Archive for the ‘Unions’ Category

There’s no question whether Joe Biden maintained a reputation for decades as a centrist. That reputation isn’t withstanding the pressure of his latest presidential campaign. Byron York’s article highlights how the Democrats’ presumptive nominee is transforming from a centrist into a leftist.

York’s first example is Biden’s years-long defense of President Obama’s deportation of illegal aliens. In his article, York wrote “Biden has defended the Obama administration’s record on deportations against those on the left who criticized President Barack Obama as the ‘deporter in chief.’ Then came last month’s Nevada caucuses. After ugly losses in Iowa and New Hampshire, Biden was struggling for life in Nevada and trying to appeal to the Hispanic voters who made up a substantial portion of state Democrats. All of a sudden, Biden backtracked on the Obama deportations he used to defend. ‘There were too many,’ Biden told Univision’s Jorge Ramos. ‘I saw the pain in the eyes of so many people who saw their families being deported. I know what it’s like to lose family members. It was painful.'”

Biden’s immigration transformation didn’t stop there, though:

As the Nevada vote neared, Biden promised that if he became president he would not deport anyone, no one, under any circumstances, during his first 100 days in office. After that, Biden said he would deport only those who have committed felonies in the United States. Biden repeated the pledge at his recent debate with Sen. Bernie Sanders, his last remaining rival for the nomination.

Think about that, people. A Biden administration promises to not faithfully execute this nation’s laws. In this debate, Sleepy Joe and Crazy Bernie gave the same answer on whether local communities should turn over illegal immigrants to their administration:

It doesn’t get much more leftist for a Democrat than that. Joe Biden got the reputation of Blue Collar Joe for standing with coal miners, construction workers and blue collar families. Blue Collar Joe doesn’t exist. Here’s proof:

Biden’s centrist-to-leftist transformation is complete.

There’s nothing democratic about how California is getting run politically these days. This article highlights how California’s ruling class couldn’t care less what their constituents say. One of the people that’s getting ignored is Gloria Rivera. California’s ruling class features a woman named Lorena Gonzalez. Here’s how California’s ruling class is changing Californians:

When Gloria Rivera, a San Diego-based, Peruvian-born translator and interpreter, achieved U.S. citizenship, the first thing she did was register as a Democrat. “Now I’m seeing a lot of people like me who are either going Independent or Republican,” she says, “myself included. The Democrats are not listening to us.

There’s little doubt that California’s politicians don’t listen to Californians. That’s what makes California’s politicians part of the problem. Democrats, in general, aren’t good listeners. The last Democrat that was a good listener is Bill Clinton. Nancy Pelosi, the most famous California Democrat, is a terrible listener.

Online and in person, independent contractors are confronting Gonzalez and demanding a repeal of the law. Her condescending response: independent contractors need the protection of union-driven labor laws. In a damning KUSI news interview, Gonzalez denied that AB5 has resulted in widespread income loss. Her dismissive attitude has fueled outrage against Democrats.

Gonzalez’ dismissive attitude is triggering a political backlash:

“I see a revolution on the horizon,” says David Mills, a musician from Lake Elsinore who created the Facebook group Freelancers against PRO Act. “This may be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back. But I think it’s leading to something good. The American people on all sides are waking up. We’ve gotten too caught up in partisan support. Now we’re paying attention. There is a huge uprising. People had to lose their jobs to find out what it was.”

It’s taken time for this resentment to build to this level but it’s getting there. There’s a timeless cliché that’s worth remembering in this situation. It goes like this “Beware the wrath of a patient man.”

This fits people who are patient and even-tempered. The fuse on their temper is longer than most. That doesn’t mean there isn’t an end to it. When that fuse hits that gun powder, the explosion is just as violent as the person with a short fuse. This situation has taken a ton of time to build into a major explosion.

California used to be known as the Golden State. That’s why its population grew each year. That ended this year when, for the first time in California’s history, it didn’t gain a congressional seat in reapportionment. Things are changing. What that means still hasn’t been determined but it’s changing. For some reason, this song just fits:

Here’s hoping that the California revolution starts soon. Here’s hoping that the revolution, when it happens, is a big one. Getting the state straightened out would result in a huge change for the better.

