Celebrating Labor Day!

 Posted by at 12:53 pm  Holiday, Politics
Sep 042017
 

Labor-day2012

For most of my early life I considered Labor Day little more than a day off at the end of summer.  That’s because I am not a union man.  I have never belonged to a union, nor has anyone in my family.  So what has the labor movement done for me?  I have learned what organized labor has done to improve the lot of all American Workers, and I have come to understand that Labor Day is a celebration of Union labor, and one that is well deserved.

This is a minor variation on last year’s article.  I found no reason to change it.

laborThinkProgress has assembled just five of the many things that Americans can thank the nation’s unions for giving us all:

1. Unions Gave Us The Weekend: Even the ultra-conservative Mises Institute notes that the relatively labor-free 1870, the average workweek for most Americans was 61 hours — almost double what most Americans work now…

2. Unions Gave Us Fair Wages And Relative Income Equality: As ThinkProgress reported earlier in the week, the relative decline of unions over the past 35 years has mirrored a decline in the middle class’s share of national income…

3. Unions Helped End Child Labor: “Union organizing and child labor reform were often intertwined” in U.S. history, with organization’s like the “National Consumers’ League” and the National Child Labor Committee” working together in the early 20th century to ban child labor…

4. Unions Won Widespread Employer-Based Health Coverage: “The rise of unions in the 1930′s and 1940′s led to the first great expansion of health care” for all Americans, as labor unions banded workers together to negotiate for health coverage plans from employers…

5. Unions Spearheaded The Fight For The Family And Medical Leave Act: Labor unions like the AFL-CIO federation led the fight for this 1993 law, which “requires state agencies and private employers with more than 50 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave annually for workers to care for a newborn, newly adopted child, seriously ill family member or for the worker’s own illness.”

… [emphasis original]

Inserted from <Think Progress>

It’s well worth the time to click through for the rest of this article.

Furthermore, here is an excellent video on what labor has done for America.

 

Therefore, to begin my celebration of Labor Day in the best possible way, I wish to thank all of you who are or have been union workers.  My life is better because of you.  And to you and everyone else, have a Happy Labor Day!

Support Labor!  Dump Trump!

RESIST THE REPUBLICAN REICH!!

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Everyday Erinyes #75

 Posted by at 12:19 pm  Politics
May 192017
 

(AKA Friday Furies – today)

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can't include.  As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

After last week's focus on the Bradley Foundation (more fully, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation), I wanted to follow up a little, with articles that focus on specific things that the Foundation is doing, and articles that show that it is now getting attention from local media where it is getting most active.

Of course the Foundation is located in Milwaukee, WI, so it makes sense that Wisconsin media would be interested.  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has zoomed in upon the Foundation's activities, including its ties to Scott Walker (gee, thanks, Bradley /S)

When Gov. Scott Walker laid out a plan in his state budget address urging people to take steps to avoid welfare, it mirrored a platform of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which has pushed for greater personal responsibility and more stringent welfare requirements.

Documents hacked from the Bradley Foundation's computer server show the connection is not just philosophical — it's financial….

The foundation even awarded a $100,000 grant to the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families to underwrite the commission itself — an unusual, if not unique, step in government. Neither the source of the commission's money nor the foundation's stake in the outcome was disclosed. The state spent about $62,000 of the grant before making its recommendation to the governor.

This excellent piece of reporting follows the money to show how deep the Bradley Foundation's tentacles go, and how they spread out into multiple areas of Winsoncin government.  Or maybe we should say "Fitzwalkerstan" government.  Personally, I think it's a pity Scotty didn't take a post with the Trump Administration before now, so that he could be taken down with it.  But, if he was too cunning to do so before, he's definitely too cunning to do so now.  Sad.

The Journal Sentinel is very much on the whole story; there are two other articles just this week on the Foundation.  One focuses on its funding of groups opposing climate regulation, and the other includes an interview with Marcus S. Owens, who ran the IRS's tax-exempt organizations division during the 1990's; he shows how closely they are skating to the exempt-non exempt line, and indeed going over it.

Other Wisconsin media are also discussing the Foundation, including the Wisconsin Independent and Urban Milwaukee.

