Tag Archives: slides

Syrian War Set to Re-Explode

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Shamus Cooke

The Syrian war stalemate appears to be over. The regional powers surrounding Syria — especially Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and Jordan — have re-ignited their war against the Syrian government. After over 200,000 dead and millions of refugees, the U.S. allies in the region recently re-committed to deepening the war, with incalculable consequences. The new war […]

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Behind the Media’s Assault on Seymour Hersh

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Shamus Cooke

He’s the most respected journalist in U.S. history, and for decades Seymour Hersh has consistently broken major international stories, winning him the Pulitzer Prize among other prestigious awards of journalism. But the media establishment that once idealized him now seeks his destruction. Hersh is facing a coordinated attack from his former colleagues, each scrambling to […]

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Arne Duncan Fouls Out on Common Core

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Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

Opposition to the Common Core Standards and the tests tied to them is rising, as a recent Wall Street Journal article (May 6) underlined. Approval for Common Core is now languishing at a mere 17 percent while disapproval has shot up to 40 percent. The article continues: “This year hundreds of thousands of students across […]

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How a $15 Minimum Helps All Workers

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Shamus Cooke

Giant corporations and the wealthy are naturally united in their hatred of the $15 minimum wage. Surprising, however, is the strong opposition sometimes encountered by workers who make barely above $15 an hour. The anti-$15 logic of these workers varies. Some simply repeat the misinformation they hear on the media, that a higher minimum wage […]

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A Paper Peace and Proxy War With Iran

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Shamus Cooke

Obama’s foreign policy is bound in a thousand knots, all threatening to unwind. At the same time that the U.S. is engaged in nuclear negotiations with Iran the two are fighting proxy wars against each other in Yemen and Syria. Which begs the question: are the nuclear talks with Iran really that meaningful, if war is […]

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Fight “Right to Work” in Oregon With “$15 and a Union”

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Shamus Cooke

In Oregon Democrats dominate all branches of politics. Yet the labor unions are still terrified. There is justifiable dread that anti-union “Right to Work” laws will be purchased into existence by out-of-state billionaires championing the laws around the country. This threat recently reared its head in Oregon, when anti-union groups announced that they are planning […]

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Who’s Scarier: Scott Walker or ‘Jihadi John’?

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Shamus Cooke

When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker compared labor unions to ISIS, his audience cheered. At the end of the speech he got a standing ovation. His wealthy audience hated labor unions that much. In fact, the 1% despises unions much more than they hate ISIS. Islamic extremists in the Syrian desert pose no threat to anyone […]

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The Not So Erratic Philosophy of Yanis Varoufakis

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Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

Greece’s new finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, has been mandated by the leftist Syriza government to negotiate new conditions with the “troika” (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) for the continuation of Greece’s desperately needed bailout. He has just written a smashing op-ed for The New York Times that forcefully […]

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Mayor’s Proposal for $15 is Big Step Forward, But Leaves Out Majority of Low-Wage City Workers

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Shamus Cooke and Justin Norton-Kertson

Republished from 15 Now PDX. In Portland, Oregon, a mostly-volunteer led group is working with labor unions across the state in a campaign for a statewide $15 minimum wage. The group is simultaneously working on a campaign in Portland that demands a $15 minimum wage for city workers. Oregon is one of several states that […]

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Teacher Unions Default on the Fightback

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Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

Public education in the U.S. is facing what Diane Ravitch, former assistant in the Department of Education, has called “an unprecedented time in American history” where schools are facing “a radical, extreme break with the past” because of a “direct attack on public education.” Many of these attacks have been directed specifically at teachers, and consequently […]

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How Obama is Making the World More Dangerous

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Shamus Cooke

You’re not paranoid if you think the world feels more unstable — it is.  There’s a dangerous confluence of political, economic, and military phenomena that is producing a very hazardous international situation. Heightened national tensions that lead to regional confrontations have become normal as economic and political winds constantly shift in the direction of instability and […]

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Paul Krugman Entangled in His Own Logic

Paul Krugman Entangled in His Own Logic By Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

In a recent New York Times article, Nobel Prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman, once again takes aim at economists and politicians, who are fixated on problems that we won’t encounter for decades, if at all, like the possible insolvency of Social Security and Medicare. Embracing austerity, they demand cuts to these programs in order to keep […]

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Oregon Unions Rally for a $15 Minimum Wage

