Remember the socialist origins of Labor Day!

For those of you heading off to celebrate the three-day weekend — and for those of you just heading to the backyard barbecue grill –— here’s a little reminder of the origins of Labor Day and the labor movement that it represents.

Though the first U.S. Labor Day was celebrated in New York City in 1882, President Glover Cleveland instituted the first national commemoration as an act of penance.

In 1894, Pullman porters called a wildcat strike against the railroads to protest a pay cut — a strike which eventually involved about 250,000 workers in 27 states. (Among the leaders of the strike was Eugene V. Debs, an actual, card-carrying socialist.) Several workers were killed by soldiers, and Cleveland put reconciling with trades unions at the top of his agenda. He rushed through Congress a bill making Labor Day a national holiday.

So, as you’re enjoying your barbecue and cold beer, your baseball and your Labor Day sales, just remember that the labor movement brought you the eight-hour day, the five-day work week and institutionalized vacations. And remember the socialist whose actions helped bring about Labor Day!

102 comments Add your comment

electrician

September 4th, 2009
12:40 pm

the day a Democrat President sent armed troops against American workers.

Shawny

September 4th, 2009
12:43 pm

hmm. you are right. Now quit loafing and get back to work.

Davo

September 4th, 2009
12:48 pm

Your so right Cynthia. That’s why every Christmas I thank Santa Claus and every Easter the Easter Bunny gets a small burnt offering.

jconservative

September 4th, 2009
12:50 pm

Really nice column Ms. Tucker.

Does Medicare cover pulling your knife out of so many backs?

Although I am a political conservative, I really enjoy challenging some of my conservative friends who really “hate” liberals, & are incapable of debating an issue due to that hate, to go through their life & remove all things that came from “Liberalism”. Usually, after a couple of minutes, they change the subject.

And Debs was a “certified” card carrying socialist.

And be sure to give the Republicans their well earned share of credit for our “socialist” society.

“What experience and history teach is this: that peoples and governments have never learned anything from history.”

gbl

September 4th, 2009
1:00 pm

Cynthia,

The socialist didn’t bring me an eight-hour day, five day work week and vacations. They brought us destructive unions that ultimately bring down every company they work for.

I’m a self motivated capitalist, an owner of a company, who rarely works less than 60 hours a week. I acknowledge that I lose 50% of my income to taxes for programs mandated by socialists who think they know better how to spend it than I. Thanks but no thanks.

How about we change the name of this upcoming holiday to “Enterprise Day”.

Also, I bought the barbecue, Braves tickets, sales items and day off myself. Even a copy of the AJC, while it yet lives.

Bubber

September 4th, 2009
1:00 pm

Baseball? Pfft, it’s football season.

Scott

September 4th, 2009
1:04 pm

Remember the Christian origins of Easter and Christmas.

reservoirDAWG

September 4th, 2009
1:06 pm

Cindi, why don’t you just leave America?

jt

September 4th, 2009
2:19 pm

To labor, and be compensated for that labor,
according to what you agreed upon,
is sublime.

I owe no union, socialist, nor government for this transaction.

Eight hour days, five-day work weeks, and INSTITUTIONALIZED vacations are for losers, democrats, and government workers.

Sorry for the redundancy.

Davo

September 4th, 2009
2:21 pm

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually,
run out of other people’s money.” – Margaret Thatcher

“Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”
Alexis de Tocqueville

“In practice, socialism didn’t work. But socialism could never have worked because it is based on false premises about human psychology and society, and gross ignorance of human economy.”
David Horowitz

“No one should suffer from the great delusion that any form of communism or socialism which promotes the dictatorship of the few instead of the initiative of the millions can produce a happier or more prosperous society.”
Charles E. Wilson

“Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.”
Thomas Sowell

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”
Winston Churchill

“Socialism is simply Communism for people without the testosterone to man the barricades.”
Gary North

“The function of socialism is to raise suffering to a higher level.”
Norman Mailer

“The reason this country continues its drift toward socialism and big nanny government is because too many people vote in the expectation of getting something for nothing, not because they have a concern for what is good for the country.”
Lyn Nofziger

joe matarotz

September 4th, 2009
3:00 pm

Cynthia, you took eight hours to write today’s 8 sentence column. That’s a pace of one finely-crafted, well researched sentence per hour. You go home and enjoy that well-earned three day weekend, girl. And try to better pace yourself next week or you will work yourself to the point of exhaustion.

electrician

September 4th, 2009
3:11 pm

I am a non union electrician,my colleges and I made the decision many years ago, not to become a union shop, we are currently paid ABOVE union pay scale for the work that we do,on the other hand the auto manufacturers have made hundreds of millions of dollars with union workforces,and now that they have fallen on hard times they blame it on unions.these people contributed to the economy for decades,now it is lost,good jobs that you didnt need a colledge education for are being outsourced to other countries,along with the dollars that were being circulated in the economy.Our manufacturing base is dying,along with my non union job,if only things were as simple as right or left,but they never will be.Are we we headed to socialism? perhaps,I encourage everyone to read the Communist Manifesto,its still in print…and decide for yourself.

