Million Against Monsanto

From Common Dreams:

by Millions Against Monsanto
Friday, March 25, 2011

The Millions Against Monsanto campaign is forming 435 local chapters, one for each U.S. Congressional District. Our goal is for each chapter to reach 2300 supporters by World Food Day. October 16, 2011, will be a nationwide day of action, turning out 1,000,000 people against Monsanto and in support of our right to know – and choose – what’s in our food. Sign and distribute the Millions Against Monsanto petition. Join your local chapter.

Thousands attend downtown L.A. labor rally

From The Los Angeles Times:,0,3563121.story?track=rss

Police estimate 5,000 to 8,000 teachers, nurses, Teamsters, electricians, actors and others marched to support their peers in Wisconsin and oppose any similar organized-labor restrictions in California.

(Which means 15,000 to 20,000 marched.  Had it been Tea Baggers the Pigs would have put the numbers at 40K to 50K.  The Police are not our friends.)

By Kurt Streeter, Los Angeles Times
March 27, 2011

Alarmed by recent union losses in a Wisconsin labor battle, thousands of organized workers marched through downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, vowing to fight a similar fate here in cash-strapped California.

Police estimated between 5,000 and 8,000 people attended the protest, which ended in a packed rally at Pershing Square. The event comes in response to the Wisconsin Legislature‘s approval of a bill this month that curtails the collective bargaining rights of many unions and follows a weeks-long battle.

Marchers cheered speakers such as Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa; Maria Elena Durazo, secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor; and Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin bill, which was signed by Republican legislators without the support of Democrats, exempted firefighters and other public safety workers. However, Mitchell told the crowd that his union still opposes the action.

“This is a direct attack” on all unions and the entire middle class, Mitchell shouted, warning that similar policies could soon be introduced by politicians in California, which is grappling with an estimated $26-billion deficit. “An injury to one is an injury to us all!”

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What’s really driving the GOP’s abortion war

From Salon:

By Amanda Marcotte
Sunday, Mar 27, 2011

When Republicans profited from the miserable economy to sweep up huge wins in last fall’s election, most political watchers figured they knew what was coming: budget cuts, privatization of more government functions, and tax cuts for the wealthy. The push to dismantle public sector unions has been a bit of a surprise, but not a jarring one.

But what seems to have thrown everyone — save for a handful of embittered and neglected pro-choice activists — for a loop is the way Republican lawmakers at both the national and state levels have focused so intently on the uteruses of America. Republicans appear to believe that the women of America have wildly mismanaged these uteruses in the four decades since the Supreme Court gave them control over them — and now that Republicans have even a little bit of power, they’re going to bring this reign of female tyranny over uteruses to an end.

After all, the Republican House speaker, John Boehner, has identified limiting women’s access to abortion and contraception as a “top priority” — this with the economy is in tatters and the world in turmoil. Boehner’s and the GOP’s abortion fixation raises an obvious question: Why now, when there are so many other pressing issues at stake?

There isn’t just one explanation. The assault on reproductive rights is intensifying now because of a convergence of several otherwise unrelated events that have created the perfect moment for the anti-choice movement to go for the kill.

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Feds privatize Canadian water with AbitibiBowater NAFTA settlement

From Peak Water ORG:


“The record-setting $130-million NAFTA settlement with AbitibiBowater has effectively privatized Canada’s water by allowing foreign investors to assert a proprietary claim to water permits and even water in its natural state, said trade lawyer and Council of Canadians board member Steven Shrybman, in a presentation to Parliament today.

“”It would be difficult to overstate the consequences of such a profound transformation of the right Canadian governments have always had to own and control public natural resources,” said Mr. Shrybman in his presentation to the Standing Committee on International Trade, which is studying the AbitibiBowater NAFTA settlement from last August.

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Some 200,000 in Germany Protest Nuclear Power

From AOL News:

Juergen Baetz
Mar 26, 2011

BERLIN — Tens of thousands of people on Saturday turned out in Germany’s largest cities to protest the use of nuclear power in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima reactor disaster, police and organizers said.

In Berlin alone more than 100,000 took to the capital’s streets to urge Germany’s leaders to immediately abolish nuclear power, police spokesman Jens Berger said.

Organizers said some 250,000 people marched at the “Fukushima Warns: Pull the Plug on all Nuclear Power Plants” rallies in the country’s four largest cities, making them the biggest anti-nuclear protest in the country’s history.

“We can no longer afford bearing the risk of a nuclear catastrophe,” Germany’s environmental lobby group BUND said.

The disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility triggered Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative government last week to order a temporary shut down of seven of the country’s older reactors pending thorough safety investigations. Officials have since hinted several of them might never go back into service.

