Labor Unions

Labor Day, Honoring Workers, Totally Ignored By Donald Trump

Yesterday was Labor Day, which has been a federal holiday since 1894.

It honors the work, sacrifices, and contributions of American workers.

However, labor unions have been in rapid decline since the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, ironically himself the only President to be a labor union leader, as head of the Screen Actors Guild in the 1940s and early 1950s.

If it was not for workers in all fields of industry and business, plus public government workers, America would not have accomplished its economic greatness over the generations.

And yet, not one word from President Donald Trump, who has spent his life exploiting workers in his real estate businesses, and often not paying contractors or workers the pay they are due, and avoiding it in court cases.

Labor Unions have brought about the following (no special order):

Weekends off for most workers

Paid Vacations

Paid Sick Leave

Family and Medical Leave

Child Labor Laws

Social Security

Minimum Wage

8 Hour Work Day

Overtime Pay

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Health Care, Dental, and Vision Coverage

Collective Bargaining Rights

Work Breaks

Wrongful Termination Laws

Age Discrimination Laws

Raises in Wages

Sexual Harassment Laws

Americans With Disabilities Act

Holiday Pay

Military Leave

Equal Pay Act

Workers Compensation

Civil Rights Laws

Federal Holidays Off

Sadly, less than ten percent of all workers now have the benefits of being members of a labor union, while in the 1960s and 1970s, one out of three workers were labor union members. The Northeast and the Pacific Coast are the areas of most labor unions that are doing well, while so called “right to work” laws keep workers in the South and much of the center of the nation relatively poor by comparison, as we have a new “Gilded Age” of business running rampant over workers, reminding us of the late 19th century.

The Republican Party And The Promotion Of Death In So Many Forms

The Republican Party of 2018 and Donald Trump is clearly the Party of Death!

Of course, many reading this will protest that the Republican Party is the Party of Life, since they insist every fetus must be born, and that the pregnant woman has no say over her future, even if it is rape, incest, or drug addiction or alcoholism involved in the pregnancy.

But the point is that is the ONLY time the Republican Party is for life, and it has made perfectly clear that it is not concerned about any human being in America once such person is born!

The Republican Party believes in the death penalty, and would like to see it used on a large scale.

The Republican Party supports the National Rifle Association, which has no concern about the massacres that have taken place in schools, outdoor concerts, churches, nightclubs, work places, shopping malls and other public places. The vast majority of Americans want to ban all assault weapons, have background checks, prevent mentally ill people and terrorists from gaining access to weapons, and raise the age of ability to buy any firearm to 21, but the Republican Party has consistently done the bidding of the NRA, and shows no willingness to take action on guns, because they claim it is the “wrong time”, as they have consistently said after each of multiple massacres. So they are Pro Death and believe the right to firearms is more important than preservation of life.

The Republican Party believes no one is entitled to health care, and has no issue with millions of Americans having no or limited health care, as they believe health care is NOT a right. So they destroy ObamaCare without any alternative for those who have lost health care.

The Republican Party believes there is no need for protection of workers conditions, as through the Occupational Safety And Health Administration, and want to destroy what is left of the labor movement, and bring us back to the Gilded Age.

The Republican Party is working to loosen safety and pollution standards on automobile manufacturers, making for possible increased deaths caused by lack of regulation and health standards, and also wants to privatize airports and get the government out of railroad and truck transportation regulation, insuring more accidents and dangerous undermining of safety for passengers on all kinds of transportation.

The Republican Party believes that industry should have total control over the environment, and is out to destroy all environmental regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency, and promotion of healthful conditions in areas where there is coal mining, oil drilling, and natural gas exploration, including lack of concern about earthquakes caused by natural gas exploitation in Oklahoma, as an example.

The Republican Party is not concerned about consumer safety, and wishes to decimate the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The Republican Party is not concerned about the health and safety of the disabled and the elderly in our society, and wish to cut back massively on Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security Disability programs.

The Republican Party is not concerned about keeping the public up to date on weather conditions as it moves to cut back on the budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which will cause more deaths from hurricanes, tornadoes, Tsunamis, and other weather conditions, as without knowledge, it leads to demise of people who could be saved.

