Rouge Forum Dispatch: 15! 75! 100! and More!

We Say  Fightbakc!

This is the Fifteenth Anniversary of the Founding of the Rouge Forum!

It is the 75th Anniversary of the Great Flint Srike against GM

(full video linked here  http://flinthistory.com/general-motors/with-babies-banners/?replytocom=364)

It is the 100th Anniversaryy of the IWW Free Speech Fight in San Diego

Jack Gerson on the Occupy Oakland and West Coast Port Actions— The nearly 10,000 protesters who shut down the port showed that Occupy Oakland’s November 2 Strike and Day of Action was no fluke. The December 12 actions rattled the entire Oakland establishment – corporate Oakland and the liberal politicians and labor bureaucrats who for years have carried their water while cultivating a “progressive” image. And the port shutdowns up and down the coast have delivered a strong message to the world maritime conglomerates: the Occupy movement will rally mass support to defend the longshoremen in Longview WA against a vicious union-busting attack from a multinational conglomerate.     http://insurgentnotes.com/2012/01/occupy-oakland-the-port-shutdown-and-beyond/

Worker/Student Unity in Oakland and Seattle Keep Left alive in Occupy Movement

Bertell Ollman Interviews “Love and Capital” Author Mary Gabriel (video and text  and photo)

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/301873-1

Substance on Chicago Sit Down Mayor harasses KOCO, sit-in, by removing chairs and forcing senior citizens to sit on the floor, and continues to refuse to meet with protesters as sit-in goes into second day on January 5, 2012     http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=2970&section=Article

The Little Red Schoolhouse

Lifetime Dem Jerry Brown to Citizens–Choos the Way to Screw Yourself —ducation funds would be cut by $4.8 billion if voters reject a proposed tax hike the governor hopes to place on ballot.   http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-state-budget-20120106,0,680610.story

ChiTribe: Holy Crap! Everybody is Cheating in School!     It was the year of the test cheating scandal.

From Atlanta to Philadelphia and Washington to Los Angeles, officials have accused hundreds of educators of changing answers on tests or giving answers to students. Just last week, state investigators revealed that dozens of educators in 11 schools in Georgia’s Dougherty County either cheated or failed to prevent cheating on 2009 standardized tests.

In July, those same investigators accused nearly 180 educators in almost half of Atlanta’s 100 schools of cheating dating back to 2001 — which experts have called the largest cheating scandal in U.S. history. And at least 20 students have been charged on Long Island with cheating on SAT and ACT college-entrance exams by paying someone to take the test for them.

“It’s a year in which cheating became a national scandal, a scandal of national proportions,” said Bob Schaeffer, a spokesman for the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, which advocates against high-stakes testing. “The Atlanta case forced policymakers and journalists in other jurisdictions to look to see if there’s anything similar going on in their backyards.”   http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/sns-bc-us–yearofcheating,0,2423064.story

An Emergency Manager for once Tony Highland Park Mich? A state review team is recommending that Gov. Rick Snyder appoint an emergency manager for the Highland Park School District to resolve its fiscal crisis.

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan said the district “is in a financial free fall, and we must do everything we can to protect the students and educators from feeling the brunt of the impact.”

The team is recommending an emergency manager because the district’s deficit, which was $11.3 million on June 30, increased 51% from the previous year. The team also cited declining enrollment, the fact that the district has been in deficit for the last five of six years     http://www.freep.com/article/20120105/NEWS02/201050410/Highland-Park-schools-needs-emergency-manager-review-team-says?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p

Southwestern College Boss Charged  and Suspended (with pay) Riccasa in her role her role as a Sweetwater board member, accepted meals, campaign contributions and other considerations from contractors as inducements for her votes to approve multimillion dollar contracts. They say she failed to report the gifts on state-mandated forms, which she filed under penalty of perjury.    http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jan/06/southwestern-official-placed-administrative-leave/

http://www.khanacademy.org/

CNN and Bill Gates Love Kahn Academy and we should know about It

How to Check for How Many Homeless Kids are In your Michigan School District The number of homeless students in Michigan public schools increased by 37% between the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years.

Local districts report that about 2% of students in Michigan’s public schools last year were either living with family or friends, living in a shelter, hotel/motel, or were unsheltered, sleeping on the streets or in a car.

