Business Doesn’t Need American Workers

From The Huffington Post:

Robert Kuttner
Co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect

Posted: February 6, 2011

Once again, the job numbers are dismal. In January, the U.S. economy created just 36,000 domestic jobs, far below the roughly 145,000 that economists had forecast. The unemployment rate fell, to 9 percent, but only because more and more discouraged workers are giving up and leaving the workforce.

The U.S. still has a jobs gap of about 14 million jobs, and that number is increasing as the labor force grows. Counting people who’ve given up, or who are working part time when they want full time jobs, the real unemployment number is around 17 percent. America now has about 25 million people either out of work or underemployed.

Meanwhile, corporate profits continue to set records. Profits in the third quarter of 2010 were 1.659 trillion, about 28 percent higher than a year before, and the highest year-to-year increase on record.

What’s going on? Very simply, America’s corporations no longer need America’s workers.

As Harold Meyerson documents in a brilliant piece for The American Prospect, our most admired corporations — GE, Apple, Hewlett Packard, Intel — are creating ever more jobs overseas and relatively fewer at home. This has the double benefit of taking advantage of cheap labor abroad and disciplining workers to accept low wages at home. Along with the high unemployment rates have come declining earnings. Meyerson writes:

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Virulent new wave of anti-women, anti-abortion attacks

From RH Reality Check:

Reader diary posted by Lina, World Can’t Wait

February 7, 2011

Merle Hoffman, director of Choices Women’s Medical Center says: “the right to reproductive freedom is like the right to breathe: it transcends laws.”  Why is that the case?  Listen to a conversation with Debra Sweet, Sunsara Taylor, Dr. LeRoy Carhart, Merle Hoffman and Carol Joffe on why abortion is such an important moral and political right.

And yet, from the “guerrilla activists” trying to take down Planned Parenthood to the state and federal legislators (from both parties) further restricting women’s access to abortion, 2011 has seen more assaults on women’s most fundamental rights yet – more even than under the Bush years.  What we need is an outpouring of resistance to this assault on the humanity of women!

Snapshots of the situation:

Andrew Breitbart, James O’Keefe (both notorious for their attempts to bring down ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, through sending in actors and hidden cameras in an attempt to frame ACORN employees for aiding a pimp), and Lila Rose, a young activist claiming legitimacy by virtue of the fact that she’s a woman, have deployed almost identical tactics as Breitbart and O’Keefe previously used with ACORN in an attempt to show Planned Parenthood assisting underage sex traffickers, through use of highly edited and manipulated video footage.  Jodie Jacobson at RH Reality Check writes on how the whole set-up only proves Planned Parenthood provides health care and accurate information for women (which is, admittedly, rare, in today’s climate): Second “Explosive(!)” “Shocking(!)” Live Action Video Reveals… Health Workers Providing Care!
Also see: Media Matters: A Refresher Course On Andrew Breitbart’s Dishonest Tactics

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Church of Scientology investigated over ‘slave labor’: report

From Raw Story:

By Daniel Tencer
Monday, February 7th, 2011

The FBI is investigating the Church of Scientology over allegations its practices may have violated human trafficking laws, a news report states.

According to a profile of filmmaker and former Scientologist Paul Haggis in the New Yorker, the FBI is running an ongoing investigation into claims the church pays some of its workers as little as $50 per week, forces children into “billion-year” contracts and sometimes uses physical force to keep church members from escaping Scientology compounds.

The allegations center around Sea Org, a religious order inside the church whose 6,000 members are used by the church as labor, including maintenance of church properties.

In a 2009 expose, the St. Petersburg Times reported on former church spokesman Mike Rinder, who alleged Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige beat him on numerous occasions and that violence was generally encouraged as a means of maintaining church law.

It was around that time, the New Yorker reported, that the FBI began probing allegations against the church.

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Religious Right Slams the Purportedly “Homosexual Message” of Anti-Bullying Efforts in California Schools

From People For The American WayRight Wing Watch:

Brian on February 3, 2011

With greater awareness among policymakers about the problem of pervasive anti-gay bullying in schools, the Religious Right has stepped-up their efforts to misleadingly label anti-bullying policies as “homosexual propaganda.” Focus on the Family warned of “activists who want to promote homosexuality in kids,” David Barton dismissed accounts of bullying and condemned alleged “homosexual indoctrination,” and the Minnesota Family Council blamed the LGBT community for bullying by endorsing an “unhealthy lifestyle.”

