What's this Blog About?

Politics in Wisconsin as they roll up to every level... and some other thoughts that may cross my mind are explored here from my lefty point of view. My values shape my opinions. You'll always find them in here. Let's have some fun exploring why Liberal values are American values!

Your comments are both welcome and encouraged!
(The watercolor is called Magnolia Tree for Momma, by Audrey Crawford)

Friday, February 18, 2011

The LONG Term Plan is MUCH MUCH Worse!

So for several days now, I've been watching the protests in Madison and around the state.  I've listened to the pundits from Limbaugh (yes, I actually turned on Limbaugh for a few hours) to Maddow, from the Unions locally in Wisconsin to Sykes, Wagner, Belling and McKenna.  I have listened to all the politicians stake their cases on both sides of the aisle.  I've watched as the anger swells from all sides.  I've talked to union members and conservatives on Facebook.  I've read more articles in the last week than I've read in the last year from top to bottom locally, nationally and internationally from all sides of the issue.

I've had a hard time the past week grasping the BIG picture of what the conservative movement is up to in this country.   The liberal movement is so busy responding to each individual attack that I'm not entirely sure they've really stopped to figure out the BIG picture.  Rachel Maddow took a stab at it last night on her show and came to the conclusion that this is all POLITICAL.  Bust the Unions and you bust the get out the vote mechanisms that help the Democratic Party.  That all made a lot of sense, but it STILL doesn't get at what came to me this morning.  It's definitely relevant in the big picture, but it's still doesn't go far enough...

Here's what doesn't jive for me.  The question that's been running around in my head over and over and over.  If the GOP is the corporate party.  If they are funding almost entirely by corporate money by people like the Koch Brothers through a bunch of crazy shady organizations.  What do corporations get out of busting public sector unions?  The National Labor Relations Board would still govern the private sector, so how does busting the public section unions affect private sector corporations?  There MUST be something we are all missing that's puts these big corporations in the game of busting public unions. Some larger plan in the works that we're not catching on to yet.

I got my first clue earlier this week.  I read an article that came out of Missouri where a state senator has proposed a bill that would eliminate child labor laws.  Hmmm,  I thought that's a pretty draconian idea...  I can't quite reconcile why that would be important in Kansas City, MO.

So what have labor unions (both public and private) done for this nation in the past 100 years that have helped ALL workers whether or not they belong to a union:
  • 8 hour work day
  • Health insurance
  • Child labor restrictions 
  • 40 hour work week
  • Workplace safety
  • Environmental protection
  • Minimum wage laws
  • The Weekend
  • Women's Rights in the workforce
  • Strong and viable public school systems
  • The Civil Rights Movement (largely boosted by MLK, JR in the garbage workers strikes)
  • The right to form unions and collectively bargain for pay and benefits
Some major pieces of labor legislation that are the result of direct labor union efforts include:
  • National Labor Relations Act
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Occupational Safety and Health Act
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Civil Rights Acts of 1866, 1964, and 1991
  • Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1984
  • Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act-WARN Act (large scale layoffs require 60 days notice and retraining provisions)
  • Employment and Retirements Income and Security Act (ERISA)
  • Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)
  • Social Security
  • Medicare/Medicaid
Okay so this is a partial list (for all you really amazing labor historians).  It's a damn good one though.

The Tea Party Platform and recent GOP legislation in the states include:

