Scott Walker wins, Obama sits on hands. Ralph Nader on minimum wage v. CEO pay

8 Jun

more demands that the people must make; two new articles: america’s class war and honeywell.

Noam Chomsky, “As with the civil rights struggle, and other genuine popular movements, the Occupy movement provides all of us with an opportunity to become involved at the grassroots level and to challenge the right of the One Percent to destroy the earth, foreclose on our homes, and undermine the well-being of the poor and oppressed today and future generations. They are counting on our silence and apathy. We should not grant them that lethal gift.”

Published on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 by The Guardian/UK

http://www.progressive.org/list/mattrothschild

Published on Friday, June 8, 2012 by Common Dreams

Don’t 30 Million Workers Deserve 1968 Wages?

  by  Ralph Nader

Thirty million American workers arise, you have nothing to lose but some of your debt!From left: Ralph Nader, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL), and Rep. john Conyers (D-MI) introuced teh “Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2012” this week, which presses for a federal minimum wage of $10 per hour.

Wednesday morning, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.) introduced the “Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2012” (H.R. 5901) – legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $10 per hour. The present minimum wage is **$7.25, way below the unrealistically low federal poverty definition of $18,123 per year for a family of three.

Adjusted for inflation, the 1968 minimum wage today would be a little above $10 per hour.

Together with Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, I was pleased to be with Rep. Jackson at a news conference to explain this long-overdue necessity for millions of hard-pressed, working Americans of all political persuasions.

The policy behind the minimum wage, first enacted in 1938 under President Franklin Roosevelt, was to provide a *minimally livable wage. This implied at least keeping up with inflation, if not with new living expenses not envisioned seventy-five years ago. While businesses like Walmart and McDonalds have been raising their prices and executive compensation since 1968, these companies have received a windfall from a diminishing real minimum wage paid to their workers.********

The economics behind the Jackson bill are strongly supportive of moral and equitable arguments. Most economists agree that what our ailing economy needs is more consumer demand for goods and services which will create jobs. Tens of billions of dollars flowing from a $10 minimum wage will be spent by poor families and workers almost immediately.

A debate over the minimum wage throws a more acute spotlight on the gigantic pay of the ** big corporate bosses who make $11,000 to $20,000 per hour**! Their average pay was up another 6 percent in 2011 along with record profits for their companies.

Historically, polls have registered around 70 percent of Americans favoring a minimum wage keeping up with inflation. That number includes many Republican workers who can be consoled by learning that both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, during their political careers, have supported adjusting the minimum wage.

Were the Democrats in Congress to make this a banner issue for election year 2012, their adversaries, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senator Mitch O’Connell (R-Ky.), would not be able to hold 100 percent of their Republicans on this popular issue. That means the bill’s backers could override these two rigid ideologues – so-called public servants – who make nearly $200 per hour plus luscious pension, health insurance, life insurance and other benefits.

President Obama, who has turned his back on many worker issues, can champion his promise in 2008 to press for a minimum wage of **$9.50 by 2011 as well as benefit his campaign by helping people who have lost trust in government and their enthusiasm over Obama’s “hope and change.” Getting the attention of 30 million potential voters can change the dynamics of a tediously repetitive Obama-Romney campaign.

If the Democrats want intellectual heft to rebut the carping, craven objections of the corporatist think tanks and trade associations, headed by bosses making big time pay themselves, they cannot do better than to refer to Alan Krueger, the former Princeton professor and now chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers to President Obama, who is the leading scholar behind inflation-adjusted minimum wages producing net job growth.

Moreover, there is no need to offset an inflation-adjusted minimum wage with lower taxes on smaller business. Since Obama took office there have been 17 tax cuts enacted for small businesses.

Many organizations with millions of members around the country are on the record, if not on the ramparts, as favoring an inflation-adjusted increase in the federal minimum wage. They include the AFL-CIO and member unions, especially the nurses union, the NAACP and La Raza, and the leading social service and social justice nonprofits.

In 2007 at the “Take Back America” conference, then Senator Obama delivered a ringing oration making “the minimum wage a living wage (tied) to the cost of living so we don’t have to wait another 10 years to see it rise.”

**Even Ontario, Canada’s minimum wage is $10.25 per hour.

So why aren’t all these supporters of the minimum wage inside and outside of Congress making something happen? Because they’re either out of gas and need to be replaced, or they are waiting on each other to make the first move.

The nonprofits and the labor unions are waiting on a signal from senior legislator, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.). Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic Caucus are also waiting for Miller, who has not introduced a bill increasing the minimum wage since Obama took office (the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 was the last, with increases to $7.25 ending in July 2009). Of course, in turn, Obama is waiting on the Democratic leadership in Congress who, though firmly behind the increase, is waiting on Obama and, of course, Miller, who hails not from Dallas, Texas, but from the progressive San Francisco Bay area of California. Go figure.