BayouBengal

September 4th, 2009
4:04 pm

Cynthia are you trying to make a point about situational ethics, morals, and the cherry picking of each. I gotcha. Kind like sitting in church for 4 hours Sunday and then lying, cheating, and stealing the rest of the week and calling it just business.

BayouBengal

September 4th, 2009
4:07 pm

Or maybe it’s more like the bigots and racists that love the MLK day off but despise the reasons for it. Great job Cynthia.

Larry Siegel

September 4th, 2009
4:44 pm

Public Approval of Labor Unions
According to the Aug. 13-16, 2007, poll, 60% of Americans say they approve of labor unions, while 32% disapprove. The public’s approval rating of labor unions has not shown much significant change in the past four years. From a longer term perspective, a majority of Americans have consistently approved of labor unions since Gallup first asked this question more than 70 years ago in 1936 (making this one of Gallup’s longest-running trend questions). The highpoint in approval occurred in the mid-1950s, with a 75% rating in 1953 and again in 1957. The low point was 55% in 1979 and 1981.

From the jacket cover of “Confessions of a Union Buster” by Martin Jay Levitt:

Martin Jay Levitt was a union buster who planned and executed customized union- busting campaigns at more than 250 businesses across America, from coal mines and factories to airlines and nursing homes. Levitt reached the pinnacle of his profession by demolishing friendships, shattering families, and turning worker against worker; he routinely spied into the police records, personnel files, credit histories, medical records, and family lives of union activists in efforts to discredit them.

These days Levitt speaks to auditoriums filled with union workers. “I come from a very dirty business…” he begins. “The enemy was the collective spirit. I got hold of that spirit while it was still a seedling; I poisoned it, chocked it, bludgeoned it if I had to, anything to be sure it would never blossom into a united work force.” His listeners slowly realize that the war they suspected was being waged against them was a real one, not just the creation of a union’s paranoid imagination, and often upon this revelation they weep.

Levitt’s speeches confirm for his audiences, in sickening detail, how their supervisors were taught to despise and fear unions and to take a union drive as a personal attack – a criticism of their leadership skills and an attempt to humiliate them. Supervisors were compelled to feel that they were somehow to blame for the union push, and therefore obligated to defeat it.

This manipulation is just one of the dirty tricks that have transformed the war on organized labor into a billion-dollar industry, and Levitt has decided to clear his conscience and expose them all. This is his candid acknowledgement of the ruthless campaigns of treachery and terror he once waged, and also of his own desperate battles with his personal demons. At once shameless and heartfelt, Levitt shares the hard lessons he has had to learn, clear his conscience, and make his confession.

Workers represented by unions earn 28 percent more than nonunion workers, are 62 percent more likely to have medical insurance through their jobs, and are four-and-a-half times as likely to have guaranteed pensions.

According to work site surveys, 42 million non-union employees in America would like to have representation at work but don’t. A 2005 survey found “53 percent of nonunion workers – that’s more than 50 million people – want to join a union, if given the choice.” But according to Human Rights Watch, “Legal obstacles tilt the playing field so steeply against freedom of association that the United States is in violation of international human rights standards for workers.” Clearly, the system is broken.

Nearly one in four Americans receive no paid vacation or holiday time. Even worse, nearly “half of all full-time private sector workers in the U.S. get no paid sick days,” with low-income workers, parents, and people with chronic illnesses hit the hardest. Businesses also suffer in productivity and other workers face health risks when sick employees are forced to go to work. The American public overwhelmingly agrees that all workers deserve days off from work; 95 percent of workers believe it is “unacceptable” for employers to deny sick days.

