Archive for the ‘Labor / Unions’ Category

The Reagan Myth is Dead

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Ronald-Reagan-Started-Unnecessary-WarsWith the rise of Donald Trump, have we witnessed the final death blow to modern day conservatism and the end of the Reagan myth?

The outrageous Gore Bush decision (that stole an election) occurred at the height of the conservative movement, but it also signaled its decline and imminent death. The myth of Ronald Reagan has fueled the conservative movement for 28 years. What would be the glue that could hold the conservative lie together after the emergence of Donald Trump?

Many would point out that the conservative movement has been on a slow decline, under the heavy weight of growing trends [demographics] and other factors spurring a renaissance of liberalism. Some would point to the election of President Barack Obama as the birth of the liberal movement and since his election; the movement has bloomed with liberal victories on a host of issues ranging from immigration to same sex marriage. Others would say the emergence of Bernie Sanders reigned in the new era of liberalism.

For many conservatives, 1980 would be called the birth of the modern conservative movement, but for many Americans it was also a beginning of a period of decline, deception, and death.

Ronald Reagan is the proclaimed godfather of the modern conservative movement. Reagan had become a [pagan] idol among conservatives and Republicans. Yet… if you search the facts, you will discover that he was a terrible president. The awful truth about him is not a pretty picture and it is why some people hate the Reagan myth. To understand the lie of the myth, you have to examine the facts about the Reagan presidency.

Contrary to conservative myths about Ronald Reagan as a low tax president, he raised taxes eleven times in eight years. He was loved by big business for single handedly crushing organized labor and starting what is now the long decline of wages for the American middle class. When he came into office in January of 1981, the top tax rate was 70%, when he left office in 1989 the top tax rate was only 28%. Reagan gave large tax breaks to all his rich friends and corporations.

Sadly the burden of these tax breaks fell on the backs of the lower and middle class under the birth of Trickle-down Economics. The decline of the American middle class started early in Reagan’s brutal regime. He enacted a series of crippling tax increases including the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act– the largest tax increase in American history – the Highway Revenue Act of 1982, and the Social Security Amendments of 1983. These tax increases most negatively affected those in need – the middle class and the poor.

Ronald Reagan naively believed tax increases on the poor and middle class was the solution to the nations’ economic woes while massive tax breaks to the rich and corporations would generate more revenue. This failed policy was designed to allow the rich to spend more, invest more, create new jobs [false assumption] and the middle class would benefit from the “Trickle-down Economics” crumbs, but there was never “crumbs” relief for the middle class or poor.

Early in his regime, the economy worsened and unemployment rose. He wildly spent on government and military buildup while bashing large government. Reagan took office with a $994 billion debt and left office in 1989 with a $2.9 trillion debt.

The Republican war on unions and the middle class was born on August 3rd, 1981, when Reagan crushed PATCO (Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization) just two days after they went on strike in an effort to get better pay and safer working conditions. He fired 11,345 workers for not returning to work and signaled management that Union busting will be tolerated. As union contracts expired – a wave of strikes rolled across the nation over the next several years.

During this period unemployment swept across America and unemployment rate reached it peaked at 10.8 percent – the highest since 1930s. The pain of Trickle-down Economics was in full swing.

Reagan’s drastic tax breaks for the rich and business did not work and the U.S government was desperate for revenue. He raided the Social Security Trust Fund help fund operations of the federal government, and he replaced the borrowed money with a worthless IOU. Once again, the created pain fell on the middle and lower classes. He was eventually able to lower unemployment with low paying jobs. The good jobs were being exported.

Contrary to myth, he increased the size of Federal Government. During the Reagan administration, government spending increased 2.5 percent per year.

Reagan also negotiated with Terrorists trading arms for hostages by Iranian proxies in Lebanon. Most of this money was illegally raised with arm sales that funded the Nicaragua Contra rebels – something that the U.S. government had prohibited from doing.

He also funded Terrorism by training Osama Bin Laden by the CIA. Osama went on to lead the terrorist group known as Al Qaeda – the same group that committed countless acts of terror including the 9/11 attack on New York City.

In 1981 Reagan greatly increased funding and training to the Afghanistan mujahedeen to fight our Russian enemies. In addition to arms, sophisticated military equipment and advanced weaponry were also given to them to better fight off our enemies. Our top-secret intelligence officers even played a much bigger role in training and arming these militants.

The tactics used to train these terrorists are used today against America, including car bombing and assassinations; and much of the weapons paid for by Reagan, went to one group, now known as the Taliban. Once again, Reagans assistance to terrorist was used against America.

