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Sometimes reading about elements of the past is like reading today's newspaper. We humans are slow learners, or at least a good number of us are. Unions showed then, and still show now that we all do better when we all do better.

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Sep 5, 2022·edited Sep 5, 2022

I am rereading Drieser's, An American Tragedy, 50 years after the first reading. Given the current rabid sense of nationalism, faux Christianity, and classism, it is eye-opening to think that a book published in the early 1920s is spot on in 2022.

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I read that years ago and may have to pick it up again. My husband's favorite writer on economics among other things right now is Thomas Picketty (sp?) and I am going to read his slimmer volume on equality. The other two are tomes. And thanks to Heather for the short history of Labor Day. As I read, I was thinking that nothing much changes and we continue to fight the same battles. I am done for tonight on the computer and will continue to read my book on gene editing. Enjoyable Labor Day everyone!!

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Check out the work showing that we share over 20 % of our human genome with trees. I think you will find the references in the work of either Diana Kroeger Beresford, Vandana Shiva and / or Suzanne Simard. All have U tube talks and have made documentaries. One I watched last year on Netflix was called " More of Everything ". As a cancer survivor , a former oncologist and someone who supports gene therapy for rare genetic disorders, I am terrified that people think gene editing is the answer to our ecologic crisis. I am certain those involved are well intentioned. However I doubt they realize that in fact Indigenous who include non human life-forms among our relations are actually accurate. We humans share a significant portion of our genome with our friends the trees. This is mind-blowing...........

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Check out Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm, by Stephen Harrod Buhner. It isn't just trees.

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Thank you TWO TIMES

You inspired my life-long domination of curiosity.

So I found this brief review:

" Buhner explains how to use analogical thinking and imaginal perception to directly experience the inherent meanings that flow through the world, that are expressed from each living form that surrounds us, and to directly initiate communication in return."

Well sir!

I live in that dream all day long.

My clients begin to see what they are looking at for the first time through explanations revealed first in two dimensional drawings, then three dimensional models and then finally in realities' constructed revelation...

Thank you Mr. Nemeth for your generosity of sharing the wisdom of Buhner with me!

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Joseph Nemeth (CA)

Thank you from another's attempted escape from grumpiness by continuing the realization of other's dreams through the magic of Architecture's ability to create the blessing of life long friends...

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Indeed it is....and many ethical problems. I love that we share part of our genome with trees and thanks for the heads up on those authors. I enjoy biology though I am history person.

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Thanks Michele,

There is certainly lots to read and explore.

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Frances Scully

INDEED

My mind is often blown each time hiking in wilderness forests when I am compelled to cuddle with a specific tree. As I look up while hugging I actually see the tree smiling and feel it swaying in delight!

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So nice to know that I'm not a freak for hugging trees. Now I see that all along I've been hugging my cousins.

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I read—or more correctly listened to—one of those tomes. Definitely unnecessary to put yourself through it.

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He's one of my husband's favorites, so we have them all. The one on equality is much shorter. The one book that I listened to was Ulysses as we were going to Ireland. I would never have been able to read it.

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My husband read that book almost 20 years ago. I too, would not have the patience to read it all.

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I am eager to listen...I recently downloaded that to me audio library!

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I read Ulysses and didn't understand much, then immediately read it again and it all came together so that it is one of my favorite books now.

Am about to start Piketty's History of Inequality with a book group. The member who recommended it says it is quite dense, but rewarding.

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Which gene editing book are you reading?

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The Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson. It centers around Jennifer Doudna, one of the scientists who has worked for a long time on this.

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She won the Nobel for crispr, by far the most versatile of the gene editing methods--revolutionary.

https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/understanding/genomicresearch/genomeediting/

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Yes, I am not to that point in the book yet.

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One of California’s brilliant scientists and professors! Imagine that...a woman!

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Yes, and her Nobel co-recipient is Emmanuelle Charpentier (sp?), a very interesting French woman. The book follows Doudna' life and has a little bio info on several other people.

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Here is a better simplified explanation of the overlap between the human genome and that of a banana.https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/genetic/people-bananas-share-dna.htm

I am not suggesting that humans and bananas are similar physiologically. I am only pointing out that most of us lack an understanding of what some refer to as animate Intelligence. Jeremy Lent is gifted polymath who speaks and writes eloquently on the intersection between cutting edge science and ancient wisdom . He is one of many leaders in this amazing field. https://www.kosmosjournal.org/kosmos-live/jeremy-lent-the-web-of-meaning/

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It shouldn't be surprising that there's ample overlap between the human and the banana genome. Both use DNA as the genetic code, and both use molecular machinery called ribosomes to translate RNA--which is derived from DNA--into proteins. A lot of other functions are similar between the two organisms, although there are a lot of differences as well.

As for the notion of "cooperation" between different organisms, and types of organisms, this shoiuldn't be surprising, either. A lot of cooperation has gone on among humans in human societies of various sorts, and from hunter-gatherer bands to more complex societies (see: ancient wisdom). It shouldn't be surprising, as it makes sense that humans can do more to help themselves if they cooperate with others. Even our own American society, with all the competitive behavior going on in it, has a lot of cooperative behavior going on as well, much of that, but not all of it mediated by money.

Unfortunately, there is a school of thought in economics that emphasizes the supposed benefits of individuals behaving selfishly.

But I don't believe the notion that plants cooperate with each other because they think about what they do, since I don't think they think. But I don't have a problem with the idea that they cooperate, something that could have arisen through evolution.

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Thank you for these citations. I will be looking up his work. I like it that he also includes ancient wisdom. Lots more reading to do!!

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Everything old is new again. Even when we wish it weren't.

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Yes and I could add-Nothing changes if nothing changes.

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Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose..

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Or "meet the new boss... same as the old boss." (-Pete Townshend) :)

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I collect Dreiser's first edition books. Regardless, re - reading Sister Carrie, reminds me about the place and progress of women at turn of century in Chicago has not changed much in the minds of 2022 humans!

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Indeed. I'm not sure what nudged me to re-read An American Tragedy, but

I'm glad I did. Sister Carrie is next on my list. You're right, not much has changed at all.

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Read both of those in early teens and know they influenced later thinking. Reread those tomes now in my ‘i80’s ? Nope.

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In Portugal, educated women with jobs are now having a baby and forgetting to get married because the marriage laws are antiquaited and favor men. They consentrate their motherhood time and energy on one or two children who will be too valued to be thrown into the next war as cannon fodder. Books like An American Tragedy are necessary to point out why drones in the hive live only two weeks, while worker bees live four to eight weeks. It's all relative.

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Daria - I reposted your post - with the article about WHITE historians advising Biden - under a comment made by Sandy Lewis so he will be sure to get it. Don't want him to miss it. And I don't want to miss his response!

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Mary Pat, Thank you! I don't want to miss it either!

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Sep 5, 2022·edited Sep 5, 2022

daria thank you for supporting my reasoning in not discarding a good book.

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I recall how that story shaped my thinking in 1966. It probably saved my life.

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My cousins grew up where that happened & I spent many summers there. When i read the book as a teenager i must have missed the class differences. When I reread it years later, 🤯.

Might have another go at it.

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Diane, it is such an incredibly brutal story.

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Carmen, I was deeply touched that on the eve of Labor Day you chose to invoke the phrase from deceased Senator Paul Wellstone’s 1999 speech to the Sheet Metal Workers Union “We all do better when we all do better.” I also would add, despite repeated frustration and failure, that, at least in my view, increasingly more of us have come to appreciate that the preservation of democracy depends upon a far more cooperative environment wherein there is a modicum of social and economic justice for as many people as possible on as many days as possible.

