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louis c

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Home country: USA
Current location: Boston
Member since: Fri May 14, 2004, 04:52 PM
Number of posts: 8,652

About Me


Journal Archives

Who's really to blame for outsourcing American jobs and who suffers from it?

This little video, now about 9 years old, explains it.

Verizon and Unions Reach Tentative Agreement, End Strike

As an IBEW member I congratulate my courageous brothers and sisters who took on a big corporation and won.

As a union member, I would like to thank both of our Democratic candidates who walked the picket lines and spoke in favor of the working men and women at Verizon.

I would also like to take this opportunity to condemn the piece of shit scabs who came from outside the region to perform union work. Go back home knowing that you're defiled in the minds of working people.

"Solidarity forever, solidarity forever, solidarity forever, for the union makes us strong"

Pact ends Verizon’s U.S. strike (Boston Herald)

Both sides praise deal

Jordan Graham, Erica Moura Saturday, May 28, 2016

‘IT’S OVER!’ Verizon workers react to news that their union and Verizon have come to an agreement, ending the national strike. Both sides have praised the pact, which still needs to be ratified by each union local.

Verizon workers are set to 
return to work next week now that the nationwide strike has come to an end 
after the telecom company and unions reached an initial agreement.

“The only way to take on a big corporation is to affect their business,” said Andrew Skinner, a 15-year technician for Verizon who has been picketing.

“I felt very rudderless, but I knew I was on the right side of this. So I stayed with it.”

Outside a Verizon Wireless store in Downtown Crossing yesterday, strikers cheered and applauded after an official from the union called to say a deal in principle had been agreed upon between the union and Verizon.

Bob Shine rushed the line 
exclaiming “It’s over!”

The picketers immediately broke their line, thanked the workers at the store for putting up with them, cleaned up the Dunkin’ Donuts box of coffee and water bottles, and left the area in a span of 10 minutes.

Details of the four-year contract were not made public, but the pact was praised by both sides.

“The agreement is consistent with our objective of creating high quality American jobs and achieving meaningful changes and enhancements to the contracts that will better enable our wireline business unit to compete and succeed in the digital world,” said Marc Reed, chief administrative officer for Verizon.

The two unions that had been striking also applauded the deal.

“The agreement in principle at Verizon is a victory for working families across the country and an affirmation of the power of working people,” said Chris Shelton, president of the Communications Workers of America.

“This proves that when we stand together we can raise up working families, improve our communities and protect the American middle class.”

The strike lasted more than a month.

A U.S. district judge declined to rule on a motion from the National Labor Relations Board that would have banned picketing outside motels housing replacement workers, saying she will wait until next week.

Strikers have been accused of trying to pressure motels into refusing to do business with 
Verizon and allegedly blocked the vehicles of an elderly couple and a minivan with children inside.

Lawyers in federal court in Boston yesterday said both sides are expected to withdraw all pending litigation based on the strike.

The contract still needs to be ratified by each union local.

What's Trump Hiding in His Tax Returns? Here's A Hint from Steve Ratner

Donald Trump and the Art of the Tax Loophole

Steven Rattner MAY 13, 2016

Credit Eric Thayer for The New York Times

TYPE “Trump system rigged” into the Google search bar and you’ll get more than 500,000 hits. I didn’t inspect all of them but the first 50 were variants of Donald Trump complaining that the Republican primary process was tilted against him.

That’s beyond ironic. Mr. Trump and his family have been the beneficiaries of a great rigged system: the tax code, which bestows huge advantages on the real estate business. Throughout his career, Mr. Trump has not only grabbed for every loophole and legal lever he could find, he’s boasted about it.

“I’ve taken advantage of the laws of this country, like other people,” Mr. Trump has said.

The Republican front-runner has been dodging releasing his returns on the specious grounds that he was being audited. On Tuesday, he told The Associated Press that he wouldn’t release them before the election — period. On Wednesday, he denied saying this, reversed course and said,“Hopefully before the election I’ll release.”

“There’s nothing to learn from them,” he said in the Associated Press interview.

