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Saturday, February 23, 2019

NPR Morning Edition aired a report this week that reeked of anti-union bias, and inadvertently promoted the Koch brothers’ agenda to reduce collective bargaining rights, which means smaller wages and benefits.

The report was rife with errors, missing facts, bollixed concepts, and a meaningless comparison used to impeach a union source.

Below I’ll detail the serious problems with reports by Lisa Autry of WKU Public Radio in Bowling Green, Kentucky, but first you should know why this matters to you no matter where you live.

A serious, very well-funded, and thoroughly documented movement to pay workers less and reduce their rights, while increasing the rights of employers, is gaining traction as more states pass laws that harm workers. A host of proposals in Congress would compound this if passed and signed into law.

News organizations help this anti-worker movement, even if they do not mean to, when they get facts wrong, lack balance, provide vagaries instead of telling details, and fail to apply time-tested reporting practices to separate fact from advocacy.

The advocates are sophisticated. They pose as “nonprofit research organizations,” but are better described as ideological marketing agencies.

There’s nothing wrong with marketing ideology, only with not being honest about what you are doing.

These tax-exempt outfits operate on the model of Madison Avenue; reinforcing instincts, hopes, and desire to stir demand for what may not be good for you or be of dubious effectiveness.

Carefully read, their reports are mostly assertions with a sprinkling of cherry-picked facts and projections, which I have found, reviewing them years later, turned out to be wrong.

Midwestern and southern states have been enacting anti-worker laws that take away collective bargaining rights, while forcing unions to represent people who do not share in the costs of collective bargaining and protecting workers in grievance proceedings. Other laws directly reduce compensation, especially pensions, although police and firefighters are generally shielded.

A key part of this strategy is creating the impression that unions are bad for workers. This goes to a problem that Presidents John Adams and James Madison feared would destroy the nation – the rise of a “business aristocracy” that would trick people whose only income was from wages into supporting policies that would be good for the business aristocrats, but bad for workers.

The NPR report was about Kentucky counties that are passing so-called “right to work” laws, a worthy topic for sure.

Early on, reporter Lisa Autry makes this untrue statement:  “Democrats have rejected efforts to allow employees in unionized companies the freedom to choose whether to join a union.”

No law requires workers to join a union under a binding U.S. Supreme Court decision. Congress outlawed the “closed shop” in the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, formally known as the Labor Management Relations Act.

Workers at firms with union contracts are only required to pay dues that cover the costs of representing them in negotiating contracts and grievance procedures.

Russell D. Lewis, the NPR Southern bureau chief who edited Autry’s report, told me he was only vaguely aware of the Taft-Hartley Act and did not recognize her error.

From an economic perspective, what so-called “right to work” laws do is allow workers to enjoy the benefits of collective bargaining and contract enforcement without sharing in the costs. This is a form of moral hazard that weakens unions and makes it likely that they will fail because of what economists call the free rider problem: Those who do not share in the costs of negotiating contracts and enforcing them enjoy the same benefits and protections as those who do.

Autry’s NPR report failed to mention a central fact – Kentucky’s highest court ruled in 1965 that cities and counties cannot adopt local collective bargaining laws. In a case that unions brought against Jesse Puckett, mayor of Shelbyville, Kentucky’s highest court ruled (emphasis added):

it is not reasonable to believe that Congress could have intended to [leave to local governments] the determination of policy in such a controversial area as that of union-security agreements. We believe Congress was willing to permit varying policies at the state level, but could not have intended to allow as many local policies as there are local political subdivisions in the nation. It is our conclusion that Congress has pre-empted from cities the field undertaken to be entered by the Shelbyville ordinance.

In reports for her local NPR station, Autry never cited this. She did, however, a report on a politician who told her that equal numbers of people believe a county-level ordinance would be legal or illegal. In another report, on whether counties have the legal authority to pass such laws, she said, “the answer depends on who you ask.”

It took me less than a minute using an Internet search engine to find the 1965 case. It was also cited in a nuanced and balanced January news report in the Louisville Courier-Journal. Even cub reporter Gina Clear of the News-Enterprise in Elizabethtown, KY provided coverage that was balanced and far better informed than Autry’s.

Did Autry fail to report the court decision because of laziness, poor judgment, or anti-union bias? I cannot give you a definitive answer because Autry and Kevin Willis, WKU’s news director, ignored my repeated requests for an interview, passing the buck to Lewis.

Strange, journalists who expect people to return their calls but do not hold themselves to that standard.

My review of several dozen Autry pieces suggests a bias against unions and workers.

Autry tends to quote anti-unionists at length, but paraphrase what union leaders say, though she did one report that explained union perspectives.

She frequently does one-sided reports using language that assumes only anti-union policies have merit, and quotes only anti-union sources. She also did a one-sided report against increasing the minimum wage.

Lewis, the NPR editor, noted that Autry quoted a United Auto Workers local official saying that Alabama and Mississippi, both with so-called “right to work” laws, have “some of the worst education, highest poverty. What happens is that as they reduce the union labor, less and less [sic] people are making a decent wage.”

But Autry followed that quote with a bizarre point to impeach the union official’s remarks: “Actually, since World War II, income and job growth have increased faster in right-to-work states.”

That might be relevant to a story about how Jim Crow laws kept, and still keep, blacks from many well-paying jobs. Or in a story about how taxpayer investments, especially in the Interstate Highways, canals, and electricity, opened the South to building factories after the war.

Autry cited no source. Lewis sent me a report by the Mackinac Center, another libertarian marketing agency.  It is much more nuanced than Autry’s flat statement.

And actually, to invoke Autry’s word, what would be relevant would be current data on household incomes in states with and without laws requiring workers to pay for the benefits they get from any union that represents them.

In 2013 the median household income (half make more, half less) was $49,087 in so-called “right to work” states, but $56,746 in other states. That means in the states with diminished worker rights people have to work a full year plus eight weeks to get what their peers earn in a year.

Autry’s piece and Lewis’s editing seem to violate NPR’s ethics handbook, which says “good editors are also good prosecutors. They test, probe and challenge reporters, always with the goal of making NPR’s stories as good (and therefore as accurate) as possible.”

The handbook also says “attribute everything… When in doubt, err on the side of attributing — that is, make it very clear where we’ve gotten our information (or where the organization we give credit to has gotten its information). Every NPR reporter and editor should be able to immediately identify the source of any facts in our stories — and why we consider them credible. And every reader or listener should know where we got our information.”

In her NPR piece and a number of WKU reports, Autry quotes the Bluegrass Institute, which she describes as “a Kentucky-based think tank that advocates for smaller government.”

With just two employees, it doesn’t have much capacity to think.

What Autry neglected to report was that the Bluegrass Institute is an ad agency for Kochian ideas.  It is also part of a network that is funded by corporate interests closely allied with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which poses as a nonpartisan advocate for smaller government and more federalism, but is funded by corporations opposed to unions, the Koch Brothers, and their confreres. While the network says its members are independent, behind closed doors it operates like an ideological Ikea selling libertarian ideas, The New Yorker magazine reported.

Editor Lewis told me he had no idea about the Bluegrass Institute’s connections.

Lewis also indicated he was not troubled by using the term “right to work,” which is both factually inaccurate and politically loaded. Based on the evidence I call them right-to-work-for-less laws. NPR surely should explain to listeners that an abundance of official data (and economic theory) show that union workers make more than their non-union counterparts.

Autry ended her NPR piece with another falsehood: “Meanwhile, several labor unions — including some from out of state — have filed a federal lawsuit to stop Kentucky’s local right-to-work movement.”

All of the unions represent workers in the county where the lawsuit was filed, a fact anyone who read the lawsuit should know. Irwin “Buddy” Cutler, the lawyer who filed the case, noted that to have standing – the right to sue – the union would have to represent workers in the county where the dispute exists.

Lewis said he did not know that, which explains his failure to ask what strikes me as an obvious question. Beyond that, what purpose did ending on this (false) point serve?

NPR owes listeners a corrective. It also needs to balance its reports and use relevant data. More importantly, all news organizations need to be wary of “think tanks” bearing easy information.

Photo: Protesters demonstrate against right-to-work laws in Madison, Wisconsin (Light Brigading via Flickr)

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148 responses to “How The Media Enable The Anti-Worker Movement”

  1. skyshoes says:

    “Work to Blight” laws. NPR is a sad corporate shell (shill) of what it once was. Conservos defunded it and set its bejeweled “hierarchy” to begging for corporate donors. Yet another conservative “victory”.

