Sunday, August 7, 2011

Obama's Response to Pressure? Nonexistent (Or Worse) - Verizon's Unionized Employees STRIKE! (Alan Grayson Calls US To Arms!)

[Desperately seeking donations (even as little as $5.00, please) for gas for this blog's continuation!]

I'd like to send out a big "Thank you!" to my girlfriend, Tricia (Ph.D. psychologist in Brooklyn!) for sending along (Ah! The pleasures of the morning email) this timely study of how American presidents of the past have responded to economic crisis, and what we are finally beginning to understand about our present one's (if this is truly the case). And it doesn't look good for Obama (or US).

Franklin D. Roosevelt offered Americans a promise to use the power of his office to make their lives better and to keep trying until he got it right. Beginning in his first inaugural address, and in the fireside chats that followed, he explained how the crash had happened, and he minced no words about those who had caused it. He promised to do something no president had done before: to use the resources of the United States to put Americans directly to work, building the infrastructure we still rely on today. He swore to keep the people who had caused the crisis out of the halls of power, and he made good on that promise. In a 1936 speech at Madison Square Garden, he thundered, “Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.”

When Barack Obama stepped into the Oval Office, he stepped into a cycle of American history, best exemplified by F.D.R. and his distant cousin, Teddy. After a great technological revolution or a major economic transition, as when America changed from a nation of farmers to an urban industrial one, there is often a period of great concentration of wealth, and with it, a concentration of power in the wealthy. That’s what we saw in 1928, and that’s what we see today. At some point that power is exercised so injudiciously, and the lives of so many become so unbearable, that a period of reform ensues — and a charismatic reformer emerges to lead that renewal. In that sense, Teddy Roosevelt started the cycle of reform his cousin picked up 30 years later, as he began efforts to bust the trusts and regulate the railroads, exercise federal power over the banks and the nation’s food supply, and protect America’s land and wildlife, creating the modern environmental movement.

Those were the shoes — that was the historic role — that Americans elected Barack Obama to fill. The president is fond of referring to “the arc of history,” paraphrasing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous statement that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” But with his deep-seated aversion to conflict and his profound failure to understand bully dynamics — in which conciliation is always the wrong course of action, because bullies perceive it as weakness and just punch harder the next time — he has broken that arc and has likely bent it backward for at least a generation. When Dr. King spoke of the great arc bending toward justice, he did not mean that we should wait for it to bend. He exhorted others to put their full weight behind it, and he gave his life speaking with a voice that cut through the blistering force of water cannons and the gnashing teeth of police dogs. He preached the gospel of nonviolence, but he knew that whether a bully hid behind a club or a poll tax, the only effective response was to face the bully down, and to make the bully show his true and repugnant face in public.

IN contrast, when faced with the greatest economic crisis, the greatest levels of economic inequality, and the greatest levels of corporate influence on politics since the Depression, Barack Obama stared into the eyes of history and chose to avert his gaze. Instead of indicting the people whose recklessness wrecked the economy, he put them in charge of it. He never explained that decision to the public — a failure in storytelling as extraordinary as the failure in judgment behind it.

Had the president chosen to bend the arc of history, he would have told the public the story of the destruction wrought by the dismantling of the New Deal regulations that had protected them for more than half a century. He would have offered them a counternarrative of how to fix the problem other than the politics of appeasement, one that emphasized creating economic demand and consumer confidence by putting consumers back to work. He would have had to stare down those who had wrecked the economy, and he would have had to tolerate their hatred if not welcome it. But the arc of his temperament just didn’t bend that far.

The truly decisive move that broke the arc of history was his handling of the stimulus. The public was desperate for a leader who would speak with confidence, and they were ready to follow wherever the president led. Yet instead of indicting the economic policies and principles that had just eliminated eight million jobs, in the most damaging of the tic-like gestures of compromise that have become the hallmark of his presidency — and against the advice of multiple Nobel-Prize-winning economists — he backed away from his advisers who proposed a big stimulus, and then diluted it with tax cuts that had already been shown to be inert.

The result, as predicted in advance, was a half-stimulus that half-stimulated the economy. That, in turn, led the White House to feel rightly unappreciated for having saved the country from another Great Depression but in the unenviable position of having to argue a counterfactual — that something terrible might have happened had it not half-acted.

To the average American, who was still staring into the abyss, the half-stimulus did nothing but prove that Ronald Reagan was right, that government is the problem. In fact, the average American had no idea what Democrats were trying to accomplish by deficit spending because no one bothered to explain it to them with the repetition and evocative imagery that our brains require to make an idea, particularly a paradoxical one, “stick.” Nor did anyone explain what health care reform was supposed to accomplish (other than the unbelievable and even more uninspiring claim that it would “bend the cost curve”), or why “credit card reform” had led to an increase in the interest rates they were already struggling to pay. Nor did anyone explain why saving the banks was such a priority, when saving the homes the banks were foreclosing didn’t seem to be. All Americans knew, and all they know today, is that they’re still unemployed, they’re still worried about how they’re going to pay their bills at the end of the month and their kids still can’t get a job. And now the Republicans are chipping away at unemployment insurance, and the president is making his usual impotent verbal exhortations after bargaining it away.
Read it all here and weep anew. Or start to take action and find a real leader for change for the lower classes (98% of the population) that will strengthen, not impoverish America.