Now, the California Family Council (CFC) is escalating its own attacks against anti-bullying initiatives in schools. The CFC is affiliated with Focus on the Family and was highly involved in the campaign to pass Proposition 8. The CFC is now turning its attention to combating what it calls the new “cause célèbre of homosexual activists,” implementing anti-harassment policies. The CFC’s Rebecca Burgoyne spoke to the American Family Association’s news service OneNewsNow about their work fighting anti-bullying policies under the guise of protecting free speech:

A pro-family activist is taking to task a prominent homosexual-rights group for camouflaging its true agenda behind the banner of “bullying” in public schools.

Rebecca Burgoyne, research analyst with California Family Council, tells OneNewsNow that children across The Golden State are being indoctrinated with a pro-homosexual message. She maintains that the Obama administration and homosexual lobbyists are advancing an agenda that silences religious speech and the rights of parents.

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Koch brothers now at heart of GOP power

From The LA Times:,0,1681069.story

The billionaire brothers’ influence is most visible in the makeup of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where members have vowed to undo restrictions on greenhouse gases.

By Tom Hamburger, Kathleen Hennessey and Neela Banerjee, Los Angeles TimesFebruary 6, 2011

Reporting from Washington —
The billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch no longer sit outside Washington’s political establishment, isolated by their uncompromising conservatism. Instead, they are now at the center of Republican power, a change most evident in the new makeup of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Wichita-based Koch Industries and its employees formed the largest single oil and gas donor to members of the panel, ahead of giants like Exxon Mobil, contributing $279,500 to 22 of the committee’s 31 Republicans, and $32,000 to five Democrats.

Nine of the 12 new Republicans on the panel signed a pledge distributed by a Koch-founded advocacy group — Americans for Prosperity — to oppose the Obama administration’s proposal to regulate greenhouse gases. Of the six GOP freshman lawmakers on the panel, five benefited from the group’s separate advertising and grass-roots activity during the 2010 campaign.

Claiming an electoral mandate, Republicans on the committee have launched an agenda of the sort long backed by the Koch brothers. A top early goal: restricting the reach of the Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees the Kochs’ core energy businesses.

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Ronald Reagan, Enabler of Atrocities

I am currently reading Robert Parry’s Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth.  Parry writes over on Consortium News, a muck raking blog that is one of the many spiritual children of the great I.F. Stone.

From Consortium News:

By Robert Parry
February 6, 2011

When you’re listening to the many tributes to President Ronald Reagan, often for his talent making Americans feel better about themselves, you might want to spend a minute thinking about the many atrocities in Latin America and elsewhere that Reagan aided, covered up or shrugged off in his inimitable “aw shucks” manner.

After all, the true measure of a president shouldn’t be his style or how he made us feel but rather what he did with his extraordinary power, what were the consequences for real people, either for good or ill.

Yet, even as the United States celebrates Reagan’s centennial birthday and lavishes praise on his supposed accomplishments, very little time has been spent reflecting on the unnecessary bloodbaths that Reagan enabled in many parts of the world.

Those grisly deaths and ugly tortures get whisked away as if they were just small necessities in Reagan’s larger success “winning the Cold War” – even though the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union was already winding down before Reagan arrived on the national scene. [See’s “Reagan’s ‘Tear Down This Wall’ Myth.”]

Yet, Reagan’s Cold War obsessions helped unleash right-wing “death squads” and murderous militaries on the common people in many parts of the Third World, but nowhere worse than in Latin America.

In the 1970s and 1980s, as Latin American security forces were sharpening themselves into finely honed killing machines, Reagan was there as an ardent defender, making excuses for the atrocities, and sending money and equipment to make the forces even more lethal.

For instance, in the late 1970s, when Argentina’s dictators were inventing a new state-terror program called “disappearances” – the unacknowledged murders of dissidents – Reagan was making himself useful as a columnist deflecting the human rights complaints coming from the Carter administration.

At the time, Argentina’s security forces were rounding up tens of thousands of political opponents who became subjects of ingenious torture techniques often followed by mass killings, including a favorite method that involved shackling naked prisoners together, loading them onto a plane, piloting the plane out to sea and shoving them through the plane’s door, like sausage links.

However, since Argentina’s rightists were devout Catholics, they had a special twist when the prisoners were pregnant women. The expectant mothers would be kept alive until they reached full term and then were subjected to either induced labor or Caesarian sections.

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