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Shamus Cooke

Hundreds rallied on January 24th at Oregon’s capitol building to demand a statewide $15 minimum wage. The rally marked the beginning of the statewide campaign, which has already earned support from Oregon’s labor movement and many community groups. The rally itself was organized by a coalition of labor and community groups, including $15 Now Oregon, the Oregon […]

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What the AFL-CIO Did Not Say About Raising Wages

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Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

On January 7, 2015 the AFL-CIO, in what might be a desperate attempt to seem politically relevant to the labor movement, staged a “National Summit on Raising Wages,” featuring Senator Elizabeth Warren as the keynote speaker, followed by a panel discussion. Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers International Union and part of the left wing […]

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The Spectacular Media Failure on Charlie Hebdo

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Shamus Cooke

A core tenet of journalism is answering the question “why.” It’s the media’s duty to explain “why” an event happened so that readers will actually understand what they’re reading is actually all about. Leave out the “why” and then assumptions and stereotypes fill in the blank, always readily supplied by politicians whose ridiculous simplistic answers are left […]

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The Strategic Significance of the Fight for $15

The Strategic Significance of the Fight for $15 By Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer January 1, 2015
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

The fight for $15, a movement that started two years ago with a walkout of fast food workers in New York, has been gaining momentum ever since. In early December 2014, workers staged one-day strikes in over 150 cities, creating what The New York Times called “the largest labor protests in the nation in years.” Additionally significant […]

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A New Push for Peace in Syria?

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Shamus Cooke

Why are there no serious peace talks to end the war in Syria? After robbing over 130,000 people of their lives, and evicting over 9 million refugees from their homes, the Syrian war has infected nearly every region of the Middle East. Yet among the U.S. and its regional allies there are no public discussions about a […]

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The Elections: Déjà Vu All Over Again

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Shamus Cooke

Eventually the tired game will exhaust itself. Beneath the billions of dollars, U.S. elections are lifeless events. The predictable flopping from Democrat to Republican and back again, with voters given no real choice but to punish the party in power — by electing the party that was punished previously. This endless, irrational dynamic is the […]

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Shamus Cooke: Israel Is Heavily Protected by the United States at the UN

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Kourosh Ziabari

Reprinted from the Fars News Agency TEHRAN (FNA) — Shamus Cooke, an American labor activist and writer, says that the United States heavily protects the Israeli regime in the United Nations and prevents any resolution against Tel Aviv from being adopted by the Security Council. Following the 52-day onslaught on the Gaza Strip, which cost the […]

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Can Hong Kong Trigger a Chinese Revolution?

Can Hong Kong Trigger a Chinese Revolution? Shamus Cooke October 7, 2014
Shamus Cooke

Power concedes nothing without a demand.  Frederick Douglass, 1857* A historic showdown is shaking Hong Kong’s core, between the Chinese government and the mass movement confronting it. The people demand the removal of the Beijing appointed Governor and insist that they vote on his replacement. The Chinese government has vowed zero concessions, creating an inevitable […]

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Obama Reconsiders Attacking Assad

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Shamus Cooke

Sometimes bad ideas die slowly. It was only one year ago that Obama announced he would bomb the Syrian government, only to change his mind at the last minute. Now the same fetid war talk is sprouting fresh roots in the ever-fertile U.S. military. Various media outlets reported that the U.S. military might “enforce a […]

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The Unspoken Consequences of Bombing Syria

The Unspoken Consequences of Bombing Syria
Shamus Cooke

Now that U.S. bombs are falling in Syria, will Islamic extremism be stopped in its tracks? Such a question is an insult to the intellect, yet it’s the dominant theory in Washington D.C., where years of Middle East war have taught politicians nothing. Not only will bombing yet another Middle East country create yet more […]

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Socialists on Palestine and Israel: One or Two States?

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Workers Action

With the recent Israeli war on Gaza resulting in the deaths of over two thousand Palestinians along with the massive destruction of an already fragile and minimal infrastructure, revolutionary socialists are once again revisiting the question of whether they should embrace a one-state or two-state solution to the seemingly endless conflict between Israel and the […]

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Progressive Democrats Follow Obama to War in Syria

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Shamus Cooke

It’s nearly impossible to find an anti-war congressperson nowadays. A bi-partisan consensus exists for an expanded war in Iraq and Syria — from the “radical” socialist Bernie Sanders to Obama’s right-wing nemesis, John Boehner. So enthused was Boehner that he ordered Republicans back to D.C. — during a peak campaign season — to vote for Obama’s plan […]

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The Giant Gaps in Obama’s ISIS Strategy

The Giant Gaps in Obama’s ISIS Strategy Shamus Cooke September 13, 2014
Shamus Cooke

Obama’s ISIS speech would have provoked outrage if Bush gave it. Now, however, Democrats and Republicans are united over foreign war to such an extent that a prolonged military campaign without congressional approval barely raises an eyebrow. So one year after an attack on Syria was rejected by the American public bombs will be dropping […]

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Don’t Settle For Less: $15 Now!

