Glenn, You Think Tulsi Gabbard Is Being Treated Unfairly? I call BS

Jan. 15.  You appear on the far-Right Tucker Carlson show on Fox, not to debate him, but to defend Tulsi Gabbard supposedly from “Official Washington”.  You spend your time explaining how Gabbard “questioned Washington orthodoxy” by opposing its policy of regime change in Syria.  Washington hates, you said, “independent minded” and “critical thinkers” like Gabbard.  Yeah, only “Washington” is criticizing her, not anyone on the Left with an ounce of decency.

Let’s assume for second that Obama and “Washington” really was trying to overthrow Assad (as opposed to fighting ISIS in Syria while at the same time trying to undermine and control the democratic uprising).  What was she doing?

You say she is being “ridiculously accused” of supporting Assad.  Let’s look at the record

Gabbard was first elected to Congress from Hawaii in 2012.

In 2015 she supported Russian bombing of Syrians. ““Al-Qaeda attacked us on 9/11 and must be defeated,” she tweeted that October. “Obama won’t bomb them in Syria. Putin did.” She added that it’s “bad enough US has not been bombing al-Qaeda/al-Nursa in Syria” and that “it’s mind-boggling that we protest Russia’s bombing of these terrorists.”  This, of course, as Russia and Assad planes bombed neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, markets, etc. etc.   Needless to say she never criticized a single Russian bombing or any murderous act by Assad. Continue reading

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I.O.U.’s Keeping U.S. Afloat

Dec. 26.  The recession isn’t here yet.  Amazon reported today that their sales were at a record and not affected by gloom on the stock market.  Stocks then zoomed.  Expect a super-smug Trump tweet.

We are near the top of the business cycle and the big capitalists are predicting a recession.  Wages are a little big higher than last year, but as I’ve written are really no higher than they were 40 years ago.   So, what’s keeping things afloat?  I.O.U.’s, that is debt.

Consumer debt is expected to rise to $4 trillion by the end of this year. Consumer debt is what you’re paying for credit cards, car loans and student loans.  It doesn’t include what homeowners are paying the bank for their houses (mortgages).

“American owe more than 26% of their income in debt  That’s up from 22% in 2010”  Lending Tree has a neat chart showing the percent.  Back in 1980 when Jimmy Carter was president personal debt was far less, about 15-16% of incomes.  To pay this off Americans are spending 1 out of every 10 bucks back to the moneylenders.  Continue reading

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Is the Trump Bump a Trump Dump?

Update Jan 3, 2019.  After stocks had an awful December Trump brushed it off saying “We had a little glitch in the stock market last month, but it’s still up about 30% from the time I got elected”.  Total BS.  Even if you include the huge one day jump right after Christmas the DOW went up from the day after Trump’s election to this morning by 22%.  So Trump’s statement was well past exaggeration, up to the fib and lie range.   And today…today there was another big tumble.  BTW here’s another neat chart for another stock index, the S&P.   It shows the rise or fall over each modern president’s term.  Who were the best friends of Wall Street?  #1 Bill Clinton,  #2 Barack Obama.

Dec. 24. When they’re making money a lot of people are willing to forgive Fearless Leader for his little peculiarities, things like mad hatred of this group or that, going hugely into debt, firing everyone in sight or bloody wars.  When times get tough though, opinions change.  Are we at that point in the U.S.?

Now you know Trump has been constantly trumpeting (pun intended) how wonderful the economy is and much the stock market has gone up during his presidency.  Well, with stocks tanking he’s, of course, looking for a scapegoat.  He’s found the head of the Federal Reserve to fix blame.  Seems it doesn’t understand that the Fed should borrow more trillions to keep interest rates ridiculously low.

Anyway, how well has Trump actually done in his years of office (with a Congress dominated by Trump yes-men)? There’s a neat site called Market Insider that shows not only the current index numbers like the DOW and S&P, but how these indexes have done over any period of months and years you care to give.  