Search this database to find the number of homeless students in your Michigan district in the 2010-11 school year.  http://www.freep.com/article/20111218/NEWS06/111216060/Database-Michigan-homeless-schools-students?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE&appSession=54618790614588

Alpert: Morales Tries to Move Revo to Schools and Teachers Resist he last round of education reform was more than a decade and a half ago, under now-exiled President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada. It tried to free schools from rigid drills and memorization. It also brought Aymara and Quechua into many schools for the first time.

But teachers resisted, saying the reforms were imposed from the top. Aymara and Quechua barely touched the cities: A World Bank study found less than 1 percent of urban schools ultimately became bilingual. Many rural parents also revolted at the idea of teaching their mother tongues in school.

“We are colonized in our minds,” lamented Susana Bejarano, former chief of the education cabinet. Because their languages were so stigmatized, “the parents preferred, logically, to protect their children.”

There are important differences between this law and the last one. All schools are supposed to teach local languages, not just schools where kids speak them at home. The old reforms talked about knowing other cultures, while the new reforms talk about knowing your own culture. “Decolonization” is new.     http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/11/14/2539523_p2/morales-tries-to-take-revolution.html

The International Hot War of the Rich on the Poor

One Goal of Imperialists: Markets. In this Case, US Weapons Sales to Iraq and the Saudi fascists Fortifying one of its key allies in the Persian Gulf, the Obama administration announced a weapons deal with Saudi Arabia on Thursday, saying it had agreed to sell F-15 fighter jets valued at nearly $30 billion to the Royal Saudi Air Force.   The agreement, and the administration’s parallel plans to press ahead with a nearly $11 billion arms deal for Iraq, despite rising political tensions there, is dramatic evidence of its determination to project American military influence in an oil-rich region shadowed by a threat from Iran.
Though the White House said the deal had not been accelerated to respond to threats by Iranian officials in recent days to shut off the Strait of Hormuz, its timing is laden with significance, as tensions with Iran have deepened and the United States has withdrawn its last soldiers from Iraq.    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/30/world/middleeast/with-30-billion-arms-deal-united-states-bolsters-ties-to-saudi-arabia.html?hp

A few More Jobs at Much less Wages That is particularly true of global manufacturers like General Electric. With labor costs moving down at its appliance factories here, the company is bringing home the production of water heaters as well as some refrigerators, and expanding its work force to do so.
The wages for the new hires, however, are $10 to $15 an hour less than the pay scale for hourly employees already on staff — with the additional concession that the newcomers will not catch up for the foreseeable future. Such union-endorsed contracts are also showing up in the auto industry, at steel and tire companies, and at manufacturers of farm implements and other heavy equipment,  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/30/business/us-manufacturing-gains-jobs-as-wages-retreat.html?hp

Who Will Lose the Straits of Hormuz? A senior Iranian official on Tuesday delivered a sharp threat in response to economic sanctions being readied by the United States, saying his country would retaliate against any crackdown by blocking all oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, a vital artery for transporting about one-fifth of the world’s oil supply.   http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/28/world/middleeast/iran-threatens-to-block-oil-route-if-embargo-is-imposed.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha2

Chalmers Johnson Predicted the Space wars the US and China now Prep: Broadening its challenge to the United States, the Chinese government on Thursday announced an ambitious five-year plan for space exploration that would move China closer to becoming a major rival at a time when the American program is in retreat.  …In recent years, China has also sought to build a military capacity in keeping with its economic might, expanding its submarine fleet and, this year, testing its first aircraft carrier, a refurbished Soviet model. Under the new space plan, it would vastly expand its version of a Global Positioning System, which would have military as well as civilian uses.
The plan shows how the government intends to draw on military and civilian resources to meet the goals, which the government is betting will also produce benefits for the Chinese economy.   http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/30/world/asia/china-unveils-ambitious-plan-to-explore-space.html?_r=1&hp

Six Years since Haditha Massacres--Nobody convicted   Wuterich is the last defendant in the biggest and lengthiest criminal case against U.S. troops to arise from the Iraq War. The killings in Haditha on Nov. 19, 2005, are considered among the war’s defining moments, further tainting America’s reputation when it was already at a low point after the release of photos of prisoner abuse by U.S. soldiers  at Abu Ghraib prison.   http://www.10news.com/news/30141898/detail.html

China’s Boss, “The Cultural War is On” he essay, which was signed by Mr. Hu and based on a speech he gave in October, drew a sharp line between the cultures of the West and China and effectively said the two sides were engaged in an escalating war. It was published in Seeking Truth, a magazine that evolved from a publication founded by Mao Zedong as a platform for establishing Communist Party principles.

