Congress

Hellraisers Journal: The First U.S. Secretary of Labor Fights for Mother Jones

You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
-Mother Jones

Wednesday April 15, 1903
Recent letter from William Mailly of the Socialist Party to Mother Jones:

Mother Jones,
Clarksburg, W. Va.,
My dear Mother Jones
I have your favor of the 12th written from Montgomery and I am going to answer it right away and make you an official offer to become a lecturer for the Socialist party. I can see by your letter that you are tired of your present work and I should like to free you from it and put you out for the Socialist party. I know of nothing that would arouse more genuine enthusiasm among our members than for the announcement to go out from this office that you had become a National lecturer for the Socialist party, and that your entire arrangements for meetings would be in the hands of the National Secretary. If you will decide to come with us I shall arrange a tour for you through the states where I think you are most needed and can do the best work, and I shall pay you from the time you start, $3.00 a day and your hotel and traveling expenses. This would mean every day in the week although I would not ask you to speak every day...
With my love, as ever, I am,
Your Comrade,
[William Mailly]
National Secretary

This letter only increases speculation that discord is developing between Mother Jones and her current employer, John Mitchell, President of the United Mine Workers of America.

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Hellraisers Journal: How Margaret Thatcher Turned Billy Bragg into a Socialist

You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
-Mother Jones

Thursday April 9, 1903
From the International Socialist Review: World of Labor by Max S Hayes

Comrade Hayes on Congress and Labor:

Well, the fact must be recorded that Congress has adjourned and that the labor bills introduced at the beginning of the session are suspended between heaven and earth-they are up in the air! The politicians played ping-pong with the labor bills. The eight hour bill, the anti-injunction bill, the safety appliance bill and the prison labor bill were rushed through one branch of Congress and into a pigeon-hole in the other branch, as per agreement between the Senators and Representatives.

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Don't Pretend You Care About These Issues When Defending the President

This is an older piece of mine that appeared on Daily Kos on Thursday December 29, 2011.
 

It's an important one because it destroys the argument you hear from some Obama supporters hoping to deflect the inhumane treatment of whistle blower Bradley Manning. They say that since African Americans in our prison system suffer torture and injustice in our prison industrial complex, then that means what is happening to Bradley Manning is not really an issue. Of course what they don't mention is that yes, African Americans have been and are indeed suffering atrocities in our prison industrial complex, yet they don't want to talk about President Obama continuing this trend and even making it worse even hiring a for profit private prison lobbyists in his Justice Department where some of the worst offenses happen making him involved in the state issue and federal issue.
 

You can see the failed deflections in the comments of that diary and how the truth about this really hit a nerve with some people, whether they claim to be a fake Marxist in a past life making their support of the PIC and neoliberalism OK now under Obama or not. The facts show that they don't really care about these issues when hoping to shield Obama from them in the case of Bradley Manning.

Part of the reason the Occupy movement exists and are out in the streets is because of the massive failures of this Democratic administration and a Democratic Congress. This can't be denied. However, because it can't be denied there are certain implications going around in their defense by those who are in denial about this. They imply that what’s going on with Bradley Manning’s confinement and his sham of a trial doesn't truly matter.

They imply Occupy protesters getting beaten, sprayed, and handcuffed until they get nerve damage doesn't matter because of the fact that African Americans and Latinos have been feeling the brunt of police brutality and a corrupt racist justice system for years. It is very true that African Americans and Latinos have felt the brunt of a corrupt racist justice system for years.

However, these injustices still matter regardless, because as MLK said, "A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" and that still holds true today. The issues the Occupy movement are fighting for affect all races, especially on income inequality and economic justice. That is an acknowledged fact that can't be denied.

The people of Occupy Wall Street are protesting our country's growing inequality--and nowhere is this inequality more acutely felt than the makeup of our prison population.

Recently at a city council meeting in my home of Jersey City, a 46-year-old formerly incarcerated man told the council, as reported in the Jersey City Independent: "I've served 16 years in prison. I came home three years ago and tried everything possible you can do. I got my high school diploma and a driver's license...The job system failed me."
 

When I went to Occupy Wall Street, my friend carried a sign that read: "Troy Davis would still be alive if he had been rich and white." We had attended a protest earlier that month, when Davis was still alive, where signs and demonstrators proclaimed, "We are Troy Davis."
 