    • Dominick Vila says:

      The media enabled corporate America and the elite to destroy organized labor by ignoring, or downplaying the achievements made by labor unions during the last century. Turning unions into vicious organizations operating in dark, smoke filled rooms, bore fruit thanks to the ability of special interests to control what passes for journalism in America.
      From higher wages, to paid vacation, paid sick leave, paid bereavement, emphasis on safety in the work place, healthcare coverage, 401k or thrift plans, to protection against management abuses; organized labor was the catalyst that helped create the middle class, and standard of living, we have all benefited from for the past several decades.
      The chimera or “right to work states” is just that, an illusion that simply means work harder for less money and fewer benefits. The transition from full time, well paid jobs, and the outsourcing of jobs, did not happen because of labor Unions asked for more than our corporations could afford, or because of the need to be competitive (high wages and excellent benefits have not had a devastating impact in countries like Germany or Scandinavia), the reason for the labor problems we have is out of control greed.

  2. Eleanore Whitaker says:

    Look, once you understand the link between the 5 billionaire media moguls: Zuckerberg, Murdoch, the 2 Kochs and Adelson, you see just how locked in these guys are with their corporate billionaire cronies. Every one of the 5 sit on the same corporate boards of their cronies. So they naturally believe they and only they control what we see and hear in media. Is that true? NO.

    There is no longer a “free press” in the US as the Constitution guarantees. Today, “FREE” is the definition of “billionaire control” over the masses. “IF WE let them.”

    I turn off the TV, refuse to buy rag papers like the NY Post and others until they learn to stop their subtle indoctrination. You know what? I save a bundle of my money by refusing to pay a dime for their lies and corruption.

    The reality is that until these asshats go under for their greed which is not far off if Wall Street and the SEC keep up their sneaky underhanded games, they will do as they please. Americans always have options. We push back harder than hell when it means we have to support billionaires.

    Get rid of the House GOP majority or none of your tax dollars will be for taxpayer needs. It’s OUR money to decide where it is spent, not a bunch of redneck lunatic Bible Thumpers and greedheads.

    • anothertoothpick says:

      It is going to take an awful lot to make these “asshats go under” Eleanor.

      Just last year the Kochs gained $3 billion dollars a piece. That is $6 billion more than what they had at the start of the year.

      If you had an extra $6 billion, what would you do with it?

      I tell you what the Koch’s are doing with it, they are not only buying the president they are buying all the state legislations.

      Keep an eye out for this “balanced budget (constitutional convention) amendment that 26 states have joined.

      This would put an end this country as we know it.

      • Eleanore Whitaker says:

        You and I both know that humanity has its limitations. From the moment we are born, we owe one death. Nothing is forever. My personal suspicion is that Charles and David Koch are playing a very dangerous game not unlike the ones played by their predecessors Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Mellon, who in the early 1900s thought they too could “buy the president they wanted.”

        It didn’t happen even when the southern Democrats and Republicans tried in vain to stop passage of anti-trust laws supported by one single very determined US president: Theodore Roosevelt.

        All things considered, the Kochs, Adelson and the rest of these billionaires are dangerously close to their own demise. Did Carnegie take it with him? Did Cornelius Vanderbilt? You bet they didn’t. Today, all of their ultra mansions are supported as museums of public interest by you and I, the US taxpayer.

        Corruption and conflict of interest in the US government is not new…Remember when Strom Thurmond and Richard B. Russell and several other Southern politicians used the filibuster to destroy the Civil Rights act? Didn’t do them a whit of good. They were overruled by public opinion who saw their actions as outright bigotry.

        Down through US history, politicians have sought ultimate control, ignoring the basic Robert’s Rule of Order in the House and Senate. All of these good ole boys are dead now.

        Even the so-called Tea Party isn’t going to last. They can’t override the 99% who refuse to be pawns in their game.

        That’s really all it takes to cut them back down to size: REFUSE.

        • anothertoothpick says:

          Very good post Eleanor and I admire your opinion. You can always count on me for thumbs up from me! (Usually)

          Carnegie, Vanderbilt, or the John Birch Society for that matter were no where near as organized or as well funded as ALEC or the rest these (freedumb) groups that the Koch’s sponsor.

          This is not the same republican party that existed even since 2000.

          They have evolved learning from past mistakes.

          Just take a look at how the cable companies have monopolized the media for one small example. They are getting away with gouging their customers. Teddy would have never allowed that. However, you will agree that Teddy was not all that successful is his attempts to slow down capitalism. He kinda walked away from the issue once he got done pissing off Morgan.

          Or a better example would be how Walmart has monopolized every level of the supply chain for retail.

          The Koch’s now control 69 out of 100 state legislatures. That is where ALEC comes in. ALEC actually gets state laws past that ALEC writes. Governor Kasich is going from state to state not campaigning …but pushing this Constittutional (spelling) amendment. “Stand your ground law is also a law written by ALEC) These guys are diabolical.

          Did Carnegie have that kind of smarts? (I don’t think so) Maybe Morgan did. hahahahahahaa.

          I just think these guys are WAY ahead of the curve.

          And they got a large percentage of the voters buying into it with the help of FUX news.

          I can remember when the word UNION or LIBERAL was not a vulgar word, but they have even changed that. I am amazed at how many people are against unions. I even know union members that are against unions.

          And, I might add that thanks to automation and starvation (slave wages) so available off shore, they don’t give a crap what happens to the (over paid) US worker.

          It is a new world out there and it is based on profit and loss and has nothing to do with people.

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            For me, LIFE is NOW…not next year or last year. I don’t live in the past like the GOP does…All they have are men they are who are already long in their graves.

            This is why only the present matters and why we have to push back as hard as we can NOW.

            When today becomes tomorrow, we don’t want our kids wondering why we remained silent when we should be declaring war on the idiots who are imposing massive mindless hardship on this country and loathe total lack of advancement.

          • anothertoothpick says:

            It’seems too late.

            They went after Obama’s “hope and change” and sealed the deal with citizens united.

            If the right wing SCOTUS does not kill Obamacare, the Republicans will. And those very same republican lawmakers will get re-elected.

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            The GOP cannot hope to get rid of the ACA anymore than they can get rid of SS. If they do, they will rue the day and some may even end up in jail just for trying.

            It isn’t possible to make Americans pay premiums to insurance companies and then tell them they get zip in return.

            It’s why the GOP continually lies about SS being paid for “by the next generation.” I know that’s a lie because my company closed in October 2013 and we were all SS eligible by more than 2 to 4 years. When I filed, it was based on my last year’s salary. That determined how much I paid in for the 4+ decades I was employed. So, you SS is based on how much you paid into SS and your last year’s wages which determines the tax bracket you are in.

            If they try to take SS or the ACA premiums, they will be stealing money already paid in. They know this. It’s a threat and an idle threat at that used to create a slush fund to hand more money to their billionaire campaign contributors.

            In essence, these corporate billionaires take money out of what you earn to support GOP you don’t want to vote for by raising prices on goods and services or by taking higher and higher tax subsidies which your taxes pay for.

  3. Stephen Paraski says:

    NPR is a Koch brothers shill.

  4. adler56 says:

    Autry is at best a one woman sleeper cell- at worst a paid (by the Koch organization) shill

  5. adler56 says:

    The Kochs are like the FDA to me- if they’re for something , it’s best for me to be against it.

  6. booker25 says:

    25 red states have passed this right to work for less bills, crushing unions is crushing the middle class, its just that simple. Who the hell do they think will have any purchasing power if they continue on this path???

    • anothertoothpick says:

      We have an entire political party that is against ANY minimum wage, cut welfare food stamps, and are against people getting health care coverage.

      But they would jump through hoops to give a needy billionaire a nice tax cut.

      Working class or the 99% have no business voting for any republican.

    • idamag says:

      Another good point. They are stiffing the consumers. If the working man has to scrape by just to pay the rent and buy groceries, he cannot buy anything else.

  7. Don Belanger says:

    What I find very grievous is that the current crop of workers would vote against their own interests…..Talk about dumbing down…Where do they think the 40 hour work week, living wages, a half way decent health and pension plan come from?

    • anothertoothpick says:

      Walker got elected governor in Wisconsin.

      He then proceeded to kill the teachers union a policy he did not campaign on.

      Then they tried to recall him and he got re-elected.