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In my lifetime, I cannot think of anyone, other than his good friend Sen. Bernie Sanders, who worked harder to protect we the people than Paul Wellstone. Would it were that environmental issues, such as keeping the Boundary Waters Wilderness of Northern Minnesota free of motorboats had not been such a damnably divisive issue at the time. Wellstone, caught between union guys who wanted to hunt and fish using motor transport, and those of us that preferred silence and solitude, and keeping it wild, made his last days pretty chaotic. Gads, I miss that man’s integrity and passion.

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Thanks, Sheila. Yes, INTEGRITY and passion. Who in political office now even knows the word INTEGRITY!

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Sheila, I was an undergraduate at NYU when Paul Wellstone began teaching Political Science at Carleton College in rural Minnesota. I can’t remember, in retrospect, how we received word of this charismatic professor, but I do remember several of us seriously considering taking a semester in Minnesota to take class with this radical iconoclast.

Decades later, I recall former Senator Russ Feingold, another midwestern hero of mine, relating the first time he met Wellstone in his office back in 1989. As Feingold tells it, 15 or so books, all of which Wellstone was reading, were spread across the office floor while Wellstone was on the phone arguing with someone about Cuba. When Wellstone told Feingold he was considering a run for the Senate, both had a good laugh at the prospect of two such improbable figures serving in the upper chamber.

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Our beloved Senator Wellstone, still inspiring us.

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Always.

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Thanks 🙏 yes 🙌 and I love that you add “on as many days as possible” !!!

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Amy, I very much appreciate your affirming reply. Thanks so much for writing.

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I remember the plane crash - it appears there still is some question as to the reason - at least in some people's minds. That was a bad time to be against Bush's war, and pro-labor and poor people!! Read an article that wondered why, with all the blame put to terrorism in that time period - never a mention of that possibility when Sen. Wellstone's plane crashed. There was another Democrat who ran for governor & was killed almost exactly two years earlier. The phrase "We all do better when we all do better" says what kind of person he was!

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Maggie, I, too, recall the murmurings of foul play back in 2002. As I understand, Wellstone seriously was considering a Presidential run in 2000; regrettably, his campaign aspirations were derailed by a ruptured disc. By 2002, his MS well under control, Wellstone, who was running to retain his Senate seat, also seriously was considering a 2004 Presidential run. I can’t recall any Republican insider who was not deeply concerned at the prospect of Wellstone entering the 2004 Presidential race. Nor can I imagine that any of us on this thread ever will forget when Wellstone’s plane went down in October, 2002.

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Government by assassination.

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Kind of what I figured too.

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👍🏼

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Soon after TFG was elected I read Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here. I was reassured that it was just a novel and couldn't happen here. I was wrong on so many levels.

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Indeed, it has happened here, and the fuse was lit by a clown with a flame thrower… supported by Rupert’s propaganda of the Goebbels ilk.

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I think of Goebbels and the power of the Big Lie almost daily. If I remember correctly he spoke of the power of repetition of a lie to make it believable. He proved his point and we are living the result as did pre-WWII Germans.

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Yes he did say that but Hitler, of course, applied that often, as well. Here’s an interesting take on the “big lie”. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/joseph-goebbels-on-the-quot-big-lie-quot

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Goebbels may have been the one to apply the thesis but it was Hitler who coined the phrase in Mein Kampf. große Lüge describes the use of a lie so colossal that no one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously." THAT is where the MAGAts are today: believing the big lie and refusing to admit that they've been had.

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Thanks, MisTBlu. There it is in print. I'd never seen that quote. So good to know.

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Same with Octavia Butler's parable of the Sower. I was told Oh, tha t's just a dystopian novel. Well, it's happening here and now with the rise in street crime, walling off of the rich in their gated communities, and the drug tide.

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I just read Kindred and was wondering which of Ms. Butler's novels to read next.

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Carmen, Your post today would be great on any day but today, it is perfect. How about union news, 9/5/2022, hot off the press:

'4,000 Google cafeteria workers quietly unionized during the pandemic'

The tech giant is known for its free lunches for employees. The people who make those lunches have joined unions en masse.'

'Google is famous for its cafeterias, which serve its legions of programmers and product managers everything from vegan poke to gourmet tacos — free.'

'But the cooks and servers behind those meals are generally contractors who work for other companies, and do not get the generous perks and benefits reserved for Google employees. So over the past few years, thousands of them have unionized, securing higher wages, retirement benefits and free platinum health care coverage.'

'Unite Here, a 300,000-member union hotel and food service workers, has been steadily working to unionize Silicon Valley cafeteria workers since 2018, experiencing the most success at Google. Employed by the contract companies Compass and Guckenheimer, those unionized now make up about 90 percent of total food services workers at Google, according to the union. Workers have unionized at 23 Google offices nationwide, including in Seattle and San Jose.'

'Now, the union is tackling new territory: the South. On Wednesday, Google workers in Atlanta employed by a different cafeteria company — Sodexo — presented their manager with a list of demands and said they plan to unionize.'

'The labor market is still red-hot — and it’s helping union organizers'

'Unionizing workers outside of major coastal cities and in the South may be a tougher sell, where union membership is the lowest in the United States and labor laws are generally weaker. Around 6 percent of workers in Georgia are unionized, compared with 18 percent in California and 24 percent in New York, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although inflation and housing prices have pushed up the cost of living nationwide, prices are still generally lower in the South than in large coastal cities.'

'On Friday, Sodexo and the union reached an agreement: Should a majority of workers choose to unionize, Sodexo would not try to block it.' (WAPO) For more good labor union news in this article, see link below.

https://wapo.st/3QicNLe

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Thanks so much for filling in some important details. The "essential workers" are now recognizing that they have the right to demand fair wages and working conditions. It would be wonderful to see the strangle-hold of major corporations on the necks of workers finally loosed.

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All that's great. Thanks Fern!

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My maternal great uncle was a union lawyer who was de facto head of the Colorado Democratic Party for the first half of the last century. When first out of college, my father worked in a textile firm in Manhattan, which he spent two years trying to unionize. (There was too much turnover.)

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We never learn, it seems

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I was thinking exactly the same thing while reading. I really appreciate this history lesson on this day. It also highlights that human nature remains the same through the continuum of time--there will always be the demarcation between those who care about others and the whole of society and those who only look out for themselves no matter who they have to walk over....

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An economic indisputable fact that conservative refuse to accept is that the better the poor do the better the middle class does along with everyone else.

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The astonishing thing as that many of those who vote conservative are poor. It's a kind of aspirational blindness in that they see themselves as middle class. Is this because the word "poor" has been banished from our vocabulary or because they don't allow themselves to admit that they are, in fact, poor?

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MisTBlu:

Families that are not families have children that have never experienced the freedom of childhood. They toil to maintain their escape from their constant food & shelter insecurity. They are not aware of the benefits of higher education except what they witness on tv commercials about the "Perfect" childhood image relationship with a loving father AND mother,

How did this become accepted as middle-class membership!?

Answer:

republican strangulation of Congress complicity by that creature who unfortunately survived abortion to become deceptions' conception of vile evilness bile spewing Prince of Self-aggrandizement upon the backs of middle-class numbed acquiescence, Eh!?

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Their greed has no limit of satiation.... pigs have better manners

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I can best describe that as selfish insanity.

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Carmen

DITTO

“Let us each Labor day, hold a congress and formulate propositions for the amelioration of the people. Send them to your Representatives with your earnest, intelligent indorsement [sic], and the laws will be changed.”

Hmmmmm

REALLY!

The laws that were. “…changed…” as an immediate result of the so-called amelioration of the people was the result of the Pullman Strike of 1894 by 250,000 railroad workers employed nation-wide by some 20 railroads altogether.

Indeed, this massive strike allowed the union, led by Eugene V. Debs president of the American Railway Union (ARU), to flex its muscles against abuse of the workers by the railroads.

