I speak of the need to show solidarity with the railroad workers.
I respect President Biden very much, since he has restored the Presidency to a level of dignity it lost due to Donald whatshisface; and he has moved well on several fronts, notably dealing with COVID-19 when the previous guy was in denial.
That being said, I remain a STRONG union man. Employees in the railroad industry are seeking a fair contract, which would include paid sick time. There is the danger that the President, who calls himself the most “pro-union” of Presidents, would unilaterally force the unions to accept the proposal, which falls short of their needs.
It’s essential the railroad workers attain a fair contract, since sick-leave is important for workers and their families. I urge everyone to contact their member of Congress and tell them to support the rail workers, because their cause is just.
Earlier in November, I was at the membership meeting of the Philadelphia Area Project for Occupational Safety and Health (PHILAPOSH), an organization of conscious and dedicated trade unionists working for workers’ health and safety. I was elected Trustee, and it’s my honor to serve alongside other working-class heroes.
The programs of PHILAPOSH include holding classes for workers, in English and Spanish, on job safety and the use of safety equipment; advocating for workers’ safety legislation in Harrisburg and Washington; and providing attorneys who help injured workers navigate the Workers Compensation system to attain deserved benefits. We work closely with the regional offices of the US Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).
In addition, PHILPAOSH held, towards the end of April, our commemoration of Workers’ Memorial Day, a day to pay honor workers who were killed trying to may a living for themselves and their families. We march in a funeral procession from the Sheet Metal Workers Hall at 1301 South Columbus Boulevard, to Penn’s Landing; then hold a memorial service, after which we read the names of workers in the region killed on the job, as a bagpiper plays “Amazing Grace.” as we throw roses into the Delaware river in their honor. Workers are not mere widgets on the assembly line; they are living, breathing human beings, no matter what the corporate state thinks, and we don’t have to accept the threat of death while just doing our jobs.
On Friday, December 2, PHILAPOSH will hold it annual awards reception. The honorees are:
Esteban Vera Jr., Business Manager, Laborers Local 57;
Yuri Reyes, organizer, El Comité De Trabajadorxs;
AFSCME District Council 33’s Members Action Team;
Milo Dabny, member, IAM Local 1776;
Delena Smith, Program Manager, Philadelphia OIC;
Jarrett Smith, Legislative Director, SEIU Healthcare PA;
and Shawn McCarthy, Instructor, IBEW Local 98.
These are workers who see things wring in their worksites and their communities, and organize with other workers to attain solutions–the nightmare of the bosses.
For further information, please contact https://philaposh.org/.
My favorite corner bar, Dirty Frank’s, located at 13th and Pine streets in Philadelphia, will hold its annual Holiday Craft Fair, from 1:00-7:00 PM, on Sunday, December 4. There, many fine local crafts people will have their products for sale; I’ll have my published books for sale there, and also provide Notary services. See you there?
This past election, November 8, I served on my division’s election board, helping people work with the voting machines, so that they could elect the candidates of their choice. It was a long day of getting up early and staying up late, but it was well worth it. Ever since the end of the 2020 election, election officials, from election board workers to county-level officials, had faced terroristic threats to their lives, simply because they did their jobs honorably, and the neo-fascist right (particularly the trumpst MAGA wing) hated the reality of losing. Their interest isn’t in democracy, but taking and holding power over the rest of us. That’s been how fascist movements have operated over the decades; they utilize the democratic process as far as they can go, but undermine it when finally attaining state power. They have also played the victim, complaining about being oppressed and discriminated against when they’re challenged, but their agenda is to oppress their opponents. Don’t be fooled when they whine about “losing their Second Amendment rights.”
I’m proud to have done my part to elect Josh Shapiro as our next Governor of Pennsylvania, and John Fetterman as our next US Senator. The Republican Party, still under the trumpist grip, selected Doug Mastriano for Governor—a white Christian Nationalist who worked with Andrew Torba, who heads the far-right social-media platform Gab, is and a notorious anti-Semite (https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/28/politics/doug-mastriano-gab-pennsylvania-republican/index.html); the Mastriano campaign paid Gab $5,000 for “campaign consulting,” utilizing the site for advertising (https://forward.com/fast-forward/514364/josh-shapiro-doug-mastriano-gab-antisemitism/). While a professor at the Army War College in Carlisle, Mastriano posed in a group photo with other faculty members—wearing a Confederate Army uniform, the same Confederate Army that sought to destroy the Union for the sake of its precious slave system! (https://www.reuters.com/world/us/exclusive-pennsylvania-candidate-mastriano-posed-confederate-uniform-army-war-2022-08-26/)
For the Senate, under the trump influence, the Republicans selected Doctor Mehmet Oz. Once a respected cardiothoracic surgeon, then a TV health-and-fitness host, Oz ruined his reputation by selling dietary supplements on his show, supplements that supposedly could burn away fat, but cauaed serious health problems. (https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/scaachikoul/dr-oz-senate-campaign-tv-show) (https://apnews.com/article/dr-mehmet-oz-political-career-2022-midterm-f6ecd9ac9f0e95cda41193adc13c8437). Along with that, Oz only just recently established a home in the Philadelphia suburb of Bryn Athyn, while his real residence is in New Jersey, along with owning 10 other residences around the world. (https://www.inquirer.com/news/mehmet-oz-new-jersey-cliffside-heights-pennsylvania-senate-20221031.html) (https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/crudits-snooki-john-fetterman-voters-remember-dr-ozs/story?id=87765213). The Fetterman campaign had fun—as did I—with the video of Oz grocery shopping at “Wegner’s” (a mashup of the Wegman’s and Redner’s grocery chains) for “crudités,” otherwise known as a “veggie tray,” showing Oz as an out-of-touch rich guy playing plain folks—as did Donald whatshisface.
