IPS Blog

Pelosi Protest Followed by Cautious Optimism at Progressive Gathering

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s speech at the America’s Future Now conference went off-script. The Washington Post did a great job telling the story of how the California lawmaker spoke for a half an hour over the garbled jeers of more than a dozen infuriated healthcare activists in orange t-shirts, many of them in wheelchairs. Pelosi wouldn’t let conference organizers or the Secret Service escort the protesters out, and both she and they continued to talk. At the same time. As a result, her shouted speech mostly came across as “blah, blah, jobs, jobs, jobs, blah, blah, prosperity.” The folks in orange were with the group ADAPT and they had a point. Cassie James, 54, told me “I’m a woman in a wheelchair and I have a child I won’t be able to raise if I’m in a nursing home.” But I don’t think their tactics will win them any fans. “Let’s take a short time out,” Campaign for America’s Future co-director Roger Hickey said when this spectacle subsided.

The prolonged outburst contrasted with the otherwise patient and cordial mood at this gathering, but highlighted a strange duality. Participants seemed to alternate between warning of the dangers posed by the growing right-wing extremism overtaking the Republican Party, with of course the potential for then running the United States into the ground, and listing reasons for progressives to be optimistic about their rosy political future.

“Stop the lies. Stop the smearing. Stop the fear,” Eric Burns from Media Matters said regarding Fox News and tea party-supporting members of Congress after screening a chilling new video to illustrate his concerns about right-wing extremism (no link available for that yet, unfortunately). Blogger Digby lightened the pall hanging over the room at that point by predicting that Glenn Beck will “likely do himself in.”

Not much later, Simon Rosenberg presented a boatload of data about demographic trends among Democratic voters and the American public. Basically, the Democratic Party is winning over more women, young people, and minorities than Republicans. Eventually the old white guys voting Republican will die, and voila, there’s no way the GOP will be able to win office. OK, not exactly. “This is not a done deal. This is an opportunity,” Rosenberg said.

“If Washington realizes that it can’t demoralize its base, we can have a 40-year majority,” said former presidential candidate and DNC chair Howard Dean, adding to this cautious optimism. Activists need to take lawmakers and “hold their feet to the fire so they can act like real Democrats,” Dean said. (Or maybe he shouted that part.) “We are done with getting people into office who forget who got them there.”

U.S. Energy Policy Creating a New Generation of Dr. Strangeloves

President Eisenhower is well-remembered for warning the public in his final address to the nation to “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence . . . by the military-industrial complex.” But it is little known that Eisenhower, in that same speech further cautioned that “we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

In May, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steve Chu announced that 42 university-led nuclear research and development projects would receive $38 million through the Department of Energy’s “Nuclear Energy University Program” designed to help advance nuclear education and develop the next generations of nuclear technologies. “We are taking action to restart the nuclear industry as part of a broad approach to cut carbon pollution and create new clean energy jobs,” said Secretary Chu. “These projects will help us develop the nuclear technologies of the future and move our domestic nuclear industry forward.”

At a time when the United States should be creating a new Manhattan Project for safe, clean, green energy from the sun, wind, and tides, the Obama administration is trying to recreate the old Manhattan project, training our best and brightest to continue to wreak havoc on the planet with nuclear know-how. Instead of letting the old nuclear complex rust in peace, the government is proactively taking the initiative to create a whole new generation of Dr. Strangeloves, enticing young people to study these dark arts by putting up millions of precious dollars for nuclear programs and scholarships.

What a disappointment that Dr. Chu, a Nobel laureate scientist, appointed by Obama for “change we can believe in”, represents the old paradigm of top-down, hierarchical, secret nuclear science. It’s just so 20th century! Chu has apparently ignored the myriad studies that show that dollar-for-dollar, nuclear power is one of the most expensive ways to meet energy needs, when lifecycle costs are compared to solar, wind, geothermal, appropriate hydropower and biomass, as well as efficiency measures. This is also true for reducing carbon emissions, as expensive nuclear power would actually exacerbate catastrophic climate change since less carbon emission is prevented per dollar spent on costly nuclear technology compared to applying those funds to clean energy sources and efficiency.