“We must clearly see that international hostile forces are intensifying the strategic plot of Westernizing and dividing China, and ideological and cultural fields are the focal areas of their long-term infiltration,” Mr. Hu said, according to a translation by The Associated Press.

“We should deeply understand the seriousness and complexity of the ideological struggle, always sound the alarms and remain vigilant, and take forceful measures to be on guard and respond,” he added.    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/04/world/asia/chinas-president-pushes-back-against-western-culture.html

The Poppies Bloom in Helmand Again. Surge? Schmurge. Beyond the fertile river lands, however, a more troubling pattern is emerging. According to interviews with farmers, elders and Afghan and Western officials, the poor sharecroppers who used to farm poppy here have moved to the outer reaches of the district, turning the desert into remarkably productive opium fields. The Taliban have moved as well, evading the NATO offensive and offering the poppy farmers protection.

Over just a couple of seasons, these relocated farmers, unhampered by any military presence, have undercut the offensive’s initial gains against poppy production for this district. This, in turn, has raised hard questions about what will happen in villages like this one once the International Security Assistance Forces begin withdrawing.    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/02/world/asia/in-afghanistan-a-troubling-resurgence-of-the-poppy-crop.html?_r=3&scp=1&sq=opium%20afghanistan&st=cse

The International Economic War of the Rich on the Poor

Wall Street Occupies Obamagogue, as Usual President Barack Obama’s new senior campaign adviser is a longtime Wall Street lobbyist, and has the potential to damage the president’s aspirations to appeal to the protesters currently “occupying” New York City’s Zuccotti Park.

Obama’s new adviser, Broderick Johnson, has an extensive history of lobbying for big banks and corporations, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In 2007, he lobbied for JP Morgan Chase and in 2008 Johnson lobbied for Bank of America and Fannie Mae. From 2008 through 2010, he lobbied for Comcast and in 2011 he lobbied for Microsoft.

Johnson is currently a partner at D.C.-based communications firm Collins Johnson Group, which boasts that it excels at “providing superior strategic planning and political consulting services to multinational corporations, government entities, political campaigns and parties, elected leaders, nonprofit organizations, issue groups, investors and entrepreneurs.”   http://dailycaller.com/2011/10/25/obama-defies-base-hires-wall-street-lobbyist-for-re-election-campaign/

Prospects for Capital in 2012 But the biggest sore is the level of youth unemployment. Never since the Great Depression has the unemployment rate in the OECD economies among those aged 15-24 years been so high. The data are truly appalling, with youth unemployment rates varying from a minimum of 20% up to 40% plus in Greece and Spain.

‘Normally’, after a generalised slump in the major capitalist economies, as in 1974-5, or 1980-2 or 1991-2, or 2001, there is an accelerated recovery in economic activity, usually well above the long-term average growth rate set by the rise in labour productivity and employment growth. That’s because there is a large ‘reserve army of labour’ available to work at low wage rates and there is plenty of ‘spare capacity’ to put into motion in machinery and plant, with less competitors in the market place after bankruptcies and closures.

But since the trough of 2009, the major capitalist economies have generally failed to achieve even their former long-term average growth rates and some of them are still contracting. Why is that?     http://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/prospects-for-2012/

The Congressional Stock Scam Congress’s public-approval ratings have been in the dumps for months — and that was before the supercommittee’s failure last month to find a deficit-reduction compromise.

Here is one way Congress might put a little shine on its sullied image: a self-imposed bar on what some have called insider trading that would go beyond restrictions contained in pending legislation.

Members of Congress almost by definition can influence or gain knowledge of legislation that can benefit or hurt a company. And they can get this information before much of the investing public. Last month a book, “Throw Them All Out,” by conservative scholar Peter Schweizer of the Hoover Institution, which served as the basis for a “60 Minutes” report, described how congressional leaders, including John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi and Spencer Bachus, seemed to profit from insight gleaned from their work on Capitol Hill.