      This lesson does not bode well for working class people.

      • Don Belanger says:

        I agree withyou. Besides, a certain billionaire Lady (rhymes with “witch”) bought and paid for Gov. Walker, I believe to the tune of about $500,000 to kill public unions. I guess she got her money’s worth. If he runs for President she’ll be spending more–just goes to show you have to be a billionaire to buy yourself a President.

        • anothertoothpick says:

          Thanks Don for that info.

          You know this is not some “wily-nily” movement designed to put a few more bucks into a billionaire’s pocket. OH no… it is far more than that. Forty Billionaires already control half of the global wealth. They have all the money they will ever need in 1000 lifetimes.

          This all started with, what they call, “the Reagan Revolution”.
          Even the rich are amazed that this has gotten this far.
          They figure if they can convince voters it is a good idea to cut funds to education and give out tax breaks to the rich like they are candy, they can get away with anything.

          They DID get away with this trickle down theory after all.

    • idamag says:

      As I said in my first post on this site: the worker has been devalued until he believes it.

    • davidcayjohnston says:

      Columnist here…

      Mr. Belanger from giving hundreds of lectures over the years and talking to people before, during and after many have no knowledge of the struggles that produced weekends, 40-hour work weeks, overtime or funded pensions. Horrors like the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire (with all those women’s bodies laid out on the sidewalk by the NYFD so it would be major news) often get puzzled look from people. Open a high school history text and you would think all this just happened –and you certainly would not know about the violence by owners against union organizers or even that the Founders supported organized labor (see link in my column that cites Presidents Adams and Madison and read about Thomas Jefferson.)

      Another factor whose significance I cannot judge is that many pre-1900 immigrants were not in European guilds (unions) and thus came here to be better off. Their descendants may have no direct knowledge of this, but they tended be raised in homes with generations of anti-union sentiment.

  8. Joseph R. Davis says:

    Has anyone asked WHY the Koch brothers, et al, are actively seeking to destroy unions? Isn’t this an attack on the middle class? Why are they seeking to destroy social programs that benefit the elderly, poor and working poor? Is it their intent to reduce the overall standard of living for the US population who actually WORK for a living? Have either of the Koch brothers ever hit a lick of real work in their privileged lives? Are they simply sociopaths who want to visit misery on the have-nots?

    And this Grover Norquist character, and his anti-tax shtik. Which, of course, means no taxes for the people at the top of the economic food chain. It appears that Grover knocked down slightly less than a half million dollars in salary last year from two organizations that don’t produce anything but pro-Kochism propaganda. And he has a ton of money hidden offshore.

    What EXACTLY is the motivation for people like the Koch brothers and Norquist? Greed? Do they all share an anti-social personality disorder? Are they actively trying to bankrupt Uncle Sam? Do they intend to reduce the government to poverty, in order to compel the sale of government lands and assets, so the Oligarchs can buy up the United States at bargain prices? Isn’t that what happened in Russia, when the Soviet Union fell?

    Communism, Fascism, Naziism…and now…Kochism! Where do we go from here?

    • davidcayjohnston says:

      Columnist here…

      Mr. Davis,

      The Kochs believe what they are doing will make us all wealthier. Had you been raised as they were you might well share their views. They are libertarians, an ideology built on a faulty premise as I explained in a 2002 book review:

      The Kochs, and Grover, believe that if we create a society with tiny government, little to no regulation and fearless in taxes the society will prosper. The empirical evidence I have been documenting for the last decades shows exactly zero support for this proposition and a lot of contrary evidence, but what we all believe is often less affected by verifiable facts than what we wish to be true.

      • CrankyToo says:

        Mr. Johnson, you ascribe a benevolent intent to the machinations of the Koch brothers and Grover Norquist: “(they) believe what they are doing will make us all wealthier” and “(they) believe…. the society will prosper.”

        With respect, Sir, from my perspective, the notion that these immoral capitalists are even remotely concerned with the welfare of the average Joe – let alone society at large – is, on its face, patently absurd. These people are motivated by greed and avarice. Full stop.

        • davidcayjohnston says:

          Columnist here…

          CrankyToo, I never wrote that the Kochs are “concerned with the welfare of the average Joe.” Nor did I describe them as benevolent, which means charitable, though the fact is that they give away a lot of money (while some other billionaires give nothing or next nothing.

          What I wrote was that they believe — they are not hypocrites. They also work hard to persuade others to believe and use government to achieve their goals. Those goals are consistent with their beliefs. It is a huge mistake to personalize this. Bad ideas should be defeated by showing they are bad ideas and with better ideas — which takes hard work.

          Much as I disagree with the Kochs I admire their dedication, strategy and focus on making our country over into their vision of a better future for the nation. You should too. Understanding them personally is of little value. And demonizing them — or just assuming bad motives, as you do — gets us exactly nowhere.

          Having spent a lot of time with many people who did awful things — a mob hit man, LAPD Chief Gates, executives who ravaged their workers or shareholders or customers or the fisc, to cite a few examples — I can tell you that most of them believe their stuff. They are not comic book characters. I focus on what they did, or do, regardless of whether they were someone you’d like to have a beer with or good parents or anything else personal, except where I found that their personal quirks could be useful in reporting to gain usable information about their actions or get them to say things they had not intended.

          The Kochs, as I wrote, believe their stuff despite empirical evidence to the contrary and a serious logical hole in the foundation of their philosophy, examined in the book review I linked to and well-developed in the thin volume itself. But then most people would rather have their beliefs re-affirmed then question the premises from which they operate.

          Now to try and get you to step back and think of this differently please try this: Imagine the Kochs as benevolent, generous, loving family men and skilled business owners with highly developed cultural tastes — does that change anything about the policies they wish and work for?

          • Matforce says:

            As much as I enjoyed reading and totally agree with your article, I disagree with your post above, and I have concluded that the Kochs, like hens who feather their nests, care only about those policies and practices that institute the furtherance of their interests. Like those caught up in the lucrative bonus system that witnessed the bundling of subprime mortgages with A rated bonds during the deregulation free-for-all leading up to the Great Recession of 2008, the Koch’s appear to concern themselves primarily with how the USA can be used to further their own interests, and would use every tool at their disposal to smear an adversary, including the subtle, yet pervasive rhetoric concerning sentiments that suggest, for example, that the interest (or plight) of the USA worker is a drag on productivity (spelled- profit), and not worth the time or energy to invest in (spelled- wring every last red cent from the USA consumer market, but put nothing back!).
            I get your admiration for their single-minded, business minded focus on achieving their ends, and the craft that they employ in achieving them, but like the “synthetic human” played by Ian Holm in the movie, “Aliens,” who claimed, “I admire its purity,” after being ripped to pieces by it, I believe your admiration is misplaced!

    • idamag says:

      I should have added the koch brothers to my post. The man who picks up my trash gives more to this country than the koch brothers.

      • Allan Richardson says:

        Exactly. He picks up what they dish out. And that kind of punishment deserves a bigger salary than he gets!

    • oldtack says:

      When a small percent of the population possesses most of the wealth that is when base human nature emerges and takes control. That is when the oppression of the Middle Class and workers begins.

      I frequently visit friends in a certain Central American Country. These friends are successful Business people and they are the more affluent. They live in a very nice gated community. They have a maid, a cook, a gardener, a driver, guards 24/7, This is normal. Their friends live in the same manner.
      However, when I leave this neighborhood I see no Middle Class areas. One goes from wealth to poverty. There is no middle ground.

      The Driver takes me to the Mercado and I see beautiful fruits and vegetables fit for royalty. Then when we leave, the driver takes a route behind the beautiful facade where I see the workers picking through the cast off vegetables to get food for their families.I am driven to a Coffee Plantation where I enjoy wine and good French cheeses served on the Veranda by the house servants as I gaze down the way to the small hovels that are the homes of those that serve me.

      Why is this? The Wealth of this Country is in the hands of a small percent – the ruling class. There are no restrictions.

      This same thing is happening in this Country. Through the influence of Politics all restrictions have been removed and the wealth has all been garnered by the elite. Are they vile and despicable? no they are human beings unrestrained and subject to their base level. .Unions are the main target for “how dare these ungrateful people threaten to strike or demand higher salaries. i provide enough for them to subsist. Base Human nature.

      This has happened before in our history and it is emerging once more. We the People must Unite in an endeavor to revert this. How?
      Well, you tell me. Whatever positive things we can do we need to unite and push to regain control and save our MiddleClass and find a way to get Businesses back from overseas to be produced in the USA.