Matt Vespa’s article is the worst news Bernie Sanders has received in quite some time. Inside his article is this tidbit of information:

Nevada’s powerful Culinary Workers Union will not endorse in the presidential primary, while criticizing Bernie Sanders’ signature Medicare for All proposal, according to three sources with knowledge of the decision. In declining to pick a candidate, but sharply criticizing Sen. Bernie Sanders’ signature policy position, Medicare for All, the union created an opening for Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, two moderate Democrats with little demonstrated support in the state.

That’s truly throwing Bernie under the bus. Taking direct aim at Bernie’s signature issue isn’t what he’d like to hear. The question is whether this issue will sink him in other states. This suggests it will:

In Pennsylvania, some top union leaders were also adamant that they would tell their people to stay home or vote for Trump should Sanders or Warren become the 2020 Democratic nominee. In the Keystone State, Sanders’ commitment to a universal ban on fracking, which will kill hundreds of thousands of jobs in the must-win state, is just a bridge too far.

LFR has frequently said that the Democrats’ opposition to fracking and fossil fuels is their Achilles heel. That’s the thing that puts Democrats in God’s little acre: just east of the rock, just west of the hard place. Some issues have multiple solutions. Energy is a binary choice. If you oppose fossil fuels, you’re the enemy. Period.

This is predictable. Bernie truly believes in Medicare-for-All. What he can’t do anything about is the fact that unions have often negotiated for Cadillac plans, which aren’t taxed, while settling for lower wages. Meanwhile, Bernie is on the wrong side of the fossil fuels issue. Dan Crenshaw and Kevin McCarthy are offering a better way forward:

Congressmen including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of California, and Dan Crenshaw, of Texas, are pitching the legislation as a common sense alternative to Democrats’ calls for limiting the use of fossil fuels. “There’s this false choice between doing nothing and over regulating,” Crenshaw said. “That would do nothing, because the United States is only 15 percent of emissions.”

International corporations like Exxon-Mobil and Chevron favor a carbon tax, likely because that’s a competition-killer. That doesn’t do anything to fix what’s wrong. Expect union rank-and-file to agree with Republicans on this issue.

It isn’t surprising that AFSCME thugs don’t care about the Supreme Court’s Janus ruling. AFSCME cares more about political power than about the rule of law. This is what they’ll do to maintain political power:

In Minnesota, a Scandia Elementary School worker sued after AFSCME refused to let her out of the union. In Massachusetts and Oregon, unions have continued to illegally deduct dues. In Washington State, union members trying to exit were told they had to wait until a 10 day “escape period,” which wasn’t publicized and wouldn’t come until the next year. These are but a few examples.

AFSCME should get fined for these deliberate violations of the Supreme Court’s Janus ruling. They weren’t the actions of people who didn’t understand the Supreme Court’s ruling. Quite the contrary. These were the actions of a union willing to do anything to maintain its political influence.

As for states that have an escape period (Washington State), the courts should abolish that provision. According to the Janus ruling, the First Amendment gives the people, as individuals, the authority to pick who they want to represent them to redress their grievances. The union, in this case AFSCME, doesn’t have the right to put conditions on when people can leave the union.

AFSCME is on the defensive, though they’re doing a good job of hiding it. This video is instructive:

The spokesman, Lee Saunders, said that many predicted AFSCME’s collapse after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME but that they’re rebounding. Saunders proclaims victory for a bill that hasn’t been introduced that would let employers “voluntarily” deduct union dues from workers’ paychecks.

That isn’t a victory. That’s a step back for the unions.

Saying that the Democrats have a candidate crisis this presidential election cycle is understatement. It isn’t just about the Democrats’ candidates, though that’s part of their problem. Part of their problem is that they’ve alienated their traditional base. Specifically, Democrats alienated blue collar workers and industrial unions. It’s more than interesting that Democrats have pushed aside unions like the UAW, Teamsters and United Mine Workers.

In this LTE, Rob Braun wrote “Middle America feels as if no one on the coast is taking their views and opinions seriously. The coastal liberal elites don’t want to hear that they aren’t happy with the moral and social re-engineering they promote. Or, calling Middle America bigots because they adhere to traditional sexual standards. And more importantly, the elites haven’t done a very good job at convincing middle America that their experiment in social and moral re-engineering is the best way of structuring a healthy and functional society.”

