There is Strength in a Union

Unions can go bad, (think Tony Boyle of the UMW) but the unions gave us the weekend, the eight hour day and ended child labor in this country. Unions have clearly lost power in the past 60 years and I hope they have bottomed out and are about to make a resurgence. I am a business owner and will be joining the IWW in the near future. I have long term wobblie sensibilities, I just haven’t seen the point in paying dues and making my wobblie sensibilities official, but I am rethinking that. SEIU is also a great union.

Do you need some entertainment to help you get oriented on unions? Screen Crave listed 5 movies to watch last September when Labor Day rolled around.

I have watched Harlan County several times and I am thinking it is time to watch it again.


Click to jump to Screen Crave

I also recommend The Wobblies. A good documentary that was passed over by Screen Crave. You can get it at Netflix.

Click to jump to Netflix This is just a wonderful piece of filmmaking. Does not have great car chase scenes or huge budget explosions. Just content. You want to check out some great flicks that did not make theater runs? Check out Docurama Films.


Jeremiah was a prophet.

Just like a tree that’s planted by the water,
I shall not be moved.
Though the winds are blowing all around me,
I shall not be moved.

These winds will never last,
this storm is sure to pass,
this trial is just a test so
I shall not, I shall not,
oh, I shall not be moved.

Carbon Nation – Movie Showing in Seattle

If you are in San Francisco, Portland or Seattle, you can see the movie Carbon Nation in the next week or two. There are solutions to our energy issues that do not require that we bomb anyone or support oppressive regimes to keep oil prices down.

This does not have to be a Red or Blue issue. Can we persuade the country to move in a direction that is good for all of us? (almost all of us, may cost the Exxon/BP execs some big bucks down the line)

Tip of the hat to Mary at The Left Coaster for picking up this story from Climate Progress.

Here’s the trailer:

Notes on Dennis Kucinich's talk in Olympia

On February 21, 2011 I traveled from Seattle with three progressive friends to hear Dennis Kucinich speak on “The True Cost of War” at the Capitol Theatre in Olympia, Washington. As we drove in the fuel-efficient Prius, we left a trail of sticky smugness behind us in the aether.

Kucinich was preceded by a peace choir, with an interpretive dancer/gesturer;  at first I thought she was signing for hearing-impaired audience members.

A web search turned up these videos of the talk.

Dennis Kucinich’s Presentation Available on TCTV and Internet

If you know of more, please add them as comments or let me know and I’ll add them to this article.

Here are my

Notes and impressions

The greatest cheers from the audience came when Kucinich called for prosecution of Bush Administration officials. “If there’s any justice in the world, every high ranking official in the Bush Administration must be brought to justice.” The lies were deliberate. There must be accountablity.

The current administration has failed to hold them responsible.

Why do we have to ask Spain to prosecute?

Forgiveness has transformative potential.

UK had a commission, as did South Africa.

After 9/11 the world was pouring out their hearts to us. The event was appropriated for nefarious ends.

[I think accountability is really a core issue for so many progressives. President Obama’s choice to look forwards allowed the Republican criminals off the hook and empowered the GOP’s resurgence. It allowed them to hide the truth from the American people.]

We now have National Security State. Patriot Act.

Stiglitz’ $3 trillion war. Borrowed 2 trillion. $1.6 trillion macroeconomic increased cost of oil due to war. (War is profitable!) Overall, $5 trillion macroeconomic estimate plus $3 trillion for war.

Kucinich told of a congressional hearing at which the military officer admitted that the missile tests for a new weapon system were rigged.

“What a war does to the soul of a nation.. What a war does to disconnect us from our deepr humanity.”

“The Pentagon is over 50% of discretionary spending.”

War mentality has infected the country so that even good, smart people can’t escape it.

Most of his colleagues in Congress are basically good people, even the Republicans. But the system is broken.

Kucinich worked the crowd with calls for:

Jobs for all!
Education for all!
Health care for all!
Peace for all!

We need a Department of Peace, funded to the amount of just 1% of defense spending.

Though I like Kucinich, it’s sad that he lacks the charisma (and height) of great leaders. He spoke of his debilitating intestinal disorders when he was younger. Becoming a vegan greatly improved his condition.

Questions from the audience

Afterwards there were many good questions from the audience.

“What’s your exit strategy from the war in Afghanistan?” After a pause, Kucinich responded, “Just go. Quickly.” That brought cheers from the audience.  This video shows the interaction.

“How do we get Bush and Cheney to the gallows?” Kucinich cleverly responded with, “I think it’s KLM out of New York.” He then said, “There isn’t any bigger High Crime than misleading our country to war.” Amen.

Someone asked about what we should do about Wikileaks. Kucinich recommended three things: (1) Get Bradley Manning out of solitiary confinement. (2) Government has too many secrets, but they know too much about us. (3) How on earth does a mere private in the Army get such delicate information?