We are Troy Davis. We are the 99 percent.

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Processing the President's Disdain for Due Process

This piece is my most viral piece to date and appeared on Daily Kos on December 15, 2011. It's an ironic diary coming from myself given all the economic pieces I write but I do have range on other issues, too. It's about the NDAA and is still relevant because the US can still indefinitely detain American citizens, and the White House has never been able to properly define the terms "associated forces" among others things with regard to Al Qaeda. Section 1021 can still be used to indefinitely detain American citizens.

You may recognize my illustration about the NDAA as well which is also still relevant.

Not that it should only be a worry if it happens to American citizens. This war on terror George W. Bush league crap that the Obama administration is still peddling, even with its signing statement claiming it won't matter while they are in the White House, assuming, of course, no Republican will ever win an election again. That is ridiculous, insulting, and a major assault on the Bill of Rights. This is further compounded with the White Paper and the Rand Paul filibuster in which he didn't get an answer to his simple question really on how they define the term "engaged in combat" when it comes to whether they can order a drone strike on an American citizen on American soil. This one is still relevant so enjoy.

Processing the President's Disdain for Due Process

That’s right. You know what’s going on.

This administration never threatened to veto the NDAA because of civil liberties concerns. This administration is using the same fear mongering that the Bush administration has used concerning Al Qaeda to codify the unchecked executive power it has claimed erroneously for itself in the exact same way.

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Another Bailout Since Dodd Frank Debunks the Lies

Yes, unlike what was sold to us about Dodd Frank, there are in effect already backdoor bailouts before our very eyes if we care to look. This one involves the most important regulator of our entire financial system, the New York Fed, intervening to let Bank of America off the hook for its residential mortgage backed securities fraud.

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The Real SOTU: The White House Subverting the Rule of Law

Subverting the rule of law? How dare I? Well the 4th amendment, due process, kill lists, and the NDAA also speak to my title. Yes, they speak to it despite those that decided politicians were more important than the principles they pretended to have in 2004 now outed as hypocrites mostly. However, that being said, I'm talking about subverting the rule of law in a different way but equally as damaging on the economic front.

After all, it was at the SOTU merely just a year ago that President Obama assured us that something was going to be done about the Wall St. perpetrators of our mortgage and foreclosure crisis. This was a crisis in which they defrauded consumers with sub-prime NINJA loans pumping up the housing bubble and then dumping the private debt overhang onto the economy destroying over 10 trillion in housing wealth. This left consumers with massive loads of private debt and everyone else jobless like this recovery.

This White House's DOJ has made a complete mockery of the concept of Justice in and of itself. That illusion of Justice is perpetuated to this day and normal people are devastated because of it. Let President Obama know you are not amused. I have.

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John T. Harvey: "The Coming Recession: How Fiscal Responsibility is Economic Suicide"

As you might have heard the economy is contracting while unemployment remains high inching higher especially in real terms again while Washington is too stupid or corrupt across the board to notice. I can't say I didn't see this coming even as just an above average layman. All this focus on austerity is detrimental. After all, spending is actually income and so are deficits which are the life blood of the private sector in the economy when it comes to those sectoral balances you hear me always harping about.

And on that point I refer to Post Keynesian economist Wynne Godley as he along with MMT economist L. Randall Wray predicted this crisis in 2000 and that matters. Therefore it's safe to say the Post Keynesian school is pretty much vindicated. And part of this tradition can be read in Forbes magazine every month. Imagine that! I have thanks to discovering the work of the most excellent Post Keynesian/MMT economist John T. Harvey.

I have to thank NY brit expat for introducing me to John whom is not only a brilliant economist, but an all around cool guy who is very approachable and has an awesome taste in music. He stresses that the economics discipline hasn't made economics very understandable to the general public and he's right; however, you wouldn't know that by reading his many excellent pieces on why everything people think they know about debt and deficits is absolutely wrong. As John points out, it's not only wrong, it pervades this entire ignorant and corrupt political debate happening right now over this stupid sequester that was a creation of the White House and Congress.

