Sunday, June 12, 2005

Paul Krugman defends workers' right to organize

yeller dawg mentioned Ed Sills the other day. Mr. Sills is communications director of the state AFL-CIO in Austin, and publishes an e-mail news letter that he sends to union members (including yeller dawg). His letter of yesterday was especially informative. He included an op-ed piece from the New York Times by economist Paul Krugman, telling how the restrictions on workers' right to organize into unions has hurt the economy. Here it is its entirety:

"6) Anyone who reads this space regularly has followed the dots laid out inthiscolumn by Paul Krugman of The New York Times. But this is an eloquent statement of how 25 years of anti-union corporate and government behavior are a highly visible symptom of what's ailing the economy: June 10, 2005 'Losing Our Country' by PAUL KRUGMAN

Baby boomers like me grew up in a relatively equal society. In the 1960's America was a place in which very few people were extremely wealthy, many blue-collar workers earned wages that placed them comfortably in the middleclass, and working families could expect steadily rising living standards and a reasonable degree of economic security.But as The Times's series on class in America reminds us, that was another country. The middle-class society I grew up in no longer exists.Working families have seen little if any progress over the past 30 years.Adjusted for inflation, the income of the median family doubled between 1947and 1973. But it rose only 22 percent from 1973 to 2003, and much of thatgain was the result of wives' entering the paid labor force or workinglonger hours, not rising wages.Meanwhile, economic security is a thing of the past: year-to-year fluctuations in the incomes of working families are far larger than theywere a generation ago. All it takes is a bit of bad luck in employment or health to plunge a family that seems solidly middle-class into poverty. But the wealthy have done very well indeed. Since 1973 the average income of the top 1 percent of Americans has doubled, and the income of the top 0.1 percent has tripled. Why is this happening? I'll have more to say on that another day, but for now let me just point out that middle-class America didn't emerge by accident. It was created by what has been called the Great Compression of incomes that took place during World War II. . ." Dr. Krugman continues that when workers can organize the country does well economically, and when they have difficulty organizing, as they do today because of government interference, the economy does not prosper.

yeller dawg

Friday, June 10, 2005

Bush Lies

Yeller dawg was goin to take the weekend off, being tired from the weddin and all, but there is so much stuff happenin with those Republicans, he just cant.

1. How about that Downing Street Memo? You know, the memo written by British intelligence (is that an oxymoron?) (sp?), that proves Dubya planned to invade Iraq a long time before he admitted it, and was tryin to fit the intelligence to support his war plan. Why, he even planned to use the U.N. to foster his nefarious scheme.

Dubya didn't need to worry bout the U.S. press. They were so cowed, they would never even mention it. But he didn't count on the German guy (Steve Holland from Reuters) who had the absolute bad taste to ask about it while Dubya and his lap dog Blair were taking a victory lap (press conference). Of course, lap dog was the first to take a crack at it, and he got up and lied and lied and lied, but no one from the mainstream media had the guts or inclination to call him on his lies. Then Dubya got up there and lied some more. Same non-response.

With mdia coverage like that, Hitler would have come off as Mother Teresa.

Foregoing was loosely taken from a Joe Conanson column in the June 10 edition of www.salon.com.

2. How about poor Howard Dean? He goes aroung the country doing what he is supposed to do, put burrs under Republican saddles, and his own party piles on. Even sad sack Joe Lieberman (the biggest DINO in Congress). Meanwhile, his Republican counterpart, Ken Melhman, gets on "Meet the Press" with Tim Russert, and lies so much his nose should reach Saipan. Of course, dear old Tim lets him get by with it. Turn in your press card, Tim. You are soo over!

This thanks to a column be Ariana Huffington, June 7, www.salon.com.

Five more Marines were killed in Iraq yesterday.

Five more reasons to get rid of Bush!

tomorrow, I will tell you about the House Republicans trying to gut the U.N. and NPR, with DeLay right in the middle of it.

yeller dawg

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Tom's Island Paradise

And this from my friend Susan DuQuesnay at Juanita's.
"June 8 - I don't know where this Carmencita woman gets off complaining about the living conditions and forced prostitution and abortions in the Marianas Islands. Whine, whine, whine. They have wonderful golf courses there, just ask Tom DeLay. Get over it, woman; Tom DeLay has needs, too. And don't forget Tom's biggest need - men with money! A wine and cigar fundraising party? Oh yeah, spending an evening with a bunch of old stinky drunk guys who look like a bad Sigmund Freud joke is certainly my idea of a fun evening."

