Category Archives: GOP

We’re All in the Same Boat?

On the Topic of Obama, the

GOP Can’t Even Blush Anymore

By Carl Davidson
Keep On Keepin’ On!

If Hollywood gave Oscars for shamelessness, the Republican responses to President Obama’s State of the Union speech last night, Jan 24, would have swept the field.

Take Indiana’s Gov. Mitch Daniels, who gave the official GOP response:

"No feature of the Obama presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some Americans by castigating others," he said. "As in previous moments of national danger, we Americans are all in the same boat."

Amazing. One top GOP candidate, Newt Gingrich, is running around the country attacking Obama as the ‘Food Stamp President,’ while the other, Mitt Romney, whose newly released tax returns show he takes in more in a day than a well-paid worker does in a year, critiques Obama’s business skills using a shuttered factory as a stage prop.

Obama, of course, never shut down a single factory, yet that was precisely the business Mitt Romney and his outfit, Bain Capital, was famous for, including shutting down a factory in Florida, where his video message was being recorded.

"All in the same boat" and ‘castigating others’ indeed. Governor Daniels uttered these words as the state he presides over is currently engaged in a notorious ‘right to work for less’ battle to strip Indiana’s workers on their ability to bargain collectively.

Like many Americans, I watched the President’s speech with a critical eye. As he detailed a number of manufacturing and alternative energy industrial policies, I thought, finally, he’s giving some voice to his ‘inner Keynesian’ and forcing a crack in the neoliberal hegemony at the top. I cheered when he took aim at Wall Street and declared, "No more bailouts, no more handouts, and no more cop outs." On the other hand I winced more than once at the glorification of militarism and the defense of Empire-I’m one quick to oppose unjust wars and who has long believed a clean energy/green manufacturing industrial policy needs to trump a military-hydrocarbon industrial policy.

This speech was also Obama in campaign mode. One thing we’ve learned over the last four years is that his governing mode is not the same thing, and requires much more of us in terms of independent, popular and democratic power at the base to make good things happen.

But one thing is clear. My critical eye has nothing in common with what’s coming from the GOP and the far right. The first Saturday of every month, the pickups trucks from the local hills and hollows, growing numbers of them, fill the parking lot of the church on my corner, picking up packages from the food pantry to help make ends meet. In these circumstances and lacking better practical choices, I’ll go with the ‘Food Stamp’ President any day of the week.

The Banksters vs. the Rest of Us

Tale of Two Cities: GOP Tries to Convert

America’s ‘Bedford Falls’ Into ‘Pottersville’

By Leo Gerard
Beaver County Blue via HuffPost

In the iconic Christmas film, It’s a Wonderful Life, an angel offers the beleaguered main character, George Bailey, the stark choice between a hometown named for a cruel banker or one created by and for the middle class.

The banker’s town, Pottersville, is filled with bars, gambling dens and despair. The people’s town of Bedford Falls is made of hope, hard working middle class families, and their homes financed by the Bailey Brothers Building & Loan.

The film’s happy ending is the people of Bedford Falls banding together to rescue George Bailey and the Bailey Brothers Building & Loan that had given so many of them a leg up over the years. Republicans seek a different conclusion. They find middle class cooperation and community intolerable. They want the banker, Henry Potter, with his "every man for himself" philosophy to triumph. In the spirit of their self-centered mentor Ayn Rand, Republicans are trying to disfigure America so she resembles Pottersville.

A building and loan association, like the Bailey Brothers’, uses the savings of its members to provide mortgages to the depositors. Members essentially pool their money to give each other the opportunity to buy cars and homes. At one point in the film, George Bailey explains this concept to frightened depositors who are trying to withdraw their savings during the panic that led to bank runs in 1929.

Continue reading The Banksters vs. the Rest of Us

Division on the Right: Why GOP Collapse on the Payroll Tax Could be a Turning Point Moment

By Robert Creamer
Beaver County Blue via HuffPost

Dec 23, 2011 – In recent American politics, every major shift in political momentum has resulted from an iconic battle.