Debs attempt at amelioration of the people resulted in his six-month prison sentence for contempt of court for violating the injunction issued against the strike by the railroads

Also, and an even greater blow against Congress formulating propositions for the amelioration of the people was the result of the U.S. Supreme Court in siding with the railroad’s injunction against the unions to break their strike, (In re Debs (1895).

Now, the laws that were actually, “…changed…” resulted from the precedent set by this court’s ruling. It substantially reduced the union’s effectiveness of their attempted amelioration by people striking against employers.

Hmmmmm….

And so continues the SCOTUS pejoration of the people, by the fat old white rich republican bigots, and for the ruling elite of America!

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All true but I take heart in the new generation of union organizers. They're not going to take it anymore.

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👋 👋 👋 👋 👋 👋 👋

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Ah, plenty of us, as James and Jeff do, understand the UNION in unions 'Unions are on a roll. 'And they unite a divided nation' by E.J. Dionne, Jr.:

'Okay, it’s not like labor’s high tide in the 1940s or 1950s yet. But unions are staging a remarkable comeback in the United States that few anticipated even a decade ago.'

'Government policies are shifting in the direction of workers. Unions are winning workplace elections at a rapid clip. And just last week, Gallup reported that approval of unions hit its highest level in 57 years.'

'After a long stretch during which Labor Day became the occasion for trade unionism’s obituaries, 2022 marks a resurgence in public appreciation for collective action, collective bargaining and the idea of solidarity.'

'Friends of labor might well react by saying: It’s about time. In truth, the new appreciation for what unions can achieve, and what workers have a right to expect, has been building over a long period.'

'All the public discussions of rising inequalities in income and wealth turn out to have been far more than academic or ideological exercises. Workers felt inequality personally — and are responding to it.'

'The long-term impact of the 2008-2009 economic meltdown, followed by the pandemic’s dislocations a decade later, tilted attitudes away from a celebration of pure market individualism and in favor of labor.'

'Gallup found that approval of unions hit low points of 48 percent in 2009 and 52 percent in 2010. They have risen ever since — to 61 percent in 2017, 68 percent last year and 71 percent last week, a peak not reached since 1965.'

'At a time when so many attitudes divide along racial lines, Gallup found that Whites and non-Whites were equally pro-labor. Approval spanned generations — at 72 percent for those under 54, and 70 percent among those 55 and over. Support for organized labor, close to unanimous among Democrats, is in fact bipartisan: 89 percent of Democrats approved of unions, as did 68 percent of independents and 56 percent of Republicans.'

'Opinion is translating into action. Vox’s Rani Molla documented how well-publicized union victories — at Amazon, Apple, Chipotle, REI, Starbucks and Trader Joe’s — are just the most visible part of a larger trend. (Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, owns The Post.)'

'Unions won more representation elections in 2022 than they have in nearly 20 years, Molla reported. Their win rate has risen from barely over 50 percent in 2000 to 76.6 percent this year. And three times as many workers went on strike in 2022 as in 2021, she reported.'

'Another factor working in favor of unions, as The Post’s labor reporter Lauren Kaori Gurley noted, is a “red-hot labor market that has afforded workers more bargaining power.” Younger workers especially are unburdened by past labor failures and feel liberated by the availability of employment.'

'And “even a cooling-off economy,” Gurley wrote, “would not necessarily undo cultural shifts that have resulted in the rising popularity of unions, particularly among young, college-educated workers.”

'All of this is happening against the backdrop of an administration trying to live up to President Biden’s pledge to be “the most pro-union president leading the most pro-union administration in American history.”

'Jennifer Abruzzo, the general counsel at the National Labor Relations Board, has been pushing to overturn rulings and practices that hampered union organizing efforts in the past. And Katherine Tai, the U.S. trade representative, has been pushing what she told the United Steelworkers Constitutional Convention last month was an agenda “that is crafted with workers, for workers.”

“Our trade policy,” Tai told the union, “cannot be a vehicle for undercutting workers’ rights and outsourcing jobs,” adding: “Delivering for workers is our main priority.”

'A spurt of new organizing will not undo years of union decline. Efforts to change labor laws to make unionization easier have failed even in Congresses controlled by Democrats. The new shape of the economy — with fewer of the sorts of manufacturing jobs on which labor built its power between the 1930s and the 1960s — creates challenges that the movement still needs to master.'

'But the new labor story, based on an embrace of the promise of triumph through shared struggle, runs crosswise to many of the trends in our politics, and usefully so. Unions have the capacity to bring Americans together across some very deep divides. Republicans have yet to alter their largely antilabor policy stances to accommodate a new constituency that includes large numbers of working-class voters. You’d never know from the party’s hostility to unions how sympathetic the GOP rank and file is to what they do.'

'Labor Day is a celebration of workers and of their dignity. This makes it a good time to consider whether our country’s discontents have to be channeled through culture wars and racial prejudice. The surge in support for unions points down a different path, a practical quest to ease day-to-day burdens by improving wages, benefits and working conditions. That beats empty, angry and divisive demagoguery any day.'

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Unions as it turns out were the backbone of our democracy, without strong unions, only the almighty dollar motivated many legislators, the people have been generally ignored. The frustrations of workers helped to give rise to the radical politics we see in the MAGA GOP. People turned to a demagogue to set things right, out of desperation.

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“You are never strong enough that you don’t need help.” – Cesar Chavez

“The Labor Movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few; but we can’t have both.” – Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

“Only a fool would try to deprive working men and working women of their right to join the union of their choice.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

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I also had read Dionne's column this morning, Fern. That along with one by John Logan a labor relations prof at SFState U do indicate a rising tide, but how much, and for how long??? Still I believe enough in the importance of organized labor that I became a lifetime member of the NEA. It's been especially tough in my right to work ( a laughable misnomer) state.

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Carmen, I felt you as a workmate when I first read your initial comment hours before I responded -- other work needed attention. Our hands, hearts and spirits are joined. Cheers!

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I know how you feel Carmen. I too am a member of the NEA, or was before I retired. Your correct, it’s almost laughable in a right to work state. My daughter is now a member☺️.

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We all do better when we all do better.

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No offense intended, but I think that is why they are named “opportunists”. Their recognizable traits are always the same, no matter when or where they pop up!

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Thanks, Spooky. I agree. That's the heart of the problem; seems to be part human nature. And unless we fight against it, it will overtake us, personally as well as nationally.

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Unfortunately, that seems to be foremost now.

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I thought of you today as I passed a small, loud cluster of maga believers. It was over 100° here, and still they were yelling and waving signs at passing cars. So sad, I thought, and I wished they would read your letters and listen to your chats. But I fear they are lost. Critical thinking skills are not something the magas seem to possess. The ones I saw today all looked a little looney in the heat, with their red, white, and blue outfits. But they were smiling and seemed to enjoy a fellowship with one another. They seem so much like a cult, these maga people.

But you, you are a beacon of reason and truth and compassion. And please, in honor of all the labor you do for us, please enjoy the holiday. I am forever in your debt. I have learned very much from you, and I know there is more learning on the horizon. And I might even try kayaking somewhere here in San Diego.

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I believe that in all seriousness the Republican Party has become a cult. I think that we as humans, myself included tend to display elements of cult behavior, but I think the cult has taken possession when people begin to act on a belief system that can be empirically proved to to be absurd, and even dangerous. Medical professionals have told of COVID deniers who rejected the realities of their illness until petty literally their dying breath. When that kind of thinking is being cultivated, that is a cult. Any significant number of people believing just about anything that is said by Trump, especially lately, requires the circular thinking of a cult.

