Today In Labor History

11 July
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho miners seize coal mines – 1892

A nine-year strike, the longest in the history of the United Auto Workers, began at the Ohio Crankshaft Division of Park-Ohio Industries Inc. in Cuyahoga Heights, Ohio.  Despite scabs, arrests and firings, UAW Local 91 members hung tough and in 1992 won a fair contract— 1983

The Fed Bails Out Wall Street

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson outlined the ruthless class policy being carried out to place the burden for the financial and housing crisis on the backs of working people.

Bernanke indicated that the Fed would extend its policy of offering unlimited loans to major Wall Street investment banks. The provision of Fed funds to non-commercial banks and brokerage firms, a departure from the Fed’s legal mandate without precedent since the Great Depression, is part of a policy of bailing out the banking system to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. The Fed announced its loan program for investment banks last March when it dispensed $29 billion to JPMorgan Chase as part of a rescue operation to prevent the collapse of Bear Stearns.

In other words, low-income home owners who were lured into high-interest mortgages by predatory mortgage companies and banks are getting their just deserts! Of course, the Wall Street CEOs and big investors who made billions of dollars by speculating on these loans, creating a vast edifice of fictitious capital that was bound to collapse, are not to be held accountable for any “untenable financial decisions.” On the contrary, they are to be subsidized with hundreds of billions of dollars of credit, ultimately to be paid for by public funds.

Bernanke made clear that his call for an extension of loans to big investment banks is part of a more comprehensive proposal to systemize and regularize federal subsidies and bailouts for troubled banking giants. Particularly significant was the following remark: “Because the resolution of a failing securities firm might have fiscal implications, it would be appropriate for the Treasury to take a leading role in any such process, in consultation with the firm’s regulator and other authorities.” The implication is that the US Treasury should be ready to fund bank bail-outs with whatever taxpayer funds are necessary.

This is unacceptable… business when in financial trouble was not helped in any way for the bad judgment that I was making….my point is these corporations made terrible decisions and should not be rewarded for doing so.

Union Veterans Group

The A.F.L.-C.I.O. announced on Wednesday that it has set up a new union council for military veterans that will run broadcast ads in six states praising Senator John McCain’s military record, while criticizing his Senate record, especially on economic issues.

The labor federation, which represents 10 million union members, is planning to run broadcast ads for the next three weeks in six swing stages; Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Federation officials said this new effort was designed in large part to persuade veterans — union and nonunion — to think about not just Mr. McCain’s military record, but about his broader economic record when they vote.

One of their first ads was that McCain is voting against health care for vets, but with as little research that is not so.

The AFL-CIO is attacking McCain with a TV spot saying he voted “against increasing health care benefits for veterans.” Actually, he voted for increases in those benefits.

The labor federation points to McCain’s votes against Democratic proposals to increase funding. Those were defeated along party lines, and then quickly followed by alternative measures to increase benefits by smaller amounts, all of which passed unanimously or with near-unanimous majorities. McCain supported all of them.

The AFL-CIO also points to a McCain vote against a war spending supplemental appropriations measure from 2007 that included additional funding for veterans’ health care, along with much else. The measure passed the Senate along partisan lines but was vetoed by President Bush. But McCain voted for a later version of the supplemental that ultimately passed into law and actually included slightly more funding for veterans’ benefits.

I do not mind attacks on the candidates, but I do dislike lies about them.

Yet Another Pastor Problem

You know I a, thinking that Obama needs to stay far away from these darn reverends–they are not helping!

Obama resigned from Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ during the primaries after a videotape of his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., hit the Internet. On the tape, Wright accused the U.S. government of creating AIDS and is seen shouting “God damn America” during a sermon.

In May, Roman Catholic priest the Rev. Michael Pfleger mocked Obama’s then Democratic rival Sen. Hillary Clinton during a guest sermon at Trinity United. Pfleger, who is white, pretended he was Clinton crying over “a black man stealing my show.” He later apologized.

Barack Obama’s campaign tried yet again to contain a political storm kicked up by a vocal Chicago supporter as the Rev. Jesse Jackson apologized for crude comments picked up by a live microphone about the Democratic presidential candidate.

Jackson said the “hurtful and wrong” comments came in response to a question from a fellow guest during a break from taping “Fox & Friends” on Sunday. The guest asked about speeches on morality Obama has given at black churches.

Jackson said at a news conference Wednesday that he had said Obama’s speeches can come off as speaking down to black people and that there were other important issues to be addressed in the community, such as unemployment, the mortgage crisis and the number of blacks in prison.

To me it is that this new type black candidate is stealing his thunder and he is a bit jealous.  The same with Clinton.  These “old school” politicians are losing their footing in the party.  Yes, they will retain some influence within the party but there is a new alpha male.

