Saturday, March 05, 2011

American Workers & The Poor Under Siege From Radical Rightwing, Superwealthy And Republican Tea Baggers

Pete Seeger-Which Side are you on Boys?

You'll either be a Union Man
or a thug for J. H. Blair

and for more context on America's financial Fiasco and the impact on US economy by the costs of Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:

‘Each US citizen pays $5,000 per year for US defense spending’ Press TV

March 04, 2011 "Press TV" -- American citizens are paying large amounts of money each year for U.S. defense spending, which can be used for domestic spending, Steve Breyman, assistant professor at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute said.

“Each and every citizen in the United States – man, woman and child – pays some $5,000 or so per year for U.S. defense spending much of which is associated now with the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan”, he told Press TV’s U.S. Desk.

If the federal government had not spent some $1 trillion on the wars, that money would have been available for “domestic spending including the balance in the budget,” Breyman said. “You can have healthy public finances or you can have war but you can’t have both,” he added.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, some 200,000 people are employed by subcontractors. Raw Story

By the end of 2008, the U.S. had spent approximately $900 billion in direct costs on Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Some experts estimate indirect costs such as interest on the additional debt will exceed the direct costs. Red Ice Creation

However, prominent economics professor Joseph E. Stiglitz says the true cost of the Iraq war is beyond $3 trillion. Washington Post

also see:

" The Afghan War is Brutal, Expensive, Unpopular, and Ineffective – So Why Are We Spending Billions on It? " by Sonali Kolhatkr CommonDreams March 3, 2011Leading Afghan Feminist Wants the U.S. and NATO to Leave Her Nation

Stats on Unions:

Bureau of labor Statistics: UNION MEMBERS -- 2010

In 2010, the union membership rate--the percent of wage and salary workers who were
members of a union--was 11.9 percent, down from 12.3 percent a year earlier, the U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers be-
longing to unions declined by 612,000 to 14.7 million. In 1983, the first year for
which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 per-
cent, and there were 17.7 million union workers.

The number of workers who are members of a union is a very small percentage of Americaqn workers overall. So it is somewhat unfair to blame unionized workers for all of America's financial problems.

Union membership in Canada is around 30%
in America it is approximately 11.9 %
So almost 3X as many unionized workers in Canada compared to the USA.
The unions have been under attack in the USA especially since the Reagan era to the present.

Compare numbers and percentage of unionized workers in the US to Canada:

2009 Results Dept. of Labour Canada

The information obtained indicates that at the beginning of 2009, 4,605,193 workers were union members. Consequently, the unionization rate or union density (union membership as a percentage of non-agricultural paid employment) is 29.9% for 2009. In comparison, Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey`s unionization rate of paid employees is estimated at 31.6% for the first 6 months of 2009.

And here's an interesting clip from SamSeder on the ruling class-Plutocracy and their disdain for the average worker

The Plutocracy and What Scott Walker Really Wants From Wisconsin State Workers

Uploaded by SamSeder on Feb 28, 2011 Gov. Scott Walker says he wants state workers covered by collective bargaining agreements to "contribute more" to their pension and health insurance plans.

Accepting Gov. Walker' s assertions as fact, and failing to check, created the impression that somehow the workers are getting something extra, a gift from taxpayers. They are not. more at

Maybe if the Bush administration and the Obama administration had stepped up to the plate and refused to bail out the wealthy and instead use a large portion of the bail out to help average Americans or to spend the money on infrastructure to provide more employment .
Instead the political elite would prefer to cozy up to the rich and the well connected.
The political elite has also shown that every time the Military Industrial Complex and the Intelligence/Security con artists ask for more money they get it.
President Obama has in fact increased military spending while other Americans are facing bankruptcy , foreclosure and debtors prisons just like in the good old days that Republicans romanticize and long for.

Meanwhile the wealthy elites and the mainstream Media are all too willing to pile on attacking average American workers rather than the War mongers and the Wall Street Robbers-

The Koch-Funded Group Americans for Prosperity: "Who Decides Wisconsin's Future?"

Stand With Scott Walker

The Republican Governors Association: "Stand with Scott Walker"

Ohio, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Washington State, Wisconsin ready to secede???

States union busting
Firing public employees
cutting benefits of public employees
cutting programs for the most vulnerable the working poor, the poor ,the homeless, the sick and infirm
States creating their own armies- to fight who ?

To fight the White House if necessary-Glenn Beck

The radical Uberconservative right wing in America is attacking workers rights and social welfare programs while cutting taxes for the wealthy.

They blame public sector employees and money being spent upon social welfare programs from food stamps to healthcare for the deficits facing individual states

Of course these republicans refuse to acknowledge the connection between the vast expenditures on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the nation's dire financial situation.

They also ignore that the economic meltdown in the USA is not the fault of the public employees or the average American workers but was the result of Corporate mismanagement and the lack of controls or regulations and accountability of the Wall Street thugs and the overstretched greedy financial institutions.

" Arizona Introduces Bill to Form State Army for Gov. Brewer: Arizona Gun Wild? " by jeff Biggers at, March 3, 2011

It’s one thing to dedicate legislative time over selecting an official state firearm–only two months since the horrific Tucson shooting.

It’s another matter to blacklist and ban (and rough up) Latino activists from participating in Capitol hearings on immigration bills.

But on the heels of introducing a bill that grants a state committee the right to nullify “existing federal statutes, mandates and executive orders”–what Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini refers to as the right “to secede without officially doing so”–the Arizona state legislature is now considering SB 1495, which would give Gov. Jan Brewer the right to establish “an armed force for the safety and protection of the lives and property of the citizens of the state which shall be known as the Arizona state guard.”

