Bjorn Against's Journal
Member since: Mon May 22, 2006, 07:07 PM
Number of posts: 10,214
Number of posts: 10,214
We have heard far too many stories about unions coming under attack and suffering losses in recent years, it is about time that we get some really good labor news and I am very happy to report that today is a day that unions can celebrate.
Today the votes were counted in the largest union election in Minnesota history, and now there are 28,000 new SEIU members in Minnesota including myself. To put in perspective just how big of a victory this is, 28,000 workers represents a 10% increase in total union membership across Minnesota. At least in terms of numbers this is the biggest labor victory in Minnesota history and it happened with overwhelming support with 60% of Home Health Care workers voting to join the union.
As a Home Health Care worker I can tell you that this union badly needed. I work as a Personal Care Assistant for a four year old with cerebral palsy, I only work this job a very limited number of hours as I have another full time job that pays my bills. If I did have to survive on my income as a PCA however I don't think I could do it. The job only pays $11.00 an hour with no benefits what so ever and we are required to drive our clients to appointments but do not get reimbursed for gas money. We don't get any health insurance and receive no sick pay or vacation time. PCAs work with some of the most vulnerable members of our society, and yet without sick pay they are unable to take time off when they are sick and thus put their clients at risk of getting sick as well.
Now with a strong union victory and 28,000 workers behind us we can negotiate to change these conditions, and with the overwhelming mandate we received we will improve the working conditions for all Home Health Care workers and be able to provide better care for the people who receive our services as well.
Today is a great day for Minnesota and for the labor movement across the nation, the corporate powers can try all they want to destroy unions but if we can keep having victories like this one they will not be able to hold us back.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Tue Aug 26, 2014, 09:27 PM (82 replies)
People are trying to tell us we need to “wait for the facts”.
Well I don’t need to wait for any more facts to know that it is wrong to shoot an unarmed man six times in the street.
I don’t need to wait for any more facts to know that it is wrong to leave that unarmed man’s body lying in the street for four hours without even bothering to call an ambulance.
I don’t need to wait for any more facts to know that it is wrong for the police to shoot peaceful protesters speaking out against the murder with tear gas and rubber bullets.
I don’t need to wait for any more facts to know that it is wrong to arrest journalists who were trying to report on the murder.
I don’t need to wait for any more facts to know that when the prosecutor comes out and defends the police who were arresting journalists and attacking protesters that prosecutor is not a neutral source that can be trusted to conduct a fair investigation.
I don’t need to wait for any more facts to know that when the police refuse to release even the most basic information about the shooting yet will leak information that reflects Michael Brown in a negative light they are not conducting themselves in a trustworthy manner.
I don’t need to wait for any more facts to know that we have a long history of racism in this country.
I don’t need to wait for any more facts to know that many of the people defending the Ferguson Police Department are obvious racists.
I don’t need to wait for any more facts to know that I am sick and tired of people insisting that gunning down unarmed black men in the streets is in any way justifiable.
Yes, I realize that there are many facts that we don’t know and I want to learn those facts, but I am not about to pretend that we don’t know enough to be able to tell right from wrong. No matter what additional facts come out it will not justify shooting an unarmed person six times.
You won’t see the “wait for the facts” crowd in any thread about James Holmes or Dzokhar Tsarnaev telling us to wait for the facts on them despite the fact that they have yet to go to trial either, the “wait for the facts” crowd is very selective on which crimes they apply their logic to.
You certainly won’t see them telling us to wait for the facts in the next “self-defense” shooting either, many of them are among the same group of people who post celebratory threads in the gungeon whenever there is a news article about a person using a gun to defend themselves. The shooting victim in these cases did not face trial, but they are so certain of their guilt that they cheer their death based on a few words in a newspaper article.
Let us be clear: Darren Wilson has a right to a fair trial but he does not have the right to be free of criticism for his actions. The evidence is clear that he is a murderer and I am not going to feel any shame in calling him a murderer, nor am I going to feel any shame in stating plainly that I do not trust the police department and am not going to automatically accept the so-called “facts” that they are telling me to wait for.
The “wait for the facts” crowd wants to insist we wait patiently while journalists are being arrested when they try to get the facts to us. They want us to wait while the police incident report is being kept secret but the police are leaking details to smear Michael Brown. They want us to wait while the people who are speaking out are being shot with tear gas and rubber bullets.
Well I for one have waited long enough, I want to see justice and I want to see it now.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Wed Aug 20, 2014, 06:47 PM (2 replies)
So let me get this straight.
We are supposed to believe that Michael Brown first attacked Derek Wilson and tried to reach for his gun, but then he started to run away. After Brown gets a short distance away we are being told he changed his mind and decided to turn around and go back.