From the day after Trump’s election to this morning Dec. 24 stocks went up 19%.  Pretty good.  But compare to Obama’s years in office.  From the day he was elected to the day he left the stock market rose 143%. That’s an average of 18% every year for 8 years. Continue reading

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Buy Out the Fossil Fuel Companies and Make them Fossil Free

a bold take on the Green New Deal slogan.  Interview with Richard Smith

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Companies Buyback $1 Trillion in Stock with Trump Tax Cut

Remember all that money that giant companies kept overseas because they couldn’t pay the “crushing” taxes in the U.S.? (They would have paid the same rate companies pay for business in the U.S. minus what they pay to foreign country.  Weep for them.)    Part of Trump’s “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” was a huge tax cut on corporate profits brought back to the U.S.  It’s unclear how much money came back.  JPMorgan says about $270 billion came back. The Commerce Department says $464 billion.  Sounds like a lot, but either way its just a fraction of the $3 trillion kept overseas.

The corporations also have more cash because of a  cut in their basic tax rate.  The rate was cut almost in half (though the big companies had legions of lawyers and accountants making sure they would never really paying the top posted rate.)  Still they made out like bandits.  The tax money the U.S. took in from companies dropped by a third.  That’s an immense drop and it never happened before in “good times”.

What did the companies do with the money?  Did they raise pay? Did they build factories Continue reading

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French Demonstrations Doom Fuel Tax Climate Strategy

We’ve been told for years that an essential part of the solution to global warming is to put a tax on carbon dioxide.  Gradually but substantially increase it and then the free market would take care of things.  People will gradually turn away from things that use fossil fuel energy.   Climate scientist turned activist James Hansen reacting to peoples’ distrust of government and hatred of taxes came up with a plan he calls “fee and dividend”.  The money raised from the ever-increasing carbon dioxide “fee” would be swiftly be returned to the people.  The government wouldn’t keep any of it.

Easy, peasy.  Problem solved.

The problem is people aren’t going for it.   In Australia the Labour-Green government in 2012 passed a carbon tax that added $500 to a typical tax bill.  By 2014 Labour was ousted and the law gone.   In Washington state last month voters turned down a carbon tax overwhelmingly.   Now we have France where its President Macron’s government levied $39 billion in taxes.  About a quarter of it is supposedly to go to measures for poorer people to transition to transport and heating actions less dependent on fossil fuels.  France exploded.

Drivers took out the yellow vests (required for safety for motorists in case of auto emergencies) and started demonstrations.  Police tried beating them up, gassing them and arresting them, but a strange thing happened.  People turned out in massive numbers, streets were disrupted and some of the violence went the other way.  The carbon tax has been postponed.

To be fair the anger in France is not just about the carbon tax, but against a government that has for decades has been seen as a tool of the rich.  Still the street did not want this tax.

An Alternative

Now here is a awesome article in New Politics by Richard Smith who says that while we do need emergency measures to deal with climate, carbon taxes are NOT the way to go.  He agrees with those who say such a program will wreck our (capitalist) economies.  However, he doesn’t call for weak even more gradual measures or “clever” tinkering ala the New York Times.  On the contrary he calls for much bolder, even drastic action.  He suggests a radical Green New Deal that would:

Ban all new extraction, ration gasoline and diesel, ban production of new fossil-fuel vehicles. Nationalize the fossil fuel industry to phase it out. We do not call for expropriation. We propose a government buyout at fair value (fair to both owners and society). Nationalization will need to extend beyond fossil fuel producers to dozens or hundreds of industrial fossil-fuel dependent industries from pipelines, refineries, distribution networks to power generation, autos, aviation, petrochemicals, some manufacturing, tourism and others whose business is irreversibly based on fossil fuels and who without a government buyout would be bankrupted.

The piece is called “An Eco-socialist An Ecosocialist Path to Limiting Global Temperature Rise to 1.5°C.   Read it.

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Has the Trump Bump become a Trump Dump?

