James Hoffa, Jr: …Everybody here’s gotta vote. If we go back and we keep the eye on the prize, let’s take these son a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong. [cheers] Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you…
Right wingnuttia is apparently going berserk:
…Republican consultant Brad Blakeman decried the comments as “thuggery at its best” and “the kind of remarks you’d expect out of Tony Soprano,” and commented that “when a union president says ‘let’s take these sons of bitches out,’ that usually means someone’s legs are going to get broken, somebody’s going to disappear.” Meanwhile, anchor Megyn Kelly somehow did not mention Henry’s previous explanation that the comments were references to voting Republicans out of office…
…Andrew Breitbart operative and CNN contributor Dana Loesch quickly followed up the attack on Twitter, claiming soon after the Fox segment and Henry tweet that Hoffa “threatens tea party voters” and that if Obama “doesn’t condemn then he is sanctioning violence against fellow Americans by silence”…
Evidently teabaggers don’t believe in the legitimacy of anyone’s vote except their own.
What’s a Labor Day Parade posting without pictures, right? So I took 130 pics in St. Louis this morning. There was a glitch with the camera and I ended up with … zilch. From a parade that took two hours to pass by. This year is the 100th anniversary for the local Joint Council of Teamsters, so they led the parade. It took twenty minutes just for them to get by. I mean, do you have any idea how many employers use the Teamsters? There was a semi from Boeing, a Coca Cola delivery truck, another truck from Berkley Lumber, and a semi from Schnucks. Their horns blared sonorously. An open air trolley carried retired Teamsters. The sign on the side said “I worked with pride and retired with dignity.” There was one white and one red Cadillac convertible that each had to be twenty feet long. I can’t possibly remember how many different kinds of Teamster trucks I saw. But I had pictures!
I never saw so many orange t-shirts in one place. On the back, they said “WE ARE ONE”; there were thousands of them. And I had pictures. But now I’m reduced to borrowing off Flicker one lousy photo of a past Labor Day parade. Ain’t that a shame?
There were small kids everywhere, including one asleep in a stroller with huge sunglasses on. Some marched with their parents. Others stood at the curb with plastic bags, and every once in awhile, someone in the parade would walk by throwing candy to them. They’d rush out and pick it up off the street. Trick or treat without the bother of knocking on doors.
People brought their dogs too. Lots of them were wearing union t-shirts or flags or … whatever. You can take your dog in the parade if he’s appropriately clad.
As soon as people walked out of the parade, they strolled over to one of the small parks nearby where bbq was waiting for them. There was free food and drink everywhere. One of the parks had a symphony orchestra with two professional singers doing show tunes from “The Sound of Music”, “Fiddler on the Roof” and “West Side Story.” What beautiful voices that pair had. And at one point a marching band came by.
About 25 members of Missouri Progressive Action Group showed up wearing their MOPAG–union made–t-shirts. We walked with the Teamsters. I took lots of, well, you know. All gone. But this is what the t-shirts look like:
During the parade, people on the curb and those walking by smiled and waved and yelled “Happy Labor Day!” A friend of mine said she looked around and couldn’t believe that Republicans want to attack this. This movement is what made a middle class in America. The answer is simple, of course. They don’t want a middle class. They never did. If you’ve never seen the movie Matewan, you’ve missed the All-time. Best, Union. Movie. Ever. Made. Get it from Netflix.
There’s a new kid on the block, the St. Louis Democratic block, that is. Last fall, Rea Kleeman, a local activist started a group that she hoped would help local Democrats strengthen ties with the state Democratic party and help that entity put out a more effective message. That goal may yet materialize, but in the meantime we are not sitting on our duffs. We’re on the move. We have decided to target vulnerable Republican incumbents in the metro area–and perhaps even a traitorous Democrat or two.
The group has a brand spanking new name that gives us a lot to live up to: Missouri Progressive Action Group (MOPAG). We began taking action by contacting local unions. At a meeting this week of representatives from the thirteen Metro area Teamsters Unions, MOPAG member, Bob Burns, laid out the case for working together. He told them what they already know, of course, that education is key, that we have to let voters know what Republicans are doing to pummel the working guy while giving every multimillionaire the cash he needs to buy a vacation home at Martha’s Vineyard and an extra Lamborghini. Burns said that Democrats have got to start figuring out how to come up with a plan of action, and he promised them that our members would be there to help them in any way we could.
We’re only 85 members strong right now, but we expect that number to grow. And some of our members will be out there when the unions distribute flyers about labor issues at Busch Stadium June 3rd. They’ll also stand by union people at similar events later in the summer. The flyer that union people will hand out will lay out in clear terms some of the double dealing dirty work Republicans have been up to. It explains, for starters, that Republicans tried to revoke what we voters passed on minimum wage (DID YOU ACTUALLY THINK THAT YOUR VOTE COUNTED?) and describes Jane Cunningham’s ham handed attempt to revoke child labor laws (CHINA, TAIWAN, INDIA, BANGLADESH, “MISSOURI“?)
By the same token, if and when we pick vulnerable Republicans to target and start doing lit drops in their districts, those union members may want to come out and help us do that. Suppose we were to target, for example, a state senator who filibustered against extending unemployment from 79 to 99 weeks and accused people in that fix of not being willing “to get off their backsides and get a job”. Union workers might take offense at such a senator’s aspersions on working people and think that going after him was a dandy idea. Since neither Lembke nor Nieves has lifted a pinkie to create jobs for the three hundred thou unemployed in this state, could someone tell us and the Teamsters why those senators deserve to keep their own jobs?
Bob Burns is a union guy through and through, and he was warmly received. I’m glad I tagged along to the meeting, because I learned a lot. For one thing, a lawyer for the union educated us about the upcoming legal battle in this state over forcing municipalities to allow workers to form a union.
Any St. Louis area progressive wanting in on the action can do two things. The first would be to call Rea Kleeman (314-727-7374) and ask to be put on the mailing list. The second is to attend the next monthly meeting of the group on Saturday, June 4th, at 1:30 p.m. at the Mid-County (Clayton) branch of the St. Louis County Library at 7821 Maryland Ave. We’ll be discussing how to boot out of office some of these haters of public schools, puppies, and poor people.
Oh, and there’s one more thing you could do: offer to help pass out those union flyers on June 3rd. Call Teamsters Local 682 at 314-647-4768.