Friday, April 30, 2010

Re: "Why Law Enforcement Officials Should Hate Arizona's Racist New Law"

"Why Law Enforcement Officials Should Hate Arizona's Racist New Law,

My Comment:
What the Arizona anti-immigration law really proves is the fecklessness of the Green Party and other ideologically pure leftist groups.

Why? Because Arizona is a clean money, clean elections state so Greens and other ideologically pure leftist political parties and individuals can not fall back on their standard excuse of lack of funding to get get the message out.

In fact when Arizona passed its clean money, clean elections law the Republican Party of Arizona feared a wave of liberal/progressive Democrats and more radical leftist parties sweeping state house elections. That ain't happened. In fact just the opposite occurred.

Clean money, clean elections has led to Arizona politics being the playground for Ayn Rand-cultists, George Lincoln Rockwell-groupies, John Birch Society-fellow travelers, Grover Norquist-lovers and other various and sundry flavors of right wing anarchists, homophobes and xenophobes.

Look at who's running for what in Arizona this fall and to date only one Green, a Richard Grayson, has declared. He's running against the incumbent Republican US Representative the aptly named Jeff Flake. On the Web site Grayson is characterized as an "Attorney, NY Resident," traits which will not endear him with the former Midwesterners and Californians of white Arizona.

Face it, the United States is screwed. And it is the Baby Boomer generation that has screwed it. I mean we Boomers were supposed to be this great break from the "conservatism" of our parents. What a load of bullshit that was! We Boomers were supposed to be the generation of peace, love and understanding. What a load of bullshit that was! What is going down in Arizona and across the nation will not straighten out until the Boomers and GenXers are out of the picture, and that's going to take another generation. Thirty years! By then the damage may be irreversible. But by then, hopefully, I'll be dead.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's all bullshit if Employee Free Choice Act isn't passed

It's Sunday and this is the day President Obama eulogizes the 29 scab miners who died needless deaths from a preventable explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, WV owned by Massey Energy; the CEO of which should face indictment for man slaughter but more than likely will not and go on his merry way killing gullible scab labor for the greater glory of the shareholders.

As reported by the Washington Post, President Obama plans on ladling out the usual treacle about how these brave men risked their lives, "... all for their families. ...These miners lived - as they died - in pursuit of the American dream." It seems the "American" dream these days consists of owning a nice pick up, a fishing boat, a two-story tract house, an LCD big screen TV and being treated alright by the corporate bastards who own one's soul, q.v. April 7, "Whipped American Worker"

The Washington Post report adds, the president plans on reminding all of we mere mortals, as these 29 martyrs are carried aloft to some coal begrimed Valhalla, "Never forget, they say, miners keep America's lights on."  He will then pledge greater vigilance and detail for mine safety so future Upper Big Branch mining disaster will never happen again.

Now here's why the president's speech is bullshit: nowhere does he mention, at least as reported by the Washington Post, the fact that traditionally unionized mines have safer work environments. While the president waxes poetic on how the dead hero miners and all us consumers of electricity are "...all family. We are Americans[,]" he breaths not a word about the Employee Free Choice Act.

EFCA is a bill that needs even greater legislative priority that "immigration" reform.
The Employee Free Choice Act streamlines procedures for employees to decide on union representation and bargain a first contract. Under this bill, a union would be automatically recognized in a workplace when a majority of employees sign cards stating that they want to be represented by that union. To facilitate agreement on a first contract for employees after the union is recognized, the bill enables either the union or management to refer any disputes about the contract to mediation if an accord has not been reached within 90 days after bargaining begins. If the mediator is unable to reach a deal within an additional 30 days, the dispute will go to binding arbitration with the arbitration agreement binding for two years. Finally, the bill increases penalties for violations of labor law: raising fines, tripling the amount of back wages employees can receive if they are illegally fired or discriminated against for exercising their labor rights, and requiring the courts to seek injunctions against employers, as well as unions, that violate labor laws.
But the sticking point is the simple "card check" requirement. As usual the forces of reaction, never champions of democracy unless it suits them, have gone into full cry that card check "would effectively eliminate private voting."  Of course the suburban white boys who pump out this propaganda have never gone through a National Labor Relations Board union-certification vote. Or if they have they have done so from management's perspective and know that management intimidation, management snitches and ballot stuffing are par for the course.