Two huge stock market drops last week.  Interest rates for ten-year bonds nearly the same as for three-year bonds.   Housing prices at highs not seen since the giddy and deranged time of 2007-2008.   Nervous Wall Street types whispering the dreaded “R” word  “recession”.

If you actually have extra money putting it into stocks looks like a bad strategy.  You can go to a bank or a broker and get a year CD that pays around 2.5% interest.   Compare that to stocks that lost four or five percent value in just one week.

Just sayin.

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EcoSocialists Need a Battle Plan

Just finished “A Colossal Failure of Common Sense”.  It was written way back in 2009 by a Wall Street insider named Lawrence G. McDonald.  He was a Vice-President at Lehman Brothers a huge stocks and bonds trading bank.  Its collapse in 2008 set off the Great Recession.  There’s a lot of interesting stories about the greed and recklessness within that company and generally by the mortgage industry crooks who hustled poor people to take huge loans at teaser rates (which ballooned triple  in a couple of years).  But what I found gripping was the speed at which the government could work (on behalf of capitalism).  Within days after Lehman bit the dust stock market prices crashed, and lending froze up.  The Secretary of the Treasury demanded and got $700 billion from Congress to give to the banks in return for temporary part-ownership in some of the biggest banks, insurance companies and automakers.  It didn’t turn things around for years, but the capitalists knew what levers to pull and what cash spigots to open.

Amazingly we didn’t even get an FDR.  Instead it was an Obama. An article this week appeared in The New York Review of Books by Charles Kuttner called “The Crash that Failed”.  He explained President Obama basically just hired back Bill Clinton’s guys and ultimately lent or gave the banks $14 trillion.  A few inadequate regulations were passed, but nothing really changed.  Where FDR had the federal government hire millions, Obama cut the federal work force by 500,000.  Where the Great Depression ended with a lot more equality, the Great Recession ended with a new bloom of billionaires and multi-billionaires.  Bitterness let to the Populist Right, but not all was lost. The capitalists are  rewarding the Obamas.  Barack and Michelle have a nice little book deal arranged for themselves.  $65 million for their eloquence.

We had no plan.  Socialists criticized capitalism endlessly and had talked vaguely over the years about nationalization, but no one had a full proposal for what to do during the next big crash .     There were the examples of Soviet Russia and “Red” China.  They had collectivized economies, but the Left was afraid to talk about them.  Something about purges and gulag and mass murders that had left bad tastes in the mouth.  But there was tons of economic experience that should have been analyzed.

We knew the climate was tanking, but besides calling for a “Green Economy” there were no actual plans.  Of course, few would have listened to us then, but at least we’d have had a starting point   We’re still at square one.  Yes, you can say the word “socialism” now, but the “socialism” being talked about these days is little more than FDR liberalism.  When the next crash comes that’s all going to be irrelevant.

We better start making plans.  The next crisis may come sooner than you think.

Stanley Heller is the author of “The Uprising We Need”.  Buy digital book at amazon.com

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We Dodged a Bullet

The One Party State has suffered a big blow.  Led by angry women, minorities and unions the House of Representatives has swung Blue.  But have no illusions, the idea we can “take back” the Democratic Party is dead wrong .  “We” never had it and never will

  1. The Georgia and Florida elections are still in play.  Particularly in Georgia the possibility of another stolen election is huge.  Hundreds of thousands appear to have illegally been denied their right to vote.  Don’t repeat what Al Gore meekly did in 2000. There needs to be continuous demonstrations especially in Georgia.  No concession until every eligible person who wanted to vote has his or her vote counted.
  2. The Move On/Indivisible demonstration of Nov 8 to protect the Muller investigations were massive.  Move On claims hundreds of rallies with a total of 100,000 protesting. And it’s had an effect.  Trump appears to be distancing himself a bit from the loyalist he bought in to sabotage the Russia-Trump investigation.   Broaden the movement, get trade unions involved.
  3. We need a Third Party, but how?  The system is so totally slanted in favor of the Two Party Racket.  Can we figure out something like what’s being worked on to bypass the Electoral College?  Supporting the Dems in close races in exchange for places at the debates, minority representation or something even more creative.  But would the Democrats give anything?  With their wins in this election won’t they do the usual, lurch to the Right, take the Left for granted and place their bets on hacks like Biden or Hillary?
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America Will Not Go Nazi

