Friday, January 30, 2015

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's January 26, 2015 Letter

(The following letter from Australian anti-war and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge—who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--originally appeared in an Australian-Cuban solidarity group’s newsletter)


"January 26, 2015,

"Dear Comrades,

"The world has gone bonkers, completely bonkers without any moral compass. So a happy new year and the best of luck!

"But the rich are laughing even if the rest of us are not. I like the message handwritten on a poster. `Dear Capitalism, It's not you. It's us. Just kidding. It's you.'

"It sure is. Capitalism is off the leash and destroying our earth and everyone on it.

"The Charlie Hebdo assassinations of the 17 French civilians were horrific and symptomatic of a much deeper malaise. The passionate chants of `Je suis Charlie' expressed a defense of the right of free expression even if what is said is hateful.

"But there was nothing in Charlie Hebdo that comes even close to the daily onslaught of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and hatred exhibited by commercial television and media that continue to bombard us without any trace of Charlie Hebdo's criticism of organized religion and the political right.

"Our media barely mentioned that the Paris killers were `radicalized' by the incredible atrocities committed by US forces in Washington's brazenly racist, criminal, petrochemical invasion and occupation of Iraq.

"Certain world leaders who pushed their way to the front of the march to express their outrage at the assault on `freedom of speech' have few freedoms in their own countries and turned the genuine outrage of millions into a photo opportunity.

"Turkey's PM attended the rally to tell President Francois Hollande he must treat Muslims kindly and protect their mosques. But Turkey also supports Islamic extremists in Syria who are recruiting Frenchmen to become terrorists. Hardly a model of freedom and tolerance.

"One of the worst hypocrites? Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Neither invited nor wanted. Netanyahu was explicitly asked by Hollande not to come. But come he did--along with two of his ultra-right ministers. Placed in the second row, this odious man shoved aside a black African president and installed himself at the front beaming and waving along the way as if he was part of a victory parade.

"Another contender, Saudi Minister Nizar Madani, also took part in the march. He represented a nation every bit as sickening. Both support the most extreme form of Islam and think alike on crime and punishment.

"Paul McGeough compares the two and writes: `Homosexuals? Kill them. Adulterers? Stone them. Stealing? Chop off a hand or foot. Step out of line? Flog them. But nothing beats a beheading, 87 last year in Saudi Arabia, with 11 this year alone.'

"Like ISIS, Saudi Arabia strongly supports the fanatics in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan who slaughter journalists and aid workers, destroy ancient monuments and enslave women.

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave. The two Paris killers had reportedly been influenced by the atrocities committed by US forces in their brazenly racist, criminal, petrochemical invasion and occupation of Iraq. They spent the summer in Syria fighting with the `rebels' seeking to overthrow President Assad, just like the US and France--which has spent the past four years training and equipping fighters to do just that. In other words, it seems the pair were on `our' side and might have even used American or French weapons while fighting there.

"A slice of recent Middle Eastern history wouldn't hurt. Between 1950 to 1980, Islamic fundamentalism had been extinguished and was virtually non-existent--unless you count US support for the last bastions, Saudi Arabia and later Qatar.

"Before the 1980s, the dominant ideology was pan-Arab socialism, most notably in Egypt, Syria, Libya and Iraq, where Islamic fundamentalism was seen as regressive. But when the US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, destroyed Libya and waged a ruthless proxy war in Syria, fundamentalists used the invasions and the destruction of these once-proud nations to show that the West was at war with Islam itself. Tailor-made for Saudi-style fundamentalism.

"Where were the millions marching against these war crimes and when Israel launched its murderous assaults on Palestinian civilians in the open-air apartheid prison that is the Gaza Strip?

"And let's hope we see even bigger marches when the UN Climate Change Conference takes place in Paris next November. Especially here with our atrocious environmental track record and lousy track record during our two-year tenure on the UN Security Council. On December 29, Australia was one of only two nations to vote against a Jordanian draft resolution designed to hasten a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian catastrophe. Our last vote.

"A couple of weeks ago it was widely reported about a thaw in US/Cuban relations centered around the release of Alan Gross, a US spy claimed by Obama to be one of their `most valuable deployments against Cuba.' We celebrated because Cuba's `most valuable deployment,' the remaining three of the Cuban Five, were swapped for Gross and reunited with their families in Cuba.

