Jim Hightower, former Texas commissioner Agriculture gave a fiery talk about the state we’re in with the Bush economy, and how thrilled he is to see that the people are ‘revolting’ – I mean that in the best possible sense,” he said. Lost jobs, rising National debt, and a stagnant economy have lead to growing dissatisfaction with a president who doesn’t seem to have a clue. He described his new book “Thieves in High Places,” as a volume of hope, filled with stories of common everyday folk who are winning battles against greed and oppression all across the country.

Even though many think Bush is popular and unbeatable, he is hearing and seeing the opposite. “In his own words, ‘Bring him on’ we gotta take GW on and send him packing. We have to make sure all those astrologers are right that this son of a Bush is a one term president.”

It was a beautiful day for a union picnic

with booths of information and inspiring speakers and uplifting music, reminding us of the struggles ahead and the strength we need and derive from each other to carry on the struggle for economic justice.

I was reminded of a Greg Palast article I read just days before, ‘The Grinch who stole Labor

Here’s something from the August 7th, New York Times:
Despair of the Jobless

The official jobless rate, now 6.2 percent, does not
come close to reflecting how grim the employment
situation really is. The official rate refers only to
those actively seeking work. It does not count the
“discouraged” workers, who have looked for jobs within
the last 12 months but have given up because of the
lack of offers. Then there are the involuntary
part-timers, who would like full-time jobs but cannot
find them. And there are people who have had to settle
for jobs that pay significantly less than jobs they
once held.

When you combine the unemployed and the underemployed,
you are talking about a percentage of the work force
that is in double digits. That’s an awful lot of lost
purchasing power for a society that needs broad-based
wage growth among its consumers to remain economically
viable. Most Americans depend on their
paychecks to get from one week to the next. If you cut
off that paycheck, everything tends to go haywire.

Right now there is no plan, no strategy for turning
this employment crisis around. There is not even a
sense of urgency. At the end of July the Bush
administration sent its secretaries of commerce, labor
and treasury on a bus tour of Wisconsin and Minnesota
to tell workers that better days are coming. But they
offered no real remedies, and the president himself
went on a monthlong vacation.

The simple truth is that the interests of the Bush
administration’s primary constituency, corporate
America, do not coincide with the fundamental
interests of workaday Americans. On the business side
of this divide, increased profits are realized by
showing the door to as many workers as possible, and
squeezing the remainder to the bursting point.
Productivity (based primarily on improvements in
technology) is way up. Hiring, of course, is down.
Part-time and temporary workers are in; full-time
workers with benefits are out.

And then there’s the ominous trend of sending
higher-skilled jobs overseas to low-wage places like
India and China, an upscale reprise of the sweatshop
phenomenon that erased so many U.S. manufacturing jobs
over the past quarter century.

Working Americans need jobs just to survive. But the
Bush administration equates the national interest with
corporate interests, and in that equation workers can
only lose.

There are ways to spark the creation of good jobs on a large scale in the U.S. But that would require vision, a long-term financial investment and, most important, a commitment at the federal level to the idea that it is truly in the nation’s interest to keep as many Americans as possible gainfully employed.

Here’s Martin Crutsinger, of Kansas City on the tour.

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