In 1995 the tide of the 1994 "Republican Revolution" was reversed when Speaker Newt Gingrich and his new Republican House majority shut down the government in a battle over their attempts to cut Medicare to give tax breaks to the rich (sound familiar). The shutdown ended with – what pundits universally scored — as a victory for President Clinton. That legislative victory began Clinton’s march to overwhelming re-election victory in 1996.

In 2010, Democrats passed President Obama’s landmark health care reform. But they lost the battle for public opinion – and base motivation. That turned the political tide that had propelled President Obama to victory in 2008 and ultimately led to the drubbing Democrats took in the 2010 mid terms.

The Republican leadership’s collapse in the battle over extending the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits could also be a turning point moment that shifts the political momentum just as we enter the pivotal 2012 election year.

Here’s why:

1). Since the President launched his campaign for the American Jobs Act, he has driven Congressional Republicans into a political box canyon with very few avenues of escape. The jobs campaign has made it clearer and clearer to the voters that the "do nothing Republican Congress" bears responsibility for preventing the President from taking steps that would create jobs.

Continue reading Division on the Right: Why GOP Collapse on the Payroll Tax Could be a Turning Point Moment

USW’s Leo Gerard Takes Apart GOP Diversionary Tactics on Jobs

The GOP’s New Job Scam: The 99% Seek

A Just Economy, Not Just An Economy

By Leo Gerard
Beaver County Blue via Alternet.org

Republicans jammed together a mess of old, failed and vague schemes and called it a jobs bill. Sen. John McCain conceded the reason for the rehash: “Part of it is in response to the president saying we don’t have a proposal.”

They still don’t. This despite the fact that they promised voters during their campaign to take control of the U.S. House one year ago that they’d create jobs. That they’d focus on jobs. That nothing was more important to them than jobs.

Now, what they’ve offered instead of actual jobs is a polyglot of GOP talking points. It’s certainly no vision to move the country forward. It’s a plot to set the country back – to repeal the health care law that will soon help provide coverage for the nearly 50 million Americans without insurance, to rescind the Wall Street reform law designed to prevent another financial sector-caused meltdown, and to thwart regulations, like those that stopped distribution of listeria-infected cantaloupe that killed 25.

GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio called the Republican polyglot a “pro-growth proposal to create the environment for jobs.” It is, in fact, a pro-business proposal to permit corporations to destroy the environment for humans.

It is another GOP ploy to appease, accommodate and absolve corporations. It is another GOP ruse to firmly establish in America an economy designed for, dedicated to and directed by corporations rather than a just economy controlled by and beneficial to the 99 percent.

Continue reading USW’s Leo Gerard Takes Apart GOP Diversionary Tactics on Jobs

Talking to Local Unions on Jobs, President Presses Hard on GOP and Blue Dogs

President Obama Visits Pittsburgh

to Push His ‘Jobs for America’ Bill

By Timothy McNulty
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Oct. 11, 2011 – President Barack Obama blitzed the city to stump for his jobs plan today, delivering a 20-minute speech at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers hall on the South Side and then leaving town by 3:20 p.m.

Before his speech the president also met for more than an hour with a job-creating council of nationwide business, labor and academic leaders as they try to wrestle with the nation’s chronic unemployment problems.

Little in the president’s address on his $447 billion jobs plan was new: he touted its calls for tax cuts and construction spending and questioned Republicans for not supporting it. He said he did not know why the GOP was in opposition “other than the fact I proposed it.”

But Democrats have not been rushing to support the effort either, even in the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate, which is set to take its first votes on the plan tonight, a month after the president forwarded it. Mr. Obama has been barnstorming the country to try to whip up popular support for his plan and left the city for a similar event tonight in Orlando, Fla., before traveling next to Detroit.

