CONGRATULATIONS PENNSYLVANIA!!!!!

Congratulations Pennsylvania!

“Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, Mighty is your name,

Steeped in glory and tradition, Object of acclaim.

Where brave men fought the foe of freedom, Tyranny decried,

Til the bell of independence filled the countryside.”

I’m singing your praises Pennsylvania.  What needed to be done, has been.  Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson has blocked implementation of the Voter Photo ID Law until after the election.  Now, while the move by the court only delays this law until after this years election, we will now see if there was ever any reason beyond preventing President Obama’s reelection for this law to be in place.

We will see if voter fraud was a problem or if this was, simply, a fraudulent attempt to suppress votes.  My guess is [it was] the later.

This in fact may be the most telling part of this entire charade.  And when I say telling I mean that it was them, the republicans, doing the telling.  On June 23, 2012 State House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R) stated:

  • “Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done.”
  • “First pro-life legislation – abortion facility regulations – in 22 years, done.”
  • “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”

Since the 1960’s, there has not been a more blatant attack on America’s civil rights, indeed, an attack of the most basic right of our society, the right to vote.

This is not just about Pennsylvania, though.  Their’s was the most restrictive of many such laws passed in more than 30 states over the last few years.  Some have been struck down by the Voting Rights Act (that’s come under fire lately), and others by Local and State courts that have determined that the laws were an unnecessary intrusion on our voter franchise.

My guess is, though, this is not just a one shot deal.  Most of this talk about in-person voter ID fraud will quietly dissipate, but it won’t disappear.  Voter suppression and manipulation is as important down-ticket, at the State and Local level, as it is nationally.  What this process has shown us is that State Houses, State Legislatures, and locally elected Judges play as much a part in this scenario as the National ticket.  We must be aware, and beware.  The war continues.

It is in the local courts where laws are being upheld that are restricting or eliminating more of our basic freedoms. Like freedom of choice for women, freedom to choose who to marry, freedom to bargain collectively.  Even the right to be governed by our lawfully elected officials is being challenged.  State Legislatures are realigning voting districts to dilute the power of constituency voting.

So the war is not yet won.  The battlefield has shifted. Diligence and determination are the weapons with which we must arm ourselves, as we continue moving “Forward.

So, congratulations Pennsylvania.  A battle won, but the war goes on.

“Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, May your future be,

filled with honor everlasting as your history.”

FYI-MICHIGAN PROPOSITION 2, PROTECT OUR JOBS

Let’s make  no mistake about this.  Proposition 2 is the most important of the propositions on the ballot.  This one is so important that, its opposition is not just campaigning against it directly, the are running an ad that entreats voters to just vote no on all of the “constitutional change” proposals.

Karen Bouffard, in a Detroit News article “Proposal 2 campaigns confusing, polarizing For Michigan voters,” writes:

“Supporters claim unions are under attack and workers will lose their hard-won rights, pay and benefits if the proposal doesn’t win. Republican leaders have passed roughly 30 laws opposed by unions since the GOP swept the state House, Senate and Governor’s Office in 2010.

Opponents say the amendment would eradicate a half-century of labor laws, including those that protect workers and keep pedophile teachers out of classrooms.”

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120924/POLITICS01/209240339#ixzz27cMLDFr8

Ms. Bouffard does a great job of breaking down both sides of the argument, for and against.  I’d encourage everybody to take a few moments and read her article.

But despite the pro’s and con’s this “one” fact is clear.

This proposition is about the future of Michigan.  “PROTECT OUR JOBS” IS ABOUT PROTECTING OUR FUTURE!

This is what the proposal will look like on the ballot:

PROPOSAL 12-2
A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION
REGARDING COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
This proposal would:

  • Grant public and private employees the constitutional right to organize and bargain collectively through labor unions.
  • Invalidate existing or future state or local laws that limit the ability to join unions and bargain collectively, and to negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements, including employees’ financial support of their labor unions.  Laws may be enacted to prohibit public employees from striking.
  • Override state laws that regulate hours and conditions of employment to the extent that those laws conflict with collective bargaining agreements.
  • Define “employer” as a person or entity employing one or more employees.

Should this proposal be approved?

YES _
NO _

Let’s go over this proposal point-by-point.

Grant public and private employees the constitutional right to organize and bargain collectively through labor unions.

It’s being argued that public and private employees have that right.  To the extent that many workers are benefiting from union protections, that may seem to be true.  But, these protections are not guaranteed.  These protections are under attack on many levels.  Laws like the Emergency Manager Law, have stripped powers, voided contracts, and reduced or eliminated the rights of employees in both the public and private sectors.  The opponents of this proposal have used calls for the “right to work” to rally their supporters, but I wonder if those supporters “really” know what right to work means.

