Franklin County Democrats

The official site of the Democratic Party of Franklin County, Missouri

Browsing Posts published in July, 2011

A new, bipartisan poll by the Mellman Group highlights the disconnect between the corporate media/politicians and everyday Americans on a number of issues including the latest “crisis”.

Indeed, by a more than two-to-one margin (67% to 29%), voters prefer that Washington focus on job creation rather than deficit reduction.
Some key findings from the poll, include:

•    When given an “either/or” choice, just 29% want Washington to focus on deficit reduction while 67% favor job creation.

•    “Creating manufacturing jobs in the U.S.” and “strengthening manufacturing in this country” are the top voter priorities for the President.

•    Only 50% of voters believe that the President is working to create manufacturing jobs – an 11% drop from 2010. Congress fares even worse – 41% say Democrats in Congress are working to create jobs, and 32% see the GOP working to create jobs.

It is interesting to note that our own U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer’s office has every intention of ignoring the wishes of the American people and supports the Korean Free Trade Agreement which is estimated to cost 159,000 American jobs and lead to deficits in a variety of agricultural products.  Let’s hope this poll encourages him to reconsider.

This is one of those times it is good to have a blog, otherwise I would just be dancing around the house to my family’s annoyance. 

Yesterday’s announcement that Emerald Automotive intends to open an auto plant in Hazelwood to produce hybrid delivery vans for both U.S. and world markets is great news for Missouri.  

Citing the reasons for this location decision:

 Emerald looked at locations in 25 states, Heaton said. It chose the St. Louis area because of its central location, its pool of experienced auto workers here and “an incredibly business-like” approach by state and local governments, she said.

It also has exposed the fabrications that Mo. State Senate President Rob Mayer had created in an attempt to push his Right-to-Work bill. 

The Post-Dispatch carried this story about Senator Mayer and his agenda, let’s review this sentence in particular:

Mayer said Missouri has had trouble competing for new automobile manufacturing plants because of the right-to-work issue. He noted that all states that border Missouri, except for Illinois and Kentucky, have such laws.

Of course, such statmenets did not go unchallenged.  Yours truly addressed this issue with “Confusion about Right-to-Work” which was published in the Missourian.  This letter cited the real reasons companies make location decisions and RTW for less is not a major factor.  These are the major factors according to Robert Ady the man responsible for more location decisons than any man alive.

Senator Mayer put on your hard hat, that sound you hear is the fabricated building of a case supporting Right-to Work for less in Missouri crashing down around you.

Bruce Bartlett, former Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary under the first George Bush and a policy adviser to Ronald Reagan, was on Chris Mathews to discuss the radicalization of the Republican Party and the moderation of the Democratic Party, saying among other things …

I think the dirty secret is that Obama is a moderate conservative. If I were a liberal Democrat, I’d be very upset.

Yeah, I’ll vouch for that. And this …

I think a good chunk of the Republican caucus is either stupid, crazy, ignorant or craven cowards, who are desperately afraid of the tea party people, and rightly so.

I imagine Dr. Frankenstein had a similar ah, ha moment upon realizing the monster he had created was beyond his control. In the ’80s Bartlett and his ilk helped to turn “anti-tax” into a national obsession (even though Reagan and Bush ultimately raised them). Now their trickle-down creation has gotten away from them and some very unstable people are poised to destroy the village with it.

In 2009 Sen. Jane Cunningham (R-Chesterfield) introduced a bill called the “Teacher Choice Compensation Package,” which is the Missouri version of the ALEC “model bill” titled the “Teacher Choice Compensation Act (pdf).”  Cunningham, a member of ALEC, according to Project Vote Smart, couldn’t have even bothered to change the title.

Her version didn’t get very far but had it become law it would have set up a system whereby teachers would have been eligible for “performance-based salary stipends.” All they had to do to get these stipends is to “opt out” of their “permanent contract,” which essentially means giving up tenure.

And on what kind of performance were these “performance-based salary stipends” to be based? Well, mostly student scores on a “value-added test instrument,” the exact same language used in both Cunningham’s version and the ALEC template on which it was based.

If all this is starting to sound vaguely familiar that’s because the same goals embodied in Cunningham’s 2009 legislation are the same ones sought by Rep. Scott Dieckhaus (R-Washington) in the “Teacher Continuing Contract Act” he sponsored in the state house this year. Should it get signed into law it too would end teacher tenure and set up a merit system that would award teachers based on student performance. It’s just a variation on the same theme. Only the verbiage has been changed.

And who sponsored the Senate version of that same legislation? Why, Jane Cunningham, that’s who.

continue reading…

The new labor blog at DailyKOS featured this story about Republican efforts to further weaken the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  Democrats are calling this the “outsourcers bill of rights”.