That’s certainly a significant part of why Democrats are pushing aside people of faith and rural America. When President Obama demonized people living in “small towns in Pennsylvania”, he criticized these people, saying that it isn’t “surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

That’s an invitation for rural voters to abandon Democrats. That’s what those voters did in 2016. President Trump capitalized on the situation, promising these voters that his policies would revive rural America’s economy. President Trump has delivered on that promise. Remember President Obama mocking then-Candidate Trump about promising to improve the US economy? I remember it because of this:

Longtime Democrat operative Mark Jaede responded to Braun:

It seems that the author thinks the Democratic Party should throw LGBT people and people of color under the bus in order to win votes from socially conservative rural white people.

I disagree. We won’t win by pandering to anti-gay people. We won’t win by dismissing the struggle against racism as “identity politics.” We won’t win by concerning ourselves with how many counties have GOP majorities. We will win by fielding a candidate who can offer Democrats in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Virginia, and North Carolina a reason to turn out and vote.

As long as Joe Biden promises to eliminate the use of fossil fuels, as long as Bernie promises to spend $16,300,000,000,000 on his version of AOC’s Green New Deal, as long as the entire Democrat field promises to decriminalize illegal immigration and give illegal immigrants free health care, Democrats will continue losing those states cited by Prof. Jaede, with the possible exception of Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Apparently, AFSCME leadership doesn’t think it needs to represent its members. Apparently, AFSCME leadership thinks it just needs to do whatever the Democrats tell them to do. I’m fairly certain that AFSME’s leadership is misreading the situation badly. Here’s what’s shaping up to be a helluva fight:

This month, 19 Democratic presidential candidates gathered in Las Vegas to court the union vote at a forum hosted by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the country’s largest public-sector union. Some candidates took this opportunity to plug their plans for a government takeover of the nation’s health care system, which AFSCME supports.

But labor unions should be careful what they wish for. Union workers currently have some of the best health benefits around. “Medicare-for-All” would take those benefits away and leave union members with long waits for poor-quality care.

Democrats are treading on slippery turf. If AFSCME leadership sides with the Democrats, especially if their nominee is Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, they’ll lose union rank-and-file members. Unions negotiated for Cadillac plans while not pushing hard for bigger pay raises. This wasn’t accidental.

If the Democrats’ presidential nominee pushes Medicare for All, they’ll lose lots of votes from public employee union members. President Trump doesn’t have to win a majority of the AFSCME or SEIU vote. He simply has to cut into the Democrats’ margin of victory with those voters.

I’ve said for years that the worst thing that could happen to unions, especially public employee unions, aka PEUs, isn’t defeat. It’s political irrelevance. If you think that Democrats court the union vote because of some deep kinship with their union brethren, you haven’t done your homework. Democrats court unions, especially PEUs, out of political necessity. The minute that PEUs stop producing sufficient margins of votes, they’ll get thrown under the bus.

That’s what’s happening now with coal miners, steel workers, construction unions that build infrastructure like natural gas pipelines or other important infrastructure. Notice how progressive elitists treat Trump’s army of coal miners. Remember this?

Democrats care about their extremist agenda far more than they care about unions. That’s why Democrats won’t hesitate in throwing unions under the bus for the opportunity to implement Medicare for All.

In the past, I’ve been pretty disgusted with the (lack of) quality displayed in the St. Cloud Times’ Our View editorials. Unfortunately for its readers, this Our View editorial is the worst Our View editorial I’ve ever read.

As is often the case, the Times’ Editorial Board couldn’t resist preaching from its moral high horse instead of doing its research. The editorial started by saying “St. Cloud, we have a problem. And it’s costing us dearly in respect, dignity and treasure. Our problem is not refugees. It’s not even an image problem, although we most certainly have one of those. If you don’t think so, Google ‘St. Cloud’ and click on the first New York Times article at the top.

Our real problem is that there are too many cowards in our midst. Yes, we said it: Cowards. Cowards who blanch at the idea of Somalis “just walking around” on a public trail. Cowards who cost local businesses thousands of dollars by overreacting to a mismarked security vehicle out of fear of Sharia law — which isn’t coming for us. It just isn’t, and only cowards believe it is.”

It continues:

Corporate America is not, by and large, interested in associating itself with hate of any kind. The cowardly among us keep perpetuating a local brand that makes it less likely we will be in the running for the next tech outpost or national call center. Convention schedulers are also keenly aware that attendees will look for details about our city and find our darkest side. Already this newspaper has been reached out to by travelers who planned to come to St. Cloud and changed their plans after the latest “branding effort.”