What to do about the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens’ Unitied? We need a constitutional amendment requiring only public financing of elections.

How can we save the women of Afghanistan from the Taliban? “1. By not bombing them. 2. It’s the responsibility of the international community.”

Someone said to Kucinich, “I disagree with your backing down on the single-payer issue;” — voting for Obama’s health care bill, despite it’s lack of even a public option) — “I think for-profit health care is a disgrace.” Kucinich explained that it was a very difficult decision. He spent an hour on Air Force One with the President. Kucinich thought of the children who would benefit from some of the regulations in the new health care law.

Kucinich ended with some touch-feely talk about our need to realize human potential. That we’re all interconnected and All One. Comprehension of human unity.

Note on my companions

My companions — two women and a man, all middle aged like me — are a bit to the left of me politically. Unlike me, they are 9/11 truthers. Oddly, the guy is a supporter of President Obama, saying that we ought give him a chance. It’s sad, he said, that Wisconsin went Republican, but Democrats didn’t turn out to vote. (Golly, I wonder why.)

Our political differences led to some lively discussions, including raised voices, though no angry outbursts. We continued debate about 9/11 via emails.

Does Environmentalism Create Any Economic Benefits?

My friend Pat Rasmussen sent me a link to the Center for Biological Diversity. Pat does some great work with temperate rainforests and works with so many groups in the Puget Sound area on forestry, sustainability and environmental issues. It’s an honor to know Pat.

The link contains the NYT story about how the Clean Air Act will yield 2 trillion in benefits. It’s also saving lives. Does government regulation work? Yes, it does. Is it necessary? I say yes, though I know that Monsanto, BP, and Enron say it is a waste of precious public dollars and that we can trust the market place. Each of us will need to make some decisions. One thing we can count on is that automated pod people will show up in the comments suggesting that Monsanto et al have done so much for us.

Environmental activism and civil disobedience has costs. And while the benefits of environmentalism accrue to all, the costs apply to individuals.

Here is a link/suggestion from the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace list serv this morning that informed that Tim DeChristopher was found guilty this past week and faces up to 10 years in jail for making a fake bid in an oil and gas auction.

Will Potter at Green is the New Red has the DeChristopher story.

EOI on public employee compensation

Conservatives are slashing state budgets, as well as tax rates for the well-to-do. They’re blaming budget problems on the alleged high pay of public employees.

This report from the Economic Opportunity Institute exposes some of the myths about public employee compensation.

Wages of public employees are typically lower than those of people working in
private companies with similar levels of education and work experience.
Nonetheless, critics frequently point to better benefits in the public sector, and
advocate cutting public employee pension, health, and other benefits.

However, even with better benefits calculated into the equation, a number of
analyses have found that public employees receive less total compensation
than their private sector peers.2

News and Weather from Climate Progress

Click on photo to read the storyClimate Progress does a fine job of keeping up on the science and making presentations on global warming and climate change in a way that most of us can understand. If you click on the chart above you will jump to the climate progress story on Arctic sea ice.

The graph tells the story pretty effectively. Sea ice is steadily declining.

Why should we care? The ice-makers on refrigerators are still working, right?

Yes, polar bears will notice, but why should we? Well, check out the next graph from Climate Progress:

Click to jump to the story


The same changes that are driving the loss of Arctic sea ice are also reducing food crop production and creating rising food commodity prices. Paying more at the checkout stand for a couple of bags of groceries, that’s not good. But it’s harder than that if you are living on $2 per day or less. And amazing as that may seem, many folks on the planet are in the $2 per day or less class.

If you are interested in the nuts and bolts and hard science of global warming and climate change, bookmark Real Climate as well as Climate Progress.

HB 1366: The Limited Service Pregnancy Center Accountability Act

Call Speaker Frank Chopp at (360) 786-7920 TODAY with this message:

Please pull the Limited Service Pregnancy Center Accountability Act (HB 1366) out of the Rules Committee for a floor vote. Women facing a possible unintended pregnancy deserve to know the truth about these centers and to have their medical information kept private.
Limited service pregnancy centers (also called “crisis pregnancy centers” or fake clinics) generally offer nothing more than free pregnancy tests, anti-choice pregnancy and health care information, and sometimes ultrasounds. Women facing an unplanned pregnancy deserve real medical care and unbiased pregnancy information. Instead, they get false or misleading information about what services are offered, their patient privacy isn’t protected, their test results and medical records are withheld, and they are denied needed referrals for reproductive health care.


The Limited Service Pregnancy Center Accountability Act (HB 1366) requires these centers to disclose that they do not provide abortion or birth control care or referrals, to provide pregnancy test results immediately, and to keep women’s medical information private.


From NARAL pro-choice Washington