24 February 2015

LABOR GOON SQUADS REDUX


In the formative years of the modern American labor movement, employers—especially in steel, mining, and auto manufacture—would hire “goon squads” to quash, even terrorize, workers who were seeking to voluntarily unite to bargain for better wages and working conditions. Sometimes, these squads would be uniformed National Guardsmen, but more frequently, they would be Pinkerton agents or just local thugs hired by the owners and management of target industries.  And it was just plain wrong—unAmerican and contrary to the freedom of association implicit in the First Amendment of the Constitution.  Laws were passed to ensure that workers were free to join unions without fear or physical harm or other forms of intimidation.

This morning, I was listening to the American Left’s most effective propaganda arm: National People’s Radio.  From the scandal in 1999 when it was revealed that many PBS stations routinely “rented” their donor lists to the Democratic Party, to the programming of PBS’s three major stations, WGBH (Boston), WNET (New York City) and WETA (Washington, DC) which is hopelessly intertwined with the Democrats'  party line, to stations in Philadelphia, Chicago, and others which rebroadcast materials from those three stations, “Public Broadcasting” and “National Public Radio” are accurate descriptions only if “Public” is redefined to mean the left-wing of the Democratic Party.  I defy anyone to listen to NPR and hear any fair representation of conservative America. 

So, what does this have to do with labor goon squads.

On this morning’s “Morning Edition”, one of the lead stories was the upcoming vote in the Wisconsin legislature to enact a law that would ban contracts between businesses and unions in which workers are required to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Violation of the law would be a crime punishable by nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine.  

Wisconsin is currently a “closed shop” jurisdiction.  If a union manages to get enough employees of a business to form a local, it can then require ALL similarly situated employees in that business to pay union dues whether they join the union or not.  Oh, there are some “safety valves” that allow non-member workers to pay only a “portion” of the full dues (usually, the portion used for political lobbying and donations to the Democratic Party), but it is amazing how low that portion is after the lawyers and accountants are done with the computations.

Well, as one may well imagine, this move in Wisconsin is anathema to the AFL-CIO and its leadership.  These big boys are millionaires thanks to their members and they just love hobnobbing with liberal multi-millionaires and movie stars and Democratic politicians, all on the workers’ dime. And the fact that it is Wisconsin, where, only a few years ago, big labor (such as it is) took its worst drubbing in decades just makes it worse.

You see, big labor isn’t all that much anymore.  More than half of all union members are employed by government.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014, some 14.6 million American workers were members of a union, about 11.1% of the work force.  By way of comparison, in 1983, 20.1% of American workers were union members.  In 2014, another 1.6 million workers disclaimed union membership, but their jobs “were covered by a union contract.”  In other words unions were able to extract payments of “dues” workers who amounted to more than an additional 10% of union “membership.” 

At the same time, only 7% of private sector American workers are union members, compared to  36% of government workers.  In other words, if you produce something, you are very unlikely to join a union, but if you suck at the government teat, a union is the way to go.  And the trend has been underway for half a century.  Fifty years ago, one American worker out of three was a union member; today it hovers at one in ten.

The big boys in the AFL-CIO are getting scared. The goose that lays their golden eggs is getting thin and old.  Wisconsin is their new battleground.

So, National People’s Radio “reports” on this issue right along the party line.  Rich Trumka, national President of the AFL-CIO wails that “This is a blatant attempt to silence workers’ voices to stop us from speaking out about lower wages and mistreatment at work. … Unions and collective action are a powerful line of defense against this aggressive attack on our working families.  We need to use this fight to help all workers – union and non-union – unite in their collective voice and in their demand to raise wages throughout our country.”
Really?  Does he think we are all stupid? 
A right to work law does nothing to silence workers’ voices, although it may require their mouthpieces, like Trumka and his ilk to do so for a lot less money.  Right to work laws protect workers from extortion.  If a person wants to work, and an employer wants to hire that worker, that should be it.  Why should a union be allowed to extort from the employee a fee for that privilege? 
No, the 21st Century “Pinkertons” are the unions that want to threaten and coerce and extort and terrorize.  They are the new labor goons
The bottom line is that if union representation is such a good deal, the unions would have no problem signing up new members.  When 90% of the workforce sees no benefit to union representation, that is not the fault of industry or government.  It just means that, like the buggy whip, union representation is obsolete.
And the AFL-CIO and its wholly-owned subsidiary, the Democratic Party, and its propaganda wing, NPR, would better spend their time and money figuring that out.



