midtowng's blog

When writers strike

Most people think the Red Scare began on February 9, 1950, when Joseph McCarthy produced a piece of paper before the Republican Women's Club of Wheeling, West Virginia, and proclaimed...

"I have here in my hand a list of 205 people that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party, and who, nevertheless, are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department."

Joseph McCarthy

How we got here, and how to prevent it from happening again

On June 24, 1982, four bank examiners from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City walked into the rear of a small shopping mall in Oklahoma City.
This unlikely location marks the start of a series of events that have brought us to the brink of a global economic collapse and a second Great Depression.

In order to reform the broken financial system you must first come to terms with the fundamental reasons for the current dysfunction. To do that we must go all the way back to the first instance that this dysfunction manifested itself, in the same way that a medical researcher must trace a mutating virus back to its origin in order to find a vaccine.

U.N. panel says world should ditch the dollar

The fact that this news is coming out the very next day after the Treasury announced that it would start printing money by the trillions is not a coincidence.

(Reuters) - A U.N. panel will next week recommend that the world ditch the dollar as its reserve currency in favor of a shared basket of currencies, a member of the panel said on Wednesday, adding to pressure on the dollar.

Which Side Are You On?

On August 3, 1986, Florence Reece passed away at the age of 86. She was one of the greatest poets, songwriters, and social activists to ever come out of the Kentucky hills. Her signature song was "Which Side Are You On?"

The song is probably second only to The Internationale as a favorite for striking workers everywhere. It's a simple and powerful song that is only upstaged by the story behind it, and that's the story I want to tell.

"A disaster waiting to happen"

That's how Marc Faber described the market for treasuries today.
Why would he say this? To answer that you have to look at two different factors - supply and demand. For the demand side, you should look at today's Treasury International Capital (TIC) report.

Net foreign purchases of long-term securities were negative $43.0 billion.
Foreign holdings of Treasury bills decreased $15.4 billion.

Monthly net TIC flows were negative $148.9 billion. Of this, net foreign private flows were negative $158.1 billion, and net foreign official flows were $9.2 billion.

Baby Strikers

On July 3, 1835, in Paterson, New Jersey, nearly 2,000 textile workers walked off the job. The strike was notable for several reasons.

For one thing the strikers weren't demanding more money, despite the fact that they only made $2 a week (adjusted for inflation, that would be $44 a week today). Their central demand was an 11-hour day (as opposed to the 13.5-hour days they were currently working), and only 9 hours on Saturday instead of a full day.
That in itself was significant enough. The first strike in American history to limit hours had happened only 7 years earlier, and was also in Paterson, New Jersey. That strike had been crushed after a week when the militia was called in.

Privatizing The Commons

"Virtually everything President Bush is doing to America is, at some level, related to privatization of our commons. Today we are witnessing the middle game portion of the Corporate Takeover of Everything Agenda. It scares me to imagine what the end-game will look like."
-Scott Silver, 2003

In 2006 the Democrats narrowly defeated Bush's attempts at selling 300,000 acres of public forest land to private interests. The reason given was to simply raise money to fill a budget gap.

"It kind of reminds me of selling off the 'back 40' to pay the rent. It's short-term thinking."

This certainly isn't the first time that Republicans have gone after the Commons, and it won't be the last.

The Memorial Day Massacre

Memorial Day in Chicago in 1937 was hot and sunny. On the prairie outside the Republic Steel's Chicago plant the strikers and their families began to gather for picnics. Women were dressed in their holiday best. Children could be seen riding on their father's shoulders.
Sam's Place was nearby. Once a dance-hall, Sam's was now the strike headquarters. Gradually the families drifted over to where a soup kitchen had been set up and where strike leaders gave speeches from a platform. A group of girls began singing IWW union songs, and the men joined in. Plans were being made for a mass demonstration, despite the rumors that the police had something big planned themselves.
The day seemed just too nice for anything bad to happen.