Thanks, Susan. Our friend Tom certainly has it covered, or uncovered (if he wanders into the right Saipan establishment).

And something else I just read: this guy Hastings, the Republican from Washington who is head of the House Ethics panel, has close ties to DeLay's buddy Abramoff, or whatever his name is. He replaced Arlen Spector, who apparently wanted a REAL ethics inquiry into Tom's dealings. Hastings voted against imposing a minimum wage requirement on the Northern Marianas. He received several thousand dollars from Abramoff. Of course, this had nothing to do with his vote, I'm sure!

The two new Republicans who they added to the panel are also contributors to Tom's defense fund. MY, my, my. As they say, "it just gets curioser and curiouser."

The House Ethics panel aint goin to investigate Tom. Appoint an independent counsel!

I read that four more Marines and soldiers were killed last weekend. Four more reasons to get rid of Dubya!

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Bush Learns a New Word

Bush Defends Detainee Treatment and Cites 'Stalling' on Bolton


By BRIAN KNOWLTON, International Herald Tribune
Published: May 31, 2005

WASHINGTON, May 31 - "President Bush today vigorously defended the administration's handling of its detainees from the war on terror, dismissing as "absurd" a human rights group's suggestion that the United States detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, had become "the gulag of our times."

While criticizing the report Dubya used the word "absurd" at least two more times, as if, when teaching him a new word, Rove or Chaney instructed him to use it three times in a short conversation.

Of course the report was not absurd, and has been documented many times. The report had to do with the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison camp that Newsweek reported and then retracted under intense pressure from the White House.

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and then White House counsel Alberto Gonzales had both decreed that the Geneva Convention did not apply to Guantanamo and methods that some have likened to torture could be used.

"The language was insistent and unusually sharp for the president, but it echoed an earlier comment by Vice President Dick Cheney, who had said he was "offended" by Amnesty International's description. Both men suggested that freed detainees were spreading mistruths to harm the United States."
This afternoon, the executive director of Amnesty International USA, William F. Schulz, assailed Mr. Bush's response.
"What is 'absurd' is President Bush's attempt to deny the deliberate policies of his administration, which has detained individuals without charge or trial in prisons at Guantánamo Bay, Bagram Air Base and other locations," he said in a statement. "What is 'absurd' and indeed outrageous is the Bush administration's failure to undertake a full independent investigation."

Dr. Schulz added, "This administration never finds it 'absurd' when we criticize Cuba or China, or when we condemned the violations in Iraq under Saddam Hussein."

Dubya was also upset that the Demos had held up the Bolton (The crazy Dubya had picked to be UN Ambassador) nomination. Dubya apparently does not understand the word "advice." He thinks the Senate should rubberstamp his nominations of crazy people such as Bolton and Priscilla Owen.

2. The following is from Susan DuQuesnay's Juanita's.

" May 31 - Well, the Lege ended its reign of terror and a few Texans are left standing. The Republicans were fare more concerned about moving school board elections to November (making them partisan races) than how we’re going to fund public education in Texas. Speaker Craddick seriously suggested that we leave it to the Courts. No, really. He said that. I think if he ever comes to a resolution about activist judges, his head will explode. But, of course, these are the same Republicans who kept hollering for a balanced budget back in the 80’s. Our three Representatives from Fort Bend proved themselves to be worthless as a four card flush. Take a look at Republican Charlie Howard. Look at the bills he authored and then count the ones that were passed and sent to the Governor. Of course, he's one term past due on his term limit promise, but you can't trust a word those Baptists say anyway. Democrat Dora Olivo scored even higher on the worthless scale. Even with legislation written by local lawyers, her recent erratic behavior made her ineffective."

Well that should be enough for you to chew on fer a spell. yeller dawg apologizes, but he's been gettin his daughter married. (To a fine man-and, oh yes, he's a Democrat!)

yeller dawg

Monday, May 30, 2005

What Happened to the Volunteer Army?