23 February 2015

1/400th OF A SECOND, SEVENTY YEARS LATER


Seventy years ago this morning, one of the most famous—and as any Marine will tell you, the absolutely finest—photographs in history was snapped on a hot, stinking mound of sulphuric volcanic ash located in the western Pacific. It is, of course, Joe Rosenthal’s picture of the flag-raising on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima.
                                                  
Look at this photo, 1/400 of a second of what was the 36 days (3,110, 400 seconds) of the hell that was Iwo.




Six of the men who landed on the island on D-day, 19 February 1945, are included in this photograph.  It is a classically Marine Corps photo:  5 Marines and a Corpsman, “Doc,” raising a flag before getting on with the ugly business of war.  Those men were all from 2d Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division: Sergeant Michael Strank, Corporal Ira Hayes, Corporal Harlon Block, Corporal Rene Gagnon, and PFC Franklin Sousley, USMC, and Pharmacist’s Mate, 2d Class John Bradley, USN.  

One four hundredth of a second.

Doc Bradley recounted how he happened to be in the photo.  Sergeant Strank’s squad had been ordered to raise a ship’s flag (9 feet on the hoist by 19 feet on the fly) to replace the storm flag (5x9) raised by the first squad to the top.  The larger flag could then be seen by more Marines on the sands below.  Strank’s people found a piece of pipe which weighed about 100 pounds and lashed the flag to it.  As the 5 Marines struggled with the pole, Doc Bradley was adjusting his gear.  Strank said, “Hey, Doc, give us a hand.”  Perfect.

Watching from the beach below, Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal commented, “That image will guarantee the existence of the Marine Corps for 500 years!”    But the fight was just beginning.

Sergeant Strank, Corporal Block, and PFC Sousley were killed in action within the next 30 days, all while advancing against the enemy.  Doc Bradley, who had already been nominated for the Navy Cross for gallantry on D-Day, was seriously wounded and evacuated, but not before tending to two wounded Marines and seeing them evacuated before he would even consider his own wounds.  

Twenty-two Marines and 4 Corpsmen were awarded the Medal of Honor at Iwo, 14 posthumously.  That 22 represented 28 percent of all Medals of Honor awarded to Marines in World War II.

Admiral Nimitz later commented that “Among the Marines on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue.”

Of the 60, 000 plus Marines and Sailors from the 3d, 4th, and 5th Marine Divisions who fought there, 6,821 were killed in action and another 19, 217 were wounded in action. Of the 22,000 Jap defenders of the island, 216 were eventually captured (the last two on 6 January 1949). 


As a prelude to the invasion of the Home Islands, those stark numbers (along with the similarly high numbers for Okinawa: 12,000 US KIA, 38,000 US WIA;  110,000 Japanese KIA, 7,000 captured, 40-150,000 civilians killed, including mass suicides) made any alternative to the invasion a better alternative.  President Truman’s approval of the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (140,000 Japanese dead; US KIA 0, US WIA 0) was a relatively easy decision.

One four hundredth of a second.

Semper Fidelis.

20 February 2015

ANOTHER REASON TO HATE SPELL-CHECK

One of my pet peeves has finally spilled over into an almost constant annoyance.  In e-mails from local schools and materials used in those schools, to books I read on my Kindle, it is apparent that the past tense of the verb "to lead" (to guide someone or something towards someone or something) has been transformed from "led" into "lead."  

Now, any educated person knows that "lead" (noun) is  a bluish-white lustrous metal, very soft, highly malleable, ductile, and a relatively poor conductor of electricity.  Its symbol is Pb, and its atomic number is 82.  It is incapable of guiding anyone to anywhere (except Boot Hill when certain pellets of the metal are accelerated into a body at, e.g., 900fps, from, e.g., the classic Colt single-action Army revolver).  But I digress.