  • The elimination of child labor laws
  • Repeal of the minimum wage
  • Repeal of the new health care bill
  • Repeal of or the scaling back of the EPA
  • Scaling back of women's rights to make their own medical decisions
  • So called "Right to Work" legislation (that eliminates the ability of workers to organize)
  • Eliminating the right to collectively bargain
  • Repeal of "over-regulation" which means everything from OSHA standards to the Clean air and water acts, to labor laws to media regulation to the EPA to the new net neutrality law
  • Busting the pension system
  • Anti-immigration legislation (a new low wage work force in our country)
  • Gradual elimination of "entitlement" programs (social security and medicare)
  • Elimination of ALL affirmative action programs
  • Gutting of the public school systems (in some cases I've seen advocating for NO public schools, full privatization)
  • Elimination of all warning labels on dangerous consumer products
  • Expansion of the definition of a Capital crime to include (they want to KILL anyone who commits these crimes):  Treason, Murder, Kidnapping, Rape, Child Molestation, Aggravated Assault, Attempted Murder, Trafficking in illegal narcotics
  • Elimination of the 14th Amendment (this section in particular grates at them:  All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.  No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. )  Equal protection, natural born citizenship, etc...  a lot of WHITE people would no longer be citizens if they had their way, let alone new immigrant's children!
  • This list is getting really long and I want to get to my point, but still have more to work through with you... so...
    NAFTA. What the heck does NAFTA have to do with all of this?  Well, hang with me...
    I've taken a LOT of international business courses lately.  I'm not going to bore you with all the details, but here's the basics.
    In the mid 1990's the GOP wrote and Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Act. It resulted in much of the problems the United States faces financially today.  The US you see, had all of those AWESOME laws above written, advocated for and passed by labor unions over the course of about 100 years of worker's struggling.  Mexico did not.  Mexico has little, ineffective or no child labor laws, environmental protection laws, no farm subsidies, no minimum wage, no 8 hour work day, no health protections or working place standards.  Essentially, it was like working in the United States in the 1800's to about 1950.  Manufacturing and farming corporations left the US in droves over the next 20 years.  They could hire children, pollute to their heart's content, pay 30 cents a day, work people for 12 hour shifts with no breaks, no days off, and if they got hurt or killed at work, so be it.  No requirement for compensation, no fines for harming the workers.  This is an EXTREMELY profitable way to do business.  CEO's and stockholders are making a LOT of money by moving their manufacturing to Mexico.  Anyone who has taken a business class knows that the one goal of a corporation is:  Maximize shareholder wealth.  Completely unregulated and disorganized slave labor certainly does that. 
    So here's where I'm going with this.  The corporations have seen how great it is (how much money they make) to hire in large unemployed populations with NO working standards or worker protections at all.   
    As cynical as this may sound.  I've figured out what the corporations are up to!  I've figured out why the bills being tried by the corporate bought and sold GOP are becoming increasingly radical and harsh!
     The ultimate goal of the Koch Brothers, the Oil Tycoons, the major manufacturers and other huge corporate interests in this nation is to CREATE an employer's environment like that in Mexico!!!  All their best labor leaves Mexico the first chance they get to find work in the US that meets the amazing laws that labor unions have given us over the past century.  
    I had this vision this morning.  Of a corporate CEO sitting in a board room saying almost under his breath and almost kidding, "Wow, wouldn't it be great if the working environment in the US was the same as it is in Mexico?"  Then looking around the room in a sudden 'light over the head' idea moment and everyone saying at once...  "Why not?  Why can't it be?  We OWN these politicians.  Why not?"
    So who would you need to get rid of first to accomplish a goal this bold?  The labor unions of course!  Starting with the public sector (who don't fall under the NLRB), and then when the public sector unions are all destroyed, you can go after the weakened private sector unions.  Get rid of the unions first and you can then get rid of those pesky "liberals" who brought all these awful burdens to the country in the first place.  Next, you make sure you have your people in charge of all the elections, all of the legislators, and all of the executive branches.  You pack the courts with pro-corporate judges along the way.  You now can start to one by one eliminate all of these pesky labor laws.  
    This is NOT an attack on the public sector unions.  It's NOT an attack on private unions.  It's NOT an attack on a political party.  Well it IS all of those things, but the real goal is NONE of them.
    THE REAL GOAL IS TO SEND THE UNITED STATES WORKER BACK TO THE CONDITIONS THE MEXICAN WORKERS ENDURE and the American corporations have become so fond of operating under in the past 10 years.  
      To essentially create a SLAVE LABOR class in the United States.  An uneducated, desperately poor and sick class of workers in the United States who are completely and utterly at the whim of the corporate class. 
      Thing I'm wrong?  Does this sound alarmist?  Does it sound radical?  
      ARE YOU SURE ENOUGH that I'm wrong to bet your life on it?  
      Think about this for a while.  Stew on it. Do your own research on the labor movement, on working conditions in the US 50-60 years ago, on the working conditions in Mexico now, on the bills being proposed by the GOP recently, on their platforms, on the effects of NAFTA on our economy in the US.  Then think about it again.
        What else could be the BIG picture goal?  Maximize shareholder wealth. 


      roger6868 said...

      Well said and I couldn't agree more. Keep up the great work!

      Emily said...

      If you want the opinion of a socialist, the reason for private sector capital to attack public unions is this- class warfare. The rich elite hate the concept of middle-class workers getting together and fighting for rights. They hate the idea that any middle class workers get healthcare, pensions, etc. They hate the middle class. The idea that workers should be have dignified retirements, reasonable healthcare and organize together could also be transferred from public workers to their fellow private-sector workers. All this gets in the way of accumulating more wealth, more capital.

      Also, if you bust public unions, public workers will be paid less and receive fewer benefits paving the way for more corporate subsidy and tax-cuts for the rich. In the case of Walker, you just give the tax cuts first, then use that as an excuse to assault middle-class workers.

      Its both a matter of government budgets and ideology.