by Stanley Heller

November 5.  Admittedly we are at a tipping point.  If Trump tomorrow keeps control of both houses of Congress, he would have a boot-licking Congress, a Kavanagh court, and a military, FBI and CIA trained for obedience.   

Never thought I would say this, but at least in this election we have to vote for the Democrats.  In most European countries and lots of others you can vote for the party you support in the first round and then go for the lesser evil in the second round.  We can’t do that here.  In the U.S. third parties are vilified as “spoilers”.  We are far from being a democracy.   In 2000 the presidential loser had half-a million more votes than the winner.  In 2016 Clinton had 3 million more votes than Trump, but still Trump was awarded the White House.  Are you kidding me?

The Democrats are the pits, the graveyard of every progressive movement.  All talk about “taking back” the party is absurd. But if the Democrats can win the House and some governor races at least we won’t sink into total demoralization.  We can go back into the streets with pep instead of desperation.

Last night t I went to see “Bohemian Rhapsody”.  Awesome. Brilliant.  Seeing the immense crowds of men and women, gay and straight, black and white cheering the opera of Freddy Mercury and Queen fires you up.

Yes, the billionaires have the money and the guns.  We have the people, or should I say we can have them if we go out and organize.  

In these last few weeks Trump has made some bad mistakes, his idiotic talk about a migrant invasion, his blatant willingness to accept whatever lies the Saudis say about the Khashoggi murder, his racist dog whistles and his open embrace of violence.  He set loose the “nationalists” and set the stage for the murders in Pittsburgh.   Americans are not fools.  Decades of stagnant wages, a Great Recession sharper than we realize and disgust for a corporate-whoring Democratic Party led millions to follow the orange-headed pied-piper, but as Lincoln said you can’t fool all the people all the time.  All the lies and false alarms are unraveling and I think they will catch up to Trump on Tuesday and in the months to come.

Fascist-minded people like Trump don’t have ideas.  They’re popular as long as they seem to be winning, but basically Trump is a failure.  His “strong economy” is based on the cocaine of cheap money, one shot tax cuts, the ravaging of nature and endless pushing of guns and bombs.  His “great” MAGA is rife with addiction, soldier suicides, even a cut in the average life span.  His proudest achievement his Trump bump stock market seems to be on its way down.  I think Trump populism is going down.

The Nazis will Not Take Over

We Are the Champions

We Shall Rock You

P.S. Remember in many states (like CT) you can register right on voting day.

 P.P.S  Read Stan Goff on the election

P.P.P.S  Of course in some races like that for Governor of New York and Attorney General in CT it does make sense to vote for Green Party candidates

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Trump Promised a Trillion for Construction Jobs. Instead He Sells Guns

Candidate Trump promised a $1 trillion plan to rebuild roads and bridges and such.  The fancy term is “infrastructure”.  He was going to “create an infrastructure fund that would be supported by government bonds that investors and citizens could purchase.”  He never came through on it.  Oh, he still brings it up once in a while.  Early this year he gathered together some people wearing hard hats in Ridgefield, Ohio and upped the numbers.  He called for a $1.5 trillion plan.  Bit it’s just hot air.  The only new money Trump got for federal construction projects from Congress was $21 billion.  And no wonder, he does nothing to work on the issue.

