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.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Enemies of Unions Are Enemies of the People

For the workers to fight and win their labor battles, they must understand what they are up against and the history of their enemy, such as the banking system and the world banking system, and numerous others. There is a good video that explains these systems in animation that a friend, Ian, told me about. The video is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mII9NZ8MMVM . I highly recommend people take the time to watch this simply explained video on a complex topic. It’s like the video, Who Moved My Cheese, https://www.google.com #q=who+moved+my+cheese+video . Both are very educational. One must also understand big pharma and health insurance companies and how they buy our politicians in both political parties, who then kill any attempt at single payer legislation. They now are buying politician to fight the marijuana laws so they can sell their synthetic marijuana pills, and to do that they will support laws that make marijuana illegal except for what they sell. This explains why U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to reverse all the progress made in legalizing marijuana and make it illegal across the board. Another issues being used against us, is the lie that Social Security is going broke and that workers will never get their money back, but what they have not told us is that the government borrowed $2.7 trillion from the Social Security system under President Ronald Reagan, and $1.37 trillion under President George W. Bush. To understand the “whys” and the “whos" who are responsible for most of these efforts to hurt the working people, we can lay blame at the feet of the corporate Democrats, and more so at the modern conservative movement, which was founded on anti-communism and anti-unionism. This was started by Senator Berry Goldwater, considered Mr. Conservative. He built his career bashing unions. Ronald Reagan went after unions and broke the air traffic controllers union. The union backed and financially supported Reagan. Nice return on the union’s investment. This betrayal opened the floodgates to the “Right to Work” laws infesting states across the country. This law breaks unions by taking away dues that support unions. This was open season on workers, which represents about 6 percent for the private sector. Unions need to change the way they do business in order to win back the lost ground and to build upon what’s left. They also need to counteract the stigma created by the likes of Goldwater and Reagan and educate workers on unions history and how and why people sacrificed their lives to make the work place safer, pay more equitable for the work done, pensions and healthcare. Another area of concern involves the wealthy using their money to change our Constitution to benefit them. Charles and David Koch and other ultra right billionaires have been working since about 2010. They have formed groups like the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force, Compact for America, Austin, Citizens for Self-Governance and using the American Legislative Exchange Council to convene a national constitutional convention in order to rewrite the Constitution to include rigid fiscal constraints into the document our founding fathers wrote. The last time Article V of the Constitution was used to amend the document was in 1787 in Philadelphia. The right wing has trying to force a balanced budget amendment since the 1930s. This was the platform of the Tea Party, also funded by the Koch brothers. Their claims is that they want a balanced federal budget, but they want to prevent the government from using the Keynesian strategy for stimulating the economy, which allows the federal government increase the national debt by borrowing money during times of economic depressions. If they are successful in amending the Constitution, it would ruin our economy for years—but not their bank accounts. If they succeed, it will mean the end to programs, like Medicare, that help us little people, but our taxes will increase to pay for the functioning of our country and the rich will maintain their tax cuts. Thirty-eight states are needed to convene a convention. The states that have signed on to convene a national constitution convention are: Wyoming, Arizona, Alabama, New Hampshire, Ohio, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Michigan, Louisiana, Indiana, Texas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Idaho, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin. There are ways, other than what our U.S. trade unions do, to control pensions healthcare, training, and wages. This is somewhat like the Ghent arrangement. In this system, trade and labor unions and not the government are responsible for paying entitlement benefits, mainly unemployment benefits. In Europe, this model is called Work Councils. Another way the U.S. workers could win is to separate the AFL/CIO union back to two unions. There would be more power in their unions as separate entities. They could shut down the country with a national strike or we could have two unions, instead of one, in each state, which would give unions more influence in electing politicians who support unions. If we don’t wake up to what the GOP and the ultra rich are doing to this country, we are screwed. The way things are going right now, we will lose our democracy and America the Great will become America the pathetic.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Gig Economy

The Gig con, which sells people on a more flexible job without fixed hours. This sounds enticing to workers fed up with their 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. jobs. Also, to people without jobs, and to people who have part-time jobs, and need more money. Gig jobs fill in many needs, but the rub is that these jobs or most of these jobs don’t pay into Social Security or Social Disability Insurance so when someone hits retirement age there is nothing to fall back on. Most have been told that Social Security will not have money for them because Social Security will be broke. This is a lie and a con job on the workers. Social Security will be OK if the federal government will keep its hands off the money we paid into it. They think it is their piggy bank. Then what if you get sick or injured on the Gig job, there is no healthcare. We know that we are running out of jobs here and worldwide. This is why we need the universal basic income and unions for all. At this time, the federal government estimates up to 50 million workers are Gig workers who are classified as non-permanent employees or freelancers as contingent workers. Pay rates have not kept up with rising rents, food costs, inflation, and education costs. This is why most Gig workers just to survive have to string together two or three Gig jobs and, again, no pensions and no healthcare while the rich get richer. What will happen to the 20 million to 50 million people when they are too old or too sick to work? Now is the time for UBI and unions to fix this before our country implodes and with us the world will follow. One other thing is that most of the Gig jobs pay cash or what some call under the table, which pays no taxes to the state or federal governments and no Social Security or Social Disability Insurance. This deprives the government of money to fund the safety net for the old, sick, and young who needs assistance. This needs to be fixed. The train has left the station and is picking up speed as this is written.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

What Are They Scared Of?