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I am reading Katheen Belew's Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America.

https://news.uchicago.edu/story/history-white-power-movement

It gives me a better sense of who is in MAGA, what they want, and why they see Trump as more likely to give it to them than anyone else. He is a part of this movement and he does not hide his White Supremacy politics.

https://www.americanprogress.org/article/white-supremacy-returned-mainstream-politics/

I am at the point where she is discussing that the White Power movement, post Reagan has decided that there is no way that they are going to get the government to actually become what they want it to be, so they are now for creating their own white state, which starts in the Pacific Northwest and ends up taking over all of the USA and Canada for White People only. This is the goal! In fact their goal is to have a White world and get rid of everyone else, modeled on the book The Turner Diaries. It is their sort of road map for life. Since Trump is not a US patriot either I can see how he can seem to be someone who would be helping them to fulfill what they feel is a Christian, anti-communist mission. Belew is considered an authority on the White Power movement and this book is really deepening my understanding of who I am sharing a country with. They ARE A HUGE PROBLEM and I believe they are the core of what MAGA is about. I think they are underestimated because too many people just accept WHITE POWER! While everyone who is MAGA may not be actively part of the White Power militia, they certainly embrace the ideology. https://www.vox.com/2018/8/10/17670992/study-white-americans-alt-right-racism-white-nationalists

https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/white-nationalist

I do not know what you do about having a huge contingent of people in your country who basically want to overthrow the government. How can they participate in a democracy when they don't believe in democracy? They are trying to legislate and vote it away! What can be done? What should be done? Democracy is for people who believe in democracy. What do we do about the rest of them?

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A timely book review from The Guardian.

The Two Parties Finally Agree on Something: American Democracy Is in Danger”, was the headline in the New York Times. A Washington Post editorial declared the president was “wrong to conflate upholding the rule of law with his own partisan agenda, which he called ‘the work of democracy’”.

In his brilliant new book, Dana Milbank, a Post columnist, does not offer any of the squishy-soft judgments to which most of his Washington colleagues have become sadly addicted.

“He comes straight to the point that eluded the authors of that Times story and that Post editorial: “Republicans have become an authoritarian faction fighting democracy. There’s a perfectly logical, if deeply cynical reason for this. Democracy is working against Republicans” who have only carried the popular vote once in eight presidential elections since 1988.

As America “approaches majority-minority status”, Milbank writes, “… white grievance and white fear” have driven “Republican identity more than any other factor – and drive the tribalism and dysfunction in the US political system”.”

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2022/sep/05/the-destructionists-review-republicans-trump-gingrich-nixon-bush?utm_term=6315ddbba89c7e65ccb00379a217423b&utm_campaign=GuardianTodayUS&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&CMP=GTUS_email

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Thank you for your post. Ari Melber did an excellent program on the strength of racism in America last week. As a southerner who grew up in the shadow of the Confederacy and taught at an HSBC, I have lived the “problem,” having had a racist mother and a very non-racist father.

MAGA and racism fit together like Trump and his father making certain there weren’t blacks (or as few as possible) in the apartments Fred Trump built with federal money. The Trump-Putin confluence is built on racism among other “values.” Racism may yet destroy our democracy that so many immigrants of many colors fought to defend.

May I take this space to put out a call to all who read this to do at least one action before the November 8th vote to add another vote/voter to save this country? My permission: yesterday I finished writing the 825 GOTV postcards (for which I bought the stamps), which are to be mailed to three states in October.

Good luck to us all! And many thanks to HRC.

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I did not know the acronym HSBC until I looked it up thanks to your comment. Thank you! I have learned more from just the comments today then I Iearned in a year of HS US history class!

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hanks for the wisdom, the action and the call to action. Yes!

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Linda, their sickness and need to expand their racist cult invades almost everything these days, including much-loved books like Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Hobbit books. They now claim that the new series Rings of Power completely bastardizes his writings by casting people of color in (what-Tokien-clear-intended-to-be-all-white) the new series based on the original volumes. In their white nationalist cult only white people can be "the good" cast members leaving minorities as the orcs, goblins, witches and other evil creatures that bring bad things to "Middle" Earth. But, one suspects they would be fine if all the white cast wore white hats and the bad actors wore black just like the old westerns.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/03/entertainment/lord-of-the-rings-amazon-controversy-blake-cec/index.html

They don't even understand novels that are literally Fantasies about non-existing mystical worlds. And, I apologize that this link is to CNN as it has been removed from our home's bookmarks and source of info since their new CEO has directed programming to bend right and mirror the Faux "News" channel (not that it was accurate before).

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An important fact about Tolkien: he wanted to create a “mythology” of the English. Due to the nature of immigration to England over centuries, all of its “myths” were adopted from other cultures. In Tolkien’s mind, the hobbits represented the English soul. Other than that, the over-riding themes are good versus evil in a Catholic tinted world. As for “whiteness”, it is not possible to divorce this author from the world that he lived in (the British Empire). All of the good and the bad of that empire are inherent in those books. Why can’t we understand that most work of artists reflect the values of their time, not ours? My favorite illustration of that fact are the Renaissance painters in. Florence: painting all of their middle eastern nativity scenes with people dressed as 15th century Florentines. Only rarely are artists able to transcend their own era and speak to the ages.

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Both replies (Joan & Patricia) are excellent additions to the underlying points. Until the advent of film, painting and sculpture were about the only ways to visually depict an image that otherwise was left to words. When humans first began this visual art of storytelling with cave painting, Egyptian tombs, the Greeks, Romans and so on each has always added their own view of reality thru the artist's choice (or direction). And to be sure, Tolkien's own experience of the atrocities of war affected his view of good-vs-evil as seen thru English eyes.

My own first reading of Tolkien was long ago in High School and remember the joy of having created my own image of what each character must have looked like. Such is the nature of great descriptive writing. And when Peter Jackson's translation of the work into film came decades later it was so interesting to have compared these images with those of my own that had been held for so long but, I never felt the need to say that mine were right and his were wrong. I've fully enjoyed his, as well.

For me, the part that these right-wing cultists just truly miss is that the story never depended on skin color. "Racism" was always built into the narrative thru the nature of Elves, Dwarves, Men, Hobbits and many others who did NOT like, trust or care for each other (because of their race) AT ALL but had to come and work together for a common goal and purpose. Tolkien went deep into the histories and reasons why each race had great reason to detest one another. But, by working together they discover the beauty and admirable qualities of each other's people and overcome their prejudice. That's the beauty of the story. That an extremist cult is now using "diversity" as a reason to abandon the main storyline is just yet one more example of how far down the rabbit hole they are and what we are all up against in our now, real life struggle of "Good vs Evil".

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Yes. My son and I were talking about much of what you say here as we watched the new episodes. But your words say with elegance what we were fumbling around trying to say . Thank you and I am copying your comment to show my son. Thank you.

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It amazes me that some people are convinced that totally fictional characters like Tolkien's elves must all look like white people. It's probably the same people who are sure that Jesus of Nazareth, a brown-skinned Jew speaking Aramaic and advocating like most Hebrew prophets for feeding the poor and welcoming the stranger, was a white man speaking English who hated immigrants.

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It continues to be scary to realize that there are so many people filled with such hatred. The idea that this movement stems from the idea that the White Power adherents are finishing off "the job" that was not completed in Vietnam of ridding the world of communists, which somehow translates to everyone who is not one of them, is so crazy. It is unfortunate that so many people are so angry and are also raising children to be this way? As a parent I just don't understand the parenting style that is based on raising your child with hatred. Also, while there is so much accusation of Democrats being child traffickers, apparently there is illicit child sex among those espousing White Power politics too.

https://www.vox.com/2021/1/15/22231079/capitol-riot-women-qanon-white-supremacy

https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2011/07/15/yet-another-white-nationalist-leader-felled-child-sex-charges

We are not the only country with this problem. Lis Truss being nominated as PM just points out this anti immigrant hostile hate others in British Tory politics too.