I charge this abuse of the English language to an over-reliance on that abomination known as “spell-check.”  Because “spell-check does only that (look for misspelled words), it will ignore homonyms like crazy.


So, please people, especially teachers, make sure you set a good example for the malleable minds you are teaching.  Teach them to spell and to proof-read, rather than relying on a relatively stupid form of artificial intelligence.

06 December 2014

CAPT BILL PINE, USN


A man is indeed fortunate who can claim to have two or three real friends in his life.  By “real friend,” I mean a man who sees you at your worst, battling demons or life or physical foes and not only runs to join you, but does so with a smile on his face and joy in his heart.  He is the man that you just know will come to your side when you need him and without asking.  I have had two such friends in my life.

My friend, Bill Pine, was one of those two.

In 1982, I took my son, Michael, to a  meeting of Boy Scout Troop 1345 (“The best troop alive!”) in Burke Center, Virginia.   When I asked the Scoutmaster if they had room for Michael, he grinned and told me that there was a spot for both of us in the troop.  It was a big troop, with a dozen uniformed leaders.  When I was introduced to the assistants, the Scoutmaster said, “This is Mike McCarty.  He and his son are joining the troop. He’s a Marine.”
There were a lot of nods and smiles, but one fellow with a cocky air and a crinkly smile said “A Marine, huh?  Well, I guess everybody ought to have one of them for his own.”   I had just entered the wonderful world of Bill Pine.

Bill Pine was a man of many talents.  He was an educated man who at the time of his retirement from the Navy was the Oceanographer and Meteorologist of the Atlantic Command.  He was a rugged warrior, a veteran of riverine operations with the South Vietnamese Navy.  He was a loving father and grandfather and his wife’s best friend.  He liked working with wood and stone and being on the water.  And he had a sense of humor.

At one point, our Scoutmaster was a very senior IRS officer. He was was a great guy, but very straight-laced.  Once, when Bill called his office, Bob’s secretary asked the nature of the call.  “Uh, well, this is the Acme Sperm Bank and we wanted to tell him his account is badly over-drawn.”

He was a wise man and trusted leader.  When my marriage went to hell, he gave me the wisest counsel possible by just inviting me to spend a quiet weekend with Pam and him.  “You can talk or not talk or just stretch out in the hammock in the back yard.  But come.”

And he was a natural woodsman.  In February 1983, he invited me to camp with him and his friends, Duke and Barry Vickery, on their annual campout along the Middle Fork of the Savage River in Garrett County, Maryland.  It was a backpacking campout—tents and campfire cooking—that came to include our sons and grandsons.  It was serious camping, miles back in the woods, in temperatures that would often drop below zero and, once, snowed us in when 44 inches of snow fell after we got to the site.  Many of the happiest days of my life have been spent around a campfire with Bill and Duke and Barry.

When it came time for me to choose a best man for my second wedding, there was no doubt that it would be Bill.  That’s a pretty apt description; along with my Dad, my Grand-dad, Pat Oates and my sons, Bill Pine joins that pantheon of men who have been examples for me of what “a good man” is.

Bill Pine—Naval Officer, warrior, husband, father and shipmate—died suddenly and unexpectedly on Thursday night.  As Pam told me on the phone last night, they didn’t just break the mold when they made him, “they beat the living hell out of it!!”  I think Stevenson was describing Captain Donald William Pine, United States Navy (retired) when he wrote “Home is the sailor, home from the sea, and the hunter home from the hill.”

"Alpha Mike Foxtrot, Shipmate.  Sleep well, Green Worm.  Blue Worm, out.”

25 November 2014

SOMEBODY GET A ROPE! SOMEBODY FIND A TREE!




One of the darkest blots on American History is the terror of lynching loosed on freed slaves and their descendants in the last half of the 19th Century and the first half of the 20th.  Quite often, the mad demand for vengeance led the mob to lash out at the handiest target, whether that person was guilty of a crime or not.