Meanwhile, in Colorado, it has comne to the attention of Colorado Politics that the Bradley Foundation is putting a lot of money into Colorado, with a focus on union-busting.  Citing the CMD report, the article says:

Bradley has given the Colorado-based Independence Institute $1.45 million between 2004-2016, the documents indicate, including multiple grants some years. With the assistance of the Independence Institute, the right-wing Douglas County school board enacted a series of measures, including countywide school vouchers for private and religious schools (later struck down by the courts), plus an end to collective bargaining, teacher tenure, and automatic dues deductions for teachers unions. In 2013, the battle resulted in a high-dollar school board race where unions and the Koch’s Americans for Prosperity group spent heavily.

Bradley has been a big funder of this agenda. In 2015, Bradley gave a grant of $100,000 to Independence Institute for “aggressive education reform,” which Bradley says included “neutralizing the power of Colorado’s teachers’ unions by defunding them at the local school district level” (Independence Institute, Grant Proposal Record, 11/10/15).

The Independence Institute's response:

It’s no secret that the Independence Institute, the Denver-based libertarian-leaning think tank, takes on unions at every turn, and it depends on anonymous donors to do it.

“We never talk about our donors,” Independence Institute president and CEO Jon Caldara said in an e-mail. “But if Bradley gave us that much money to fight unions, I’d be living on some small island with that cash right now instead."

Oh my.  Well, it certainly is refreshing for a right wing/Libertarian operative admit he is an embezzler, even if only at heart.

Over in the State of Washington, The Stand ("News About Working People Standing Together in Washington State") also picked up the informmation about union-busting.

In Washington state, the Bradley Foundation granted $1.5 million over three years to the Freedom Foundation with the purpose of “defund[ing] Big Labor,” because “Washington State’s liberal labor laws have long allowed it to be a net exporter of union dollars to other parts of the country,” according to proposals regarding the grant.

Examples of the Freedom Foundation’s anti-union activities in Washington include canvassing, mailing, and phone banking union members to get them to opt out of their unions. They also hired a Santa Claus to leaflet state workers as they walked in and out of their workplace, encouraging them to stop paying full union dues.

The Stand also noted that, besides Wisconsin, Colorado, and Washington, the two states the Foundation targets most aggressively are North Carolina and Oregon.

Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council AFL-CIO said:

We’re not going to let the Bradley Foundation, the Freedom Foundation, or the other groups they fund get us down. More than ever, working people are coming together to raise wages, protect workers’ rights, and expand the right to organize in our state. We will continue to spotlight and expose the negative, destabilizing outside pressure from anti-union groups on state and local governments. We must ensure Washington politics put the priorities of Washington’s working families first.

Dear Furies, fighting this thing is like fighting the nine-headed Lernean Hydra, which grew two new heads every time one was cut off, at least until the immortal head in the middle was found.  Perhaps you need to enlist Heracles to deal with this – thing.  One version of the myth says that cauterizing the necks with a torch prevented their regeneration; if you are too busy to hold the torches, perhaps Iolaos, who originally served that function, would come along.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4053330

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Feb 142017
 

Stumpy is being more cooperative today, and barely squeezed into George this morning, after spending most of yesterday elevated above chest height.  I think he was retaining fluids, because I am mildly dehydrated from spending so much time at my desk and out and about that I paid too little attention hydrating myself.  Some guzzle water naturally, but I have to force myself.  I have my urologist appointment rescheduled for next month.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:22 (average 4:55).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (GQ Channel): Michael Flynn Must Now Be Arrested | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

 

Last Night Michael Flynn resigned to downplay and try to evade prosecution for his treason and to protect his equally guilty Fuhrer. Both Flynn and Trump must be investigated, indicted, tried, convicted and incarcerated! RESIST!!

From The Rachel Maddow Show: Spousal abuse testimony on Oprah a factor in Puzder confirmation

Rachel Maddow reports that video of a 1990 episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show in which the ex-wife of Donald Trump labor secretary nominee Andrew Puzder talks about being the victim of his abuse has been submitted to Senators considering his confirmation.

The Dems, with one exception, put up as good a fight as possible against Beauregard and Know Nothing. It would be nice to block Putzser.  That exception is Joe Manchin [DINO-WV].  He actually voted FOR both Sessions and DeVos!!  Why don’t you give him a call? – WV 304-342-5855 or DC 202-224-3954.  Tell him he’s a waste of skin and a good for nothing DINO turd!  If you wish, be even less complimentary.  RESIST!!

From The New Yorker: An exuberant Betsy DeVos said on Monday that Donald J. Trump’s forty-per-cent approval rating is a “clear indication” that more than half the country agrees with the job he is doing.

