Archive for democracy

VIDEO: President Obama Speaks on the Death of Nelson Mandela

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President Obama eloquently delivered remarks on the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Here are a few excerpts, transcript courtesy of WaPo:

He achieved more than could be expected of any man.

Today he's gone home and we've lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth...

His journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that human beings and countries can change for the better...

As he once said, "I'm not a saint unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying."

I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life. My very first political action -- the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics was a protest against apartheid. I would study his words and his writings. The day he was released from prison it gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they're guided by their hopes and not by their fears.

And like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set...

I only hope that the time spent with him these last few weeks brought peace and comfort to his family.

To the people of South Africa, we draw strength from the example of renewal and reconciliation and resilience that you made real: a free South Africa at peace with itself. That's an example to the world, and that's Madiba's legacy to the nation that he loved.

We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again, so it falls to us as best we can to (forward ?) the example that he set -- to make decisions guided not by hate but by love, never discount the difference that one person can make, to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice.

For now, let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived, a man who took history in his hands and bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice.

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R.I.P. Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

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mandela

Details as soon as I get them, South African president now announcing. (I had the wrong birth year at first, now corrected.) NBC News here.

From CNN News Alert-

Nelson Mandela, a revered world statesman who emerged from prison after 27 years to lead South Africa out of its dark days of apartheid, has died, President Jacob Zuma has announced. He was 95.

The former president battled health issues in recent years, including a recurring lung infection that led to numerous hospitalizations.

In a nation healing from the scars of apartheid, Mandela became the moral compass.

His defiance of white-minority rule and his incarceration for fighting against segregation focused the world's attention on South Africa's apartheid system, making him a symbol of the struggle for racial equality.

In his lifetime, he was a man of complexities. He went from being considered a terrorist, to an imprisoned freedom fighter, to a unifying figure, to an elder statesman respected worldwide.

mandela1

Cartoon by David Fitzsimmons

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If The GOP Was Around When Democracy Was Proposed

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13 coloniesThe 13 Colonies

If...

If the Republicans were around in 1776.

If Democracy had been proposed by the colonists.

If we needed all 13 colonies to join up or we'd perish.

If the Town Criers were all from Fox News.

What would that be like?  Well, thanks to Mark Fiore, we can get see for ourselves: CLICK ON THE PICTURE BELOW to be magically transported back in time.

Town Crier

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VIDEO: Why unions matter, in a measly 1 minute 19 seconds

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chart graph why unions matter

Via Colin Gordon from June 2012:

Author's analysis of Historical Statistics of the United States, unionstats.com, Piketty and Saez (2003), and The World Top Incomes Database (http://g-mond.parisschoolofeconomics....)

The video is from the Economic Policy Institute, and it shows how unions are declining, paralleling the abrupt uptick of income inequality. Gee, what a coincidence... and what a shame, because: "What a difference a union can make!"

Along with the video, Think Progress has three charts also showing why unions matter, including how the income of the richest one percent has risen as middle class incomes drop:

Income inequality is skyrocketing, while worker wages stagnate and more and more people leave unemployment for low-wage, part time jobs. [...]

[L]ike many workers, fast food employees could greatly benefit from the ability to collectively bargain. After all, their minimum wage jobs have actually become worth even less as time goes on. While those one percent of top earners are seeing a great spike in their incomes, the low-wage worker is feeling deflated.

Earlier I posted an L.A. Times reader who suggested, "Instead of tying the minimum wage to state law, let us tie that wage to corporate profits." Twitter pal @vinctee added, "Or CEO pay."

And another of my Twitter followers, @johnncastlerock, tweeted, "Raise to $16/hr and tie annual increases to national productivity. Corp 'profits' too easy to manipulate."

And finally, if you missed it, this is a must-see: A genius made this video, a British guy who calls himself a "Labor geek."

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VIDEO: A genius made this video, a British guy who calls himself a "Labor geek"

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labor day tweet Jeff Tiedrich

Link to tweet; link to Labor Day Wiki.

And please read my post "What a difference a union can make!"

In today's Los Angeles Times, there is an op-ed by Harold Meyerson (editor at large of the American Prospect and an op-ed columnist for the Washington Post), "A Labor Day proposal for labor: Extend the Civil Rights Act's Title VII protections to workers seeking to unionize." It ends with this:

By making union organizing a civil right, the California Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown could begin to end this public-policy paralysis. In a state where millions work for low wages, California's leaders could help revive collective bargaining in a nation from which it's almost disappeared, and begin rebuilding the kind of vibrant economy that was once America's and California's calling card to the world.

Then I ran across this video, which is brilliant. No kidding:

Jul 3, 2009

A union can make a big difference to people's perceptions of a job. For UK staff you can find out which unions may be relevant to your job at www.worksmart.org.uk/unionfinder

Via The Progressive Change Campaign Committee team:

It can be depressing to see workers under attack -- by Republican governors, by corporations, by opponents of Social Security...

This was made by John Wood, a British guy who calls himself a "Labor geek," and it's gone viral on YouTube.

happy labor day

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Live Streaming Audio- President Obama Makes A Statement On Situation In Egypt

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VIDEO: "Post-Citizens United, conservatives look at [union decline] & smell blood." Unions support Dems. 'Nuff said.

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chart maddow unions v corps campaign spending smaller

I recently posted about WI Gov. Scott Walker suggesting stripping police and firefighter union rights. Without unions, workers suffer. (We all suffer.) They suffer because they have no rights to speak of, they can't fight for what should be their rights effectively, and their employers have no problem stomping all over them. That was made clear here: “Dignity… That was the message of the signs [the restaurant workers] carried: I am a man, I am a woman.”

Please take a look at why even conservatives should appreciate what unions do, and have done, for this country: What a difference a union can make! And that appreciation should extend to the U.S. Postal Service: “It’s called the U.S. Postal Service because it is a service, not a corporation.”

With that in mind, this clip is a must-watch. The entire segment is below:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Melissa Harris-Perry:

All right. You got it? Unions not only gave us the weekends and health insurance.

Unions not only gave us the middle class.

Unions then gave that middle class a way to take part in the political process. In the significant part of the process that involves putting money into political campaigns.

And when union members get involved in campaigns, they tend to throw their considerable support behind Democrats. Not Republicans.

In other words, Republicans are trying to asphyxiate the Democratic party.

Here is the whole thing:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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