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/racism-racialisation/transcript-toward-global-history-white supremacy

The world could be a much better place without all this hate, but they don't seem to see it. They want to drag everyone down with them.

https://abc.com/tv/shows/trafficked-with-mariana-van-zeller/episode-guide/season-02/episode-06-white-supremacy/vdka25839232

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And white power people are so pointless, considering that we will all have to adapt to dessertification by gradually darkening our skin to protect ourselves from the Sun's rays.

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Last night at dinner we were having a divide on better to die by too hot or too cold. My aunt is of the opinion that with cold one just goes to sleep. A friend lost her father a few years ago in Arizona when it was 120 degrees and his air conditioning was broken and he did not say anything to them about it while she was traveling. Ironically, she and her family were traveling in Iceland at the time when the neighbor called her and told her he had found her father in his home. I know that they are saying that the South and Midwest where I live will have dangerously hot temps for many days in a row. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/climate-change-extreme-heat-americans-will-live-in-dangerous-areas/

I don't think skin color alone will help adapt. We will need to redesign our cities and how we live. A show I just watched did confirm my worries about all of these White Supremacists going to fight in Ukraine, which I had been hearing. They are getting weapons there, which are not really being inventoried as far as I know, and then when they are done with their stints, if they are from European countries they can drive back in their cars and take the weapons with them. I think a lot of weapons will be available for more shootings sprees everywhere and for the black market.

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I have just finished Rising Out of Hatred by Eli Saslow. It is a biography about Derek Black, White Nationalist heir apparent, who repudiated his beliefs after college among liberals who did not ostracize him, but debated with him and provided data. This book also describes the agenda of white only, deporting everyone else.

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There are too many Trump supporters to ignore, and we have to find a way to live with all but the truly lawless ones, but there is a lot of behavior going on that has to be successfully resisted. Biden is distinguishing between saner Republicans and maniacal MAGAs, which I don't see as an entirely distinct division, but it gives the less fanatical ones an out. And I have met a number of intelligent, educated and seemingly otherwise civilized people who are somehow infected with the MAGA malware. If Trump in particular and his principle enablers can be sufficiently discredited, a would like to hope they can be turned. For reasons that seem too complex to be entirely explained, obsessive trends in public thinking seem sometimes to just burn themselves out, especially when reality proves less pleasing than promised. That said, evil never sleeps, and community solidarity needed to keep those who live to conquer contained.

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I’m guessing this is why major religions all promote the golden rule? And why Bannon announced in the beginning their intention has always been destruction? Where were the warnings about using airwaves and cyber space to propagate jealousy, greed, lies, and worship of the other “Gods” (money & power)?

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I imagine you were not raised in the South. Those of us oldsters who were, remember seeing confederate flags everywhere and shotguns hung across trucks back windows. Oh and to actually see the KKKers in town was a sight before sore eyes, too! Our small town was black and white. Our schools did not integrate until 1964, until after LBJ, deemed segregation in the South, was over. The furniture factories in our town carted in people from Guatemala and now there is a population of Spanish-speaking people with Southern accents. I don’t find that to be a bad thing! While the South has always had mean and hateful white people, their love spread to Oakland, CA where the Hell’s Angels was formed. Many in that group were white supremacists.

By the way. I have been a staunch supporter of SPLC for over 23 years. Bless them.

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Yes. It is hard to understand such "possession".

Apparently, there is a certain comfort in that "circular thinking". There is no threat from hearing new ideas or more accurate information. In a way, it is simply lazy.

I am proud to say that I am a card carrying member of a cult that loves an ever evolving science, new improved ideas and a strengthened democracy. My cult is inclusive. It is as diverse as the human species. But it takes effort to understand the various values in this wide ranging cult. We have to care enough to look at life from the point of view of "others". It's hard work being part of this cult. But the rewards are magnificent.

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Bill, thank you. Understanding and appreciating the beautiful human mix is difficult, but well worth every effort. The effort in itself can produce surprising friendships. I will also comment that our President Joe Biden has shown us how to accommplish this through patience, persistence, respect and understanding. As difficult as this working together and healthy relationship business can be, we can see the difference it makes in Democracy.

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Hey, your sentence, ‘ ... care enough to look at life from the view of “others”’ is true in my mind but it clashes w your sentence, ‘In a way, it is simply lazy.’ does not reflect the first one. There are psychological and emotional reasons, that if understood, makes MAGA peoples position understandable. so, what can we do so that they don’t feel the need to reject and be separate in such frightening ways? 

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There certainly are reasons why MAGA folks feel the way they do. Psychological, emotional, brutal bigoted indoctrination by parents and peers among others all play a role I am sure.

The answer, sadly I am afraid, is that the vast majority are unreachable.and hopelessly committed to their hate and vitriol. They want us to die.

But there is a huge middle of Independents and thoughtful Republicans who can be talked with. The backlash to the Dobbs decision is a game changer that brings me hope.

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Yes

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Been screaming this for years, it’s why FB and T considered me to be violating their “community standards”. But it was truth, that kind of thinking was cultivated by Rupert’s propaganda machine, way before chump.

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Republican lies about Obama were constant and outrageous, and somehow the public and press, and for that matter Obama, became inured to it, though actually the Big Lie treatment, where the whole party brazened it out despite glaring counter evidence, began with Reagan.

Strangely lies in a courtroom, that judges compliance with law, are considered criminal actions, and a lawyer yelling at a judge "you lie" would not be tolerated; and yet we allow those who define our laws and appoint judges to provably lie there is no tomorrow, and laugh up their sleeve, or quite openly, and expect no consequences. Yet certainly the functions of the other two branches of government are every bit as critical and and in need of professionalism as the judiciary, into which we are seeing the corruptions of the other two creeping.

And from the standpoint of numbers, the extent to which human rights are violated and justice perverted, unjust and oppressive law is every bit as corrupt as an unjust court process, yet affects a much wider swath of people, as laws supporting slavery did. We are encouraged to treat party politics as televised spectator sport, focused on subjugating the opposing "team", when democracy and justice unravel when the process is not conducted, so far as is practical, in good faith. Most people actually demand that of sporting events, yet far less so from the charting our own future and providing "liberty and justice for all".

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When Trump was asked what his favorite Bible verse was, he retorted that that was private. Light under bushel, then? Nope. Trump never showed the slightest interest in religion so far as I know until he found a way to milk it. He is pretty much the opposite of everything Jesus advised but his fanatical fundamentalist following could care less. Same thing with Bosonaro. Nothing's too crackpot once the cult has ahold of your brain. You love Big Brother.

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Sometimes I think chump is a cosmic joke, making fun of everything America pretended to be.

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Similar feelings Jeri. Think about the maxim sometime: "Man plans, God laughs." Perhaps God got over the joke and sent tfg to teach humility, defined as "get over your self-importance among My many great creations." My religious friends might be offened.

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How odd, I was trying to find what Gids laughter sounds like this morning and found this on Gelos, the Greek god of laughter:

https://www.theoi.com/Daimon/Gelos.html

Maybe Gods laughter is silent?

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He is a great pretender. He is much like Joseph Smith. A con artist. A quintessential used car salesman. A beggar. He is the largest lemming.

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There are also those on the “other side” wearing masks alone in a car.

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I find that wearing a mask really helps with my allergies when gardening or when the pollution level is high. Right now where I live the ragweed is really high. We gardened the other day and my daughter and I were trading the eye drop bottle back and forth. The next day I used a mask and my eyes were fine. It is great for dusting too. So, alone with dust and pollen is a mask is still a useful thing. Also, my daughter had to get antibiotics this Friday for tooth extraction gone bad. We were lucky to avoid the holiday ER which her allergist told me had a 19 hour wait. Why? Because all of the families who do not have health insurance were there after the first weeks of school with their children who have covid. So, the lovely no covid policies in our schools are kicking in. Our city needs to have covid clinics. Glad we could avoid those lines.