“I was so excited to see the President’s approval rating hit forty,” DeVos, the Secretary of Education, told reporters. “Just knowing that well more than half the country is with him gives us a great sense of confidence moving forward.”

She also criticized the media for failing to report “our powerful forty-per-cent mandate.”

“If you believed news reports, you would think that the people supporting the President are in the minority, when in fact they’re forty per cent,” she said.

Dang Andy! Is it any wonder that I just labeled her Know Nothing? RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0214Cartoon

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Sep 062016
 

I’m feeling rather tired, as I slept poorly last night.  I had a persistent  itch on my left foot, which I could not scratch, because it no longer exists.  That is so frustrating for a scratcher like me.  I’ve been known to strip off my T-shirt and scratch my back with a tree.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:47 (average 5:41).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Tales:

From YouTube: Joan Baez Live @ Woodstock 1969 Joe Hill

 

Mitch brought up this song in comments yesterday. Here is where I first heard the song.

From NY Times: But the country’s historic incarceration boom has given rise to companies that provide services and products to government prisons. Many of these provide necessary equipment and services, of course, but some do so in rather unsavory ways.

Take, for instance, the prison phone industry, a market that’s dominated by several large, privately held firms that earn an estimated $1.2 billion per year. Short phone calls from prison can cost up to fifteen dollars, largely because the companies operate as monopolies within prison walls. The private companies also offer state and local authorities a percentage of their revenue, which contributes to the surging cost of the calls and creates other perverse incentives. Some jails, for instance, have removed in-person family-visitation rooms to make way for “video visitation” terminals, provided by private firms, which can charge as much as thirty dollars for forty minutes of screen time. One prison phone company, Securus Technologies, says in its marketing materials that it has paid out $1.3 billion in these so-called commissions over the past ten years.

“In some respects, this is worse than the private prison companies,” Peter Wagner, the executive director of the Prison Policy Initiative, a nonprofit criminal-justice think tank, said. “I expect the government to waste money. But it’s totally different for the government to collude with a private company to make poor people lose money.”

Prison phone companies are hardly the only private venders that capitalize on a captive market. Corizon Health, one of the sponsors of the Louisiana prison trade show, is the country’s largest prison health-care firm. It treats more than three hundred thousand prisoners nationwide, earning about $1.4 billion in annual revenue. It is also the subject of numerous investigations and lawsuits. The company has been named as a defendant in at least six hundred and sixty malpractice lawsuits over the past five years, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

This is my own "boutique issue".  Republican states are the worst, but as much as I hate to admit it, abuse of prisoners and their families for profit is bipartisan. There is much more to read. Please click through.

From Crooks and Liars: The penchant for mendacity and injustice among the cabinet of the Bush Administration makes it difficult to pick the absolute worst of Bush/Cheney’s sadistic war criminals. That said, no one would argue that former A.G. Alberto Gonzales was certainly a standout for numerous reasons, including hard evidence of lying under oath about torture.

John Dickerson’s Sunday episode of Face the Nation provided a forum for Gonzales to peddle his apocryphal tale, True Faith and Allegiance, which is hyped as a story of service and sacrifice in war and peace about his life and time serving the George W. Bush administration.

Bush Reich Barf Bag Alert!!

This evil sleaze-bag  may be the worst liar in Republican history, prior to Rump Dump Trump. After he fired federal prosecutors, because they refused to file bogus charges against Democratic political candidates on the eve of an election, and replaced they with goose-stepping Republicans, he was called to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He lied, saying "I don’t recall" and it’s variants 64 times. CBS owes America an apology.

Cartoon:

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Thank Unions on Labor Day

 Posted by at 12:58 pm  Holiday, Politics
Sep 052016
 

Labor-day2012

For most of my early life I considered Labor Day little more than a day off at the end of summer.  That’s because I am not a union man.  I have never belonged to a union, nor has anyone in my family.  So what has the labor movement done for me?  I have learned what organized labor has done to improve the lot of all American Workers, and I have come to understand that Labor Day is a celebration of Union labor, and one that is well deserved.

laborThinkProgress has assembled just five of the many things that Americans can thank the nation’s unions for giving us all:

1. Unions Gave Us The Weekend: Even the ultra-conservative Mises Institute notes that the relatively labor-free 1870, the average workweek for most Americans was 61 hours — almost double what most Americans work now…

