He made the trains run on time and controlled the Unions

image - October 23, 2003

Fascism is recognized to have first been officially developed by Benito Mussolini, who came to power in Italy in 1922. To sum up fascism in one word would be to say "anti-liberalism".

...............Socialism and Democracy. Political doctrines pass; peoples remain. It is to be expected that this century may be that of authority, a century of the "Right," a Fascist century."

Image Source Page: http://marxistleninist.wordpress.com/2010/07/10/glenn-beck-champions-u-s-pro-nazi-text/

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ghost Town

The Union ForeverImage by Kim Scarborough via Flickr
How to turn a Pro-Union website into a Ghost Town.
Posted by NarsBars on September 6, 2010.
Disclaimer: I receive no help from organized labor. I do this on my own time, no Union money. no support, from anyone but friends.
I have not tried to make money from this website, and I have not made one penny from it. Small bundles of unmarked cash gladly accepted
Hello and Welcome,
I have not posted since May but the constant attacks on our members and the stream of ignorant and hateful lies told by some of the Gubernatorial candidates is forcing me to get back in to the fight.
The point of this article is exactly that, getting back in to the fight. If we only wait for others, hired or elected, to protect our bacon, then the right wing will be eating our lunch and we will be forced to pay the tab.
NarsBars here. By day I am a State Employee in Maine, and by night, a computer geek and social media user. I created this website out of hope over two years ago and then let it drop. I was burned out and I just ran down.
At first, I only wanted to build a Pro Union site to balance the bullshit told by the likes of AMG. Then I realized that our Union and our Union members must take action in order to remain relevant and have a say in our futures.
I can't balance the right wing bullshit by myself, but with help we can make a difference.
Union Activism in Maine got employees the benefits that are being attacked by the right as if we had stolen the money we earned or the benefits we have negotiated for. Never is there a mention that our Union has been warning about the theft of retirement funds for decades. We have sounded the alarm and the legislature has yawned.
Pensions, vacations, and a clearly defined pay scale. Are we to be the last State Employees to have the right to a good job for hard work?
Our pay and benefits are being attacked but the economy alone does not explain why the lies used to attack us are going unchallenged. We would not be in a position of weakness if both Union membership and Union Union Activism were not falling.....
A labor Union is when done right, is run by and for workers to achieve common goals. The goals of a Union may include the negotiation of wages, work rules, grievance procedures, rules governing hiring, firing, promotions, benefits, and workplace safety and policies. The contracts negotiated by your Union are legally binding on the rank and file members and the employer.
A Union, through its leadership, and elected negotiations teams, bargains with our employer on behalf of Union members (rank and file members) and negotiates labor contracts (Collective bargaining) with employers
The most common, purpose of a Union is maintaining or improving the conditions of employment.
The strength of a government Employee Union has always been numbers. Numbers means votes, numbers mean money, the two most highly rated items on a politician's breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu.
It is not just a falling membership that has weakened Unions, it is a quieter membership. We can either remember or have heard the stories of Union members being shot, terrorized, or at the least fired for wanting a better life for their families. Those members spoke up, they shouted, they were heard by the political animals.
Sadly, Union membship has gotten older and more involved in American Idol than in a safe retirement. Union leadership has been slow to adapt to new technologies and new media.This year, in Maine, the first organzied rumblings to attack pensions is being heard and this is just a reflection of the national debate where Social Security is under attack. Make no mistake, the Republicans want you to give up your pay and your retirement to feed the CEOs and an endless war.
If Unions don't learn how to use social media they will continue to lose ground in the court of public opinion. Do you want your fate determined by the commenters on Limbaugh the druggie, or on AMG, the cowardly? While you may be willing to debate, AMG bans any liberal voice that tries to be "fair and balanced"?
Every day, sites like these feed raw meat to those with no goals but greed and hate, no feelings jealousy fueled by ignorance. Those who hate Unions and all labor rights have already learned to adapt and evolve and we are being left behind.
In real-life our members use Facebook, Twitter, Email, Myspace, reddit, and more. Nearly all Union workers agree on some basics. Fair pay, for hard work, and we expect the promises made over decades to be kept.
Many Union workers read blogs, but few post labor links, and make comments defending Unions, not because they don't care, but because they have been sold the idea that they can't make a difference. Some are so suicidal they will vote for LePage, the former mayoral hand puppet of Waterville.
Anti-Union conversations happen in real time, opinions are shaped quickly. The uninformed don't need thought, they don't need facts.The torches are lit, and the right gives out free pitchforks. If our members don't put out a pro-Union narrative, who will?
Union headquarters can't possibly keep up with the opinion-shaping conversations on the Internet. There are too many of them, they erupt spontaneously virtually anywhere...
So, what are Union members to do going forward? When you hear an anti-Union comment, Tweet back, BULLSHIT!, post the truth on Facebook, speak up in support of Unions when lies are heard.
Our Union and our members can recognize the inevitable, which means the "Stater" isn't enough. Letting our staff do the communications is not enough, Union activism must adopt and adapt to different platforms, technologies, networks, the members must use these technologies or...
We can cling to the obsolete top-down, Staff and our board of directors can do it all model which has resulted in the loss of raises and cuts in benefits for over a decade.
My hope is that Union members come along, "ah-ha" join the networks and support it, and explore where communications are already happening.
Our Union has gotten ahead of so many and has a Facebook page, my hope is to see Union headquarters build on this and use these platforms to communicate, to organize and to inform.
In the past we used the phone, some letters, a Union publication, the new social networks did not exist before. SEIU and NUHW are at war, but look at the tools used, both sides have developed a working model that shows what an effective use of media looks like when built.
If you can see the potential in using Union social media please use them yourself and show your support by banding together to fight back against the lies and the attacks on honest employees.
Make one comment on a blog, at a new site. You can make a difference.
P.S. Anyone have an account on AMG? I want someone to ask why NARSBARS was banned with no notice, no reason. Be warned you may be banned for even asking.
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Health Care Reform: The Morning After