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1 in 4 Americans Have Criminal Record

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Nuclear Radiation ‘The Greatest Public Health Hazard’

From Common Dreams:

Published on Saturday, March 26, 2011 by CNN

Helen Caldicott says it is impossible to have a safe nuclear power plant

When she was an adolescent, Helen Caldicott says, she read the nuclear apocalypse novel “On the Beach.” The story was set in the aftermath of an atomic war; the protagonists must await the arrival of a deadly fallout cloud.

It was a formative event, she says, and later, in medical school, the connection between health and nuclear energy would galvanize her. “I learned about genetics and radiation in first-year medicine and became acutely aware of nuclear weapons, nuclear war and the damage radiation does to genes and all life forms.”

Caldicott went on to become one of the most vocal, ubiquitous and controversial opponents of nuclear power during the anti-nuclear movement of the 1970s and 1980s.

The crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, severely damaged after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, has given a fresh urgency, she says, to a “medical problem of vast dimensions,” highlighted by reports that emerge daily on the spread of radiation.

A pediatrician, Caldicott came from her native Australia to become an instructor on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, where she specialized in the treatment of cystic fibrosis at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She soon helped revive the moribund Physicians for Social Responsibility, a health organization dedicated to halting the proliferation and use of nuclear weapons and nuclear power.

While she was president, from 1978 through 1984, the group grew to 23,000 physician members and in 1985 shared in a Nobel Peace Prize with International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. “We led the nuclear weapons freeze movement with many other professional groups,” she said. “I think we helped to end the Cold War.”

Caldicott, who lives in Australia and the U.S., remains engrossed in the anti-nuclear issue, heads the Helen Caldicott Foundation for a Nuclear-Free Planet and regularly lectures around the world on its dangers. She’s written seven books, including “If You Love This Planet: A Plan to Heal the Earth” and “Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer.”

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Transgender anti-discrimination bill approved

Of course this anti-discrimination bill doesn’t mean those “trannies” can eat at the same lunch counter or drink out of the same fountains as normal people.  Oh and we don’t have to let them in the store if they offend our religious sensibilities.

Try substituting people of color, or Jews, or women in the above sentences.

Because that is what this “compromise” does.


Basic human decency, equality, and dignity should never be sacrificed to bigotry.

From The Baltimore Sun:

Posted by Julie Bykowicz
March 26, 2011

Employers and housing groups could not discriminate against transgendered people, under a plan that won final passage today in the House of Delegates.

After a floor debate that veered into what some delegates said was offensive territory, the anti-discrimination measure passed by a vote of 86 to 52, a preliminary tally showed. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Home owners who rent rooms or apartments in their residence are exempted from the bill. Religious groups also are exempted.

Some Republicans who opposed the bill argued that education and child-related groups should have been excluded, too. Del. Nicholaus R. Kipke, an Anne Arundel County Republican, said some parents may not want to explain to their children why a female teacher, for example, decided to dress as a man.

“It’s one thing to protect adults who want to be eccentric in front of other adults,” said Del. Steven R. Schuh, an Anne Arundel County Republican, as he argued that the bill goes too far.

Del. Ariana B. Kelly, a Montgomery County Democrat, described how a female office colleague had decided to live as a man. She said her office received a memo about the change and that “it was not a big deal to anyone but (him), which is how it should be.”

Del. Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk, who sponsored the bill, had earlier removed its most controversial element, which would have required public accommodations for transgendered people. The legislation moving through the General Assembly would not prevent transgender discrimination in places such as restaurants, restrooms and hotels.

Bill supporters acknowledged a better plan would have included public accommodations, but Del. Kirill Reznik, a Montgomery County Democrat, defended it as providing “good, minimal protections.”

According to the legislative analysis, 13 states and the District of Columbia have anti-discrimination laws concerning transgendered people. Baltimore and Montgomery County already have local laws similar to the House plan, although those both include public accommodations provisions.

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Michigan: Overturn of Domestic Partnership Rights Thwarted

From The Advocate:

By Editors
March 27, 2011

Michigan house Republicans failed to pass a bill that would have stopped the state from issuing domestic partner health benefits to the partners of gay and lesbian employees.

According to Interlochen Public Radio, Republicans needed two-thirds of the house to reverse the Civil Service Commission’s decision, but not enough Democrats were willing to join the GOP’s move.

Republicans argued the extension of domestic partnership benefits would violate Michigan’s constitutional ban on marriage equality, passed in 2004. They also said the program would cost the state $11 million. However, Democrats like Rep. Jeff Irwin, who said the benefits package had already been promised to state workers, was skeptical of that figure.

“I just heard an $11 million dollar figure,” he said according to IPR. “I’ve heard a $5 million dollar figure. I’ve heard an $8 million dollar figure. I’ve heard estimates all over the map. But the point I want to make…is this is not about money.