The smartest young people, the ones we need to attract to our companies, will be less likely to move here. Doubt it? Ask your kids if they’d Google a city before considering a job offer there. Our own young people, many raised with classmates and teammates and friends in a rainbow of colors, will think harder than they should have to about where they want to make a life.

Electrolux didn’t leave for South Carolina because of hate. It left because of Minnesota’s terrible tax and regulation system. It also left Minnesota for a right-to-work state. Why didn’t the Times mention that?

As for “the next tech outpost or national call center”, those companies don’t consider Minnesota because our taxes, transportation systems and regulations make us totally uncompetitive with the rest of the nation and the rest of the world. This isn’t mentioned by the DFL because their policies have hurt Minnesota. To admit this failure would be admitting that the DFL is a failure.

Listening to the Times is like listening to Dave Kleis and the Chamber of Commerce. In their world, everything’s just fine. In the real world, St. Cloud has been slipping for 10 years. This isn’t entirely St. Cloud’s fault. DFL state government needs to share in the blame by thinking it can tax the daylights out of everyone without consequence. That’s insanity.

This is why the Times isn’t trusted. Their opinions are insanity personified.

The first paragraph of Tim Ryan’s opinion piece sounds reasonable. It’s a statement of why he wants to be president. It’s actually semi-coherent.

It says “Like many Americans, my family and I have spent our entire lives at the epicenter of de-industrialization. We’ve watched as urban and rural communities have been hollowed out — good paying jobs have gone overseas, too many people have died from opioid addiction and our neighborhoods have crumbled from failing infrastructure.”

Unfortunately for Ryan, the next paragraph is pure BS:

We are fed up. I am fed up. And that is why I am running for president. I’m going to lead a revolution for working people in America. This includes all workers: white, black and brown, men and women, gay and straight, urban and rural. In other words, I want to fight for all the Americans left behind by Trump’s elitist economic agenda that puts the well-being of millionaires, billionaires and corporations above that of hardworking Americans.

What the hell is he talking about? Trump’s elitist economic agenda? This is the lie that Democrats will peddle. And yes, lie is exactly the right word. President Trump’s economic policies have brought manufacturing jobs back in large numbers. The small coal-mining communities of southern Ohio and also Pennsylvania are significantly better off today than they were 4 years ago. That’s why Ohio went from being a swing state to being a solid red state in 4 years (2012 to 2016.)

Further, as Larry Kudlow frequently highlights, wages for the lowest wage earners are growing fastest:

The Democrats’ goal is to paint the economy as rigged for “millionaires and billionaires” while giving President Obama the credit for the great economy. The Democrats want it both ways. Imagine that!

The Democrats’ economic message, including Tim Ryan’s, is BS on steroids. Listen to Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren or Tim Ryan. You’d think we were living in Soupline America when we’re actually living in fantastic economic times.

I’m tired of Democrats criticizing this economy. Each month for a year, I’ve read articles predicting a recession is near. That’s BS too. That’s the Democrats’ fear-mongering. Democrats hate prosperity when Republicans are in office.

Ultimately, Ryan has an economic message, which puts him ahead of most Democrat presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton in 2016. Unfortunately for him, his message, like most Democrats’ economic message, is BS, aka fiction.

UPDATE: Tim Ryan complained about jobs being exported. This article addresses that issue:

Robbie Hunter, president of the state Building and Construction Trades Council, which represents more than 400,000 workers, says that dozens of his members plan a major “Blue Collar Revolution” demonstration Saturday morning at the California Democratic Party convention in San Francisco, which will be attended by 14 of the Democratic presidential contenders and 5,000 delegates and guests.

The effort aims to send a message that the party is in danger of eroding a critical base if it continues to back the Green New Deal resolution being pushed in Washington, D.C. by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and her allies. Hunter argues the measure’s goals could endanger thousands of jobs in the Southern California oil industry alone. “All it does is do what the Democratic Party seems to be very good at lately — which is export our jobs, while doing nothing for the end game, which is the environmental,” Hunter said.

Until Democrats push environmental extremists out of their party, they’ll continue losing blue collar voters.

