Sunday, August 26, 2007

Standing Up For Working Families

"I believe we cannot go on as Two Americas—one favored, the other forgotten—if we plan to stay productive, competitive and secure. I want to live in an America where we value work as well as wealth. I know that together we can build One America – a place where everyone has a fair shot at the American Dream." -- John Edwards

In America today, families are working harder to get by. Over the last 20 years, American incomes have grown apart: 40 percent of the income growth in the 1980s and 1990s went the top 1 percent. The top 300,000 individuals now make more than the bottom 150 million. Thirty-seven million Americans—including more than 9.3 million of working-age—live in poverty. The result is Two Americas, one struggling to get by and another that has everything it could want. [EPI, 2006; Saez, 2007; Census, 2006]

John Edwards believes we have to build One American Economy—where everyone has the opportunity to work hard and build a better life. He will restore respect for work to our tax code and cut taxes for working families. He will overhaul our weak labor laws to give workers a real right to organize.

  • Strengthen Labor Laws: Unions made manufacturing jobs the foundation of our middle class, and they can do the same for our service economy. That's why Edwards has helped more than 20 national unions organize thousands of workers over the last few years. Union membership can be the difference between a poverty-wage job and middle-class security. Federal law promises workers the right to choose a union, but the law is poorly enforced, full of loopholes, and routinely violated by employers. Edwards supports the Employee Free Choice Act to give workers a real choice in whether to form a union, and making penalties for breaking labor laws tougher and faster, so unions can compete on a level playing field and the right to join a union means something. Edwards also supports banning the permanent replacement of strikers so unions can negotiate fairly.
  • Enact Smarter Trade Policies: Trade deals need to make sense for American workers, not just corporations. Edwards will make sure any new trade agreements include strong labor and environmental standards and will vigorously enforce American workers' rights in existing agreements. He will also expand trade adjustment assistance to do much more for the workers and communities that are hurt by global competition and reform our international tax code to remove incentives for companies to move overseas.
  • Make Work Pay: Edwards will increase the reward for working by raising the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2012, tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit for adults without children and cutting the EITC marriage penalty. In 2001, a $1 increase in the minimum wage alone would have lifted an estimated 900,000 people out of poverty. [Sawhill and Thomas, 2001]. Protect Prevailing Wages: Edwards pledges to protect the Davis Bacon Act, which ensures that workers on federal construction projects receive the local prevailing wage. The Act prevents contractors from slashing wages in order to win federal contracts with low-ball bids. It was shocking when President Bush intervened to keep workers from earning a decent wage after Hurricane Katrina, but we must be vigilant every day against abuses. />Help Families Save and Get Ahead: Half of American families say they are living paycheck to paycheck, and three out of 10 American workers have not been able to save a dime for their retirement. Edwards will crack down on abusive lenders by creating a new Families Savings and Credit Commission to protect families and with strong national laws against abusive and predatory credit cards, payday loans and mortgages. Edwards will create Work Bonds to help families save and invest, providing financial safety nets for hard times. Work Bonds, a new tax credit of up to $500, would help low and moderate-income, working Americans save for the future. [MetLife, 2003; Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2006]

Monday, August 20, 2007

Iraq's Elite Fleeing in Droves

By Amira El Ahl, Volkhard Windfuhr and Bernhard Zand

One in ten Iraqis has left the country. Baghdad's elite are trying to make ends meet in neighboring Jordan and Syria. Washington wants the United Nations to address the refugee crisis. In the meantime, the country is losing its best minds -- the very people needed to rebuild Iraq.

The first stage on the road to safety is a $20 taxi ride. It takes the future refugee past nervous soldiers, through dangerous checkpoints and along streets with nicknames -- like "Grenade Alley" and "Sniper Boulevard" -- that bespeak the perils of travel in Iraq.,1518,500857,00.html

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Will You Just Shut Up Abour Iran!

By John Nichols

Published on Tuesday, August 7, 2007 by The Nation

Things got a little testy at the Camp David Summit between Afghan President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and American President George Bush.

Karzai, who when he is in the U.S. is expected to act as a puppet of the Bush administration, made the mistake of actually speaking his mind. In a CNN interview broadcast Sunday, the Afghan president said terrorism in Afghanistan is getting worse, that the hunt for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is at a standstill and, then, he described Iran as a positive player — “a helper and a solution” — in the region. All of these statements are objectively true.

But George Bush does not deal in the realm of truth. And he certainly does not like his puppet presidents getting off their strings.