Susan DuQuesnay published the following in her Juanita's coolumn. Yeller dawg is including it here because it is sooo timely and apropo:

"May 29 - In honor of Memorial Day, last week Tom DeLay was the deciding vote to deny returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan the medical and prosthetic care they desperately need. One vote. His one vote is keeping our newest veterans from returning to a normal life. One stinkin' vote. I'll be sure post pictures of DeLay at local services honoring veterans. He'll be there loudly proclaiming his support while stealing their prosthetic leg to trade for a tee time or a big ole steak dinner. DeLay also voted to deny TRICARE medical care to the guard and reserves, even though they are 40% of our fighting forces. DeLay never served in the military.

Careful, Susan, he might slap you or scratch your eyes out!

Too Few, Yet Too Many
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: May 30, 2005

"One of the more bizarre aspects of the Iraq war has been President Bush's repeated insistence that his generals tell him they have enough troops. Even more bizarrely, it may be true - I mean, that his generals tell him that they have enough troops, not that they actually have enough. An article in yesterday's Baltimore Sun explains why.

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times ) Iraq 2004 Looks Like Vietnam 1966 (Slate)

"The article tells the tale of John Riggs, a former Army commander, who "publicly contradicted Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld by arguing that the Army was overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan" - then abruptly found himself forced into retirement at a reduced rank, which normally only happens as a result of a major scandal.

"The truth, of course, is that there aren't nearly enough troops. Basically, we've got all the toys, but not enough boys," a Marine major in Anbar Province told The Los Angeles Times.

"Yet it's also true, in a different sense, that we have too many troops in Iraq.

"Back in September 2003 a report by the Congressional Budget Office concluded that the size of the U.S. force in Iraq would have to start shrinking rapidly in the spring of 2004 if the Army wanted to "maintain training and readiness levels, limit family separation and involuntary mobilization, and retain high-quality personnel."

"Let me put that in plainer English: our all-volunteer military is based on an implicit promise that those who serve their country in times of danger will also be able to get on with their lives. Full-time soldiers expect to spend enough time at home base to keep their marriages alive and see their children growing up. Reservists expect to be called up infrequently enough, and for short enough tours of duty, that they can hold on to their civilian jobs.

"To keep that promise, the Army has learned that it needs to follow certain rules, such as not deploying more than a third of the full-time forces overseas except during emergencies. The budget office analysis was based on those rules.

"But the Bush administration, which was ready neither to look for a way out of Iraq nor to admit that staying there would require a much bigger army, simply threw out the rulebook. Regular soldiers are spending a lot more than a third of their time overseas, and many reservists are finding their civilian lives destroyed by repeated, long-term call-ups.
Two things make the burden of repeated deployments even harder to bear. One is the intensity of the conflict. In Slate, Phillip Carter and Owen West, who adjusted casualty figures to take account of force size and improvements in battlefield medicine (which allow more of the severely wounded to survive), concluded that "infantry duty in Iraq circa 2004 comes out just as intense as infantry duty in Vietnam circa 1966."
The other is the way in which the administration cuts corners when it comes to supporting the troops. From their foot-dragging on armoring Humvees to their apparent policy of denying long-term disability payments to as many of the wounded as possible, officials seem almost pathologically determined to nickel-and-dime those who put their lives on the line for their country.

"Now, predictably, the supply of volunteers is drying up.
Most reporting has focused on the problems of recruiting, which has fallen far short of goals over the past few months. Serious as it is, however, the recruiting shortfall could be only a temporary problem. If and when we get out of Iraq - I know, a big if and a big when - it shouldn't be too hard to find enough volunteers to maintain the Army's manpower.

"Much more serious, because it would be irreversible, would be a mass exodus of mid-career military professionals. "That's essentially how we broke the professional Army we took into Vietnam," one officer told the National Journal. "At some point, people decided they could no longer weather the back-to-back deployments."

That doesn't bother Bush. He never served in Vietnam, or anywhere else that I know of.

yeller dawg

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Bush-is he working for you or Big Oil and Gas?

yeller dawg rec'd this flier from The Wilderness Society:

"George W. Bush, President, received $2.36 million in contributions from Big Oil and Gas in the 2004 election-more than any other candidate in a decade." The flier went on to detail some of Bush's rapes of our environment: dropping out of the Kyoto accords; loosening emission standards for chemical plants; opening drilling and logging in pristine wilderness areas; etc. Dubya, you were elected to protect the environment, not tear it down.

