May Day–2020

Closing Thought–01May20

Today is the celebration of workers internationally….but where did it all begin?

Celebrations on May 1 have long had two, seemingly contradictory meanings. On one hand, May Day is known for maypoles, flowers and welcoming the spring. On the other hand, it’s a day of worker solidarity and protest; though the U.S. observes its official Labor Day in September, many countries will celebrate Labor Day on Monday.

I am a former union organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)…so first of May means the struggle of the workers for equality and a better life…..

Most people living in the United States know little about the International Workers’ Day of May Day. For many others there is an assumption that it is a holiday celebrated in state communist countries like Cuba or the former Soviet Union. Most Americans don’t realize that May Day has its origins here in this country and is as “American” as baseball and apple pie, and stemmed from the pre-Christian holiday of Beltane, a celebration of rebirth and fertility.

In the late nineteenth century, the working class was in constant struggle to gain the 8-hour work day. Working conditions were severe and it was quite common to work 10 to 16 hour days in unsafe conditions. Death and injury were commonplace at many work places and inspired such books as Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and Jack London’s The Iron Heel. As early as the 1860’s, working people agitated to shorten the workday without a cut in pay, but it wasn’t until the late 1880’s that organized labor was able to garner enough strength to declare the 8-hour workday. This proclamation was without consent of employers, yet demanded by many of the working class.

https://archive.iww.org/history/library/misc/origins_of_mayday/

Today as it was in the early days of the 20th century the US needs a strong union atmosphere for the workers will NEVER gain the things they are working for as the atmosphere is today.

This pandemic could be the wake up call and unions could come alive once again….all we need is the energy of activists and the people to listen.

American workers in the 1950s had much to be grateful for on May 1, International Workers’ Day. Back then, one-third of all workers were unionized, and they were sharing in the nation’s prosperity.

Flash forward 60-plus years, and workers can’t be blamed for finding little to celebrate. In 2019 union members comprised a little over 10 percent of the workforce, or about 14.6 million people. This decline has translated into flat wages and eroding benefits for all workers.

Since 1979, workers have witnessed their real wages stagnate and their safety nets vanish, leaving many housing- or food-insecure. Now, in the midst of a historic pandemic, the stakes are even higher. This week, President Donald Trump issued an executive order to keep meatpacking plants open, jeopardizing not only workers’ livelihoods but their lives.

Could a Pandemic Spur the Resurgence of Labor Unions?

As an aging activist…I hope so…..

I leave you with songs from the IWW (my union)…..first Robeson sings Joe Hill…..

Joe Hill is a hero to most union organizers…..a man that was killed but could not die…..

This is the man…

On Nov. 19, 1915, Joe Hill sat facing a five-man firing squad on the grounds inside Utah State Prison. He seemed to be enjoying the last few minutes of his life despite being strapped to a chair, blind-folded with a paper target covering his heart. As the squad prepared to pull their triggers, Hill was reported to yell his final words, “Fire! Go on and fire!” A smile appeared on his face just before three bullets struck his heart, killing him. At this moment, Joe Hill had transcended from a labor organizer into a labor legend.

Joe Hill: A Man That Did Not Die

Hill made two requests: “Don’t waste any time morning, organize!” and “Could you arrange to have my body hauled to the state line to be buried? I don’t want to be found dead in Utah.”

Nov. 19, 1915: Labor Organizer Joe Hill Executed - Zinn Education ...

A thought…what better time to revive the labor movement then NOW?

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into stark relief the inequalities baked into the U.S.’s capitalist system—one that deems nurses and grocery workers “essential,” but leaves them with just as few rights and privileges as they had before the crisis struck. The scenario before us, where society depends more than ever on the bottom rung of the working class, offers a perfect storm for these “essential workers” to use their leverage and demand better protections for themselves now and in the future. This perfect storm may well unfold on May 1—a day with historic roots in the U.S., marked by workers all around the world to demand their labor rights.

Is There Any Better Time Than Now For a General Strike?

Celebrate those on the front lines of this fight…..

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Be well and be safe…..

Have a great weekend my friends.

I Read, I write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

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Meat Of The Subject

It is official the meat packers must stay open and operating…..seriously…I would not kid…..https://www.rawstory.com/2020/04/this-is-crazy-meat-processing-plant-workers-reject-trumps-demand-that-they-return-to-work/

Donald the Orange has signed is millionth (a small exaggeration) Executive Order to force the meat packing plants to remain open….

President Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday to keep meat processing plants open as “critical infrastructure”—but with coronavirus outbreaks sickening workers and closing plants, some meat products are already in short supply. Poultry plants say they are doing less de-boning as a way to function with fewer workers; some food retailers have started substituting bone-in legs, thighs, and drumsticks for boneless chicken products as a result, Fortune reports. Consumers are also likely to see bigger packages of meat in stores as well as unfamiliar items like “end cuts” from the leg. More:

  • Trump’s order. The order Trump signed Tuesday night invokes the Defense Production Act to keep the plants running, NPR reports. “It is important that processors of beef, pork, and poultry … in the food supply chain continue operating and fulfilling orders to ensure a continued supply of protein for Americans,” the order states. The order followed a warning that plant closures caused by the pandemic could reduce the meat supply by 80%.
  • Roadblock” lifted. Trump said he would remove what he called a “legal roadblock” from the supply chains. He was referring to potential lawsuits from workers exposed to the coronavirus. A Labor Department order provided additional liability protection for meat plants, the Guardian reports. The order will “solve any liability problems where they had certain liability problems and we’ll be in very good shape,” Trump said.
  • Unions cry foul. After the order was issued, unions accused Trump of putting workers’ health at risk. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union called for the government to introduce “clear and enforceable” safety standards to protect meat processing workers, the AP reports. “Simply put, we cannot have a secure food supply without the safety of these workers,” said union chief Mark Perrone. The union says at least 20 meat processing workers have died from COVID-19 and thousands more have been infected.
  • Order overrides states. The Labor Department and Occupational Safety and Health Administration order stated that the federal government will override states that have ordered plants to close after COVID-19 outbreaks, the New York Times reports. “No part of the joint meat processing guidance should be construed to indicate that state and local authorities may direct a meat and poultry processing facility to close,” the guidance states.
  • Safety measures. Administration officials say they are working with meat companies to provide protective equipment and step up testing for the virus. Union leaders say these steps should have been taken a lot sooner.

My thought is….what will they process with no meat?

What purpose does this accomplish?  This will not make Donald look as if he really cares about the workers and their safety.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Should We Stay Home Or Not?

Just yesterday there were 30,000+ new cases and 2,000+ deaths…..that is the 4th day of increases…..and yet there are morons that want all the precautions to end…..and some of them carry guns….MORONS!

That is the raging debate these days….should we listen to Donald the Orange and his confidence that this is just about over or the medical experts that tell us to use caution before venturing out and about.

So to begin with do Repubs believe in the lockdown?

Rank-and-file Republican voters are still generally supportive of social distancing and other measures to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, even after conservative protesters in several states, some conservatives elites and President Trump have denounced virus-related restrictions.

Polls over the past month found that Republicans were less supportive of such measures than Democrats, but they were still in favor overall. For most of that period, though, there wasn’t really a vocal movement arguing against social distancing. That changed toward the end of last week, particularly with the protests, which were fairly small but got a lot of media coverage. In the wake of the protests and Trump’s support of them, I had expected conservative and Republican voters to become more opposed to social distancing since voters often take cues from party leaders and elites.

Do Most Republicans Agree With People Protesting Stay-At-Home Orders?

Dems are heavily invested in the lock down….but there is still the radical fringe push back……

But that is what happened at a demonstration against the shutdown measures in Washington State.

“We believe that the state governor has gone beyond his constitutional authority in shutting down businesses and ordering people to stay at home,” organiser Tyler Miller says from the grounds of the state capitol.

In mid-March, Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced an emergency proclamation mirroring many issued around the world; closing restaurants and bars and banning large gatherings.

But protesters say that was unconstitutional.

“The state constitution says that the right of the people to peaceably assemble shall never be abridged. We believe that the (emergency coronavirus) proclamations that the governor here ordered violate that,” Mr Miller says.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52417610

Fascinating!

Unconstitutional?  These people interrupting what the Constitution and Framers really meant are the same ones that take other parts as they are written…..that is a perfect illustration of the hypocrisy around the Constitution.

Disraeli summed it up perfectly…..”A Conservative Government is an organized hypocrisy.”

There are three things in the world that deserve no mercy, hypocrisy, fraud, and tyranny.
 
Speaking hypocrisy, fraud and tyranny…..
 
It appears that as the country tries to re-open Donald the Orange’s popularity and his virus approval is waning…..

President Donald Trump has received his lowest marks yet for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak, with net approval of his leadership on combating the pandemic down 22 points, according to a new Morning Consult poll.

Of 1,984 registered voters surveyed between April 24 and 26, 51 percent said they did not approve of Trump’s handling of the outbreak, compared with 43 percent who said they did approve.

As a result, the net approval for Trump’s performance, which is determined by deducting the share of those who disapprove from the share who do approve, sat 8 percentage points “underwater,” Morning Consult said in a breakdown of its findings.

 
It seems that gun nuts want to intimidate leaders with their guns and tac gear……
 
The Republican-led Michigan Legislature refused Thursday to extend the state’s coronavirus emergency declaration and voted to authorize a lawsuit challenging Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s authority and actions to combat the pandemic. The governor, unfazed, responded with orders stating under one law that an emergency still exists, while declaring a new 28-day state of emergency under another law, the AP reports. The declarations are important because they are the foundation for Whitmer’s stay-at-home measure, which will remain in effect through May 15, and other directives aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. The virus that causes COVID-19 has infected more than 41,000 Michigan residents and contributed to the deaths of 3,789, many in the Detroit area. Whitmer accused GOP lawmakers of “putting their heads in the sand and putting more lives and livelihoods at risk. I’m not going to let that happen.”
 