According to Schweizer’s research, Boehner, House minority leader in 2009, invested in health-insurance stocks before the so-called public option in President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul bill was killed. Shares in those companies eventually soared.

Pelosi and her husband, Paul, with a net worth estimated at $40 million, bought shares in the initial public offering of credit-card company Visa Inc. in 2008, when Pelosi was speaker of the House. As in many IPOs, the price they received was available mainly to company insiders and select investors. They bought the shares just before legislation died that would have limited the fees credit-card issuers could charge retailers. The shares more than doubled in the next two months.   http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-02/congress-s-stock-trading-fails-sniff-test-deserves-a-ban-view.html

Black Unemployment Up Again The unemployment rate for Blacks was 15.8% last month. This is according to the latestreport on the nation’s employment situation released Friday morning by the Bureau of
Labor Statistics in its monthly Employment Situation report. This rate was an increase from November, when unemployment in the Black community stood at 15.5%. For the nation as a whole, unemployment was 8.5% in the month of December; this was virtually unchanged from November when the national unemployment rate stood at
8.6%. Among whites, unemployment was 7.5%; among Latinos, unemployment was
11.0%.   http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/blackworkers/monthly/bwreport_2012-01-06_41.pdf

Shocker to the Times: Poor get Poorer and Stay there— But many researchers have reached a conclusion that turns conventional wisdom on its head: Americans enjoy less economic mobility than their peers in Canada and much of Western Europe. The mobility gap has been widely discussed in academic circles, but sour season of mass unemployment and street protests has moved the discussion toward center stage.     http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/us/harder-for-americans-to-rise-from-lower-rungs.html?_r=3&ref=global-home

CFR on the Euro Flop– he euro should now be recognized as an experiment that failed. This failure, which has come after just over a dozen years since the euro was introduced, in 1999, was not an accident or the result of bureaucratic mismanagement but rather the inevitable consequence of imposing a single currency on a very heterogeneous group of countries. The adverse economic consequences of the euro include the sovereign debt crises in several European countries, the fragile condition of major European banks, high levels of unemployment across the eurozone, and the large trade deficits that now plague most eurozone countries.    http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/136752/martin-feldstein/the-failure-of-the-euro?cid=nlc-this_week_on_foreignaffairs_co-010512-the_failure_of_the_euro_3-010512

Israel And US to Enjoy Summer Missle Drill— Israel, US to hold largest ever missile defense exercise this spring; thousands of US soldiers will be deployed in Israel.   http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=250249

Indiana: Prepearing to Smash Private Sector Unions (which are not unions, but that is for another day) The thunderclouds are gathering first here in Indiana. The leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature say that when the legislative session opens on Wednesday, their No. 1 priority will be to push through a business-friendly piece of legislation known as a right-to-work law.

If Indiana enacts such a law — and its sponsors say they have the votes — it will give new momentum to those who have previously pushed such legislation in Maine, Michigan, Missouri and other states. New Hampshire’s Republican-controlled Legislature was the last to pass a right-to-work bill in 2011, but it narrowly failed to muster the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto by the Democratic governor; an Indiana law would re-energize that effort.   http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/03/business/gathering-storm-over-right-to-work-in-indiana.html?_r=3&emc=tnt&tntemail1=y

Lockout at Canada Caterpillar A lockout late Sunday of about 465 workers at a Canadian locomotive factory owned by a Caterpillar unit has renewed debate in Canada about the labor impact of foreign ownership.

The action came after the employees in London, Ontario, rejected a contract proposed by Electro-Motive Canada. The Canadian Auto Workers union said the proposal would cut wages in half, substantially reduce benefits and end the current pension plan.

