Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Donald Destructo

Donald Trump has perfected the swagger and boast of a professional wrestler.

While a guy like World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Vince McMahon is full of fake bluster and brashness for the sake of TV ratings, Donald Trump is the real McCoy: A reckless bully.  

That violent, provocative behavior makes Trump far too dangerous to get anywhere near nuclear codes. For Americans who want peace and security, not war, this man is too risky to inhabit the White House.   

That’s what 50 former national security officials whose careers span more than four decades said in a letter last week. They are Republicans. They include a former director of the CIA, the first director of national intelligence, and two former secretaries of homeland security. They warned Trump would be treacherous as president.  

And that was before Trump suggested in a speech last week that “Second Amendment” supporters assassinate Hillary Clinton if she’s elected so she can’t nominate judges to the Supreme Court. 

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Chris Christie Vetoes Yet Another Voter Registration Bill

Kira Lerner Political Reporter, Think Progress

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) vetoed two bills on Thursday that would have made it easier for state residents to cast a ballot, including one that would have automatically registered voters when they get or renew a driver’s license.

The second-term governor and Donald Trump surrogate rejected the automatic registration bill, calling it a “cocktail of fraud” because it would “almost certainly register ineligible voters.”

“This bill should be called ‘the Voter Fraud Enhancement and Permission Act,’” he said in his veto message.

Also on Thursday, Christie vetoed a bill that would have allowed 17-year-old New Jersey residents to vote in primaries if they turn 18 by the time of the general election. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia currently allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries in order to increase political engagement.

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West Virginia Judge Temporarily Halts State Right-to-Work Law

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

A West Virginia county judge has temporarily halted the Mountain State’s so-called “right to work” law, which the right wing GOP-run legislature enacted last year. The law was supposed to take effect this summer.

After a hearing in Kanawha County Circuit Court in the state capital of Charleston, Judge Jennifer Bailey issued a temporary injunction against the statute. She said postponing it would not materially hurt the state. She’ll hold a full hearing on its legality within 90 days.

Right-to-work laws are a favorite cause of big business, the radical right and their GOP political puppets nationwide.

The laws ban unions from negotiating contract clauses that say workers in a covered workplace must pay either union dues or – if they object – agency fees which cover only the costs of collective bargaining and contract enforcement.

Their practical impact is to make workers “free riders,” by sticking unions with the bill for bargaining and protecting them, but without the revenue to do so. As a result, RTW laws weaken unions’ impact and workers’ pay and benefits.

The West Virginia AFL-CIO and ten unions separately sued in the Kanawha court after state lawmakers passed, and Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed, the RTW law. It made West Virginia the 26th right-to-work state. Several months ago, unions sued to stop it.

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The Powell Memo and The War on Workers

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

Forty-five years ago, on Aug. 23, 1971, Lewis Powell, then a well-connected conser-vative corporate lawyer in Richmond, Va., wrote a document that has changed all of our lives.

At the request of his friend Eugene Sydnor, Jr., then education director for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Powell – whom GOP President Richard Nixon would nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court two months later – looked at the political landscape facing business as a whole and authored the most-influential private memo ever.

It’s far more influential than any of Powell’s subsequent High Court rulings. And his clients, first in big business and then on the radical right, implemented and elaborated on Powell’s recommendations, creating the organized corporate rule that now permeates society.

In 1971, Powell’s clients were alarmed by what they perceived and feared. The New Deal – including the National Labor Relations Act and Social Security -- was an accepted part of U.S. law. So were the key features of the Great Society, such as Medicare, Medicaid, federal aid to education, and civil rights laws, notably the Voting Rights Act.

Consumerists, progressives and their allies were on the march, the corporatists feared. Even with a Republican president, Nixon, ruling, Congress had passed the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and, the year before, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, all over business opposition.

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Donald Trump’s Smear of Lyndon Johnson

Bill Scher

Bill Scher Online Editor, Campaign for America's Future

Donald Trump has been routinely accusing former President Lyndon Johnson of silencing the political speech of churches because he viewed churches as political enemies. This is false. Trump’s presidential campaign may be doomed to defeat, but this smear may live on if it is not vehemently corrected.

The trajectory of this smear is a case study of how conservative misinformation is often injected into the political bloodstream. It starts with a seed of truth then metastasizes into a grotesque lie.

In Trump’s nomination acceptance speech, he said:

I would like to thank the evangelical and religious community because I’ll tell you what, the support they have given me … has had such a big reason for me being here tonight … They have so much to contribute to our politics, yet our laws prevent you from speaking your minds from your own pulpits. An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson, many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views. Their voice has been taken away. I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and protect free speech for all Americans.

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Which Economy Do You Choose?

Which Economy Do You Choose?

Union Matters

Millennials and the Deconstruction of the Two Party System

Richard Cucarese

Richard Cucarese Rapid Response Coordinator, USW Local 4889

The unending folly of our presidential election recently had some eye opening revelations when certain factions of delegates on both sides called for a major revamping of both parties when their conventions took place in July.  Although protests at the RNC in Cleveland were sparse, there was still an ongoing tension between the old guard, the Tea Party and the Frankenstein, nightmare candidate come to life, Donald Trump, who remarkably thought that making America great again is done by running the narrative that the country is in dark dangerous times.  What he fails to mention is that if the country is on course for caving into the abyss, it’s been exacerbated by the 1% of which he’s a card carrying member.

Notwithstanding the calamity in the GOP, the DNC certainly had nothing to gloat about either as they and the mainstream media did everything in their power to squash the contentious nature inside, nor cover the discord taking place outside the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia, erecting over four miles of barricades to keep thousands of protesters at bay and making sure that press coverage was nearly nonexistent.  Many in the crowds outside of the arena believed Secretary Clinton and the DNC Chairperson, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, were the chief orchestrators of these instances. 

Both parties have become reprehensibly complacent, whittling their constituencies down to niche groups laser focused on one dimensional issues, while consistently pandering to the lobbyists of big business, Wall Street and the banks.   This has left massive swaths of the population to fend for themselves while Congress passes merciless legislation, such as the free trade agreements, which have pillaged our manufacturing base and sent millions of Americans into the ranks of the impoverished or worse.

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