Though the obituarists have glowingly evoked Kennedy's 46-year stint in the US Senate and, as 'the last liberal', his mastery of the legislative process, they miss the all-important fact that it was out of Kennedy's Senate office that came two momentous slabs of legislation that signalled the onset of the neo-liberal era: deregulation of trucking and aviation. They were a disaster for organized labor and the working conditions and pay of people in those industries.
The theorists of deregulation were Stephen Breyer who was Kennedy's chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee and Alfred Kahn, out of Cornell. Prominent on Kennedy’s dereg team was David Boies. Breyer now sits on the US Supreme Court, an unswerving shill for the corporate sector.
In the mid to late 1970s these Kennedy rent-a-thinkers began to tout deregulation as the answer to low productivity and bureaucratic and corporate inertia. Famous at that time was a screed by Breyer, then a Harvard Law School professor, quantifying such things as environmental pollution in terms of assessable and fungible “risks” which could be bought and sold in the market place. (The Natural Resources Defense Council, adorned by Ted’s nephew, Robert Kennedy Jr., has long espoused this disastrous approach.)
The two prongs of Kennedy’s deregulatory attack – later decorated with the political label “neo-liberalism” – were aimed at airlines and trucking, and Kennedy’s man, Alfred Kahn was duly installed by Jimmy Carter at the Civil Aeronautics Board to introduce the cleansing winds of competition into the industry. By and large, airline deregulation went down well with the press and, for a time, with the public, who rejoiced in the bargains offered by the small fry such as People’s Express, and by the big fry striking back. The few critics who said that within a few years the nation would be left with five or six airlines, oligopoly and higher fares, were mostly ignored.
No one ever really wrote about the terrible effects of trucking deregulation outside the left press. It was certainly the most ferocious anti-labor move of the 1970s, with Kennedy as the driving force. Some of Kennedy’s aides promptly reaped the fruits of their legislative labors, leaving the Hill to make money hand over fist trying to break unions on behalf of Frank Lorenzo, the Texan entrepreneur who ran the Texas Air Corporation and its properties, Continental Airlines and its subsidiary, Eastern.
I'm noting the above for several reasons.
First, CounterPunch did increase their daily offerings as the week progessed.
Second, CounterPunch was slow to post their latest round of articles today. I believe I checked at noon and nothing was up but that might have been a few minutes before eleven (if so, I was checking quickly because I did have an eleven o'clock session).
Third, Ted Kennedy.
It is so very nice that, days after C.I. plowed the field ("Abdul Aziz al-Hakim has passed away . . . and, oh yeah, the death the media's glomming on as well"), others can come along. I had asked C.I. Wednesday night if there were complaints in e-mails about offering some reality about Kennedy and the reply was yes. There was a ton of hate mail that came in to the public account.
It's really surprising how slow the real left was to respond to this nonsense. Of course, Amy Goodman had already led the lying way by turning a full hour over to remembering her Teddy, loving her Teddy, stroking her Teddy . . . We get the idea.
It was many things but news would not be one of them.
You expect that garbage from cable but the Queen of Beggar Media is actually supposed to be offering an 'alternative,' hence, "Alternative Media."
But it's all the f-ing same, isn't it?
I'm nominating a topic this weekend at Third. Howard the Coward Zinn just can't retire. It's as if he's determined to destroy whatever might be left of his name and others happy to help him. So that's the topic I'll be suggesting and, fingers crossed, we'll be able to cover it. But I know there's a lot of topics already on the agenda. If we don't cover it there, I'll bring it back here next week.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
The contradictory nature of the relationship between Maliki and the Sadrists reflects the tensions between pro-Sadrist elements within the regime - including Maliki's Da'wa Party - and the anti-Sadrist elements led by the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq.
The relationship between Maliki and the US was also marked by contradictions. Even though he was ostensibly cooperating with the US against the Sadrists in 2007 and 2008, the Maliki regime was also cooperating secretly with the Sadrist forces against the Americans. And Maliki - with the encouragement of Iran -- was working on a strategy for achieving the complete withdrawal of US forces from Iraq through diplomatic means, which he did not reveal to the Americans until summer 2008.
He is the son of Grand Ayatollah Mohsen Al Hakim and the youngest of his ten children who most of them were killed during the former regime.
Abdul Aziz Al Hakim co-founded the Islamic Revolution Supreme Council in Iraq and fled the country in the early eighties after his family was chased and assassinated. He lived in Iran leading the Iraqi opposition against the regime of former President Saddam Hussein.
Sayyed Abdul Aziz Al Hakim returned to Iraq on April 17 2003 following the topple of the former regime.
He gained an influential political role when he took over as head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq after his elder brother, Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Baqer Al Hakim, died in a car bombing.
Finally Sherwood Ross (Veterans Today) weighs in on Lawrence Velvel's America 2008 (Velvel is the Dean of Massachusetts School of Law at Andover):
Iraq's bloodshed is worse, Velvel writes "because today we not only have a years-long unwinnable war, but also torture, kidnappings and renderings to foreign countries for torture, many years of detention without trial of people who are innocent, the use of massive private armies to help carry out Executive policies" suppression of the media far beyond anything experienced during Viet Nam"the use of Executive Branch lawyers to write professionally incompetent secret memoranda giving clearance to awful policies, and the use of retired generals who are making a fortune from the Pentagon to spread its gospel on the mainstream media."
Today's wars of aggression are being waged, Velvel notes, because previous Washington officials were not held to account for their crimes: "Lyndon Johnson retired to his ranch, Nixon received a pardon and went back to San Clemente, McNamara became the long time President of the World Bank, Kissinger became richer and richer (and secretly advised Bush and Cheney on Iraq)"Wolfowitz was given a sinecure at the World Bank, lawyers who facilitated the misdeeds---such as Jay Bybee and John Yoo---are federal judges or professors at leading law schools."
Would you pay more in taxes to fix roads and rail?
The majority of American goods are transported by trucks, even though freight trains are greener and more fuel-efficient. Where should America be placing its bets for moving our economy and what would you personally sacrifice for it?
This week, Correspondent Miles O'Brien looks at the contemporary needs, challenges, and solutions for transporting vital cargo across America, and how those decisions affect the way you live, work, and travel.
This program is part of a PBS-wide series on the country's infrastructure called "Blueprint America."
On Washington Week, Gwen sits around the table with David Broder (Washington Post), Karen Tumulty (Time magazine), David Wessel (Wall St. Journal) and Pete Williams (NBC News).
Meanwhile Bonnie Erbe and her guests Karen Czarnecki, Ann Friedman, Irene Natividad and Tara Setmayer discuss the week's news on this week's edition of PBS' To The Contrary. Check local listings, on many stations, it begins airing tonight. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:
Where do the millions of computer monitors, cell phones and other electronic refuse our society generates end up? Some of it is shipped illegally from the U.S. to China, reports Scott Pelley, where it is harming the environment and the people who salvage its valuable components. | Watch Video
Financial Weapons of Mass Destruction
Steve Kroft examines the complicated financial instruments known as credit default swaps and the central role they are playing in the unfolding economic crisis. | Watch Video
Forrest Bird's invention, the respirator, has saved millions of lives and, approaching his ninth decade, he's still living his life to the fullest, flying his airplanes and working 12-hour days. Morley Safer reports. | Watch Video