In the summer of 1981, Reagan reduced the federal funding of Community Mental Health Centers. He eliminated most services for people struggling with mental illness. The lack of funds and support from the government led to the closing of many mental state hospitals. The patients were then released on the streets and homelessness exploded. Repercussions from this decision are still a central reason with the problem of homelessness in America today.

In a bizarre twist of fate, Reagan was the first national politician to proclaim himself as “pro-life” – a person who strongly values life. He was even labeled by conservatives as the “father of pro-life movement” yet he totally ignored the AIDS epidemic as growing numbers were dying.

The HIV/Aids epidemic was born in 1980 and during that time, people were scared as they witnessed more and more people dying. The nation and world desperately needed a strong leader to address this growing danger of the epidemic and instead they had Ronald Reagan and he just kept quiet… he did nothing; he even refused to mention the word “Aids”.

Reagan kept silent on the issue until 1987, but it was already too late to stop the disease and by that time, 36, 058 Americans had already been diagnosed with the disease, and 20,849 had died.

Ronald Reagan served two terms and nearly 25 years later he has been held up high by the modern Republican Party. Ronald Reagan did a lot to hurt the United States and the American people, not just while he was in office, but more damage has been realized since he left office for the many years that have followed.

They myth of Ronald Reagan as a “good leader” is finally dying, as the party of Lincoln… the party of Reagan is now the party of Trump. What is really shocking is today Reagan would be considered to moderate to be nominated by today’s conservative [wing-nut] standards.

Romneyism: Decline of the American Middle Class

Saturday, November 14th, 2015

At a time when universal deceit overshadows the truth as a radical idea and self-indulgence and greed serve as God to many people, is Romneyism the new political religion of the conservative right? Romneyism is the belief system that was embraced with the rise of Mitt Romney as the presidential candidate of the Republican Party. The main thrust of Romneyism is simply the belief system that value and virtue is void of a moral compass or core values. Any lie will do!

Romneyism gave rise in the election of 2012 where candidate Mitt Romney easily swayed from opinion to opinion, boldly portrayed with six major issue changes where he swayed from one opposed position to another with no remorse or regret. He has been for and against more issues than can be easily explained and the basis of this immoral lack of values appeared wildly popular and effective with the conservative faithful. If Romney felt uneasy by his contradictory views, he showed no evidence of being so. His [flip flop] views were simply explained away as that his views have evolved. Voter’s opinion to this lack of a moral compass was disturbingly seen as unimportant.

It took a secretly filmed video of Romney and a quote for voters’ to get a glimpse of the real Mitt Romney, a glimpse they did not like. The Quote: “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it — that that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. … These are people who pay no income tax. … [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

The coldness of his comment speaks volumes about the real disturbing facts in regards to his immoral beliefs [Romneyism]. His swaying on issues did not mean he has no core values at all. He is simply not concerned with the policy issues [values] that are on the table (or should be) in a Presidential campaign with middle class people. Any lie will do!

Mitt Romney’s [Romneyism] values [or lack thereof] are really frightening. A first core value is his understanding of [his God] capitalism and the importance of making a profit; this is his number one value. If doing so means sending American business [jobs] overseas, that is a side benefit. If doing cost jobs, well that’s just too bad for the persons who lost theirs in this process, just as long as he makes a profit in the process. If doing so means killing the American car industry – so be it.

A second core value for Romneyism, as he referenced without regret in the GOP primaries, is that “corporations are people” (to which he added “my friend,” even though most corporations are not very friendly). That position has many scary meanings and far reaching implications for the structure and function of the U.S. economy, which he believes, can be bought and sold with dark [Citizens United] money. When he toured a foreign sweat shop and was impressed with the oppression and fear of the beleaguered workers – this was the real Romney.

A third core value for Romneyism, is that if the profit-makers [job creators] for American capitalism can’t make their profits the traditional ways, then creative ventures like investing in and/or organizing the bankruptcies of other businesses, or replacing public education with a private profit based version, or taking a significant chunk of operating funds out of the health care system to support profit-making by the private insurance industry is simply good business, the benefits for the rich outweigh the benefits of the masses [middle class and poor]. This new form of trickle-down economics explains the decline of the American middle class as corporate America drains the middle class of resources.

Fourth, is his kingly belief that “his kind of people” is the people who should rule, for their own benefit and for the welfare of everyone else [the peasants]. And they [he] are, by nature of their positions [wealth], entitled to a wide variety of benefits that the majorities are not. Yes indeed, he does believe in certain “entitlements.” They are just not the entitlements that benefit the majority of Americans. He supports corporate welfare.