Here’s the coda: If a “major portion” of the National Guard is away on service, this bill gives Gov. Brewer the right to call up this new state army “for any other reason the governor considers to be necessary.”

Any other reason the governor considers to be necessary.

In case your attention has been on uprisings elsewhere in the world–and in Wisconsin–lately, the California-transplanted Brewer recently filed a suit against the federal government for its failure to protect Arizona against “an invasion” from Mexico.

Brewer’s right hand man–Arizona state senate president Russell Pearce–is not only worried about Mexico. Last fall he accused President Obama of engaging in “jihad” against America.

As Brewer discussed on ABC-TV news last Sunday: “We believe that the federal government just needs to get out of the way and let us run the states.”

As for America's claim to being a just and fair society we now see the unhinged right wing Republican Tea Party's meanspirited contempt for the poor and the working poor as one state after another eagerly cuts programs which are meant to help the poor and working poor the old the disabled, the infirm the sick so these governments can balance their books and give new tax cuts to the wealthiest of Americans.

" Ohio Senate Passes Union-Busting Bill to Kill Rights to Bargain, Strike " by Julianne Escobedo Shephard,, March 3, 2011

While Wisconsin Dems have dug in their heels and protesters have gotten nationwide support, Ohio sneakily dealt a blow to labor yesterday. The OH State Senate passed a bill that not only strips public employee unions of their bargaining rights, but obliterates their right to strike. Using the deceptive Walker “budget cuts” tactic, it was narrowly passed 17-16, affecting a larger population than Wisconsin that has long been a union stronghold. The vote now goes to the House, where Republicans hold a majority and union members are not optimistic. WSJ:

"We're expecting it to pass," said Jason Perlman, a spokesman for the Ohio AFL-CIO. But, he added, "We are hopeful those in the Ohio House will see this bill is nothing more than an attack on the middle class."

Republican lawmakers say worker pay and benefit cuts are needed to offset projected budget shortfalls. "If we're going to grow in Ohio, we cannot raise taxes," Republican state Sen. Keith Faber said Wednesday.

Tax the poor, let the rich run free: typical GOP “budget cuts.” Yesterday, in advance of the vote, upwards of 8000 people gathered in Capitol Square to protest the bill, which would affect over 400,000 firefighters, police officers, teachers, and other state and local government workers. "Some state leaders have gone too far," said US Labor Secretary Hilda Solis last night, in a conference call the Communications Workers of America. "Budget sacrifices are one thing, but demanding workers give up their rights as union members is another."

and from Democracy Now! more bad news for large groups of Americans whether government employees or the working poor as many are being laid off or their pay and benefits gutted their rights to collective bargaining nullified . Meanwhile social welfare programs are being gutted and dismantled including health care for the poor .

"Pennsylvania Cuts 40,000 From Low-Income Insurance Program " by Democracy Now! via CommonDreams, March 3, 2011

Efforts to slash social spending in the name of budget deficits continue across the country. In Pennsylvania, more than 40,000 people have been dropped from a state-subsidized insurance program for the working poor. Newly elected Republican Gov. Tom Corbett cut the program adultBasic, citing a $4 billion budget deficit. The New York Times describes the move as "one of the largest disenrollments in recent memory." Before it closed, the program had been unable to keep with massive demand. More than 505,000 people had been on its waiting list for enrollment. Meanwhile in Washington state, Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire has dropped 17,500 adults from a state-funded program for the working poor. Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer has proposed eliminating Medicaid coverage for some 250,000 people.


National Right-Wing Spin Machine Gears Up In Wisconsin
from PR Watch via CommonDreams ,March 3, 2011

National Republican Donors, Apparatchiks, and Strategists Come to the Defense of Embattled Governor Scott Walker by Mary Bottari

Shadowy "issue ad" groups that do not disclose their funders as well as heavy hitter political action committees are rushing to the aid of embattled Wisconsin Senator Scott Walker, whose poll number are dropping like a rock. The list of outside big money attacking Wisconsin state workers and teachers read like a "who's who" of the Republican donor and special interest group apparatus.

The Koch-Funded Group Americans for Prosperity: "Who Decides Wisconsin's Future?"

"Americans for Prosperity" is chaired by oil billionaire David Koch. It has two arms, the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity that received over $10 million in financial contributions in 2009 (a nearly 50% increase over the preceding year), and Americans for Prosperity, a 501(c)(4), that received over $16 million in financial contributions that year (a more than 100% increase over the year before).

The tax forms for AFP and AFPF for their funding and expenses during last year, a mid-term election year, are not yet available. The AFPs do not disclose their donors. AFP opposes labor unions, health care reform, stimulus spending, and climate (cap-and-trade) legislation. They launched a major ad campaign in Wisconsin shortly after news of the prank phone call between Governor Scott Walker and a fake David Koch made national news.

From the website: The $342,200 ad buy will run on network and cable channels across the state and is part of their Stand With Walker initiative, urging citizens to support the Governor’s "commonsense" plan for budget reform

and The Republican Governors Association: "Stand with Scott Walker"

The Republican Governors Association (RGA), which "invested" $5 million in ads last year to help Walker win election, has launched ads urging people to "Stand with Scott Walker." It is funded by billionaires like David Koch, who wrote the RGA a $1 million check last summer, and other wealthy CEOs like Rupert Murdoch and numerous big corporations. It spent tens of millions of dollars on ads and other expenditures in the 2010 election year. Its ad airing in Wisconsin now focuses on Walker's budget message and on attacking the Democratic Senators who broke the quorum on his bill.

and so it goes,

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