Shut Up You Damn Whiners!(Sarcasm)

THis I first read on MSNBC’s First Read:

In an interview with the Washington Times, the McCain economic adviser downplayed the economy — despite it having been the top issue of concern to voters in public polling for months. Gramm goes so far as to call the economy a “mental recession,” says that “We have sort of become a nation of whiners” and blames much of the hand-wringing on the perpetual scapegoat — the media.

” ‘You’ve heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession,’ [Gramm] said, noting that growth has held up at about 1 percent despite all the publicity over losing jobs to India, China, illegal immigration, housing and credit problems and record oil prices. ‘We may have a recession; we haven’t had one yet.’

” ‘We have sort of become a nation of whiners,’ he said. ‘You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline’ despite a major export boom that is the primary reason that growth continues in the economy, he said.

” ‘We’ve never been more dominant; we’ve never had more natural advantages than we have today,’ he said. ‘We have benefited greatly’ from the globalization of the economy in the last 30 years.

“Mr. Gramm said the constant drubbing of the media on the economy’s problems is one reason people have lost confidence. Various surveys show that consumer confidence has fallen precipitously this year to the lowest levels in two to three decades, with most analysts attributing that to record high gasoline prices over $4 a gallon and big drops in the value of homes, which are consumers’ biggest assets.

” ‘Misery sells newspapers,’ Mr. Gramm said. ‘Thank God the economy is not as bad as you read in the newspaper every day.'”

Gramm has since step a bit back but says he meant everything he said.  But he tried to clarify it by saying that he was speaking about the nation’s leaders.  But to me he was talking about the people of the nation.  Very nice, a millionaire calling me a whiner……so keep that in mind Mr and Mrs Voter, your situation is nothing to whine about, so says a multi-millionaire.

Cynthia McKinney Makes A Comeback

As Senator Barack Obama continues pivoting away from those primary-election positions and promises that once galvanized his Democratic base, he may have a new worry looming on the horizon in the person of Cynthia McKinney. A former Georgia Congresswoman, McKinney is said to be a shoo-in as the Green Party’s 2008 presidential nominee when their convention is held in Chicago, July 10-12.

Securing the Green Party’s 2008 standard-bearer position would bestow on McKinney the historic title of ‘first’ African American woman to be on the ballot as a viable candidate of a major party for President of the United States. That title alone will not only lessen the aura surrounding Barack Obama’s position as the ‘first’ African American male presidential nominee, but she may also siphon off just-enough left-wing, African American, and women voters, to sink both their chances for victory in the Fall.

It appears that, barring any unforeseen political calamity, McKinney should lock-down the Green Party nomination this week. No doubt she will immediately begin calling attention to and “disrobing” Obama’s about-face on those core left-wing issues… in addition to aggressively courting the disgruntled Obama-primary-voters who voice their discontent of the presumptive Democratic nominee (daily and by the thousands) where it counts most: Bloggersville.

Obama Leans Right–Part 2

This is a synopsis of an article written in the LA Times. I would like to be sure that there is equal time for the different sides in this discussion.

As Barack Obama moves to broaden his appeal beyond loyal Democrats, a chorus of anger and disappointment has arisen from the left. But those voices are a distinct minority because the party has a more pressing concern: winning in November.

Obama again bucked his liberal allies, voting in the Senate to give legal immunity to phone companies that took part in warrantless wiretapping after the Sept. 11 attacks. Critics chided Obama for the vote — which put him crossways with dozens of Democratic colleagues, including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

Few voters cast their ballots based on a single issue, making much of the discussion of Obama’s evolution — real or imagined — just so much talk by political insiders. Significantly, though, many have accepted what they see as Obama’s shift.
The last Democrat to occupy the White House, Bill Clinton, benefited from the same sort of shrugging acceptance from the left. A few years in the political wilderness can do a lot to promote party unity.

In 1992, Clinton ran on a platform that included deficit reduction and “ending welfare as we know it” — hardly Democratic orthodoxy. Clinton, then the governor of Arkansas, also left the campaign trail to preside over the execution of a mentally incapacitated inmate, Ricky Ray Rector, and famously went before Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition to repudiate Sister Souljah, a hip-hop artist and political activist.

While there was some outcry from liberal activists, the overwhelming majority of Democrats — and liberal voters — stuck with Clinton in the fall. More significantly, the moves strengthened Clinton’s reputation as “a different kind of Democrat,” broadening his appeal and helping him win a three-way contest against President George H.W. Bush and independent Ross Perot.

All this assumes that you would be interested in another Clinton-esque president.