Another shot at unions

We started to say “they’re at it again.” But that misses the point: they are still at it.

‘They’ are the Bush administration, whose attacks on the labor movement began even before Inauguration Day with the nomination of Linda Chavez as Secretary of Labor and continued through April 10 when a Labor Department official told a Congressional committee the administration was going to tighten its oversight of union finances.

Although Deputy Labor Secretary D. Cameron Findlay was unclear on what steps were under consideration, he was very explicit when he told the committee the department planned to hire 40 additional full-time investigators to examine union financial reports.

The right wing has always fought to limit union activity in the political arena, primarily by placing restrictions on the use of union money to finance legislative and electoral activity. To that end we have seen “paycheck deception” legislation introduced in state legislatures or submitted as initiative measures in state after state.

So far they’ve been unsuccessful but, as we said, they’re still at it. In the last 16 months Bush has struck down numerous regulations governing workplace safety and health, used recess appointments to stack the National Labor Relations Board with pro-management representatives, stripped thousands of federal workers of their union and turned his back on rules requiring federal agencies examine a company’s record of complying with the laws designed to protect workers, the public and the environment before awarding contracts.

All of which is clear evidence of the need to build the strength necessary to defeat the right wing in this years election. Building that strength is the number one challenge facing all of us.


Congress must say no to U.S. war on Iraq

A shocking report in last Sunday’s New York Times spells out a cold-blooded Bush administration plan to overthrow the government of Iraq by means of a “major air campaign and ground invasion, with initial estimates contemplating the use of 70,000 to 250,000 troops.

Aside from Britain, the Times reports, “no significant contribution of allied forces is anticipated” in this latest scenario. But even in Britain there is strong opposition to such actions.

With U.S. moves against Iraq getting almost no international support, this invasion scenario is relying chiefly on behind-the-scenes support from reactionary feudal regimes in the Middle East and Persian Gulf that depend on the U.S. for survival. The brutal Israeli assault on the Palestinian people has made those regimes nervous about their U.S. ties. That’s one reason the U.S. is now trying to paper over the Israel-Palestine crisis.

According to the Times, the Bush administration has concluded that the Iraqi government is unlikely to be overthrown by its own people. So, if the Iraqi people themselves aren’t ready to change their government according to the wishes of the Bush administration and its corporate backers, the U.S. will launch an all-out invasion, spewing death and destruction, cavalierly risking biological and chemical war and even nuclear war.

All the techno-babble about “higher level of maneuver and airborne assault, dropping in vertically and enveloping targets,” “precision weapons” and “heavy deterrence,” can’t sanitize this terrifying Dr. Strangelove plan.

Increasingly, the American people are demonstrating that they don’t want Bush’s endless war. Now, the fanatical Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld gang and their ultra-right corporate backers have made it clear that they are ready to place the entire world in harm’s way in their pursuit of a global empire for U.S. transnationals.

We, the American people, can and must stop them.

It is time for the U.S. Congress to say no to this invasion plan. It’s time to stop the war hawks in their tracks. Our future is at stake.