UE Workers Want to Takeover Gasket Plant

Boston-Area Union Will Block

Factory Auction to Save Jobs

By Jane Slaughter

via Labor Notes

Nov. 29, 2010 – In a move to save factory jobs that evokes shades of the ’30s, the United Electrical Workers [1] are asking supporters to block a December 14 auction of presses and equipment from a plant south of Boston. The UE is calling for mass picketing and blockading of entrances to the 80-year-old plant if necessary.

Esterline Technologies Corp. of Bellevue, Washington, has refused to hold off on selling the equipment till another buyer can be found. The union’s request to buy the closed plant, which would create an employee-owned factory, has been ignored.

“They told us a year ago they did not want the presses or equipment,” said UE Local 204 President Scott Marques. “But they would rather junk them than sell them to us.”

The plant makes crucial door-seals and silicone gaskets for aircraft. Esterline is consolidating operations in Southern California and in Mexico.

Continue reading UE Workers Want to Takeover Gasket Plant

New York State Assembly Approves Moratorium on Fracking

NEW YORK | Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:57am EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The New York State Assembly on Monday gave final approval to a six-month moratorium on a controversial method of natural gas extraction while state and federal agencies review its possible health impacts.

The moratorium — which calls for no drilling permits to be issued until at least May 15, 2011 — was approved by the state Senate in August.

The legislation now heads to Governor David Paterson, who leaves office in January and has until the end of this year to sign the measure into law.

In an interview last week on a local radio program, Paterson indicated support for the bill, saying the state would not “risk public safety or water quality.”

Continue reading New York State Assembly Approves Moratorium on Fracking

Can the Democratic Party Survive the Blue Dogs? – A Case Study of PA 4th CD Rep. Jason Altmire

Can the Democratic Party Survive the Blue Dogs?

by Randy Shannon

Treasurer, PA 4th CD Chapter, Progressive Democrats of America

Depressing the Vote – Depressing Democracy

The Money & Media Election Complex,” an article in The Nation magazine, discusses the unprecedented $4 billion spent on the 2010 election and its influence on voter turnout.

To those bankrolling the system, voter cynicism and apathy are welcome…Their interests are best served by narrowing the range of debate and participation, since that makes it easier to buy the government.

This article intends to show that the analysis quoted above is valid based on the role of Jason Altmire’s campaign in the PA 4th Congressional District.

Jason Altmire’s 2010 campaign organization was well funded by corporate donors. His message depressed voter turnout and helped defeat the Democratic ticket. Altmire’s recent 2010 victory prepared the ground for a stronger Republican challenge to the Democratic Party in 2011.

If the Democratic Party is to carry forward the legacy of the New Deal, it must work for unity around a message that aggressively fights for peace and prosperity for the working families of our district and against the Republican agenda of war and austerity.

Representative Jason Altmire Wins Close Race

Congressman Jason Altmire, a member of the Blue Dog caucus and the New Democrat coalition was returned to the new 112th Congress to represent the PA 4th Congressional District. He defeated Keith Rothfus, a Republican attorney supported by local tea party activists.

Continue reading Can the Democratic Party Survive the Blue Dogs? – A Case Study of PA 4th CD Rep. Jason Altmire

Portuguese Workers Use General Strike to fight Bankster Austerity


Poverty Fuels Anger During

General Strike in Portugal

By Emilio Rappold
Portside.org via Monsters and Critics

PNov 24, 201 – Lisbon – Fatima, 82, barely has enough to eat herself, yet she has come to distribute bread buns to pickets in front of a Lisbon post office to express her support for Wednesday’s general strike in Portugal.

‘I fully back the strike, because we are hungry,’ she fumes.

‘Two of my three sons have no job,’ the petite woman complains. ‘When did we last see such a situation in Portugal?’

Continue reading Portuguese Workers Use General Strike to fight Bankster Austerity

Power Company Cancels New Coal Fired Plant in Kentucky

Public Hearing on Eastern Kentucky Power Cooperative

A huge win for clean energy in Kentucky

Clean energy activists are elated over a big victory in the heart of coal country, where a Kentucky power cooperative has agreed to cancel plans to build a new coal-fired power plant.