Further, countless studies, including recent reports from three communities in Germany with nuclear reactors, indicate that there are higher incidences of cancer, leukemia and birth defects in communities with toxic nuclear power plants that pollute the air, water, and soil in the course of routine operations. And a recent report from the New York Academy of Sciences, by distinguished Russian scientists, finds that deaths from the disastrous accident at Chernobyl now number over 900,000. Dr. Chu, a nuclear physicist, is well aware that the radioactive byproducts of nuclear power will remain toxic for 250,000 years and that there is no known solution to safely store this lethal brew for the eons it will threaten human health and the environment.

Americans should oppose any further funding for this failed, dangerous technology as well as the inordinate subsidies presently planned for the nuclear industry. It’s time to invest in a clean energy future that will create millions of jobs and enable the US to earn an honest dollar by developing desirable new technology to offer to the world. Instead we will be providing a growing number of countries the wherewithal and technical know-how with which to make a nuclear bomb, while subjecting their communities to the consequences of toxic radiation.

Alice Slater is the New York Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus.

From the Frontlines: June 8, 2010

From the “Well, that’s something” department: Huffpo’s Sam Stein reports that the White House endorses an unlimited liability cap for oil spillers. The current cap is $75 million, mere pocket change for corporations like BP.

New York State is poised to lead the nation in securing rights for domestic workers. (New York Times)

The Pentagon bans four reporters from Gitmo, reports Democracy Now!.

Groups around the United States join Haitian farmers in protesting Monsanto seeds, writes IPS associate fellow Bev Bell. (Revista Amauta)

Will the Gaza flotilla attack be our “Kent State moment”? (FPIF blog)

An important coalition that aims to end world poverty, the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, might lose funding. (Pambazuka)

Split This Rock director Sarah Browning on why Langston Hughes is her role model. “Why do I, a straight white woman, choose Langston Hughes, a queer Black man, as literary father? Because Hughes chose me, a dreamer.”

Is the UN the Right Place to Talk About Climate?

UN Climate Change conference, Bonn Germany.BONN, GERMANY – When I told my friends that I was heading to Bonn, Germany for a session of the UN climate talks, they bemoaned the general lack of anything interesting to do here. Why not go to a city with verve, like Berlin — or at least one with some culture, like Munich?

But Bonn has at two compelling things going for it.

1) There is a killer museum honoring the life and work of Ludwig von Beethoven.

2) The world’s governments are gathered here for two weeks deciding how to carve up the atmosphere — one of the greatest remaining global commons.

The meeting here in Bonn is a follow-up to the better-known climate negotiations that took place in Copenhagen last December, where little consensus was reached within the official UN spaces.

At the same meeting, President Obama pushed through what has become known as the Copenhagen Accord — a statement that largely reflects U.S. positions and interests, which has gained signatures, if not support, from a growing number of countries.

But the accord’s very existence, the secretive manner in which it was drafted and the process for getting governments’ endorsement, have generated fierce debate about the efficacy of the UN as the forum in which to solve the climate crisis.

On one side of the debate are developed countries and NGOs that tow their line (invoking the need to remain politically relevant in battles over domestic climate and other legislation back home). These guys are generally of the belief that it’s impossible to get consensus among 192 countries, and so the UN is at best irrelevant and in the worst case, fumbles any hope of an effective negotiating process (as evidence they recount the image of long lines of freezing delegates locked outside conference halls in Copenhagen).

The proposal by this camp is to pull the key issues — targets, money, legal commitments — out of the UN and into smaller group discussions whose outcomes could be fed into the official negotiations — or not.

On the other side of the spectrum are many of the social movements from the anti-corporate globalization struggle calling for an overhaul of the way we think about climate change and its solutions. This camp sees the UN as a space where political positions are easily swayed by business lobbyists and undemocratic global institutions like the World Bank. They reject the UN as an illegitimate space in which to make decisions on the behalf of those most impacted by climate change — very often the same people who are marginalized by their own governments.

These movements are calling for peoples solutions manifested on the ground in each community, woven together in networks of solidarity and social justice.

But there’s a sweet spot between these two poles. While recognizing the UN’s limitations as a facilitator of negotiations with so much at stake, and that the process which they are attempting to facilitate is between parties that are not truly representative (or necessarily democratic) — the UN is the only forum were all countries that have signed the Framework Convention on Climate Change have equal representation. And as the People’s Conference on Climate Change recently hosted by the Bolivian government in Cochabamba shows, civil society can ally itself with progressive governments to make political and substantive policy interventions in these multilateral processes.