Are we really supposed to be so stupid to think Brown would change his mind and decide to run back towards the guy with a gun pointed at him? Unfortunately that is not even the only stupid thing we are being told to believe by Wilson's defenders, the next part of their story is even dumber.
Not only are we supposed to believe Brown decided to turn back after he already started running, but we are also supposed to believe he bent over and tried to charge the officer like he was some kind of animal. It is probably only a matter of time before the people arguing in Wilson's defense claim that Brown bared his teeth and growled like a rabid dog before he charged.
People actually expect us to "wait for the facts" on such an obvious piece of shit excuse like this? Sorry but I don't have to wait for any more facts to know that this is a bullshit story. The story has about as much plausibility as a claim that Brown was really killed by space aliens. It is absurd bullshit and I don't need to wait several months for a trial to tell me it is absurd bullshit. I fully support Officer Wilson's right to a fair trial, but when his defense is so damn stupid I am not going to pretend that I think there is a possibility that the murder of Michael Brown was justified in any way.
This story is just as absurd as George Zimmerman's story that Trayvon Martin jumped out of the bushes and repeatedly banged his head into the concrete. Again this is the sort of attack that sounds more like something an animal would do than a human would do, but racists consider black people to be animals so they embraced the accusation that Martin slammed Zimmerman's head into the concrete repeatedly no matter how absurd the accusation was.
Let's be clear; neither Brown nor Martin were animals and we should not be expected to believe they would attack people like animals. I don't need racists telling me to wait several months for the "facts" before I reject their racist bullshit.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Tue Aug 19, 2014, 11:12 PM (4 replies)
Hundreds of people have gone to the Tea Party's Facebook to express their support for the execution of Obama through hanging, a smaller number went further yet to hit the like button on a post that implies the use of "a gun and a shovel" against Obama. These were the words I saw posted on the Tea Party's Facebook page today, words that have been standing on the page for six hours with the initial call for hanging receiving 316 likes from Tea Party supporters...
The Secret Service does not look kindly on calling for the death of the President, I don't know if they pursue people who publicly endorse such an idea through a like on Facebook or not, but if so it looks like there are literally hundreds of Teabaggers who have now publicly came out in favor of execution. Does anyone still question whether or not the Tea Party is an extremist movement that embraces violence as a solution?
I don't know how to link directly to the Facebook post, but these comments were posted on the Tea Party Facebook page underneath an article entitled "Restore American Exceptionalism: Nullify Obama" which was posted around 3:00 pm central time on the Tea Party Facebook page which is located here: https://www.facebook.com/TheTeaParty.net
It appears the moderators of the page find the post acceptable as they have allowed the comment to stand for over six hours now while they have been actively updating the page. Literally hundreds of Tea Party members are using the site to call for the death of the President and the moderators are allowing it to continue.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Sun Aug 3, 2014, 10:29 PM (6 replies)
I have not been posting much recently but I needed to say something about the Hobby Lobby case because I think there is a huge elephant in the room that the media coverage of the case seems to be avoiding.
All five of the "justices" who voted in Hobby Lobby's favor are members of the Roman Catholic Church which is a church that is well known for opposing insurance coverage for contraceptives. All five of them voted for their church's position, but they explicitly excluded the religious beliefs of faiths other than their own from having the same "religious freedom" they claim Hobby Lobby should be able to impose on their employees.
The Supreme Court explicitly said that this ruling is limited to the issue of contraceptives and does not apply to other medical treatments that some other religions oppose such as blood transfusions and vaccines. Now don't get me wrong I absolutely do not think employers should get exemptions from covering blood transfusions or vaccines, like birth control those are basic forms of health care that everyone should have access to. What I do have a problem with is that the Supreme Court decided it can pick and choose which religious beliefs can get their followers exemptions from providing health care to their employees and which ones can not, and it just so happens that they chose their own religious belief as one whose followers do not have to follow the same rules that everyone else has to follow.
This is something that I think needs to be called out, when a major Supreme Court ruling on religion is decided entirely by members of one religion that is a problem. When their ruling provides protections for their own religious belief while explicitly excluding the same protection for beliefs that they do not hold that is an even bigger problem yet. It is extremely dangerous to our democracy to have five unelected men who have the power to make decisions that can alter the course of history, these are men who have the power to make a decision that benefits their personal religion over other beliefs be they religious or secular and there is little we can do to hold them accountable for making such a blatantly biased decision.