“It’s not really a proposal, it’s an ultimatum,” said Tim Carrie, president of the union local that represents the factory’s workers. “This is an attack on middle-class jobs.”    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/03/business/workers-locked-out-at-caterpillar-locomotive-plant-in-canada.html?_r=2&hpw

Lights out In Highland Park Mich. Darkness at Dark In a deal to save money, two-thirds of the streetlights were yanked from the ground and hauled away this year, and the resulting darkness is a look that is familiar in the wide open cornfields of Iowa but not here, in a struggling community surrounded on nearly all sides by Detroit.    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/30/us/cities-cost-cuttings-leave-residents-in-the-dark.html?hpw

The Emergence of Fascism as a Popular Mass Movement

So long Habeus Corpus! Even the liberal ACLU hates Obamagogues’ Fascist Detention Law, the NDAA—President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) today, allowing indefinite detention to be codified into law. As you know, the White House had threatened to veto an earlier version of the NDAA but reversed course shortly before Congress voted on the final bill. While President Obama issued a signing statement saying he had “serious reservations” about the provisions, the statement only applies to how his administration would use it and would not affect how the law is interpreted by subsequent administrations.

The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.

Under the Bush administration, similar claims of worldwide detention authority were used to hold even a U.S. citizen detained on U.S. soil in military custody, and many in Congress now assert that the NDAA should be used in the same way again   http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/president-obama-signs-indefinite-detention-law

Even Forbes Hates the Fascist NDAA If Obama does one thing for the remainder of his presidency let it be a veto of the National Defense Authorization Act – a law recently passed by the Senate which would place domestic terror investigations and interrogations into the hands of the military and which would open the door for trial-free, indefinite detention of anyone, including American citizens, so long as the government calls them terrorists.

So much for innocent until proven guilty. So much for limited government. What Americans are now facing is quite literally the end of the line. We will either uphold the freedoms baked into our Constitutional Republic, or we will scrap the entire project in the name of security as we wage, endlessly, this futile, costly, and ultimately self-defeating War on Terror.    http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/12/05/the-national-defense-authorization-act-is-the-greatest-threat-to-civil-liberties-americans-face/

Taibbi on the Electoral Shell Game—this 2012 race may be the most meaningless national election campaign we’ve ever had. If the presidential race normally captivates the public as a dramatic and angry ideological battle pitting one impassioned half of society against the other, this year’s race feels like something else entirely.

Obama’s top 20 list included:
Goldman Sachs ($1,013,091)
JPMorgan Chase & Co ($808,799)
Citigroup Inc ($736,771)
WilmerHale LLP ($550,668)
Skadden, Arps et al ($543,539)
UBS AG ($532,674), and…
Morgan Stanley ($512,232).

McCain’s list, meanwhile, included (drum roll please):
JPMorgan Chase & Co ($343,505)
Citigroup Inc ($338,202)
Morgan Stanley ($271,902)
Goldman Sachs ($240,295)
UBS AG ($187,493)
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher ($160,346)
Greenberg Traurig LLP ($147,437), and…
Lehman Brothers ($126,557).

Obama’s list included all the major banks and bailout recipients, plus a smattering of high-dollar defense lawyers from firms like WilmerHale and Skadden Arps who make their money representing those same banks. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/iowa-the-meaningless-sideshow-begins-20120103

Annin Declares Obamagogue a Terrorist, Vetoes NDAA — Aside from High-tech Robin Hood hacker Anonymous making headline news Wednesday for its disrailing neo-Nazi websites and targeting brutal California police, the group issued a message calling President Barack Obama and co-authors of National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) “terrorists.” Anonymous demands that the president resign because he has no right or authority to implement a bill that violates the Constitution of the American people and the group vowed to remove the corrupt leaders from government and says, “We The People! Veto” the president’s NDAA decision.   http://www.examiner.com/human-rights-in-national/anonymous-calls-obama-a-terrorist-vetoes-ndaa

Obamagogue Builds Yet Another Police Agency President Obama’s State Department announced, during a press briefing today, the creation of the Bureau of Counterterrorism, which will coordinate with United States entities such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and foreign governments to develop civilian counterterrorism strategies and operations.   http://newsok.com/obama-launches-bureau-of-counterterrorism/article/feed/332475

12 thousand Dead this year in Mexico’s Fraudulent Drug War– About 12,000 people were slain last year in Mexico’s surging drug violence, according to grim tallies reported Monday by the country’s leading media outlets. Annual indexes of torture, beheadings and the killing of women all showed increases.