So maybe this cycle of insensitive lethargy by the Democratic Party can be broken by the congressional stalwarts who have joined with Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. in supporting his proposal (H.R. 5901) for a modest increase in the minimum wage to help tens of millions of downtrodden workers catch up with 1968!

For more information on efforts to raise the federal minimum wage, see: TimeForARaise.org.

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Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent book – and first novel – is, Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us. His most recent work of non-fiction is The Seventeen Traditions.

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In Wisconsin, An Ominous Crucible of US Politics

  by  Arun Gupta

Forget the old saw, “All politics is local.” There is a kettle’s worth of tea leaves to read in Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s triumph over Democratic challenger Tom Barrett. The acrimonious 5 June recall election is a perilous omen for President Barack Obama’s re-election bid and a faltering labor movement.Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker waves as he celebrates his victory in the recall election against Democratic challenger Tom Barrett. (Photograph: Darren Hauck/Reuters)

Upon taking office in January 2011, Walker went gunning for public sector unions and social programs. He inadvertently ignited six weeks of animated protests as hundreds of thousands of people flooded the Capitol of Madison, eager to stick a wrench in Walker’s plans to turn the clock back on public healthcare, education and labor organizing.

Since the “Wisconsin uprising” began, the Tea Party movement and organized labor have clashed in three separate state-wide elections. Republicans snagged a critical state supreme court post in April 2011. That August, the GOP clung to a razor-thin majority in the state senate by holding four of six seats up for recall. Having pummeled the Democrats again, by a 53-46% margin, Walker and the right are riding high. The only bright spot for Democrats is that they appear to have captured one of four state senate seats, giving them a 17-16 majority.

Walker’s win could turn out to be another Scott Brown. In 2010, Brown nabbed Ted Kennedy’s former Massachusetts senate seat out of the blue, signaling the arrival of the Tea Party movement and the inability of the Democrats to counter the right’s agenda of drowning government in a bathtub.

Matt Rothschild, editor of the Madison-based Progressive magazine, ticked off the ramifications of Walker’s win.

more : “Common Dreams,”

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Occupy Movement Looking to Air TV Ads

June  5, 2012 |  4:27 p.m.
The Occupy movement is taking a page out of the traditional political playbook and looking to flood the TV airwaves.
Occupy.com, in conjunction with the crowdfunding website LoudSauce, put out a call in April for submissions for short TV spots, arguing that the voices of the so-called 1% were dominating the TV landscape.
“With the 2012 political campaign season underway, the national dialogue is again being controlled by the super wealthy,” the video introducing the campaign says. “The 1% is channeling its voice powerfully through super PACs … We need to take back the conversation again. We need some way to amplify the voices of the 99%.”
Starting today, the submitted videos are on a dedicated page on LoudSauce, and each one that raises at least $1,000 will be broadcast on TV this summer. (LoudSauce buys air time through auctions; it reduces the cost, although it means not all providers will carry the ad.)
Occupy.com is hoping to raise $150,000 to air the various ads and new spots are still being accepted.
Colin Mutchler, the co-founder of LoudSauce, said he helped launch the site to combat the millions of dollars’ worth of ads from super PACs and campaigns.
“The vision is to allow regular people to use the channels of advertising to promote important things,” he said about LoudSauce, which went live in May 2011.
The fundraising platform does not have a partisan stance, Mutchler said, but the people who donate via the site tend to be more progressive.
Check out one of the submissions – which, as of publishing, had raised $25 – below:
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Published on Friday, June 8, 2012 by Waging Non-Violence

Translating the Quebec Student Protests

  by  Joan Donovan

Compared to its current clamor, the Quebec student protests began last year with a whimper. In March of 2011, Finance Minister Raymond Bachand announced that Quebec student tuition would increase by $325 every year for five years. By August, student organizations were debating the possibility of an unlimited student strike. In February 2012, student organizations from several colleges and universities endorsed the action and blockaded Montreal’s Jacques Cartier Bridge, a major artery in the city. Over the next few months, numerous violent clashes with Montreal police led to mass arrests. But on May 18, 2012, Quebec’s Premier Charest raised the stakes by instituting “special” Bill 78. This law prohibited protests within 50 meters of any university, effectively making all of downtown Montreal a protest-free zone. May 22 marked the 100th day of the strike, and nearly 400,000 people marched through downtown joyously defying the law.“The Strike is for Students. The Struggle is for Everyone!” By J.B. Staniforth

As the state repression of the student movement heightened, so has the creativity of the students’ tactical repertoire, which has expanded to include marching nude, community assemblies and, especially important in Quebec’s bilingual society, the tactical use of translation though music and words.