"Even at the 11th hour, as contracts were set to expire, Verizon continued to seek to strip away 50 years of collective bargaining gains for middle class workers and their families," CWA said in a statement Sunday.

Who'd a thunk anyone would be striking in this time of labor being caught between a deadly economic vise between business and government? Verizon's union continues to do its job.
45K Verizon Workers Strike Over New Labor Contract NEW YORK (AP) - Forty-five thousand unionized Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) workers from Massachusetts to Washington, D.C., went on strike Sunday after negotiations with the telecommunications company over a new labor contract fizzled. The Communications Workers of America said negotiations in Philadelphia and New York stalled Saturday night after Verizon continued to demand more than 100 concessions from workers regarding health care, pensions and work rules. . . .The contract that expired midnight Saturday covers 45,000 workers, including 10,000 represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, who serve as telephone and repair technicians, customer service representatives, operators and more. Contract negotiations began June 22.

. . . New York-based Verizon, the nation's largest wireless carrier, has 196,000 workers; 135,000 are non-union.

The CWA said the concessions are unjustified and harsh, given that Verizon is highly profitable - the company's revenue rose 2.8 percent to $27.5 billion in the second quarter. Its growth was largely attributed to its wireless business.

But Verizon said its wireline business has been in decline for more than a decade, and that it is asking for changes in the contract to strengthen the unit. The company said union employees contribute nothing to their health care premiums.

Verizon activated a contingency plan to ensure customers experienced "limited disruption in service" for the length of the strike.

"Tens of thousands of Verizon managers and other personnel have been trained to step in and perform emergency work assignments," Verizon spokesman Rich Young said.

A customer satisfaction survey released in May showed Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) ranked highest among the Big 4 wireless carriers. The survey polled 8,000 households in the first quarter of this year.

Verizon added 1.26 million wireless subscribers under contract in the April to June period this year, a result that flies in the face of the slowdown in new subscribers across the industry in the last two years. A year ago, Verizon added just 665,000 subscribers under contract.

Verizon ended the last quarter with 106.3 million devices connected to its wireless network. No. 2 and chief rival AT&T is trying to leapfrog Verizon in size by buying No. 4 T-Mobile USA for $39 billion.

Lowell McAdam, the former head of Verizon Wireless, became CEO of Verizon Communications Inc. on Aug. 1, replacing Ivan Seidenberg. Seidenberg, the longtime CEO, remains chairman of the company.

I guess that new CEO had to make a name for himself (earn his salary?) and stir up the troops. _ _ _ _ _ _ _ And now a few words from those already working hard on the ground for victory!

Last weekend, a fire burned down a local Wisconsin headquarters of the campaign to recall Republican senators.

Look at the picture of the wreckage closely. The office burned down. But the spirit of solidarity with Wisconsin workers miraculously survived.

Next Tuesday, we don't need a miracle in Wisconsin. We need a people-powered victory for workers everywhere.

Today, I'll be joining a conference call with national volunteers who are part of the "Call Out The Vote" phone bank into Wisconsin. Can you join us and make calls from home?

Yes -- show me "Call Out The Vote" shifts!

No -- but send me breaking Wisconsin election results when they come in Tuesday night!

No -- but I can chip in $4 to fuel the recall campaign in the final 4 days.

This fight is about workers. It's about families. It's about money being taken from the middle class to fund tax cuts for big corporations.

It's also about political accountability. We need to win this.

Please sign up to help make calls before Tuesday's big election.

(Or sign up to get breaking election results Tuesday night and chip in $4 to fuel this campaign in the final 4 days.)

"Call Out The Vote" is a great program run by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America.

This is your chance to make a difference.

Solidarity. -- Alan Grayson

Take action NOW! ________________________


Bustednuckles said...

First of all, let me give you one huge hug and a virtual kiss honey!

One of the many, and I do mean many problems I have had with Obama, the lack of a New, New deal when the shit hit the fan and he had the opportunity to put this country back to work and blinked is the highest on my list.

His continuation of the Bush Policies are number two but that one was by far his biggeswt escaped chance to do some good.

As for Verizon, they can suck my fucking dick. I have been dealing with those fucking pricks for over three years now and my ass is quite sore.
First, they extended my contract without telling me and then my $59.99 a month service has been averaging over a hundred bucks a month with add on fees.
As of October, they are getting an EPIC nasty gram from me and there will be no misunderstanding why they can take a monumental suck straight outta my ass.

My best to those on strike against those cocksuckers.

My best to you also, yer just a darlin'!


Suzan said...

Hey baby!

Thanks for speaking up. We feel exactly the same. Well, almost the same.

It's gonna take a lot of us to make a difference at this point, but we can do it if it's important enough to us (US).

And I think it is. Hell, it better be as no pre-crash recovery is predicted for over a decade (and some say at least two).

And it's not like we have that long . . . and if they truly allow the lying hooligans (TP enablers of criminals) to eviscerate Social Security and Medicare (Medicaid is already about done for), we are truly fucked over for all time.

Have a wonderful wedding week!

Love you,