This is posted on the University of Michigan Institute for Research on Labor, Employment, and the Economy site:

What “Right to Work” Would Mean for Michigan
Roland Zullo, Research Scientist
Institute for Labor and Industrial Relations
University of Michigan

There is an effort afoot to make Michigan a “right to work” state. Unfortunately,
most citizens are unaware of what “right to work” means or the implications if such a law
is passed. Our purpose here is to explain the law, map the arguments for and against, and
describe potential effects for Michigan should such a proposal become law.

To begin, the term “right to work” (hereafter RTW) is a misnomer. RTW has
nothing to do with the right of a person to seek and accept gainful employment. Rather,
RTW laws prohibit a labor union and employer from negotiating union security clauses.
What are union security clauses? Union security clauses are contract provisions that
regulate the collection of union dues. In non-RTW states, such as Michigan, the parties
are free to negotiate a range of union security options. Unions typically prefer “union
shop” terms that require every person benefiting from union representation to pay union
dues. In RTW states, the parties are barred from negotiating union security clauses,
making the default the “open shop,” where the payment of dues is optional for workers
represented by the union. Between these two policy poles are arrangements that require
represented persons to pay a proportion of full dues, and even to allow objectors to
unionization to contribute dues to charity. Such arrangements are, however, also
proscribed under the RTW proposal before Michigan.

Labor unions are nearly universal in their opposition to RTW laws, and their
argument is straightforward: each person that benefits directly from union representation
should pay their fair share of the cost of that representation. In the very least, represented
persons should pay a dues amount to cover the expense of negotiating and administering
the labor agreement (what are referred to as collective bargaining activities). For unions,
this is just since, by law, they are required to represent all persons within a bargaining
unit. It is critical to appreciate that although unions have some input into the composition
of the bargaining unit, they cannot exclude persons that simply do not want unionization.

You can find this entire post at:  http://irlee.umich.edu/Publications/Docs/RightToWorkInMichigan.pdf

Simply put, right to work is really the right to work for less.  Less wages, because collective bargaining brings about a fair wage for employees.  Less stability, because collective bargaining establishes workplace rules for safety and maintaining the work force.  Less benefits,  employer paid healthcare, vacations, sick pay and pensions.  All of these things were brought about through the efforts of collective bargaining and right to work could diminish or eliminate them.

Invalidate existing or future state or local laws that limit the ability to join unions and bargain collectively, and to negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements, including employees’ financial support of their labor unions.  Laws may be enacted to prohibit public employees from striking.

Michigan lawmakers have passed a law that prohibits school districts from deducting union dues. They’ve passed another law designed to prevent graduate student research assistants from unionizing.  Last year, another tough new bill gave appointed emergency managers the right to dissolve or change collective-bargaining contracts as they see fit.  GOP legislators are talking about trying to make Michigan a “right to work” state that would ban the union shop.

Let’s be clear, a constitutional right to collective bargaining is not constitutionally mandating unions.  This Act would allow employees the constitutional right to choose.  This is about freedom from intimidation and censure from employers that would impose on that right.

Override state laws that regulate hours and conditions of employment to the extent that those laws conflict with collective bargaining agreements.

As I understand this part of the proposal, it would allow the employees to restore previously negotiated conditions of employment, and prevent the state from unilaterally imposing changes, without union consideration or negotiation.

Define “employer” as a person or entity employing one or more employees.

This is self-explanatory.

**********************************************************************************************************

The opponents of  Proposition 2 are running advertisements claiming that the proposal will “eliminate safety rules for school bus drivers,” or could stop schools from getting rid of criminals.”  That the proposal is “dangerous for kids and terrifying for parents.”  That is just plain nonsense.  Unions are made up of people, mom and dads, aunts and uncles, sisters and brothers.  These people have sons and daughters who use the services that the unions seek to protect.  Why would anyone imply that the safety of their sons and daughters would not be of tantamount importance to them.  Making such a ludicrous statement is not only careless but it’s insulting as well.  Insulting to union workers and to the people that they believe, will believe, what they say.  They’ve threatened that if passed Proposition 2 will lead to teacher strikes like the recent one in Chicago, but that is, also, not true.  Notwithstanding the fact that people do not strike just for the hell of it, it is also illegal for government employees in Michigan to strike.  These are plain and simple scare tactics, designed to pull at the heartstrings of regular everyday people, and to manipulate them to vote a particular way.  These tactics should not and will not work .

What this proposal does is return the citizens of Michigan to the conditions that allowed us to become the premier industrial/manufacturing state in the region, perhaps in the United States of America.  Organized Labor has been and will continue to be the driving force in making those conditions possible.

There is a very good article written by Jack Lessenberry in the Toledo Blade that speaks about the need for this proposal.  This article shows that this is important not just for Michigan, but the entire region.  Here is a link to the article:  http://www.toledoblade.com/JackLessenberry/2012/03/09/Michigan-unions-mobilize-to-protect-bargaining-rights.html

I would also recommend, that for more information, interested citizens should contact the various local Union headquarters in the area.  They can answer any questions you may have regarding the need for collective bargaining.

FYI-MICHIGAN PROPOSITION 1, STAND UP FOR DEMOCRACY

What is the “Stand Up For Democracy” proposal about?

