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KC Labor Newsletter
Week In Review, May 16, 2004

Finally Back Home For A While
After two car trips totaling about 5000 miles I’m back in my office ready to review weeks, update the Daily Labor News Digest—starting tomorrow, May 17—and other duties as required.

A lot has happened since my last Week In Review.

Barbarism In the Cradle of Civilization
Because some sadists couldn’t resist circulating photos of their work we now know how special units used sexual humiliation—photographed with the threat of blackmail—as routine interrogation methods in occupied Iraq. Barbarians on the other side gained publicity by citing this abuse of Iraqi prisoners as justification for a video taped brutal murder of a civilian American Jew who was inexplicably left to wander on roads feared by the toughest military units. Far from stabilizing, the collapse of civil society under American occupation continues to degenerate. The solution offered by the Democrat "opposition" is to send even more GIs to kill or be killed there. As during the Vietnam war, it’s going to take a mass, independent antiwar movement to put a stop to this madness.

Bush Lite AWOL On Crucial Vote
Last Tuesday Senate Democrats, with support from several Republicans, came within one vote of getting a "super majority" required to pass a badly needed 13-week extension of unemployment benefits. Only one Senator was absent from the vote—labor’s very good friend, John F Kerry of Massachusetts. Bush Lite was too busy in Kentucky—blasting Bush’s record on jobs—to return for this last chance to aid long term unemployed workers.

Last Minute Action To Save Missouri Families
Okay, the Missouri General Assembly did cut our education, health care, disabled, and transit funding. But they redeemed themselves at the last hour by protecting the sanctity of the family from the growing menace of gay/lesbian marriages. Even though most of us thought same sex marriages were already illegal in Missouri our legislators found the money to submit a constitutional amendment to the state’s voters to prevent "activist judges" from extending the property rights that come with marriage to couples who share genders as well as households. Now moms and pops across our great state can tell their offspring "we may be poor but, by God and the state legislature, we are straight."

Getting Community Radio Back On Message
Apparently the long running battle over the direction of KKFI has been settled. The volunteers that have made this station a unique contribution to community radio can now concentrate on their programming. One of the highlights of the station is the Heartland Labor Forum, an award winner that has been running for more than a decade. The station is currently in the midst of an important fund drive. They deserve support from those of us in their listening area.

Some Hopeful Signs
These are tough times to be sure. But, in my recent travels, I did see some hopeful glimmers: the million-strong March For Women’s Lives; the Meeting the Challenge conference in St Paul; meetings of the Labor Party’s Interim National Council (INC) and Detroit chapter. Within the next few days I will be posting a report on these events.

KC Labor Party To Meet
Providing nourishment for both brain and stomach, the KC Labor Party will meet over an open grill lunch next Saturday, May 22, 1PM, at Tony Saper’s house, 2113 Erie, North Kansas City. I will be giving a report on the recent INC meeting and we will be planning local activities for the summer. Interested nonmembers are welcome to attend. In order to plan our food supply—and to give you directions, if needed, to Tony’s house—please RSVP by either e-mail: or telephone:816-753-1672.

Regards to all,

Bill Onasch