The question that still lingers is whether the chairs of the relevant UN working groups will incorporate people’s proposals — in the form of official party submissions — into the global discussion this week in Bonn.

Arkansas and America’s Future Now

I’m spending the time I can spare while not editing OtherWords’ upcoming commentaries at America’s Future Now, which runs through Wednesday. This annual progressive summit fittingly coincides this year with Arkansas’ Democratic primary runoff. Speaker after speaker bemoaned the Obama administration’s timidity and called on the Democratic-controlled Congress to become more unified and assertive. “We have to stop waiting for Obama,” said Bob Borosage, co-director of Campaign for America’s Future, which organizes this massive Washington gathering. “We have to stop taking the President’s temperature.”

The heated battle between incumbent Blanche Lincoln, backed by former President Bill Clinton and mounds of corporate money, and challenger Lt. Gov. Bill Halter may be the first of many. Lincoln has loudly protested the support that Halter’s gotten from organized labor, yet he’s gotten only seven percent of his campaign contributions from PACs, vs. 38% for Lincoln. Watch developments in this race on the Daily Kos blog as Arkansas voters go to the polls today. “We need to go to the mat for the real deal,” is how Ilyse Hogue, MoveOn.org’s campaign director put it. “We’re going to take the imposters out.”

So many influential progressives are publicly venting their frustration with the Obama administration at this conference that prominent media outlets are finally noticing this hardly new trend. Good examples include Politico‘s Glenn Thrush and Philip Rucker at the Washington Post. This strikes me as a good thing. I’ve attended this conference, formerly known as Take Back America, off and on for seven years, and often seen major media outlets give this key conference short shrift—focusing on comments made by political candidates and politicians at the expense of reporting the pulse of progressive America.

Twitter fans can follow the debate with the #AFN hashtag. Even if you’re not big on Twitter, check out the top tweets from the conference’s first day on Campaign for America’s Future website.

Will the Flotilla Attack Be Our “Kent State” Moment?

The offensive by the Congressional Democratic leadership against the Gaza humanitarian aid flotilla has now moved beyond just rhetorical support for the Israeli attack on the unarmed convoy. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee’s subcommittee on terrorism, nonproliferation and trade, has called upon U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute U.S. citizens who were involved or on board the flotilla.

Israelis demonstrate in front of the Turkish embassy on June 3, 2010 in Tel Aviv, Israel.Because the Gaza Strip is currently ruled by Hamas, according the Sherman, any humanitarian aid to the people of that territory is “clearly an effort to give items of value to a terrorist organization,” which is prosecutable under the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. Despite the active support of the humanitarian aid effort by a number of pacifist organizations in the United States and Europe, Sherman insists that the organizers of the flotilla have “clear terrorist ties,” dismissing critical analysis of such charges as part of the ideological agenda of “the liberal media.”

Sherman also announced he would be working with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that the more than 700 non-U.S. citizens who took part in the flotilla would be permanently barred from ever entering the United States. This would include European parliamentarians, Nobel laureates, as well as leading writers, artists, intellectuals, pacifists, and human rights activists, virtually none of whom are in the least bit sympathetic with Hamas or with terrorism.

Given the very real threat of terrorism from Al-Qaeda and other groups against the United States, it is very odd that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic Party leaders would choose — out of 255 Democrats in the House of Representatives — a paranoid right-winger like Sherman to chair the critically important terrorism subcommittee. Rather than focus on the real threats from Al-Qaeda and other dangerous organizations, it appears that Sherman is putting his energy into going after the motley group of Quaker pacifists, left-wing Jews, and other like-minded activists who boarded the ships attempted to bring medicines, school supplies, toys and other humanitarian aid to children of the Gaza Strip.

Indeed, it raises serious questions about whether the Democratic Party Congressional leadership is really concerned about international terrorism or, like the Bush administration, is attempting to use the threat of terrorism as an excuse to suppress nonviolent dissent against the policies of the U.S. government and its rightist allies.