The stated purpose of this proposal is:  Petition seeks to invoke the right of referendum for the emergency financial manager law, 2011 PA  4.

Let’s break this proposal down into two parts.

First, the “right of referendum.”

This is from State of Michigan Constitution, Article II, Section 9:

Initiative and referendum; limitations; appropriations; petitions.

  • The people reserve to themselves the power to propose laws and to enact and reject laws, called the initiative, and the power to approve or reject laws enacted by the legislature, called the referendum. The power of initiative extends only to laws which the legislature may enact under this constitution.  The power of referendum does not extend to acts making appropriations for state institutions or to meet deficiencies in state funds and must be invoked in the manner prescribed by law within 90 days following the final adjournment of the legislative session at which the law was enacted. To invoke the initiative or referendum, petitions signed by a number of registered electors, not less than eight percent for initiative and five percent for referendum of the total vote cast for all candidates for governor at the last preceding general election at which a governor was elected shall be required.

Referendum, approval.

  • No law as to which the power of referendum properly has been invoked shall be effective thereafter unless approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon at the next general election.

Initiative; duty of legislature, referendum.

  • Any law proposed by initiative petition shall be either enacted or rejected by the legislature without change or amendment within 40 session days from the time such petition is received by the legislature. If any law proposed by such petition shall be enacted by the legislature it shall be subject to referendum, as hereinafter provided.

Legislative rejection of initiated measure; different measure; submission to people.

  • If the law so proposed is not enacted by the legislature within the 40 days, the state officer authorized by law shall submit such proposed law to the people for approval or rejection at the next general election. The legislature may reject any measure so proposed by initiative petition and propose a different measure upon the same subject by a yea and nay vote upon separate
  • roll calls, and in such event both measures shall be submitted by such state officer to the electors for approval or rejection at the next general election.

Initiative or referendum law; effective date, veto, amendment and repeal.

  • Any law submitted to the people by either initiative or referendum petition and approved by a majority of the votes cast thereon at any election shall take effect 10 days after the date of the official declaration of the vote. No law initiated or adopted by the people shall be subject to the veto power of the governor, and no law adopted by the people at the polls under the initiative
  • provisions of this section shall be amended or repealed, except by a vote of the electors unless otherwise provided in the initiative measure or by three-fourths of the members elected to and serving in each house of the legislature. Laws approved by the people under the referendum provision of this section may be amended by the legislature at any subsequent session thereof.
  • If two or more measures approved by the electors at the same election conflict, that receiving the highest affirmative vote shall prevail.

Legislative implementation.

  • The legislature shall implement the provisions of this section.

Now this may all seem a bit complicated, but, what “Article II, Section 9” is saying is that we “do” have a voice.  We have used that voice, by petition, to let them, Governor Snyder and the Legislature, know that what they have done is unacceptable.  We the people “do not” have to just sit back and accept what the “state” is dishing out.

Second, “The Emergency Financial Manager Law.”

They have used, what was a well intended law initiated under Governor James Blanchard, to strip away the power of the vote, of the citizens, throughout the state.   It seems, coincidently, that this law is being implemented primarily in urban areas, Detroit (including Ecorse, Inkster, and Pontiac), Flint, Benton Harbor, all areas with predominately minority populations, and minority leadership and administrations.  It began with takeovers of school systems, and has led to complete takeovers of local governments, effectively suppressing the power of the vote, and the will of the electorate in these areas.

There is an article about this problem, written by Chris Savage on “The Nation” website entitle “The Scandal of Michigan’s Emergency Managers,” that describes this situation very well.  Find it at:  http://www.thenation.com/article/166297/scandal-michigans-emergency-managers

It is important to note “this” paragraph in the article:

GOP lawmakers are discussing replacement legislation, with Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger warning about “the chaos that could ensue if the emergency manager law is suspended.” Since Michigan law prevents referendums on appropriations bills, PA 4 opponents fear that any such law will contain an appropriation to make it “referendum proof,” a tactic already used by the state GOP this year.”

These “tactics” are the reason that voting the complete ballot is important.

The Republicans in the U.S. Congress have reduced or eliminated “block grants” to the states.  States have refused, in some instances, to accept “Recovery Act” (stimulus) funds.  State Legislatures have reduced “revenue sharing” to cities, in their states.  They have cut billions of dollars from public schools, and public services, forcing them to drastically cut services or go bankrupt.  Then, to top it all off, they send in these Emergency Managers with the power to ignore or fire locally elected officials, cancel union contracts, layoff employees, outsource civil service jobs, usually to companies paying low wages, low or no benefits, and that have no union rights.

I once heard Rev. Jesse Jackson say, “this is like crippling a man, and then penalizing him for limping.”

Knowledge is the weapon we must use to fight this “electoral based oppression.”    The information is out there.  Read everything you can, talk to everyone you know, spread the word that we can go on the offensive, we must go on the offensive to protect our future.

Learn, and then VOTE!

OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

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