 What he does talk about is selling guns, especially to the Saudis.  He opened the spigot on weapons sales, selling to practically anyone. Newsweek noted that he sold more weapons in the first half of this year than in all of 2017.  The U.S. sells a bit over 1/3 of all the weapons sold in the world.   Trump crows about it and makes up numbers.  He trumpets his $110 billion “deal” with the Saudis.  That produced, he says, 500,000 jobs or maybe 600,000 jobs.  It’s all BS.  There’s no new $110 billion deal.  It’s about $14.5 billion and the jobs numbers are in the tens of thousands. 

 All the while he shames our country, humiliating Uncle Sam by making him a merchant of death.    He (and most of Congress) makes it seem there is no other way to make a living than by killing and selling the tools of slaughter.

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Buddy, Can you Spare a Bitcoin?

Do the latest stock market plunges mean anything ?  Two 1,000 point drops in the DOW within four days.  Even after a 500 point gain on the 7th the DOW is down 2,000 points in a week.  But we’re assured the “fundamentals” are fine, nothing to worry about.  It’s just a “correction” and so it’s “healthy”.  In fact you should follow the supposed practice of Warren Buffet and buy stocks when everyone else is selling.  “Buy the Dip!”

Since the “stock analysts” jobs depend on it, they always see nothing but a rosy tomorrow and they might be right in the short run.  There’s been other big drops out of nowhere that meant nothing at all. (In October 1987 stocks lost 22% of their value in one day, but within a couple of weeks all was back in the black.)

Still another big shock is coming, maybe soon or maybe a bit further in the future.  Capitalism booms and crashes.  It’s the nature of the beast.  We’ve been out of Great Recession for 9 years and in the last couple there’s been a boom.  Even working people got a taste of it in the last couple years with wages actually rising a bit higher than prices.  But we are coming to the top of a business cycle.  Just like other highs things look great.  The stock indexes hit record high one day after another.  And Trump has put the economy on steroids, immense tax cuts, a war on regulations, cutting back the number of people who watch for tax cheats, etc.  Unlike a typical Republican he doesn’t care a tinkers damn about running up the national debt.  The deficit could grow to $1 trillion this year under Trump. So what.  Stocks are up. Dig the Euphoria.  What could go wrong?

Continue reading

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Here’s How the States Can Take in Lots of Money

State governments are always complaining they don’t have enough money.  They face tremendous pressure not to expand sales tax and other flat taxes, as they should.  There are alternatives.  Here are three suggestions.

1) Tax a kind of property mostly held by wealthy people, “intangible” property. What is “intangible” property?  It’s chiefly stocks and bonds.  When I was VP of the state affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers in the early 1980’s in Connecticut we did a study about property holdings in the state, particularly “intangible” property.  We found (as we expected) enormous money held in few hands.

We reasoned that if a house or car could be taxed as property so should a million dollars in stock. Continue reading

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New Book “The Uprising We Need”

Stanley Heller, the main writer for this blog has published a book on Kindle called:

The Uprising We Need: Over 80 hard-hitting articles  $5.99

From the blurb “Hard-hitting articles by educator and TV news anchor Stanley Heller. As dictators, haters and thugs triumph and climate tipping-points near, we need a strategy for resistance and victory. Pieces range from ideas on how to calm things down in Korea, the false and dangerous promise of “clean, natural gas”, what people should be demanding for Syria, Israel’s terrible persecution of Palestinians, solidarity actions with Native Americans, a trillion dollar job plan and withering criticism of U.S. politicians. Many practical ideas from a long time activist in the anti-war and labor movements.”

Here’s a link to the Amazon page where the book is sold.  Extensive samples on that page.  Free book reader software available on the page.   There is no print edition of the book at this time.

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Is This the Best Idea Richard Trumka Has to Defend Healthcare?  A Petition?

big crowd 09 health care2

(A march in 2009)

Tomorrow 6/22 the Republicans are going to reveal their final version of their bill to strangle health care.  It’s expected to be nearly the same as the House bill which would take away health insurance for 23 million people and give a whopping tax cut to the very rich.

