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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

The unconscionable greed of the billionaire class ~

He's not a revolutionary by any stretch, but at least this guy is speaking our language -

"The unconscionable greed of the billionaire class is destroying this nation and it has got to end."
-Bernie Sanders, 6/20/15 Denver, Colorado

Behold the Bipartisianship

Amazing how it has kicked in during this lame duck session. Repugs get TPP. Dems get ACA. Not much of a trade if you ask me, maybe for single payer I would have made the deal ... but then I'm not Nancy Pelosi.

Now I'm wondering what the American People get.

Workers Betrayed by Visa Loopholes

Commentary on how the H-1B VISA program is working in reality, and I would add that we shouldn't be electing politicians who endorse the program.

The Opinion Pages | Editorial

It hardly needs saying that immigration policy should not undermine Americans’ jobs, wages or working conditions. The problem is that what some companies want — cheap, exploitable, disposable labor — is exactly what the system can be twisted into giving them.

Former workers at Walt Disney World in Orlando or at Southern California Edison, the power utility, can tell the story. Those two companies recently laid off hundreds of tech employees, who were replaced by temporary workers recruited by outsourcing firms based in India.

These are only two of many troubling episodes involving the H-1B program, which provides up to 85,000 visas a year to foreigners, mainly highly skilled technical workers. The program was created to allow companies to fill gaps in their work force with specialized employees they cannot find in the United States. But the law has loopholes, and companies here and overseas ruthlessly exploit them. A huge industry has risen to meet labor demand in the information-technology sector, with the imported workers being employees of the outsourcing firms.

On Thursday the Labor Department announced it was investigating two of the largest companies that supply H-1B workers, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services, based in India. Senators including Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, and Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, asked for the inquiry after reports that Southern California Edison turned to Infosys and Tata for H-1B workers even as it was laying off 540 workers, many of whom said they had to train their replacements. The Times recently reported a similar story at Disney, which contracted with HCL America, a branch of an Indian outsourcer, and laid off 250 workers. Some workers said they were asked to stay on to train the newcomers who took over their jobs ...

Much more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/15/opinion/workers-betrayed-by-visa-loopholes.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=opinion-c-col-left-regionion=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region&_r=0

Hillary's commitment to the H-1B VISA program and specifically her feeling that we need foreign labor. This video, however, is from 2008 and introduced by Lou Dobbs (gag). If her position has changed I'd love to have cites (video if possible) showing us that she is committed to American workers filling jobs.

Safe passage to our friend Jackpine Radical -

For anybody who checks in the socialist group and may have missed it out in GD -


Here is one of his posts that I particularly liked. I think Jackpine was a democratic socialist in the tradition of Bernie Sanders, and I know he was so excited about his candidacy. Some people ask the question "how do we replace capitalism" in a snarky way, but Jackpine actually had some very positive and original ideas about how society could be reordered to serve people as opposed to profit. We will miss you Jim.

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 04:31 PM

Star Member Jackpine Radical (45,274 posts)

Capitalism is toast. What will replace it?
(This thread disappeared from GD, so I'm reposting it here.)

The world economy as currently structured requires growth to sustain it. Capitalism has the same ethics as a cancer, and will just as surely kill its host if left unchecked. The host, of course, is the biosphere.

The species does NOT need growth to sustain it--either in population or in "productivity."

What we need is workable population control and a functional distribution system that ensures everyone has enough so they may live happy, self-fulfilling lives. If we have less attachment to useless, throwaway material possessions, we need to work less. If we have machines that absorb the work of production, then a major portion of the proceeds of that production ought to go to the people.

There is a path to a world in which everyone has the basics such as food, shelter, education and peace. People would not have to work as hard in this world. Everyone would have the time and opportunity to flourish as fully-functional humans. We just need wisdom to get there.

Unfortunately, the wise and fair-minded do not generally rise to power in this system, and perhaps not in any other.

The American Revolution was an attempt to build a more foolproof hierarchical system, based on a division of powers among 3 branches, those 3 branches themselves basing their authority on the consent of the governed.

But almost from the outset, the rich and powerful interests captured portions of the government and bent them to their own narrow purposes. Andrew Jackson & the smallpox blankets. Using cops & Guardsmen to bust strikes. Make up your own list. The point is that by now, the corruption is virtually complete.

So how can you build an incorruptible hierarchical system, one that is impervious to the toxic effects of money? The more I think about it, the more convinced become that you can't build such a system.

When I was a state employee, I used to say that the state's organizational chart consisted of a pyramid of boxes with names in them, each connected to the boxes below it by diodes. The system was designed to pass orders downward from the top, but not to allow any signals to arise into the system from below. It was a classic hierarchy. Shut up & do what you're told.

Nowhere was this hierarchical unidirectionality of communication made more clear than in the old Soviet Union. Right after the revolution, Lenin was faced with decisions about how to modernize his new nation in a hurry to elevate it from its quasi-feudal state. He thought about putting in a national telephone system. But he scrapped this plan. Instead, he wired the major cities for networks of loudspeakers--the ultimate one-way communication device.