"It was also reported as if the only thing wrong with US policy over the last five-plus decades was that `it didn't work.' It sure didn't. Washington's cruel, vindictive terrorist war, its scandalous economic blockade and failure to return Guantanamo Bay to the Cuban government isolated itself and elicited contempt and ridicule throughout the world.

"Incredibly, Obama announced the changes with these words: `Proudly, the United States has supported democracy and human rights in Cuba through these five decades...policy rooted in the best of intentions.'

"What audacity! You'd need a very long spoon to sup with these people.

"Obama recently signed legislation that freezes the assets and revokes travel visas of Venezuelan officials on the trumped-up charge that they had violated the human rights of US-funded ultra-right protesters. And only last April USAID (Washington's covert foreign affairs arm) was busily distributing a social media program in Cuba designed to foment unrest.

"Its methods might change. But the core goal of undermining Cuba lives on. Cubans know this and will be on their guard. Raul told Cuba's national Assembly about their profound differences and that Cuba is a sovereign state whose people chose a socialist path. Viva!

"Joan Coxsedge"                                              


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Lawrence, Massachusetts `"Not Seasonally Adjusted' Jobless Rate Increases To 11 Percent In November 2014

Between October and November 2014, the “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate increased in 7 major Massachusetts cities and in the town of North Adams, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data; while Massachusetts’ “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate increased from 5.1 to 5.2 percent during the same period:

1. The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate in Lawrence, Massachusetts increased from 10.4 to 11 percent between October and November 2014;

2. The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate in New Bedford, Massachusetts increased from 8.9 to 9.4 percent between October and November 2014;

3. The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in Fall River, Massachusetts increased from 8.2 to 9 percent between October and November 2014;

4. The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in Springfield, Massachusetts increased from 8.4 to 8.7 percent between October and November 2014;

5. The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate in Brockton, Massachusetts increased from 7.1 to 7.2 percent between October and November 2014;

6. The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in Worcester, Massachusetts increased from 6.4 to 6.5 percent between October and November 2014;

7. The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate in Lowell, Massachusetts increased from 6.4 to 6.5 percent between October and November 2014; and

8. The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in North Adams, Massachusetts increased from 6.4 to 7.5 percent between October and November 2014.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in Lynn, Massachusetts was still 6 percent in November 2014; while the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in Pittsfield, Massachusetts was still 5.6 percent during that same month..

In addition, the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in Boston, Massachusetts was still 5.2 percent in November 2014,

According to the Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development’s January 22, 2015 press release, the Bureau of Labor Statistics “revised its November job estimate to an 11,700 job gain from the 13,500 gain previously reported for the month;” and between November and December 2014, “manufacturing lost 700 (-0.3%) jobs over the month” and “information lost 500 (-0.5%) jobs over the month..”.


In November 2014, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data, 187,500 workers in Massachusetts were still unemployed; and nearly 48,000 of these officially unemployed workers lived in Boston, Brockton, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Springfield, Pittsfield, Worcester or North Adams..

Friday, January 9, 2015

Black Youth Unemployment Rate Increases To 33.2 Percent In December 2014

The official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Black youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age in the United States increased from 28.2 to 33.2 percent between November and December 2014; while the number of unemployed Black youths increased by 27,000 (from 213,000 to 240,000) during the same period, according to the “seasonally adjusted” Bureau of Labor Statistics data. In addition, the “seasonally adjusted” number of Black youths who still had jobs decreased by 59,000 (from 541,000 to 482,000) between November and December 2014; while the official “seasonally adjusted” number of Black youths in the U.S. labor force decreased by 32,000 (from 754,000 to 722,000) during the same period.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Latino youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age in the United States also increased from 16.3 to 16.6 percent between November and December 2014; while the “not seasonally adjusted” number of unemployed Latino youths increased by 13,000 (from 181,000 to 194,000) during the same period. In addition, between November and December 2014 the “seasonally adjusted” number of white youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age who were still in the U.S. labor force decreased by 23,000 (from 4,466,000 to 4,443,000); and the official “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for white youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age was still 14.2 percent in December 2014.