The Society's web site is www.wilderness.org. I hope some of you will visit it.

What is Bush trying to hide about Bolton? He won't release documents to the Senate that is investigating him. Looks like more lies, half truths, and obfuscating!

Did you know that the Democrats who are seeking to block his nomination, a "minority," represent more citizens than the Republican "majority?" Bolton would be a disaster.

yeller dawg

Thursday, May 26, 2005

DeLay's TRMPAC, CAFTA

In Ed Sills' letter to union activists he included the following about TRNPAC and CAFTA:

"5) A state district judge in Travis County ruled today that Texans for aRepublican Majority violated state law by failing to disclose hundreds ofthousands of dollars in corporate contributions during its quest to make TomCraddick speaker of the House.District Judge Joe Hart awarded five Democratic candidates who lost in theelection $196,660 in civil damages.The Democrats had sued former state Rep. Bill Ceverha, treasurer for TRMPAC.Ceverha's side said they would appeal.A separate grand jury investigation is under way to determine if anycriminal laws were violated.Texans for Public Justice Director Craig McDonald issued this statement:"Today's ruling is bad news for Tom DeLay and his TRMPAC cronies. Thisruling draws blood from the financial heart of DeLay's corrupt politicalempire. This is likely to be but the first of many guilty verdicts againstTRMPAC and its leaders.""Today's judgment confirms that TRMPAC blatantly violated Texas electionlaw. It's the first step in holding TRMPAC's leaders accountable for thecorruption they levied on Texas' politics." "This ruling will hasten the end of DeLay's white-collar crimes against democracy. It sends a strong message to all the Tom DeLays who act as ifthey are above the law: Don't mess with Texas elections."

I am with Howard Dean: DeLay belongs in jail.