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Wearing a mask when changing the cat litter avoids an asthma attack in my experience.

I do still wear a mask in stores and libraries, as protection against not only covid but also colds and flu. The community chorus in which I sing still requires proof of vaccination and N95 masks.

The synagogue choir in which I sing is now masks optional, with no one wearing them - which is one reason it's much smaller this year than in the past. We live in interesting times.

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Why does that upset you so much? Is it harmful to you? Do you want people in your community to tell you what you can and can’t wear in your own car?

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We just forget to take them off after our doctor’s visit when we learn we have a terminal illness.

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So.......?

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Most MAGAts are the morons you couldn't stand back in high school, only more moronic as they descend into senility, proving that Some Things Never Change..

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Older used to be called wiser. I’d like to think that I am. But Rupert found a way to make a mockery of their patriotism, even some of the “greatest generation”. This has astounded me.

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Well, one thing I learned in the service was that, just like in Lake Woebegon, not everyone is "above average." Lots of great people I'll never forget, but more white male morons in one place at one time than anywhere else.

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In terms of becoming “more moronic” I would have to agree with Socrates, “all I know is that I know nothing”

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Do kayak in San Diego! The water and weather are perfect for it.

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Sep 5, 2022·edited Sep 5, 2022

Most of the time. However, right now, we're in day 4 of a heat wave that has held coastal temperatures - which usually are quite moderate - in the high 80s; heat wave at coast to continue until at least Wednesday. This is the second extended heat wave this summer that has included the beach areas where few have AC. Relative humidity has been higher than normal as well. Really easy to suffer heat exhaustion if outside walking or working in the sun.

I live quite close to the beach, uphill where I usually get nice breezes, even winds, from the ocean. Not presently. I woke up from heat at midnight the other day, looked out and saw that the temperature was 80 degrees outside, and my house thermostat showed 80 degrees in my bedroom. I turned on the AC which those of us in the airport takeoff & landing zone now have (in addition to double-pane windows to mitigate jet noise) thanks to a court settlement in the late 1980s over increasingly loud & frequent jet noise. In the morning, I looked at my outside thermometer about 6:30 am and it was still 80 degrees. By late afternoon, the outside temp was 88 degrees; my condo "enjoys" direct afternoon sun from about noon until sunset so I close up & lower blinds, an uncommon necessity where I live.

Being on the water helps but then there's the challenge of finding parking at beaches and bays....

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I love San Diego and have kayaked in the warm water and weather. But I have never lived there—it’s always different when living in a place.

Am now living in the Central Valley, near Yosemite, after 40 years in the Bay Area, and it’s 107. Supposed to be triple digits all week. Not what I thought it would be.

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I am MAGA and very much enjoyed this essay and try to use “critical thinking skills”. Both sides paint the other with much to broad a brush. We often have more in common then you think.

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Yeah, apples and oranges are both round, too. It’s the fundamental differences that matter. MAGAS can’t handle the truth so they resort to violence and crimes to avoid it.

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I agree with you that most Americans are far more in agreement than the news would suggest.

That's why the line that Liz Cheney and now President Biden have been drawing - between Americans who support democracy and the rule of law on one side, and the subset of Republicans who support political violence and think only their side is legitimate on the other - is meaningful. You can believe in right wing policies, and I can believe in progressive policies. We can disagree on all of them, and still agree that we want rule of law not rule by threats and intimidation, and be on the same side for that reason for this next election.

From what I have been reading, most Americans including most Republicans believe that the laws against abortion are wrong. Where do you stand on that?

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I believe that life starts at some point and that life, and the right to it, is preeminent above all other concerns. I see life starting at conception but recognize there are differences of opinion on this issue and in a representative republic the people make decisions on these issues. Although I am “pro life” my big beef with “Roe” was I thought it was poorly decided and argued.

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Follow up question: which people make these decisions? The woman who is pregnant? or the state or federal legislature?

If the legislators, is it permissible to restrict who gets to vote for them? Gerrymandering and voter suppression make a joke of true representation.

If the legislators, to what extent would you personally want them to narrow the possible choices? In several states now, women are expected to die, or very nearly die, for the sake of even an embryo or fetus that has no chance of becoming a living baby. For example, ectopic pregnancies, which are 1-2% of all pregnancies, can easily kill the pregnant person and will never produce a living baby - yet in some states the law forbids abortion even then.

My maternal grandmother believed both that life begins at conception and that killing that life is valid in self-defense. She also believed that the final decision to carry a pregnancy to term or not belongs to the pregnant person. To what degree do you agree with my grandmother?

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I agree we all may have much in common. But I wonder if facts and definitions are included in what is shared between centrists, libs, “traditional conservatives” and MAGA members.

Such as the definition of “great” in the context of MAGA. And when isn’t or wasn’t America great—warts and all? When is “Again” referring to?

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Great questions. Personally I think what makes America “great” are the principles that we were founded on and often fail to adhere to. Equality under the law. Rule of law. Property rights. Freedom of speech, conscience, press. Federal system, etc. on current topics I would like a much more limited government, secure borders, control of the security state. Preference for Main Street over Wall Street. Engagement in the world without any more wars. School choice.

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Can’t disagree with anything you’ve cited about what America has written down that it stands for. (We can quibble about school choice.) But from its inception, the words and deeds have never matched—still don’t. Main Street was never primary to wealth or trade.

I suspect we might differ on what parts or processes of government to limit, but that’s normal. We need a coherent border and immigration policy—which hasn’t been seen since maybe Eisenhower’s braceros program. I worked for the NSA, so have much to say about “security” and government spending (waste). But I digress…

How can there be an “Again” when the written America was never the actual America?

America has always been in the process of becoming its ideals, with great tension between the ideals written in the Declaration of Independence (all Men are created equal)vs the harsh exclusivity of The Constitution (Blacks were 3/5 of a person, women and men not owning property could not vote).

I think we are all “making America” everyday by fulfilling our duties—and courtesies—of citizens and residents living together (jury duty, volunteering at the library or polling places, using turn signals, not killing schoolchildren, etc)

I traveled all over the US for 25 years on business. I’ve lived overseas. America is a special piece of Earth geographically, unique from being created by all immigrants, and so incredibly diverse—long before one gets to all the many ethnicities.

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In all sincerity, I would like to see that list.

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They ARE a cult in every sense of the word.

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Yes, we in CA are on 🔥 right now so maybe the MAGATS will suffer “bigly” from our extreme heat!

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“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” -Lincoln

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Abe Lincoln would know about the superior benefits of labor in real life experience!

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This!

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This is a stupid comment on my part, but here goes: Labor Day has always meant the end of summer and the beginning of school for me. Even though school days are far behind me, and most schools begin before Labor Day now, I still feel a combination of elation for the new school year's possibilities (and new school clothes) and a little sadness for the end of vacation.

I apologize and mean no disrespect for workers and fair wages, but the holiday just has a different meaning for me. I've often wondered why we don't celebrate labor on May 1 when much of the world honors workers. I know it was a communist-oriented holiday originally, but isn't that the point? A day to recognize how capitalism could not survive with out the common folk. You know, the 99%.?

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Not a stupid comment at all. The right wing in this country has always hated “Labor Day” and all it represents. Of course, the US should be part of the world and celebrate on May 1, which is a day going back in history to celebrate spring, rebirth and hope for the future. You made a wonderful comment Hope. Never call yourself “stupid”. Never.

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A big "heart" and a hug of thanks. Elisabeth.

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attempted like

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Citizen60, Drives you nuts, doesn't it?

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Is there a substack “help desk”? I find it maddening also. Click, click, smash the screen (not really….lol), etc. I use all the social media platforms and they work great! We PAY for substack, the least they can do is fix their “like” buttons! (I know FIRST WORLD problem….)…..