The official “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age in the United States was still 16.8 percent in December 2014; while the total “seasonally adjusted” number of youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age still in the U.S. labor force decreased by 28,000 (from 5,775,000 to 5,747,000) between November and December 2014. In addition, 963,000 youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age in the United States were still unemployed, according to the “seasonally adjusted” data; while the “seasonally adjusted” number of youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age not in the U.S. labor force increased by 22,000 (from 10,827,000 to 10,849,000) between November and December 2014.

The official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Black male workers over 20 years-of-age in the United States was still 11 percent in December 2014; while the “seasonally adjusted” number of Black female workers over 20 years-of-age in the U.S. labor force decreased by 111,000 (from 9,709,000 to 9,598,000)) between November and December 2014. In addition, the official “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Black female workers over 20 years-of-age in the United States was still 8.2 percent in December 2014; while the official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all Black workers in the United States (youth, male and female) was still 10.4 in December 2014.

Between November and December 2014, the “seasonally adjusted” number of white female workers over 20 years-of-age who still had jobs decreased by 318,000 (from 52,142,000 to 51,824,000); while the official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for white female workers over 20 years-of-age was still 4.4 percent in December 2014. In addition, the “seasonally adjusted” number of white female workers over 20 years-of-age in the U.S. labor force decreased by 364,000 (from 54,587,000 to 54,223,000) between November and December 2014.

The official “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for white male workers over 20 years-of-age in the United States was still 4.4 percent in December 2014; while the official “seasonally” adjusted unemployment rate for all white workers (youth, male and female) was still 4.8 during that same month. In addition, the total “seasonally adjusted” number of white workers (youth, male and female) in the U.S. labor force decreased by 340,000 (from 123,391,000 to 123,058,000) between November and December 2014; while the total “seasonally adjusted” number of white workers who still had jobs decreased by 121,000 (from 117,307,000 to 117,186,000) during the same period.

Between November and December 2014, the “not seasonally adjusted” number of Latino male workers over 20 years-of-age who still had jobs decreased by 13,000 (from 14,337,000 to 14,299,000); while the “not seasonally adjusted”  number of Latino male workers over 20 years-of-age in the U.S. labor force decreased by 38,000 (from 14,337,000 to 14,299,000) during the same period.  In addition, the official “not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Latino male workers over 20 years-of-age was still 5.7 percent in December 2014.

The total “seasonally adjusted” number of Latino workers (youth, male and female) in the U.S. labor force decreased by 9,000 (from 25,655,000 to 25,644,000) between November and December 2014; while the official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all Latino workers in the United States was still 6.5 percent in December 2014.

Between November and December 2014, the “not seasonally adjusted” number of Latina female workers over 20 years-of-age who still had jobs decreased by 110,000 (from 9,645,000 to 9,535,000); while the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Latina female workers over 20 years-of-age was still 6.2 percent. In addition, the “not seasonally adjusted” number of Latina female workers over 20 years-of-age in the U.S. labor force decreased by 140,000 (from 10,307,000 to 10,167,000) between November and December 2014; while the “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Asian-American workers in the United States was still 4.2 percent in December 2014.

The “seasonally adjusted” number of female workers over 16 years-of-age in the United States who still had jobs decreased by 205,000 (from 69,247,000 to 69,042,000) between November and December 2014; while the “seasonally adjusted” number of female workers over 16 years-of-age still in the U.S. labor force decreased by  523,000 (from 73,442,000 to 72,919,000). In addition, the official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all female workers over 16 years-of-age in the United States was still 5.3 percent in December 2014.

Between November and December 2014, the “seasonally adjusted” number of female workers over 20 years-of-age in the United States who still had jobs decreased by 262,000 (from 66,894,000 to 66,632,000); while the “seasonally adjusted” number of female workers over 20 years-of-age in the U.S. labor force decreased by 488,000 (from 70,599,000 to 70,111,000). In addition, the official “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all female workers over 20 years-of-age was still 5 percent in December 2014.

Between November and December 2014, the official “seasonally adjusted” number of workers in the United States labor force decreased by 273,000 (from 156,402,000 to 156,129,000); while the official the official unemployment rate for all U.S. workers (male, female and youth) in December 2014 was still 5.6 percent, according to the “seasonally adjusted” data. In addition, 8,688,000 workers in the United States were still unemployed in December 2014, according to the “seasonally adjusted” data.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ January 9, 2015 press release:

“In December, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or
longer) was essentially unchanged at 2.8 million and accounted for 31.9 percent of
the unemployed…The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in December at 6.8 million.These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. 