The Republican Party wishes to impoverish the masses, so that the wealthy gain massive tax cuts, in effect helping to undermine the health, safety, and lives of tens of millions of Americans.

The Republican Party is out to undermine science and health research, setting back the leadership position of America in previous generations, and instead promoting fake science and refusing to accept the reality of climate change and global warming, which will cause long term the deaths of millions of Americans who are endangered by the reality of changes in the environment worldwide.

And Donald Trump and most Republicans are ready to got to war against either North Korea or Iran, with no concern as to the mass loss of life of American soldiers, and of the people of Asia and the Middle East. It is all part of their macho to show they are men, and willing to sacrifice our youth for their wars to dominate in the name of evil, greedy capitalism. Having former generals in key positions–John Kelly, James Mattis, H. R. McMaster–and with a crazed President, who is clearly as mentally ill as the gunman in Parkland, Florida, clearly demonstrates their worship of death.

So a clear conclusion is that the Republican Party and Donald Trump are Pro Death, and have no regard for human life, other than fetuses, and worship the profit motive and wealth over anything else.

Most Significant Issue Of Entire Campaign: The Supreme Court Future And A Democratic Majority US Senate!

No more important issue is on the plate for this election year than the Supreme Court future, tied into a Democratic Majority US Senate!

The Republicans have made it clear that if Hillary Clinton wins the Presidency, but the Republicans retain the control of the Senate, that NO Supreme Court nominee will be confirmed, and in fact, not even considered in hearings.

This is totally unacceptable, and cannot be allowed to occur for the next four years, as effectively, that is destroying the whole purpose of the separation of powers and constitutional government!

The Supreme Court has been Republican majority since 1972, and finally, the tipping point to a Democratic and more progressive/liberal Court is in the offing.

Such issues as the following could end up before the Court in the next four years:

Abortion
Affirmative Action
Campaign Finance
Class Action Suits
Climate Change
Contraception
Gun Rights
Immigration Reform
LGBTQ Rights
ObamaCare
Redistricting
Unions
Voter ID Laws
Voting Rights

“We Must Take Our Government Back!”—To What, May We Ask?

Carly Fiorina said it last night in the GOP debate; Donald Trump has said it; so has a multitude of others in the Republican Party debates so far—“We must take our government back!”

Back to what, is the question!

Back to a time when women were “dutiful” housewives who stayed home, avoided education and employment, and were totally dependent upon their husbands?

Back to a time when “Negroes” were segregated by law and custom and “knew” their place not to complain?

Back to a time when “Negroes” were lynched at will and no one seemed to notice?

Back to a time when gays and lesbians were openly discriminated against in all areas of life without any protection or support of their rights?

Back to a time when child labor existed as young as six years old, and they and poor women who worked were paid far less than men?

Back to a time when there was no Social Security system for the elderly and disabled?

Back to a time when immigrants were barred from coming to America if they were Jewish or Catholic or Asian in origin?

Back to a time when labor unions did not exist, and work places were totally unsafe, and there was no workers compensation for injuries at work?

Back to a time when corporations “raped” and pillaged the environment for their own selfish purposes?

The list could go on and on, and who would “love” if all this was to return, from the 1950s, 1920s, and the “Gilded Age” of the late 19th century?

Conservatives who have fought against and resisted all of these changes and reforms brought about by progressives such as Theodore Roosevelt; Progressive Era reformers at all levels;  Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal coalition; Harry Truman; John F, Kennedy; Lyndon B. Johnson; 1960s reformers at all levels; Jimmy Carter; Bill Clinton; Barack Obama; and the constant battle of modern progressives and liberals to protect and expand all of the great political, social and economic reforms of the 20th century, hard fought, and the battle goes on in 2015!

 

Labor Day: A Day To Recall Labor Unions And What They Have Done For America’s Workers

Today is Labor Day, and it is too often a day ignored for its true meaning, the celebration of American workers and the labor unions which brought about the middle class in America, now under direct attack and threat.