This is what the Republican Party has sunk to; but it’s been sinking this way since the Goldwater campaign. Can it sink any further?
The results of the election were not the “Red Wave” that the news media hyped all year. Why did they talk so much about the alleged “Red Wave?” An attempt to raise the number of viewers and therefore advertising dollars? A way to discourage people from voting, saying “Your guy’s not going to win, so don’t bother voting”? That I call irresponsible.
Along with the aforementioned victories in Pennsylvania, the Democrats managed to hang on to the Senate, but the Republicans held a tiny majority in the House, with the help of gerrymandering of congressional districts—supposedly, the opposition party attains several dozen new seats in a midterm election. Kevin McCarthy, now the House Minority Leader, is supposed to become speaker, his dream job—but he has to work with the trump-loving element in the party, and he has restored Marjorie Taylor-Greene of Georgia to her committee assignments, while trying to remove Democrats from their own committee positions. (https://www.alternet.org/2022/11/kevin-mccarthy-2658736247/)
McCarthy, like I said, has to deal with the pro-trump “Freedom Caucus” in the House, We can expect nothing but a freak-show from the House, as it ignores such real issues as the economy, Russia warring on Ukraine, health insurance, jobs and job safety, and fatal gun violence, and get hysterical about their favorite scapegoat, President Biden’s son Hunter and his laptop. What more needs to be said about it? (https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/kevin-mccarthy-face-floor-fight-speaker-hasnt-happened-century-rcna58391?link_id=13&can_id=c6b214524e142a4cda41a3e4163755a6&source=email-trump-team-panics-over-fcking-nightmare-meeting-2&email_referrer=email_1750175&email_subject=trump-in-freefall-after-antisemitism-summit)
The Republican “leadership”—McCarthy, Mitch McConnell, all of them—could have done the statesman thing and denounce trump, with his coddling of domestic terrorists, neo-Nazis and white supremacists, along with his misogynistic behavior of women—as evidenced by the Charlottesville neo-Nazi rally (“very fine people on both sides”), his embrace of the Q-Anon cult because “they like me,” his encouraging his followers to riot in the Capitol on January 6 and threaten the lives of elected officials in both parties (“Hang Mike Pence!”), his refusal to take seriously the dangers of COVID-19, his wining and dining of two notorious anti-Semites at Mar-A-Largo, and his “grab ‘em by the pussy” talk in the Access Hollywood tape—that’s just scratching the surface.
Instead, for the sake of the tax breaks for billionaires and corporations that don’t need them, and for the sake of the votes trump’s disciples have, the GOP elite tolerated it all, even after their lives were threatened. Behold the gutless, brainless, characterless specimens leading the Republican Party! For this, they don’t deserve to be anywhere near office!
Now, as we enter the December holiday season, let us enjoy our rest and our times with our loved ones, and celebrates or wins; then, let’s get back to the business of standing up for our rights and the rights of others. That’s what a true American does.
Stay safe, stay strong, and stay together! Slava Ukraini! America will be free! Bye!
I comment about the past midterm election, commend Nancy Pelosi for her work, discuss the next Speaker election, and get ready for the work ahead.
On Tuesday, November 15, I’ll attend the membership meeting of the Philadelphia Area Project for Occupational Safety and Health (PHILAPOSH). This is a group of trade unionists dedicated to promoting safety in the workplace, dealing with classes on using safety equipment, advocating for occupational health and safety laws in Harrisburg and Washington, and working with injured workers and attorneys on Workers’ Compensation claims. (https://philaposh.org/)
This is an important group to support-employers look upon their workers as expendable, and won’t spend a few dollars on equipment that would make workers safe, and corporations act as if occupational safety laws are a form of tyranny; through such groups as PHILAPOSH, workers have a weapon to defend themselves against employers who try to cheat them out of paying for injuries they attained while trying to make a living.
On Wednesday, November 16, I’ll be a Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom Street in Philadelphia (https://www.fergies.com/), for a poetry reading sponsored by the Moonstone Arts Center. the featured readers will be Luke Stromberg, with his debut poetry collection The Elephant’s Mouth; also the poets John Wall Barger, Luke Bauerlein, Ernest Hilbert, Z Murphey, and Anne-Adele Wight. (https://moonstoneartscenter.org/event/live-poetry-event-luke-strombergs-the-elephants-mouth/) Following will be the open mic, in which I’ll take part in and have my poetry volumes available for sale.
Real poetry, and real social change, start at the grassroots.
I speak about the recent elections.