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I have complained to Substack help, saying it has been a persistent problem for many of us, but they claim they cannot duplicate the problem. Maybe if enough people complain they will realize they have a problem to solve.

support@substack.zendesk.com

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Good point. If they can’t fix it they should turn the ‘Like’ feature off, as it randomizes the responses beyond the point of their being useful. I have about a 50% success rate in ‘liking’ comments over the past several months. It wasn’t as bad in the Letter’s early days—perhaps (Luddite speaking here) they need to afford more space to a site that’s grown massively in the interim?

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Many thanks, Mim!

I’ve emailed Substack this morning, echoing your complaint.

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Trying and failing to Like your comment!

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Must be overworked

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I find that if you double click (and sometimes go back to it if it doesn't work the first time) it works. Some times there's a delay. Yes it can be annoying.

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worked that time!

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When the heart button doesn’t turn red, refresh your page and it should then show it’s red. If not, just click on it again, and it should turn red. You may have to scroll to find it.

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Or choose a key word to search on to take you back to that comment.

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That assumes you recall the contents of the comment.

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Big bright heart.

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Hope, in Chicago Labor Day is celebrated on May Day, and its celebrations are all about labor, not the end of summer or going back to school—it’s so stirring, and the big parade ends in Haymarket Square at the statue commemorating one of the fiercest struggles in US labor history. And of course May 1 is attached to the ancient celebration of the coming of summer and the long days of light, the greening of the fields and forests, the return of the migrating birds and their birdsong. A time of hope.

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Mary, A beautiful observation. I grew up in New York, but love Chicago! Thank you for this history.

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Thanks for this lovely reminder of the wonderful celebration of Labor Day in Chicago. My mom was born and raised in Wilmette. She occasionally took my brothers and me to visit our grandparents on Labor Day so we could watch the parade snd participate. Grand fun and a wonderful chance to learn more history about the Labor movement (Grandpa was a Sociology professor at the University of Chicago so the visits always came with a lecture, usually in the kitchen at breakfast. Didn’t much appreciate it at the time but do now, lol)

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I'm so embarrassed! I grew up in Chicago and was totally unaware of this!

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When I was a child in TX, on May 1 (May Day) my mother would help me draw and cut out colored flowers to put into a paper basket-like holder to leave on the door of her friend. I knew other people didn't celebrate like that but Mom was from CT so I thought that was the reason until I learned more history.

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We did that on May Day also. Charming, old tradition

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Wonderful, Pat. I love your memory. My parents were communists, so we DID celebrate May Day in my home. Labor Day, too, of course.

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Yes, you reminded me of this custom in our home too: hanging little paper baskets of paper flowers on neighbors' doorknobs. Thanks for the reminiscence.

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Sep 5, 2022·edited Sep 5, 2022

Kansas, '50's, paper basket w/ blooming spirea and mock orange with a butterscotch and taffy included...

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Sweet additions

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We did that in NY too "way back when". Maybe an Eastern Coast thing? Who knows. It was a good thing for kids to do - there appears to be so much of the opposite now.

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We did that in Los Angeles in the Forties. Also danced around Maypole with flowers on our arms and twirly skirts. We were probably a throwback to the Druids.

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It began when "communist" still meant communist as Marx intended. Huge holiday right across Europe nowadays. May Day is a happy, happy day, goes back to pagan times. In France people give each other sprays of lily-of-the-valley.

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Best commenti so far.....

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Not at all stupid. For so many of us feel the same. I love your final sentence.

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Same for me. When I was a kid, school started the day after Labor Day, so it was in fact the end of summer.

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Me too. And I appreciate the history lesson.

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Amazon workers in Staten Island voted on September 1, 2022 to unionize after repeated efforts by Jeff Bezos to defeat their efforts all over the US.

“Amazon loses effort to overturn historic union election at Staten Island warehouse

PUBLISHED THU, SEP 1 20226:39 PM EDTUPDATED THU, SEP 1 20227:02 PM EDT

Annie Palmer

@ANNIERPALMER

KEY POINTS

A National Labor Relations Board official on Thursday recommended Amazon’s objections to a historic union election in New York be rejected.

In April, workers at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse voted to form its first U.S. union.

Amazon has until Sept. 16 to appeal the NLRB official’s recommendations.”

SUCH GREAT NEWS for this Labor Day, 2022. Thank you, Heather, for giving us the history behind this important holiday in American History.

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From the Washington Post last week:

"The survey found broad public support for the recent spate of labor organizing. It found that 63 percent of likely voters favor “recent efforts to establish unions at Amazon warehouses, Apple retail stores, Starbucks coffee shops and other establishments."

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And here's a more comprehensive piece about where things stand today compared to the past. Very encouraging — and no paywall: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/09/04/labor-day-unions-resurgence-popularity/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_opinions&utm_campaign=wp_opinions

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👋 👋 👋 👋 👋 👋 👋

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This article was published more than 3 years ago

RETROPOLIS

You know who was into Karl Marx? No, not AOC. Abraham Lincoln.

The two men were friendly and influenced each other

Image without a caption

By Gillian Brockell

July 27, 2019 at 7:00 a.m. EDT

Karl Marx, left, in 1867 and President Abraham Lincoln in 1865. (Wikimedia Commons; Library of Congress/Friedrich Wunder; Alexander Gardner)

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It was December 1861, a Tuesday at noon, when President Abraham Lincoln sent his first annual message ⁠ — what later became the State of the Union ⁠— to the House and Senate.

By the next day, all 7,000 words of the manuscript were published in newspapers across the country, including the Confederate South. This was Lincoln’s first chance to speak to the nation at length since his inaugural address.

He railed against the “disloyal citizens” rebelling against the Union, touted the strength of the Army and Navy, and updated Congress on the budget.

For his eloquent closer, he chose not a soliloquy on unity or freedom but an 800-word meditation on what the Chicago Tribune subtitled “Capital Versus Labor:”

“Labor is prior to and independent of capital,” the country’s 16th president said. “Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

If you think that sounds like something Karl Marx would write, well, that might be because Lincoln was regularly reading Karl Marx.

President Trump has added a new arrow in his quiver of attacks as of late, charging that a vote for “any Democrat” in the next election “is a vote for the rise of radical socialism” and that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and other congresswomen of color are “a bunch of communists.” Yet the first Republican president, for whom Trump has expressed admiration, was surrounded by socialists and looked to them for counsel.

Of course, Lincoln was not a socialist, nor communist nor Marxist, just as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) aren’t. (Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) identify as “democratic socialists.”) But Lincoln and Marx ⁠— born only nine years apart ⁠— were contemporaries. They had many mutual friends, read each other’s work and, in 1865, exchanged letters.

When Lincoln served his sole term in Congress in the late 1840s, the young lawyer from Illinois became close friends with Horace Greeley, a fellow Whig who served briefly alongside him. Greeley was better known as the founder of the New York Tribune, the newspaper largely responsible for transmitting the ideals and ideas that formed the Republican Party in 1854.

And what were those ideals and ideas? They were anti-slavery, pro-worker and sometimes overtly socialist, according to John Nichols, author of the book “The ‘S’ Word: A Short History of an American Tradition … Socialism.” The New York Tribune championed the redistribution of land in the American West to the poor and the emancipation of slaves.

“Greeley welcomed the disapproval of those who championed free markets over the interests of the working class, a class he recognized as including both the oppressed slaves of the south and the degraded industrial laborers of the north,” Nichols writes.

Across the Atlantic, another man linked the fates of enslaved and wage workers: Marx. Upon publishing “The Communist Manifesto” with Friedrich Engels in 1848, the German philosopher sought refuge in London after a failed uprising in what was then the German Confederation. Hundreds of thousands of German radicals immigrated to the United States in this same period, filling industrial jobs in the North and joining anti-slavery groups. Marx had once considered “going West” himself, to Texas, according to historian Robin Blackburn in his book “An Unfinished Revolution: Karl Marx and Abraham Lincoln.”