Now, a city burns because “justice” was denied.  I suppose the new definition of justice is just hang somebody, even if he didn’t commit a crime.  Welcome to the first half of the 21st Century.

05 November 2014

THE CHICKENS COME HOME TO ROOST


A few days after President Obama first took office, he held a meeting with the Congressional leadership.  He discussed, among other things, his goals for economic recovery and invited all the leaders to join him in working to resolve the economic crisis.

At the end of the meeting, the Minority Whip, Eric Cantor handed him some notes on modest ideas to further that goal.  The President took them, but told Cantor that it was his own plans that would go through.   "Elections have consequences," he told Mr. Cantor.  "I won."

At that time in January 2009, the Democrats controlled both houses of the Congress.  Now the Republicans have taken control of both houses.

For four years, the President has been protected from having to show any backbone because Senator Reid has refused to let most legislation even reach the floor for debate or vote.  He did this so that his own caucus would not do something stupid, such as actually passing legislation received from the House and sending it to the President to be signed or vetoed.  That was OK with me, because the voters kept the Senate in Democrat hands and elections have consequences.

Now Harry Reid is as irrelevant as Mrs. Pelosi.  Senator McConnell and the Republicans are in control.  For the President, the chickens of arrogance are clucking away in the Oval Office.  Elections have consequences, and that works both ways.


29 July 2014

A PROPOSED SOLUTION TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

[The links to certain words and phrases are not mine. Feel free to ignore these free-loading swine.]


The real problem with our immigration system, to the extent that we have a system any longer, is that the world has learned to use our innate goodness against our own interests.  We are the envy of the world.  We are a generous people, fair and forgiving.  We have taken the great precepts of Anglo-Saxon law and entered them into our National DNA.  

Our forefathers saw fit to craft a Constitution designed to protect citizens of the United States from despotism.  I submit, however, it was never meant to allow non-citizens to abuse the rights of the people.  As I mentioned in yesterday’s entry, that principle has been stood on its head as criminals who infiltrate our country turn our own Constitution from a shield to protect us FROM government into a sword by which politicians can allow strangers to our nation to profit from their criminality at the expense of the citizens of the United States.

The presence of tens of millions of “undocumented” aliens, i.e., criminals present in violation of the laws of the United States, indicates that those people are confident that the laws of the United States do not apply to them and that they may wag their noses at our laws.  For those who say that they must be here because their home countries are too poor have oppressive and corrupt governments, I suggest that they follow the example of our forefathers.  They did not presume to unlawfully enter some other country and to demand the rights of that country’s citizens.  No, they took up arms and asserted and won their rights within their own country.  Instead of cowardice, they pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor—to the extent of actually shedding blood—to earn the rights of citizenship. Do we really want to add to our national bloodline the genes of people who are to cowardly to fight for their rights? 

Therefore, I suggest that the simplest way to stop this usurpation is to amend our Constitution to ensure that it is a Constitution of, for and by only our citizens and those we allow into our country in accordance with our laws.  Accordingly, I offer the following for consideration:

PROPOSED AMENDMENT XXVIII

      1.  The rights, privileges, and protections afforded to citizens of the United States by this Constitution, the laws enacted pursuant thereto, or rules or regulations derivative therefrom, shall apply only to citizens of the United States and those persons lawfully present therein.

2.       2.  No person who has unlawfully entered the United States or who, having been lawfully temporarily admitted, has lost that status due to the expiration or termination of that lawful admission, may assert any right, privilege, or protection afforded by this Constitution, the laws enacted pursuant thereto, or rules or regulations derivative therefrom.

3.      3.  Any person found to have entered the United States without prior affirmative permission from the government of the United States, or, having been lawfully admitted to the United States, to have lost that status due to the expiration or termination of that lawful admission, shall be subject to immediate and summary return to that Nation from which the individual entered the United States, without recourse to any Court or agency of the United States.  Furthermore, any person found to have unlawfully entered the United States without prior affirmative permission from the government of the United States, or, having been lawfully admitted to the United States, to have lost that status due to the expiration or termination of that lawful admission, and been deported in accordance hereto shall thereafter never be eligible to seek lawful temporary or permanent admission to the United States.  The absence of any official record establishing such lawful presence in the United States shall constitute final and prima facie evidence of such unlawful presence.