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It Started In Wisconsin: Labor Fights Back Across The U.S.

From Infoshop:

By Diane Krauthamer
Industrial Worker
Saturday, March 26 2011

When public school teacher Kathy Ponzer started protesting state budget cuts in February, she didn’t think she would be igniting a mass labor movement. But when she heard that the state would be taking away her rights and the wages and that she, her three children and her fellow teachers need in order to survive, she knew she had no choice but to fight this battle.

“Most of us make less than $50,000 a year. We’re not living the fat life, we’re just making a living,” she said. Now, Kathy is protesting recently-passed legislation that imposes severe budget cuts and strips workers of collective bargaining rights, amongst other things. “It is going to hurt everybody,” she said.

On March 11, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law a “Budget Repair Bill” which strips public-sector unions of collective bargaining rights regarding all workplace issues other than basic wages. With the new legislation, workers will not have a legal say in their pensions, their healthcare plans, workplace safety, or any other issue. Walker says the bill is estimated to save $30 million to help pay down a $137 million budget deficit, but the cuts are being taken directly out of the public sector. Workers, in turn, will be paying off the deficit out of their own pockets.

Walker unveiled his budget repair bill on Feb. 11, 2011. In the days following, unions and public workers mobilized opposition to the bill, and by Feb. 15 large-scale protests took place, with thousands of demonstrators occupying the Capitol and millions more holding solidarity rallies in cities throughout the country. On Feb. 17, the situation escalated as 14 senate Democrats fled to Illinois to block passage of the bill. In order to pass any fiscal-related measure, 20 senators are needed to make quorum, and the remaining eight Republicans could not fit the bill. In the week that followed, massive protests continued with demonstrators and support spreading throughout the world. By Feb. 23, the South Central

Federation of Labor (SCFL), a federation of over 97 labor organizations representing 45,000 workers, endorsed to educate and prepare for a general strike—a resolution which the IWW played a key role in endorsing. As the people of Wisconsin continued to mobilize, so too did the politicians. At 1:00 a.m. on Feb. 25, the Republicans in the state assembly outnumbered the Democrats and abruptly voted to pass the bill, with Democrats and protestors chanting “Shame!” as they exited the chambers. Massive demonstrations followed, yet the remaining senators unanimously passed a resolution finding the missing 14 Democrats in contempt, threatening to layoff and arrest them if they returned back home.

On March 9, a committee stripped some financial elements from the budget repair bill—a maneuver which Republicans said made it legal for a vote to occur even though no Democrats were there—and the Senate passed the bill. Finally on March 10, the bill went back to the Assembly for approval, and the Assembly voted 53-42 to pass it. Governor Walker immediately signed it into law on March 11. As the Republicans played dirty tricks to ensure that the Democrats had no voice, even senatorial power could not invoke the change needed. People are angry, but they haven’t been defeated. They know that passage of Walker’s bill is only a setback in the larger struggle. If they felt that once a law became a law the battle was lost, they wouldn’t continue fighting.

On March 12, the day after legislation passed, the largest demonstration in Wisconsin’s history took place. More than 100,000 public and private sector workers, community supporters, elected officials, students, syndicalists, and people from all walks of life joined together on the streets of Madison to call for a general strike, demand a recall, and sing renditions of such hits as “Solidarity Forever” and “Which Side Are You On?” from the IWW’s brand new Very Little Red Songbook.

“It has been very encouraging to get the support from other unions and from those people who aren’t even in unions but who can see that this [bill] is going to be hurting a widespread part of the population,” said Kathy Ponzer upon entering the march.

Russ Faulkner, an IWW member from Mississippi who recently moved to Madison, agreed. “We are building a coalition with as many people as possible. This is not just about organized labor,” he said. Russ is working with dozens of active IWW members from Madison, the Twin Cities, Chicago, and the surrounding area in order to “spark worker consciousness and actual have some ‘meat and potato’ changes in this country.” The IWW is organizing 24 hours a day, seven days a week to agitate for a general strike.

“We are working towards the general strike because we know it’s the best and most powerful tool the working class has against big business and their puppets,” he said. “Others are putting efforts into recall, but as we all know: direct action gets the goods.”

As the momentum towards a general strike is growing in Wisconsin, the IWW is working with public and private sector unions and allies in building a diversity of tactics to oppose similar legislation across the country. Such proposed legislation is sweeping the country in Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Idaho, Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska, Tennessee, and New Hampshire, just to name a few.

In Indianapolis, Indiana, thousands of unionists swarmed the State House every day for nearly three weeks, beginning on Feb. 21, to oppose 11 anti-labor bills. Following the lead of Wisconsin, Democratic senators fled to Illinois to block legislation from passing. In turn, the Republicans were forced to shelve the right-to-work bill.