Let's face it, the Supreme Court is an undemocratic institution and by using the courts to carve out a special exemption for people who share their religious views in opposition to contraception they have shown their contempt for equal protection under the law. I really think people need to start talking about removing these guys from the bench, there is no reason these people should be free from calls for accountability when they use the court to allow them to impose their own religious views on to others.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Mon Jun 30, 2014, 10:25 PM (70 replies)
As a person who has a brother with schizophrenia I want to thank all the people on this site who have spoken out against those who are scapegoating the mentally ill. People with mental health issues and their families go through enormous challenges and face a great deal of stigma from the public and I know I am not alone when I say that I greatly appreciate those who are willing to stand up for the rights of those who suffer from a mental illness.
Those of you who have seen my other threads know that there are a few people here who have really upset me, I have told those people to fuck off and that is really all I feel I need to say to them. I am sick of debating an issue that I don't think should be up for debate. The vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent, the very suggestion that they should be able to be locked away when they have committed no crime on the basis of their disability is offensive to me and I will not pretend it is an acceptable position in any way.
I am logging off DU now because after seeing so much bigotry against the mentally ill on here tonight I really don't feel welcome here right now. I do recognize that many of you have attempted to stand up for people like my brother however and I wanted to make sure you know that I appreciate your efforts. I will probably be back some day but I need a break from the bigots.
Best wishes to all those who are fighting the good fight.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Mon May 26, 2014, 01:30 AM (13 replies)
Many people on this site have family who is mentally ill, or they may even be mentally ill themselves. They are good people who just want to live a decent life without facing stigma because of their disability.
I have a brother with schizophrenia and when I see people on what is supposed to be a progressive website suggest we should lock up mentally ill people who have committed no crime I see it as a direct attack on my family. I am not going to sugarcoat what I think of the people who are suggesting we lock up people based on their disability, they are bigots and each and every one of them can fuck off.
People can tell me I need to calm down, but when my family is under attack I am not going to calm down, I am pissed and I have damn good reason to be pissed. I am sick to death of the idea that a bigot's opinion should be respected and that we should debate them on the issues rather than just telling them to fuck off. I will debate people who have differences of opinion on a number of issues, but I am not going to pretend that locking up mentally ill people like my brother who have committed no crime is an opinion that deserves even an ounce of respect. If you take the position that someone should be able to order my brother locked away based on nothing more than his disability then I feel no shame in calling you a bigot and telling you to fuck off, someone who would harm my family like that does not deserve my respect.
Rodger Elliott was just one person among millions that have mental health problems, let's not pretend that it would only be people like him that would be locked away if the people who are advocating locking away the mentally ill got their way. When you lock away huge numbers of people who have committed no crime you may prevent a shooting somewhere, but you will also have taken away the freedom of many other people who have committed no crime other than to have a disability.
I do need to take a moment to acknowledge one group of people that does deserve respect, and that is the people who are making honest efforts to improve the lives of the mentally ill. When a person sees a tragedy involving mental illness and becomes motivated to work to improve mental health services without scapegoating anyone they deserve thanks from all of us.
Those who do scapegoat the mentally ill and produce more stigma against people like my brother however, well I am not going to apologize for telling them to fuck off. Stigmatizing the mentally ill harms my family a hell of a lot more than my telling a bigot to fuck off harms that bigot. If people decide to hide my posts while letting bigotry against people like my brother stand then so be it, I am sick of seeing bigotry against the mentally ill and I am not going to feel like I need to sugarcoat my language to avoid offending the people who are attacking my family.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Sun May 25, 2014, 11:04 PM (104 replies)
The vast majority of mentally ill people are not violent, and the vast majority of violent crimes are committed by people who are not mentally ill. Yet it seems that every time a mentally ill person does commit an act of violence people like my brother take the blame even though they would never do something like what the shooter did.
It seems that people are desperate to find something to blame besides guns and so they scapegoat a minority group and ask us what to do with that minority group. I have heard many people call for the mentally ill to be locked up even when they have not committed a single crime, it is disgusting to call for people who have done nothing wrong to be locked away because of their disability.
The problem is not mental illness, the problem is that there are a lot of people who are totally incompetent to own guns that are being allowed to purchase them and most of these people are not mentally ill. I have seen far too many people who seem to think it is acceptable to use guns to solve their problems and insist that people like George Zimmerman should be allowed to follow people in the dark and then shoot them, I see far too many people defending those who leave their guns unsecured before a child grabs them, I see far too many people who believe they are allowed to shoot someone over minor property crimes and call it self defense, most of these people are not mentally ill but they are people who should not own deadly weapons.
It is these very people whose tough talk about how they need to be heavily armed that are the very first to attack the mentally ill when a mass shooting happens. I don't ever hear these people advocate to help people with mental illness to get access to health care or social services, it is always about blaming the mental illness and then going back to advocating for their guns. If the NRA really cared about helping the mentally ill they would be lobbying to ensure that the mentally ill are able to get free access to health care, instead they just cast the blame on the mentally ill and then leave them to fend for themselves. They do work to ensure that their members have the right to shoot any mentally ill person who gets confused and walks onto their property even if that person was not threatening violence in any way however.