2. Unions Gave Us Fair Wages And Relative Income Equality: As ThinkProgress reported earlier in the week, the relative decline of unions over the past 35 years has mirrored a decline in the middle class’s share of national income…

3. Unions Helped End Child Labor: “Union organizing and child labor reform were often intertwined” in U.S. history, with organization’s like the “National Consumers’ League” and the National Child Labor Committee” working together in the early 20th century to ban child labor…

4. Unions Won Widespread Employer-Based Health Coverage: “The rise of unions in the 1930′s and 1940′s led to the first great expansion of health care” for all Americans, as labor unions banded workers together to negotiate for health coverage plans from employers…

5. Unions Spearheaded The Fight For The Family And Medical Leave Act: Labor unions like the AFL-CIO federation led the fight for this 1993 law, which “requires state agencies and private employers with more than 50 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave annually for workers to care for a newborn, newly adopted child, seriously ill family member or for the worker’s own illness.”

… [emphasis original]

Inserted from <Think Progress>

It’s well worth the time to click through for the rest of this article.

Furthermore, here is an excellent video on what labor has done for America.

 

Therefore, to begin my celebration of Labor Day in the best possible way, I wish to thank all of you who are or have been union workers.  My life is better because of you.  And to you and everyone else, have a Happy Labor Day!

Support Labor!  Defeat Trump!

Un-employ a Republican Office Holder!

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Apr 142016
 

Yesterday Lu came for the last time.  She was about four hours late, but getting the day right was an improvement.  So I’m a perfumed puddy tat.  My groceries came.  I put them away.  I also did the dreaded task! Eye rolling smile  Tomorrow I have an appointment with a Retinal Ophthalmologist to check out my choroidal nevi.  The appointment will take three hours, and I’ll be unable to use a computer afterwards until late tomorrow night.  So expect only a Personal Update, please.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:51 (average 4:33).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily KosWhen Scott Walker came into office, he claimed that he had no interest in trying to get “Right to Work” laws passed. Unfortunately for the people of Wisconsin, Scott Walker is a liar and a terrible person. In fact, he and his fellow Republican legislators introduced an ALEC inspired written bill making Wisconsin a Right to Work state. Since the bill was signed into law, Wisconsin’s workforce has diminished by at least 10,000. Wisconsin is hemorrhaging jobs because Right to Work laws don’t have anything to do with generating living wage jobs, or much in the way of real work, at all. Three unions filed lawsuits against the bill, arguing that the law posed an unconstitutional seizure of union property, and on Friday they received some good news:

Dane County Circuit Judge William Foust agreed. He said the law amounts to the government taking union funds without compensation since under the law they must represent people who don’t pay dues. That presents an existential threat to unions, Foust wrote.

"While (union) losses today could be characterized by some as minor, they are not isolated and the impact of (the law) over time is threatening to the unions’ very economic viability," he wrote.

This judgement, [sic] calling the law unconstitutional on the grounds that it is an “existential threat,” could have some far-reaching ramifications in the many Republican-backed legislatures that really want to put the screws to the working folk of this country. The importance of this ruling also means that there will be further appeals.

This issue is far from settled, but any day the Koch-sucking Fartfuhrer of Fitzwalkerstan takes a loss at any level is a better day for America.

From Real Clear Politics:

Polling Data

Poll

Date

Sample

MoE

Cooper (D)

McCrory (R)

Spread

RCP Average

1/18 – 4/11

44.0

41.0

Cooper +3.0

WRAL-TV/SurveyUSA

4/8 – 4/11

701 LV

3.8

47

43

Cooper +4

Elon University

2/15 – 2/17

1530 LV

2.5

42

40

Cooper +2

PPP (D)

1/18 – 1/19

948 RV

3.2

43

40

Cooper +3

It looks like the Religious Reichsfuhrer of the Theocratic Republican Dictatorship of McCrorystan is also experiencing backlash from his hatred and bigoted policies.

From TPM: Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, will not be prosecuted in Florida for battery after he allegedly manhandled a reporter, Politico reported on Wednesday night, citing unnamed sources.

CNN also reported that Lewandowski will not be prosecuted early Thursday morning, citing unnamed sources.

What a travesty!  Don’t get me wrong!  I have no bias favoring his victim.  The reporter he assaulted worked for Breitfart, a source for which I have so little regard, that I refuse to embed links to it.

Cartoon:

0414Cartoon

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