Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Reform Act; Troubles In Berlin

The state of TIAH

September 4th, 2006

in 1959, the needlessly restrictive Labor Reform Act sponsored by Senator John Kennedy of Massachusetts passes the Senate. Kennedy had given in to Republican and conservative Democratic pressure to put a leash on the unions, in spite of his own sympathies towards them, and gleeful anti-labor forces eagerly passed the bill in the House the next day. Once President Eisenhower signed it into law, unions immediately took the matter to court, arguing that if business organizations – made up of owners and managers - were not restricted in a similar manner, that this law was blatantly unconstitutional. The court agreed, and struck the law down. This attack on the right to organize labor convinced the vast majority of the unionists in America that they were not being represented by either the Democrats or the Republicans, and they began the Union Party to speak for their interests in politics. The initial result of their entry into the political fray was a diminishment of the Democratic Party, as union members abandoned their traditional home for the Union Party. By the 1970's, the Union Party held a strong minority in both Houses of Congress, and with the elections of 1982, captured the House, which they have held ever since. The Senate remains an elusive goal for them, but they managed to elect President Andrew Stern in 1976 and reelect him in 1980.

in 1969, Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh dies in the Vietnamese capitol of Hanoi. Although fairly left-wing in politics, Minh had been the most steadfast ally of the United States in southeast Asia ever since President Wilson had stood up for the Indochinese at the conclusion of World War I. Minh's socialism allowed him to act as a middleman between the United States and the Soviet Union on hundreds of matters, and he proved invaluable in easing tensions between the two superpowers. Minh is often credited with laying the groundwork for the Global Peace Treaty of 1965, that reined in the headlong rush of stockpiling atomic bombs that the superpowers had been engaged in. Minh was so beloved in Vietnam that they renamed Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City after his death.

in 1980, French and West German armored divisions roll towards Berlin as the Soviets consolidate their hold on West Berlin. Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev warns the Europeans that they could provoke “dire consequences” if they insist on recapturing their toehold in East Germany. Great Britain's Margaret Thatcher, mobilizing the Royal Air Force to provide air cover for the ground troops of their allies, replies that they have a few dire consequences of their own that they can unleash. The nuclear forces of France, Britain and the Soviet Union all go on high alert. The United Nations, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, calls out to America to intercede in the conflict, but President Charles Evans refuses to expand on his original statement from the day before. Nations from around the world pledge their aid to both sides of the conflict as worried UN mediators shuttle back and forth between NATO headquarters in Brussels and the Soviet Union's capitol in Moscow.

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