Organizers and endorsers of the flotilla include such reputable American peace groups as Code Pink, Jewish Voice for Peace, Pax Christi, the American Friends Service Committee, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, the Resource Center for Nonviolence, War Resisters League, Women in Black and others. Supporters of this nonviolent effort to bring humanitarian aid to the people of the Gaza Strip also include such Israeli groups such as Yesh G’vul, Coalition of Women for Peace, New Profile, and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, among others.

Despite this, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), insists that these groups are “pro-Hamas people.” Rep. Elliot Engel (D-NY) claims that the organizers of the flotilla have “links to Hamas and reportedly played a role in the attempted Millennium bombing in Los Angeles.” Rep. Ron Klein D-FL) insists that the real agenda of these peace and human rights organizations is “to bolster the terrorist Hamas government in Gaza.” Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) argues that Israel’s attack on the unarmed flotilla laden with humanitarian supplies part of an effort to “defend herself against terrorism.”

When prominent Democrats — including the head of an influential House subcommittee concerned with national security — begin implying that leading America and Israeli peace groups are linked to terrorism, it is no longer simply an issue of over-heated rhetoric in support of an allied right-wing government, but a McCarthyistic attack on nonviolent dissent. Indeed, it could only be a matter of time before we see Medea Benjamin, Mitchell Plitnick, and other leading nonviolent activists who have supported the flotilla hauled before Sherman’s subcommittee regarding these alleged ties to terrorism.

In many respects, however, Israel’s attack on the unarmed flotilla last weekend could be a “Kent State moment.” At the time of the 1970 shootings, National Guardsmen and police had been killing African-Americans and Hispanics with some regularity for years. When white middle class students were gunned down on a college campus, however, it woke up a whole new segment of American society, goading them into active resistance. Similarly, while the Israeli military has been killing Arab civilians for years, now that they have attacked European and American peace activists — with the support of Congressional leaders — it has created a whole new dynamic, one I witnessed personally this past Friday evening, at the annual dinner of the Resource Center for Nonviolence in Santa Cruz, California.

Roughly 150 people gathered in the fellowship hall of a local Congregational Church this past Friday evening, including prominent liberal members of the city council and county board of supervisors, area clergy (including a local rabbi), professors, small businesspeople and other community leaders. The main speaker was Nomika Zion, founder of kibbutz Migvan in Sderot, Israel, a community which had suffered from relentless bombardment for many months from Qassam rockets fired from the Gaza Strip. Zion — a leader of the Sderot-based peace group Other Voice, which opposed Israel’s war on Gaza — argued that it was the ongoing siege of Gaza which was the biggest threat to the security and called for an end of the Israeli blockade RCNV staffperson and former Santa Cruz mayor Scott Kennedy then called on the city to come together to organize a boat to send relief supplies to Gaza Strip in an effort to end the siege, adding that he would write Rep. Sherman and Attorney General Holder and dare them to investigate and prosecute the hundreds of people in this coastal community who would support such an effort.

Israel’s rightist government and their allies in the U.S. Congress have clearly miscalculated. By claiming that the hundreds of dedicated peace and human rights activists on board those ships — most of whom in no way support Hamas or any terrorist group — as supporters of terrorism, they are mobilizing what could become a major backlash. It is a particularly bad calculation for the Democratic Party, which is going to need the support of the peace and human rights community — a key constituency of the party’s base — going into the mid-term election this fall. There are already plans for additional ships to try to run the blockade, most of which will have active participation from nonviolent activists here in the United States. We’ll see if Rep. Sherman and other Congressional leaders can stop them.

Krauthammer: Gaza Flotilla a Threat to Israel’s Existence

Would the Washington Post feature a columnist writing a weekly column which was frequently anti-Semitic? No, of course not — the Post will not have such a columnist and rightfully so. But, the Washington Post has Charles Krauthammer spewing hatred, falsehoods, and much more anti-Arab and anti-Islam rhetoric frequently. He demonizes Arabs and Muslims by his falsehoods. In fact, he was one of the most effective voices in calling for the invasion of Iraq causing hundreds of thousands of death and over a million wounded.