      • Dominick Vila says:

        You just described my personal experiences in Latin America. Thanks! Good post!
        We may not be there yet, but if we let corporate America and some of our billionaires have their way, it may not be long before our standard of living and opportunities match those in Third World countries. Then again, there are likely to be lots of opportunities for dancing horse groomers, gardeners, chauffeurs, nannies and cooks. Part time, of course, but representative of the “right to work” concept, nevertheless.

        • oldtack says:

          I spent Thanksgiving on a beach at Playa Coco about 30 km south of San Juan Del Sur just across the border from Costa Rica and while there I had the opportunity to survey some of the proposed routing for the gigantic Canal that China is going to build across Nicaragua. This Canal will severely affect Lake Nicaragua and destroy agricultural land and rain forests.and do irrepairable damage to the eco system. But, this was approved by Daniel Ortega and the people of Nicaragua have absolutely no say in the matter. This reminds me of some of the “Business” practices are seeing here at the present. The Elite Rule and the people are at their mercy.

          • Dominick Vila says:

            That is a real shame. I always wanted to visit Costa Rica, mostly to enjoy the fauna, especially the exotic birds that abound in that country, but never had a chance to do it.
            Yes, countries ruled by dictators, strongmen, and feudal style oligarchies, could careless what the common man wants, or what is in the best interest of society. The only motivations for them are power and greed.

          • oldtack says:

            It is a beautiful place and a great experience. But, I suggest you avail yourself in the next two years because they is no true sense of the damage this Canal will do to this area or how it will affect Panama and the Panama Canal traffic.

    • anothertoothpick says:

      The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much.

      Gordon Gekko.

      They actually believe in their short sighted minds, they are saving the good Ole USA.

  9. cosliberal says:

    I write emails and letters to NPR on nearly a weekly basis. If it isn’t the insufferable right wing troll Cokie Roberts spouting the latest GOP talking points or some other bias filled and fact free report, I get the keyboard smoking. And when I get a response, which is not often, I am told about how seriously they take their reporting and how “objective” they are. It’s bullshit. NPR is so afraid that the GOP will pull the last of the funding from the CPB that they have become not only a shadow of what they once were, but also a mini-Fox News. I have specified to my local NPR affiliates that none of my donations are to be used for NPR News programming, only for other shows.

  10. idamag says:

    Even though it is the efforts of their work force that makes rich people richer, they still want to steal from their workers. Of course, the mine owners in the southern states, want to destroy collective bargaining. It is okay for them to have their own lobby groups to speak for them, such as The National Association of Mine Owners, but what makes people think lowly workers should have a voice? Workers, with the help of the media, you have been devalued until you think that is what you are. Workers are what made this country great and you are far more important than they want you to believe. When my state became a right-to-work state it attracted low paying jobs. Now, we have the dubious honor of having more people working for minimum wage ($7.25/hr) than any other state. The man who collects my trash is giving more to this country than adelson or trump.

    • rvn_sgt6768 says:

      Exactly. Notice how everyone who wants to destroy unions belong to an organization that acts exactly as a union in that they collect dues and represent them to take away from someone else those same rights.

  11. stsintl says:

    Attacks on the working class started when the Neo-Capitalists infiltrated our political system, after Watergate burglaries, and put an actor in the Oval Office, who fired all air traffic controllers, and deregulated banks, airlines, energy industries. Now they have taken over the Halls of Congress, The Board Rooms of Corporations, The Supreme Court, and The Printing Presses of the Media [Rupert Murdoch]. Employees were considered ASSETS of a business. Today, they are in the LIABILITIES column. What labor needs to do is to start MILK [Middle Income Labor Ketch] party to neutralize Koch brother’s TEA party.

    • rvn_sgt6768 says:

      We need to clarify what is Tea party and what is really John Birch. Most are not Tea party but in reality are John Birchers and we need to start calling them by their real name.

      Quoted from their web page:

      “Core Principles


      To bring about less government, more
      responsibility, and — with God’s help — a better world by providing
      leadership, education, and organized volunteer action in accordance with
      moral and Constitutional principles.

      Preserving Individual Rights & National Independence
      “These United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and
      Independent States … We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all
      Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with
      certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the
      Pursuit of Happiness.”
      — Declaration of Independence, 1776

      The Declaration of Independence
      established the independence of both the original 13 American colonies
      and the United States of America that they together formed a decade

      The Declaration proclaimed that our personal rights come from God, not from government.

      The John Birch Society endorses the timeless principles of the
      Declaration of Independence. The Society also labors to warn against and
      expose the forces that seek to abolish U.S. independence, build a world
      government, or otherwise undermine our personal liberties and national

      Restoring the Constitution
      “That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men,
      deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.” —
      Declaration of Independence, 1776

      The Constitution of the United States of America instituted the government that secures our God-given rights.
      The John Birch Society endorses the U.S. Constitution as the foundation of our national government, and work,”

      Sound familiar??

      • Matforce says:

        There has been a myopic 5-year bipartisan study of each and every US Department within this “BIG BAD” government bureaucracy, since the Grover Norquist pledge to “shrink government to the size you can drown in the bath tub.” The targets of the more boisterous right wing think tank groups like the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, ALEC, etc., include but don’t limit their targets to the Dept. of Educ., Dept. of Commerce, Energy, Housing, EPA, etc., all of which happen to be regulatory agencies that have their roots in government advocacy in an attempt to protect the common blue collar working citizens against the scorched-earth, profit-at-any-expense corporate money-for-influence crowd with their fortunes of secretive dark campaign contributions being funneled into Super PACs, and legions of lobbyists that would wrench favor and influence in our pay-to-play legislature.
        IMHO, it has gotten to the point where a good plan of equal and opposite dimension to the attempted right wing government shut-down, destructive as it may be, would be to set a date in 2016, prior to the elections, for a public sector voluntary shutdown of one month. Organizers would warn public workers one year in advance to prepare for the shut-down by setting aside enough of their wages to cover one month of their expenses, then on a predetermined date, have each agency go on strike. Law enforcement, Fishing Territory enforcement, EPA, firemen, teachers, transit, traffic, FBI, CIA, AMA, Trade commission, Medicare and Social Security Dept. workers, etc. As calamitous and downright dangerous as these extreme measures would be for our national security, it would give the GOP profit-protectors in Local, State, and Federal office, who threaten to defund the BIG BAD government at every turn on behalf of the “tax-payer,” pause to reflect on their anti-government stances while claiming to be the only “true patriots.”

    • toptwome says:

      And to stop the other right wing hypocrites who want the GOP to ruin everything the country has fought for.

  12. TMZ1928 says:

    No one is more anti-worker than Barrack Hussein Obama who wants to turn 30-40 million illegal aliens into Democrat voters, all at the expense of the US worker. The illegals steal jobs and drive down wages.

    • Matforce says:

      The GOP has the difficult job of posing as if they oppose the immigration of this cheap workforce, while supporting “right to work (for less) laws” that would force the USA workforce to capitulate to downward pressure on wages we’re seeing today…

      • CrankyToo says:

        Concur. And when the Greedy Old Pricks have abolished labor unions, eviscerated Government agencies charged with protecting workers and advancing their interests, repealed minimum wage laws and reduced wages to Third World levels, then their corporate masters will bring their sweatshops back to America and staff them with our grandchildren, who’ll have no choice but to work for slave wages.

        • Matforce says:

          You say it well, my friend because THAT is where we’re headed!

          • angelsinca says:

            We’re almost there. But it seems to bve happening through the increase in third world wages while the US wages remain stagnant (except for the education and public sectors).

        • Rosemary Richards says:

          Maybe Americans should get off their collective rear ends and start holding Pro AMERICA RALLIES!! We could be for SECURING OUR BORDERS which is not just an Immigration Issue it is a National Security Issue!! We do not know WHO is crossing our borders or their intentions!!

    • Rosemary Richards says:

      You also forgot to add Obama and the Democratic Party’s signature piece otherwise known as OBAMA CARE!! NOT ONE Republican voted for THIS!! It LEFT OUT ONE GROUP!! ILLEGAL ALIENS!! It Requires Employer’s to provide healthcare to any AMERICAN CITIZEN that works Full Time!! They do not have to provide healthcare to ILLEGAL ALIENS who work full time!!

