Thursday, July 20

Bombs a'Flying Distracts from More American Kool-Aid

As the bombs and missles continue to fly between Israel and Lebanon, White House officials are slipping some fascist-flavored kool-aid into the morning coffee as we watch the televised carnage in the Middle East.

Consider these news sleepers:

1. A ruling is pending by the National Labor Relations Board that may do away with the right of 8 million American workers to form a union. Given the anti-worker/corporate-friendly bias of the Bush White House, expecting the NLRB to preserve America's 120-year-old right to organize suggests you imbibed too much of the Ghanan kool-aid.

In a related labor note: In March, the Center for Responsibility and and Ethics in Washington, a nonprofit group with a hopeless mission, filed a FIOA request to obtain documents from the Department of Labor detailing the agency's suspected internal support of anti-labor lobbyists and groups, to include "conservative lobbyist and executive director of the anti-union group Center for Union Facts, Richard Berman."

After filing a lawsuit after the request was ignored, CREW obtained in June 108 pages of DOL documents confirming the group's suspicions. "These documents make it clear that the leadership of Secretary [Elaine] Chao, the Department of Labor has become anti-labor," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW. "It is disgraceful that the very department designed to focus on improving the lives of American laborers is disseminating anti-union propagand and developing relationships with anti-union organizations. American workers deserve better."

The DOL, however, did not release emails between Chao and Berman, claiming that correspondence was "privileged." CREW was still litigating to obtain those emails.

2. According to Washington Post columnist Dan Froomkim, AG Alberto Gonzales told congress that George Bush personally blocked a Department of Justice inquiry into the outed NSA electronic snooping program. Froomkim suggests the unsual suspects in mainstream media are overlooking a spiked investigation; he further says Bush's move is comparable to the "Saturday Night Massacre of 1973, during which President Richard Nixon ordered the firing of Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor who had been appointed to investigate the Watergate scandal."

Froomkin's piece also provides a link to Boston Globe staff writer Charles Savage's series on Bush's law-dodging "signature statement" strategy argued by White House legal counsel that allows the President to retroactively break U.S. laws he deems unconstitutional. To date, the commander-in-chief has used "signature statements" to circumvent 75o law. For example, while Bush signed the John McCain's senate bill into law probibiting the US's torture of "terrorists", a signing statement allowed him then to ignore it as unconstituional.

3. And let me close with a July 11 comment from Bozo Bill O'Reilly over at the fair and balanced Fox News network. Bill is pissed with Dr. Kevin Barrnet, a member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, a group claiming the Official Public Story of those attacks is a "hoax."

"This guy would have been gone at Boston University, my alma mater, in a heartbeat. The Chancellor there, John Silber, would of--would have--this guy'd be in the Charles River floating down, you know, toward the harbor," said O'Reilly.

An instructor at the University of Wisonsin-Madison, Barrett had just weathered widely-reported pressure from Wisconsin Republican politicians for the university to fire him for "wrong" views, shared by the other 300 S9/11T members, claiming the US government was directly involved in 9/11. (And I thought the First Amendment and academic freedom were still residing in the US!)

James Fetzer, S9/11T founder and professor emeritus of phiolosophy from Minnesota issued a press release condeming O'Reilly's comments.

"'What's stunning is that [O'Reilly], who knows nothing about the events of 9/11 apart from what the government has told him, nevertheless assumes unto himself the role of judge, jury, and (it even appears) executioner!' Fetzer added. 'This is a travesty, an astonishing violation of academic freedom, freedom of speech, the right of the people to be free from assault.' Verbal threats, he observed, are assaults, especially when, as in this case, they endorse physical violence against a citizen."

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