Closing Thought–10Sep18

Strike!

Something that is not in the news much these days….a labor strike.  Seems that the industry that may benefit most from Our Dear Leader’s tariffs is the steel industry and they may go on strike……

US Steel workers are fired up and ready to strike if a new contract isn’t reached soon, the Times of Northwest Indiana reports. Workers for the Pittsburgh-based company voted nationwide this week to approve a strike if talks involving health care costs, retiree benefits, and wage increases don’t work out—at a time when their employer is apparently rolling in money. “Angry USW members conducted strike authorization meetings at each US Steel local over the past week,” the United Steelworkers said in a statement to workers, adding that there was “an overwhelming ‘yes’ vote in every local. Many locals reported that their results were unanimous.” A three-year US Steel contract for roughly 16,000 USW workers ran out Saturday.

Don Furko, president of USW Local 1557 in Clairton, Pa., says workers are pushing back at a time when President Trump’s policies are benefitting US Steel: “Between the tariffs and the tax break for corporations, they stand to make $2 billion this year,” he tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. US Steel says it’s offering workers profit-sharing of at least $6,000, a signing bonus of $4,000, wage increases starting at 4%, a 15-cent hourly increase to 401(k) retirement plans, and a one-time $5,000 health-care bonus. But Farko says workers still have too many out-of-pocket health care costs for family coverage. The pro-strike vote surprised steel-industry sources, says the Post-Gazette. There hasn’t been a US Steel work stoppage since the company locked out workers for six months in 1986.

As an old labor activist it is good to see the workers taking control once again.  No matter the outcome…..the workers are asserting themselves once again…..but the “Man” will make sure this goes nowhere.

Will the National Guard be called in to “break” any strike….

But the gauzy, halcyon portrait of the New Deal does not stand up to the reality of the Little Steel Strike of 1937 that is the subject of Ahmed White’s magisterial The Last Great Strike: Little Steel, the CIO, and the Struggle for Labor Rights in New Deal America that I discussed in a previous CounterPunch article focused on identity politics and the racism endured by Black steelworkers. For those new to the topic, “little” refers to the group of companies that blocked the CIO from organizing its workers, as opposed to US Steel, the “big” company that had they had come to terms with in March 1937. Little Steel consisted of Republic Steel Corporation, Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company and Inland Steel Company. Despite being called “little” in comparison to US Steel, each ranked among the hundred largest firms in America

https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/23/fdr-and-the-little-steel-strike/

Would Our Dear Leader call out the Guard to break a strike?

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Economic News Round-up

Economics is one of those subjects that when it is mentioned most people glaze over….they could care less about the term as long as they are making money they are happy…..that is until someone mentions socialism then they have an opinion…..usually it is not well informed but it is an opinion.

I try to help my readers understand a wide array of subjects and I try to keep them as simple as possible so they can be understood.

In his attempt to “Make America Great Again” our Dear Leader has started with imposing tariffs on our biggest competitors…..and these tariffs are starting to effect our farmers…..

New trade data provides tangible evidence that some elements of President Trump’s trade wars are backfiring.

Prices for agricultural exports fell 5.3% in July, the biggest drop since 2011. The price of soybeans fell 14.1%, accounting for most of the overall drop. There were also small declines in the price of corn, wheat, fruit and nut exports. Overall export prices fell 0.5%, the biggest drop in more than a year, with agriculture causing most of the decline.

Beginning July 6, China imposed 25% tariffs on a variety of American agricultural products, including soybeans, corn, poultry and pork. Tariffs are a tax that instantly raise the cost of the targeted product, so $100 of soybeans would cost $125 with China’s 25% tariff. The tariffs have led some purchasers in China to cancel orders for U.S. agricultural products and seek cheaper commodities from other nations not subject to the new tariffs. Diminished demand pushes down prices and lowers farmers’ incomes.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/trumps-trade-war-starting-hurt-us-farmers-184608387.html

How long will his tariffs plug away at our farmers?

Almost daily reports are to the people that the markets are setting new highs and corporate earnings are up and unemployment is hitting new lows and…….

But does that mean everything is alright?

The Lamestream Fake News Lyin’ Media is often accused of never reporting the good news when it comes to Donald Trump, American president. So here are some fair tidings: the stock market is mostly up! So are corporate earnings! GDP growth is strong! Unemployment is near historic lows! That includes black unemployment, although the president mostly uses the stat as a cudgel against accurate assessments of his rhetoric on race!

Now, it’s important to keep in mind that these findings are actually continuations of longstanding trends that began a few years into the Obama administration. Take the S&P 500:

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a22716745/donald-trump-economy-real-wages-stock-market-unemployment/

Wages is the big problem……while CEOs are raking in historically high bonuses and incomes the normal worker is not making the same ….their wages are stagnant and have been for decades…..