“At least 145 countries have paid sick days,” notes Public Welfare Foundation president Debra Leff. “The United States is the only industrialized country lacking such a policy.” The situation is the worst for the nation’s lowest wage earners, 80 percent of whom receive no sick days. Food service workers, who are in constant contact with the public, are also among the least likely to receive paid sick days. New York Times columnist Bob Herbert wrote recently, “Eighty-six percent get no sick days at all. They show up in the restaurants coughing and sneezing and feverish, and they start preparing and serving meals. You won’t see many of them wearing masks.” Similarly, 55 percent of retail workers and 29 percent of health care and social assistance workers receive no paid sick days. Additionally, workers “who do not have paid sick days for doctors’ visits do not have the opportunity to get important preventive care, such as flu shots and vaccinations.” A study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research finds that 40 percent of workers “report having contracted the flu from a colleague.” “The lack of paid sick days isn’t just a family issue — it’s also a public health issue,” Kennedy said. “When sick people go to work or sick children go to school, they infect their coworkers or fellow students and the public as well.”

NEGLECTING CHILDREN’S HEALTH: Children also suffer when employers do not provide paid sick leave. Just one in three workers receive paid sick days to care for a child, meaning parents are forced to choose between losing a day’s pay or sending a sick child to school. Just as viruses rapidly spread in workplaces, the same happens in schools. Even though child-care centers require sick children to remain home, “when parents cannot get off work to stay home with them, many sick children do end up in care.” An even bigger threat to children’s health occurs when parents are unable to take time off to ensure that their children receive needed preventive care, such as immunizations and well-child visits. Failure to ensure that all children receive timely preventive care has long-term implications for not only their health, but our national health care spending.

DECREASING BUSINESS PRODUCTIVITY: Most people don’t want to interact with a co-worker who is sick. In a recent survey, 59 percent of businesses said that they have a problem with presenteeism — workers showing up to work when they are sick — compared to 39 percent two years ago. A study by Cornell University “found that presenteeism despite medical problems costs $180 billion annually in lost productivity, and may be more costly than absenteeism due to illness.” Yet despite these facts, many businesses still do not recognize that employees need paid sick days. Herbert recently contacted Cracker Barrel Old Country Store about its lack of paid sick leave. The company simply responded, “If employees need to miss a shift due to illness, there are generally many opportunities to make up that lost shift later in the week, or the next week.” Ness notes that this type of policy can lead to “economic disaster” for many workers.

ALL WORK, NO PLAY: “The United States is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers paid vacation,” according to a new study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Approximately 28 million Americans receive no paid vacation or holiday leave. Lower-wage workers “are less likely to have any paid vacation (69 percent) than higher-wage workers are (88 percent). The same is true for part-timers, who are far less likely to have paid vacations (36 percent) than are full-timers (90 percent).” Even the national average — nine paid days of vacation and six paid days of holiday — is “less than the minimum legal standard” set in almost all the world’s rich economies.

When we have a CORPORATE PLUTOCRACY the RESULT IS THE RAMPANT GREED AND RECESSION THAT WE HAVE TODAY. WORKERS AND UNIONS DIDN’T CAUSE THIS MESS. THE GREED OF WALL STREET AND THE CORPORATE PLUTOCRACY DID!!!

HOW MANY S&L BAILOUTS DEPRESSIONS, RECESSION, BERNIE MADOFF SCANDALS, “.COM BUSTS”, HOUSING BUBBLE BUSTS, ENRONS, ETC., HAVE TO HAPPEN BEFORE YOU FEAKIN’ IDIOT CONSERVATIVES WHO SPEW YOUR “I LOVE CAPITALISM” CRAP WAKE UP AND GET HOW YOU ARE GETTING SCREWED OR YOU ARE THE ONES SCREWING THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY AND IN THE WORLD. 1% of the population has a GREATER NET WORTH THAN THE BOTTOM 90%!!! AND THEY DIDN’T “EARN IT” THEY GOT IT BY EXPLOITING THE HELL OUT OF THE REST OF US, USING TAX HAVENS, AVOIDING PAYING TAXES BY RIGGING THE SYSTEM, SHOVING THE TAX BURDEN ON TO THE MIDDLE CLASS AND BRINGING US IAG, ENRON, THE WALL STREET MELTDOWN AND ALL THE REST. And DON’T GIVE ME THIS CRAP ABOUT HOW THE RICH PAY SO MUCH OF THE TAXES. The federal income tax is progressive, but the Social Security tax is regressive. Most discussions of taxation also fail to acknowledge the impact of state and local taxes. In April, Citizens for Tax Justice reported that when state, property, and sales taxes are considered, the ENTIRE TAX CODE IS ONLY MODESTLY PROGRESSIVE. THE WEALTHIEST 1% PAY AROUND 32% OF TOTAL INCOME IN TAXES AND THE BOTTOM 80% AVERAGE SLIGHTLY UNDER 30%.