On March 11 in St. Louis, Missouri, upwards of 5,000 carpenters, laborers, pipefitters, boilermakers, teachers, autoworkers, teamsters, janitors, nurses, policemen, glaziers, machinists, electricians, and insulators stood together to oppose bills that would hurt working families, including Right-to-Work-for-Less legislation (SB 1), Minimum Wage Repeal (HB 61 and SB 110), and the Child Labor Repeal

(SB 222). On March 14, the right-to-work bill had a hearing in the Missouri Senate. After debating the bill for three hours, Republican senators couldn’t muster up enough support for a vote, and the bill was shelved.

In Columbus, Ohio, at least 20,000 public and private sector unions and allies gathered at the Ohio State House on March 8 to oppose SB5, a harmful anti-worker bill being pushed by Governor Kasich and Republicans in the state legislature which seeks to strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights.

In Michigan, thousands of workers are coming together to oppose a slew of bills which are designed to severely undermine workers’ rights. This includes legislation which would give the state the power to terminate union contracts in schools and repeal the state’s “prevailing wage” laws. Currently, labor activists are focusing attention on a right-to-work bill (HB4054), introduced on Jan. 13. In effect, the bill has the potential to create county-wide right-to-work zones—it would lower wages and limit public employees’ collective bargaining rights. On March 8, hundreds of firefighters and union members from around the state stormed the rotunda of the Michigan Capitol building in Lansing to protest. One week later, on March 16, an estimated 10,000 demonstrated inside and outside the building, “filling the rotunda…[ with] high energy,” according to the Lansing Workers’ Center.

Detroit IWW member Christian Alexander said the rise of labor opposition and growing momentum of union activity was inspired by Wisconsin. “With the recent upsurge of anti-austerity organizing and especially the great work of our Fellow Workers in Wisconsin, many of us are inspired to rebuild and work to expand our presence here,” said Christian.

The same holds true in Nebraska, where there are nine bills being presented in the state legislature that would ban public employees’ rights to engage in collective bargaining and destroy the Commission of Industrial Relations (CIR), which is the non-partisan arbitration panel that handles disputes between the state and public unions. Inspired by the resistance in Wisconsin, IWW member organizer Tyler Swain said he and the recently-chartered Nebraska IWW are organizing in Omaha to oppose this legislation. “We’re growing steadily, and with all the attention from Madison, it seems to have opened several doors for us,” he said.

As anti-union legislation is spreading rapidly, solidarity and working-class consciousness are on the rise. Public and private sector unions are putting their differences aside to fight on the same front, and in many cases, are winning. This movement began with school teachers and other public employees in Wisconsin, like Kathy Ponzer, who are merely fighting to hold onto their basic rights, but it ignited a fire that is now rapidly spreading across the country. The fire is burning down the barriers that divide us by race, religion, gender, and political affiliation. It is bringing us together across those divisions and uniting us around our struggles as workers. By continuing to stand together, the working class of this country has the ability to do what’s necessary in taking back our rights, our wages, and our lives.

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On the Anti-Cuts Protest in London, 500,000 Say No to the Coalition Government’s Arrogant, Ideological Butchery of the British State

From Andy Worthington UK:

Andy Worthington

Today was the long awaited TUC-led “March for the Alternative” in London, calling for jobs, growth and justice, in the face of the savage programme of public sector cuts imposed by the Tory-led coalition government, which I have been covering since October in a series of hard-hitting articles under the heading, Battle for Britain: Fighting the Coalition Government’s Vile Ideology.

Those of you who have been following my work closely will understand that I was not able to be on the march today, as I’m in St. Thomas’ Hospital, where I’m undergoing treatment for a serious and painful blocking of the blood supply to the toes of my right foot, caused by arterial damage. However, with my magnificent overview of the march from the 11th floor window of my hospital room, overlooking the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Bridge and today — crucially — the Embankment, where the march began at 12 noon, I’m able to confirm that this was undoubtedly the biggest protest I’ve ever seen, with the noble but ultimately doomed exception of the February 2003 demonstration against the Iraq War, which, with an estimated two million attendees, was by far the largest protest in British history.

For four hours today, however, the crowd of protestors surging purposefully along the Embankment, waving banners, bringing rainbow colour to the West End and making a lot of noise before heading west for a rally in Hyde Park, more than adequately fulfilled hopes that hundreds of thousands of protestors would turn up, and as I was writing this, mid-afternoon, the Embankment was still awash with protestors, all the way down to Hungerford Bridge and Charing Cross station. As a result, I’m very much hoping that the ideological butchers of the Tory government (plus their Lib Dem hangers-on) got the message that the British people are not happy with the cuts, and are not happy with the smug arrogance of David Cameron and George Osborne, who have no political experience and no mandate from the voting public for their savage cuts, whose targets include:

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