6)" The San Antonio Current published this brief story on last week'santi-CAFTA rally:Lamar says yes, labor says no to CAFTALabor and elected leaders packed the Communication Workers of America Local6143 Wednesday morning to rally opposition to the controversial CentralAmerican Free Trade Agreement, which is modeled after the 11-year-old NorthAmerican Free Trade Agreement. If enacted, CAFTA would legalize tradeliberalization between the United States and Costa Rica, El Salvador,Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua."CAFTA is the bad brother of NAFTA," said Linda Chavez-Thompson, AFL-CIOexecutive vice president and former San Antonio organizer, during the pressconference. "It's a crime what NAFTA has done to people like to you and me,and CAFTA is going to do the same thing for the same reasons."More than 200,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in Texas since June1998, but CAFTA could be a way to reverse that trend, according to U.S.Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), who, in his address to the San AntonioFree Trade Alliance on May 9, said that the agreement would strengthen theSan Antonio job market and economy by allowing the forthcoming Toyota plantand Texas' electronic industries to export their goods duty-free."I don't understand how congressmen are in favor of this or on the fence onthis," said Becky Moeller, who lives in Smith's district and was inattendance Wednesday. "If you make 5 dollars and a nickel a day, I don'tknow how you can buy a computer or a Toyota."Reynaldo Federico Gonzalez of the Insurance and Bank Workers Federation inGuatemala says he has a warrant out for his arrest in his native country forparticipating in demonstrations against CAFTA. He was a panelist Wednesdayas part of the "CAFTA- We don't Hafta" tour, which ended its nationwide,week-long run in San Antonio."Our government will use the aberrations of the police to suppressmovements," said Gonzalez through a translator. "It is trulylife-threatening to form a union in Guatemala."CAFTA, which was drafted in 2004 and signed by all five of theLatin-American countries, has been aggressively backed by the BushAdministration but has not yet been brought before Congress, though a votecould occur as early as this month. Texas representatives Smith and HenryCuellar, a Democrat, have already pledged their support for the agreement.U.S. Representative Charlie Gonzalez (D-San Antonio) said via telephoneduring the rally that he has not yet decided his vote.-
5) A state district judge in Travis County ruled today that Texans for aRepublican Majority violated state law by failing to disclose hundreds ofthousands of dollars in corporate contributions during its quest to make TomCraddick speaker of the House.District Judge Joe Hart awarded five Democratic candidates who lost in theelection $196,660 in civil damages.The Democrats had sued former state Rep. Bill Ceverha, treasurer for TRMPAC.Ceverha's side said they would appeal.A separate grand jury investigation is under way to determine if anycriminal laws were violated.Texans for Public Justice Director Craig McDonald issued this statement:"Today's ruling is bad news for Tom DeLay and his TRMPAC cronies. Thisruling draws blood from the financial heart of DeLay's corrupt politicalempire. This is likely to be but the first of many guilty verdicts againstTRMPAC and its leaders.""Today's judgment confirms that TRMPAC blatantly violated Texas electionlaw. It's the first step in holding TRMPAC's leaders accountable for thecorruption they levied on Texas' politics.""This ruling will hasten the end of DeLay's white-collar crimes againstdemocracy. It sends a strong message to all the Tom DeLays who act as ifthey are above the law: Don't mess with Texas elections."6) The San Antonio Current published this brief story on last week'santi-CAFTA rally:Lamar says yes, labor says no to CAFTALabor and elected leaders packed the Communication Workers of America Local6143 Wednesday morning to rally opposition to the controversial CentralAmerican Free Trade Agreement, which is modeled after the 11-year-old NorthAmerican Free Trade Agreement. If enacted, CAFTA would legalize tradeliberalization between the United States and Costa Rica, El Salvador,Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua."CAFTA is the bad brother of NAFTA," said Linda Chavez-Thompson, AFL-CIOexecutive vice president and former San Antonio organizer, during the pressconference. "It's a crime what NAFTA has done to people like to you and me,and CAFTA is going to do the same thing for the same reasons."More than 200,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in Texas since June1998, but CAFTA could be a way to reverse that trend, according to U.S.Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), who, in his address to the San Antonio Free Trade Alliance on May 9, said that the agreement would strengthen theSan Antonio job market and economy by allowing the forthcoming Toyota plantand Texas' electronic industries to export their goods duty-free."I don't understand how congressmen are in favor of this or on the fence onthis," said Becky Moeller, who lives in Smith's district and was inattendance Wednesday. "If you make 5 dollars and a nickel a day, I don'tknow how you can buy a computer or a Toyota."Reynaldo Federico Gonzalez of the Insurance and Bank Workers Federation inGuatemala says he has a warrant out for his arrest in his native country forparticipating in demonstrations against CAFTA. He was a panelist Wednesdayas part of the "CAFTA- We don't Hafta" tour, which ended its nationwide,week-long run in San Antonio."Our government will use the aberrations of the police to suppressmovements," said Gonzalez through a translator. "It is trulylife-threatening to form a union in Guatemala."CAFTA, which was drafted in 2004 and signed by all five of theLatin-American countries, has been aggressively backed by the BushAdministration but has not yet been brought before Congress, though a votecould occur as early as this month. Texas representatives Smith and HenryCuellar, a Democrat, have already pledged their support for the agreement.U.S. Representative Charlie Gonzalez (D-San Antonio) said via telephoneduring the rally that he has not yet decided his vote."- Heather Holmes

Charlie, you had better decide whose side you are on. If you vote for CAFTA, its "Goodbye Charlie." Lamar, you belong in the hall of shame.

The Houston Chronicle must be reading this blog: today it came out with an article detailing all the abuses that have been documented at Gitmo. This blog detailed them yesterday. Hiowever, the HC said the "abuses could not be verified."

Well, dah! how can a prisoner verify abuses by a prison guard? Newsweek never should have caved.

Sen. Robert Duncan's amendment that would have screwed school teachers and retirees was killed tonight in the Texas State Senate by a vote of 19-12. Thanks you to the Democrates who voted to kill it. Sen. Duncan, how can a good little Methodist Sunday School boy be so niggardly and penurious (and also so hypocritical). I sure your mama is proud of yew.

While yeller dawg is passing out the kudos, how about little Scotty McClellan, Bush's liar, oops, I mean mouthpiece. When the news broke that the United Nations had castigated the U. S. for the abuses at Gitmo, Scotty said the complains were "rediculous and unsupported by the facts." (from the Houston Chronicle, May 26, 2005).

Refer to yeller dawg blog of May 25, 2005: numerous detainees have complained of abuses, and this has been documented many times. Scotty, does your mama know you lie for a living? I'm sure she is real proud of yew.

yeller dawg's hall of shame for today" Robert Duncan and Scotty McClellan.

yeller dawg