Public Workers

War Against The Elderly: The Most Vulnerable In Society!

So now not only has Michigan decided that retired employees in Detroit, who devoted their lives and safety to their work, shall see their pensions cut, but the state of Illinois, governed by Democrats, has enacted legislation to the same effect!

Normally, the power of legal agreements prevents such action as to cast the elderly, on a fixed income, out to the wolves! But no more by the power of courts and legislatures and governors to defy the law and get away with it!

As one retired employee in Detroit said yesterday, he has to decide between eating and his medication come next year.

This is unconscionable, and shows the lack of respect for the elderly, and for life itself!

Already, there has been an attack on poor children, taking food out of their mouths, through cuts in food stamps. But the thought that maybe poor women should have access to birth control and abortion, so that they and future children might avoid poverty and deprivation, never crosses the minds of those who insist all life in the womb, from conception, should be born, but then to hell with what happens after birth!

If Michigan and Illinois can destroy public pensions for the elderly, what will stop many other states from doing so, rather than facing the facts that the wealthy have been ripping America off with the help of conservatives and Republicans, who have no problem subsidizing the wealthy and corporations, but do not give a damn for the poor, the sick, the young, the elderly, women, and workers?

With all of the progress of the progressive movement, the New Deal, and Great Society, we are now witnessing a return to a true Gilded Age, a return to a century and a half ago, effectively wiping out the 20th century movement toward humane, compassionate government!

Now it is back to laissez faire, Social Darwinism, dog eat dog, no concern for those less fortunate, and Democrats are starting to act like Republicans, all so that the wealthy do not have to pay taxes in a fair, honest way!

How can one have any optimism about the future of the “great experiment” known as American democracy?

And imagine with all of the reality described, how much tougher it is if one is African American, Hispanic, Native American, or disabled?

What has happened to our souls, our ethics, our morals, as we honor the almighty dollar, and fight over “things” on Black Friday and even Black Thanksgiving?

The middle class is being ground down to the level of poverty, as a small elite takes all of the wealth of America, and now wants to privatize EVERYTHING, including our national parks, in the almighty quest for profit and MORE MONEY, never enough, a level of materialism enough to make one want to vomit!

Massive Crime Against Public Workers And The Elderly In Detroit Will Be Repeated Elsewhere!

The decision to allow Detroit, Michigan, to declare bankruptcy is a warning sign for the long term future.

It means that public workers, including police officers, fire fighter, teachers, and other municipal workers who devoted their lives to service of their fellow citizens, often at lower wages, will now have their pensions and health care benefits, guaranteed to them by contract and the state constitution of Michigan, cut by at least 40-50 percent, making their old age one of poverty and deprivation!

This is a massive crime against humanity, against the elderly, the poor, and the sick, while the wealthy keep on gaining all of the benefits of their good fortune, because of refusal to accept public responsibility to preserve the pensions of workers.

This is immoral and unethical beyond belief, and the gall of the state to be ready to privatize everything possible in Detroit, including museums and other cultural institutions, will destroy the city of Detroit and any chance for its revival.

We are witnessing the death of Detroit, once the fifth largest city in America, and this abuse of power by the elite wealthy class will soon visit other cities and states, and its effect will be to impoverish America, but benefit the wealthy yet again!

The Massive Differences Between Democratic Governors And Republican Governors

As one looks at the political landscape of the state governments, it is clear that Democratic Governors stand out for their leadership in a time of troubles in the nation.

Among the outstanding Democratic Governors are the following:

Dan Malloy of Connecticut
Jack Markell of Delaware
Deval Patrick of Massachusetts
Peter Shumlin of Vermont
Martin O Malley of Maryland
Andrew Cuomo of New York
Jerry Brown of California
Pat Quinn of Illinois
Mark Dayton of Minnesota
John Hickenlooper of Colorado
Brian Schweitzer of Montana
Christine Gregoire of Washington
Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii

Compare their record of leadership to the following Tea Party oriented Republican Governors who have declared war on public workers and favored the wealthy in their states, and have victimized immigrants and promoted suppression of voting rights, and advocated a “war” on women:

Paul LePage of Maine
Chris Christie of New Jersey
Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania
Bob McDonnell of Virginia
Nikki Haley of South Carolina
Rick Scott of Florida
Robert Bentley of Alabama
Phil Bryant of Mississippi
Bobby Jindal of Louisiana
Rick Perry of Texas
John Kasich of Ohio
Rick Snyder of Michigan
Scott Walker of WIsconsin
Mitch Daniels of Indiana
Terry Branstad of Iowa
Sam Brownback of Kansas
Jan Brewer of Arizona

Enough said to make the case of the massive differences between the parties.

And looking to the future, it could well be a Democratic Governor already in office who might be the nominee for President in 2016, with leading possibilities being Martin O’Malley of Maryland and Andrew Cuomo of New York!