These negotiations (which I wrote about here) produced some of the biggest winners and losers in recent history. Let’s start with the biggest losers.

It’s impossible to imagine a bigger loser than Tim Walz. He lost on his tax increases, including the gas tax, the sick tax and the income tax increases. He and the DFL lost on spending, too. Another major loser was DFL Speaker Melissa Hortman. She was present throughout the negotiations but didn’t seem to be an active participant in those negotiations. I’d give her a ‘Potted Plant Award’ for participation.

Another major loser throughout the negotiations was DFL House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. Friday night on Almanac, his first time on the big stage, DFL Rep. Winkler was used like a whipping post, first by Sen. Roger Chamberlain, then by House Minority leader Kurt Daudt. (More on them later.)

The other major loser in these negotiations was Education Minnesota, the people most famous for owning the DFL:

The biggest winners in this negotiations are Minnesota’s taxpayers. They didn’t get hit with one of the biggest tax increases in Minnesota history. That alone makes them a big winner.

The next biggest winner was Roger Chamberlain. Throughout these negotiations, he fought for the taxpayers, reminding the politicians who they worked for, aka the people. He took Rep. Winkler to the proverbial wood shed multiple times. After Rep. Winkler spurted out that “there are no free lunches”, Sen. Chamberlain reminded Rep. Winkler that the people not represented at the Capitol were “the people who pay the bills”, aka the taxpayers.

It’s hard to see how Kurt Daudt, the former and hopefully future GOP Speaker of the House, could’ve been more effective. He stated emphatically on Almanac that the DFL could raise spending by 7.3% without raising taxes a penny. That statement might’ve done more to finish the talks than anything else.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t praise Senate Majority Leader Gazelka for his job in negotiating this budget. Let’s remember that he won a significant tax cut by getting the 7.05% rate dropped to 6.8%. Rest assured that the DFL didn’t fight to include that policy change in the budget agreement.

Finally, I’d have to apologize if I didn’t include the House DFL legislators. They all voted for the Walz/DFL tax increases, which will hurt them in 2020, then saw Gov. Walz throw them under the proverbial bus in final negotiations. I can’t imagine them being too happy with Gov. Walz and the DFL leadership for that ‘favor’. That makes the DFL, especially the DFL House majority, a major loser in these negotiations.

I had to pinch myself to be certain I’d read this article right. I wasn’t imagining things. Sure enough, it really opened by saying “Two of the largest trade unions in Minnesota are backing the reelection campaign of Republican representative Jason Lewis against a Democratic business executive. The carpenters’ union and International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49, both of which endorsed Hillary Clinton, will support the first-term congressman in the midterm elections in his rematch against former health care executive Angie Craig. Labor leaders praised Lewis’s record in Congress, highlighting his support for domestic energy development as well as his willingness to buck his political party. Lewis has supported Davis-Bacon, which favors union wage levels in federal projects despite the push in the conservative movement to abolish wage mandates.”

Here’s their explanation:

“In Jason’s time in Congress he has cast repeated votes in support of Davis-Bacon prevailing wage and has led on the issue of changing school curriculum to encourage more people to look at careers in the construction industry,” carpenters’ spokesman Adam Duininck said in a release.

First, if the name Adam Duininck sounds familiar, it’s because he was Mark Dayton’s chair of the Met Council. Then there’s this:

“Jason Lewis has made an effort to get to know our Union, understand our issues, and has taken politically tough stances in support of good paying Union jobs,” George said in a statement. “We don’t always agree on every issue, but we know that when it comes to supporting our jobs, he has stood with us, and that is why we are standing with him.”

Lewis offered this reply:

“I’m working hard to make certain we get Enbridge so we get the Pine Bend refinery in the second district … the oil it needs to grow the economy,” Lewis said in the Oct. 21 debate. “My opponent says, ‘well Sierra Club won’t let me endorse that.'” Lewis pledged to continue advocating for local laborers in Congress. He said he will continue to focus on workforce training and revamping the apprenticeship system, one of the Trump administration’s priorities, “so labor groups are able to thrive with adequately trained laborers.”

“This nation was built on the backs of hardworking Minnesotans like those belonging to these two groups and it is important we support them with our policies in Washington,” he said in a statement. “I am proud to have supported them in my first-term in Congress and look forward to continuing to work on their behalf.”

This is a major victory for Lewis. This can’t help Angie Craig.