Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Chinese, GOP Agree Non-Rich Shouldn’t Vote

Chinese, GOP Agree Non-Rich Shouldn’t Vote
Photo by Stephen Melkisethian on Flickr, taken Feb. 8 at Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C. during a Moral Monday Movement rally.

Speaking just like an American Republican, the Communist Chinese-appointed leader of Hong Kong, Leung Chun-ying, said last week that if the state granted democratic rights to its poor and working class, they could dominate elections and choose leaders who would meet their needs.

If Hong Kong’s 99 percenters picked their leaders, Mr. Leung said, “Then you would end up with that kind of politics and policies.”  To ensure politics and policies favoring Hong Kong’s one percent, Mr. Leung insists that a committee appointed in Beijing approve all candidates to succeed him.  

Mr. Leung fears rule by the majority – just as U.S. Republicans do. It’s the reason the GOP has launched a massive voter suppression campaign across the country. Republicans believe in rule by and for the one percent. To accomplish that, they must do what Mr. Leung and the Chinese Communist party did: foil democracy. That’s the GOP goal when it subverts America’s precious one person-one vote equality. Every American who holds democracy dear must do whatever it takes to defy GOP attempts to deny them access to the ballot next week.  

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The Right To Vote Just Lost A Battle In The Supreme Court, But The War Comes After The Election

Ian Millhiser

Ian Millhiser Senior Constitutional Policy Analyst, Think Progress

The Right To Vote Just Lost A Battle In The Supreme Court, But The War Comes After The Election

The last month has been a terrible month for voting rights, but it could only be the beginning. Though the Supreme Court handed down four voting rights decisions in the past several weeks, three of which allowed voter suppression laws to take effect, all four of these were only preliminary decisions. It is likely that the justices will consider one or more of these laws again before they leave for their summer vacations at the end of June. And, if the Roberts Court’s previous record on voting rights is any indication, it is unlikely that a right that an earlier Supreme Court once described as “preservative of all rights” will fare very well the next time it comes before these justices.

The Court was confronted by an attempt to make it harder to vote almost as soon as the justices returned from their last round of summer vacation. A week before the Supreme Court officially gaveled in its new term, the justices handed down a 5-4 decision allowing Ohio to cut it’s early voting days. Just over a week later, they allowed two provisions of North Carolina’s comprehensive voter suppression law to take effect during the 2014 election. And then, last Saturday, the justices permitted Texas’s voter ID law to take effect despite a lower court’s finding that the law “was racially motivated.”

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The Excessive Political Power Of White Men In The United States, In One Chart

By Emily Baxter and Jamie Keane

White men make up 31% of the population, yet they hold 65% of elected offices in the United States.

According to data released Wednesday by the Reflective Democracy Campaign, which built a database of over 42,000 elected officials, America’s leaders do not look very much like their constituents. Whites, men and white men dominate elected offices. Women and people of color are massively underrepresented.

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Conservative Provocateur Creates Fake LGBT Group To ‘Expose’ Voter Fraud

Zack Ford Editor, Think Progress LGBT

James O’Keefe, perhaps best known as the undercover pimp who targeted the community organizing group ACORN, has once again been trying to target Democratic candidates with undercover schemes, this time in Colorado. Last week, he and two collaborators tried to bait field staffers working on the reelection campaign for Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) into approving voter fraud using Colorado’s new vote-by-mail system.

This year will be the first time Colorado voters have the opportunity to vote in a general election by mail. All registered voters will receive a ballot in the mail that they simply fill out and return. On several occasions, O’Keefe and his collaborators approached Udall campaign staffers to suggest that they fill out these ballots for other people.

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Grade Your Elected Representatives Nov. 4

Grade Your Elected Representatives Nov. 4

Union Matters

Don't Let Tragedy Destroy Canadian Optimism

By Jamie West, USW Local 6500
President, Sudbury and District Labour Council

Like many of you, I was shocked to hear of the violence in Ottawa on Wednesday. I have friends who work on Parliament Hill and was relieved to read posts that they were safe and secure. At the same time, I felt a pang of guilt knowing the tragedy and mourning that Cpl. Cirillo’s friends and family were going to endure.

As a Canadian, I’m confused: Why would anyone want to harm us? Who’s friendlier than Canadians? Think about it: we’re the people who say “sorry” when other people bump into us. Our country is so friendly that citizens from other countries sew our maple leaf on their backpacks when they travel. We're so friendly that, in 2001, when planes were being used to create terror in New York, Canada allowed 255 US-bound aircraft to be diverted from the US to our airports.

I can’t understand why this would happen. I’m bewildered, frustrated, offended, angry, insulted, and filled with rage. As Canadians, we typically don’t wear our pride on our sleeves - except for during Olympic hockey and on Canada Day - we rarely wear anything with an obvious Canadian logo. Instead, we keep our Canadian pride nestled close to our hearts. As a result, this attack at our Nation’s capital has become an attack on our values; a betrayal of our friendliness; and, a shock to our culture.

However, what is bothering me more than the unnecessary bloodshed, the subsequent panic, and the confusion and shock, is how quickly rage seems to open the door towards racism. I understand the desire to lash out in an attempt to harm the gunman in any way that we can – to spit insults and slurs to signify our disgust of his actions. However, I am cautious of defining a culture by the actions of an individual.

I’m reminded that I have brothers and sisters in the union movement who have skin darker than my own. I also have Muslim friends and neighbors. And, when I hear the slurs directed at the gunman in Ottawa, I can’t help but feel it splash onto the innocent others – others who are blameless, yet harmed through our rage and anger because of their looks, clothing, or cultural beliefs.

And because of this, I urge us to be cautious. I urge us to recognize that there are those who will use the fuel of our anger to manipulate our actions. I urge us to remember the final words of the greatest Prime Minister that never was: “My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”

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