So what are the unions asking us to do? Go to the website of our biggest union federation the AFL-CIO, led by Richard Trumpka.   You’re asked to sign a petition.  We should send a petition to Congress controlled by Trump and his minions.  Why? To give him a good laugh?  OK, Facebook is more trendy. Maybe the fiery stuff is there.  What’s on the Facebook page of the federation?  It asks you to call your senator about Medicaid and the health care bill.

That’s it?  That’s the best a 12 million member organization can do?

Why aren’t the unions calling people to go out into the streets?  If France and Italy issues like this cause general strikes.  I realize that’s way beyond our union pie cards’ imagination, lost as they are in hustling for the Democrats, but what about a march, what about clogging the streets?

With their money and social media they could put out the call and get a million people in the streets this very weekend.  And they could scare the bejeezus out of Trump and the billionaires by not only opposing his health care fiasco, but by demanding 100% government medical coverage for every single person in the country, also known as “Expanded Medicare For All”.

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Why Won’t You Listen to Bernie When He Tells You He’s a Democrat?

Update Oct 23:

Sanders actions and positions have improved.  He has introduced a Medicare-For-All bill.  He make a good statement on Saudi Arabia.    There’s a group “Our Revolution” more or less that carries out his program.  See it here.

Original May 2017 post

I get it.  Bernie rallied millions last year.  He used the words “revolution” and “socialism”.  It was exciting for a time in the days before the mind numbing crap of Hillary and Trump.

But that was long ago.   Bernie is a Democrat.  He took the position “Outreach Chair” for the national Democratic Party right after Hillary’s defeat.  He’s a loyal Democrat, too, faithfully following the lead of Minority Leader Senator “Chuck” Schumer.  Remember Bernie’s signature issue, single-payer, Medicare-For-All?   Last November his health policy aide made the rounds and said that Sanders would not introduce a single-payer bill in 2017. He’s held true to his word.  This week Ralph Nader blasted him publicly.   Now, when people are open to hear an alternative to Trump’s plan, Bernie is rallying the troops to defend that insurance company health delight, Obamacare.

On April 25th Democracy Now! had a segment featuring Cornel West and former Sanders staffer Nick Brana.  They were all excited by the idea of getting Sanders to run for president as part of a new party.  They think “tens of millions” are ready to follow him.  But it’s not going to happen.  The main reasons is he doesn’t want to do it. Why don’t they listen to the real Bernie Sanders and not their fantasy of the man?

And frankly why would we want him to lead a new party?

Continue reading

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Headlines from an Alternate Universe

apollo_8_earthrise

By Stanley Heller

The Democratic Party in 2017 continues its collapse. It has lost both houses of Congress, 2/3 of the governors and with the appointment of Gorsuch now faces a Supreme Court once again under Republican control. Its response…more of the same. Oh yes, the party prattles about “resistance”, even Hillary used the word, but the Democrats wouldn’t even put the very, very moderate Keith Ellison as formal head of the party.

In one alternate universe, however, things are different. This universe had an Earth identical to our own, with a history identical to our own until the year 2001. In that universe the response to the U.S. presidential election the year before was quite different. What Nader and the Greens did was celebrated as the start of something new, even awesome.

Here are some of the headlines from major papers.

Headlines in 2000 in Both Worlds

Gore Criticized for Silence about Massive Deaths in Iraq Due to Sanctions

Bush Leads Gore by Near 20% in January 2000 Gallup Poll

Nader Hammers Gore on Being a Phony on Environment

Nader Calls for Deep Cuts in Military Budget

Gore/Lieberman Ticket Wins National Popular Vote by 500,000

Ralph Nader and Green Party Gets 3,000,000 Votes

Continue reading

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Time to Put Trumka Out to Pasture

trumka as pekinese

Watch this despicable performance of AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka on Fox Business News.  They entitle it, “AFL-CIO president on Trump speech: One of his finest moments”.  The title is no lie.  Trumka is all praising Trump’s speech to Congress.  Trumka is so proud of it that it links to it on the AFL-CIO site.  He says, “People voted for him [Trump] because they want the rules of the economy rewritten.”  Yeah, workers want no more corporate taxes and a return to Bernie Madoff banking.