J.B. Staniforth, a McGill graduate and writer, explains that there is a Francophone cultural memory that differs from its Anglophone counterpart. “People who don’t speak French have no idea how different Francophone culture and values are from Anglophone culture,” he says, “particularly given the history of Franco culture rooted in protest and rebellion. The Québécois owe much of their present identity to rebelling against the authoritarian rule of Dupléssis in the fifties.” Maurice Dupléssis, Quebec’s Premier from 1936 to 1939 and 1944 to 1959 is best remembered for corrupt politics and violently suppressing the left.

Resisters in Quebec have recently taken up two translation-based tactics in particular that aim to increase participation in the protests and bridge the cultural divide. Protesters have rallied around a series of musical night marches to counteract the increased police pressure. They’ve also started a blog to pit the English media’s coverage against that of the French.

After Bill 78 passed, a decentralized form of resistance fomented in neighborhoods across the city, in which at 8 o’clock every night people participate in the “casserole protests” by banging on pots and pans while marching near their homes. The Montreal police Twitter account, which usually provides information about the location of the central protest, suggests that the police have been unable to follow, corral or control these distributed actions. People of all ages take to the streets with a spirit of joy and resistance. This tactic, borrowed from movements in places like Argentina and Chile, has been taken up by solidarity marches around the world, including a recent one by Occupy Wall Street in New York.More than a thousand people were in the streets Wednesday night in Montreal in several separate rallies that eventually merged. (CBC)

In Montreal, every act of police or legislative oppression is met with new neighborhood nodes emerging, from the suburbs of Saint Hubert to the island communities of Verdun and LaSalle. The clinks and clanks of pots on balconies turn into roaming clusters of people converging at the borders of neighboring boroughs. They stop briefly along the way to greet one another. This is truly a unique moment for the city, as many political issues hinge on a deep cultural divide between Francophones and Anglophones not just in the Province, but also across Canada. The music of the casseroles translates their struggles, giving no preference to a single voice or language. Speaking through music provides the levity and spontaneity necessary to fight back against state oppression during dark times. But this is not the only space in which an act of translation is uniting the people of Montreal and of Canada as a whole.

The focus of these protests in other locales is different, but they are united by a common cause of valuing affordable education for the social good it provides. That is something that anyone, in any language, should be able to understand.

The movement has faced a challenge in that mainstream media accounts of it reflect a severe cultural divide. While the English media portray the students as entitled and naïve, usually siding with the government, the French reports depict a vastly different scene of students fighting for the civil rights of generations to come. Disheartened by the English language media coverage of Bill 78, a group of friends hatched a plan to fight back using a tumblr blog, aptly titled Translating the Printemps Érable (Maple Spring). They chose tumblr as a platform because it allows for the quick dissemination of information, along with the ability for others to submit content.

Greame Williams, an admin for the site, elaborates on its origins:

I subscribe to the Saturday edition of Le Devoir (a French-language paper), and the morning after Law 78 was passed, the editorial line of the paper was unambiguous in condemning it as a likely illegal and unconstitutional authoritarian act. Then I looked at the Globe and Mail, and they thought that the law was justified in ending the student strike. That was the breaking point leading to the blog being actually created, but poor coverage in the English-language media generally led up to this.

By setting the mainstream outlets against one another, the blog undermines their claims to journalistic objectivity.

A. Wilson, a translator for the site, adds that the problem is also rooted in the limitations of monolingual publishers themselves. “The French media,” she explains, “gets more in-depth, primary-source interviews with main players in the crisis just because many are more comfortable interviewing in French, typically their mother tongue.”

The great irony of the English media’s portrayal of the protests is that many involved in the blog and in the casserole marches do not directly benefit from the students’ cause and see it as anything but naïve. A woman who goes by Anna, an admin for the Maple Spring blog, says:

I am not a student, but I hope to have kids someday and so I am invested in education being affordable in that way. But more importantly, I will benefit from a more accessible, equitable Quebec if the students “win” because we all do; I want my neighbors to be able to educate themselves, and I want our society to have a high and rigorous level of debate. All of this is only possible with accessible education.

With people like Anna recognizing themselves in the students’ struggle, the task of translation and breaking down boundaries seems all the more important. It may help many more of them to turn from bystanders to participants.

“Casseroles Night in Canada” is quickly replacing the famed “Hockey Night in Canada,” with solidarity protests across the globe last week, organized largely through online social media. The focus of these protests in other locales is different, but they are united by a common cause of valuing affordable education for the social good it provides. That is something that anyone, in any language, should be able to understand.

This work is licensed under a Share Alike 3.0 Creative Commons Attribution License

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Joan Donovan is a PhD candidate in sociology at UC San Diego. She blogs at OccupyTheSocial.com.

 

http://www.occupythesocial.com/

One Response to “Scott Walker wins, Obama sits on hands. Ralph Nader on minimum wage v. CEO pay”

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