I’ll bet there’s plenty to learn. More likely, Mr. Trump doesn’t want us to know how small his tax hit is, something that he bragged about earlier in the campaign, before realizing that it could come back to bite him.

“I fight like hell to pay as little as possible,” Mr. Trump said last August.

Real estate guys can take advantage of the best loopholes left in the tax code, thanks in part to some aggressive nudging of lawmakers. For starters, real estate investors can take deductions for the ostensible depreciation of the value of their buildings, even though the point of owning buildings is that they generally appreciate.

For another, they often borrow against those properties, and because they hold these investments in partnerships or limited liability companies, the interest payments are tax-deductible.

“If you get close to paying taxes, you just buy another building,” a real estate friend told me.

If Mr. Trump were to sell a property, the profits would be taxed as capital gains at far lower rates (23.8 percent) than those imposed on ordinary income (39.6 percent). But real estate owners often don’t even pay capital gains taxes. They can take advantage of a provision known as Section 1031 to swap a piece of real estate that they are ready to part with for one that they would like to add to their portfolio — all tax free. There is no limit on how many swaps they can make, deferring capital gains taxes indefinitely.

Section 1031 is among the real estate operators’ favorite provisions — and it’s a break not readily available to other kinds of investors. No wonder that attempts to rein in or eliminate Section 1031, including a recent one by the Obama administration, have been met with fierce resistance from the industry.

The tax benefits don’t stop, even at death. If an investor dies holding appreciated properties, the heirs get a step up in basis, which means that they can sell the real estate and pay no taxes on the gain in value.

Mr. Trump’s quest for loopholes ranges far. In 2005, he got a $39.1 million tax deduction for donating a conservation easement on a New Jersey golf course, meaning that any further development on the property is restricted. On top of that, he installed goats on two of his New Jersey golf courses as part of a plan to get them designated as agricultural properties, thereby vastly lowering his property taxes.

Meanwhile, according to Mr. Trump’s campaign, from 2010 to 2014, he “donated” more than $102 million to charity — without giving away even $1 of his own money. More conservation easements constituted the biggest source of deductions, but the “gifts” included items like free rounds of golf for charity events. Many of these “charitable contributions,” of course, gave rise to more tax deductions.

Taxes are far from the only way that Mr. Trump has gamed the system. He’s added materially to his net worth by pushing the edges of the bankruptcy laws.

By arguing that his name had huge commercial value, for example, he managed to retain more ownership in his Atlantic City hotel and casino projects than is customary in an insolvency, thereby minimizing his losses while his creditors lost billions.

Finally, by his own admission, Mr. Trump has used our broken campaign finance system to achieve private gain by giving generously to politicians of both parties (including to Hillary Clinton) in order to gain influence. Since 1989, he has donated more than $1.5 million to political causes, 62 percent of it going to Republicans, according to PolitiFact.

“When they call, I give,” Mr. Trump said in the first Republican debate. “And you know what? When I need something from them, two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me.”

Among the ways that politicians have been there for him and his brethren has been developing a tax system in which real estate moguls pay little or no taxes. “The Declaration of Independence tells us that all men are created equal, but the government definitely favors real estate investors!” wrote one such investor, David Lindahl. Where did this appear? “Trump University Commercial Real Estate Investing 101.”

How the Republicans' Plan to Destroy the American Working-Class is Succeeding

For starters, let's admit that the Republicans and the corporations that fund them are brilliant strategists and patient men (and sometimes women). They are fueled by greed and they are long term thinkers. They don't want to destroy the middle class for fun.They do it for greed.

In order to succeed, they need to enlist the people they want to destroy as accomplices, and sometimes their allies, the Democrats.

Let's begin with a fact. The Middle Class of America has shrunk over the last 45 years at very nearly the same rate as labor unions have diminished http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/18/union-membership-middle-class-income_n_3948543.html

That's no coincidence. The middle class was built by organized labor and the middle class cannot be destroyed until organized labor is eliminated.

How did this happen? Let's look at what the numbers are. In the forties and fifties and sixties, union members voted their pocket books. Even when Eisenhower and Nixon were in office, unions thrived, because no politician wanted to screw with them. The rules, as set by legislation and adjudicated by the Labor Board and Supreme Court, protected workers in organizing into a union and in their employment.