Continue reading Talking to Local Unions on Jobs, President Presses Hard on GOP and Blue Dogs

Local Postal Workers Join Nationwide Protest to Defend USPS

Altmire-speaking

Beaver County Mail Carriers Rally

at Rep. Altmire’s Office to Stop

GOP’s Wrecking of National Postal Service

By Carl Davidson
Beaver County Blue

Fifty postal workers and their allies rallied outside the Aliquippa office of Congressman Jason Altmire on the afternoon of Sept 27. They joined postal workers around the country demanding changes in special accounting rules imposed on them by Congress. The cost of the rules threatens to end Saturday deliveries, lay off 120,00 workers and close many post office facilities across the country.

“Congress created this problem and Congress can fix it,’ states a USPS TV ad explained the problem. Unlike any other agency, the are required to overpay billions of dollars into their pension fund by the same amount that it would take to clear up the Post Office’s current deficit.

“They could fix this problem with the stroke of a pen and not cost the taxpayers a penny,’ said Charlie Hamilton, a retired mail carrier and Labor Council member who organized the rally. “But the Republicans are determined to destroy anything with ‘public’ in it connected to the government.”

Altmire spoke briefly to the gathering, saying that he agreed with them, and would back legislation to support them. He warned, however, that the fight would be hard.

“What’s with Issa? Why is he doing this?” shouted one of the workers in a question to Altmire. He was referring to California GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, the House leader of the drive against the Post Office.

“We have a block of people in Congress with the ideology that government shouldn’t do hardly anything, that wants private businesses to take over things like the Post Office. They’re a minority, but they’re what’s making it a tough fight.”

The workers were glad to get Altmire’s support on the issue, but many were still wary due to his recent ‘Blue Dog’ votes with the GOP on other budget matters.

Jobs and GOP ‘Dialectics’: Turning Things Into Their Opposites

By Carl Davidson

Beaver County Blue

People sometimes either groan or laugh when they hear the term ‘dialectics,’ a word which some people use to bamboozle others into thinking they know something when they don’t.

But here’s a great ‘laughing out loud’ example inspired by a few lines for Mike Hall’s current post on the AFL-CIO blog today, Aug. 2:

“The 4,000 furloughed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) workers and 90,000 workers on airport construction projects stalled by the Republican shutdown of the FAA are worrying about how they will pay their bills in the coming weeks.

“But the only worry House Republicans have is how they are going to spend their six-week summer vacation. House Republicans leaders adjourned the House last night until Sept. 7 without taking action on reauthorizing an FAA bill so the agency—shutdown since July 22—could reopen and construction funds move down the pipeline again.”

So here’s a great example of Republican ‘dialectics’, their ‘Jobs Plan’ of turning real jobs into their opposites, non-jobs. It’s easy to laugh at, if it didn’t mean so much suffering for so many working-class families. I suppose we could say there’s a ‘unity of opposite’ there, too.

One thing that burns me up more than GOP nonsense, though, are many of the mainstream media pundits who don’t have any idea on how to ask a decent follow-up question. When our right wing lawmakers (and their White House allies) go on at length about cutting this and slashing that, taking money from low-income and middle-income workers and giving it to the super-rich, there always comes a point where they assert, ‘and this will create jobs!.’

Back in my youth I taught logic for a year at the University of Nebraska. Full disclosure here: I actually appreciate real dialectics, and other rules of argument. But one point I often made to my students: An assertion is not an argument.

Now why can’t our media pundits say, ‘Wait a minute here, Congressman (or other policy wonk). You’re cutting both spending and jobs, reducing overall demand. Then you assert this creates jobs? Can you tell us exactly how that works? Especially when it’s mainly demand that creates jobs? An assertion is not an argument.”

If I heard it just once on CNN, it would make my day.

My logic course back in 1965 was for incoming freshman. Wouldn’t it be great if news anchors could at least reach that level, even if it’s too much to expect of Congress and the White House? All the more reason we have to rely on our own labor-oriented blogs and news services. We know how to make use of decent dialectics, and put a spotlight on the foolish versions of our adversaries.