Never Cross the Picket Line

Advice from my Grandfather a member of the United Auto Workers (long time ago)

Unless President Biden gets the heads of the auto manufacturers to step back and negotiate with the auto unions it is looking like a lot of picket lines and support for those lines is going to happen. These strikes have ripple effects beyond Detroit, and the plants with unions. Way back when everything was in Detroit a strike there was local. Then plants were placed all over the United States so strikes could be national.

Today is an important day for solidarity. I am seeing more unions adding they will be sympathetic to the UAW AFofL/CIO, in other words ready to not cross lines or in the case of the Teamsters (my mother is a Teamster), to not deliver products. This will affect the non-union plants, effectively putting the picket lines at those doors too.

All this is important as unions regain popularity, although still not anywhere as strong as in the late Sixties and early Seventies. But, with more young workers joining unions or exploring them, it means more will not cross the lines.

Years ago when I was running for office a local plant was on strike. One day I had a young volunteer with me as I was driving to a function. I stopped at a store to buy some edible support for those on the line and then went back to walk a little with them. My volunteer got a small lesson in unions. Part of my speech was my support for labor and she got to see it in action.


When life hands you a cheeseburger, eat it.


Odd little bits of life pop up to remind us of earlier years.  Today was a Facebook page of remembering a city I used to live in.  About sixty years ago, plus a few years.  I never respond to FB things as it is usually not worth it and what I add it just a bit of nothing.  However, just now, there was a do you remember for something that was long after I left the city.  I had several remembrances of times when I did go to that intersection of roads.  At the time it was just a four lane and a two lane meeting at a traffic light.

Thinking back, I could smell and taste the French fries and hamburgers, sometimes when the tips were really big, a cheeseburger.  At the time I was a newspaper delivery kid.  I had a large route and I would wear out my bicycle tires, bearings and parts.  This is when I learned the difference between professional and consumer (current terms).  I wore out tires and bearings because of how much my bicycle was driven each day. My friends, without routes, did not have the same costs. I went to a bicycle shop on the corner of this intersection to buy parts and occasionally have “tune ups”.  The owner showed me the bike I should have and how it could handle the load of the newspapers and the miles ridden every day.

I saved up and bought the bike.  It made a difference and it taught me about the difference between price and everything else.  A valuable lesson that I owe to someone who knew their products. This was important when I next moved into retail camera sales, but that is for another bit of my life.

Curious as to what the intersection looks like today, I pulled up your ubiquitous map system, Google Maps, to see the change.  To my surprise, the bike shop is still there. Over sixty years and it is still in existence.   Wow!!!! (yes, the extra ! are worth it)  Very few mom and pop shops last this long.  And, to my additional surprise the site of the original McDonald’s is still there.  But it is now a Wendy’s. Back in the early 60’s a McDonald’s burger and fries was less than a dollar.  My weekly income from the newspaper route was about fifteen dollars, depending on tips.  (sometimes those dropped if I tossed a paper through some ones picture window or milk bottles).  I was making “good” money for a thirteen-year-old.

It is fun thinking back to those years.  Paperboys as we were called back then did a major service, we were professionals at a job.  Do I lament the passing of this job to those who drive around and toss papers into the muck in a ditch?  No. The world has changed.  May we accept that life is dependent on Chinese electronic tablets rather than U.S. pulp newspapers now.  But, making decisions for my work tools, bicycle, and my life expenses, a burger and fries, was way beyond that which more twelve and thirteen year old do, then and now.

May we think of freedom,

not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” Dr. Peter Marshall, United States Senate Chaplin.

There many times since my grandfather (paternal) died in the Eighties when I am happy he is not seeing what is happening to these United States. He was a deeply patriotic man, a good Roosevelt Democrat. He had some serious flaws, racist primarily. Overall a solid union man, middle class, blue collar American.

His brother, my great-uncle, was killed in WWI when a German submarine torpedoed his boat. That act deepened his patriotism, which fed to my father and myself. He was as anti-Communist as anyone. Although not a Republican (note capitalized R) he understood their beliefs after WWII. Now that the gqp is deeply aligned with a Communist dictator he would be revolted and ready to pound them into mush.

A church going Roman Catholic, he converted because his wife was, he believed in charity for those less fortunate. The heartlessness shown by the current republican party and supreme court would have him in tears.

After his discharge from the U. S. Navy he lived through the years of the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression. He tried to reenlist in the Navy for WWII, but was too old. He had lived and seen why Social Security was created. That the gop is about to destroy the last eighty plus years and America would have him ready to fight again.

It is time to ask ourselves if we are ready to fight for our lives and America. We know the republicans are fighting to destroy everything. We have to stop them.

Children are now tyrants.

Children; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. They no longer rise when elders enter the room, they contradict their parents and tyrannize their teachers. Children are now tyrants.” Socrates

Having now wasted watched thousands of hours watching all sorts of video during the last twenty years, much of it recently on YouTube, I have seen hundreds of young people doing all sorts of things to have fun and earn money. Their diligence and creativity is wonderful. I have seen youngsters, under fifty-five types, working in arts, marine work, truck driving, buying abandoned properties and turning them into resorts, just about everything there is to do, they are doing it.

I hear so much about how they are sponging off their parents, they do not want to work, everything is handed them. Yup, ol’ Socrates foresaw this happening.

The kids are all right (I think I heard this sometime ago). The transformation of the world started a little of fifty years ago. I was a pioneer in the computer age which essentially began with the creation of the solid state processor on a chip. Massive integration put the components into a chip that could fit on a board. It was late in this period that the next computer age started.

The computer and Internet age that is. That was a little over twenty years ago. Before that was the new pioneer generation. They are total computer life. It is funny watching some of the videos when they come across something very strange and exclaim weird words. They do not have the vocabulary for much of what my generation grew up with.

Movie projector. Rotary phone. Telegram. Punch time clock. Carbon paper. Onion skin. Air mail. Pocket watch pocket. Green stamps. Hi-test. You get the idea.

What I have seen is them working in the new computer age. It is not the computer as a wonder thing. It is them working in a world in which the computer, either tiny and embedded or massive in a cloud, is just another tool, like a #2 pencil or an egg beater. They are doing what needs to be done to enjoy life and eat.

“Anyone who isn’t confused really doesn’t understand the situation.”

Edward R Murrow regarding the war in Indo-China, the Vietnam War

A question worth asking, as the debate over leaving Afghanistan takes place, have things changed to where a presence forever in a foreign country makes sense?  I am all for leaving, but this is not like when the Soviets left a long time ago in the nineteen eighties.  At that time they were in Afghanistan for a different reason.

Although the Americans went in under the pretense of fighting terrorism, that was twenty years ago.  Americans went in roughly ten some years after the Soviets left.  Times have changed.  Back then the shell of the Russian world was collapsing under the weight of it actually being a step above a third world country. 

Today, we are looking at an ambitious country which is actually doing more than supplying weapons.  China goes into a country and improves it, but with a debt to be paid later.  The later payment date is having China pseudo rule it. 

Could we be back in the Cold War but with a different opponent?  Yes, I think we are.  China does have the cojones to do things the old Soviets could not.  And, they are doing it by not brutalizing the people during the invasion.  China shows up with a wallet.

Do we accept the unknown consequences of leaving the Southwest Asia countries without a presence?  Or, do we stay in one to provide a block to another political adversary? I see the question as one we need to ask now and be prepared for an answer we do not like. I would enjoy China adding its flag to the pile of invaders who thought it a good place to set up a military outpost.