Most of the interview was all about world trade and Trumka was happy as a clam with Trump. As the watchword for most of us is “resistance”, Trumka’s is “partnership”. About new treaties, “Will we partner with him, absolutely”.   As Trump issues cruel executive orders excluding Muslims Trumka says, “Will we partner with him to try to rewrite the immigration rules of the country…absolutely.” And for the times Trump grandstanded and told companies not to take jobs out of the country Trumka says,  “If he saved one job by speaking out to that family it’s the most important thing in their lives.”  Makes tears come to the eye.

Remember it’s the speech where Trump announces to Republican cheers his intention to gut Obama’s health care reform.  Yes, it was a crappy reform, but millions who had zero chance of getting any insurance actually got coverage.  We know the Republicans are not going for improvement, but back to the old days, you pay or you die.   And Trumka said the speech was the president’s “finest hour”.

Continue reading

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Will Richard Trumka Give Away our Right to Boycott?

There’s an important bill in the U.S. Senate.  It would give federal blessings to state governments that punish groups that advocate a certain kind of boycott.  Now boycotts have been a staple of trade unions for a hundred years.   I grew up on the Sears boycott.  My dad’s union magazine always had “Don’t Buy at Anti-Union Sears” on its back cover.  There was the grape boycott and the lettuce boycott, Farah pants and a whole host of others.  Bosses tried to fight it, but the right to say “Don’t buy” was a matter of free speech.

At one time it was routine for unions to even do secondary boycotts.  You’d boycott a company that was doing business that was being boycotted because of a strike or other labor fight.  Secondary boycotts were made illegal in the late ‘40’s.  But I digress

Now the new Senate bill #170 is not directly tied to labor issues.  It protects states that punish “entities” that call for boycotts or sanctions of Israel.  If it passes labor will still be able to call for boycotts…or maybe not.  Start going down a slippery slope and you often fall on your keyster.

So how does Trumka, the head of the national AFL-CIO, fit in?  Our right as Americans to boycott has been challenged and he is silent.   Now we know he’s a huge Rightist on Israel, supporting its wars and opposing the CT AFL-CIO went it asked in 2015 the national federation to support BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) against Israeli repression of Palestinians.  But why isn’t he opposing any threat to the RIGHT TO BOYCOTT?

A boycott has never just been a only labor issue.  U.S. Jews launched a successful boycott of Ford cars over the lunatic anti-Semitism of Henry Ford.  They tried an even bigger one when Hitler came to power, of course, unsuccessful.  For years there was a Nestle boycott that finally forced that company to stop dressing women like nurses to sell infant formula in countries with little clean water.

Senate bill #170 should be torpedoed.  As they say call your Senator.  And call Bernie who has been silent about this bill.

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What the “Newsies” Can Teach Us

I always liked the 1992 Disney movie “Newsies”.  It was a good way to explain strikes and unions to my children and I dug the idea that anti-union Walt Disney was turning summersaults in his grave knowing his studio was making a pro-strike film.  “Newsies” was loosely based on the 1899 strike of “newsies,” the children and very young teenagers  who would hawk the papers in New York City. Its “Seize the Day” strike song was stirring even though the politics were more Three Musketeers than Eugene Debs.

This month (“and this month only”) a video of Disney’s Broadway play “Newsies” came to select movie theaters The singing was spectacular and the dancing was terrific, young men leaping over themselves and doing impossible twirls, but the stage adaptation was even more “disney-fied” than the original movie, meaning it included more movie clichés and stories of class collaboration.

The actual strike of 1899 is pretty interesting. Why talk about a hundred year old strike now?  There’s lessons for today.  These workers didn’t go through endless legal hurdles to get a government sponsored election.  They didn’t beg politicians to solve their problems.  They took direct action and they won.

Continue reading

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