Nurse & patient "Sea Breeze Jr." (LOC)Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

Health Care Reform: The Morning After

— Barbara O’Brien

Many politicians and pundits warned us that the health care reform (HCR) legislation that just became law will destroy America. Government bureaucrats will take over health care decisions, we were told. The old and infirm would be hauled away by death panels. Everything about the way we receive our medical care will change, and change drastically, they said.

Medicare recipients have been frightened by stories that their benefits will be cut. Middle-age people are worried they will lose their jobs when the law’s dreaded regulations, or taxes, or maybe regulations with taxes, would destroy their employers’ businesses.

The truth is, very little will change for most people. If you were insured by employee benefits before HCR, you will be insured by exactly the same policy in exactly the same way after HCR. You will have access to the same doctors on the same terms. “Government bureaucrats” will no more be involved in your health care than they were before.

And the same is true of Medicare, which of course is a government program, although many of the people who opposed the HCR bill don’t seem to know that.

Here are the “cataclysmic” changes to health care that are now in effect, or which will go into effect within the next six months for people who are already in group insurance plans:

• The law says you can’t lose your insurance coverage because you get sick. Before, in many states, if you were stricken with a severe illness such as mesothelioma cancer that would be expensive to treat, your insurer could use just about any excuse to cancel your coverage. That is over.

• HCR has ended lifetime limits on coverage. As long as you are receiving medical care, your insurer pays the bills.

• Your children can be covered on your existing policy until they are 26 years old.

• In six months, insurers cannot refuse to insure people under the age of 19 because of “pre-existing conditions.” This provision will go into effect for everyone in 2014.

And if you are on Medicare, you will be asked to struggle with the following:

• You get a free annual checkup.

• The co-pays and deductibles on many preventive care services are eliminated.

• If you are in the Medicare D “doughnut hole,” you will get a $250 rebate check in a few weeks. The hole itself will be closed gradually and will be gone by 2020.

But what about all those terrible regulations and taxes that are about to drive businesses out of business? Um, there really isn’t much to report. Oh, wait, here’s one — a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning services that use ultraviolet lamps will go into effect July 1. That’s about it.

However, beginning this year a tax credit will be available for some small businesses to help provide insurance coverage for employees.

Soon the politicians and pundits will start trying to frighten you about the provisions that will go into effect after this year. I assure you they are about as scary as the provisions that go into effect this year, but I will discuss them in a follow-up post.

— Barbara O’Brien

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