The sad fact is the American worker is so whipped and brainwashed by thirty plus years of right wing radio and television demagoguery, in the sense of, a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power, that he or she accepts the fact that he or she is fungible.  Why do you think corporations and even government agencies have substituted the bureaucratese gobbledygook of  "human resources department" for the older and straight forward "employement office?" As the whipped American worker Kevin Lambert says, "They treat me alright."

If Congress and the president do not make progress on the EFCA then these 29 miners will have died in vain.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Calling Doctor Keynes

O.K., we can piss and moan all we want about how both political parties are in corporate America's hip-pocket and they are. And we can stomp up and down, thump our chests and yell we're not going to vote or we're going to vote Green, libertarian or socialist.

And it won't do a bit of good.

Why? Because for the last sixty years or so the "free market" school of economic thought has been in the ascendancy and it doesn't look as if it is about to be totally discredited at any time in the immediate future. Oh, sure we've just had this "great recession," but the coordinator class fucks who got hurt by it the least are already seeing an up-tick in their stock portfolios so no biggie. Right? Newsweek magazine says "we're back" so it must be true.

And the Investor class bastards who were the root cause of the "great recession of 2008" are reaping even greater financial rewards than their coordinator class employees, life is good again.

So what if a bunch of unwashed, Jesus-loving working class schnooks are unemployed? Keeps the cost of labor down. And through years of clever and not-so-subtle propaganda the dumb fucks of the laboring middle classes are at each other's throats and in the mood to burn down Washington, D.C. Life is great for the Investor class and its coordinator class lapdogs. They are after all modern America's philosopher-kings.

And as all good philosopher-kings they have concocted a noble lie that a "free market" economy is something akin to a force of nature. To the four forces that hold the universe together, gravity, electromagnetism, the strong and weak nuclear forces, add the "free market." As I interpret this noble lie, the "free market" economy works independent of human control much like gravity say. Its effects can be observed and quantified but human intervention to change the course and behavior of the "free market" are doomed to failure. The best way for mere humans to interact with the "free market" is to let it work its magic with as little human intervention as possible.

At least that's what these fuckers tell us. They know its bullshit. They know that the economy does not work like a gigantic farmers' market. They know that their profits go up when competition--that catch phrase of the capitalist catechism which if we groundlings chant it enough will produce low, low prices-- is stifled.

And it has come to pass, as blowback from the Cold War, that our university schools of business are now mere seminars for the ordination of priests to the "free market." Look at recent US Treasury Secretaries from the current Tim Geithner and Bush's Hank "Wall Street Bailout" Paulson to Nixon-Fords' William Simon whose quotation, "There is only one social system that reflects the sovereignty of the individual: the free-market, or capitalist, system[,]" could have come from the pen of Ayn Rand.

America's middle classes are just fucked until we can demystify and demythologize the "free market" and its high priesthood.

Unfortunately the any ideas of an alternative to the "free market" from the ideologically pure left comes down from a gaggle of tenured university fine arts and language professors, trust fund babies, the true leisure class of the Investor class, and a semi-repentant Reagan-era Assistant-Treasury Secretary, himself the architect of "Reagan-omics!" For the most part it is warmed over sophomore year "Radical Students Brigade" Marxism, sans dictatorship of the proletariat.

The tea bagger far right is even more dismal as it is stupid in calling for even fewer federal regulations over corporate power then is already the case.

Look, I have no problem with capitalism if it is kept small and manageable. Nor do I have any problem with aspects of socialist economic principals operating in industries and services which effect the lives of the vast majority of the public, i.e. the electric grid, medicine, education, basic transportation and communications. What I do have a problem with is the "free market" ruling our lives as if it were religion. Economies are neither forces of nature or divinely inspired. They are the most human of inventions after religion itself.