MOST CORPS SKIP TAXES. More than 60% of US corporations didn’t pay any federal taxes for 1996 through 2000, years when the economy boomed and corporate profits soared, the Wall Street Journal reported April 6, citing the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress. Corporate tax receipts have shrunk as a share of overall federal revenue in recent years, and were particularly depressed when the economy soured. By 2003, they had fallen to just 7.4% of overall federal receipts, the lowest rate since 1983, and the second-lowest rate since 1934, federal budget officials say. The GAO analysis of Internal Revenue Service data comes as tax avoidance by both US and foreign companies also is drawing increased scrutiny from the IRS and Congress. But the analysis suggests that dodging taxes, both legally and otherwise, has become deeply rooted in US corporate culture. Even more foreign-owned companies doing business in the US — about 70% of them — reported that they didn’t owe any US federal taxes during the late 1990s. The federal corporate income tax rose to more than $200 billion in 2000, from $171 billion in 1996. But over the next three years they fell each year, reaching $131.8 billion in 2003 — the lowest annual total since 1993. They are projected to reach $168.7 billion this year.

Economic figures show that in 2005, the wealthiest 0.1 percent of the country’s population had nearly as much income as all 150 million Americans who make up the lower economic half of the country. Of each dollar people earned in 2005, the top ten percent got 48.5 cents, the highest percentage since 1929, just before the Great Depression.
THE RICH AND CORPORATIONS AVOID APPROXIMATELY $87 BILLION IN TAXES THROUGH BERMUDA TAX HAVENS THAT YOU, STUPID REPUKES (AND EVERYONE ELSE), THEN HAVE TO MAKE UP).

CORPORATIONS GET ABOUT $135 BILLION A YEAR IN CORPORATE WELFARE THEY DON’T NEED PAID FOR BY YOU.

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston has been breaking pieces of this story on the front page of The New York Times for nine years, work for which one business school professor calls him ìthe de facto chief tax enforcement officer of the United Statesî. With Perfectly Legal, he puts the whole shocking narrative together in a way that will stir up media attention and make readers angry about the state of our country. And he has sound advice on what to do.

Since the mid-1970s, there has been a dramatic shift in who benefits from the American economy and bears the burden of taxes. CEOs, big investors and business owners can delay paying their taxes for years and sometimes escape them almost entirely, while wage earners have their taken from each paycheck. Discreet lobbying by the political donor class has made tax policies and enforcement a disaster. Because of obligations to these donors Washington has been unable, or unwilling, to fix these problems. The news media have largely ignored official favors to those who are supposed to pay the corporate income tax, the estate tax, and the gift tax. Millions of families expecting tax cuts are losing some or all of them to a stealth tax that was originally enacted only to apply to the tax-avoiding rich, but that now stings single mothers making as little as $28,000. But the cumulative results are remarkable: the 400 richest Americans pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than someone making $100,000. The 400 richest pay less and less of their income in taxes while the middle class pays more and more. And while the incomes of the very rich skyrocketed over three decades, the average income for the bottom 90 percent fell.

Johnston exposes exactly how the middle class is being squeezed to create a widening income gap that threatens the stability of the country. By relating the compelling tales of real people across all areas of society, he reveals the truth behind: * “middle class” tax cuts and exactly whom they benefit * how workers are being cheated out of their retirement plans while disgraced CEOs walk away with hundreds of millions * how some corporations avoid paying any federal income tax * how CEOs fly on vacation in corporate jets for less than you pay for a middle seat in coach ñ and stick you with most of the cost * why the working poor are seven times more likely to be audited by the IRS than everyone else * how the IRS became so weak that even when it was handed complete banking records detailing massive cheating by 1,600 people, it prosecuted only 4 percent of them.