On the eve of the summit, Karzai told CNN that:
1. “The security situation in Afghanistan over the past two years has definitely deteriorated. The Afghan people have suffered. Terrorists have killed our schoolchildren. They have burned our schools. They have killed international helpers.”
2. “We are not closer (to catching bin Laden), we are not further away from it. We are where we were a few years ago.”
3. “So far, Iran has been a helper (in the fight against terrorism).” All of those statements, made by Karzai in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on the eve of his trip to Camp David, were corrected by Bush upon the Afghan president’s arrival.

On the security situation, Bush told Karzai not to believe what he was seeing on the ground in Afghanistan. “There is still work to be done, don’t get me wrong,” Bush said. “But progress is being made.”

On the bin Laden search, Bush spoke of how the hunt is progressing and declared that, “With real actionable intelligence, we will get the job done.”

On Iran’s positive role in the region, Bush again told Karzai not to believe his own experience but instead to accept the neo-conservative version of events. “I would be very cautious about whether or not the Iranian influence there in Afghanistan is a positive force,” the American president pointedly told the Afghan president.
So there you have it, a meeting of the minds Bush-style.

A foreign leader from a region of supreme interest to the United States comes to Camp David to brief the American president on what is going on. The foreign leader speaks his mind, offering his best assessment of the experience he is living. Then the president tells the visitor from abroad that he is wrong.

As Bush famously declared at a policy session in 2005, “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.”

And it is just so damned inconvenient when a puppet who is supposed to help spread the propaganda instead messes everything up by talking about what is really happening.

John Nichols’ new book is The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders’ Cure for Royalism. Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson hails it as a “nervy, acerbic, passionately argued history-cum- polemic [that] combines a rich examination of the parliamentary roots and past use of the ‘heroic medicine’ that is impeachment with a call for Democratic leaders to ‘reclaim and reuse the most vital tool handed to us by the founders for the defense of our most basic liberties.’”

Copyright © 2007 The Nation

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Who Killed JFK

Was it more than One Man?

You need an hour to watch this video. You can pause and think or even download it and watch it later. The video is a bit gruesome in some parts as it show the shots being fired at JFK many times. As you watch this, think about how things are being run by the current government. The wire tapping and all those cameras appearing on every street corner, and even in parking meters! Put your mind in the mood to actually read the Patriot Act and see how all civil liberties have been suspended. How could one man have so much power, that a Democratic Congress and a split Senate, are completely rendered useless?


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Can You Carry On?

Time after Time

Thank you to my friend half the planet away DannyT from the UK for the music for this show. Danny is that kind of person.

The message must go out now from you. Your music, your poetry and in the words you write. Dennis is going to be away for a little while as I no longer have my home. It took 500 civil servants and who knows how many taped phone calls more than 2 years to take my home away.

In late 2002 Dennis took it upon himself to gather up over a million Canadians and send a message to our "Leaders". No to Iraq! There was and never will be a reason for an invasion such as the one we saw live on blablevision. 2000 to 5000 lb bombs were being dropped all over the country and then the main target Baghdad.

The once great late night coffee shops blown to little pieces. The once paved streets littered with corpses and pieces of bodies. The once enchanting palms with the lights peering through them leveled. Baghdad was more than a city, it held claim for 6 or 7 thousand years as the cradle of civilization.

My show is going on the road and as always Dennis will do his best to keep in touch. For now "Good Night and Good Luck"....

The Show Must go On (Freedie said that)

Friday, August 3, 2007


Where is the Evil?

When a man points out evil, it might be wise to see what the same man would do, to his own people after Katrina hit New Orleans. When he called someone evil he must have been referring to himself. Look, see what he is doing to total strangers.

Watch and then read the letter following the video. Be Well

Why Is Half Of Iraq In Absolute Poverty ?

By Layla Anwar


Yes why?
What for?

What does it say about you? What does it say about your countries? What does it say about your institutions? What does it say about your governments, your "culture", your "civilization", your history, your "progress", your "values", your concepts...?

Have you ever stopped and pondered these questions? Have you ever stopped and asked yourselves ; how come?

How come we are so advanced, how come we are so democratic, how come we are so great, how come we are so free... And how come we allow so much murder, oppression, abuse, go unaccounted for ?

Have you ever asked yourself this question ?

I was just listening to the BBC World radio. A report from Oxfam - and in your eyes that makes it credible - over 70 % of us Iraqis, no longer have access to clean drinking water.