Some say the US is overdue for another “market correction”……

Economists debate, inconclusively, this question: Do economic expansions die of old age (the current one began in June 2009) or are they slain by big events or bad policies? What is known is that all expansions end. God, a wit has warned, is going to come down and pull civilization over for speeding. When He, or something, decides that today’s expansion, currently in its 111th month (approaching twice the 58-month average length of post-1945 expansions), has gone on long enough, the contraction probably will begin with the annual budget deficit exceeding $1 trillion.

The president’s Office of Management and Budget – not that there really is a meaningful budget getting actual management – projects that the deficit for fiscal year 2019, which begins in six weeks, will be $1.085 trillion. This is while the economy is, according to the economic historian in the Oval Office, “as good as it’s ever been, ever.”

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-21/america-overdue-another-economic-disaster

Capitalism is always just one “correction” away from disaster…….

It’s Vacation Time

July and August are the typical month that Americans take a vacation if they take one at all…….me?  No need to worry for I am on a permanent vacation….it is called retirement.

When I was working I seldom took any time off…..a workaholic…….but I read something that made me think about all this time off stuff…..

Life for the medieval peasant was certainly no picnic. His life was shadowed by fear of famine, disease and bursts of warfare. His diet and personal hygiene left much to be desired.

But despite his reputation as a miserable wretch, you might envy him one thing: his vacations.

Plowing and harvesting were backbreaking toil, but the peasant enjoyed anywhere from eight weeks to half the year off.

http://www.businessinsider.com/american-worker-less-vacation-medieval-peasant-2016-11

Let’s be honest most Americans cannot afford to take the time off……plus if married trying to get the spouses off at the same time is a bit of a juggling act.

But if you do get the stuff all in line and take a holiday to the beach then you might want to try a new bathing suit…..

We call this bikini “duct tape chic”

And now duct-tape bikinis have officially made their runaway debut. Yes, you read that correctly.

Last week, models took to the runway for fashion brand Black Tape Project to show off the experimental style.

As part of a Miami Swim Week show, the styles ranged from glitzy gold swimwear chic to the more obvious “I’ve wrapped myself in black duct tape” look.

But if donning tape instead of a conventional cossie wasn’t daring enough, let’s just say this style isn’t for the faint of heart.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/6788937/duct-tape-bikinis-catwalk-miami-swim-week/

I knew Duct Tape had many many uses….but as a bathing suit….that is a new one….Who Knew?

In a generation that thinks there is something wrong will all body hair the removal of the bikini would not be too painful…so there is that.

Thoughts?

Closing Thought–19Feb18

I have been called an apologist by some of my right wing brethren….still not sure why….but that aside anything I write about Fearless Leader and these same brethren make excuses for the actions of their bromance, Trump…..does that not make them the apologist?

Moving on…….

Pres. Trump has lied tooth and nail to his supporters and they take it without the lube to make it less painful…..

What am I talking about?

Lots like the companies that announced the big bonuses after the signing of the new tax cut bill…..AT&T, Comcast, et al fired workers just before Christmas….for one example…..

Others?  Certainly!

Trump is all about American workers right?

Trump’s hotels and resorts are not hiring Americans to fill their seasonal job vacancies, despite his rhetoric about “America first.” Since he was inaugurated, none of the seasonal jobs at his resorts have been filled by Americans.

Vox reports that in an analysis of filings that the Trump Organization made with the U.S. Department of Labor between 2016 to 2017, only one American worker was hired — in August 2016 — for the 144 open positions for servers, cooks, housekeepers, and bartenders.

The remaining 143 positions were taken by foreign guest workers who were granted H-2B visas.

Most of the jobs included in the survey were at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida resort where he has spent a majority of his weekends since he took office. Also included were the Trump National Golf Clubs in Briarcliff Manor, New York, and Jupiter, Florida.

Apparently putting American workers first does not apply to his properties.

There is more…..

The Trump 2019 budget craps on factory workers …remember them?

President Donald Trump has promised that dying American industries and factory towns will come “roaring back” under his presidency. But if his budget proposal for 2019 is any sign, his administration won’t do much to make that happen.

In the budget plan released Monday, the Trump White House proposed slashing more than $300 million in spending on some of the few federal programs meant to boost manufacturing in distressed communities — the same industrial towns in decline that turned out heavily for Trump. The White House had proposed the same thing last year, though Congress kept most of the funding in place for 2018.

Trump’s administration wants to end key economic development programs run by the Department of Commerce. The budget calls for the Commerce Department to completely eliminate the Economic Development Administration (EDA), which, among other things, provides grants to help American manufacturers compete with global competitors. The administration also wants to do away with the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which helps funds manufacturing innovation centers in every state and Puerto Rico.

https://www.vox.com/2018/2/13/17004590/trump-budget-cuts-manufacturing-michigan-west-virginia

Just a couple of example of what a lying piece of fecal matter this president is…..I will leave it there and await the excuses from his supporters with the built in knee pads.

Time to go and wait for the attacks and insults….after all that is what this bromance does…..so I expect them to follow suit.