We need to steer a middle course between the Scylla of the marshmallow-Marxism of the ideologically pure left and the wild "free market" Charybdis of the Randian tea bagger right.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Found in the email inbox

This is an email I received from an otherwise nice lady. They only real thing we have in common is our heart conditions, cardiomyopathy, and certain cardiac drugs we take. I've never met her in person though I do know she is a few years older than I, is not college educated, is on Social Security and Medicare and was in sales and marketing before retiring.

This one is a little different ...

Two Different Versions ...

Two Different Morals

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.   The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

Be responsible for yourself!
(No the original moral is :"It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.")


The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.

CBS, NBC , PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, 'It's Not Easy Being Green...'

ACORN stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing, We shall overcome. Then Rev. Jeremiah Wright has the group kneel down to pray for thegrasshopper's sake.

President Obama condems the ant and blames President Bush, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper's plight.

Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of
the summer.

The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ants food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant's old house,
crumbles around them because thegrasshopper doesn't maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and peaceful, neighborhood.

The entire Nation collapses bringing the rest of the free world with it.

Be careful how you vote in 2010.
Ive sent this to you because I believe that you are an ant not a grasshopper!

Make sure that you pass this on to other ants.

Dont bother sending it on to any grasshoppers because they wouldnt
understand it, anyway
I think the racist and classist subtext is clear. Ants are suburban white boys and girls, grasshoppers are every one else, especially blacks since "spiders" seems code for Mexicans.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The whipped American worker

Behold the face of one Kevin Lambert, a whipped American worker.

Mr. Lambert works for Massey Energy at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, WV, the site of a suspected methane explosion that killed 25 of Lambert's fellow workers.

Mr. Lambert was interviewed by Harry Smith on CBS's "Early Show" this morning. Here's what he had to say:
"We know it's gassy coal," he said. "We know that when - you're gonna hit methane. You don't know where it comes from. Could come from a crack. Could come anywhere. All it takes is a spark. I can't see how they can point a finger at just anybody. It's just methane."

Does he feel Massey, whose safety record has come under scrutiny, is a safe operator?

"They treat me alright," Lambert replied. "There's no safe mines. I don't care where you go. You're not gonna find a safe mine. They could do whatever they want - make all the laws.

"When a man goes (into a mine), he knows that could be it. … You stick your head between two rocks to make a living, you know you're taking a chance. These 25 guys … they died for a cause. Every time you turn your lights on at home … you should think about them guys.

"Everybody overlooks West Virginia. They never think about coal. We need coal. We gotta have coal. Ya gotta have it. Gotta have it. Bottom line - gotta have it."

The printed word cannot convey the impression of the contrived nature of Mr. Lambert's statement: These 25 guys … they died for a cause. Every time you turn your lights on at home … you should think about them guys. Wanton disregard for worker safety is the price we Americans pay for electric energy, eh, Mr. Lambert? Are your 25 dead co-workers martyrs for the American way-of-life, heroes of free market capitalism, not victims?

Mr. Lambert spoke quietly and resignedly when there should have been outrage. But the company, Massey Energy, that owns the mine in which he works and where 25 of his co-workers died was cited 458 time last year for safety violations. Thanks to Massey CEO Don Blankenship's political connections those were ignored, fines never paid. And yet according to Mr. Lambert, "They treat me alright."

I am sure Mr. Lambert is a patriotic American. Perhaps he is a veteran. I am sure he goes to church on Sundays, owns a pick up, maybe a fishing boat. His wife probably works and they have a mortgage to pay and young'ums to feed, cloth and school. I am also certain Mr. Lambert considers himself a rugged individualist who does not need a union boss leeching dues from his paycheck. So he kisses the hand that holds the whip.

What a sad commentary on the American worker.  Not far from Montcoal,  in 1921, 7,000 miners rose in rebellion against greedy mine-owners, their hired goons and corrupt state officials in the Battle of Blair Mountain for the right to unionize. Mr. Lambert may even have ancestors who fought at Blair Mountain but he is whipped, broken. He, like so many American workers, has accepted his fate as a fungible commodity, a thing to be thrown away like broken tool when it is no longer useful.

And so, once the dust is settled and all the bodies are brought to the surface and after all the funerals, Mr. Lambert and his whipped co-workers will put their heads between the rocks knowing full well they too could be free market martyrs.