T’was the Night Before Christmas….

…And throughout the kingdom,
People questioned if Congress is really this dumb,

As to go home for Christmas, while the fiscal cliff looms,
Caring less that America and the world could face doom.

Grover Norquist was screaming at his minions with no brain,
To stand stubbornly against any revenue gain,

That’s required to pay for the bills coming due.
“So what if we default?  Our credit can just go screw!”

He knew that we’ve been there just one year ago,
When he scared the republicans into just saying no,

To the grand bargain agreement from Obama and Boehner.
So the USA’s credit rating lost its bright shiny retainer:

No longer to be listed as the best “Triple A”.
And Grover can return to fight many more days.

“Make the government so small that you can push it in
To your bathtub and drown it,” Grover  says with a grin.

In the meantime, the people who live in this land,
Will see taxes go up, 401K’s turn to sand;

Unemployment will rise, while Wall Street has a fit,
The economy will shrink, and your stocks will be shit,

All because Grover’s pledge, the GOP dare not break,
will drive the USA in a car of unknown make,

Over the fiscal cliff, so when Christmas bills come due
You may not have a job, so might not pay bills, too.

Grover still makes his money, from donations and fees,
All the while forcing congress to do as he sees,

Is real great just for him and his wealthy good friends,
While the rest of us suffer trying to make ends meet ends.

But the taxes will rise on wealthy as well,
And when they see the impact, they will be mad as hell,

That the congress did nothing to avoid this event.
Then slowly they’ll start to ask where Grover went:

The Bahamas?  The Caymans?  Just where could Grover be?
Perhaps on a yacht sailing over the sea…

After all it is Christmas, and Grover’s big gift,
is to screw all the people which gives him a lift,

For it’s Christmas, and Grover likes presents and such,
So he’s enjoying the Season, oh, so very much.

So when January comes, and your taxes just rise,
Remember the guy that promoted his lies.

And the gutless republicans that could have been part,
of the solution, which would have been real smart,

But instead chose to cower before Grover’s big threat.
To mount primary challenges seeking election upsets.

The guy is a Hitler, spreading hatred and fear,
And in true Christmas spirit should never be here.

So the message we send to the this anti-tax guy,
Is the he should just drop it, and live like the small-fry

That he is ’cause he never was gonna go far,
Just ask one who knows him so well:  Bill Maher!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all (one) of us at We, the PEOPLE!!

“Right to Work” Laws? More Like “Right to Freeload”

It is a safe bet that no one alive in the USA today that can remember a time when company bosses forced workers to toil for up to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no time off other than for a debilitating work accident, or worse.  Today’s 8-hour day/40 hour standard workweek was not granted out of kindness by the industrialists and corporations making enormous profits off disposable workers.  It was hard-fought and won by labor unions in this country and in every other industrialized capitalist-oriented country on Earth.

Likewise, no one alive will remember when unsafe, stifling sweat shops that employed children under inhumane conditions were the norm.  But those, too, were eliminated because unions forced them out of existence through job actions as well as political actions.

The US mining industry lagged behind these gains for many years.  Working conditions in the mines as recently as 50 years ago were inhumanly unsafe and unhealthful.  The mining company fat cat industrialist/capitalists realized that it was far cheaper to replace a sick or dead miner with a newly hired miner than to upgrade the mines’ working conditions and safety equipment.  Unions such as the United Mine Workers of America (UMW or UMWA) forced changes to working conditions and pushed for passage of laws mandating minimum safety requirements for mining operations.  

All of the above events have something in common:  They were possible because of the collective actions taken by workers who were organized into unions.  Without unions, the abominable working conditions described above would most likely still be the norm.  And every worker who benefited fairly shared in the costs of these achievements.

The republican party (GOP) was once the party of Abraham Lincoln, who fought the US Civil War and ultimately ended slavery in the USA.  Slavery is, after all, just another way for industrialist/capitalist fat-cats to enjoy cheap labor, without regard to human suffering or even basic human rights.  The end of overt slavery gave rise to covert slavery, where workers were indebted to through such clever inventions as the company store and thus enslaved not by a whip but by basic economics.  Slowly and painfully, workers organized into unions, and laws were passed guaranteeing workers a minimum wage by which they could buy food, clothing and shelter.

The unions incurred huge expenses in challenging the industrial/capitalist fat cats to achieve these necessary improvements in wages and working conditions.  Company bosses needed a way to fight back, so they formed a “union” of sorts of their own, the industrial/capitalist fat cats political campaign war chest, so to speak.  The republican party was wooed and enticed by obscene and bottomless barrels of money.   Unions responded by backing democrats.  As a result, republicans wanted to get unions out of the political balance as much as the industrial/capitalist fat cats did.  The perfect storm against organized labor was forming.

Enter the right-to-work” laws, which mandate that although unions must represent all covered workers in grievances and share among all workers any and all gains in working conditions and/or wages won by the union, while union members pay their dues to finance these services, the non-union-member workers in the same company in “right-to-work” states get these gains for free.  They don’t pay a single dime towards the expenses incurred for these services.  They free-load on the backs of union members.

Right-to-work” laws truly have only one single purpose:  To reduce income to unions by preventing them from charging non-union workers any fees for services the non-members still benefit from.  By reducing the union’s income, they reduce its negotiating power, its financial (and thus political) resources, and its attractiveness to new workers.