Here is what CORPORATIONS GIVE US:

Corporate Crime

Russel Mokhiber, editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter, estimates that white collar crime costs the nation’s businesses and individuals at least $100 billion EACH YEAR. (A sum incidentally that is more than 10 times greater then the combined total from larcenies, robberies, burglaries, and auto thefts committed by individuals.) If you count other corporate underhandedness, such as monopolistic price fixing and the sale of faulty goods, the price tag jumps about $200 billion more. And the Justice Department estimates that “taxpayers lose $10 to $20 billion when corporations violate federal regulations.” Corporate Crime is so commonplace according to Mokhiber, that roughly two thirds of the country’s 500 largest companies were involved in some form of illegal behavior over a 10-year period. Despite such lawlessness, the white-collar detectives at the FBI do not track corporate crime regularly. “The government can tell the public whether burglary is up or down in Los Angeles for any given month, but it cannot say the same about insider trading, midnight dumping, consumer defrauding, or illegal polluting.” (Dollars & Sense – Nov. 1989)

Externalized Corporate Costs Borne by Society

Ralph Estes is a professor of business administration at American University. He holds a doctorate in business administration from Indiana University. He wrote a book not too long ago called the Tyranny of the Bottom Line in which he estimates that the amount of annual costs that corporations and other businesses externalize and that must be borne by customers, employees, and society is $2,618 billion (TWO TRILLION SIX HUNDRED and EIGHTEEN BILLION DOLLARS – in 1991dollars and then adjusted to 1994 dollars.) This figure does NOT include special tax breaks corporations get or the direct subsidies that they receive. Compared to total corporate profits in the order of Five Hundred and Fifteen Billion Dollars, the estimated societal COSTS of corporations are five and one half times the amount of their benefits.

THAT’S THE FREAKIN’ SYSTEM YOU WANT TO MAINTAIN??? ARE YOU INSANE????

“Most important, we must remember the most subversive truth of all: that corporations are our creations. They have no lives, no powers, and no capacities beyond what we, through our governments, give them. The best argument against corporate rule is to look at who we really are and to understand how poorly the corporation’s tenets reflect us,” Bakan said.
–Joel Balkan, Author of The Corporation

“[I want] to make sure that tax cheaters are found, make sure the IRS gets after those who don’t pay taxes; make sure that the system is fair for those of us who do pay taxes. We want everybody paying their fair share.”
- George W. Bush, 4/15/04
VERSUS
“The really rich people figure out how to dodge taxes anyway.”
- George W. Bush, 8/9/04

When Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death,” he kept slaves.

“The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall. He frees himself and shows the way to others. Freedom and slavery are mental states.
–Mohandas K. Ganhdi

“Corporations have been enthroned … An era of corruption in high places will follow and the money power will endeavor to prolong its reign by working on the prejudices of the people … until wealth is aggregated in a few hands … and the Republic is destroyed.” – Abraham Lincoln, 1865

“These capitalists generally act harmoniously, and in concert, to fleece
the people.”
Abraham Lincoln, January 11, 1837

“And, inasmuch as most good things are produced by labor, it follows that all such things of right belong to those whose labor has produced them. But it has so happened in all the ages of the world, that some have labored, and others have, without labor, enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits. This is wrong, and should not continue. To secure to each laborer the whole product of his labor, or as nearly as possible, is a most worthy object of any good government.
Abraham Lincoln, December 1, 1847

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. …corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”

– Abraham Lincoln to Colonel F. Elkins, Nov. 21, 1864

“The vast individual and corporate fortunes, the vast combinations of capital which have marked the development of our industrial system, create new conditions, and necessitate a change from the old attitude of the state and the nation toward property. More and more, it is evident that the state, and if necessary the nation, has got to possess the right of supervision and control as regards the great corporations which are its creatures.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“Therefore, I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and in another tax which is far more easily collected and far more effective – a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate.” – Teddy Roosevelt

This was part of TR’s belief – one that would now label one as a hopelessly leftist radical.

“Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of today.” – Theodore Roosevelt.

“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in essence, is fascism – ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling power. Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing.” – President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, we know now that is bad economics.”

- Franklin D. Roosevelt

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” — John Kenneth Galbraith, economist and author

“It is an economy in which the government serves the interests of the
oligopolies, a state in which large corporations have the powers that in a democracy devolve to the citizen.”
(taken from the writings of Sam Smith and Russell Mokhiber)

“Unless you become more watchful in your States and check this spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges you will in the end find that the most important powers of Government have been given or bartered away, and the control of your dearest interests have been passed into the hands of these corporations.” President Andrew Jackson, 1833

“The masters of the government of the United States are the combined capitalists and manufactureres of the United States.” President Woodrow Wilson, 1912

“I believe, I have always believed, and I will always believe in private enterprise…But I know, and you know, and every independent businessman who has had to struggle against the competition of monopolies knows, that this concentration of economic power in all-embracing corporations, does not represent private enterprise as we Americans cherish it and propose to foster it. On the contrary, it represents private enterprise which has become a kind of private government, a power unto itself – a regimentation of other people’s money and other people’s lives.” President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, October, 1936

“Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains”
-Thomas Jefferson

“If you let the Republican administration reactionaries get complete control of this government, the position of labor will be so greatly weakened that I would fear not only for the wages and living standards of the American workingman but even for our democratic institutions and free enterprise.