      • paulyz says:

        That, of course, is why Obama is granting Executive Amnesty to Millons of Illegals, so then they will be eligible for Obamacare, & much more.

        • Matforce says:

          The South of the Border (wet back) types I’ve met in the construction trades would work circles around many of the lily white, soft hand, spoiled, sons of privilege from the right wing camp. They’ll live six in a two bedroom apartment, walk or use public transit, and never miss a day of work at a wage you couldn’t make your car payment on. Isn’t that the right wing IDEAL for the other half?

          • Rosemary Richards says:

            Well your boy Obama and the rest of the Democrats and alot of the Establishment Republicans don’t give a crap about you!! They don’t care about Poor Americans or any Americans!! What do you think is going to happen to wages in America when we flood an already crappy job market with Illegals!! These jobs are not jobs that Americans won’t do !! Your boys in Washington get their way They aren’t going to do the manual labor jobs like farm work!! We don’t have enough jobs for American Citizens why should we be giving them to ILLEGALS!! Why are they downsizing the military and then trying to put ILLEGALS into the Military as a path to Citizenship?? How dumbass is that they are getting rid of American Citizens who have Broken No Laws and letting in Illegal Aliens who have broken multiple laws!!

          • Matforce says:

            Why don’t you just admit it; the only thing the “Representatives” we send to Washington to represent “we the people” represent is moneyed interest, and your “establishment” GOPers, as well as the Libertarians (aka Tea Party) variety are the undisputed champions of moneyed interest, as any analysis of the FTAs from GATT, to NAFTA, to the Korean, Columbian, Panamanian, and upcoming TPP (the ONLY thing the GOP and Obama agree on) will attest.

          • idamag says:

            I did not agree with amnesty because it has never worked. Reagan did it. Bush did it. They tried fining those who hired illegals, but the wealthy ranchers, and other agri-businesses pitched a fit and they have more clout than poor Rosemary and paulz. They found a well known chicken business that had called a coyote and asked for 150 workers to be smuggled over. This was normal for them. The law of supply is demand. Hit the demanders and put the smugglers out of business. Why won’t they do that? It is easier to underpay an illegal than a legal person. Greed rules again.

      • Gary Ligi says:

        Drink more water, dear. And take your meds.

        • Rosemary Richards says:

          Really dear ! You should stop taking yours and maybe you would be able to see what is happening!!

          • Gary Ligi says:

            Really? You think typing in ALL CAPS makes it easier to see what’s happening? I understand you are upset and have the vapors, but you can buy a battery powered fan to help you control your hot flashes. TMZ is a nut job. Why give him a knob job?

          • idamag says:

            I know you are not a well read person, but illegals have been coming into this country for many, many years. They did not just happen. And, I know you aren’t smart enough to understand that when you throw out numbers, you need to prove them. I can make the statement that everyone woman whose first name is Rosemary is a hooker, but that is not a fact, just a prejudice and therefore it is a lie. You don’t have facts, just prejudices and therefore they are lies.

      • idamag says:

        Check that one, too. This is not one of your fascists hate Obama site. This is a site for discourse. You aren’t ready for that yet.

      • donny1020 says:

        The people who are actually pushing for open borders and free market pricing for labor along with criminal employer amnesty are the major sponsors of the the Republican Party such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Associated Builders and Contractors of America, the Heritage Foundation, etc.

        If you feel so strongly about the immigration issue why aren’t you and your friends in front of a anti union drywall company protesting the fact they employ undocumented workers and displace American blue collar workers, why aren’t you in front of development companies that demand contractors utilize and exploit undocumented workers to increase their profits? I guess you are just a hypocrite.

    • davidcayjohnston says:

      Columnist here…
      No credible estimate shows anywhere near the number of people here that you cite. You are not even near the ballpark, much less in it. And no president has had more people arrested and sent back than the current executive, facts you can easily check before you make similarly ill-informed posts in the future.

      • Rosemary Richards says:

        Since you think yourself so well informed give the numbers!!Did you know that more Americans are killed in their OWN Country by ILLEGAL Aliens then were killed in the war with Iraq and Afghanistan!!

        • davidcayjohnston says:

          Rosemary Richards,

          The claim about murders derive from comments by an Iowa Congressman, Rep Steve King, known for lack of fidelity to facts and from WorldNetDaily, which runs all sorts of specious pieces that quickly fall apart on examination. In this case there is a circular fake-fact squad at work between the Congressman and WND. And all of this has nothing to do with the subject of my column. Try to stay on point.

        • idamag says:

          Which anti-government group do you belong to? Well informed puts out their sources so they can be checked.

      • idamag says:

        Facts, huh? Is that whut happens in bed with his or her spouse? This rabid hate for Obama is irrational. They either make up lies out of whole cloth or try to make a scandal out of nothing. They are anti-government and probably neo nazi.

    • Sand_Cat says:

      No one is more anti-rational than…YOU.

    • toptwome says:

      That is rubbish. President Obama is for all Americans and has never, as the GOP does, been against unions of any kind. Lies from people like you are contemptuous and no one will believe that lie.

    • donny1020 says:

      Actually it is criminal employers who employ undocumented workers and displace American workers, not the other way around. Unfortunately both Democrats and Republicans have given criminal employers amnesty.

  13. Matforce says:

    I have posted this link before:
    but it bears repeating, because it defines the content and origin of the disingenuous, divisive, and down-right deceptive rhetoric that is being disseminated by right wing money and the think tanks they represent. This shameless propaganda tactic would have made the Third Reich’s Joseph Goebbels blush (Nazi propaganda had to at least contain an element of truth…) LOL

    They float their propaganda into every debate on every medium money can buy to confuse and divide an uninformed populous by appealing to humanity’s worst instincts; fear, hatred, anger, paranoia, etc., to stir their base to action. They get away with this deception by wrapping their lies of commission, as well as omission in mass appeal concepts of God, Guns, Self-reliance, and Red, White, and Blue, Ole Glory!

    Here are a few excerpts:

    “This essay is based on the belief that the truth of an idea is not the primary reason for its acceptance. Far more important is the energy and dedication of the idea’s promoters—in other words, the individuals composing a social or political movement…”

    “There will be three main stages in the unfolding of this movement. The first stage will be devoted to the development of a highly motivated elite able to coordinate future activities. The second stage will be devoted to the development of institutions designed to make an impact on the wider elite and a relatively small minority of the masses. The third stage will involve changing the overall character of American popular culture…”

    “Our movement will be entirely destructive, and entirely constructive. We will not try to reform the existing institutions. We only intend to weaken them, and eventually destroy them. We will endeavor to knock our opponents off-balance and unsettle them at every opportunity. All of our constructive energies will be dedicated to the creation of our own institutions…”

    “We will maintain a constant barrage of criticism against the Left. We will attack the very legitimacy of the Left. We will not give them a moment’s rest. We will endeavor to prove that the Left does not deserve to hold sway over the heart and mind of a single American. We will offer constant reminders that there is an alternative, there is a better way. When people have had enough of the sickness and decay of today’s American culture, they will be embraced by and welcomed into the New Traditionalist movement. The rejection of the existing society by the people will thus be accomplished by pushing them and pulling them simultaneously.”

  14. jointerjohn says:

    “There are only two kinds of workers in this world, those who have a union and those who need one.” – John E, Dreher

    • Daniel Max Ketter says:

      God Bless You. Couldn’t have said it better. Unions BUILT this country from horse and buggy to fine Ford cars.

  15. Allan Richardson says:

    Ironically, public broadcasting itself operates on a business model which has its own “free rider” problem, and they mention this on every pledge break. Fortunately, people who listen to public radio and watch public TV support it in large enough numbers to cover the free riders also … JUST BARELY, according to pledge break appeals.

  16. Hank Gagnon says:

    The media is owned by large corporations. I don’t see how anybody would be surprised the large media outlets are anti-labor. Their top executives are just as greedy and treacherous as other major corporations. They hate workers who want to get paid a decent wage because they 6 figure bonuses turn to 5 figure bonuses when they are actually ethical, humane and not traitors to the American workers

  17. Don Belanger says:

    Don’t look now everyone but don’t you get the feeling that the true term of Nazism (you know insidious cooperation between private industry and government) is upon us If the one percent get their way, this country will be on a fast track to becoming just another country or better yet a banana republic…..We the peons will work to serve only the wealthy at their whim.