The East Kentucky Power Cooperative struck a deal with an alliance of grassroots activists and others to halt plans for the proposed coal-burning unit at Smith Power Station in Clark County, Ky. The agreement involves the grassroots citizens group Kentuckians for the Commonwealth along with the Kentucky Environmental Foundation, Sierra Club, the Kentucky attorney general and Gallatin Steel, the EKPC’s biggest industrial customer. Also involved in the agreement were individual co-op members including noted Kentucky author and farmer Wendell Berry, a member of the Shelby Energy co-op.

Besides canceling the plant’s construction, EKPC will also commit $125,000 to working with the public interest groups and its member co-ops to come up with ideas for new energy efficiency programs and clean-energy options.

“Renewables and demand-side management programs will play increasingly important roles in the energy industry,” said EKPC Chief Financial Officer Mike McNalley. “This collaborative will help EKPC gather ideas and feedback to explore the realistic potential of renewables and demand-side management here in Kentucky.”

Continue reading Power Company Cancels New Coal Fired Plant in Kentucky

Zero Presidential Pardons by Obama: Shameful

Dan Froomkin froomkin@huffingtonpost.com | HuffPost Reporting Become a Fan

Turkey Spared — But Obama’s Compassion For Humans Comes Up Short

First Posted: 11-24-10 12:26 PM | Updated: 11-24-10 12:26 PM

In one of the White House’s sillier annual rituals, Barack Obama on Wednesday pardoned the second Thanksgiving turkey of his presidency.

He has, however, yet to pardon a single human.

A president’s power to grant clemency is broad, unilateral and absolute. Obama, a constitutional lawyer by training, and the first African-American president, could issue pardons and commutations that make a powerful statement about the justice system past and present.

Indeed, presidents have a responsibility to use their pardon power to correct the excesses and errors of a system that is inevitably imperfect, often overloaded, and especially in this era of mandatory sentences, overly rigid.

Continue reading Zero Presidential Pardons by Obama: Shameful

Banks Plan 6.5 million Home Foreclosures by 2012

“The number of foreclosures initiated on residential properties has soared from about 1 million in 2006, the year that house prices peaked, to 2.8 million last year.

Over the first half of this year, we have seen a further 1.2 million foreclosure filings, and an additional 2.4 million homes were somewhere in the foreclosure pipeline at the end of June.

All told, we expect about 2.25 million foreclosure filings this year and again next year, and about 2 million more in 2012.

While our outlook is for filings to decline in coming years, they will remain extremely high by historical standards.

Currently, almost 5 million mortgage loans are 90 days or more past due or in foreclosure.”


Governor Elizabeth A. Duke

Foreclosure documentation issues

Before the Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

November 18, 2010


Military Spending Costs Opportunity – Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Eisenhower on the Opportunity Cost of Defense Spending


Gen. Eisenhower speaks with soldiers of the 101st Airborne on the eve of D-Day

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement.

We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

… This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron…

Is there no other way the world may live?

Dwight David Eisenhower, “The Chance for Peace,” speech given to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Apr. 16, 1953.

Cost of US Empire Is Unsustainable

US Military Spending Far Outpaces Rest of the World

By Amanda Bransford

The United States continues to lead the world in defense spending, according to a new report released Thursday by the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, a U.S.-based non-partisan research organization.

In fact, the U.S. outspends Russia, the next highest spender, by more than 800 percent.

In 2008, the most recent year for which figures are available, the U.S. expenditure was 696.3 billion dollars, followed by Russia’s 86 billion and China’s 83.5 billion.

The U.S. defense budget is 15 times that of Japan, 47 times that of Israel, and nearly 73 times that of Iran.

Not only does U.S. spending dwarf that of other nations, but it has also grown in recent years.

Continue reading Cost of US Empire Is Unsustainable