“Remember that the reactionary of today is a shrewd man. He is in many ways much shrewder than the reactionaries of the ’20s. He is a man with a calculating machine where his heart ought to be…And make no mistake, you are face-to-face with a struggle to preserve the very foundation of your rights and your standard of living.”

- Harry Truman, quoted in The Words of Harry S. Truman, Robert J. Donovan, editor, 1984

“I spent 33 years…being a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I helped Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1916. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City (Bank) boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the rape of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street…In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested…I had…a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, promotions…I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate a racket in three cities…The Marines operated on three continents…”

At the beginning of her book In Banks We Trust – Bankers and Their Close Associates: The CIA, the Mafia, Drug Traders, Dictators, Politicians, and the Vatican Penny Lernoux has the following quote:

“What is robbing a bank compared to owning a bank!”

Bertolt Brecht, The Three Penny Opera

Goldie

September 4th, 2009
5:00 pm

I’m a card-carrying union celebrater, and I enjoy my beer every Labor Day! If it wasn’t for the blood, sweat and tears of labor unions, we’d all still be working 90+ hours each week for “the Company”, along with our poor children!

Chris Salzmann

September 4th, 2009
5:43 pm

Scott September 4th, 2009 1:04 pm SAID: Remember the Christian origins of Easter and Christmas.

CHRIS SAYS: You’re kidding, right? Christmas and Easter were pagan festivals which were taken over by Christianity. It’s history which a lot of fundamentalist Christians would rather not ponder….

Chris Salzmann

September 4th, 2009
5:44 pm

reservoirDAWG September 4th, 2009 1:06 pm SAID:Cindi, why don’t you just leave America?

CHRIS SAYS: What’s stopping you, dimwit?

I Report/ Vast White Wing Conspirator (-: You Whine )-:

September 4th, 2009
5:47 pm

Gee, I wonder if we’ll get the same kind of article from this lib on Christmas Day?

Pogo

September 4th, 2009
6:01 pm

People, people, don’t get so upset about Cynthia. Her bias and her politics make her thoughts irrelavent. She sees things only in the terms of black and white (in that order, literally). Why don’t you do a piece about Van Jones Cindy? An Obama man “appointed” as the “Green Jobs Czar” (whatever that is) who is a self proclaimed communist and who hates white people? The racism in this country now eminates from a different group entirely and it isn’t the “whiteys” because we now have a black president that could not have been elected without white people voting for him. Cynthia, you have written a handful of pieces that I agreed with but your track history and your driving motivation is like an anchor on your career. Why so much hate? Why don’t you try something that is totally alien to you like objectivity instead of your modus of carrying the party/race line?

Scott

September 4th, 2009
6:42 pm

Chris…Oh, boy. That old debate again. Yes, pagan societies had festivals during the winter solstice and spring equinox. Yes, some of the paraphernalia surrounding our current celebrations of Christmas and Easter are pagan (Easter eggs, Christmas trees, mistletoe). But I’m not talking about that. By “Christmas” I mean no more than Christ’s birth, and by “Easter” I mean no more than Christ’s resurrection. And my entire point was sarcasm, anyway.

Jack

September 4th, 2009
7:39 pm

Labor Day was chosen as Tucker’s topic because she wanted to avoid talking about Van Jones. But his story won’t go away & she’ll have to address it sooner or later. And she’ll have a problem with it: just like the Democrats will have a problem with it come Tuesday.

Me First

September 4th, 2009
9:09 pm

Larry Siegel you’re a shill planted by the management of the AJC. Perhaps a nom du plume for Cynthia Tucker or Mike King. Please reply. Yes, at one point in this country’s history, unions did great things. But now….

Me First

September 4th, 2009
9:13 pm

I’m waiting, Siegel….well it is 9:12pm….union work rules sent you home. I don’t go by the name “Me First” for no good reason. And you?

Me First

September 4th, 2009
9:15 pm

I’m still waiting for Larry Siegel to reply. It is 9:14pm. Union work rules sent you home long ago. Where are you!

San Francisco perspective

September 4th, 2009
9:36 pm

Yes, the origins are designed to honor labor, but the U.S. is one of the few countries not to celebrate the labor movement on May Day (May 1). This was intentional. Congress did not want American labor to link with other workers on the planet; this is still true and explains, in part, why workers are losing so many of the gains won by the labor movement in the early/mid- twentieth century. Capital long-ago went “global”; when will labor ?