    Basically I don’t care how much money someone makes, but they are not going to make it on my back. I wouldn’t mind seeing the citizens of this country go on a general strike every so often to let Koch Industries, Monsanto, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s etc know what its going to be like not having anyone dance to their tune or buy their wares for even a day or two. I like the idea of we the people being able to kick some VERY big businesses in the financial gonads!

  18. Gary Ligi says:

    I disliked and did not trust the liberal media long before Watergate. I’ve always thought that liberals are Evangelical Christians who are too embarrassed to admit what silly pussies they are. If there has ever been a liberal media in this MCF of a rightwing nut job nation, I have yet to see it. Except on Comedy Central, of course.

    • toptwome says:

      Well I have never trusted one word out of any republicans mouth. They are all in with Grover Norquist and that means they are always against regulations that protect our rights. They are against taxes that would make the country better. They are the one percent for the one percent.

  19. Gary Ligi says:

    I realize it is no longer safe to advance an argument I made during the Reagan administration, but I still insist that the best way forward for this MCF of a political system is to BRING ON THE BOMB! I paid for it, along with millions of you. I want some bang for the buck. Let’s unleash to the holy Republican war on reason against the one nation that most surely deserves it. Seriously. You have to ask?

    • idamag says:

      One some, in government, may see the benefits of collective bargaining and not try to destroy it. Others may be bought by the greed and take all measures to destroy it.

  20. Kurt CPI says:

    Where the author is correct in large part, he is guilty of many of the omissions his article condemns.
    “No law requires workers to join a union…” True, but laws, policies and dogma essentially provide a union-only workplace in spite of this fact. Show me a work site where people doing the same job for the same employer have anything close to an even mix of union and non-union workers.
    Where it is true that RTW states pay lower mean wages (by about 20%) it is also true, for the most part, that they have a lower percentage of unemployed. This is NOT always the case – opponents point out that Oklahoma has had a decline in business investment and number of employed workers since adopting RTW policies. But overall there are significantly lower rates of unemployment in RTW states.
    It’s also true that despite the fact that government doesn’t technically provide for a forced unionized workforce, it does insure that non-union companies can’t under-bid union companies for government contracts. Here is Washington State it’s known as “prevailing wage” and insures that all bids include labor at union scale (insuring the cost to taxpayers for anything undertaken by government will be higher than what the private sector would pay).
    Does this mean that RTW laws are all good? Of course not. But there’s a lot more to it than the omissions of one NPR reporter. Where I agree that government shouldn’t make laws that tear down unions, I equally advocate that unions should not have government advocacy/support. Workers should be the deciding factor in forming, vitalizing, and supporting their unions. A union is a necessary vehicle to insure that those who do the work also enjoy a fair share of the fruits of their labor and laws should protect workers rights to collectively bargain – or not.

    • toptwome says:

      The government has nothing to do with unions. Unions are formed by people who want the protection of fair and just wages and benefits.

    • donny1020 says:

      What does dogma have anything to do with law and this issue? Ms. Autry simply lied in her article and her lazy editor failed to fact check.

      What RTW really is, is a law that forces union members to pay to represent anti union management suck ups. That is all it is. You can talk about even splits among pro union and anti-union employees while ignoring the fact that the majority of workers in a unionized shop support the collective bargaining.

      Prior to 1947 and the adoption of the Taft Hartley Amendments which stripped union member of their free speech rights as well as their right to freedom of association, employers could hire anti union management suck ups but union members could refuse to work with anti union management suck ups.Union members are now prohibited under law from refusing to work with anti union coworkers. This is the only reason why there are anti-union management suck ups at any shop that has a collective bargaining agreement in the first place.

      These people make a choice to work at a company that has a collective bargaining agreement, they work there because the pay is better, the bennifits are better, and there is a grievence procedure and this is made possible only through collective bargaining. At the same time they whine and complain about the union but do not want to work in a non collective bargaining shop. Basically they want what the employees achieved through collective action but don’t want to support it and work to destroy it.

      In my experience these anti union management suck ups who support RTW do so because they are marginal employees who cannot succeed on their own merit so by siding with the boss and against their coworkers they believe it will provide them with job security. If the union disappears they are usually the first to go, replaced by workers who are harder working and willing to work for less.

  21. Whatmeworry says:

    Your worried about unions?? When Barak just threw 30,000 coal miners out in the street….PLEEEEEEASE

    • Sand_Cat says:

      Please what?

      Again, you’re full of it. Do you ever slip up and actually say something that’s true?

    • Daniel Max Ketter says:

      That never would have happened on my watch with the boys and the UAW, but their union was rather weak to begin with. Be good to your union, and it will be goot to you. Could you provide me a link to that as well. Have a happy day.

    • toptwome says:

      No he did not. I really don’t care about coal miners who have such horrible jobs as it is. Coal is not the answer. We need the new industries of wind and solar. If coal miners lost jobs I would look at the mine owners and their profit driven goals.

      • Whatmeworry says:

        Ahhhh but he did. Coal isn’t the answer and neither is solar and wind because they only generate jobs for the Chinese

        • Daniel Max Ketter says:

          Hey hotshot, how about providing me that link? That wouldn’t have happened with the UAW, as our boys were well protected. God bless our trade unions for their service to our country, and making Ford the best made car made by labors hands.

          • idamag says:

            By labors’ hands, this country was built. The story goes: The Devil was trying to make settlements on God’s lands. God told him if he didn’t stop it, He would hire a lawyer and sue. Oh how Satan laughed as all the lawyers were on his side ot the hereafter. Satan said, he would just have to build a big fence and define what he thought was his. It was God’s turn to laugh. All the building tradespeople were on His side of the hereafter.”

          • Daniel Max Ketter says:

            Satan would be the CEO’s, Rooosh Dumbaugh, and GM & Chrysler.

      • Ahhhh but he didn’t. Coal is the answer and neither is solar and wind because they only generate jobs for the Chinese

      • idamag says:

        whatmeworry is a liar. There is no such thing as clean coal and if coal does not keep up with the world, then, yes, the miners will hurt. Supply and Demand is not Obama’s fault, but the dips have to look through their magnifying glasses looking for something and if they can’t find something they make it up. The same dip who wants you to think he cares about coal miners, would scream if they got unemployment or food stamps. When the rail roads came to being, several teamsters no longer had work as railroads could move goods and cattle faster and safer than mule trains. That is what happens with progress. Otherwise we could have never moved past 100 years ago.

        • donny1020 says:

          To bad you actually don’t know what you are talking about. Maybe you should go hang with your suburban white dreadlock wearing friends and form a drum circle.

      • donny1020 says:

        Topwome, you display one of the main problems with the Democratic Party and that is your anti-blue collar bias. Bourgeois middle class liberals like yourself have lent a hand to right wing corporatist in destroying the American blue collar labor movement.

        Since 1947 and the introduction of Taft Hartley which facilitates RTW the liberal wing or Big D Democrats have not once moved labor law reform to repeal Taft Hartley. While liberals talk about equal pay issues the only people it applies to is executives as the only path to equal pay for the working class is a Union contract. It has also been the liberal wing of the Democratic Party which has facilitated the LMRDA which took additional rights away from blue collar workers, It was liberal Big D Democrats that pushed NAFTA and other anti worker trade deals and who are currently pushing TPP down the throats of the American working class.

        While you may not give a damn about coal miners, those feeding their families from wages earned by mining coal are dependent on that industry to earn a living. You offer no solutions to this issue other than some make believe assertion that renewable energy will provide family wage jobs for these displaced workers. There has not been one instance where the renewable energy sector has provided family wage jobs for displaced blue collar union members.

        This is one of the reasons why American blue collar workers are abandoning the Democratic Party or simply not engaging in American politics. While they understand that Republicans do not have their interest in mind, they also see recognize the lies and contempt of middle class liberals when it comes to addressing the concerns of the American blue collar worker.

      • dpaano says:

        If Whatmeworry is so upset about coal miners losing their jobs, he should read “Grey Mountain” by Grisham. I’m reading it now, and it amazes me how tyrannical the coal companies are and how they cheat and lie….even their lawyers cheat and lie!!! It’s a wonder anyone would work in the coal mines, but in Kentucky (and other coal mining states nearby), it’s about the only job you can get. Unfortunately, it kills you (black lung disease) in a few years and the coal companies don’t care because there’s always someone else to hire to replace you!

  22. Ramona says:

    So disappointing that NPR would keep going that route, and that they insist on defending reporting that is clearly dishonest.

