Blog Archives

It’s been our number one social program for 77 years…

 

… all it needs is one year of Republican control and you can kiss it goodbye.

 

FDR signed the Social Security Act on August 14, 1935, ensuring that all Americans—not just the privileged few—can retire with dignity. 77 years later, the Republican VP candidate, Paul Ryan, has proposed privatizing our promise to seniors. Pass on this image if you support protecting Social Security.

 

Where did the American united national character go?

A long time ago, in my youth in Connecticut, I remember a really different country than we have now. I didn’t learn about the Federal Government through C-Span, which, of course, didn’t exist back then, but through the Bristol Press and the Hartford Courant (and, occasionally, the Waterbury Republican.) These were the newspapers that came to our house, either by paper boy or by my father bringing them home at night from the Bristol Pharmacy after the 10 PM close.

My parents were moderate Republicans (a concept which doesn’t seem to exist any more), but some of my family were Democrats (My Uncle Pete, my Grandfather, my Aunt Helen… etc.) They all got along together. And they were part of a middle class that spent my first thirty years on this globe (I’m 65 next Tuesday) increasing their social and financial strength in a growing economy that was available to most of the population…not just the top 1%.

I tripped over a quote from President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a two term Republican and hero of WWII… Republicans and Democrats respected the man… that relates to our latest political conflict.

Ike said this on November 8, 1954:

“Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”

Now it seems that those of negligible number or obvious stupidity are no longer a tiny splinter group, but a small control force with names like Koch Brothers, or Rupert Murdoch, or Grover Norquist, who are adamantly against the country solving it’s economic problems by fair taxation of all economic levels. Nor do they want the remaining middle class, or the even poorer classes that much of that middle class is joining, to have access to adequate Social Security (if they have access to it at all) or Medicare or Medicaid or Food Stamps… you pick out any of the civil advancements we’ve made over the decades and it seems that this small control force is guiding the Republican Congress members into national devastation.

Part of their secret weapon in defying Ike’s prediction is in the creation of the Tea Party… getting a group of middle class or lower people to commit crippling torments on themselves… and then blaming progressives, and, indeed, our President for them. How did the rich get the not rich to carry out their self mutilation?

One way was to spend lots of money on Republican politicians, on political lies during elections and on encouraging racial and social segregation feelings among folks with a history of the same and a minimum of intellectual dexterity. You can tie this to a previous administration (Read Bush II) that decimated the money kept aside for Social Security, leaving filing cabinets loaded with IOUs that were never intended to be paid while they cut the settled tax rates for the very rich… tax rates that never stopped them either being rich or getting richer … leaving no more expected income for the needs of government.

And the Tea Party folks BELIEVED all this crap. What must the laughs have been like at the Koch Brothers family cocktail gatherings? What was John Boehner‘s thoughts of getting progressive legislation stopped as he played at his golf outings? Those of us entering the world of Social Security/Medicare supported retirement have much different thoughts. Those who will retire ten years from now have even less positive expectations to think about.

I am frustrated with much of what is happening… and aside from making statements in my blog, or on my podcast or on the Friday Morning radio show where I am a co-host… don’t see what I can really do about it. I continue to vote and never miss an election, but my level of winning, the level of any progressives winning, is well below 50%… I live in the midst of conservatives and small thinkers, and of Democrats who might as well be Republicans.

We have Corporations that are treated by our Supreme Court’s conservative majority as individual citizens, with no control of the money spent by such private power. We have oil companies that make billions in profits, but receive billions from our government as subsidies.

There is another President, even earlier than Eisenhower, who also had a vision of what could happen in our society:

“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. ”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Be afraid, my friends. Be very afraid.

While we are thinking about Unions…Look at all we’ve forgotten (I don’t think Scott Walker ever knew)…

PBS is running a new American Experience documentary this evening on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York City in 1911. It is an interesting and historically powerful story of the beginnings of the American Union movement… the conflict between the rich and the poor… and the use of strikes to get Union-only shops in the garment industry.

The fact that Triangle workers got some concessions in 1909 and 1910 in terms of wages and shift times, there was no change in working conditions and no collective bargaining. When the Triangle fire occurred in 1911, the ladies who worked there were inside locked doors (to keep workers from sneaking out with product when managers weren’t looking.) The 200 sewing machine workers were not alerted to the fire which began on the floor below… they were trapped. Some died in the fire… some jumped from windows, very few made it to a back alley fire escape. Many were trapped on an elevator that jammed after the first trip.

Labor was not considered the equal to management… but without that labor, the garment manufacturers would not have become wealthy. Isn’t it similar to how the citizens of Wisconsin benefit from Public Employees… teachers, firefighters, police, EMTs? While we don’t have the devastating tragedy of the Shirtwaist Fire in Wisconsin, we have people who are accused of being at fault due to their pension fund contributions…their own money…for the dismal economy. Not the bankers who overmortgaged and blew out the economy. Not the politicians who made sure the rich were not taxed on their incomes so that they could invest in those banks and stock brokerages that literally stole money from the pension funds of laborers.

In the 100 years since the Shirtwaist Fire and the major changes in Union organization and management/labor relationships it brought, we have forgotten the importance of workers and, as has been a conventional attitude of politicians from the right wing who oppose Unionism and negotiations, we are further away from the management changes that occurred over the next 4 decades.

We are back where we started from.

Just by insisting that he will not negotiate with the Public Employee unions, Governor Walker might as well be saying “your lives are meaningless.” Even when the employees WANT to take pay reductions and are willing to cooperate… but want collective bargaining, the thing that has made America from FDR to the present the symbol of the middle class glory, to remain a union option.

So now, on the Centennial of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, let us not tolerate the destruction of unions by overwhelming management policy.

Just watching all this tonight has gotten my hackles up… I hope it has gotten to you, too.

Howard Fineman is predicting a BIG loss for Democrats.

This article from HuffPo gives you Fineman‘s views this morning… I’ll give you the first couple of paragraphs, but DO go in and read the rest:
clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com
Publicly, Democratic campaign officials are putting a brave face on predictions of House losses, with House Campaign Chairman Chris Van Hollen claiming that the party might hold the chamber, meaning that they would lose fewer than a net of 39 seats. Other officials are pegging the expected losses at 50-55 seats, in line with consensus independent public forecasts, such as those of Charlie Cook and Nate Silver.

But within the last 12 hours I’ve spoken to two top Democratic consultants — very active on the battlefield this fall and with 60 years of on-the-ground experience between them — who told me some shocking news.

Separately, and privately, they each told me that they thought the Democrats could lose 70 seats on Tuesday. That would be a blowout of historic proportions.

For the record, the biggest one-day loss for the president’s party in modern times was in 1938, when voters expressed their impatience with the Depression and FDR’s New Deal by voting out 71 Democrats.

blog it

Me? I see it the way Tony Auth does:

We are about to enter an era of lunacy.