Public Employees

The Unsung Public Employees Prove Themselves Again: Time To Stop Trashing Them!

The massive human and property tragedy of Hurricane Sandy has proved once again how much we depend upon, and yet overlook, the sacrifices of public employees.

When one sees the sacrifices, hard work, and dedication of New York fire fighters, police officers, nurses, paramedics and others, who are working non stop in the crisis presented by the hurricane, it reminds us of September 11.

And this is multiplied by the similar sacrifices of public employees all over the Northeast, not just New York City.

And yet, we have politicians, particularly Republicans, who love to trash and dismiss the importance of public employees, and do not wish to pay them properly and give them appropriate benefits, as with the “Bully” governors, including Chris Christie of New Jersey, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, John Kasich of Ohio, and others of their ilk!

These unsung public employees deserve our respect and thanks, and politicians who use them as a whipping boy need to be repudiated, including Mitt Romney, who has no regard for workers in general, and public employees in particular!

MASSIVE Victory For Workers’ Rights, Women’s Rights, And Voting Rights!

A massive victory for Democrats, progressives and liberals, and the American people, occurred tonight on the 2011 Election Day, and it augurs a progressive victory in 2012!

In three states, particularly, conservative Republican and Tea Party forces were set back in their power grab to take away basic rights of workers, women, and voters!

Ohio rejected the anti public union bill passed by the Republican legislature with the backing of Governor John Kasich by a vote margin of about 60-40, therefore restoring collective bargaining rights for police, firefighters, teachers and other public employees. This is a warning to Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Rick Snyder in Michigan, Rick Scott in Florida, and Paul LePage in Maine, who also have been working against the rights of public employees, that the people will NOT tolerate the loss of labor rights won over the years, which have helped to grow and sustain the middle class! It also shows that conservative talk radio, Fox News Channel, and even the Koch brothers and other greedy, selfish, self centered billionaires are not going to be allowed to shape the country in their image. The Republican Party in Washington, DC should see this as a warning that if they continue to refuse to help job creation and just set out to defeat Barack Obama, they will pay the price in next year’s election!

At the same time in the conservative state of Mississippi, the proposed “personhood” amendment that would define a fertilized egg as a person was also soundly defeated by about 57-43 percent, a tremendous victory for women’s rights and Roe V Wade, and a strike against the extreme anti abortion fanatics who have no concern for the health and well being of women, and wish to take away their privacy rights!

And in Maine, we saw the defeat of legislation that ended the practice of allowing registration on the day of the election, a move being copied in other states to cut back voter registration and participation. This is another Republican and conservative attempt to cut back on voting rights with the false claim of massive voter fraud, which has never occurred anywhere in reality!

So it is clear that the conservative and Republican victories in 2010 and their abuse of power in the months since has been rejected. So in a way, it was necessary to have this occur to wake people up as to the need to be involved, to participate, to pay attention, to organize, and to realize that if one does not work at protecting their basic human rights, those rights can be taken away from them!

It is certain that the 2010 Republican victories will be overcome by a tremendous counter reaction in 2012, with 2011 being the first strikes against the right wing!

Six Months Of Rick Scott As Governor Of Florida: What Hath The Voters Wrought?

It has now been six months for Rick Scott as Governor of Florida, and he stands at a low point in public opinion polls, recently 29 percent, but now down to 27 percent, the lowest of all Governors of the 50 states!

Scott, who came from a corrupt background of Medicare fraud into politics, and spent over $70 million of his own fortune to win the Governorship by about 50,000 votes statewide and less than a majority of all votes cast, has set a horrific record as Governor, but is arrogant enough to claim he does not care about his public opinion ratings!

As a recent Miami Times article outlined, Rick Scott has been responsible for the following tragic developments in the Sunshine state:

1. Mandated drug testing for state workers and welfare recipients, although there are law suits in process against these tests, and he seems to have backed off on state workers taking such tests.

2. Enacted Jim Crow style voting laws, creating new restrictions on voting, and undermining the Voting Rights Act of 1965, while bringing back memories of the voting restrictions that existed before that federal law went into effect under Lyndon B. Johnson’s Presidency.

3. Fought a Prescription Drug Database, even though Florida is the state with the most drug abuse, but finally backed away after a lot of pressure was brought, even by his own Attorney General.

4. Privatized Medicaid, causing confusion and loss of services and funding for severely disabled Florida citizens, with cases now in court against this, and appeals by individual families in process.

5. Outsourced prisons to his political supporters, who want to privatize them, despite fact that Florida already has more prisoners than any other state except Texas, and has made no prison reforms which are badly needed, so instead prisons are being made a profit industry.

6. Cut jobless benefits to 23 weeks in a state with one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation.

7. Gave tax breaks to large corporations while not being concerned about the survival of unemployed people.

8. Slashed public education funding dramatically in a state which ranks among the worst in educational standards, but at same time took away tenure from teachers, and required ALL public workers to pay three percent of their income for their pension plans, a pay cut in difficult times, and undermining morale.

9. Worked aggressively against environmental protection programs statewide, ignoring the significance of the Everglades and other environmentally sensitive lands, instead promoting development. by private corporations.

10. Rejected high speed rail development funds from the federal government for expansion in the high traffic area of Central Florida.

11.Refused to be interviewed by the news media, comments only in Twitter style, and set up signing of bills to include only friends and supporters of what he is doing.

Governor Scott has shown the height of arrogance and insensitivity to groups that are being victimized by his policies, and Florida must, somehow, bear three and a half more years of this, unless Scott can be found to have done something illegal, leading to impeachment, or IF a recall movement can be brought about, but unlikely since it is not provided for in the state constitution.

This is the result of citizens NOT paying attention, and either not voting, or not understanding the issues when they do vote!

It is a good lesson in the importance of citizens paying attention to politics and public issues in the future, so as to avoid the nightmare Florida is going through right now!

The Destruction Of Public Employees Labor Unions: An Assault On The Middle Class And 80 Years Of American History! :(

As the nation faces the toughest economic times since the Great Depression, we are witnessing an assault on public employees and their labor unions, wiping out eighty years of hard gained rights since the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and in so doing, further eroding the middle class!

It was labor unions, which came to full development and success beginning in the 1930s, which helped to create decent working conditions for millions of Americans, both in the public and private sector.

Now Republican Governors, and backed by the Republican leadership in Congress, are salivating over the loss of pension and medical benefits, the end of collective bargaining, and the return of employers, including state governments, dictating conditions of work to employees, as if this was the Gilded Age or the 1920s revived! 🙁

In the process, the middle class is being wiped out, being added to the growing number of Americans who are falling into poverty, and yet the suggestion that raising taxes on the wealthy and business might lessen the assault on hard won labor rights is automatically dismissed.

If the states and the national government continue the Republican assault on the middle class, there is the real danger that people will not just sit by and take punch after punch, and allow their dignity and rights gained long ago to be taken away without a counter reaction.

We are entering very dangerous territory and conditions, and yet the Republican Party seems to be tone deaf and immune to the reality of human suffering, only concerning themselves with the comfort of the elite wealthy and corporations.

It may remind many of the arrogance of the elite in other societies, and how their short sightedness led to unfortunate tragedy!

Democrats and progressives must continue to speak up and oppose with all of their energy this great tragedy of the middle class being destroyed, without any concern as to the long range effect!