The growing popularity of greed and growing emphasis on self-indulgence is a dangerous phenomenon and important basis for the principles of Romneyism. Societal structure will not survive when its people loose compassion for others. Romneyism feeds off society when its people’s concerns turns from the welfare of all to the welfare of “self”. Many of the progressive causes, which benefit all in society, require a loyalty to [the whole] society and devotion to community by its people.

When the focus of people turn inward, unions die, wages drop, benefits are slashed and Romneyism flourishes. It is much easier to slash education, walk by a homeless person, support cuts in social safety nets when you care about no one but yourself. This behavior is the foundation of the current conservative movement in America. Recently, before Romney officially redrew from the 2016 race, it was shocking to see Mr. Romney talk about running a 2016 race for president based on a focus on the poor and an anti-poverty crusade.

But wait a minute, what about the interview that aired the day after he clinched the Republican nomination, in 2012, when he remarked, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” Or the week after the election, when Mr. Romney blamed the loss on “gifts” Obama promised to minorities if they voted for him. And in early 2016, he briefly flirted with the idea of running on an anti-poverty campaign – blasting President Obama for widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

One must remember, Romney’s embrace of the poor is just the most recent example of the Romney [flip flop] doctrine. The truth does not matter because deception is the seed that sows/reaps the conservative harvest. The Golden Rule of Romneyism – Any lie will do!

Red State Mentality

Friday, November 29th, 2013

art-gop-fascism-posterFrom striping voting rights to slashing food “SNAP” assistance to America’s hungry, the mentality of red state America is becoming increasingly morally corrupt. Void of a moral compass, Republicans and conservatives in red states rush to outdo each other with legislation based on ignorance and mean spirited intent. Their blatant attacks and hatred toward the poor is frightening. The wealthy are more than happy to finance their greed based agenda. The mindless Teabaggers serve as their foot soldiers ready to do the bidding of the rich and powerful.

These same people share something else, a evil hatred for President Obama. The birtherism movement was born in the bowels of the red states. Birtherism is based on ignorance, racism and stupidly. It is one of the first scared beliefs of the Teabagger movement. The belief is fueled by minions of the rich. These people aren’t terribly smart. They work for the rich to undermine the middleclass and they are middleclass. Their red hot rhetoric is a direct threat to democracy and freedom. This disturbing behavior is only matched by extremists in the Taliban.

The American Taliban excels in political theater. Their leaders include Michelle Bachmann, Steve King, Donald Trump, and Ted Cruise. Their ignorance is based on lies and paranoia and fueled by racism and hatred. They hate science and facts. They use creationism to justify their lies, based on the bible, they claim, under their ignorance based interpretation of it. There is a real disconnect between reality and their beliefs. They hate the government but don’t touch their Social Security. They distort history to justify their ignorance based beliefs. They demonize knowledge and intellect. They reject facts.

antiOBAMAThey say they want to take back their county. The question is take it where? To dirt roads and caves? When it comes to their biggest hatred – Obamacare, they have forgot that Obamacare was the central issue in two elections that elected Obama, or that Obamacare was upheld by both houses of congress and the Supreme Court. They address the landslide elections against them with voter suppression laws. If you have policies that the majority of Americans clearly reject, the solution is to reduce the number of those who can vote. Prevent the majority from voting and the minority can dictate their ignorance based beliefs.

From issues that range from abortion to workers rights, voting rights to women rights, minimum wage to immigration, marriage equality to individual freedoms, those in the red states are on the wrong side of history. We can only be thankful that the majority of Americans reject this ignorance and that those in the red states are a growing minority. Americans must remain diligent to prevent the extremists “red state mentality” threat against democracy in America from becoming a twisted reality. Red state wing-nut ignorance is not only laughable, it is dangerous.

The Attack on Labor

Monday, January 28th, 2013

The right-wing attack on American labor unions continued this year as Republican controlled Legislatures and Governors, led by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, continue the attack on hard working Americans. It was Round 3 of corporate America’s campaign to destroy the labor movement. Round 1 occurred in the summer of 1978. Round 2 was carried out in the 1980’s and led by Ronald Reagan.

The ultimate aim of the right-wing strategy is to crush worker’s rights, dismantle social “entitlement” programs and destroy the American middle class. Permitting employers to destroy workers’ right to organize, which was established by the National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act) during the New Deal era, would allow corporations to crush any worker protection and slash pay and benefits, thus greatly increasing business profits.

Under the Wagner Act, employers are required to bargain collectively with unions, which represent a majority of the employees in a designated bargaining unit. The legislation also forbids employers from interfering with the workers’ right to organize and established a variety of unfair labor practices that would subject employers to penalties for their violation.