I am a loyal reader of Mr. Krauthammer’s column in the Post. I like to know what the other side is saying — or maybe I like to torture myself! But, Krauthammer’s most recent column on Friday June 4, 2010 got my blood boiling. He was trying to defend the Israeli commando raid of the humanitarian flotilla. He ends his article with:

The world is tired of these Jews, 6 million – that number again – hard by the Mediterranean, refusing every invitation to national suicide. For which they are relentlessly demonized, ghettoized and constrained from defending themselves, even as the more committed anti-Zionists – Iranian in particular – openly prepare a more final solution.

He claims the humanitarian aid is an invitation to national suicide! Could he be more absurd? Israel has over 200 nuclear bombs, the strongest regional military power, supported by the only superpower, and the strongest economy. But if they allow a humanitarian aid ship through it is suicide. He claims that all Israel wanted was to search the cargo for weapons. Well, why then has Israel had a total blockade in force on Gaza’s 1.6 million Palestinian Arabs for the past four years?

During that time, couldn’t Israel have arranged for an international inspection of all humanitarian aid into Gaza? Or is it that Israel wants to prevent food and medicine from reaching the Palestinians as a collective punishment? Or is it that Israel, as one official said, wants to starve them but not kill them. The sewage system in Gaza was destroyed by Israel two years ago. The water purification system, too, was destroyed or rendered dysfunctional by the blockade. The children of Gaza are dying from diseases and malnutrition.

The Gazans live in the highest population density area in the world. They have been living under such conditions for the past sixty years since the creation of Israel, which now has one of the highest living standards in the world. So tell me: who is living in a Ghetto?

Mr. Krauthammer wants to demonize the Palestinians as an ungrateful people. But they only want freedom from mass starvation. How dare they want to attack Israel in order to attain the resemblance of livelihood? Moreover, how dare the world support a flotilla that seeks to prevent the starvation of 1.6 million people?

If the security of Israel is the issue, then why doesn’t Mr. Krauthammer support the two-state solution called for by the UN, United States and the Quartet? I would support a fully secure and safe Israel within its 1967 borders with an unarmed state of Palestine. Israel and Mr. Krauthammer would not be satisfied until all of the Arabs and Muslims become subservient to the wishes of Israel and the United States.

It would have been more appropriate if the ending paragraph of Mr. Krauthammer’s recent column stated:

The world is tired of these Palestinians, 6 million – that number again – hard by the Mediterranean, refusing every invitation to national suicide. For which they are relentlessly demonized, ghettoized and constrained from defending themselves, even as the more committed anti-Arabs and anti-Muslims – Israeli government and Mr. Krauthammer in particular – openly prepare a more final solution.

The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be

“I believe that there is absolutely nothing Israel can do that would end the unprecedented and unwarranted support the US gives it,” a reader wrote in response to my post, When You Circle the Wagons, Shoot Outward! He then cited numerous examples of Israel being “given a ‘by’ for everything it does.”

While I don’t disagree with his historical recounting, I definitely challenge his assumption that it means much of anything about the future.

In times of rapid change, historical trajectories are poor indicators of future events. Change is nonlinear. It leaps and spurts and stalls, rolls back and jumps laterally as well as vertically. (This is why the ‘experience’ we seem to value in leaders is so often a handicap – it equips them to deal with the past and instills a desire to solve old problems in old ways, because that’s what they know how to do.)

To greatly simplify the science, the behaviors of complex adaptive systems are ‘emergent’. They arise from the messy, nonlinear interactions among the ‘initial conditions’ of the moment, the rules governing the system, and the relationships among the agents that make up the system.

The initial conditions continually ‘refresh’. (A technical way of saying change is constant and the bumper sticker was right – shit happens.) As these initial conditions shift, the outcomes manifested by the system shift, too, because it’s continually ‘co-evolving’ with its environment.

The most important initial condition here is the degree of support for Israel on the part of American Jews, because of their disproportionate influence (relative to population) on American politics.

The default setting in US politics has been strongly pro Israel for 60 years. That meme was still operational during the 2008 presidential election, when each candidate went out of his way to boast about his support for the Jewish state.

However . . .

The goal of politicians is to get elected. (And reelected.) They always have a finger to the wind. (Want to know what POTUS is going to say in the State of the Union? Just see what’s running 66% or better approval in polls and focus groups, and he’ll be behind it or taking credit for it.)