The legislative pushback came as hundreds of conservative activists, including some who were openly carrying assault rifles, returned to the Capitol to denounce her stay-home order. The virus and the steps taken to curb it, including the closure of nonessential businesses, have had a devastating effect on the economy. In her new emergency orders, Whitmer said cases are doubling every six days or faster in some counties in western and northern Michigan. Some angry protesters—many without face coverings—entered the Capitol and demanded to be let onto the House floor, which is not allowed. The gallery was closed to the public to allow room for representatives and reporters to spread apart. Some demonstrators in the Senate gallery were openly carrying guns, which is legal in the statehouse. One senator said some armed men shouted at her, and some senators wore bulletproof vests for protection.
These people  need to be arrested for coercion…..it is against the law to intimidate a witness why is not so for government toadies?
 
One final thought…..
 
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Especially morons with guns……these are cowards without a spine……
 
Watch This Blog!
 
Be Well….Be Safe…..
 
I Read, I Write, You Know
 
“lego ergo scribo”

News Tour Of The Middle East

I have neglected my area of expertise…… if it can be called that…… the Middle East….

There is always something happening in the Middle East……and these days the virus has changed nothing…

Middle East countries continue to report rising numbers of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus infection, known as Covid-19.

Countries in the Gulf have taken unprecedented measures, so have others in the Middle East. There have been border closures, travel restrictions, lockdowns and curfews.

Since Covid-19 was detected in the Chinese province of Hubei in January, it has spread to more than 100 countries, infecting over 1.4 million people and killing more than 82,000.

https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/coronavirus-in-the-middle-east-lockdowns-extended-across-the-region-1.995673

Moving past the covid-19 thing and onto the conflict between KSA, Bahrain and UAE with Qatar…..the nations have issued a ultimatum to Qatar…..

These are the list of demands that Qatar must adhere to….

1) Scale down diplomatic ties with Iran and close the Iranian diplomatic missions in Qatar, expel members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and cut off military and intelligence cooperation with Iran. Trade and commerce with Iran must comply with US and international sanctions in a manner that does not jeopardise the security of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

2) Immediately shut down the Turkish military base, which is currently under construction, and halt military cooperation with Turkey inside of Qatar.

3) Sever ties to all “terrorist, sectarian and ideological organisations,” specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIL, al-Qaeda, Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as the Nusra Front) and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Formally declare these entities as terror groups as per the list announced by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt, and concur with all future updates of this list.

4) Stop all means of funding for individuals, groups or organisations that have been designated as terrorists by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, US and other countries.

5) Hand over “terrorist figures”, fugitives and wanted individuals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain to their countries of origin. Freeze their assets, and provide any desired information about their residency, movements and finances.

6) Shut down Al Jazeera and its affiliate stations.

7) End interference in sovereign countries’ internal affairs. Stop granting citizenship to wanted nationals from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Revoke Qatari citizenship for nationals where such citizenship violates those countries’ laws.

8) Pay reparations and compensation for loss of life and other financial losses caused by Qatar’s policies in recent years. The sum will be determined in coordination with Qatar.

9) Align Qatar’s military, political, social and economic policies with the other Gulf and Arab countries, as well as on economic matters, as per the 2014 agreement reached with Saudi Arabia.

10) Cease contact with the political opposition in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain. Hand over files detailing Qatar’s prior contact with and support for opposition groups, and submit details of their personal information and the support Qatar has provided them.

11) Shut down all news outlets funded directly and indirectly by Qatar, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al Araby Al Jadeed, Mekameleen and Middle East Eye, etc.

12) Agree to all the demands within 10 days of list being submitted to Qatar, or the list will become invalid.

13) Consent to monthly compliance audits in the first year after agreeing to the demands, followed by quarterly audits in the second year, and annual audits in the following 10 years

If you would like to read more…..https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/arab-states-issue-list-demands-qatar-crisis-170623022133024.html

BTW this was issued 3 years ago and so far Qatar has told them to pound sand (no pun intended)…..

That situation is still a touchy one for the region…..

KSA and UAE have been bombing Yemen back into the pre-stone Age and now the UAE is trying to gain control of Sudan’s major port…..

Map of Sudan

Sudan’s transitional government is taking steps to hand over control of its principal seaport to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a move that incensed port workers who say they will protest privatisation of the country’s national terminal.

Officials in Sudan, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Al Jazeera the government was in the process of securing a deal with UAE giant Dubai Ports World (DP World). The agreement would allow the logistics company to run the South Port Container Terminal at Port Sudan.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/04/uae-steps-gain-control-sudan-main-port-200423205443903.html

Why does the UAE need another port?

More to this move than some need for a port……what is this about?

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I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”