Marx was intensely interested in the plight of American slaves. In January 1860, he told Engels that the two biggest things happening in the world were “on the one hand the movement of the slaves in America started by the death of John Brown, and on the other the movement of the serfs in Russia.”

The day John Brown was hanged for his raid on Harpers Ferry

He equated Southern slaveholders with European aristocrats, Blackburn writes, and thought ending chattel slavery “would not destroy capitalism, but it would create conditions far more favorable to organizing and elevating labor, whether white or black.”

Marx was also friends with Charles A. Dana, an American socialist fluent in German who was the managing editor of the New York Tribune. In 1852, Dana hired Marx to be the newspaper’s British correspondent.

Over the next decade, Marx wrote nearly 500 articles for the paper. Many of his contributions became unsigned columns appearing on the front page as the publication’s official position. Marx later “borrowed liberally” from his New York Tribune writings for his book “Capital,” according to Nichols.

Like a lot of nascent Republicans, Lincoln was an “avid reader” of the Tribune. It’s nearly guaranteed that, in the 1850s, Lincoln was regularly reading Marx.

The editorial staff of the New York Tribune sometime during the 1850s. Horace Greeley is seated third from the left. Charles A. Dana is standing in the center. (Mathew Brady/Library of Congress)

In 1860, two major factors helped to propel Lincoln — a one-term congressman and country lawyer most known for losing a Senate campaign — to the Republican nomination for the presidency. First, the support of former German revolutionaries who had become key players in the Republican Party; and second, the support of the party’s newspaper, the Tribune.

Once Lincoln took office, his alliance with socialists didn’t stop. Dana left the Tribune to become Lincoln’s eyes and ears in the War Department, following along with troop movements and telling Lincoln what he thought of his generals. A soldier working in the telegraph office later wrote that “Lincoln waited eagerly” for “Dana’s long d[i]spatches.”

And Greeley continued to urge Lincoln to take a harder line against slavery, to make the Civil War not just about preserving the union but about abolition. Marx did the same in the pages of the Tribune.

In 1863, they got what they wanted when Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

Lincoln moved to end slavery on New Year’s Day 1863. It went on for three more years.

In January 1865, Marx wrote to Lincoln on behalf of the International Workingmen’s Association, a group for socialists, communists, anarchists and trade unions, to “congratulate the American people upon your reelection.”

He said “an oligarchy of 300,000 slaveholders” had defiled the republic and that “the workingmen of Europe feel sure that, as the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy for the middle class, so the American Antislavery War will do for the working class.”

A few weeks later, a reply came via Charles Francis Adams — son of former president John Quincy Adams, grandson of former president John Adams and U.S. ambassador to Britain under Lincoln.

He told Marx that Lincoln had received his message, and it was “accepted by him with a sincere and anxious desire that he may be able to prove himself not unworthy of the confidence which has been recently extended to him by his fellow citizens and by so many of the friends of humanity and progress throughout the world.”

Notably, Adams indicated Lincoln considered Marx and company “friends.”

He went on to say that the Union “derive[s] new encouragement to persevere from the testimony of the workingmen of Europe.”

Both letters ran in newspapers across Britain and the United States. Marx was delighted, telling Engels it created “such a sensation” that the “bourgeoisie” in private clubs were “shaking their heads at it.”

Frederick Douglass needed to see Lincoln. Would the president meet with a former slave?

Lincoln also met with the New York chapter of the Workingmen’s Association, telling its members in 1864: “The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people, of all nations, and tongues, and kindreds.” Which is perhaps a more eloquent rendering of Marx’s famous rallying cry: “Workers of the world unite!”

Lincoln never took up the mantle of socialism. He believed in the system of wage labor even as he proposed reforms to it; Marx rejected it as another form of slavery. But Lincoln certainly viewed socialists as allies, and Nichols writes, “It is indisputable that the Republican Party had at its founding a red streak.”

Though this fact may be little known now, it hasn’t been a secret to other figures in American history. When the socialist orator and frequent presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs made a campaign stop in Springfield, Ill., in 1908, he told the crowd, “The Republican Party was once red. Lincoln was a revolutionary.”

It was also noted by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. In February 1968, at a celebration of the life of W.E.B. Du Bois at Carnegie Hall, King brought up that the co-founder of the NAACP became a communist in his later years.

“It is worth noting,” King said, “that Abraham Lincoln warmly welcomed the support of Karl Marx during the Civil War and corresponded with him freely. … Our irrational obsessive anti-communism has led us into too many quagmires to be retained as if it were a mode of scientific thinking.”

Read more Retropolis:

Abraham Lincoln’s ‘angel mother’ and the second ‘mama’ who outlived him

Activists slam Ocasio-Cortez for ‘sanitizing’ Eva Perón. Was Evita a Nazi sympathizer?

Missouri v. Celia, a Slave: She killed the white master raping her, then claimed self-defense

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This was somehow omitted from my high school history lessons. It has always seemed to me that the "sweet spots" may lie in integration of private enterprise and the public sphere, but when it comes to those functions of society that are most critical to quality of life and survival, public control is vital, and that the public should make the rules for private business, not vice versa. A government of the people, by the people, for the people, don'cha you know.

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Thank you for sharing this Sandy. Much was omitted from our history lessons, as J L Graham humbly notes. The current push by the far frightwing of the gop to censor certain books today is certainly relative to what shall be in tomorrows history books. Ponder that just a moment.

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THANK YOU for all of that!

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Sandy - HCR commenter, daria (MID) posted this article earlier for you - and us, so we can agree with you!

https://www.npr.org/2022/09/04/1120561788/historians-advise-the-president-the-problem-the-scholars-were-all-white

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Thank you. It’s shocking to read this account of Biden’s meeting with 5 “handpicked” white historians at a moment of crisis for democracy whose brunt is being born (as always) by Black Americans. But, sigh, not surprising.

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Sep 5, 2022·edited Sep 5, 2022

I’m no expert but it does look to me that Biden has been intent on promoting diverse voices. The first question I asked myself was who are the non-white scholars of history he could have invited. I would love suggestions as I’m quite ignorant in this area. Cornell West came to mind. As I thought about a non white person surviving the study of History in this country I thought about how traumatizing that would be in the traditional sense reading all the lies that were told and truth ignored. Are there other institutions that can compare to Howard University? My indigenous husband had a relatively positive experience at McGill, especially when compared to his peer’s experiences at Harvard.

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Dr Carol Anderson (Emory University) would have been an excellent choice.

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Thank you Daria. I will read up and inform myself. Appreciated! 🙏

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Also try Prof Ibram X Kendi’s National Book Award-winning *Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.*

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Thank you! I appreciate the recommendation. I finally found a list as well and am using the information given here to communicate these concerns to Biden and his administration. 🙏

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I hadn’t finished my comment when I accidentally posted it so edited it. Sorry!

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Mary, it is really mind boggling that white people in charge never really bother to seek out a legitimately relevant perspective. I was shocked but not surprised. It's all theater.

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Well to be fair, some seem to—Bernie Sanders listened up, read, thought, changed, after BLM challenged him to stop translating race into class in a knee-jerk way in his first campaign for president. But Biden’s had a Whiteness problem throughout his career, so like you I wasn’t surprised. He hasn’t changed, despite some gestures, not out of malice but because he truly doesn’t get it. I’m curious about why not. It’s hard, yes, if you’re swaddled in whiteness—as I am—but not impossible to study, to open your eyes and ears, to trust what people are telling you about their lives. Not as hard as learning French or trigonometry, both of which he surely did in high school.

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