Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Heat packing diplomats?

Al Rafidayn reports that the US Embassy is using "live ammunition" when training the Iraqi military (not the police) such as their recent July 17th exercise.  The Embassy issued a statement insisting that this training is covered under the 2008 Stratgice Framework Agreeement.

If you're picturing supposed diplomats strapping guns, don't.  The mission is overseen by the US military's Maj Gen Robert Kaslen who is utilizing an undisclosed number of US forces.  But don't say that too loud.  Remember Barack lied to the VFW that all the troops came home.  (Truth, thousands were moved to countries surrounding Iraq.  Truth, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee released a report recently arguing the ones in Kuwait needed to be left there for some time to come.  Truth, Special-Ops, CIA, the FBI and an undisclosed number of US troops who are 'trainers' remain in Iraq.)

This morning, AP publishes Julie Watson's latest report.  Watson spoke to various Iraq War veterans to get their thoughts on the continued violence and, yes, continued war in Iraq.   As Watson herself notes, over "1.5 million Americans served in the Iraq War and these are just a handful of voices" but it's a powerful article.

Turning to US business, reasons why you should not book a stay at any Hyatt Hotel.

Kim Bobo: Hyatt has taken a particularly low road path, particularly outside the handful of cities where they have unions.  They've really moved into this kind of perma-temp kind of approach where you hire a temporary staffing agency.  These agencies act like they're temporary.  But, in fact, these workers become longterm employees of the hotel but hired by a temping agency in a way where the chain takes no responsibilities for them as employees -- or at least tries not to.  And these perma-temps are paid minimum wage or just a little above.  They have no vacation, no sick days, no health care.  It's an employment practice that is a complete low road practice.  And there's no reason for it.  I mean the Hyatt Hotel Chain, this is not a chain that's struggling to make ends meet.

Kim Bobo is with Interfaith Worker Justice and speaks with Glen Ford on this week's Black Agenda Radio which is hosted by Ford and Nellie Bailey (first airs each Monday at 4:00 pm EST on the Progressive Radio Network).  IWJ's Ryan Wallace blogs about the boycott and concludes:

Working as a seminarian in a labor union has revealed to me that there is a critical role for the religious community to stand alongside workers as they call for justice from their employers. Hotel workers at Hyatt are calling for a global boycott of Hyatt hotels until management treats them with the dignity they deserve and provides a safe working environment.
Support workers as a person of faith, and pledge to support the global boycott of Hyatt hotels.

As the company website notes, "Hyatt was founded by Jay Pritzker in 1957 when he purchased the Hyatt Hous motel adjacent to the Los Angeles International Airport.  Over the following decade, Jay Pritzker and his brother Donald Pritzker, working together with other Pritzker family business interests, grew the company into a Noarth American management and hotel ownership company, which became a pubic company in 1962."  Penny Pritzker, who made so much money via the housing crisis of the last years, chair Classic Residence by Hyatt. Whether or not this was a back up plan for income if Hyatt couldn't overcome their alleged nasty bedbugs problem, I have no idea.  But Penny is a personal friend of Barack Obama's and was his National Fiance Chair in 2008.  At a time when he and his surrogates are attacking Mitt Romney's business practices, his good friend Penny is ensuring that low-wage hotel jobs just got lower.  She should be ashamed of herself but that whole trashy family's an embarrassment.  (And when I say they're an embarrassment, disclosure, I know them.  I haven't spoken to Penny since she backed Bully Boy Bush and have no intention of speaking to her ever again.)   Aamer Madhani (USA Today) reported last week, "Joining President Obama on his short flight from San Francisco to Portland, Ore., today was Penny Pritzker, his 2008 campaign finance chairwoman and one of his earliest supporters."

Back to Black Agenda Radio:

Glen Ford:  And this boycott and labor unrest has been a real embarrassment to the Pritzker family friend President Obama.

Kim Bobo:  Yes it is.  Because the Pritzker , particularly Penny Pritzker is very connected to the campaign.  As you probably saw, there was recently an article about her and the connection in the New York Times.

The following community sites -- plus Chocolate City, Pacifica Evening News, Cindy Sheehan, Antiwar.com, CSPAN and  Black Agenda Report  --  updated last night and this morning:

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.