If a company wanted to move jobs overseas or subcontract work because their workers exercised their legal rights … well, it would still be illegal for them to do so. It’s just that if they did, the NLRB couldn’t make them move the jobs back.

The bill has little chance of getting past the Senate and the president, but it once again shows where Republicans’ priorities lie. At a press conference this morning, Nancy Pelosi pointed to this as one of a number of bills House Republicans have pushed that would take jobs rather than creating them:

For 200 days, we have not seen a bill passed, signed into law that creates jobs. In fact, it has been just the reverse.

This strategy of turning an agency and regulations originally designed to promote labor and collective bargaining dates back to the 1940′s and the crowning achievement of those opposed to Roosevelt and the New Deal, the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947.  The effects of this and other legislative tactics to hamstring labor are outlined in Joe Burns new book, The Outlawing of Solidarity and the Decline of the Strike.

In particular, look for the story of the three picketers standing outside the toy store. Hint: all three have different reasons for being there but one has less rights than the others!

The Atlantic magazine has published The Chart That Should Be Part Of All Deficit Discussions. This chart compiled by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. No clearer illustration is needed of the Republican strategy of running huge deficits when they are in office to benefit their priorities and then yell about the deficit to hamstring Democrats when they are in office. Remember that Reagan, Bush 41, and W all at least doubled the national debt while in office. Great article, great chart so feel free to share.

Kos writes:

Oh, [right-wingers] desperately wanted Norway’s attacks to be the handiwork of jihadists so they could continue justifying the trillions of dollars and countless lives wasted on our overseas adventures.

Then, it turned out the terrorist was a white Christian conservative, and poof! They lost interest. I mean, how dare you smear an entire group of people based on the actions of just one bad apple?

Then those same conservatives shifted into damage control mode when it also turned out that the terrorist was hugely inspired by the tea party. From his manifesto:

We, the European Revolutionary Conservatives know very well that it will take many years, even decades before we successfully manage to consolidate to a degree where we can seize political and military power in the first Western European country. In the US, the Tea party movement is one of the first physical, political manifestations which indicate that there is a great storm coming. The creation of similar conservative organizations, even the creation of revolutionary conservative movements … is about to materialize. The cultural Marxists are losing their momentum to our advantage.

What gets missed in the discussion is that Islamic terrorism, Christian terrorism and anti-government terrorism are all examples of right-wing terrorism. There is just no modern equivalent on the left. Today’s terror and intimidation, whether it be bombs or bullying, is coming entirely from the fundamentalist right. There is only disagreement on whose god is the right god but the genesis of their maniacal inspiration is drawn from the exact same authoritarian wellspring.

From The Big Picture we get a nice breakdown of the American Legislative Exchange Council, how it works, and what it’s doing …

Consider this in the context of recent revelations about Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. phone hacking scandal and it should make your hair stand on end. What is beginning to emerge is much more than a story about invasion of privacy by a few bad apples. It’s a story of a global corporate media apparatus feared by governments and politicians around the world.

Taken together, a very troublesome picture comes into focus. We now have a system in which private interests pay to vote alongside lawmakers to approve state legislation that will benefit their respective industry, while the Fox News Network broadcasts a very specific corporatist message into homes, doctors offices, bars, restaurants, and lodges all across the nation to steadily opiate the masses.

So effective is the propaganda that not only do people not rise up against the systemic inequity that results from ALEC legislation, but an entire swath of the population is fiercely defending it in the name of “patriotism.” George Orwell couldn’t have imagined a more chilling narrative.

OK, the titile is deceptive.  Today’s Post-Dispatch features this story “Many groceries are rethinking self-service checkout lines.”

For those of us that avoid self-service checkout like the plague in order not to encourage job loss this is vindication.

For Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons, self-checkout no longer fits with the customer service experience it wants, spokeswoman Christine Wilcox said.

“Our customers are our highest priority, and we want to provide them with an excellent experience from the time they park their car to when they leave,” Wilcox said.

When Albertsons installed self-checkout lanes nearly a decade ago, “it was in response to a growing trend in retail for stores to be even more self-service” than ever before, she said. Albertsons is replacing the self-checkout lanes with regular lanes and opening more staffed lanes during peak shopping hours.

For defenders of technology, don’t be concerned as new technologies are being developed to increase the customer satisfaction of the checkout experience.  This will create more engineering, design, construction, and maintenance jobs.

Luddites/Pro-jobs people feel free to give the same disapproving, bewildered look back to everyone that has asked why you don’t use self-checkout.

 

 
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