A vast majority of the very wealthy and very greedy know how to vote in their own best interest. But they only make up, by my estimate, about 10% of the voters. Those groups and individuals then have to come up with a strategy on how to split the remainder of the voters (90%). That's when wedge issues began. Abortion, Guns, Flag Burning, Prayer in School, Civil Rights and Gay Rights were used to get working class voters to take their eye off of the ball and vote AGAINST their own economic interest.

The Right, especially under Reagan, started to turn the Supreme Court from a judicial body, to what it is today, a political body. It's not where anyone goes for justice, it's just the last political word in the country.

Then, with everything set and union workers voting at diminished and divided rates, putting anti-worker laws in place and having them upheld by pro-corporate, anti-worker labor boards and an increasingly worker-hostile Supreme Court was an easy step. Workers could be fired for what used to be protected activity, organizing into a union. Then, sinister "Right to Work" laws became law in every state that had a Republican majority in the State House and Senate and a Republican Governor. That meant that any union member could have all the benefits and protection of a union without paying a penny in dues. The only entity in America that was required to perform a service, by law, for free, or face the wrath of the federal government, are labor unions. How ingenious. Human nature, being what it is, allows a person to receive something for nothing. Even hospitals, that are required by law to service any injured or ill person in an emergency room, is reimbursed by a pool from insurance companies or the government. In right to work states, unions collapsed. In the South, some states have union density of less than 1% of their workers.

The Republican platform and speeches are replete with "get the government out of the way and every American can live up to his or her potential". "Be judged on your own merit and you don't need an advocate." Ya, sure. The only way for nearly every average worker, skilled or unskilled, to have any leverage with a business or corporation, is to collectively bargain.

Once again, we see this sinister plan play out. Only this time, we may be seeing the final act. What a nerve Republicans have to say that this recovery is not complete because wages are stagnate. No shitting. I represent 35 contracts, in both the public and private sector in the Greater Boston area, totaling about 850 union workers. I've been in this position for about three years, and we've negotiated about 25 of those contracts as they become due (most contracts are three years in duration). Every contract has had raises of between 2 and a half percent to 5 percent annually. Very few, if any, of those people would have received any raise without a union representing them. Most would not have even asked. The wage stagnation during this recovery is a direct result of weakening unions.

In January of this year, labor unions were on the verge of extinction, especially in the public sector. The Fredrick case, which would have allowed a California teacher to receive all of the benefits of the teachers' union accumulated over many years, without paying any dues, or even a fee, was before the 9 member Supreme Court. The arguments were heard in January, and we were sure to lose with the 5 Republican appointees voting against labor unions and the 4 Democratic appointed Justices voting to sustain the current law which requires payment for services. In February, Scalia died. in March the vote was 4 to 4, leaving the precedent in favor of the union to stand, for now.

Is it any wonder that the conservative, corporate Republicans are flocking to Donald Trump now that he has promised them a Supreme Court Justice of their choosing?

If we go from 26 right to work states to 50, due to this ruling, labor unions will not exist in ten years. With no union protection, America will resemble 1910, rather than our economic glory years of 50 years ago. We will be a Feudal America again, with the vast divide between the haves and the have not's. A whole century of the struggle to make the great American Middle Class will cease to exist in our life time and maybe never return.

So, in closing, that's what's at stake in this election. We need a Democratic President, not because Democrats have been our best friends, but because at least they will allow us to live to fight another day. As a union leader I like to explain my position to our members this way when I am confronted with how often Democratic politicians have let us down. This is what I say "The Democrats are destined to disappoint us, but the Republicans are dedicated to destroy us. All I want is a chance to live to fight another day."

Where's My Star?

I sent a check 6 weeks ago for $25 to regain my star membership.

Could you please tell me the status?


louis c

Where's My Star?


I have tried to reach you through the normal means, like through the DU mail system, for more than a month.

I sent a $25 check 6 weeks ago and still await my "star" membership.

I am a 12 year member and have contributed regularly. Please let me know if everything is OK.

Louis c
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