It was the hard work of labor unions and workers that brought about the reforms we accept as normal today, including wages and hours laws, the minimum wage, the end of child labor, promotion of equal pay for equal work, occupational safety laws, and the expansion of basic worker benefits, such as health care, sick leave, vacation time, and pension benefits for millions.

But in the age of corporate greed and concentration, the second Gilded Age that we are in since the Ronald Reagan Presidency, we have seen the rapid decline of labor rights and of union power, and many ignorant Americans actually believe somehow that this is all to the good.  People applaud the anti union record of the Republican Party, which has been consistent for a century, and some think the war on public union rights by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is to be applauded, when it is an outrage!

Many people do not seem to realize that their basic worker rights have been curbed dramatically, and then wonder what can be done about it, and the answer is to work to promote union rights, and stop seeing unions as somehow a negative, simply because of some examples in the past of union corruption.

Yes, there have been union violations at times, but nowhere near the corporate violations of the public trust, and the way to expand labor rights is to support union expansion to combat the power of the corporations that have too much power over the American economy!

The Likely “Best” Choice For The Republican Ticket In 2016: John Kasich And Marco Rubio

The first Republican debate is long over, and Donald Trump is monopolizing all of the oxygen in the room, but he is a calamity waiting to happen to the Republican Party.

It is clear already that the best ticket the GOP could offer the American people, in November 2016, would be to nominate Ohio Governor John Kasich for President and Florida Senator Marco Rubio for Vice President.

This would offer the American people a 64 year old Congressional veteran, with 18 years in the House of Representatives and 6 years as Ohio Governor—a man who is a clear cut conservative but centrist in nature, accepting Medicaid; accepting gay marriage as established and tolerant of gays and lesbians; having an element of compassion toward the poor working class, drug offenders, and mentally ill people; great experience in balancing budgets as head of the House Budget Committee; great communications ability, including six years as a talk show host on Fox News Channel; a very popular Governor of the crucial state for any Republican to win the White House; who has accepted that climate change exists; has supported gun regulation in the past; has supported criminal justice reform; is open minded on illegal immigration and eventual citizenship; and has an enlightened view of Christianity and its doctrines, so that recently he has been called a Pope Francis type personality.

However, others have said that Kasich has a “prickly” personality; that he has a “hair trigger” temper; that he is condescending, arrogant, and manipulative, which is, of course, quite disturbing. It also has been pointed out that he has weakened labor unions in Ohio, and has undermined public education in Ohio, in favor of charter schools. So, as with any candidate, he has definite shortcomings, but there is also the reality that, in comparison to his rivals, he stands out as having more potential as a candidate, and to have some, if not all, of the proper character traits, with no one having all, unfortunately.

So it is clear that Kasich is not preferable to a Democratic nominee, any of them in reality, but he comes across as the best person in the race on the Republican side at this writing.

At the same time, Marco Rubio, at age 45 in 2016, might be the best choice for Vice President. He has charisma; good looks; is Hispanic (Cuban American); represents another swing state like Ohio is, but Florida is the largest state to be a swing state; and while he is much more conservative than Kasich, he has potential for growth and maturity in his views over time. Rubio would not be thrilled to be Vice President, but it is a stepping stone to the Presidency when he is older and more seasoned. Besides, he has given up his chance to hold his Senate seat, so it would be more enticing for him to accept the Vice Presidency if he fails to win the Presidential nomination of his party.

This would be a team that would easily give the Republican Party their best shot at winning, but if they do not appeal to women, African Americans, Hispanics, the young, and to working class Americans, they have no chance of winning, so they need to moderate their image.

This team of Kasich and Rubio could accomplish what no other combination would be able to do–win the White House for the Republicans!  Having said that, the odds for the Democrats to keep the White House are excellent, and if Trump runs as an independent or third party candidate, it is guaranteed that the Democrats will win, and likely be certain to regain the Senate, and possibly,. even the House of Representative!

Donald Trump Democrat, Donald Trump Independent, Donald Trump Republican: Which Is The Real Donald Trump? None Of Them!

