06 Mar

Truth Out Today, Sunday 6 March 2011

Sunday 6 March 2011

Madison a Foretaste of Things to Come: the Next Big Occupation Could be Boomers Taking Over the Capitol Building
Dave Lindorff, This Can’t Be Happening: “The dramatic and inspiring occupation of the Wisconsin Statehouse in Madison by angry public workers and their supporters over the past few weeks is an exciting preview of what we can expect to see in the halls of Congress before long, as right-wing forces, funded by corporate lobbies and corporate-funded think-tanks push hard for cutbacks in Social Security and Medicare… Here’s the big point: Corporate America, and its political lackeys in the Republican and Democratic Parties, know that they are about to confront a dramatically more powerful protagonist in their campaign to kill Social Security and Medicare: the Boomer Retirees.”
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In Libya, Both Sides Gird for Long War as Civilian Toll Mounts
David D. Kirkpatrick and Kareem Fahim, The New York Times News Service: “Both sides of the conflict in Libya were girding for more confrontations on Sunday, a day after militia forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi launched a new round of attacks on the rebel-held city of Zawiyah, just 30 miles west of the capital, and a ragtag rebel army moving from the east won its first ground battle to take the oil port of Ras Lanuf, about midway down the Mediterranean coast… An hour before dawn on Sunday, Tripoli also erupted in gunfire, the sounds of machine guns and heavier artillery echoing through the capital.”
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Kathy Kelly | Incalculable
Kathy Kelly, Truthout: “Sadly, more and more of us in America are getting used to the idea of child poverty – and even child labor – as our own economy sinks further under the burden of our latest nine years of war, of two billion dollars per week we spend creating poverty abroad that we can then emulate at home. Things are getting bad here, but in Afghanistan, children are bombed. Their bodies are casually dismembered and strewn by machines already lost in the horizon as the limbs settle… Afterward, we deplore the tragedy; we make a pretense of acknowledging the cost of war, but it is incalculable. We can’t hope to count it. We actually, finally, have to stop making people like the nine children who died on March 1 pay it.”
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Women’s Day: Rallies Planned in Iran Despite Crackdown
Andrea Lunt, Inter Press Service: “Women’s rights campaigners are hoping for a strong turnout to public rallies set to be staged across the Islamic Republic of Iran next Tuesday, despite a government crackdown on opposition demonstrators in recent weeks. The rallies, which will officially mark International Women’s Day on Mar. 8, are being organised following a call to action by well-known Iranian activist and 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi.”
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Public Teachers: America’s New “Welfare Queens”
Adam Bessie, Truthout: “In 1976, on a failed campaign to the White House, Ronald Reagan coined one of his enduring linguistic legacies – the ‘welfare queen,’ a mythical, inner-city resident who wastes the public’s hard-earned money on ‘welfare Cadillacs’ and other luxuries she can’t afford, and, thus, doesn’t deserve… Today, as a recent Gallup poll found that Americans were most likely to dub Reagan ‘the greatest president ever’ (just above the Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln), Reagan’s battle against the ‘welfare queen’ lives on – though she doesn’t drive a Cadillac, but, perhaps, a fire engine, and has a Cadillac health care plan.”
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Women on the Frontlines in Bahrain
Shahnaz Taplin-Chinoy, Ms. Magazine: “The Persian Gulf island nation of Bahrain erupted on February 14 when protesters gathered at the ’roundabout,’ or Pearl Square, in the capital city of Manama. A country of one million, Bahrain’s citizens constitute only half the population, the rest being foreign workers. Tensions are intense between Shias–who constitute 70 percent of all citizens–and the Sunni foreign workers who, as allies of the Sunni King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifah, are given preferential treatment in jobs, housing and other privileges. I’ve been in touch with friends in Bahrain since the crisis began, with a particular concern for the role of women. Here’s my window into their story, from the start.”
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Meet the New Start, Same as the Old Finish
John LaForge, Truthout: “Last May, the Obama administration promised $80 billion to the nuclear weapons establishment for ‘modernizing’ the arsenal. Three large H-bomb laboratories will share about $10 billion annually to ‘upgrade’ US warheads and they will get equal sums for the next ten years…. This squandering of public money is part of the backstory to the New Start Treaty, lauded as a warhead reduction agreement with Russia.”
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The Battle of Wisconsin
Eli S. Evans, n+1: “After my parents got back from a weeklong vacation in Florida, funded in part by the pensions they receive as retired Wisconsin public educators, they went to Madison and, after enjoying lunch at the hip, local-food-oriented The Weary Traveler, took to Capital Square to protest Governor Scott Walker’s budget bill…. In itself, that probably won’t change the fact that the Battle of Wisconsin is going to end as expected, which is to say, badly. But it may nonetheless give people like my parents and me grounds to continue to believe that, beyond the horizon of the expected, a more human future might yet await us.”
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For Profit or For Students?
Mark Paul and Anastasia Wilson, The Baseline Scenario: “For-profit colleges are expanding enrollments at a rapid pace, but it is questionable whether these revenue-seeking universities give adequate consideration to students’ welfare, retention/graduation rates, and overall economic well-being alongside their bottom line profits… As the Obama administration seeks to increase enrollment, graduation rates, and investment in higher education, policy makers need to consider redirecting their funding towards students and not into the pockets of shareholders by subsidizing private profits.”
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Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are all members of a union that has a collective bargaining agreement. As Cenk Ugyur of the Young Turks points out by playing a clip of O’Reilly, Bill actually brags that his union, AFTRA, took one of his former television producers to court to enforce pension benefits agreed upon in a collective bargaining agreement.

