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Vote for Hope

11:21 am in Uncategorized by Leo W. Gerard

The electorate is bitter and angry. It’s no wonder. Foreclosures rise while Wall Street bankers, whose recklessness caused this grave recession, grab million dollar bonuses. Unemployment is stuck at 9.5 percent, but corporations continue to ship jobs overseas.

The level of acrimony showed itself Monday in Lexington, Ky., when a group of men supporting Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul threw a woman backing Democrat Jack Conway to the ground and stomped on her head.

This is not the hope America voted for in the fall of 2008. Now another election is upon us. On Tuesday, voters can choose candidates capitalizing on bitterness, or they can return to hope and provide time for change to play out. Voters can stay the course with the President whose basic philosophy is a Biblical one – that we are all our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. Or Americans can empower Republicans who believe it’s every man for himself, who espouse the view that a man’s success is his own, and, equally, each man is solely responsible for all of his setbacks.

This midterm election is about how those disparate Republican and Democratic values will play out in legislation. Do Americans want to live in a Republican country that blames individuals for their unemployment in an economy creating only one position for every five jobless workers? Or do Americans want a country that lives by the Democratic philosophy that government must aid, not blame, the unemployed, that it must give a hand up, not a slap in the face, to the suffering?   . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Jobless Organize to Remove Republican Royalists From Their Jobs

10:59 am in Uncategorized by Leo W. Gerard

Glenn Beck made it official on Fox News last week: He’s seeking the office of 21st Century Marie Antoinette.

The queen of France, beheaded during the revolution, attained infamy for insensitivity toward hungry peasants. Glenn Beck, the Fox talk show host, achieved celebrity for his callousness toward unemployed Americans.

Beck leads a pack of royalist Republicans who have spent the summer mocking, vilifying and denigrating the nation’s 14.5 million unemployed workers. It is the moneyed class smacking down the working class in an attempt to disempower and disenfranchise them. Dispirited workers are less likely to vote – which could give Beck and his gang of royalist Republicans control of Congress.

The unemployed, like France’s 18th Century peasants, are fighting back, however. The Union of the Unemployed and Working America are organizing the jobless to vote this fall and to demand help from lawmakers. They’re not out to behead Beck and the royalist Republicans, just dethrone them.

Two and a half years after wanton recklessness by Wall Street banksters crashed the economy, the official unemployment rate remains stuck at 9.5 percent. It rises to 17 percent when statisticians add part-time workers seeking full-time jobs and the jobless who’ve abandoned the search out of hopelessness. With the help of a taxpayer bailout, Wall Street has recovered, and those banksters are taking home multi-million dollar bonuses again. But on Main Street, there still are five unemployed workers for every job vacancy, so no matter how hard the jobless try, there are no openings for 80 percent of them.

Routinely, crowds line up before dawn when job openings are announced. In June, in Longmont, Colo., hundreds queued up to vie for 100 low-paid clerk and stock jobs at a new SmartCo Foods. Hundreds of Louisville residents gathered in the dark on Aug. 9 at the Kentucky Exposition Center to apply for 450 state fair jobs paying $7.25 an hour and lasting a total of 20 days.

In addition to jobs, the people on Main Street are losing their homes and life savings at increasing rates. Bankruptcy filings nationwide reached the highest level in five years between April and June. Banks repossessed 92,858 homes in July, up 6 percent from July 2009. For too many, the situation is so desperate that they’re discussing plans for suicide on an on-line forum for the jobless.

Glenn Beck and the royalist Republicans don’t care about all that. Here’s Beck ranting about those who lose unemployment benefits at 99 weeks:

"Have you heard of the 99ers? These people, some of which I, frankly, I bet you would be ashamed to call them Americans, they think 99 weeks of unemployment benefists are not enough. . .Two years is plenty of time to have lived off your neighbors’ wallets."


Video of Beck slamming the "99ers" begins at 2 minutes and 33 seconds into this clip.

Beck went on to argue that the jobless who protested last week on Wall Street were not "regular people," like him and his friends:

“Are they just regular people? . . They are socialists and anti-capitalists.”

Then, incongruously, Beck condemned a protestor seeking jobs for all unemployed workers with a sign asserting, “A job is a right.”

“No, a job is not a right,” insisted Beck, making it clear that in his world, the unemployed are “un-American” for not landing jobs, but, simultaneously, it’s perfectly moral and fair that the American economy has failed to produce enough jobs for them to fill.

Beck is the TV mouthpiece for the royalist Republicans who champion this view: a job is not a right, and it’s not right to aid the jobless. Republicans, virtually as a block, oppose extending unemployment benefits for the jobless while they support extending tax breaks for the moneyed class – themselves. They opposed legislation to save the jobs of 319,000 public servants – the people who educate our children and protect our lives — teachers, police officers, firefighters. Democrats in Congress paid to preserve those jobs by eliminating $11 billion in tax loopholes for corporations that ship jobs overseas — a provision that ultimately could create jobs in the United States.

