Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Cheaters like Trump See Cheaters Everywhere

Two Republican judges ceded their principles last week to Ohio Republicans intent on suppressing the African-American vote. The Ohio GOP, like their counterparts nationally, have decided that if they can’t win minority voters, they will cheat.

So over the past decade, Republicans across the country have perpetrated fraud in the form of voter ID laws, limits on early voting, restrictions on voter registration and other onerous requirements to make it difficult for minorities, young people and senior citizens to vote ­– requirements described as voter suppression in numerous lawsuits filed to overturn them.

Last week, two George W. Bush-appointed judges said Ohio Republicans could eliminate “Golden Week” when registration and voting may occur on the same day. The third judge on the panel, one appointed by President Barack Obama, dissented, writing that abolishing the week “imposes a disproportionate burden on African-Americans.”

Now along comes Donald Trump claiming he’ll lose the election only if Democrats cheat at the polls. He pointed his finger at Pennsylvania and Philadelphia in particular. The City of Brotherly Love is a filthy den of schemers and scam artists, according to Trump. Pennsylvanians living west of the city line are little better in Trump’s estimation.  

Trump besmirched Pennsylvania’s reputation despite the fact that Keystone GOP officials admitted in a lawsuit won by voting rights groups in 2014 that there was absolutely no in person voter fraud in the state. None. But that doesn’t matter because when Republicans like Trump cheat, they think everyone else cheats too.

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Creating Change: Lessons From a Private-Prison Victory

Richard Eskow

Richard Eskow Writer, Host, "The Breakdown;" Senior Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

Sometimes you win.

That can be an unfamiliar sensation for people on the left. When you fight for good causes, against powerful forces and overwhelming odds, you lose a lot of battles.

But sometimes you win. Take this month’s announcement from the Justice Department that it’s planning to phase out the use of for-profit prisons. Like many such victories, it is only a qualified success. But qualified success is still success.

This victory seemed politically impossible as recently as last year. What changed? Like many such victories, it began with consciousness. Attacks on the “prison industrial complex” were once considered the province of radical activists and crusading (but possibly lonely) left journalists.

Some church groups got wind of the issue in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s and divested themselves of for-profit prison stock. Writers and thinkers and activists continued to shine a light on the problem. Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow,” has been writing about this issue for years. Books like “Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money From Mass Incarceration” explored the issue in depth.

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Workers Gain Two Big Wins in California Courts

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

Workers – and specifically teachers and Uber drivers – gained two big wins in California courts, one state and one federal, within the space of a week from August 18-22.

The first win came on August 18 when U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco threw out a class action settlement that the Uber’ drivers’ lawyer tried to get him to accept. In his ruling, Chen noted that since the settlement was proposed, Uber drivers had written his court with hundreds of objections.

Chen’s big objection, along with theirs, was that the settlement would leave the Uber drivers open to further exploitation by the manipulative “gig economy” firm. The Uber drivers would remain “independent contractors,” without labor law rights, Social Security, Medicare, workers’ comp, jobless benefits and the right to organize.

That big win was followed on August 22,  when the California Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling against a right wing scheme to destroy teachers’ tenure.

The two rulings are important for several reasons: California, as the nation’s largest state, shows it is once again coming down on the side of workers and against the radical right. And the Uber case should give exploitative firms in the “gig economy,” which thrive on letting workers fend for themselves, pause.

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Good News In The Reported Collapse of U.S.-Europe Trade Talks

Isaiah J. Poole

Isaiah J. Poole Executive editor, OurFuture.org

News out of Germany that U.S. trade negotiations with Europe similar to the one that produced the Trans-Pacific Partnership have collapsed is another sign that an organized grassroots is successfully putting the multinational corporate trade agenda on its heels.

Britain’s Independent, in an article published Monday, quotes Germany’s Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel as saying free trade negotiations between the European Union and the United States have failed, but that “nobody is really admitting it.”

The trade deal is called the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP. It is being negotiated between the U.S. and the members of the European Union. Discussions have been going on at the same time the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation deal that includes several Asian countries as well as Western Hemisphere nations, was being forged.

The BBC published an article on its website Monday with a headline framing the TTIP collapse as a question rather than a declarative fact, but noted in its story, “There are many critics who hope Mr Gabriel’s assessment is right.”

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CEO Of Giant Corporation Tells US Government He’s The Boss Of Them

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

Are We the People the boss of giant multinational corporations, or are they the boss of us?

Imagine, if you will, going to the IRS and saying, “I don’t think the tax rate is fair so I’m not going to pay it.” Regular Americans can’t do that. But Apple just did.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook was interviewed by The Washington Post early this month. He was asked about the vast sums of profits that Apple has shifted into overseas tax havens thanks to a loophole in US tax law that lets them “defer” paying taxes on those profits as long as the money technically stays outside the country. Cook said (emphasis added, for emphasis):

And when we bring it back, we will pay 35 percent federal tax and then a weighted average across the states that we’re in, which is about 5 percent, so think of it as 40 percent. We’ve said at 40 percent, we’re not going to bring it back until there’s a fair rate. There’s no debate about it.

What would happen to any regular American if they did what Cook did, and said they they aren’t going to pay taxes because they don’t think the tax rate is “fair”? (Hint: Jail. And maybe 2 or 3 years added to the sentence for the contempt of saying, “There’s no debate about it.”)

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Straight from the Horse's Mouth

Straight from the Horse's Mouth

Union Matters

Ain't That Calling the Kettle a Bigot?

Sometimes, just when you think nothing more absurd could spill out of Donald Trump’s mouth, a minute passes, and you’re proven wrong.

Earlier this week, Donald decided that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, is just too much of a prejudiced woman for the American people.

"Hillary Clinton is a bigot who sees people of color only as votes, not as human beings worthy of a better future," Trump said. “She's going to do nothing for Hispanics and African-Americans."

Yeah, sure, Hillary is the one demeaning minorities – unlike Trump, who honors them by taking photos praising Hispanics for their taco bowls, calling immigrants rapists and murderers, and courting white supremacists who show up to his rallies and beat and spit on black protestors.

Trump also claimed that Hillary and other Democrats are the reason behind poverty in black neighborhoods and that she hasn’t helped African-Americans at all.

“She doesn't care what her policies have done to your communities. She doesn't care," he nonsensically asserted.

Let’s just take a peek at what Hillary’s policies have done to those communities, shall we?

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