“In December, 2.3 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force,
little changed from a year earlier….These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

“Among the marginally attached, there were 740,000 discouraged workers in December….Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them….

“Employment in accounting and bookkeeping services declined (-14,000)…Employment in retail trade changed little in December…Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging,transportation and warehousing, information, and government, changed little in December….

“In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls

decreased by 5 cents…In December, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees decreased by 6 cents…. ”

Thursday, January 8, 2015

JFK's Pre-1960 Joe McCarthy Connection--Part 2

In the early 1960s--prior to his elimination in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963 from the world of U.S. power elite presidential politics--JFK was viewed as a politically liberal Democrat by most people in the USA and the world. Yet during the McCarthy Era of the late 1940s and 1950s, neither JFK nor his extremely wealthy father, Joseph P. Kennedy, expressed much political opposition to the activities of the demagogic right-wing Republican member of the U.S. Senate—Joe McCarthy—whose U.S. Senate committee violated the civil liberties of U.S. liberal and leftists during the early 1950s. As Thomas J. Whalen recalled in his 2000 book Kennedy Versus Lodge:

"....McCarthy also enjoyed close personal ties to the Kennedy family. A frequent visitor to the family's summertime retreat in Hyannis Port, McCarthy was known to participate in such time-honored family rituals as sailing, touch football, and softball....

"....`In case there is any question in your mind,' Joseph Kennedy informed a journalist in 1961, `I liked Joe McCarthy. I always liked him. I would see him when I went down to Washington and when he was visiting in Palm Beach he'd come around to my house for a drink. I invited him to Cape Cod.'

"As a personal favor, McCarthy would later help Kennedy's second-youngest son, Robert, attain a staff assistant's position on the Permanent subcommittee on Investigations of the Senate Government Operations Committee, a committee the Wisconsinite chaired....

"....Much to the dismay of liberal Democratic leaders such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Kennedy declined to go on the record against the Wisconsin senator, refusing even to pair his vote with that of another absent senator in opposition to the censure....

"This refusal to censure McCarthy was not without political calculation. The Republican was still revered by Irish Catholics in Massachusetts for his staunch anti-communism, and the idea of publicly denouncing him, however, justified, risked alienating this all-important constituency group..."

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

JFK's Pre-1960 Joe McCarthy Connection--Part 1



In the early 1960s--prior to his elimination in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963 from the world of U.S. power elite presidential politics--JFK was viewed as a politically liberal Democrat by most people in the USA and the world. Yet during the McCarthy Era of the late 1940s and 1950s, JFK was apparently a close friend of the demagogic right-wing Republican member of the U.S. Senate—Joe McCarthy—whose U.S. Senate committee violated the civil liberties of U.S. liberal and leftists during the early 1950s. As Thomas J. Whalen recalled in his 2000 book Kennedy Versus Lodge:

"...There was little danger of Kennedy's criticizing [Joe] McCarthy or his politics. He had been on friendly terms with the Wisconsin senator for several years. According to McCarthy advisor Roy Cohen, this friendship began during World War II when the two men were stationed together in the Solomon Islands...

"After the war, Kennedy and McCarthy found themselves serving together once again, this time as legislators on Capitol Hill. McCarthy became a frequent guest at Kennedy's brownstone apartment in Georgetown, and the two bachelors were often seen together making the rounds at various Washington, D.C. cocktail parties.

"`I got the idea that Jack liked McCarthy,' recalled George Smathers, the veteran Florida politician who was a freshman congressman during this period. Kennedy `thought he was a pretty good guy...He was friendly all the way through.'

"The late Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, a close Kennedy friend, confirmed this observation in an oral history conducted for the Kennedy Library. Douglas stated that whenever he tried to discuss McCarthy and his...red-baiting tactics with the Massachusetts legislator, the latter would cut off all conversation on the subject. `Well, he's an old friend,' he would usually say. `Known him for a long time.'

"...The two shared a strong sense of anti-communism. For Kennedy believed that McCarthy's overall goal of fighting communism at home was commendable, as befitted someone who had made an issue of domestic subversion during the Harold Christoffel investigation in 1947..."

