Category: Class Warfare

Happy Labor Day!

Class WarfareCliff Claven modeEatingLoafing

laborday[Originally published 9/2/2013, but lost when my stupid web host accidentally cancelled my account.]

The important thing to remember about Labor Day is that the word “labor” here does not mean “work,” it means organized labor, i.e.,  unions.  Labor Day was…well, let Professor Krugman give us a little history lesson:

It wasn’t always about the hot dogs. Originally, believe it or not, Labor Day actually had something to do with showing respect for labor.

Here’s how it happened: In 1894 Pullman workers, facing wage cuts in the wake of a financial crisis, went on strike — and Grover Cleveland deployed 12,000 soldiers to break the union. He succeeded, but using armed force to protect the interests of property was so blatant that even the Gilded Age was shocked. So Congress, in a lame attempt at appeasement, unanimously passed legislation symbolically honoring the nation’s workers.

It’s all hard to imagine now. Not the bit about financial crisis and wage cuts — that’s going on all around us. Not the bit about the state serving the interests of the wealthy — look at who got bailed out, and who didn’t, after our latter-day version of the Panic of 1893. No, what’s unimaginable now is that Congress would unanimously offer even an empty gesture of support for workers’ dignity. For the fact is that many of today’s politicians can’t even bring themselves to fake respect for ordinary working Americans….

(emphasis added).

I know that these days it’s not kewel  to speak well of unions.  And a lot of that of that is labor’s fault – some of them have become bureaucratic, some were taken laborday2over by organized crime for their juicy pension funds, but mostly they did not understand the relentless propaganda that the 1% would employ against them and they failed to rebut it.  They assumed, incorrectly it turns out, that reasonable people would ignore the nonsense, such as “right to work” for peanuts laws. 

People forgot that their income is my spending, and my income is their spending.  If I (or a bunch of us) stop spending because I’m laid off, or I lose my house, or I’m sequestered, then your income goes down too.  You’re better off when we’re all better off.  Even crusty old arch-conservative Henry Ford understood this.  When confronted by his fellow top-hat-wearing one-percenters over the $5 a day he paid for his factory workers, he supposedly said:  “I got to pay them $5 a day.  If I don’t, they can’t afford to buy a Ford.”

Back in the 1950′s and 1960′s about 35% of American workers were unionized.  It was not so coincidentally, the peak years of the American middle class. Union membership fell off in the 1980′s and the middle class has been dwindling along with it. The data is clear in these two charts to ruin Labor Day.  Wages as a percentage of GDP (the overall economy) are at an all time low.  Blame it on de-unionization, tax policy, or to a lack of investment in education, but for whatever reason, gains in productivity have not translated into higher wages.

Here’s some Labor Day music from Irish commie union thugs the Dropkick Murphys.  Happy Labor Day!

The Corporation

Class WarfareOur Failed Media ExperimentSociopaths

I was looking for something to watch on Netflix last night. It’s getting harder and harder. I started a couple movies, but after about 10 minutes I had to bail. They were bad. Netflix bad – a new genre of bad.

In the “New Cult Films” section, they had this documentary “The Corporation.” It had 5 stars – unheard of for anything on Netflix, it won a bunch of international awards, so I started watching. Turns out “new” means 9 years old in Netflix-speak. It was about 75 hours long, but I watched the whole thing.

The film examines and criticizes corporate business practices. It compares the way corporations are systematically compelled to behave with the American Psychiatric Association’s symptoms of psychopathy right out of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.”

It also addresses some things you very rarely hear about in America, the “Business Plot of 1933” where General Smedley Butler exposed a plot by several large corporations against then U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt to take over the government & set up a fascist state; Dwight D. Eisenhower’s warning people to beware of the rising military-industrial complex; suppression of an investigative news story about Monsanto’s Bovine Growth Hormone on a Fox News Channel affiliate television station (note to self: never, EVER drink milk unless organic);  the Cochabamba protests of 2000 brought on by the privatization of Bolivia’s municipal water supply (that’s right, WATER!)  by the Bechtel Corporation;  and other corporate devilry. [UPDATE: turns out in the last couple years, most milk producers have stopped using rBGH b/c of consumer complaints, but not all, so consult the Google before purchase.]

The film features interviews with lefties such as Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein (who I’ve read, but never realizedhow much she looks like Meg Griffin), Michael Moore, and a few corporate CEOs who have either turned against their masters, or are in the film as foils. And lots of other people I’ve read but never seen.

It’s worth watching during one of those times when you want to feel depressed and crappy for a while.  Here’s a trailer:

Occupy Wall Street

Class WarfareOur Failed Media Experiment

The Wall Street protests in NYC have been getting bigger and bigger, resulting in hundreds of arrests, and are now moving to other cities. Yet The news seems to be having trouble explaining what the protest is all about. All I’ve been seeing on my TeeVee are clips of idiots walking around pretending to be zombies, and inarticualte trippy people saying nothing and engaging in performance art. It’s almost as if the news media wants people to think these protests are stupid… And of course, it allows them to engage in their favorite activity: punching hippies.

Comapare this to the coverage of the Tea Party when they first started. Fox News actually sponsored many of the Tea Party events and flogged them endlessly on TV pretending that were the spontanious outpouring of views from “The People,” when in fact, they were astroturf, bought and paid for by plutocrats/corporations/those-who-actually-own-America. And, what the Tea Party politicians are proposing would result in the rich getting richer and the middle class getting poorer – just a coincidence, I’m sure…

Here’s a cell-phone capture of a Fox News interview with an “Occupy Wall Street” protestor.  The interview never aired because the person being interviewed actually had something to say. And that just doesn’t fit the mold.


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