Starting in 1943, Florida passed the first “right-to-work” laws, barring mandatory fees/union dues for union services for non-union members.  And since the GOP won back the US House of Representatives, Indiana passed its own right-to work law.  There are now 23 states with these union-busting laws on the books.

Over the past week, the GOP-controlled Michigan state legislature passed two such laws in record time.  They were signed into law within hours by Michigan’s GOP governor Rick Synder.  The republicans claim that these laws free workers and encourage job creation, but this is misleading at best.  They only free workers from strong union protection of their hard-earned wages, working conditions and job security.  And most new businesses pay much less than the union shops.  But the real hit is leveled against union resources that help elect democrats.

Dwight David Eisenhower, 34th president of the USA, hero of World War 2 and a (now extinct) moderate republican, warned in his farewell speech in 1961, “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex..”

It is a warning largely ignored by today’s Tea-Party-infected, ultra-right, Karl Rove brainwashed GOP.

Eisenhower and Jimmy Hoffa must be holding each other as they turn over in their graves.   🙁

 

Fiscal Cliff: Love It, Don’t Fear It

As of this writing there are only 26 days left in the month of December.  That means that the USA will drive off the fiscal cliff on January 1, 2012 absent a bipartisan alternative.  That’s New Year’s Day, a federal holiday, and as a result, nothing will change on that day.

However, Wednesday, January 2, 2013 is a regular business day.  And on THAT day, Americans can expect….nothing different, unless you live on stock trading and dividends.  If you do, you might want to take a week-long nap.  Why?  Because the stock market is psychotic;  it overreacts to EVERYTHING, and it will thus overreact by losing 600 points on the first business day of the loud thud caused by the car having been driven over the fiscal cliff.

Considering the short time left to fix this,what is the US House of Representatives doing about this avoidable problem?  They’re leaving Washington, D.C. for a long 5-day weekend!!!!

Those people justify this action by claiming that they have no pending legislation to work on.  So, according to that view, other than the fiscal cliff, there are absolutely no other problems in the USA that require congressional action.

WTF!!

Even if the idiotic fantasy that nothing else needs attention(except the impending cliff disaster) was true, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives could still care less that Americans are looking to Congress to enter good-faith negotiations with president Barack Obama.  They are ignoring the fact that Obama won a second term as president by running on a platform of slightly higher taxes for people making $200,000 a year if single, or a quarter of a million dollars if married.  The GOP manta continues to be no tax rate increase solely on the upper 2% of US wage-earners.  Instead, they propose that government revenue be raised by limiting tax deductions that potentially would affect every taxpayer, thus shifting part of the tax burden away for the very rich and toward everyone else.

Most republican are aware that they have to compromise to some extent on increasing government revenue, and many of them understand that the president’s re-election victory on the platform of increasing taxes on the upper 2% of American wage-earners was a clear declaration of what a majority of Americans support.  But some of these republican congresspeople still don’t care about the wishes of that majority as much as they care about the anti-tax pledge they signed to Grover Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform and the darling of the most extreme right-wing extremists in the GOP and the Tea Party.

Actually driving off the fiscal cliff is akin to driving down a hill which varies from very shallow to steep over a months-long timelime.  Besides the initial psychotic reaction of the stock market, which will reverse itself within a day or two anyway, no one will notice any change real until the higher tax withholding from their paychecks kicks in.  Even then, while they will pay few percentage points more in payroll (Social Security) taxes, the main notable change will be a higher withholding of income tax.  Initially, the average wage-earner will see an increase of $183 a month, or $85 bi-weekly, or $42 a week.  Though most (though not all) people will absorb that without major problems, it will definitely piss everyone off.  The target of that anger will be the GOP.

The true target of that anger will be the fact that the democratically-controlled US Senate has already passed a bill to make the present tax structure permanent for the American middle class wage-earner making less than $2o0,000 ($250,000 per couple) per year.  Despite this,  GOP House speaker John Boehner refuses to allow a vote on the bill because he fears that it will pass.  That fear comes from the fact that an increasing number of republican congresspeople understand that the American people don’t want to be held hostage to the GOP’s desire to protect the interests of the very wealthy who, after all, finance the GOP’s re-election campaigns.  They also realize that the American people will hold the GOP accountable in 2014.

The democrats, on the other hand, realize that the longer this debacle goes on, the worse the GOP will fare.  Thus, while the dems would definitely prefer that the bill protecting the 98% of American taxpayers pass the House quickly, they also understand that John Boehner’s preventing that vote, which will drive the USA over the fiscal cliff, will primarily damage the GOP.  Realistically, MOST of the GOP also probably realizes that same fact.

The extremists in the GOP, however, either don’t see the danger or they see it but don’t care.  Folks such as Grover Norquist, GOP senator Jim DeMint from South Carolina, and the darling of the ultra-extreme-right lunatic fringe Sarah Palin advocate that republicans should stand their ground and grab their guns.  They also don’t understand the nature of a democracy, which is that the will of ALL the people should prevail, not just those with the biggest artillery or the most fundamentalist ideology.

Sarah Palin will never understand that.  After all, she believes that shooting wolves from a helicopter is the American way.