Now, contrast any such hierarchical system with the system in place at an OWS General Assembly. In the GA, someone speaks and everybody gives immediate feedback on how they feel about what the speaker is saying.

Then there is the Human Mike. The "mic check" phenomenon is a very interesting one. One person's message is passed on to the crowd through the concerted, self-coordinated actions of those crowd members nearest the speaker. The speaker must have the consent of his "microphone" if he is to be heard. That's sure a bit different than Moscow, 1923. It's also different from any previous protest action in America. In the past, there were always defined leaders, whether Tom Hayden or MLK. Not this time. The power is distributed very differently.

The major difference between previous social actions and the present worldwide upheaval is the nearly universal access to the new social media. The 1% have their broadcast media, just as Lenin had his loudspeakers, and they have gotten very sophisticated in using these tools to shape public opinion. Classically, the public has had little capacity to respond. Oh, you could write a letter or make a phone call, but in general the public was limited to one-to-one communications, while the Mighty had one-to-many communication capability.

But the transpersonal environment is now very different than it has been at any time in the past. Each person has one-to-many capabilities. For example, I'm writing this in hopes that many more than one of my fellow-travelers will read it, and each of them will have the power to respond in kind, i.e. with one-to-many capabilities.

One way of looking at the massive one-to-many linkages among maybe 1 billion of us is that we have created a feedback mechanism unlike anything the world has yet seen. We are escaping the information filters that have always been imposed on us. We are making direct contact with each other around the world and sharing hour common humanity and our common concerns.

Learning occurs in the presence of feedback. Instant learning occurs in the presence of instant feedback. Learning means adaptability, constant change, constant updating of the information banks. No hierarchical system can coordinate an action as swift and graceful as a leaderless flock of birds suddenly executing a change in direction.

This is why I look to leaderless organizations such as OWS as experimental workshops for developing the new society.


Against the Trans-Pacific Partnership

The TPP’s language is complex, but its result would be simple: more corporate power, and less democratic control.
by Peter Rossman ~ 5/13/15

Critical public debate on President Obama’s coveted Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) had been undergoing an important shift in the buildup to his failure yesterday to secure “fast track” authority. Opponents of the trade deal being secretly negotiated between the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam have moved the discussion beyond its putative impact on jobs and growth and closer to the agreement’s broader ramifications.

A recent letter to congressional leaders by well-known legal experts and economist Joseph Stiglitz points out that the treaty’s investment enforcement mechanism, investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS), has been used “to challenge a broad range of policies aimed at protecting the environment, improving public health and safety, and regulating industry.” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has raised similar concerns, and Paul Krugman has written that the TPP “is not a trade agreement. It’s about intellectual property and dispute settlement.”

This widening of the debate has shifted it into areas that reflect at least some of the concerns long voiced by labor, social movement, and environmental activists. However, the TPP is about much more than intellectual property and dispute settlement.

Focusing exclusively on legal aspects of ISDS obscures the larger corporate project embedded in the TPP and similar treaties deliberately and misleadingly branded as “trade” agreements (like the European Union-US TTIP, which is also now being negotiated in secret). At the heart of the project is a drive to expand the already considerable reach and power of transnational investors by restricting governments’ regulatory power and opening up vast new areas for private investment ...

Much more here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/05/trans-pacific-partnership-obama-fast-track-nafta/

Poem for peace: “Brother”

by: Hugh Mann
June 2 2015


I'm not well
If you are sick

I'm not rich
If you are poor

I can't live
If you're not free

more here - http://peoplesworld.org/poem-for-peace-brother/

Volunteer for your Candidate:

I volunteered on Obama's campaign here in Houston (2008) and just wrote about it in response to someone wanting to help out Bernie. I thought it might be helpful to put this in OP form for folks who are excited about their candidate (whether Bernie, Martin, or Hillary) and want to help.

1. Find your local democratic party group. I did that as well and ended up co-precinct chair. The local folks knew the caucus would be a bigger deal than usual so they enlisted in extra help. It didn't matter who they personally supported (here in TX many actually supported Hillary & we Obama supporters were the newbies - but they welcomed our help). Do searches on Google and find those people. CALL them on the telephone if there's a local group or show up at the local meeting. Emails are still not the best communication until you get rolling. Make sure you make contact in person. They will know your face, have your contact info, and when it gets busy they will start soliciting for help. These are the folks that have regular offices in the party and they send delegates to their state convention. They will likely solicit among volunteers to have folks help with putting on the actual primary and caucus.

2. Sign up on the candidate's website and I'm sure you will get contacted by them as well when they get to your state. There will be paid or volunteer people who will be traveling around working from state to state as the candidates make their way through the primary process. My involvement started with a speech at a local Houston restaurant and then the person in charge of my area emailed regularly and put us all to work! Things we did: phone bank, walked door to door, offered rides to the polls.

I encourage everyone who is able to get involved in a campaign. It's a very interesting process.
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