Labor Day is a holiday designed to honor America’s workers. Instead, Donald Trump continues to attack them. Indeed, his administration is in the midst of a stealth effort that not only attacks workers but also our earned Social Security benefits and our federal government. The long-term goals of Trump and his Congressional allies are to destroy the labor movement, wreck the federal government, and end Social Security.
That may sound hyperbolic, but it is not. Trump’s latest stealth attack is not only anti-union, it will eventually make it so difficult to access Social Security benefits that some beneficiaries (particularly those attempting to qualify for their earned Social Security disability benefits) never receive them at all. Others will eventually claim their benefits, but only after an unnecessarily burdensome process of visiting field offices that are rarely open and have hours-long lines when they are.
For Republicans, that’s all according to plan. Trump and his Congressional allies are intentionally breaking our government so they can turn around and say that it doesn’t work.
Trump’s war on workers is extremely well documented. It is perhaps best illustrated by his anti-worker nominees to be Secretary of Labor, a pack of wolves in the hen house. The first nominee was guilty of scores of labor law violations and forced to pay millions of dollars in settlements to workers he cheated. He was ultimately rejected because even many Republicans decided that they couldn’t vote for an ethically challenged nominee who was also an accused domestic abuser.
Trump’s second anti-worker nominee was Alex Acosta, best known for his sweetheart deal with the billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. His current acting Secretary of Labor is, if anything, more anti-worker than the first two. And his newest nominee for the job has spent his career defending businesses seeking to roll back labor protections.
Trump’s war on the federal government is also well-documented. His administration is upending the lives of career civil servants by telling those based in Washington to move to the Midwest and those based around the country to relocate to Washington. Just before the beginning of the school year, these workers have been given virtually no time to decide if they will relocate or resign. This is having the desired effect: Most are quitting.
The Trump Administration’s actions are intended to shrink government to the size where they can, in the words of Republican activist Grover Norquist, “drown it in the bathtub.”
Trump’s hostility to Social Security and Medicare is equally clear. He recently floated a proposal to reduce Social Security’s funding. Days later, he gloated over his intentions to cut Medicare as a “fun second-term project.”
The American people did not vote for these benefit cuts. In fact, Trump ran on a promise to protect Social Security and Medicare. This was a shrewd political strategy, given that voters of all political stripes strongly value our Social Security and strongly oppose cutting its modest but vital benefits. They strongly value our Medicare, as well. But as with his promise to raise taxes on the rich, to provide quality health care for everyone, even to act presidential, Trump has done the exact opposite now that he’s in the White House.
Despite their claims, the GOP elite’s hostility to Social Security and Medicare — indeed, to anything the government does to help us improve our lives — doesn’t have anything to do with the debt or deficit. It has everything to do with the donor class trying to avoid paying their fair share toward the common good.
Yet because Social Security and Medicare are so popular, Republicans know that direct benefit cuts will be impossible to pass into law, as long as all of us pay attention. That is why Trump and his Congressional allies are conducting a stealth war, using guerilla warfare tactics against our earned benefits.
One of their most nefarious tactics is undercutting the Social Security Administration (SSA), the agency charged with ensuring that workers receive their earned Social Security benefits in a timely and stress-free manner. SSA has suffered nearly a decade of budget cuts from Congressional Republicans. These cuts have resulted in office closures, staff reductions, and a years-long wait for disability hearings.
Attacks on SSA don’t just hurt the agency and its 60,000 workers. They hurt all Americans by making it increasingly difficult to collect the Social Security benefits we earn with every paycheck. That’s why all of us should fight to defend it.
At SSA and across the federal government, the Trump Administration is playing hardball. It has issued anti-worker executive orders. It has failed to negotiate in good faith with those representing federal workers. And recently, the Trump administration launched a new assault. It arbitrarily and unilaterally sought to impose a new contract on SSA workers. That imposed contract would effectively destroy the ability of the workers’ union to represent them.
The Trump Administration’s goal is to make conditions at SSA so intolerable that demoralized workers will quit in droves, taking essential institutional knowledge with them. This will directly affect the hundreds of millions of us who call SSA or visit a local field office regarding our earned Social Security benefits.
Federal workers are fighting back in the courts. Their Democratic allies in Congress are seeking to come to their aid, but they do not control the White House and Senate. The only way to protect the hard-working civil servants at the Social Security Administration, and thereby protect our Social Security and Medicare, is to make Donald Trump a one-term president.
Nancy J. Altman is a writing fellow for Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute. She has a 40-year background in the areas of Social Security and private pensions. She is president of Social Security Works and chair of the Strengthen Social Security coalition. Her latest book is The Truth About Social Security. She is also the author of The Battle for Social Security and co-author of Social Security Works!
This article was produced by Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute.
Saturday, August 31, 2019
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's account was apparently hacked by a group called the Chuckling Squad.
The hacker posted a series of "offensive messages" from Dorsey's including racial fun and "anti-Semitism".
It took Twitter approximately 15 minutes to delete the "inappropriate tweets" from Dorsey's account, and it's still not clear how the hackers gained access. The group shared also a link to a Discord messaging server, but Discord deleted the server within minutes.
The hacked tweets were apparently sent using an SMS messaging service called Cloudhopper. Twitter acquired Cloudhopper in 2010 but the service is no longer available to the public. However Dorsey apparently used a version of the service earlier this year, though most of his tweets are sent from an iPhone.
Twitter said employees are aware of the hack and investigating the source. At 5:22 p.m ET the company said Dorsey's account had been secured and there was no indications that Twitter's systems had been compromised.
Friday, August 30, 2019
Arlington police are searching for whoever painted a swastika and the "n-word" (nigger) on businesses and signs.
The painting happened in an area near E. Arkansas and New York Avenue in East Arlington. Many of the businesses in the area are negro-owned.
Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson said the case is being treated as a "hate crime" and officers are going through the area to search for any information or clues.
"It’s clear to me that it was a hate crime and it was biased-based symbols and words trying to prompt a community reaction, in which it has," Johnson said.
One of the businesses tagged was a daycare center.
"Having to go into somewhere where they are supposed to feel safe and seeing this the first thing in the morning, it’s so sad," said one woman, who asked to remain unnamed. "It’s nothing we’ve seen before. It’s truly the most upsetting thing we’ve seen in a long, long time. I don’t remember anything being so hurtful and so disgusting."
Tiffany Jackson was cleaning out her car at one of the businesses hit when she saw the graffiti.
"Oh my god. I feel disrespected. I feel very disrespected," she said. "Heartbroken. That’s crazy."
The Arlington police chief believes the same person, or persons, is responsible for all of the graffiti and says detectives are canvassing the area searching for surveillance video and possible witnesses.
City workers spent the day removing the so-called "hateful words and symbols" from public view.
Mayor Jeff Williams says "more than 100 countries are represented by residents living in Arlington and is confident investigators will make an arrest".
"It’s like the United Nations if you go to the grocery store here in Arlington," the mayor said. "We’ve become an international city, and we want unity in our community. And we want to respect each and every one of our citizens."
Students at Sam Houston High School, about a block away, saw pictures of the "hate speech" circulating on social media before seeing it in person.
"I think it’s kind of racist, but it’s kind of childish too," said Kevin Vallejo, a local student with mexican name.
The police chief say whoever is caught will be charged with "criminal mischief", but prosecutors can enhance the charge to a "hate crime". The FBI has also been notified.
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