Employers, through a variety of unfair labor practices have used anti-union lawyers and union-busting tactics to dismantle organized labor. Although it is unlawful to fire union activists or intimidate employees from associating with union organizers, many companies found it is cheaper to ignore labor law than it is to deal with a union.

Employers are using a variety of ways to delay or postpone union elections while crushing union attempts by the workers. These attempts have successfully destroyed powerful organized labor unions, and in turn, the standard of living of the American middle class.

In 1978, under the leadership of Rep. Frank Thompson, chairman of the House Labor-Management Subcommittee, legislation was presented that would have strengthened the procedures of the National Labor Relations Board so employers could not use the law as a shield for unfair labor practices and to delay and prevent union elections.

The bill was overwhelmingly passed in the House of Representatives in October 1977 and was sent to the Senate. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), brought the legislation to the Senate floor in May 1978. Conservative Republicans and a few Southern Democrats waged a filibuster supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and friends of Business.

A majority of Democrats and several moderate Republicans attempted to garner the needed 60 votes to end the filibuster and bring the bill to a vote. Two Liberal Democratic Senators were afraid to vote in favor of the legislation because of anticipated retaliation by the business communities in their states.

After six weeks, the Senate leadership attempted to end the debate. Robert Byrd, the Senate Majority Leader, attempted to deliver the vote of two Senators from the south. Senator Hollings of South Carolina cast the vote that killed the labor law reform and the bill died on the floor of the Senate on June 22, 1978.

This vote killed any hope of reviving a weakened labor movement and prepared the stage for Round 2. Regardless of the false outpouring praise for Ronald Reagan, he led Round 2 of the attack on labor and is the most anti-labor president in American History.

Reagan was the first president to attack labor’s firm legal standing that was gained through Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the mid-1930s as. After failed Republican policies that led to the Great Depression, organized labor flourished under the Roosevelt administration and built the great American middle class.

Reagan’s Republican predecessors were anti-labor but would deal with them as needed. Reagan on the other hand waged continuous war against organized labor. He had no fear of them or respect for them.

Polls at the time showed that nearly half of the Americans people opposed unions and almost half of those who belonged to the unions voted for him in 1980 and again in 1984.

Reagan was the hero of the anti-labor political right and corporate America. Although he had been president of the Screen Actors Guild, his pro-management sentiment crushed the strike-ending agreement in 1959 that greatly weakened the union. The union never recovered its power after his betrayal.

Reagan’s personal war on labor resumed in the summer of 1981, when he fired 13,000 striking air traffic controllers and destroyed their union. This act gave the signal to management that it was open season on organized labor and management followed suit — crushing union after union, during a wave of strikes, throughout his presidency.
Employers had no obligation to their workers, and employers got Reagan’s union busting message loud and clear – if faced with a strike — illegally fire your workers and replace them or better yet, ship the factories and jobs abroad. Reagon is the founding father of outsourcing.

Reagan lethal blow to labor came when he gave dedicated union foes direct control of the federal agencies that were designed originally to protect and further the rights and interests of workers and their unions.

Most devastating and important was Reagan’s appointment of three management representatives to the five-member National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) which oversees union representation elections and labor-management bargaining.

One of the three became the new NLRB Chairman, Donald Dotson. He believed that “unionized labor relations have been the major contributors to the decline and failure of once-healthy industries” and have caused “destruction of individual freedom.”

A House subcommittee found, under Dotson, the board abandoned its legal obligation to protect collective bargaining, in what amounted to “a betrayal of American workers.”

Most of the complaints filed against employers under the Reagan era were responded to with employers firing union supporters and permanently replaced striking workers. Employers knew that “new anti-labor” NLRB was taking an average of three years to rule on complaints and in most cases that meant the discharged unionists would be reinstated with back pay. That’s much cheaper than operating under a union.

The NLRB stalled as long as possible before acting on petitions from workers seeking union representation elections and stalled for another year or two after such votes before certifying winning unions as the workers’ bargaining agents giving the companies ample time to deal with any act toward unionization.

On a second front against labor, Reagan’s Labor Department became an anti-labor department, ignoring violations by union-busting consultants who were hired by many employers to crush organized labor.

Union-busting was a major aspect of Reagan’s anti-labor policy. He eased child labor laws, attempted to lower the minimum wage for younger workers, eased anti-sweatshop laws, and cut back on job training programs for the unemployed.

He began the attack on federal employees that would be revisited in history under the Round 3 attack on working Americans by trying to replace thousands of federal employees with temporary workers who would not have civil service or union protections.