Eric

September 4th, 2009
9:56 pm

Since when have had a 40-hr. work week and weekends off? That was true once, but no longer. In our greedy, 24/7 world, 50-plus hours a week, six days a week is more the norm. We are losing those gains Cynthia Tucker is writing about. This is another “revolt” that needs to happen–not just health. Let’s get back our lives and enjoy life a little! What joy is there in so much work? Why extol work to such degree?

BayouBengal

September 5th, 2009
12:39 am

Eric, the majority of those that “extol” work are predominantly those that do enjoy those 40 hr weeks, weekends off, and multiple weeks of paid vacation. They have a strong vested interest in keeping it that way and fight tooth and nail for a system that allows them to continue to do so. The only way they can insure that they keep that privelage is to perpetuate a system that doesn’t allow others to have the same.

Joyce Smith

September 5th, 2009
6:56 am

Stop dividing people and use the platform you have to help people get together. Blacks, whites, hispanics, Jewish, Christian, Labor Unions, open shops, small businees, Wall Street, President Obama, Dick Cheney….we are ALL AMERICANS!!! Stop polarizing us!!!!

Michael H. Smith

September 5th, 2009
8:42 am

They cannot do what you request Joyce. Identity politics or “ethnocentric identity politics” particularly is the Democrat’s true “Stock n’ Trade”. It is a cornerstone upon which that Party of “united dividers” is built.

Southern Belle

September 5th, 2009
9:33 am

If we keep posting replyies to Cynthia Tucker’s columns, we are extending her existence in the AJC. The time for racial bias is over and she will have nothing to write about.

Donovan

September 5th, 2009
9:42 am

Gee, how surprising is it to read Tucker’s column on Labor Day and unions? Spoken like a true communist, this left wing kook who writes for the AJC is just another pathetic MoveOn.com journalist doing her part to destroy America. Labor unions have destroyed the auto industry here and are the direct result of outsourcing everything in the country. Who in their right minds would want to own a business and allow a union to plant its seed of cancer into your business. Tucker lionizes the labor union effort of this destructive force and supports the legal extortion of the union’s presence.

Michael H. Smith

September 5th, 2009
9:49 am

Comrade Cynthia is moonlighting? Is the AJC on the MoveOn dot George Soros payroll too?

Scott

September 5th, 2009
10:13 am

Seems “Labor Day” was misnamed–that’s why its “socialist origins” are easily forgotten. If it had been called “Laborers’ Day” it would have been clearer. But I think what this reveals is that socialists tend to think of people more as classes than as individuals: They’re not “laborers”; they’re “labor.”

Workers of the world, unite!

A Proud American

September 5th, 2009
10:45 am

Why can’t the Conservative trash come up with ANYTHING better but to constantly mention George Soros? Our lives have nothing to do with him, but I know where you get this from you fricking Ditto-Head. Get a life! Stop listening to Limbaugh and Beck and MOVE ON (literally! lol)

Just because

September 5th, 2009
10:48 am

In the beginning unions may have benefited workers by improving their work conditions, salaries and benefits . . . but as unions grew they became a means by which employees could whine, moan and groan about their jobs and do smaller amouts of work and reap more pay and benefits which ultimately were passed on to consumers not to mention create a labor force that has become increasingly weak. Just as any government program that starts out as one thing and evolves into a free-for-all monster of a socialist program, i.e., Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare. I’ve continously asked myself how is it that someone I worked with who had a four year old and who had not contributed but a few years into Social Security could get disability for that four year old because the child was purported to have asthma. Social Security did not start out as a program to cover every disability a human might possibly have. This is a prime example of what happens. The same applies to unions. Unions began as one thing and has evolved into another. Call it what it is! Unions do not build strong workforces but rather a weak . . . whimpy group of so-called laborers who have no clue what a hard day’s work is (what with their mandatory breaks, lunch, cry of foul treatment to the Union chiefs). Unions as they are today contribute absolutely nothing to America’s economy but rather take and take more away.

Scott

September 5th, 2009
11:22 am

Why can’t the liberals come up with anything better than ad hominems in a discussion with conservatives? I mean, “trash,” “ditto-head” — this is the kind of name calling any kindergartner can do.

Bo

September 5th, 2009
12:26 pm

So when do u think the Conservative right will fight to take away our 3 day weekend? Maybe they will start a grass roots organizing event to stop the indoctination of all americans with the use of a public holiday. The nerve!