As you will read down below, this horrible self induced debt ceiling pro austerity political show where never is heard an encouraging word like full employment, but instead for Peter Peterson's enjoyment, idiotic words praising deficit terrorism(budget balance and cutting our safety net) rules the day. It only amounts to economic decay and a likely recession on the way depending on how much deficit spending is cut in the coming days.

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Grover Norquist is Winning Thanks to a Debt Ceiling Crisis Every Few Months

That's right. I don't know in what world some people are living in, but they should pay attention. Yes they should actually pay attention to what Grover Norquist is saying and how much these stupid debt ceiling crisis I predicted are playing into his hands. (h/t Addison)

Norquist: Republicans Should Hold Federal Government Hostage Every Month

And so this constant state of crisis and delayed/short term appropriations are going to be official soon.

House passes short-term debt limit deal

The Republican-led House today passed a bill to "suspend" the nation's debt limit until May, which if passed by the Senate and signed into law, would stave off for a few months the risk of letting the U.S. government default on its loans.
{.......}

House Democrats, meanwhile, grumbled that the short-term bill amounts to political gimmickry that keeps Washington in crisis mode.

{.......}

"The premise here is pretty simple," House Speaker John Boehner said on the House floor. "It says there should be no long-term increase in the debt limit until there's a long term plan to deal with the fiscal crisis that faces our country. Every hardworking taxpayer in America knows that they have to do a budget. Every hardworking taxpayer understands that you can't continue to spend money that you don't have."

{........}

House Democrats also complained that the bill prolonged the debate over the debt limit rather than solving it.

"The good news is that our Republican colleagues finally realized that America should pay its bills and dropped their condition that that be matched by cuts," Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said in a news conference. "The bad news is they've decided that America only needs to pay its bills for three more months."

Yes, even when that 3 month suspension becomes a raise only every few months more down the line it won't be close to normal standard procedure as some have tried to claim. This is true for a number of reasons; past raises of debt ceilings were never crisis showdowns and always were routine until Obama put them on the table as something to be negotiated. So given the completely different context comparing past debt ceiling raises to now I needn't go any further, but I will. What happened in 2011 was unprecedented and we are still dealing with the fallout right here and right now. It almost happened to former President Bill Clinton in the 90s but even Jonathan Chait admits Clinton was much more politically savvy in dealing with it than Obama so it was averted.

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The White House Rejects Solutions to the Mess it Made. We Will Pay for it With Austerity

That’s right. It’s now undeniably pathetic or immoral assuming this is what they want and it probably is. The Trillion Dollar Coin and a 14th amendment challenge have now been rejected. What do we have instead? Insulting fake pseudo macho posturing from the President about what he will or will not negotiate on as if there has ever been anything this POTUS won’t negotiate on. It’s already happening as we speak.

Besides, he just got done with negotiating away his “iron clad” promise to raise income taxes on the rich above $250,000. But this time we are supposed to believe the same fairy tale? Or maybe when I say negotiate when I really mean “negotiate.” Yeah, this is actually what he and John Boehner wanted as in to show us “extremists” who care about people instead of idiotic deficit terrorism on the backs of the poor a thing or two.

Conspiracy of Two

“I’m the President of the United States,” Obama told Boehner [in 2011]. “You’re the Speaker of the House. We’re the two most responsible leaders right now.” And so they began to talk about the truly epic possibility of using the threat, the genuine danger of default, to freeze out their respective extremists and make the kind of historic deal that no one really thought possible anymore — bigger than when Reagan and Tip O’Neill overhauled the tax code in 1986 or when Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich passed welfare reform a decade later. It would include deeper cuts in spending, the elimination of all kinds of tax loopholes and lower income tax rates for all. “Come on, you and I,” Boehner admitted telling Obama. “Let’s lock arms, and we’ll jump out of the boat together.”

It’s too late to spin tales of the intrepid politician that stands up to Congress. You know, as Stephen Colbert says regarding journalists, fiction. Debt ceilings were never negotiated until this POTUS put his full faith in crediting John Boehner for NOT using the debt ceiling as a hostage as part of the Obama/Bush tax cut deal in 2010. Oops. I predicted this. Others deluded themselves thinking this mess happening right now extended from back then was somehow an abstract form of 11th dimensional chess again and again. When will they learn?

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