Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

TPP Would Further Emasculate America

A century ago, Carl Sandburg dubbed Chicago the City of Big Shoulders: “hog butcher for the world, tool maker, stacker of wheat, player with railroads and the nation’s freight handler; stormy, husky brawling.”

All of this was true of America itself as well: Nation of big shoulders. The United States was a brawny country that would intervene to help win World War I and later quickly retool factories to serve as munitions mills to win World War II.  Now, though, as America’s tool makers and freight car builders are furloughed, their factories shuttered and offshored, America is wasting. Ill-conceived free trade deals are reducing it to a nation of stooped shoulders.

The newest proposed deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), signed in New Zealand last week by representatives of its 12 member states, would further enfeeble American manufacturing. The first of the ilk, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), devastated U.S. manufacturing. Allowing China into the World Trade Organization and the bad trade deals that followed NAFTA all pummeled American manufacturing when it was already down.

From cookies to car parts, factories fled America for places like China and Mexico. There, corporations pay workers a pittance and pollute virtually penalty-free. CEOs and shareholders roll in the resulting royal-sized profits. Meanwhile, formerly middle-class American workers and their families suffer. Communities bereft of sustaining mills collapse. And the United States atrophies, losing more and more of those once-bulky industrial shoulders.

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What Really Poisoned Flint, Michigan's Water

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower Author, Commentator, America’s Number One Populist

What Really Poisoned Flint, Michigan's Water

One big difference between the rich and the poor in our country is that the rich don't tend to have their drinking water poisoned by their own governor.

Not that Republican Gov. Rick Snyder personally dumped poison into Flint, Michigan's water, but by dumping his small-minded, ideological, budget-whacking policies on the people of this largely-poor community, he did, in fact, poison them. Worse, when Flint's families complained that their tap water was oddly colored, nasty tasting, stinky, and causing rashes on their children, Snyder and his top officials denied there was a problem, even when residents showed jugs of the brownish liquid to them. It's a myth, claimed the authorities, accusing locals of "trying to turn [the issue] into a political football" and asserting that the complainers were just being finicky about the aesthetics of their water.

Aesthetics? A General Motors factory in Flint had to quit using the water because it was corroding metal engine parts, and a hospital quit because the water was damaging its medical instruments!

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Morning Joe Invokes Almost Every Possible Sexist Meme In Segment On Hillary Clinton ‘Screaming’

Aviva Shen

Aviva Shen Senior Editor, ThinkProgress

Journalist Bob Woodward of Watergate fame argued Wednesday that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is struggling to overcome opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) because Clinton “shouts” too much.

The comment sparked a redux of the sexist media coverage of Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, as MSNBC’s Morning Joe commentators launched into a lengthy discussion that touched on many of the common tropes about Clinton “screaming,” acting “unnatural,” and being “feisty.”

“There is something unrelaxed about the way she is communicating,” Woodward told the panel Wednesday morning. Joe Scarborough jumped in, asking, “Has nobody told her that the microphone works? Because she always keeps it up here. The genius of Reagan was…Reagan kept it down low.”

Cokie Roberts of NPR broke in to note that the footage they were referring to was at a noisy rally: “These are rallies, though, and it’s hard to do that at a rally.”

“When she’s loud and feisty, she’s trying to support this narrative that she’s fighting for us,” Kristen Soltis Anderson added to the analysis.

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Cancer Patients Arrested Protesting TPP Death Sentence

Cancer Patients Arrested Protesting TPP Death Sentence

BREAKING: Cancer patients were just arrested for engaging in civil disobedience to dramatize their life-and-death concerns about the expansion of medicine monopolies pushed by brand-name pharmaceutical companies in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)!Take action today: http://bit.ly/NoTPPDeal Visit TPPkills.org to learn more about TPP's threats to affordable medicines!

Posted by Global Trade Watch on Thursday, February 4, 2016

What Working Class New Hampshire Voters Think Of The GOP Candidates’ Poverty Plans

Alice Ollstein Political Reporter, Think Progress

Out of the snowy darkness came a line of fast-food workers, marching towards the site of the latest Republican debate. With beanies pulled over their ears and gloved hands holding protest signs, the workers, their families, and their supporters chanted, “You want our vote? Come get our vote.”

A record-breaking half-million New Hampshire voters are expected to go to the polls Tuesday to pick the nominees for the Republican and Democratic parties. The remaining White House hopefuls in both parties have descended on the Granite State, holding dozens of town halls, rallies, and debates each day to win over the state’s undecided voters, who have grilled them on their plans to address drug addiction, immigration, and the minimum wage.

Among the hundreds of low-wage workers protesting the Republican debate at St. Anselm College was 26-year-old New Hampshire native Megan Jensen, who walked off her job at KFC to join the crowd demanding a higher minimum wage.

“I share an apartment with a roommate and my three kids, who are ages 4, 2, and 10 months,” she told ThinkProgress. “It’s very hard to get by on $8 an hour. I have to use food stamps and subsidized health insurance to get by. If I got a raise, I’d be able to get my own place. I’d be able to support all three kids by myself without any help from the state or anybody.”

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Generation Sanders

Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner Co-Founder and Co-Editor, The American Prospect

For more than a year, my pragmatist friends and colleagues have under-estimated the appeal of Bernie Sanders. As a big Sanders win approaches in the New Hampshire primary, they insist that this will be Sanders' last hurrah and urge his supporters to get real and get with the program -- which is to unite behind Hillary Clinton as the Democrat best positioned to be nominated and to win in November.

Many of my political friends are simply missing the import of the Sanders campaign. Much of his appeal is a blend of generational and economic.

The millennial generation has gotten the worst economic screwing since the generation that came of age in the Great Depression. In some ways, their plight is worse, since in the Depression generation there was broad understanding that an economic catastrophe had occurred and it was correctly understood as political.

Until very recently, the plight of the millennials was seen as merely personal. Questions that should be, and are, deeply political have been taken as private problems -- how to best cope with a bad economic environment; how to pick a shrewd career path given lousy choices. But it was only a matter of time before self-awareness of this reality finally took political form.

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The Social Security "Scheme"

The Social Security

Union Matters

Bernie Sanders: From Political Science Fiction to a Force Set to Radically Disrupt the Political Marketplace

Hugh J. Campbell

Hugh J. Campbell Son of a steelworker, Philadelphia, Pa.

In his article Is Bernie Sanders the ‘Star Wars’ of politics? David J Adams compares Bernie Sanders to Star Wars’ Obi Wan who awakens Luke to his own potential. Sanders is demonstrating that the common folk, the everyday working families, the farmhands in remote parts of the political galaxy, actually do have power, that they can influence the political system and bring about change, that they can liberate themselves from perceived oppressors and have the better world they want.

As with Star Wars, the Sanders’ brand, his story, taps into our deepest longings. We want to believe the promise of ‘a new hope.’ We want to believe a better world is possible. We want to believe that by uniting together as a people we can awaken a force that can defeat the dark side.

 

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