More than 50,000 people have been killed during President Felipe Calderon’s U.S.-backed military confrontation with organized crime and drug trafficking, which began in 2006.   http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/in-mexico-12000-killed-in-drug-violence-in-2011/2012/01/02/gIQAcGUdWP_story.html

The Dream Hillbillary/Oprah Ticket Rises! “America would be better off today if Hillary Clinton was our president,” recites a woman sounding a little bit like, but definitely not, Hillary Clinton. “The Wall Street robber barons would be jailed, young people could afford college and find jobs and 6 million homeowners wouldn’t face foreclosure.” And? And please go to RunHillary2012.net and sign a petition, the call concludes, to persuade the onetime presidential candidate to go for it again.    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/mystery-calls-again-bring-hillary-clintons-name-into-2012-election-conversation/2011/12/20/gIQAHe8w7O_story.html

R Palme Dutt on the Connection of Liberalism and Fascism

According to Dutl, soc ial democrats help
prepare the way for fascism through both ideological
and practical assistance. The strategies folluwed
by social democrats include the following:
1. Abandonment or corruption of Marxism
(such as the CI)USA giving lip revo lution for
elecloral politics).
2. Abandonment of internationalism; espousal
of patriotism
(such as AFL-CIO cooperation wilh
the CIA and Cesar Chavez’s attacks on immigrant
Jabor).
3. Anticommunism: communists arc rejected
because they allegedly splil the working class with
their sectarianism. (
Union bureaucrats o penly
assisted the government in t he purge of com rnu 11 isIs
from the unions after World War II ; tu(hlY,
communist organizers within unions ilre ca ll ed
“splitters” and “dual unionists.”)
4. The distortion of “socialism” o r the usc of
vaguely socialist phrases to disguise their service
to mo no poly capital
(such as Winpisinger of IAl\1
advocating socialism to fine-tunc capitalism, or
Michael Harrington’s Democratic Socialist Organizing
Committee, which see ks more democratic
and social control of business investment).
5. The advocacy of class collaboration with
the unification of working class orga nizat ions
with the state
- such as Victor Gotbaul1l of
AFSCME persuading ullion members and other
labor leaders to accept wage freezes, cuts in
bcnefits, and the firing o f 60,000 ci ty workers in
order to help New York City through its fiscal
crisis. Gotbaum is the man Felix Rohaty n. head
of “Big j\’IAC,” (Iescribcd as “probably my closest
perso nal friend.” Or Douglas Fraser negotiating a
UAW contract with Volkswagen which paid
workcrs S1.00 per hour less than at the Big
Three plants.
Social democrats may be thought o f as the
fIfth colu.mn of the fascist movement
, o perating
within the working class. They work to disorglmize
the pro letariat by preaching upposition to class
struggle, expelling militant clements, break ing
“unauthorized” st rikes, Ignonng rac ism and
sexism, attacking immigrant labor, and accepting
lo ng-term contracts witli no·strike pledges.    http://richgibson.com/Dutt.pdf

Solidarity forNever

King of UAW to German Autobosses: Let Me Help you Screw the Workers— rs have rebuffed the union repeatedly. Specifically, Reuters has learned, the union is going after U.S. plants owned by German manufacturers Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG, seen as easier nuts to crack than the Japanese and South Koreans.

It’s a battle the UAW cannot afford to lose. By failing to organize factories run by foreign automakers, the union has been a spectator to the only growth in the U.S. auto industry in the last 30 years. That failure to win new members has compounded a crunch on the UAW’s finances, forcing it to sell assets and dip into its strike fund to pay for its activities.

In dozens of interviews with union officials, organizers and car company executives, a picture has emerged of UAW President Bob King’s strategy. By appealing to German unions for help and by calling on the companies to do the right thing, King hopes to get VW and Daimler to surrender without a fight and let the union make its case directly to workers… King is eager to show IG Metall and the foreign automakers that a new UAW has emerged from the wreckage of Detroit and that the union can be a better partner with management. He points to new contracts with U.S. automakers as an example of the UAW’s flexibility…. Newly hired workers earn $14.50 an hour at VW in Chattanooga. That is just below the $14.78 that a new hire would make at a unionized GM plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. Adjusted for monthly dues at Spring Hill, the VW worker is behind by only about $15 per month.