TTFN……chuq

Closing Thought–06Dec17

The tax bills are in conference to hammer out the details for one big f*cking of the Middle Class……I have read what parts are not scribbled in some lobbyist lingo and found the one part that is most disturbing to me.

In my younger days I was a labor organizer for the IWW, yes I was a Wobbly and if you do not know that term then you are too young …….and as an organizer I fought hard for workers to to re-trained when their jobs were either outsourced or replaced by machines…..the new tax bill will screw the worker hard and with a smile…..

The section I am referring to…….

Encouraging corporations to automate ― without any help for displaced workers.

A provision of the tax bill would allow companies to deduct from their taxable income the entire cost of certain kinds of business investments that were previously only eligible for a 50 percent deduction. Traditionally, manufacturing firms and other infrastructure-heavy companies took advantage of the deduction to buy new factory equipment.

But the increase in the deduction comes at a time when corporations are investing in automation of their production facilities through the use of robots and artificial intelligence technology, noted Robert Kovacev, a corporate tax attorney for the Steptoe & Johnson law firm in Washington, D.C.

“It’s going to accelerate spending, basically, on robots that could displace workers,” Kovacev told HuffPost.

Kovacev is supportive of the deduction, because automation is likely to increase productivity ― defined as the amount of economic output generated per work-hour. And many experts maintain that, over the long run, this type of technological disruption is a net job creator.

That is likely to serve as cold comfort, however, for the mostly blue-collar workers displaced by automation in the short term. And Congress chose to speed up the automation process without any companion measures to offset the fallout for affected workers.

“It would be a good idea to pair this with a tax incentive to encourage companies either to employ more human workers or retrain them for jobs in the new economy,” Kovacev said.

Some progressive lawmakers have other ideas about how to address the harm caused by automation. For example, San Francisco County Supervisor Jane Kim has explored the idea of implementing a ”robot tax” on companies for every robot they employ to perform a job previously done by humans. The revenue raised by the tax would fund the retraining of displaced workers.

I approve of the “robot tax” and the money used to re-train workers for other aspects of the job.

Every trade union should be on this section of the bill like a pit bull with a lobbyist leg in its mouth.

The workers are screwed every time these cowards try to help their corporate masters….time for them to pay up to help the worker…..PERIOD!

Don’t mourn….organize!

“An injury to one is an injury to all”

Bring back the radicalization that was the IWW!

 

TTFN……tomorrow is another day……chuq

The Murder Of Joe Hill

In my younger years I was a labor organizer for the IWW….I worked mainly with bartenders and casino workers….you have not lived until you try to organize workers at at a casino…..

Anyway as a organizer for the IWW I learned about the early days and especially about one of the “saints” of the labor movement, Joe Hill…..who was murdered in November1915 ……learn more about this extraordinary man……

Don’t mourn – organise!
Joel Emmanuel Haaglund was born in Gefle, Sweden in 1882. He emigrated to the United States in 1901 and settled in California where he changed his name to Joe Hill. Converted to socialism in 1910, Hill became a member of the revolutionary rank-and-file union the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and was one of the leaders of the San Pedro dock workers’ strike. In 1912 he was beaten up and permanently scarred during a free speech campaign in San Diego.

Hill, left, was also a songwriter and his socialist songs appeared in the trade union newspapers, Industrial Worker and Solidarity. After his Red Songbook was published his songs were sung on picket lines and demonstrations. Songs such as The Preacher and the Slave (the phrase “pie in the sky” originates from a lyric in this song) and Casey Jones – The Union Scab became internationally known folk songs.

(read on)…..

He was jailed and executed by firing squad in Salt Lake City, Utah…..his final wish was to Big Bill Haywood leader of the IWW….. “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.”

Below is a song about Joe Hill sung by Paul Robeson…..

More songs from the IWW…..

Labor Day–04Sep17

Today is the first Monday in the month of September and that means we Americans celebrate Labor Day……a day dedicated to the workers of this country and their contributions to society.

This may well be my only post for the day as I would like to spend some time with my better half….Trying to stay off my foot but that is a lot harder than one would think……so I will revert back to the events of the past to bring some light to the labor issue……

The US loses more and more good paying jobs every year…..maybe it is time to step back and see what our ancestors did to improve working conditions in the country.

We need to return to the days when the workers were important enough for a movement to help achieve that better life that all all looking for……

The labor movement in the United States grew out of the need to protect the common interest of workers. For those in the industrial sector, organized labor unions fought for better wages, reasonable hours and safer working conditions. The labor movement led efforts to stop child labor, give health benefits and provide aid to workers who were injured or retired.

Source: Labor Movement – Facts & Summary – HISTORY.com

Below is over 2 hours of labor songs from the early days of the union movement….enjoy!

Put politics aside…..time for the Workers To Unite!

Time to shut the mind down and do things that require little thought…..enjoy your day and I shall return tomorrow with more stuff…..chuq