obama

Meister: So, what about the state of the unions, Mr. President?

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By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

Unions? Organized labor? The AFL-CIO? Those words were nowhere to be heard in President Obama's State of the Union address, despite labor's vital role in the economy and strong support for Obama. The continued support of the labor movement is essential if the president is to carry out the bold plans he outlined and if he is to be re-elected.

The president's failure to mention one of the country's most important economic and political institutions was unfortunate. It was perhaps understandable, however, given the anti-union climate stirred up by attacks on public employee unions and their allies.

Obama's failure to mention unions and their leaders was ignored in the post-speech pronouncements of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and other major unionists. They in fact proclaimed the speech a victory because of its endorsement of policies widely supported by labor. Read more »

Occupy and the State of the Union

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Have all of the Occupy actions made any difference? Gee -- I wonder.

I wonder if a president who acted a year ago as if economic justice wasn't even an issue in this country would have devoted a substantial part of his State of the Union speech to fairness in tax policy. I wonder if he would have said this:Read more »

Will Obama bring the populist fire in tonight's speech?

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President Barack Obama has a choice for how he uses his State of the Union speech this evening. He could follow the advice of Blue Dog Democrats like Mark Penn, who wrote in The Hill today that Obama should avoid “rhetoric that could be interpreted as class warfare.” Or he can find his inner populist and give the speech that the 99 percent needs to hear by announcing that the rich and the Right have already declared that war, and now he intends to win it on behalf of the people.Read more »

Calvin Trillin: Newt lays into Mitt

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It's "pious baloney." Yes, pious baloney.

What Mitt speaks, Newt says, is remarkably phony:

His citizen pose is all hooey;

He's hungered for office like Thomas E. Dewey.

Read more »

Dick Meister: Jobless in wonderland

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By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

Finding a job is hard enough for the many millions of unemployed American workers. But, believe it or not, the fact that they are jobless keeps many employers from hiring them.

That's right, being jobless keeps many workers from being hired for many of the jobs that are available.

It's crazy, I know. But once they're unemployed, many workers are destined to remain unemployed. Many employers are saying, in effect, that workers who are laid off by other employers, or who can't get other employers to hire them, must automatically be considered bad workers who they don't want to hire either. Read more »

Will Obama win in 2012?

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Right now, all the signs say no -- the economy isn't improving, he's pissing off his base, the GOP kicked his ass in the 2010 midterms, and a vast majority of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction. But then, at this time in 1991, all the signs said that George Bush I was unbeatable.

And then, of course, you have the Republican candidates.Read more »

Why are Harris, Newsom, and other pols silent on the federal pot crackdown?

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UPDATED BELOW As I worked on this week's story about the federal crackdown on California's marijuana industry, I tried to get a statement from California Attorney General Kamala Harris. After all, it's her job to defend California's medical marijuana laws, which she was fairly supportive of as our district attorney. And she was an early Barack Obama backer who could probably get him or U.S. Read more »

The Chron's bizarre tax logic

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Chronicle Washington columnist Carolyn Lochhead doesn't typically show her political beliefs in such a clear and direct way, but her attack on the Obama tax plan is just ... bizarre. Check it out:

Rather than pursue long-run tax and entitlement reform, the new Obama plan, his sixth by some counts, litters up the tax code even more and does nothing significant on debt drivers Medicare and Medicaid.Read more »

Lefty protesters greet Obama in SF

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President Barack Obama arrives in San Francisco this afternoon (5/25) for a fundraiser at the Fairmont Hotel, where he'll be greeted by protesters from at least two realms of the progressive movement: immigrant rights activists unhappy with his administration's reluctance to take on immigration reform, and anti-war activists angry that Obama has continued President George W. Bush's pro-war and anti-civil liberties policies.Read more »