4.       4.  No person born within the national boundaries of the United States of parents who are not then lawfully present in the United States may claim citizenship based on the principle jus soli or Amendment XIV of this Constitution; and any child born of parents who were lawfully within the United States at the time of such child’s birth but who are thereafter deported due to termination of that legal status may not claim citizenship of the United States until such child has reached the age of twenty-one years and has made application for and been granted admission to the United States at the embassy of the United States in such foreign country as that child may then reside.  No right shall exist for such child to first enter the United States in order to assert a claim to citizenship, and if such claim is denied, such denial shall be final and shall not be subject to judicial or other administrative review.

5.       5.  The rights to limitations on search and seizure, protection from self-incrimination, indictment by grand jury, attorney representation, trial by jury, bail, and resort to the Courts of the United States by writ of habeas corpus shall not apply to persons who are not citizens of the United States or not lawfully present therein. 
 
6.       6.  This amendment shall be effective immediately upon ratification pursuant to Article V of the Constitution and shall also apply to any person then unlawfully present in the United States, regardless of the date of such person’s arrival in the United States; and furthermore, the protections against ex post facto laws guaranteed under Article I, section 9 of the Constitution shall not apply to persons unlawfully present in the United States at the time of ratification of this amendment.

7.       7.  Neither the Congress, the Executive, nor the Courts of the United States may exercise any discretion in the interpretation of this amendment to interpret, lessen or limit its terms, it being the intent hereof that the onerous provisions of this amendment serve as clear evidence to all persons that unlawful entry into the United States shall result in summary and immediate removal therefrom and lifetime bar to readmission.

28 July 2014

AN AGE OF UNMITIGATED GALL

At the height of its power, no nation on Earth dared to speak ill of Rome because of the assured response that such presumption would rain down on its leaders and its population.  At the height of the British Empire, Kipling wrote "For Kings must come down, and Emperors frown when the Widow at Windsor says 'Stop!'"

Thus, I fear for our Nation.  A nation that only 30 years ago brought the USSR and the communist thugs that ran it to their knees is now the laughing stock of the emerging Russian Empire. Our borders are a fiction, and the unworthy successor to Ronald Reagan who now inhabits the White House can think of no better response than to go to another fund raiser populated by the multi-millionaire sycophants of Hollywood, all in the name of the so-called party of the people, the Democrat Party.

That party, the party of FDR and Harry Truman who unleashed the power of the atom on a Nation that thought it could sucker-punch the United States into submission on a quiet Sunday morning in Hawaii, is now beholden to to the whiners of its so-called Warren Wing.  No better example exists of the cancer that that wing is spreading in our national body than the refusal of the Democrats (with some few sane exceptions) to acknowledge that we have tens of millions of criminals in our midst who hold us in absolute disdain.

A few examples of the shoddy thinking, or outright dishonesty, of the liberal mind follow:

1.  A few years ago, I heard a a report on National People's Radio in which an apologist for criminal aliens argued that they should be given their education and should receive welfare from the taxpayers of California.  "We don't want any special treatment," this mutton head moaned.  "We just want our share!"  My reaction was, "Then go back to Mexico--that is where your share resides."  Of course, the NPR commissar's reaction was to agree with the statement.

2.  At the end of last week, our national community organizer-in-chief hosted the presidents of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.  The main point of discussion was the dumping by those three countries of tens of thousands of illegal immigrants on our southern border.  After the meeting, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández was quoted in Politico Magazine as complaining that the United states was not doing enough for his country.

Susan Glasser, the Editor of Politico Magazine asked Mr. Hernández, "Your foreign minister was interviewed on NPR and said that it’s 'outrageous' that the United States has spent so much money on border security and so little money helping Honduras and the other countries of the Northern Triangle. Do you agree with that?"

Hernández replied that the US needs to send more money, more "investment," his way.  "[If you just keep] investing in border security and not in the source of the problem, in the genesis of the problem, then we will have more of the same."

