full implementation of the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and its immediate application to the Middle East. Middle East should be declared as a Nuclear-Weapons Free Zone, and all nuclear weapons should be removed, or otherwise eliminated, from the region. This is the only way to peace in the Middle East and an urgent measure to avoid the impending war and devastation, not only for the people of Iran and the Middle East, but of the people of the United States as well.

Read the remainder of the article here: http://www.houstonpeacecouncil.com/no-war-no-sanctions-on-iran/

Ron Paul: No friend of the 99%

Commentary by Fight Back! Editors
January 28, 2012

Ron Paul is attracting a lot of attention, including some attention from some people in the anti-war movement, because of his views on foreign policy. Paul has demanded that the president "bring the troops home." He reflects popular opinion when he says that President Bush overstepped his powers in starting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan without a declaration of war. In general, Paul is known as an isolationist, rather than a pro-war candidate. However, Ron Paul supports assassinations and other ‘covert actions,’ acts, which are both illegal and anti-democratic, against other countries. In the Republican debates, his campaign tends to put little emphasis on his anti-war stances. Still, to find a candidate of either party who is against the wars is viewed by some as refreshing.

Many supporters of Ron Paul have also been reaching out to the Occupy Movement. But when Ron Paul ran for Congress in 2010, he said, “We should cut payroll taxes and give workers the opportunity to seek better returns in the private market.” While Ron Paul claims to want to protect Social Security, he is in fact backing a privatization of Social Security that would be a boon for Wall Street. His campaign plays the same tune as Wall Street when he says that Social Security is “broke and broken,” when in fact the Social Security trust fund grew by some $70 billion last year, to almost $2.7 trillion.

That said, there are many other big problems with Ron Paul, including his views and policies on racism and discrimination, women’s rights, GLBTQ rights, workers' rights, the environment and even civil liberties. The solutions Ron Paul is selling will not solve the problems of working people or create more equality. They will create more poverty and oppression, just like those of the other Republicans...

Much more here: http://www.fightbacknews.org/2012/1/28/ron-paul-no-friend-99

Chicago U.S. Attorney office confirms ‘investigation is continuing’

Chicago U.S. Attorney office confirms ‘investigation is continuing’ against anti-war, international solidarity activists
Holy Land Foundation prosecutor now working on case
By Mick Kelly |
January 31, 2012

Chicago, IL – The Northern Illinois Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas stated that the “investigation is continuing” into the case of the anti-war and international solidarity activists who have been hit with FBI raids and grand jury repression. Barry Jonas played a leading role in prosecuting the leaders of the Holy Land Foundation while he was trial attorney for the Department of Justice Counter-terrorism Section.

“This is another confirmation of what we have been hearing all along from the U.S. Attorney’s office - they are going for multiple indictments of multiple activists,” stated Jess Sundin, a Twin Cities Anti-War leader whose home was raided by the FBI. “The government subpoenaed 23 international solidarity activists to a Chicago grand jury and the government is trying to jail veteran Chicano leader Carlos Montes. Jonas confirmed what we already knew - the government is trying to imprison anti-war activists on the grounds of ‘material support for terrorism.’”

Much more here -- http://www.fightbacknews.org/2012/1/31/chicago-us-attorney-office-confirms-investigation-continuing-against-anti-war-internationa
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