King concedes the UAW’s past mistakes contributed to Detroit’s near-demise.     http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/29/us-usa-autos-south-idUSTRE7BS0E020111229

Washington DC AFT Bows to that Yummy Merit Pay! During her first six years of teaching in this city’s struggling schools, Tiffany Johnson got a series of small raises that brought her annual salary to $63,000, from about $50,000. This year, her seventh, Ms. Johnson earns $87,000.   That latest 38 percent jump, unheard of in public education, came after Ms. Johnson was rated “highly effective” two years in a row under Washington’s new teacher evaluation system. Those ratings also netted her back-to-back bonuses totaling $30,000.

“Lots of teachers leave the profession, but this has kept me invested to stay,” said Ms. Johnson, 29, who is a special-education teacher at the Ron H. Brown Middle School in Northeast Washington. “I know they value me.”

That is exactly the idea behind what admirers consider the nation’s most advanced merit pay system for public school teachers.    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/education/big-pay-days-in-washington-dc-schools-merit-system.html?_r=2&emc=tnt&tntemail0=y

Spy Versus Spy

above, spy Sidney Riley

Who? Us? Ties to the US/CIA/National Endowment for Democracy? No way! Not US! The raids were part of an investigation into accusations that the groups and eight other nonprofit rights organizations were illegally receiving foreign financial support to influence Egypt’s politics or undermine its security. But the two organizations, the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute, are especially significant in part because they are closely allied with the Congressional party caucuses and are financed primarily by the United States government.   http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/03/world/middleeast/raided-american-groups-rebut-egyptian-accusations.html?_r=2&ref=global-home

The Magical Mystery Tour

Creepy David Brooks on Creepy Santorum—Santorum does not have a secular worldview. This is not just a matter of going to church and home-schooling his children. When his baby Gabriel died at childbirth, he and his wife, a neonatal nurse, spent the night in a hospital bed with the body and then took it home — praying over it and welcoming it, with their other kids, into the family. This story tends to be deeply creepy to many secular people but inspiring to many of the more devout.     http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/03/opinion/workers-of-the-world-unite.html

Homophobic Catholic Charities at it Again: Roman Catholic bishops in Illinois have shuttered most of the Catholic Charities affiliates in the state rather than comply with a new requirement that says they must consider same-sex couples as potential foster-care and adoptive parents if they want to receive state money. The charities have served for more than 40 years as a major link in the state’s social service network for poor and neglected children.   http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/29/us/for-bishops-a-battle-over-whose-rights-prevail.html?_r=1&hp

The Real Enlightenment. No Gods. Whereas historians in recent years have emphasized how often religion and Enlightenment got along, Israel relegates such cushy coexistence to a “Moderate Enlightenment” that was decidedly second-tier. The great names one learns at school — Voltaire and Rousseau, Newton and Locke, Leibniz and Kant — turn out never to have been willing or able to think themselves through to the new. Israel’s real heroes were hard-nosed atheists, materialists and revolutionaries who brooked no compromise with the status quo.   ,,,In the French encyclopedist Denis Diderot and his Parisian allies, the Baron d’Holbach, Claude Helvétius and the Abbé Raynal, Israel sees the true heirs of Spinoza. Declaring the “entire existing social order” unjust, they formed a small band of “deliberate, conscious revolutionaries . . . preparing the ground for revolution.”  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/25/books/review/democratic-enlightenment-by-jonathan-i-israel-book-review.html?pagewanted=2&tntemail0=y&_r=4&emc=tnt

LA Bishop Has two Kids==Pope lets him Resign—The pope has accepted the early resignation of a Los Angeles bishop who recently acknowledged being the father of two teenagers.

Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala, 60, resigned Wednesday under the code of canon law that lets bishops step down earlier than the normal retirement age of 75 if they’re sick or for some other reason that makes them unfit for office.      http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/americas/pope-oks-early-resignation-for-california-bishop-names-successor-in-san-diego/2012/01/04/gIQAnkzAaP_story.html

Father Xmas Stabbed to Death by Religious Fanatics A young man dressed as “Father Frost” – the Russian equivalent of Father Christmas – was stabbed to death in Tajikistan on Monday in an attack police believe was motivated by religious hatred, two police sources said.  http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/01/02/world/asia/international-us-tajikistan-fatherchristmas.html?_r=2&ref=global-home

Best thing in the History of the Word.  Dennis Cox Wonderful photos http://www.denniscox.com/portfolio.htm

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