    Great article, but I thought you were much too lenient on the Mackinac Center. They’re very much a part of ALEC and Koch and have turned Michigan from a state where labor built a strong middle class to the usual low-wage RTW state.

    If RTW put workers at an advantage, the corporatists wouldn’t be throwing loads of money into the campaigns to make it law in every state. They’re loyalties are not and never have been with labor.

  23. charleo1 says:

    While it is true, and there’s a growing recognition of it too. That the press in this country is suffering from the same virus that has effected our Courts, and our government. The good news is, there’s been no law passed as yet that prohibits our own critical thinking, and keeps us from using our own common sense on issues like unions. Do they really cause unemployment? Is working to ban them really in the best interests of wage earners? If there were no unions at all, would all of us be better off, or just some of us? Looking back, it can be clearly determined, as unions declined, wages, and benefits followed closely behind as an overall trend. Coincidence?Or was this due to other declines in the country? Over regulation, trade deals, automation, drugs, moral decay I’ve heard all given as dead certain reasons for the decline of American’s wages, benefits, and job security. Commonality: We all agree we’ve got a problem. That things are getting tougher for the vast majority. And we know it’s not for lack of profits. And we know how unions help set wages. But how are wages set in non-union, Right to Work States? We know they are lower. And we know a lot of corporations are moving to these States, and creating lots of jobs. So does lower unemployment, with lower pay, still provide a higher overall standard of living, because the cost of living is lower? Or, is poverty, public assistance, and the number of uninsured higher in Right to Work States, than those with a high union presence? We don’t need the corporate fed press to find these things out. And we probably hadn’t ought to be relying on them at this point to tell us about these matters. As they’ve all to one extent or another, got themselves a vested interest in not being completely honest with us, especially as it relates to our pay. Another point of growing public agreement about the press. We all should have the good common sense not to wait on them to tell us about themselves.

    • idamag says:

      My RTW state has more people on minimum wage than any other state. It is also a red state that takes $1.95 from the Federal Government for every dollar they pay in taxes. Where they used to have jobs that provided, as part of their wages, benefits, vacations, holiday and overtime. Now they all have part time jobs that pays them just short of having to provide them with benefits. Do you think Walmart could afford to pay them better? Loyalty is a two-way street.

      • charleo1 says:

        The situation, or conditions you describe are becoming more common, as States are now competing with each other at ever fiercer levels. With items such as worker’s wages, and benefits, being one of the first things to be sacrificed, as part of making a ‘better deal’ with corporate entities to entice them to locate in their State. As you undoubtedly already know, since you reside in one such State. It’s accurately been described as, a race to the bottom. And it’s devastating both State, and Federal budgets. Harming public investments, and actually serving to expand the so called welfare state beyond the poor, and working poor, for which these vital programs were intended. To include the very wealthiest corporations in the Country, who now use these safety net programs to subsidize their own payrolls. While lobbying for even more favorable tax advantages. As they say, there ought to be a law. Because these corporations, as well as State Govs. to a lesser extent, are only acting as to be expected, in their own best interests, and responding to competitive forces. What’s missing is a Federal Government that has become less, and less willing to act responsibly in the tax paying public’s interests, and stop this blatant free loading, and exploitation at the corporate level. This is my strongest, and most fundamental bone I pick with the Conservative Right. Who’s only solution to this seems to be to cut social programs. Rather than take on the same corporate interests that heavily favor their Party with political donations. What needs done, lacking union bargaining input, and continuing flat, or falling wages. Is for the Federal Gov. who is after all making up the differences here. To set a floor on wages, and job benefits Nationwide. In a sort of pull your own weight, carry your freight initiative directed specifically at these service, and retail corporations. And therefore actually be able to do what is a very popular call from a lot of Americans for the Federal Gov. to do. Get a handle on the debt, and responsibly stop unnecessary spending. All things the Right act like would make their heads explode. So we needn’t be holding our breaths on any of this.

        • Matforce says:

          Like any chess player worth their salt, they scheme many moves ahead. So it is with the well heeled, well connected right wing corporatists and the think tanks they fund, as they began to read the writing on the wall after decades of “supply side,” trickle down economics.

          Realizing that their schemes to maximize capital gains and drive up stock shares for themselves (bonuses and stock options), and for their stock holders as well as the Wall Street investment industry would be hampered by the employment of a USA workforce, they decided that that USA workforce had to go! The by-pass and displacement of the blue collar, high wage USA worker became an integral part of their scheme to maximize gains.

          Anticipating the potential backlash from the disenfranchised USA middle class commoner, they devised a scheme to obfuscate their role in this gigantic national decline and decimation of the once vibrant USA middle class, and ducked for cover behind fabricated rhetoric for their economic treason. A type of “blame the victim” strategy that employed every media outlet money could buy, as well as their complicit, corrupt Congressional partners in crime, to disseminate plausible propaganda to divide, confuse and then cover their tracks.

          The Federal government, being the only entity with the power to decree justice among competing interests, had to be marginalized to shackle any attempt at intercession. Thus the rhetorical deception, propaganda and name-calling from right wing profit-protectors!

          By labeling the US Federal Government the “ENEMY” and Democrats as “Socialists,” and “Communists,” and themselves as “Freedom Fighters,” and “Lovers of God, Liberty and the American Way,” they have managed to persuade the decent folk of the USA middle class to vote in favor of their own demise.

          • idamag says:

            Down the road they will feel the backlash of reduced consumerism. However, they have stockpiled enough to sail through that.

          • charleo1 says:

            My wife is angry with me this morning. She hates it whenever I cuss out loud. And I readily agree, it’s not a very becoming vice. But today, I simply could not help myself. See, I was listening to Senator Ted Cruz’s speech at Liberty U. inform, more like, warn the World of his intention to run for President of the U.S. And in that speech, Cruz touched on, and attempted to demagogue, and misstate as, “American, Godly/moral, and of course, lovers of liberty, and freedom,” in every single way you just mentioned in your comment above. Every one! Including how, as he implied in so many words, he wanted to end the dysfunction, and gridlock in Washington that’s bee the hallmark of the unlawful, and radical Obama Administration. That’s right! Ted Cruz, your, “Let’s get things done man in Congress.” Wants to get things dome like, abolishing the IRS in favor of a flat tax (You could file your taxes on a postcard!) Ted says smugly. Abolish the DOE. And allow States to set minimum standards of proficiency in core educational subjects. Ditto with the EPA. Who needs a Godless Federal Gov. setting standards for rivers, and air quality? As both are naturally contained within the boundaries of States. He says to his audience of bright, college attending young people. Which to their credit, this captive audience, (their school required them to attend the speech,) were polite to the Fascist Neocon. But by no means raising the rafters. Thanks as always for your excellent comment Matforce. Always spot on! Now, I must really go and do something nice for my wife.

          • Matforce says:

            Haha! Yea, my beautiful wife sometimes gets a little tired of my being slumped over the keyboard or hours, researching claims… Once she went as far as to say, leaning in the office doorway, “You know… You’re getting pretty boring!” I knew it was time I logged out!
            Always good to read your posts! I have, on more than one occasion, used your thoughtful, concise, yet well developed insights to firm up my thoughts on the topics. Keep it coming!

        • idamag says:

          Yes. There is a fixed amount of money and if the worker gets paid a fair wage that is less for the greedy. They yammer loudly about food stamps and entitlements while they have had their hands in the till for a long time. If they have to pay higher taxes or take less subsidies, they won’t hurt.

        • dpaano says:

          One big problem is that the GOP wants to cut social programs that they, themselves, have caused to exist in many cases!!!

          • charleo1 says:

            Well, sure! The problem is not a difficult one. If corps, and the
            monied investor class were really concerned about taxes, the
            fact they pay the majority of them, the growing role of gov. in ensuring a floor for the salaried working class, and so forth. They would advocate expanded opportunities for education, and marketable skills, Pay better wages, and benefits, and provide more job security in the domestic labor force. Instead of chasing rock bottom wages all around the Country, and outsourcing millions of jobs all around the World. The politicians they pay to represent their interests would also agree to fix our worn out roads, and the general disrepair around the Country. Instead of lobbying for more tax cuts on their investments in even lower wage jobs in other Countries. So we must assume they both want their cake, and eat it too. That their agenda is the elimination of those floors now provided here by the gov. A clear case of, I see you still have something of value there. Something that gives you a modicum of security, and option, that remains beyond my control. Give that to me immediately!