At this point, Donald Trump is surging ahead for the Republican Presidential nomination, but one has to wonder if he has the staying power to go all the way to the convention in Cleveland with enough delegate support to become the GOP nominee for President.

Right now, Trump sounds like a conservative Republican, but he has been a public figure for decades, and when one investigates his entire public record, Trump comes across as inconsistent, and wishy washy in his political views and statements.

Trump has been a declared Republican,then an Independent, than a Democrat, then a Republican although registered as an Independent.

Trump gave money to Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President in 2007-2008.

Trump once praised a single payer health care system, similar to Medicare for all, but now he opposes ObamaCare, although ten years ago he supported “health marts” very close to RomneyCare and ObamaCare.

Trump opposed the war in Iraq, but now says he would use military force to fight ISIL (ISIS).

Trump once supported a surtax on the rich, but now want the top income tax rate cut in half, and is against the inheritance tax.

Trump is best at attacking everyone personally, but has no set stands or details on most public issues, and prefers to use slogans and emotion to gain public support of those disillusioned with government as it is.

Trump has become most notorious for his “Birther” claims about Barack Obama, but otherwise is constantly contradictory on many issues.

Trump is hard to figure out, as he supports private sector labor unions; is against cutting Social Security and Medicare; reluctant to send military forces all over the world; and against the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal.

But he is against teachers unions and public employee unions generally; against an increase in the minimum wage; against those who claim there is climate change; against gun control; and against any path to citizenship for undocumented workers, and already infamous for his attacks on Mexican immigrants and Mexico.

Ultimately, Donald Trump is for Donald Trump, a person who will prostitute himself and change his views when it is convenient; a man who is a publicity hound who is more in this race for the attention he gains; a man who appeals to fears and frustrations and discontent among average voters unhappy with their government, and easily accepting conspiracy theories.

In that regard, Donald Trump is a demagogue, in ways like Huey P. Long on the left; and like George C. Wallace on the right, and sadly, we know what happened to these two men, one assassinated, and the other paralyzed for life by an assassin.

The story of Long and Wallace are covered in my forthcoming book on Presidential Assassinations, coming out August 15 from Rowman Littlefield, entitiled: “Assassinations, Threats, and the American Presidency: From Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama”, available on this website at a 30 percent discount, using the discount code 4M15ATAP with order from the publisher!

Serious Republican Presidential Contenders: Part II—The Importance Of Florida And Ohio

We have, so far, examined 13 of the 16 Republican Presidential contenders, most of whom could be considered a “Clown Bus”!

Only four of the 16 are serious contenders, and so far we have looked at Scott Walker, the Governor of Wisconsin, who President Obama would like to see as the nominee of the opposition party, as he believes Walker’s terrible economic record, his anti labor stance, and his dramatic attack on the University of Wisconsin budget, along with the connection to the Koch Brothers, would make him easy to defeat.

And then there are the three remaining contenders, from crucial swing states Florida and Ohio, so arguably the three best primed to have a real chance to win the Presidency.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush, brother and son of two earlier Presidents named Bush, comes across as more moderate, more mainstream than just about any other contender, but he had a mixed record as Florida Governor, and has been out of office for ten years by 2016, and last ran 14 years ago by 2016. He is, certainly, seen as a man among boys, but he also is too close to the neoconservatives who took us into endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is also exhaustion at having a third President Bush, after the disastrous Presidency of his brother, George W. Bush.

Then we have the youthful, good looking, charismatic Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who is Cuban American, but much more appealing and less extreme than fellow Cuban American Ted Cruz of Texas. But Rubio has come across often as not too bright; has distorted the story of his parents leaving Cuba to make it seem as if it happened under Fidel Castro, when it happened two years earlier; has come across as having no guts on immigration reform; and has had issues with his finances and his connections with Norman Bramam, a South Florida auto dealer and billionaire. Some see him as the equivalent of a Republican Barack Obama or John F. Kennedy, but that is pure illusion.