The Republican Culture: Death, Hate, Selfishness, Lack Of Compassion!

The Republican Party, in its mad dash to the far Right with Texas Governor Rick Perry in the lead, is demonstrating its ugly side, arguably the most despicable agenda since the creation of the party in the Civil War era!

Always a major backer of corporations and the rich upper class, the party always maintained some sanity, and while not promoting the social safety net as a principle, we saw members of the party in different northern states and in Congress who worked in unison with Democrats to support the Progressive Era reforms, the New Deal, and the Great Society, and reforms under Richard Nixon.

The one time the party went this far to the Right, they suffered a massive defeat under Barry Goldwater a half century ago. When Ronald Reagan became President on much of the Goldwater agenda, he managed to work across the party lines and take away the rough edges of the right wing, mouthing support but not pursing much of their agenda.

But now with the advent of the Tea Party loonies, the party is adopting a new culture, that should sicken any civilized, decent American citizen!

Unfortunately, as witnessed at the recent Republican debates in California and Florida, there are many Americans who fail to act and believe in a dignified manner of behavior!

Now death, in the form of capital punishment endorsement and advocacy of letting people without health insurance die, has been endorsed enthusiastically by right wing Republican whackos!

Now, hate of illegal immigrants and their children, and wishes to deny them basic education, health care and ability to work and contribute to American society, is endorsed wholeheartedly!

Now, selfishness, including desire to destroy labor organizing, and lack of respect and appreciation of the contributions of public workers, including police officers, firefighters, prison guards, teachers, nurses, librarians, social workers and others is endorsed!

Lack of compassion for the poor, the sick, the disabled, the elderly, and for minority groups in America is hailed as a virtue!

One day, when this sickness in the psyche of the Republican Party is finally expunged, we will look back on this period with shock and regret, and wonder why a major political party would allow itself to engage in such insane behavior!

The great Republican heroes of the past–Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan–would be shocked and embarrassed by what the party has allowed itself to become!

But even the lesser Republican Presidents–William Howard Taft, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush–would, and in the case of the two Bushes, are very disturbed at what their party has become. This is the reason why Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney are seen as mainstream by the Bush family, and why they are clearly against the horrible message of Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann!

Even the great heroes of the conservative Republican movement in the past–Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater–were not as ugly as these Tea Party Republicans are today!

Hopefully, this poison in the political debate going on, will be soundly defeated in 2012, by sane, intelligent people, who realize what the Tea Party control of the GOP has done is to make America far worse off than it was just nine months ago when they took power in the House of Representatives and declared war on basic values of decency!

The Recklessness And Irresponsibility Of Many State Governments In The Midst Of Economic Hard Times!

At a time when the nation is facing the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression, many state governments, particularly those governed by Republicans, are wasting their time, instead of creating job opportunities!

In reality, many states, by their policies, or lack of them, are creating MORE unemployment, and promoting division among their citizens!

Instead of dealing with real issues, many states are appealing to the emotions and prejudices of their citizens, promoting hysteria and disarray in the process!

States are busy doing the following:

1. Passing legislation to make abortion more difficult to obtain.
2. Working against gay marriage rights or civil unions.
3. Enacting legislation against “Sharia” or Muslim law, a total “red herring” exploiting fear, where there is no chance of such law becoming part of the American legal system.
4. Making English an “official” language, a strike against immigrants, both legal and illegal.
5. Cracking down on illegal immigration in ways that will have to come to the Supreme Court, as to whether they are constitutional.
6. Setting out to destroy labor union rights of public employees, who have served their states and communities loyally, but now are being made “scapegoats” for economic hard times.

So, these are hard times in the states, being made worse by the narrow mindedness and prejudices of the population, being stoked by irresponsible politicians!

A New Outrage: Public Pensions Under Attack, Despite Legal Guarantees!

The attack on public workers–teachers, nurses, social workers, police officers, fire fighters, prison guards, and others–continues, and it is not only affecting work conditions, but also guarantees by contract on pensions in many states and cities, and not only for future pensioners, but also present pensioners in some locations!

Everyone acknowledges that police officers and fire fighters face more dangerous and stressful work conditions than other public workers, so in many localities around America, they can retire at a younger age and collect pensions for many more years than other public workers.

Now, the police office in Detroit are seeing their pensions cut, and in a small town outside Mobile, Alabama, 150 retired workers stopped getting pensions checks altogether!

This seems like the tip of the iceberg, as it means that many public workers, who have accepted public jobs with lower pay but better benefits, now are endangered by not having a guarantee of their pensions in the future, and in extreme circumstances, could lose all or most of it as economic conditions deteriorate further all across the country!

It used to be thought that if contracts are agreed to by both sides in a negotiation, therefore, there are legal guarantees of enforcement of those contracts. But now it seems clear that what any government gives, it can take away at will and with abuse!