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

JFK's Pre-1960 McCarthy Era Politics--Part 2



In the early 1960s--prior to his elimination in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963 from the world of U.S. power elite presidential politics--JFK was viewed as a politically liberal Democrat by most people in the USA and the world. Yet during the McCarthy Era of the late 1940s and 1950s, JFK was apparently both pro-capitalist and very anti-communist in his political rhetoric and voting record. As Thomas J. Whalen recalled in his 2000 book Kennedy Versus Lodge:

"...On January 25, 1949, Kennedy received permission to address the House for one minute and proceeded to condemn the Truman administration for `losing China'...Kennedy's intransigence deepened with the onset of the Korean War in 1950. He vigorously supported American military action against communist North Korea and denounced the trade of strategic materials between the United States and its allies with communist China as `trade in blood.'..."

The same book also indicated one reason that JFK--the son of ultra-rich Kennedy Dynasty founder Joseph P. Kennedy--may have been so pro-capitalist and anti-communist during the McCarthy Era:

"...Kennedy did not come by his stridency on the issue of communism by accident. He grew up listening to his father,...millionaire businessman Joseph P. Kennedy, deliver lectures on the evils of Marxism-Leninism. Stern and humorless, Joseph Kennedy lived with the fear that socialism might someday replace American capitalism, thereby eliminating all the material gains he had accumulated for himself and for his family.

"To help forestall the likelihood of such an event, the elder Kennedy adopted a militant anti-communist approach. He...contributed large sums of money to anti-communist causes such as Francisco Franco's successful attempt to overthrow the socialist-led Republic of Spain. As U.S. ambassador to Great Britain in the late 1930s, he even urged British prime minister Neville Chamberlain to appease Nazi Germany rather than seek an alliance with the Soviet Union. His reasoning was that such a policy would encourage Hitler to march eastward against Russia, thereby bringing down the final curtain on Soviet communism..."

Monday, January 5, 2015

JFK's Pre-1960 McCarthy Era Politics--Part 1

In the early 1960s--prior to his elimination in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963 from the world of U.S. power elite presidential politics--JFK was viewed as a politically liberal Democrat by most people in the USA and the world. Yet during the McCarthy Era of the late 1940s and 1950s, JFK was apparently both pro-capitalist and very anti-communist in his political rhetoric and voting record. As Thomas J. Whalen recalled in his 2000 book Kennedy Versus Lodge:

"On the anti-communism front Kennedy was...strident in his criticism of [then-U.S. Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. in 1952 election campaign for Massachusetts' seat in U.S. Senate]...Kennedy...did not shy away from portraying his opponent as being `soft' on communism...

"...Winning votes and hitting the headlines were exactly what John Kennedy had in mind when he attempted to hang the soft-on communism label on Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. in 1952. Indeed, he accused Lodge of having the `number one record among the Republicans' when it came to supporting the supposedly appeasing foreign policy of the Truman administration. Lodge, he further charged, had proven derelict in his duty as senator by failing to support legislation that would have `stopped' trade in war materials with communist China or Soviet Russia...

"Kennedy had been expressing such...views since the beginning of his public career. Running for Congress in 1946...he stressed the `Red Menace' in many of his campaign appearances. `The candidate's political stance was almost ultraconservative,' recalled Kennedy campaign secretary William Sutton. `Many of his speeches emphasized anti-communism as well as anti-collectivism.'

"In an October [1946] radio speech in Boston, Kennedy boasted about having told a group of `intellectual liberals' that the Soviet Union was `a slave state' run by `a small clique of ruthless, powerful and selfish men,' who were bent on world conquest...

"Kennedy continued to be an anti-communist hardliner after he became a congressman. In 1947, as a freshman member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, he publicly called for the perjury indictment of Harlold Christoffel, a United Auto Workers union official who was under suspicion of being a communist for having led a 1941 strike against the Allis-Chalmers Company in Milwaukee...

"Kennedy maintained a steady drumbeat against communism throughout his congressional career. In 1948 he broke with his own party and voted for the Mundt-Nixon Bill, which required the registration of domestic communist front organizations as well as communist organizations and their members. Although vetoed by President Truman, the main provisions of the bill were incorporated into the Communist Control Act of 1950, the so-called McCarren Act, which Kennedy also supported..."