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Why Did the President Cross the Road?

By David Swanson

To kneel before the corporate throne of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. And here's what he had to say there on Monday.

President Obama again stressed that he wanted to freeze non-war/military spending well into the next president's tenure:

"That's why I've proposed that we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. Understand what this means. This would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, and bring this spending -- domestic discretionary spending -- down to the lowest share of our economy since Eisenhower was president. That was a long time ago."

Conversion Is The Way

While economists have shown that investing our public dollars in the military hurts our economy, because investing in other industries would produce more jobs, the fact remains that millions of Americans who have jobs have them through the military and the privatized war machine. How do we keep those people at work while employing more people for the same investment, and while avoiding all the other negative consequences brought on by the war economy?

Jefferson's Eternal Sweatshop

I attended a rally at the University of Virginia Monday evening that was organized by students who would like UVA to pay its workers a living wage. The event was inspiring, but it could easily have been aggravating -- for the simple reason that 12 years ago I and a lot of other students held similar rallies to make the same demand.

Back then our demand was for a minimum of $8 per hour, and we displayed that $8 in orange and blue on buttons and stickers, on shirts and in store windows, and in the new policies of local businesses, school boards, and governments. We held rallies and concerts, gathered petitions, and made a heck of a lot of noise.

When Teachers Unions Back War Escalations

Special to the International Labor Communications Association

On July 12th I received an Email from the American Federation of Teachers with a soft pink headline and an image of a heart. It said: "Pink Hearts. Not Pink Slips." That sounded nice. The text continued:

"Now is the time to tell the Senate to put our children first. The House of Representatives approved an emergency spending bill that included $10 billion to save educator jobs and $5 billion for Pell Grants. It is now up to the Senate to do its part and approve the same level of assistance when it returns to Washington, D.C., this week."

We Need ACORN

By David Swanson

Much of this country believes that ACORN, the now defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, supported prostitution, engaged in voter fraud, and caused the subprime lending crisis. Some people are aware that these lies have been more solidly disproven than Saddam Hussein's friendship with Al Qaeda. The Government Accountability Office has now joined a former Massachusetts attorney general, a federal court ruling, and the Congressional Research Service in finding no wrongdoing by ACORN. But I suspect that only a very tiny percentage of Americans has any idea what ACORN was or why we need it.

Dear Fiscal Conservative War Supporter

By David Swanson

Is it that you don't know what war costs, or that you don't know that it makes us less safe?

We've spent $268 billion on making war on Afghanistan, and using Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz' analysis of Iraq we need to multiply that by four or five to get a realistic cost including debt, veterans care, energy prices, and lost opportunities. Public investment in most other industries or in tax cuts produces more jobs than investment in military. In fact, military spending is economically, as well as morally, the worst thing Congress can do. And this is economically the worst time in many decades to be doing the worst thing you can do.

Massey and Goldman Under Criminal Investigation Despite Requirement to Look Backwards, What About the U.S. Chamber of Commerce?

By David Swanson

War makers, torturers, warrantless spyers, and all sorts of other categories of criminals are still off the hook.  But there is a bit of "looking backward" going on.  Two out of the three people whom we at StopTheChamber.com have asked for criminal investigations of are now under investigation.  We're wondering about the third, the big one, the one that ties the other two and so much more together.

Happy May Mission Accomplished Downing Street Minutes Impeachment Is Off the Table Day

May Day (tomorrow) sums up our history. No longer is it May Day (Year 124) (although it is in Richmond VA, and they beat back the requirement that they hire mercenary guards in order to hold events). This is Mission Accomplished Day Year 7 and Downing Street Minutes Day Year 5 and Impeachment Is Off the Table Day Year 4. How's that letting Bush and Cheney's crimes become standard practice working out for you? Yeah, me too.

Prisoners Shoveling Snow in Snowpocalypse

By David Swanson

Walking through Charlottesville, Va., today I saw a sight that is increasingly common in the United States: men in prison uniforms, watched by guards, out working in public, in this case shoveling snow. I asked them if they were being paid for their work, and they just laughed.

A short while later I ran into a city official who was clearly familiar with the prisoner snow-shoveling program. He told me it was nothing new, part of "work release," gave the prisoners a chance to get outside, and that the prisoners were paid.

I pointed out that when asked if they were paid they laughed at me.

Then this official explained that he meant they were paid about 25 cents an hour.

What Trumka SHOULD Threaten

Every election cycle, the labor movement alone dumps enough money into the corporate media through the campaigns and PACs that it could have instead created a new television network that would actually report the news all year long through every future election cycle.  Rather than threatening to possibly not succeed in persuading working people to vote for corporate candidates, Trumka should threaten to defund the corporate media election bonanza and give us real news.