Like Beck, they’ve announced their loathing for the unemployed. Royalists Sharron Angle, Jon Kyl, Andre Bauer, Tom Corbett and Orrin Hatch have derided the unemployed as lazy, spoiled, stupid drug users.

The jobless, however, are mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore. They’re organizing. The Union of the Unemployed and Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, are mobilizing the jobless.

The Union of the Unemployed is launching a “Bite Back” campaign, targeting those in Congress who tried repeatedly to cut off unemployment insurance and other aid to the jobless. “They will never see us coming,” the first Bite Back ad says, “After all, the politicians whose policies destroyed our lives think we’re ‘lazy’ ‘drug users’ and ‘hobos.’ They are counting on us to be docile as lambs and so depressed we’ll stay in bed on election day.”

Working America, whose members are not in unions but align themselves with the political philosophy of the AFL-CIO, plans to organize hundreds of thousands of the jobless across the nation to vote in workers’ interests. Field organizers will ask the jobless to fill out “Help Wanted” petitions to send to their congressmen and senators asking exactly what they’ve done to create jobs and assist the unemployed.

The jobless removing the royalists from their jobs – nothing could be sweeter, unless this revolution also included dispatching Glenn Beck to his unemployment office.

Republicans Kiss the Rich; Diss the Jobless

8:58 am in Uncategorized by Leo W. Gerard

A brutal competition pits worker against worker continually now in this country. Five unemployed people vie with each other for each available job. It’s like a cruel game of musical chairs, with five desperate competitors for one seat.

Workers who’ve lost cars to repossession and homes to foreclosure run around frantically trying to get that one job. When the music stops, four disheartened, still-unemployed people move to other viscous cycles of five struggling to win one available job.

Republicans watching this blame the 14.6 million unemployed Americans for the inadequate number of chairs. They’ve called the unemployed lazy and refused to extend unemployment compensation. Meanwhile, the GOP is demanding an extension of Bush’s tax cuts for the rich.

To the GOP, the rich are deserving. Republicans see the unemployed as leeches — not as victims of filthy-rich, banksters who destroyed the economy, not as the stalwart citizens whose tax money Bush used to bail out Wall Street. To Republicans, the unemployed – along with the un-rich – deserve only disrespect.

And they’ve been heaping it on.

Republican Sen. John Kyl of Arizona said during a debate on the Senate floor, for example. “In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.”

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah demanded drug tests for those receiving unemployment benefits, "We should not be giving cash to people who basically are just going to blow it on drugs."

Republican Senatorial candidate Sharron Angle of Nevada said extending benefits to the unemployed, who she characterized as “spoiled,” would be “terrible.” She told a radio station: “You can make more money on unemployment than you can going down and getting one of those jobs that is an honest job, but it doesn’t pay as much. And so that’s what’s happened to us is that we have put in so much entitlement into our government that we really have spoiled our citizenry and said you don’t want the jobs that are available.”

Republican Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer of South Carolina said the unemployed, like stupid stray animals, should not be fed: “My grandmother was not a highly educated woman but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania denied U.S. Labor Department statistics, insisting there are plenty of jobs, but the unemployed are shiftless and prefer their paltry government benefits over jobs: "The jobs are there. But if we keep extending unemployment, people are just going to sit there.”

By contrast, Democrats, who view the highest unemployment rates in 28 years as an emergency, have repeatedly tried to get a compensation extension passed and will mount another attempt Tuesday.

Disdainful of the unemployed, Republicans have refused to vote to extend the lifeline unless Congress ends its historical practice of classifying unemployment compensation as emergency funding, which is added to the deficit. The GOP is demanding that the $35 billion cost of extending compensation be offset by cutting federal programs or by reducing the stimulus – the very program designed to create jobs for the unemployed. In the six weeks since extended unemployment compensation expired and Republicans have blocked renewal, weekly checks averaging $300 ended for 2 million Americans.

Republicans try to sound fiscally responsible as they explain their votes disregarding the plight of the unemployed. But Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl’s words wreck the GOP’s deliberate disinformation campaign. While insisting that unemployment compensation extension be offset, Kyl says that’s entirely unnecessary for extension of Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy. When Republicans give rich people tax breaks, the GOP thinks it’s fine for the $678 billion cost to be added to the deficit.

Minority whip Kyl’s stance is held by the majority in his party. Most Republicans agree Congress need not pay for tax cuts benefitting the wealthy. “That’s been the majority Republican view for some time,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “So I think whatSenator Kyl was expressing was the view of virtually every Republican on that subject.”

Today, American workers face the worst job market since the Great Depression, with unemployment stuck at 9.5 percent and the average spell of joblessness lasting 35 weeks.In May, there were 11.8 million more unemployed workers than there were job openings.

Democrats see the pain of losing a job, financial security and hope for the future. Republicans see something entirely different – lazy, drug-addicted moochers living off the rich who the GOP believes should continue to be taxed at rates lower than those paid by their secretaries.