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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Privatization Causes Poverty: Senate Cafeteria Workers’ Story Continues

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

Our government has been on a privatization binge for some time. Things that We the People used to just do federally or through state and local governments were closed down and private corporations were hired to do those things instead. This “saved money” because the well-paid public workers were laid off, losing their benefits and seniority, and new workers were hired at the lowest possible wages with few or no benefits.

Of course, this “cost savings” meant that the tax base eroded, the old and replacement workers often had to go on public assistance, property values plunged as the homes of the old workers were foreclosed and the new workers couldn’t afford to buy, schools were strapped as more low-income kids came in, and all the other ways that the transition to a low-wage economy has ended up costing all of us.

But who’s counting?

U.S. Senate Food Service Workers

One privatization story that literally “hits home” is the story of the people who work in the home of our federal government, the U.S. Capitol. In 2008 the U.S. Senate “saved money” by privatizing its food services. Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said at the time, “There are parts of government that can be run like a business and should be run like businesses.”

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That Time Marco Rubio Tried To Accomplish Something

Bill Scher

Bill Scher Online Editor, Campaign for America's Future

That Time Marco Rubio Tried To Accomplish Something

Today, Marco Rubio surrogate Rick Santorum was stumped when asked by MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough to name one Rubio accomplishment. Santorum pleaded that Rubio’s short time in the Senate was a period when “nothing got done” so of course he doesn’t have any accomplishments.

He has a point. Rubio’s Senate career was solely when a Democrat was president, and Republicans were mostly trying to block his agenda. Similarly, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton didn’t have a lot of Senate accomplishments when George W. Bush was president.

But for Rubio, pointing a finger at Obama doesn’t exonerate. Because there was one time when Rubio tried very hard to accomplishment something, even asserting a leadership role: immigration reform. Not only did he fail to accomplish enactment of the bill, his leadership was a colossal disaster.

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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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Right to Work is Not So Right After All

Right to Work is Not So Right After All

Union Matters

Why Super Delegates Should Give Great Weight to the Candidate That Attracts the Most Independent Voters

Hugh J. Campbell

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

If the primary purpose of Democratic super delegates is to direct the nomination to the most electable candidate, then they should give great weight to the candidate who attracts the most independent voters in the approximately 20 open primaries. Independent voters can cast ballots in either the Democratic or Republican races.

Because these results reflect the views of unaffiliated voters, as opposed to closed primaries, open primaries are a microcosm for the 2016 general election.

According to this Washington Times article, Anti-Clinton Backlash Palpable in N.H., independent voters dominate New Hampshire's electorate, with those that took a Democratic ballot voting heavily for Bernie Sanders. He attracted more than 70 percent of the bloc. On the Republican side, the independents broke heavily for Donald Trump, according to exit polling.

It's a devastating evaluation from a state that has been kind in the past to Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, delivering a victory to her in the 2008 primary and rescuing his 1992 campaign with a surprise second-place showing.

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