I say no longer have because I remember not so long ago, one could turn on the tap and drink. As simple as that.

The report goes on to say that over 50% of Iraqis are under nourished and 1 out of 3 is literally starving. And that 50% live in abject poverty. 50% !!!

Again, I remember a time, even during the "civilized" sanctions that your countries imposed upon us, everyone had to eat. Not much, but there was food.

The Iraqi government had developed a system of rationing that, to this day, still leaves your top U.N reps in awe. When I mention that in my posts, I am accused of waging a war of disinformation, psy-ops and being a paid agent.

Now you listen to me and you get off your butts and read. Educate yourselves, oh great people of the West.

A few years back, you could not even locate Iraq on a map . Now you have all suddenly become experts on Her.

Prior to your liberation, there was no starvation in Iraq. Prior to your liberation, there was no abject poverty, the kind we witness today. Prior to your liberation, kids did not stutter out of fear. Prior to your liberation, they went to free schools, learned, grew up and became full functioning adults, with degrees, diplomas and expertise. No, we did not have learning impediments before your liberation. Today 92 % of Iraqi children suffer from it. Today, 99% of Iraqi children are traumatized for life.

So I ask you again - Why ?

What have Iraqis done to you? Did they invade you? Did they steal your homes? Did they imprison you? Did they torture you? Did they rape you? Did they occupy your lands?

Of course, some of you will come and present me with your usual condescending, paternalistic, patronizing lists of political theories, attempting to explain the inexplicable.

Save your time and energy. I know all about your theories. I know all about your theories of imperialism, neo-cons, zionists...I also know all about your handy explanations regarding oil, cartels, monopolies, globalization...

None of that satisfies me. I still need to know why?

Why us? why Iraq? why this? why now?

If you fail to answer that question, then you would have not learned one single thing about yourselves. And I say yourselves, because your governments are a reflection of who you are, your aspirations, your mindsets, your thinking, your illusions...You are part of it and it is part of you.

And all I can see right now are nothing but murderous thoughts - yours.

A few days ago, I was reading an article about a French film producer called Alain Tasma who has just finished directing a film on the Rwandan Genocide.

During "Operation Turquoise", between 700,000 and 900,000 Rwandans perished.

None of you, not a single one of you, had any objections to calling it a Genocide.
It was a given, it was accepted, it was fact. And rightly so, because it was a genocide.

But when it comes to Iraq, all sorts of counter figures pop up. All kinds of other statistics are put forward to try to prove "well, yes but"...

Again my question is why ?

Why did you accept it without questions in the case of Rwanda, why did you accept it without questions in the case of the Holocaust, why is it when it comes to Arabs and Arab Muslims in particular, it becomes a topic for debate and nit picking? And "it" refers to Genocide.

Can you answer this question?

Why is it that what happened over 60 years ago in your lands, still makes you grovel in mortification and supplications of forgiveness but when it comes to us, you have so many "red flags"? Your phrases are almost always qualified with a "yes but..."

What does that tell me about you? It tells me exactly what I said earlier on, you and your governments are one and the same.

And you will come and say "yes but... I did not vote", "yes but, I sent an email", "yes but....yes but...yes but..."

I don't care for your "yes buts". I truly don't. And that applies to all of you. All of you whose governments have a finger in the Iraqi pie. If you had really wanted, you could have easily gone out en masse, in front of your government's offices...

If only 5 million of you, not more, only 5 million, had done that and had thrown your passports in a huge bonfire in front of your White house, 10 Downing street or wherever the hell you happen to be, then I am sure, we would not be experiencing what we are experiencing now.

There are also mass pickets, sit ins, huge demonstrations, strikes...

There are ways, many ways. You just need to get your "creativity" going. Or maybe you are just creative in killing us?

I don't care much for your opinions and comments anymore. Actually I don't give a damn.

All I know is that you have participated directly or indirectly in the crime. That is all I know.

But there is still a little hope left. Go and sit with yourself for a little while and ask yourself why and then ask yourself what am I supposed to do next? I can assure you, answers will come to you.

For those of you who prefer to sit and engage in quid pro quos of ifs and buts, then I can already tell you in advance, you are a hopeless case. And I will not even bother to ask why.

Layla Anwar, Who am I ? The eternal Question . Have not figured it out fully yet . All you need to know about me is that I am a Middle Easterner ,an Arab Woman - into my 40's and old enough to know better . I have no homeland per se . I live in Iraq,Lebanon,Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Egypt simultaneously .... All the rest is icing on the cake.