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Shamus Cooke

Momentum is still growing for a $15 minimum wage. On August 4th150 cities rallied for $15 and union rights, with striking fast food workers engaging in civil disobedience. Meanwhile, San Francisco voters are expected to pass a $15 referendum in November, and Seattle starts to phase in $15 on January 1st. The city of SeaTac, […]

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Obama’s Paralyzed Presidency and the Push for War

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Shamus Cooke

President Obama is breathing fresh life into the term “lame duck.” At home and abroad the president seems frozen, powerless to confront the most demanding political issues. From foreign wars to Ferguson the president’s lack of audacity seems destined to be his legacy. And while working class people in Ferguson are demanding justice at home, […]

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Will Obama Fight ISIS Without Allies? Obama’s No-Win War on ISIS

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Shamus Cooke

The newest crisis in the Middle East has sucked the U.S. into yet another insoluble military problem. Obama is again considering a bombing campaign in Syria, after infamously not bombing the country last year. This time, however, he’s not targeting his enemy Bashar al-Assad, but his enemy’s enemy — ISIS — now referred to as the Islamic […]

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An Addition to the Article: Missing in Action, AFL-CIO Should Be in Ferguson

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Paul Colvin

Carl Finamore’s article, “Missing in Action, AFL-CIO Should Be in Ferguson” is an accurate and indispensable description of current day unions’ disconnect with the struggles and aspirations of communities of color in a society with embedded racism, both subtle and not so subtle. When a white policeman murdered unarmed 18-year-old Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the […]

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How ISIS Finally Became Obama’s Enemy

How ISIS Finally Became Obama’s Enemy Shamus Cooke August 9, 2014
Shamus Cooke

Suddenly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has become a threat worthy of American missiles. For years Obama completely ignored the biggest and most brutal terror group in the Middle East, allowing it to balloon into a regional power. No matter how many heads it severed or how much territory it conquered, ISIS just couldn’t […]

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How U.S. Support of Israel Undermines the U.S.

How U.S. Support of Israel Undermines the U.S. Shamus Cooke August 7, 2014
Shamus Cooke

Blasting Gaza into rubble has affected the average American in ways that U.S. politicians will learn to regret. The result is more than bleeding heart sympathy for dead Palestinian children (430 at last count). There is a deeper political effect happening, as young and old alike realize for the first time the cancerous lies coursing through the […]

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How Obama is a Direct Accomplice in Israeli War Crimes

How Obama is a Direct Accomplice in Israeli War Crimes
Shamus Cooke

To assist in a crime makes one a criminal by any legal standard. And the biggest crimes of all are war crimes, since they kill en masse and showcase the cruelest form of human behavior. The fact that Israel is actively committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip is not open to debate, since a cursory […]

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Obama’s Influence Abroad is Evaporating

Obama’s Influence Abroad is Evaporating Shamus Cooke July 15, 2014
Shamus Cooke

There was once a time, not too long ago, when the U.S. government’s ability to steer the policies of other nations was near absolute. A U.S. president needed only to make a public statement denouncing another nation’s economic or military policy, and the effects would be instant. The countries that refused U.S. instructions were labeled pariahs, […]

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The Union vs. Corporate Showdown Has Officially Begun

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Shamus Cooke

The attack on the U.S. labor movement just sharpened with the Harris vs. Quinn Supreme Court decision, aimed at the heart of concentrated union power — public sector unions. When you add in the Obama-led assault on public school teachers unions and the Koch brother-funded “Right to Work” laws, the labor movement appears to be […]

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Does Capitalism Inevitably Produce Inequalities?

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Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer

In a recent New York Times op-ed article, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz theorized that capitalism does not inevitably produce inequalities in wealth. Instead, he argued, today’s inequalities result from policy decisions made by politicians on all sorts of matters that affect people’s income: the tax structure that favors the rich, the bailout of the […]

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