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KC Labor Newsletter
The Week In Review, Sunday, January 25, 2004

State Of Their Union
I thought the
best analysis of President Bush’s State of the Union Address came from Labor Party national organizer Mark Dudzic.

"This year I counted five lies coming from George Bush's mouth in the first 60 seconds of his speech: ‘America is more secure.’ ‘The American economy is growing stronger,’ ‘The tax relief you passed is working,’ ‘You're raising the standards for our public schools,’ and, the whopper of all whoppers, ‘You are giving our senior citizens prescription-drug coverage under Medicare.’"

Dudzic observes, "Not one backbencher, not one reporter had the courage to shout: ‘That's not the state of our Union!’"

Still puzzling over the leaves left over from the Iowa tea party the night before the Democrat "opposition" was more inept than ever in responding to the Liar-in-Chief. They are scared to death of "security" issues. They all supported the Leave No Charter School Behind approach to education. They cringe at having to argue against tax cuts. And they were left speechless about Bush’s impassioned defense of holy matrimony, as well as his grand plan to send humans to Mars.

The fact is that with an unpopular war; millions unemployed and most everybody else living in anxiety about the future of their jobs; with health care coverage shrinking as costs soar; with students going in debt for life for a college education; with Social Security endangered and the environment going to hell—Mickey Mouse should be able to beat the guy who came in second in the last election.

But so far the Democrats haven’t found an electable Mickey Mouse. They haven’t developed a program of clear opposition to the Bush agenda. They have no vision with which to inspire. And, at least so far, none of their personalities have ignited any charisma.

It’s possible that one of them may get a much needed personality make over and maybe some better speech writers. But it’s hard to disguise the fact that none of them has any principled differences with what Bush has done or will do. In Iowa they all did a pretty good job of exposing one another’s hypocrisy on a wide range of crucial issues.

None of them are labor’s friend and, most likely, none of them are winners either.

Dudzic’s comments keeps us on point: "We in the Labor Party understand that, no matter what the outcome this November, the task of building independent working-class politics will still be with us the day after the election. And, as Eugene V. Debs pointed out nearly 100 years ago, this is a job that can only be done by the working people themselves."

Oh My Achin’ Back
A Reuters story,
Working Through Back Pain, caught my attention the other day.

Employees of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines who had experienced low back pain for at least 4 weeks were randomly assigned to a behavior-oriented graded activity program or ordinary treatment with an occupational therapist. Both treatment groups experienced similar improvement in pain severity and functioning during the study. But the behavior modification group, which emphasizes that it can be safe to work with pain, missed only 58 days of work compared to 87 days in the conventional group.

Dr. James Weinstein of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire was ecstatic about these results. "This study is important because it represents research into treatments that may help reduce the economic and societal cost of low back pain," said the good doctor.

Yeah, that’s a lot more important than figuring out how to relieve my lumbago.

This scientific research was funded by the stoic Dutch Health Insurance Executive Council.

Grocery Workers Get Solidarity Boost
The strike/lockout of 70,000 workers in Southern California’s grocery industry is into its fourth month. The AFL-CIO has finally called for a national consumer boycott of Safeway stores and informational pickets have gone up at many of Safeway’s 1800 locations. ILWU longshore locals have pledged a million dollars to help with health care costs for the strikers.

"To win this, we need an expansion nationwide, and we haven't really done that yet," Rick Icaza, president of UFCW Local 770 in Los Angeles said. "I don't think you can ask any more of the members or the consumers, as far as their support goes. The only reason they [the supermarkets] are hanging in there is they've got national resources."

It would have been good if this action in support of these union heroes had been taken two months ago. Let’s hope that late is still better than never.

Chili For Choice
If you like chili, and are in the Kansas City area, you have an opportunity for a rare treat. This Saturday night. January 31, 6-9, is the
Chili For Choice fund raiser at All Souls Church, 4501 Walnut. All proceeds go towards sponsoring individuals to go to the March for Women's Lives in Washington DC on April 25, 2004. KC Labor’s workplace health & safety editor, Mary Erio will be bringing her vegetarian chili. In the interest of fairness and balance I will submit my cinnamon enhanced chili con carne. Come early before the best stuff goes.

Shaky E-Mail
We’re in the process of shifting kclabor.org to a new host server. As is usually the case, changing our e-mail settings is the biggest challenge. If you have trouble reaching us over the next few days

try me at my web-based backup: billonasch@yahoo.com.

Regards to all,

Bill Onasch
webmaster, kclabor.org

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