Saturday, August 19, 2017

Will GOP Pass Medicare For All?

The race for single-payer healthcare or Medicare For All it will be between the Bernie Sanders people, The GOP and the corporate Democratic Party. If the GOP wants to keep their seats in the Senate and Congress, they need something big, like healthcare that the people will be pleased with. The GOP is desperate, they have a loser of a president and they have failed to achieve any meaningful legislation. The GOP has said they want to replace the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare since it was passed with something better, but their definition of better so far was deadly for many. They just need to make healthcare for all ages and if they do this they will keep power for a long time. The U.S. pays more in healthcare than Italy, Britain, Japan, Australia, France, Canada, Sweden, Germany and Switzerland, and many others. Our politicians have sold us out to the highest bidder, the insurance companies, and we need to make them pay for putting their pockets before our health. It is imperative that we Bernie supporters and progressives beat the GOP and corporate Democrats, if we don’t they win. If the GOP beats us to passing healthcare, there will be no free education, no minimum wage increase to reflect inflation, the demise of unions, climate change will take a backseat and women’s right, LGBTQ rights, Civil Rights will go by the wayside. The key is who passes healthcare for all first, gets the kingdom. Understand, this is a race. What’s left of the middle class cannot afford to lose this race. If the GOP pulls this off, it will mean more states going Republican, and more right to work states. The big concern is they are close to enlisting enough states to convene a Constitutional Convention, to bring about changes that benefit the GOP. They already have the U.S. Supreme Court stacked in their favor. This could happen very fast, and how could the progressive Democrats or Bernie people speak out against Medicare For All and win future elections? We, the Bernie people, must be first and hope the corporate Democrats pull their collective heads out of the sand and see what can and will happen if they don’t help us. Right now the GOP is boxed in a corner and like caged animals, they will do anything to get out from under the shit pile they’ve made. They will spin their healthcare as following in the footsteps of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This is the easiest way for the GOP to fix their mess and it will happen. We must do this yesterday.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Help Yourself

What can the young and retirees do to help themselves, their country and the world? First, they need to look at what would be good for them in their lives versus what they are told by talking heads on television, radio and the so-called free press. Some newer newspapers and magazines are still good, but one must look at who owns the media as a whole. Now, many of the young are still going to school, living in the “basement” of their parents’ home or couch surfing. Some are unpaid gamers and the workers, young and old alike, who are working for minimum wage, some at two or three jobs or at gig jobs; and then there are the retirees on Social Security. Capitalism is alive and well for those who have money. What would make life a little better for us? How about $15 to $24 an hour minimum wage, free education, healthcare for all, higher Social Security, and universal basic insurance. Are these things worth fighting for? If so, how and where do you start? Some people are working for non-profits, which tend to be funded either through government grants or donations from very rich people, such people don’t want you to do radical work to better your self or those you serve. The capitalist system as it is now, works just one for them. A 501c3 organization is legally hampered from participating in politics by supporting candidates or lobbying. All of this is by design. People work for non-profits and want to change the world are set up specifically not to be able to do that. If you work for a non-profit or are a minimum wage gamer, school student, gig worker, retired person, where can you work and maybe be able to make a living, and have the time or resources plus the education to work on making the change. You may want to look to a union job, construction, nursing, firefighter, or even find the lowest paying union job or work for free in supporting them in their walkouts, and the rest of the unions by supporting them. You will learn why unions are necessary, and some unions will pay for your help. Check with all the unions and tell them you believe in them and want to help. Some unions may even send you for training, especially during elections. No one will pay you to be a revolutionary, but maybe a pittance could make it worth your effort. And for retirees on Social Security, most unions will feed people at rallies, trainings, meetings or walking precincts. This will help both you and the unions, and be good exercise while making new friends. So, when you feel overwhelmed by all the bad news and don’t know what to do, take heart we’ve been through this before. Just get out and do something and start changing things for the better and you will feel better. Remember, if we can keep pouring water in the well of good will, soon the bucket of goodwill will float to the top and we all can get a drink of the good life just like the 1 percent everyday.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Inequality is Ruining America