Ms Glasser then asked, "And is that an outrage that we have our priorities so wrong?"

Hernández said, "Of course for us it’s uncomfortable and frustrating knowing that our neighbor isn’t doing its part."

I suppose we could just revisit the 1920s and 1930s and send in the Marines to root out the bad guys, shoot them, and clean up the mess, but I doubt that los tres presidentes would like that.  Have you ever tried to deposit a Marine Rifle Company in a Swiss bank account?

3. Now, we have groups of illegal aliens (we used top call such things "conspiracies" back in the day, but now they are "interest groups") who are demanding that they be allowed to sit down with the President of the United States and dictate, er, uh, discuss what the US policy on illegal immigrants should be.  According to today's on-line Politico, "Undocumented immigrants demanded Monday that national advocacy groups boycott meetings with President Barack Obama until they are included in talks on how he will use his administrative powers to fix the immigration system."  Never mind that they have no right to take part in the discussion!

So here's my take on their view.   It is as if I had broken into your home and then insisted that you could not make me leave until you provided a lawyer for me and then had to feed, clothe, house and support me until a judge decided if I could stay and mooch off you forever.

There must be another way.  See you tomorrow.
 

I'm Back

After a long season of the blahs, I'm back and will be posting, starting with a post later today.  Now, I guess I'll have to see if I have been missed.

01 July 2013

TOURIST IN CHIEF

Well, I see the President is off on another taxpayer funded family vacation, this time to Africa.  And that's a good thing.  I mean, how else do you rest up for your upcoming family vacation in Martha's Vineyard.

Now, I know many folks--some of whom I love and respect-- will criticize me, saying "What about all the time Bush spent in Texas?" and "Reagan was always going to California."  Good questions, I suppose, but at least they were going home.  He goes, or sends his extended family, to Asia and Europe and, now, Africa, none of which are in, well, you know, the United States.  (I'll give him this.  Chicago isn't California or Texas, and given the chance, I'd go to Texas, or northern California or Missouri or Montana, too.   But he's from Kansas, fer cryin' out loud, and that is as good as any of the other 49 States--except when KU plays MU, of course.)

Others--some of whom I love and respect-- will howl "This isn't a family vacation!  He's representing our country on an important diplomatic trip!"

Maybe, but look at the photos of the Pres, his wife, her Mom, one of the girls and his niece visiting a port in Senegal from which slaves were shipped to Europe, Africa, the Middle east, and North, Central, and South America two to five centuries ago.  Looks like a typical family vacation pic to me, complete with bored teenagers who wish to heaven they were back home in their rooms, doors closed to parents, surrounded by their music, iPhones, iPads, and so forth.

He was urged by his base--and, to his credit as an educated man, resisted--to apologize for slavery in America on this trip.  Ya see, he would have also had to admit that slaves were kidnapped by black men and then sold to other black men who then sold them to black and white traders to start that trade.  That would have required Senegal to have to apologize for the slave trade, a real breach of manners by a tourist.  In the elite liberal mind, political correctness trumps historical correctness every time.

Diplomatic trip?  Yeah, boy, we sure have  serious problems with Senegal, Tanzania, and South Africa.  I mean, where else can a President spend billions of taxpayer dollars (to fund electric power development)?  Probably in coal-fired plants....

Well, he could de-fund and close a whole lot of VA veterans health clinics.  As my (typically rebellious) 14 year old told me night before last, "Those guys [vets] were all volunteers.  If they got hurt in the Army, they volunteered for it and should pay for their own healthcare.  People on welfare didn't volunteer to live in slums and deal crack!"

The Pres apparently agrees because the only effect he can ever mention when cutting government spending is discussed is cutting defense spending and spending on veterans.  Maybe someone should mention the Department of Education, crowded with bureaucrats who are loyal dues paying union members and Who. Do. Not. Educate. A. Single. Child.  All at the unbelievably low price of $70 billion per year!    But I digress.

Look, Mr. President, if you want to take the wife and kids and mother-in-law and a niece or nephew or two on a foreign vacation, have at it.  But, please, Sir, not on my dime...