The Reagan administration all but dismantled programs that protected worker safety. He closed one-third of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s field offices, trimmed its staff by more than one-fourth and decreased the number of penalties assessed against employers by almost three-fourths.

Rather than enforce the law, under Reagan, the OSHA administration sought “voluntary compliance” from employers on safety matters – and generally didn’t get or expect it. This policy is alive today but has been modified repeatedly by Republicans to make OSHA regulations even weaker.

The attack on labor laws in the Reagan era would rear its ugly head again in Round 3 of the attack on labor. In 2007, the final push to return to a futile society began as corporations tried to return workers to the law of the business jungle that prevailed a half-century before.

Excessive corporate greed virtually destroyed America’s economy and financial markets as Republican “Trickledown economics” culminated in the corporate orgy of unfettered profits and total disregard for the American worker and the welfare of the nation.

In 2008 some of the same corporate and conservative strategists were developing a series of bogus grassroots groups, funded by rich corporate barons, under the banner of the new “Tea Party” rebellion. To just about everyone’s surprise, a loose-knit yet powerful grassroots movement of right-wing populists emerged as a peasant organization of the corporate power elites.

This movement was a racist based response to the election of the first African American president, Barack Obama. But the rich were masterful in manipulating these uninformed minions of the right into becoming the business pawns used to continue the assaults on organized labor.

It became clear as President Obama’s first administration progressed that there was a broad attack on working people, especially those in unions. Ultraconservative members of the House of Representatives, including members of the Tea Party Caucus, relentlessly began introducing legislation that would benefit the rich and powerful and slice up the economic safety net most industrialized nations consider part of basic human rights.

Public attention became focused on the attack on labor when Round 3 went into full swing with the attack on the working people in Wisconsin by its ultraconservative governor. Attention has become more focused on funders on the attack on organized labor, such as the Koch brothers and right-wing institutions but there is a larger process at work.

Over the past 20 years, right-wing corporate conservatives and economic libertarians have spent more than $170 million trying to convince us that labor unions are bad for America, and that government laws and regulations should not protect a worker’s right to organize a union without harassment and termination.

And this is just a drop in the bucket of the $1 billion spent by right-wing funders to shift wealth upwards and stomp on the basic human rights of (98%) most of us.

The most recent example of this movement occurred in Michigan where the Republican Governor made the state an open shop which greatly reduces the rights of people in the work place and places restraints on unions. Referred to as a “Right to Work State”, but in reality it is the furtherest thing from the truth — where in reality, workers have virtually have no rights related to work conditions and other work matters.

The coalition of foundations that fund conservative and right-wing think tanks and other institutions that attack organized labor have exploded in creation. No conservative group is more dangerous than the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Through the corporate-funded ALEC, global corporations and state politicians have voted behind closed doors to rewrite state laws that govern the rights of all Americans. These so-called “model bills” reach into virtually every area of American life and directly benefits huge corporations and the rich.

In ALEC’s own words, corporations have “a VOICE and a VOTE” on specific changes to the laws that are then proposed in state governments. Republican controlled state governments proved to be the breeding ground for the implementation of ALEC created laws. ALEC was exposed after these laws passed in several red states.

Conservative foundations continue to fund groups such as the Teabaggers who are used as pawns beholden to the bidding of the rich and corporations. When resistance broke out in Wisconsin, it was the teabaggers who were shipped in from other states to protect the interest of the rich and corporations and challenge the protest of pro-labor forces.

Anti-labor campaigns by corporate interests are nothing new, and are frequently masked by rhetoric about freedom of choice for employees. The main framing of these anti-labor campaigns are built around the idea of a “Right to Work.” “Right to Work” meaning workers have no rights.

Corporations and the wealthy have portrayed themselves as friends of the working man and woman. Like most “Big Lie” campaigns, the truth emerges when history and outcome are compared to current rhetoric and promises.

The scary fact is that the American Middle Class goes the way of organized labor. As unions have declined, so has the American Middle Class. In reality, the attack on labor is an attack on the middle class. The last line of defense of the middle class and organized labor may have occurred in the Presidential Election of 2012.

The election of Mitt Romney would have all but sealed the fate of the middle class and organized labor in America. Maybe that is why organized labor fought so hard for President Barack Obama.

In the weeks since the election, the fight for the middle class and organized labor seems to have awakened both to the prospect of what could happen if the rich and corporations get their way.

Although, the fight is not over, the re-election of President Barack Obama may give the middle class and organized labor new breath in the battle for the survival of both.