Those who are honestly working to help the mentally ill and advocating for better health care and social services, I salute them. Those who use the mentally ill as scapegoats to turn attention away from the problem of gun violence on the other hand are bigots, and as the brother of a person with a severe mental illness I would like to kindly ask the bigots who blame people like my brother to fuck off.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Sun May 25, 2014, 07:34 PM (135 replies)
It has long been the claim of pundits that in order for the Democrats to win votes they need to move to the "center", politicians who in years past identified as DLC and today identify as Blue Dogs or Third Way like to say they represent this center but do they?
No they do not.
It is true that many voters identify as centrists or moderates, but when they say they are moderates they are not saying they want a government run by people who take money from big corporations. They are not saying they want to cut regulations on big business. They are not saying that the Democrats need to move to the right. They are not cheering the TPP or dismissing NSA spying.
The truth is that most people who call themselves moderates are not all that political, they are not the Joe Lieberman type of idealogues who view everyone to the left of them as the extremists pundits would like to pretend they are.
Generally the moderates among the general population are not all that political but they do share some common values with those of us who are. They want decent wages, they want business to treat them fairly and they want government to ensure those businesses do not rip them off, they want access to health care without destroying their budget, they want clean water to drink and clean air to breathe, they want good public schools to send their kids to, they want their roads kept in good maintenance, while they are not all that political they do want a lot of the same things that progressives want.
Every election we are told we need to move right to capture these moderate voters, but we don't need to move right to win their votes we simply need to communicate our common ground with them because there is a ton of common ground. In fact I am convinced that progressives have far more common ground with the moderate voter than Third Way politicians do, moderate voters care more about the day to day problems they see in society than they do about the crap being pushed by corporate funded politicians.
The people who call themselves moderates in national polls are usually a lot different than the politicians in Washington who call themselves moderates, we need to stop allowing the pundits to pretend that moderate voters won't vote for Democrats unless they move to the right.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Sat Apr 26, 2014, 09:37 AM (12 replies)
Tonight I went to attend a speech on the civil rights struggle in America, ironically that speech was delivered by a woman who is directly responsible for some of the worst civil rights abuses in American history. Condoleeza Rice was paid $150,000 to give a short speech pretending that she was a civil rights leader so a few friends and I decided that we needed to have people in the crowd to remind people of the civil rights violations that Condoleeza and the Bush Administration are responsible for.
That is why we decided to attend Condoleeza's speech wearing orange jumpsuits and black hoods. There was no photography allowed in the auditorium, but we managed to sneak in an opportunity to snap a somewhat blurry picture.
I thought I would probably be kicked out of the auditorium before I even made it to my seat, but security gave us a brief warning at the door that they would not tolerate disruptions and then let us move towards our seat. We did get stopped by another security officer who said we could not wear our hoods because of post 9/11 security policies and they told us if we covered our face we would get kicked out. We removed our hoods until we made it to our seats, but then we put them back on and security did not ever confront us about it again.
When Condoleeza Rice took the stage we stood up and turned our backs to her while others were applauding, we then sat down to listen to her try to pretend she is a liberal. While she did open up her speech with a major lie in which she claimed the 9/11 hijackers were from Afghanistan when in reality they were actually from Saudi Arabia, I shook my head in disgust. She quickly moved away from foreign policy however, in fact I don't think the word "Iraq" even escaped her lips, no instead she spoke about civil rights and education. She talked about growing up as a black girl in the South and addressed the issue of racism. There was actually not much to disagree with her on in this area, she was saying some things that actually sounded fairly progressive and if people did not know her real record they probably would have been very moved by her speech.
She did not talk about all the children who were killed by the bombs that were dropped on Iraq, she did not talk about the people her administration tortured, she did briefly mention the Black Sites but tried to pretend that she never supported them, she ignored the numerous civil rights violations of the administration she worked for and instead tried to portray herself as a civil rights activist rather than a civil rights violator.
Condi is a very good speaker that can make herself look really well on stage, but she is also a huge fraud that tries to pretend she is a much better person than she actually is. This speech was clearly intended to make her look a lot more moderate, it convinced me that she wants to seek political office in the future because she was clearly making an effort to move towards the center and even reach out to liberals. She is a very dangerous person and I hope that if she does run for office people remember her real record, she is no civil rights leader, she is a war criminal.
Posted by Bjorn Against | Thu Apr 17, 2014, 11:30 PM (139 replies)