          • JohnnyD says:

            I would add only that getting American politicians to sign on to increasing taxes would be infinitely easier if there were any American people who felt like doing that. The GOP media push to sell the whole country on the idea that we are paying too much in taxes has been remarkably effective in steering people away from asking the RIGHT question. Which is not “why do we pay so much?”, but “why do our public needs have to compete with the Pentagon for tax money?”

            Because they didn’t until post-1980 or thereabouts, but have been losing ground ever since. How fucking stupid do people have to be to not get that the world’s biggest military is designed to defend only the rich and their interests, and the rest of us must compete with it for every scrap of funding? And every time taxes are reduced, the cuts are made in every area EXCEPT the Pentagon budget. Blindly “supporting the troops” without ever asking what the hell the term means is insane.

            Read up sometime about the C-130 pipeline of guaranteed cash to McDonnell-Douglas, in which we buy the planes every year, whether we need them or not, and whether the Pentagon requested them or not, or even if a budget gets passed or not. That’s hundreds of millions of dollars in guaranteed income for them, and a veto-proof way of getting it, every year. And that’s just one old cargo plane. Wonder how this works for tanks, or rifles, or who the hell knows what else that the “Defense” department buys? A bigger and bigger chunk of their budget becomes “secret” every year, and no doubt helps pay for useful things like coups in Russian border nations.

          • charleo1 says:

            Well, naturally no one wants to pay more taxes. However, my point was, if the average pay of lower Middle Class workers were to increase, so could their contributions to the treasury.
            Which at the present time for the vast majority with children, is less than zero. The problem here is, for too long, the way most of these workers have realized gains in income have been provided, not by employers from raising salaries. But rather thru child, and earned income tax credits, and higher individual deductions. Which, has bridge a gap, so to speak. However, when added to the deep reductions in tax rates on upper income earners, and especially the low fixed cap on capital gains, have left the Country in a situation of ever rising, and unsustainable accumulations of public debt. So, now the upper crust, and corporations come complaining that they pay the loin’s share of Federal taxes, that’s true. But only because of a system they themselves advocated. Primarily so the gov. would spend thru the tax code, to subsidize private labor costs, and increase their bottom lines. Of course now, they demand tax relief for themselves, at the expense of many of the programs made necessary by their using every tool in their considerable arsenal, to keep wages at less than even modest rates of inflation for decades. I say they should not be allowed to have it both ways. And if they manage to do so, all but the top earners take a huge hit. That’s my long story short, case in a nutshell.

      • toptwome says:

        That is the whole point. These corporations don’t want to pay a fair wage and they have made sure that republicans agree with that scape. Better wages help families and help the communities they live in.

        • stsintl says:

          Henry Ford and George Westinghouse were the two visionary capitalists who created a workforce and middle class, hundred years ago, that was envy of the world because they paid “Fair Wages” to their employees. Here is a quote attributed to George Westinghouse
          “My ambition is to give as many persons as possible an opportunity to earn money by their own efforts, and this has been the reason why I have tried to build corporations which are large employers of labor, and to pay living wages, larger even than other manufacturers pay, or than the open labor market necessitates.” — source Empires of Light.

        • dpaano says:

          Better wages would also help the economy…..if people have money to spend, they will buy goods, services, entertainment, etc……without money, they only buy what they actually need; i.e., food, electricity, etc. It just seems logical to me that corporations would want to pay a decent salary in order for the corporation to stay in business (much like Ford Motors did back in the day). If people aren’t buying what you/re producing….how in heck does that help you? Makes absolutely NO sense, but then again, maybe I’m just being too logical!!!

          • JohnnyD says:

            One problem is that globalization has opened new markets to American companies, making them less dependent on sales to the U.S. market, and so less concerned about ensuring people here earn enough to buy their products.

            I would posit that any company which operates in the US should

            1) Be physically based in the US (excluding overseas possessions),

            2) Have at least 51 percent of their workforce in the US (Also excluding overseas possessions), and

            3) Derive a minimum of 51 percent of their corporate income from US sales, as measured in US dollars,

            if they wish to present themselves as an “American company”. ALL others would be labeled “Foreign-based corporations operating within the US”.

            Doesn’t really answer to the topics of this discussion, but it WOULD force some of the multinationals to at least publicly state their “allegiance” for all to see.

    • Matforce says:

      When I was 16 in 1969, I got a summer job as a mason tender for $6.25/hr. Adjusted for inflation, that would amount to close to $40/hr. today. Wages have lagged far behind inflation. That, combined with the offshoring of decent paying blue collar jobs, is why the USA middle class is where it is today, and the ranks of the poor are dramatically increasing. You don’t hear a lot about this fact in today’s media presentations… Curious.

      • charleo1 says:

        Your personal story is a great example of how fundamentally, and structurally different the economy has became for the great majority since 1969. Which would have been approx. 5-6 years prior to when these changes started to take place in earnest. And it’s evident all of the major news media have parent corporations, who’s interests would clearly be served by under reporting these transformations to the general public. In fact, I find as I exchange opinions in these forums, the majority of people, especially those people who tend to get their information from Conservatives sources, seem completely unaware the underlying dynamics of the economy are any different today, than they were back in 50s, and 60s. And so tend to attribute the obvious decline in wages on what they see as gov. “interference.” Onerous regulation, taxes, and the increase in social programs. In a sort of backward, egg/chicken, non factual, explication. But at the same time, from their perspective, perhaps a more comfortable way of explaining what they can’t deny, without at least partially agreeing that the Left may just have a point. So then, one might hope that education, data, and empirical evidence would start to bridge the two camps. But that so far has proven to be one of those Liberal, Utopian dreams we Liberal Utopians do still have from time to time. But speaking for myself, a lot less often than I used to. Now I still do believe this change of heart will come, it must. And will still be broad based, and bottom up, as it has to be. But will probably come only after the passing away of these 50-70 somethings. Who simply refuse to allow themselves to think such a transformation has taken place right under their very savvy noses, that has turned upside down everything they thought they knew about the economy, and the Country itself.

    • donny1020 says:

      I take issue with the statement ” And we know a lot of corporations are moving to these States, and creating lots of jobs” these aren’t new jobs these are job transfers from States which allow for workers to engage in collective bargaining to States that make collective bargaining as hard as possible. When Boeing opened production in SC they didn’t “create” any jobs in SC but transferred jobs from Washington State to SC.When Mercedes or any other company located to the South they were simply moving a production facility to circumvent collective bargaining.

      • charleo1 says:

        Correct. I should have said, creating lots of jobs, in the States they are moving into, while eliminating jobs elsewhere in the Country. Leaving in doubt, if any of America’s working class are truly better off for this type of interstate competition. A situation many have described as a race to the bottom. Good point!

  24. Tony Torres says:

    How short memories are, it’s not even 100 yrs. that people FAUGHT for the right to unionize,to fight not just for fair wages but for better working conditions and many more benefits. It seems ridiculous that this people are carrying those sign saying “They fight for the right to work for less”,I am sorry that looks and for sure sounds fucking ridiculous, are we becoming Bizarro World? Are we not suppose to try to better our lives, not make it much more difficult but I am assuming these people must be getting paid fairly well. Some how I think these sign carrying either must be really,really need the few dollars or they are complete morons to whore themselves to punish the rest of us.

  25. toptwome says:

    I support all workers and the right for them to join unions if they want to and if they don’t they don’t. We need unions to fight the right wing against unions.

  26. KDJ54 says:

    Every citizen of this country should be required to read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “The Bully Pulpit” and we should then to required to see the documentary “Merchants of Doubt”. Not since the Gilded Age have we seen such an attack on worker’s rights and the outright propagandizing of our society against the poor and the working class by the wealthy and corporations. We need a new generation of writers like Steffens, Tarbell, and Riis, as well as a strong liberal press to take on these powers. Where have you gone Eugene V. Debs?

  27. donny1020 says:

    I also contacted WKU about Ms. Autry’s anti-union propaganda article. It was filled with so many inaccuracies I had a hard time understanding why her editor and NPR didn’t perform basic fact checking.

    It should be noted that Ms. Autry has received numerous awards from her colleagues in Journalism and is rated as one of NC’s top reporters. This is a direct reflection on Journalism as a whole and shows just how low and unprofessional the news business has become.

    Although some corrections were posted they were only partial corrections and even the corrections contained lies and left the reader to believe that the correction was nothing more than the editor engaging in CYOA tactics.

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