So long as America’s Jewish voters were solidly behind Israel, so were elected officials. But that’s shifting. As Peter Beinart expressed it so succinctly in The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment for the New York Review of Books, ‘For several decades, the Jewish establishment has asked American Jews to check their liberalism at Zionism’s door, and now, to their horror, they are finding that many young Jews have checked their Zionism instead.’

There have been several key milestones along this road. The Walt and Mearsheimer piece in the London Review of Books was one. Jimmy Carter’s bestseller, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid was another. The 2008 / 2009 Israeli attack on Gaza pushed many American Jews over the edge, and gave rise to grassroots efforts such as Jewish Voice for Peace and Another Jewish Voice, and more sophisticated, inside the Beltway movements, such as J Street.

No less an American hero that CENTCOM commander General David Petraeus has argued that America’s relationship with Israel is important – but not as important as the lives of American soldiers, which Israeli intransigence threatens by providing rallying points for Al Qaeda and others.

Even in Israel, pragmatists (few though they may be) get this. ‘Israel is gradually turning from an asset to the United States to a burden,’ Mossad Chief Meir Dagan recently told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

This is a pattern, people.

It’s true that Israel and its supporters in America have been remarkably successful in controlling the narrative. They have spun the media, turned out the voters and bought the politicians.

But that’s a legacy model. It’s 20th century stuff. We live in an open source, post-print world. There’s too much bandwidth out there for any group to enforce message discipline or control the narrative today. Citizens with cell phones, iPads, Flip cams and Twitter, Flickr and YouTube accounts are now more important to framing narratives than the New York Times. Traditional media is, as a Pentagon official said of US Special Envoy George Mitchell, ‘too old, too slow … and too late.’

The ‘Freedom Flotilla’ organizers knew and took advantage of this. The Israelis completely misunderstood it, were suckered in, and are now paying the price. Not only did they look to all the world like criminals and thugs, they also managed to look incompetent in the process.

As the Economist put it, ‘Once admired as a plucky David facing down an array of Arab Goliaths, Israel is now seen as the clumsy bully on the block.’

Nobody likes clumsy bullies. Or votes for those who do.

For additional background, see Was Gaza Israel’s Waterloo?

The Lineup: Week of June 7-13

Here’s what to expect in our next editorial package, which you’ll find live on our website on Monday morning. The cartoon will accompany the op-ed by Phyllis Bennis. You can get it all in your inbox by subscribing to our weekly newsletter. If you haven’t signed up yet, please do.

  1. Israel’s Flotilla Massacre: Made in the USA—By Phyllis Bennis, the Institute for Policy Studies.
  2. Show Some Guts: Stop the Cuts—By David Elliot, USAction.
  3. Comcast-NBC Merger Is a Bad Deal—By Corie Wright, FreePress.
  4. The Danger of Invisible Corporate Power—By John Steel, former mayor of Telluride, Colorado.
  5. God’s to Blame Too—By OtherWords columnist Donald Kaul.
  6. Feisty Grannies Stand Up for Peace—By OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower.
  7. The Drug War: More Wasted Money and Lives—By OtherWords columnist William A. Collins.
  8. High Seas—By OtherWords cartoonist Khalil Bendib.

Time for a Job Surge

Well, the good news is that the U.S. economy gained a net 431,000 jobs in May—albeit largely due to the hiring of 411,000 temporary Census workers. The bad news is that private employment increased by only 41,000, and that’s much less than the 180,000 forecasted, according to the National Urban League, an OtherWords partner. In May, the unemployment rate returned to 9.7 percent–the same as the first three months in 2010. The black unemployment rate declined to 15.5 percent, from 16.5 percent. White unemployment returned to 8.8 percent (the same level as in February and March). Latino unemployment was little changed at 12.4 percent.

“The ranks of long-term unemployed was little changed at 46 percent of all unemployed, representing 6.8 million people jobless for 27 weeks or more,” the League said. That’s “a clear sign that labor market is far from being in recovery” and “reinforces the need for legislation that funds direct job creation and training for the chronically unemployed.” Check out Untangling the Budget Deficit: Jobs Surge Can Reduce the Deficit by $310 billion, the National Urban League’s new report or visit their State of Urban Jobs website for more details.

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