You can watch it here. O’Reilly doesn’t in any way do anything but praise his union because it prevented him from being “stiffed.”

As a Florida newspaper commentator recently noted:

The “Health Fund” that is set up by AFTRA, also provides for mental health counseling. I am sure some of those Fox “reporters” could take advantage of that … especially with all of their conspiracy theories swirling around.

Meanwhile, O’Reilly and the FOX propaganda team for Murdoch and the Koch Brothers regularly bash union protesters in Wisconsin and support Scott Walker’s thuggish efforts to smash unions.

O’Reilly does imply that concessions will have to be made by unions to compete in a global economy, but the public unions in Wisconsin have already said that they would be willing to negotiate concessions. Scott Walker, however, has remained adamant that he will not negotiate about the collective bargaining process itself, which is the only way to guarantee that the union can negotiate and simply not have its members be subject to arbitrary pay, safety and benefits decisions by a Koch’d-up governor.

Yesterday, BuzzFlash at Truthout documented how the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel detailed that Scott Walker lied about receiving a mandate for eliminating (with some very minor exceptions) collective bargaining because he never mentioned or campaigned on such a draconian measure.

What’s clear from Bill O’Reilly’s admission is that he is grateful for the collective bargaining power and assertiveness of the AFTRA union protecting his benefits.

O’Reilly, Beck and Limbaugh make millions and millions of dollars for blabbering the most inane and bizarre bile on television (although O’Reilly has come to seem like the “senior statesman” of the disingenuous right-wing echo chamber).

Teachers and custodians in Wisconsin make a tiny fraction of their salaries. Shouldn’t the middle-class working people for the state of Wisconsin have the same union protection of collective bargaining that the paid shills of the plutocracy have?

You would think so, wouldn’t you?

Because otherwise it might be blatant hypocrisy.

Mark Karlin
Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

Durbin Draws Line in Sand on Budget Cuts
Read the Article at Reuters

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Says Walker Is Lying About an Electoral Mandate to End Collective Bargaining
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

China Tracks Foreign Journalists
Read the Article at The New York Times

Bradley Manning’s Jailers Accused of Ritual Humiliation
Read the Article at The Guardian UK

New York Times Posts Puff Piece on Koch Brothers
Read the Article at BuzzFlash

Obama Said to Consider Tapping Oil Reserves
Read the Article at The New York Times

Ivory Coast Crisis Worsens as Police Loot Homes of New Cabinet
Read the Article at The Guardian UK

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