And then we have the Governor of Ohio, John Kasich, who had 18 years in the House of Representatives, and was House Budget Committee Chairman, and has accepted Medicaid under ObamaCare as Governor of Ohio since 2011. He is very personable, engaging, and experienced, including recently, in a way that no other GOP contender can match him. And he comes from the crucial swing state of Ohio, more crucial than Florida, another swing state. And why is Ohio more important than Ohio? The answer is that every single Republican President from Abraham Lincoln to George W. Bush has won Ohio, so it is an essential state on the road to victory.

While all three of the above are serious contenders for the White House, it is clear that John Kasich would be the strongest, most competitive nominee imaginable, similar to what Jon Huntsman was in 2012. But that is precisely why the Republicans, almost certainly, will NOT select Kasich.

In any case, the Republican Party is on the road to defeat for the White House, and Donald Trump only further complicates that whole situation.

Gay Marriage Finally National: The Advancement Of Human Rights Reaches A New Pinnacle Of Social Justice!

On June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn, a gay restaurant and nightclub in Greenwich Village in New York City, was raided by police, leading to a large scale riot. It was the beginning of the gay rights movement, the struggle against oppression.

46 years have passed, and on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court upheld the right of gays and lesbians to marry everywhere in the United States, a path breaking advancement in human rights, reaching a new pinnacle of social justice. It makes America a more perfect democracy, promoting equality and liberty for another class of citizens who have faced oppression. It is a tremendous expansion of human rights and social justice!

America is a better nation for this fantastic development, and much credit is due to several people, including:

Then San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who was the first chief executive to promote gay marriage in California, and officiate at many gay weddings n 2003. He is now Lieutenant Governor of California, and likely successor to Governor Jerry Brown in the next gubernatorial election in 2018.

Ted Olson and David Boies, opposing attorneys in the Bush-Gore Presidential battle in 2000, who pursued the constitutional case promoting gay marriage, helping to lead it to Supreme Court decision yesterday.

Associate Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion in four crucial Supreme Court cases, in 2003 (Lawrence V Texas), two in 2013 (Hollingsworth V Perry) and (US V Windsor), and yesterday (Obergefell V Hodges) Without him, none of this advancement of gay rights and gay marriage could ever have occurred. Interestingly, all four of these cases were decided on June 26, of those years, 2003, 2013, and 2015!

The history of the gay rights movement is yet to be written, but it will be seen as part of the great movement forward as evidenced by the abolitionist crusade against slavery; the woman suffrage movement; the civil rights movement; the labor union movement; the environmental movement; the disability reform movement; the promotion of a safety net as represented by Social Security, Medicare, and now ObamaCare; and the immigration reform movement!

More Social Liberals Than Social Conservatives In America For First Time In Decades!

For the first time in many years, statistics indicate that there are more social “Liberals” than social “Conservatives” in America! The Gallup Organization has reported that 31 percent in polls consider themselves social “Liberals” and 30 percent consider themselves social “Conservatives”, with Democrats jumping from 47 percent to 53 percent social “Liberals”, and Republicans dropping from 60 percent to 53 percent social “Conservatives”.

Social Liberalism means such issues as:

Support of Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
Support of Abortion Rights for Women
Support of Immigration Reform with potential for eventual citizenship for undocumented immigrants
Support of Prison Reform, Abolition of the Death Penalty And Gun Control Legislation
Support of Legalization of Marijuana, or at least Medicinal Marijuana
Support of civil rights enforcement for minorities
Support of environmental and consumer reforms
Concern for the plight of the poor
Promotion of labor unions and reforms for workers
Opposition to the promotion of religious influence in government at all levels

Social Conservatism means such issues as:

Opposition to Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
Opposition to Abortion Rights for Women, even when Rape and incest
Opposition to Immigration Reform, and Desire to deport millions of undocumented immigrants
Hard line on crime, and enforcement of the Death Penalty, and No Gun Control legislation
Opposition to Medicinal Marijuana, and any Marijuana Legalization
Resistance to enforcement of Civil Rights Laws
Opposition to environmental and consumer reforms and enforcement of existing laws
Desire to cut benefits to the poor
Opposition to Labor Unions and Labor Reforms
Promotion of Religious influence in government and passage and enforcement of laws