In America today, we have the Haves and the Have Nots, which is the very rich and the poor. What is missing is the middle, which is the group that makes it all work. They are the spenders who pay taxes, raise families. They are the supporters of the very rich and the supporters of the poor. This support system has worked very well until the very rich gets greedier and begins hoarding all the cash and cutting out the middle class with inequality. Inequality is done in many ways. Some is through laws enacted that shut down unions. This defund unions, but also stops worker training apprenticeship programs the unions provide. Shutting down these programs helps to turn our country into a wasteland of poverty. With the power concentrated at the top, democracy cannot thrive. This happened in the Guilded Age at the end of the 19th century. Now it is happening today. America cannot ever be great again until there is a large middle class with good wages, healthcare, free education, and good pensions. If we keep the extreme inequality, it will be the breeding ground of demagogues. Our country, at this time, has become a billionaires republic. Just look at who our president is and most of his cabinet are, and if they are not billionaires, they are retired generals. This is a perfect storm for disaster. It didn’t just start with Trump, this has been a long time in the making and both political parties are responsible. We are at the cusp of the GOP finally destroying Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, Social Security, and with the help of the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, which has cleared the path for long-term de-unionization. Then a new aggressive business lobby worked in the 1970s and ‘80s to break unions and drive down tax rates for themselves. Then the Democrats built alliances with Wall Street. Unequal economic is the enemy of political democracy so inequality must change or the class struggle can turn into a political or military conflict and law enforcement are and will be the same as the military. We’ve seen this before and they will have the reserve National Guard. Cops are already dressing like the military and have a lot of the same equipment. How will this end? At this time, I would say the very rich oligarchs are winning. We must understand where we have been, how we got here, the whos and the whys. There are good books to read that can educate you on these topics. One such book is, Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-first Century.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

They're Coming After Us

All workers in the U.S need to know what the American Legislative Exchange Council (A.L.E.C.) is and what it is up to. This group is funded and put together by the right wing, anti-union people, like the Koch brothers. Its mission is to write legislations so state governments can pass into law. If that wasn’t even to deal with, this same group of libertarian oligarchs and other greedy rich people have formed a new group called American City County Exchange (ACCE) to write legislation for counties and cities to pass into law. The legislation is written entities that used to be nonpartisan municipal governments. This is to counter the National League of Cities, which is the voice of cities and counties. Some of the legislation the ACCE is putting out is to end the automatic deduction of union dues from paychecks, which is a precursor to a state becoming a right to work state, and that means the right to work for less. The ACCE distributes model legislation on everything from taxpayer bill of rights that would require a super majority to raise taxes to measures requiring that cities explore all available materials to build sewer pipelines. This is funded by corporate lobbyists, who work for PVC pipe associations. They also fight against $15 an hour minimum wage. The ACCE could break all city-county fire and law enforcement unions so all workers must now, more than ever, watch their city managers and county chief executive officers, and who gets elected to the city councils and board of supervisors. Governments closest to the people should be given the most power and if we lose this it will be the death knell for unions. They will use that knell by driving it through the hearts of union workers, which will drive all wages down. So all workers need to know what A.L.E.C. and ACCE means and watch for their legislations to pop up in council and supervisor meetings. Unions need to educate their people and all labor councils should have a union rep at all city council meetings and board of supervisor meetings. They should have the agendas e-mailed to them so they can study them, looking for A.L.E.C. and ACCE legislation. The reps should report back to the labor councils’ meetings so all are informed. Also, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which teamed up with A.L.E.C. and ACCE to break unions and dismantle public employee pensions between 2011 and 2012. Twenty-nine states adopted their legislation that cut pension benefits. Wake up union workers and not for your good and that of your families. A.L.E.C., ACCE, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are looking out for their own interests so it’s up to you to take care of your own interests.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Universal Healthcare Makes Sense

Why single-payer/Medicare for all would save money and help the capitalist system. One, if no business or corporation, like the auto plants did not have to pay health insurance, they could sell their vehicles overseas cheaper. If all the people had health insurance, a person could start a business and not worry about having to provide health insurance for themselves, their families and their employees, which would put more people to work and their jobs could be backfilled by another worker. People who could retire, but must keep working until Medicare covers them could now retire without worrying about their healthcare. They could retire and open a job up for someone new.  Countries with universal healthcare are: Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Solvenia (where Trump's current wife is from), South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom. Of these first world countries, the U.S. does not offer universal healthcare to its citizens. Instead, the politicians and their media pundits encourage people’s ignorance against them to foster the philosophical debate between socialism and self-reliance and ignore the people who are dying, like the New York couple who jumped to their deaths because they couldn’t afford healthcare and had mounting medical bills, according to their suicide notes. Now consider this. The U.S. has a 10-year diplomatic and military agreement with Israel to give the country $38 billion. Israel has universal healthcare and we don’t because we can’t afford to give our citizens the same benefits Israel can—courtesy of the U.S. tax payers. Another factor is the huge cost of workers’ compensation. This would no longer be needed and would stop people from committing fraud in compensation cases, and the people, who work in workers’ compensation, could be moved to Universal Healthcare/Medicare offices or retire, which would save more money.  The cost of healthcare in the U.S. and drugs would go down for now it would be a non-profit health system. People would start getting preventive healthcare, which will save more money by people not getting sick as often. Workers could change jobs to better themselves or go back to school or even to move without the fear of losing their healthcare. The Affordable Care Act has shown that government healthcare does work if it is nonprofit. This is the time to do this. The people are ready. The country needs this in order to prosper. But we need the help of all unions, all non-unions, all bosses because we should not put this fight on just the nurses. The Democratic Party must make tis a top priority along with a minimum wage of $15 and free education. If they do this, they will have a cakewalk come election time.  If the Democrats don’t do this, there could be eight years of Trump and Republicans union busting, no healthcare, no climate change and probably a new war that starts with a nuclear bomb.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Plan is to Privatize