Why is there a 700 percent increase in high end bunkers from 2015 to 2016? It is not fear of a nuclear attack, but fear of a Russian-style revolution. Here, the American super rich are investing in subterranean residences at an unprecedented rate, spending as much as $100 million on fortified bunkers designed to withstand any kind of disaster. The survival-condo project quickly sold out—a dozen single family luxury apartments in a converted missile silo. Bill Gates has shelters below every one of his homes. Why is there an impending disaster gripping the very rich? Is it that they know that the inequality with the masses will not last long before the masses demand their rights as humans and the right to a living wage or a universal basic income (UBI) to compensate for the lack of jobs, healthcare, free education, pensions, childcare, vacation and the chance for a home. You know, like the rich take for granted. If the rich think they can just stick their heads in a hole like an ostrich, it won’t work. Sooner or later, they will have to pull their heads back out and we will still be here with the same problems, probably compounded because they weren’t dealt with in the beginning. By then the masses could be in control and then what will the rich do—live in a rabbit hole forever? You have to ask yourself, what are they afraid of--the mess their greed created? The best way to fix the inequality and problems now is to implement a living wage, UBI, allow for the formation of unions, free education, and free healthcare for all, not just those who can afford it. Then the capitalist system will expand more. With UBI for seed money and healthcare, the likelihood that more people would start their own businesses would increase or they can work for people who have new start-up businesses, and other will further their education. Just remember, it is change or the rabbit hole for the rich. They have to come out of their survival bunkers at some point, and we'll be waiting.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Time for an Offense

The Art of War says when the enemy is in disarray is the time to attack, so what are our union work force doing? Are they planning for an expansion? Are they educating their members on the history of unions? Are they training their members on how to be foot soldiers in the upcoming fight to destroy their safety net—the unions? Make no mistake about it, the anti-union GOP are coming for the unions. Unions are the last bastion of defense for the workers who still have jobs. They have “right to work” laws in most states, which devastates unions. The GOP is planning to go after the Holy Grail, which is California. If they ever pull that off, it is Doom’s Day for the unions and Have Nots. We will be in the streets begging or in the streets fighting. Either way, we will probably lose. Now is the time for us to go on the offense and stop using our defense policies. Being on the defense will always get beat in the long run because all you do is buy a little time. Now there is a window of opportunity for the masses and the only leaders are union, who have the resources to forge the change. We need to start with the people on talk shows on television and radio, and even in publications, like newspapers and magazines and websites. We need to take our stories to the people, who don’t know who fought for them to have the 8-hour-work day, overtime, pensions, job safety, child labor laws, and the right to even form a union. The GOP has their people, like the think tanks of Fox & Hounds, the Heritage Foundation, and Hoover Institution to name a few, out there talking down everything that the 99 percent needs to survive. Do we need to find our own shopping cart for that will be for a lot of us our new home. We can lose all these protections again with the way the GOP is hellbent on destroying everything that made this country great so they can give the wealthiest more wealth.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Reminder of the Types of Governments

What type of government are we heading toward? Niccolo Machiavelli wrote that there are three kinds of governments: Principality, Aristocracy, and Democracy. He said those who organize a government must turn to one of these based on what seems most appropriate to them and their mission. Others have the opinion that there are six types of government, three of which are bad and three are good in themselves. Although they are so easily corrupted that they too can become pernicious. Those types that are good are Principality, Aristocracy, and Democracy, but the bad ones are derived from the good ones. Each of the bad types are similar to the good types and because of this one type can easily slip from one into the other. A Principality can easily become a Tyranny, an Aristocracy can become an Oligarchy with ease, and a Democracy can turn into Anarchy with no difficulty. If the founders of a republic establishes one of these three types of governments, it will be established for only a short time because no remedy has ever been found to be capable of preventing one type from sliding into its contrary type because of the similarities that exist between the two—in this case between the virtue and the vice. The best one so far was established by Lycurgus, who established his laws for Sparta, which lasted for eight hundred years.  In the 1830s, Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville turned the U.S. and came to the conclusion our sense of Democracy was a big and great idea, it would not last for people are people and they would find a way to destroy this concept. Trump and the Republicans are provin ghim correct. The U.S. are very new in comparison to other countries and we are in the process of slipping toward an anarchy or worse. Lycurgus had a little of all three of the good types of government to watch over each other. I have written about this topic before, but in these times, with a corrupt president and Republican party in place, I think we visit this again.