Kamchak

September 5th, 2009
1:18 pm

Scott
September 5th, 2009
11:22 am

“Why can’t the liberals come up with anything better than ad hominems in a discussion with conservatives? I mean, “trash,” “ditto-head”…

Oh nooooss–not the ad hominem attack card.

Your selective memory has allowed you to conveniently forget that the right-wing message machine has turned the word “liberal” into a pejorative and used it as such for the past thirty years.

As for the word “ditto-head,” that was a term coined by the listeners of Herr Limbaugh to describe themselves–so if you have a problem with that term, take it up with those in your own camp.

Al

September 5th, 2009
2:37 pm

Nice short history lesson Ms. Tucker (and your previous post on Rangel was great too- thanks for calling him out!)

War Of The Worlds 1953

September 5th, 2009
3:23 pm

[...] of the Korean War in 1953, which ended in a truce, but no formal peace treaty was …   Remember the socialist origins of Labor Day!The highpoint in approval occurred in the mid-1950s, with a 75% rating in 1953 and again in 1957. [...]

Georgia loses

September 5th, 2009
5:58 pm

Wow! the south really has problems. For all the world to see, the bigots post their thinly disguised disdain for all things progressive, then, not content to stop there, they expose their anger that the confederacy lost the civil war and keep refighting the last battle. In reality you dont want more enlightened people moving into your state, you are deathly afraid that the political winds will shift and you will be washed away in the aftertow. You truly have no understanding of labor day, but why should that amaze anyone, you also dont really know what socialisim is, you just use the word as a talking point fed from the talking heads you listen to who tell the RNC chair how to think and what to say. If you believe your’re being clever with your deceptive language, only the permanently indoctrinated and braindead buy your BS. Ms.Tucker is a respected journalist, you may not agree with her world view but you have yet to disprove her theory. Name calling and naming others you disagree with only says you have no comeback so you resort to innuendo and slimy diatribe. No matter how hard you try, the country is not going back to the 1800’s.

Nate

September 5th, 2009
8:04 pm

Socialists love to claim responsibility for ideas they had nothing to do with. The SIX HOUR WORKDAY was actually started by the so called, “Evil Capitalists” at Kellogg’s in 1930. When the Union Socialists took over at Kellogg they raised it to an 8 hour workday. So thank the Unions for longer workdays.

Google “Kellogg’s 6 Hour Workday” for the real truth. Karl Marx wrote about lying to attain the bigger goals of socialism. End justifies the means.

Question

September 5th, 2009
8:14 pm

All the more reason to get rid of UNIONS !!!!

Real

September 5th, 2009
8:20 pm

BayouBengal 4:07 pm — re: love the MLK day off but despise the reasons for it.

PC forced this “holiday” on us…just ask Arizona!!

Kamchak

September 5th, 2009
9:07 pm

PC forced this “holiday” on us…

That’s a new one—”my computer made me do it.”

Scott

September 5th, 2009
10:02 pm

Kamchak, I know perfectly well what the term “ditto head” means — and if liberals would stop using ad hominems, no one would have to call them out on it. “Liberal,” by the way, is not an ad hominem, any more than “conservative” is. If the worst we had to deal with was people calling us conservatives, no one would be complaining about ad hominems.

Kamchak

September 5th, 2009
10:26 pm

“Liberal,” by the way is not an ad hominem….

I refer you to the 2006 book by Geoffrey Nunberg entitled Talking Right: How Conservatives turned Liberalism into a Tax-Raising, Latte-Drinking, Sushi-Eating, Volvo-Driving, New York Times-Reading, Body-Piercing, Hollywood-Loving, Left-Wing Freak Show.

By the way–that title came from a Republican political ad.

Michael H. Smith

September 5th, 2009
11:12 pm

Maybe the conservatives know how much the lousy liberal crap in this country depends on Comrade George Soros to finance their socialist AstroTurf agenda.

Jealous liberals just can’t stand that old drive by talk radio because no one is willing to listen to their socialist Air-America garbage, let alone actually pay to hear such noxious verbal effluence. But Comrade Obumer will fix all of that with his diversity Czar Mark Lloyd – another Van Jones in the making – that praises what Hugo Chavez did in Venezuela to silence free speech, a free press and the broadcast media.

Irene Edwards

September 5th, 2009
11:21 pm

Hey Ms Tucker, can you prove those 45-65% figures? I think not. It’s not about color, Honey, it’s about Content of Character. What do you call it when the Prez refuses to recognize his whiteness?