Labor needs to pull their heads from a very dark place and look at what they are up against when going after the infrastructure jobs. One concern is there will be a hard fight to keep the jobs prevailing wage because if Donald Trump’s six people have their way, all jobs will be privatized Don’t look for help from the top Democrats, like Chuck Schumer, he received $575,000 fro Goldman-Sachs and $220,000 from Blackstone. He also voted for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, helped design the 2008 big bank bailout and opposed efforts in this own political party to raise taxes on private equity and hedge funds. He is no friend of labor. Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has ties to Blackstone. Nancy Pelosi says the Democrats are willing to work with Trump on infrastructure, despite knowing what Trump and his administration are planning. There is big money to be made for companies like Black-Rock, the world’s largest investment company; the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, a Wall Street trade group. American Water, a private water company, two private trolling companies and free market proselytizer Heritage Action for America. These companies are guaranteed in their contracts a minimum revenue stream, and if people cannot pay their water bills a lien can be placed on their homes, putting them at risk of losing their homes. How do cities and states get in this financial place where they will sell or privatize their assets? Well, one doesn’t have to look any further than the American Legislative Exchange Council (A.L.E.C.). A.L.E.C. has a long history of writing and getting its legislations on the agendas of city councils and county councils. A.L.E.C. does this to set the stage for infrastructure privatization by depriving the government of key revenue sources. A.L.E.C. has gotten laws passed that makes it harder for cities and counties to raise taxes and creates a situation where the government has to resort to public-private partnerships or just sell public assets. The people in Trump’s government who will advise him in how to pull this off are Gary Cohn, whose previous job was with Goldman-Sachs; DJ Gribbin, who was director of Macquarie Group; Jeremy Katz, who worked with GCM Grosvenor; Stephen Schwarzman, the current chief executive officer of Blackstone, he wasn’t required to leave his current job to join Trump’s cabal; Abebayo Ogunlesi, the current chair and managing partner of Global Infrastructure Partners; and James Ray, previously with KPMG, a public-private partnership. There is a lot of money to be made and they are just salivating at the thought of all this money, and the trail of this movement leads back to the Koch Industries. Towns, unions, and states know who your enemies are, and be prepared to fight back before everything is lost.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

MLK on Right to Work

The fight against “right to work” legislation goes back to 1968. In one of his speeches, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “That in our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as right to work. It provides no rights, and no work. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining. We demand this fraud be stopped.” It is has now been about 49 years, and the same playbook called, “Right to work” to destroy union is still being played. The GOP and corporate Democrats want to destroy unions by taking away the right to collect dues. People still fall for this self-destructive line without looking into what they are forfeiting in the process: healthcare and pensions. Fraud and who are to blame? It is the unions for not educating people, not just their workers? The attack and the fight against it has never stopped. In 1933, in his Statement on National Industrial Recovery Act, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “No business, which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By living wages, I mean more than a bare subsistence level—I mean the wages of a decent living.” Roosevelt had to fight the GOP and conservative Democrats, also. This is why we must fight for a minimum wage of $15 now even though it should be $24. We also need Medicare for all or single payer for all, pensions, childcare—good unions can do most of these things if workers are organized. Organizer Joe Hill’s last words before being executed in 1915 on trumped up charges were, “Don’t mourn for me. Organize.” Perhaps we should remind our new president and his anti-union cabinet of President Roosevelt’s words or maybe Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s said, “Only a fool would try to deprive working men and women of the right to join a union of their choice.” Unions are our toolbox to get what is our basic human rights and to stop the runaway inequality. There are some billionaires, Mark Cuban and Nick Hanauer, know this and have some ideas on how to bring an end to the inequality. In 1960, former United Auto Workers President Walter Reuther said, “There is a direct relationship between the bread box and the ballot box, and what the union fights for and wins at the bargaining table can be taken away in legislative halls.” This is true today. So, we must always know who we are voting for and if we vote wrong, then we must change as fast as we can before the 2018 election.