web statisticsRealtime Web Statistics

Snatching Defeat From The Hands Of Victory

That should be the tagline for the democratic party. How can I say that a week after democrats successfully recalled two state senators in Wisconsin, and a day after they successfully defended two Wisconsin senate seats? I can say it because they’re poised to fuck up the rest of the work that needs to be done in Wisconsin.

Here’s the deal; Scott Walker, whose approval rating is abysmal is eligible to be recalled in January. Sounds like a great position for democrats, right? Not so fast. National democratic strategists (I use that term loosely and with with much disdain) are now thinking about rolling the Walker recall vote into the 2012 election. Why would they let this asshole keep screwing working people in Wisconsin for another year and a half? Because it’s not about the people. It’s about the politics. And to rub salt in the wound, it’s about bad politics.

These brilliant “strategists” think that they have a better chance of recalling Walker if they ride the Obama wave in 2012. Yup, you read that correctly; The Obama Wave. I don’t know what the fuck they’re doing, but I’m looking at the polls. The only waving being done here is by Obama, waving at his approval rating as it fades into the distance. He has plummeted into the high 30s. That’s right, the guy that defeated the pirates and killed Bin Laden is within 10 points of Bush when he left office. Now, depending on who you talk to, the low approval ratings are either because 70% of us are among the unreasonable “professional left” or, Obama is just the most ineffective president in recent history. But that’s a topic for another post, or several previous posts, as the case may be. My point is that they’re factoring in a mythical movement that isn’t validated by one single piece of empirical evidence. There’s no Obama wave. There is Obama frustration and Obama apathy. There is a decided lack of “wave”.

I believe that the Walker recall has a better chance if it’s a stand alone election. The polls clearly show that Wisconsinites want him to get the fuck out now. I don’t know why you would dick around for another year, hanging your hopes on an advantage that doesn’t exist.

On top of the sheer stupidity, waiting for 2012 clearly sends a message by democrats; We don’t give a shit about Wisconsin or it’s citizens. We just want to win.

This is exactly why most people don’t pay attention to politics and why they don’t vote. All of the options fucking BLOW, and the politicians are getting worse and worse at pretending they don’t suck.

But don’t despair, there is a glimmer of hope. Wisconsinites can buck the national democratic party and get the recall signatures on their own. They can snatch victory from the hands that want to snatch defeat from the hands of victory. Wait, I’m all confused now. Well, you get my point. Wisconsinites have the opportunity to set an example by ignoring the democrats’ nonsense and the republicans’ tyranny. If they take it upon themselves to rectify the situation, independent of either party, they have the chance to give us all hope that we can buck this two shitty party system that we have.

Both parties are being allowed to be shitty by us. It’s time that we start getting active in a meaningful way. I’m talking to you, Wisconsin! Go get em!


Share

Expensive And Ineffective

That’s republicanism in a nutshell. Expensive and ineffective describes every aspect of the republican party, but I want to focus on one specific area for this post. Union busting.

Everyone is hip to the fact that the union busting efforts by republican governors all across the country aren’t about balancing state budgets. They’re about eviscerating the democratic party. Everyone knows that with a few exceptions, the lion’s share of corporate political contributions are made to republicans, and the lion’s share of union contributions go to democrats.

A little bit of simple math, coupled with some common sense (there I go with my sunny optimism again) will tell you that the corporate contributions are significantly larger than the union contributions. Union membership in America is 12.3%. That’s if you add up all of the private sector and public sector union members. Unions ostensibly raise their political contribution money from a percentage of dues paid by that 12.3% of workers. Workers that, by the way, earn an average of 59k a year. Corporate contributions come from diverting profits to political contributions. US corporations are at this moment, sitting on two trillion dollars in cash reserves. It’s obvious where the bigger trough of money lies.

These union busting efforts are aimed at drying up the union money to political contributions. You know what that tells me? It tells me that it costs a fucking fortune to get people to buy republican. And for all of the money that’s being spent on selling republicanism, it’s still not working.

In yesterday’s post, I shared a poll that shows that most Americans would take a much more “liberal” approach to balancing our budget than our government will actually take. We see that while republican governors across the country are cutting money for education, Americans would increase the education budget. We see that Americans are willing to raise taxes on both themselves and the filthy rich.

Poll after poll shows that most Americans have “liberal” opinions on domestic issues from abortion, to gun purchasing requirements, to education and gay marriage (that poll moves more and more liberal every year). The only domestic issue where Americans skew “right”, is on the death penalty. We still have a blood lust for revenge, apparently. Most Americans aren’t interested in invading or occupying other countries. The Bush administration had to employ a major shock doctrine offense in order to get Americans on board with Iraq, and even that didn’t last more than five years. The majority of us are not interested in the neocon porn fantasy of world domination.

We are liberal on most issues, despite the shit load of cash that is being spent on selling republicanism, and making “liberal” a dirty word.

On top of the corporate contributions, there’s billions of dollars invested in a giant right wing propaganda machine. There’s Fox News, where Rupert Murdoch was happy to lose money for six years before he ever saw a dime of profit. There’s Rasmussen, a right wing polling outfit that exists so that right wing radio and Fox News can quote “data”. There’s the right wing think tanks like Cato and Heritage whose only purpose is to again, feed right wing media with lies that they can cite, thereby validating each other.

I’ve driven through cities where, when flipping through the AM dial, I’ve come across Rush Limbaugh on three different stations. Three stations carrying the same program? Why would any radio station in America carry the same programming as a competing station in the same market? Because the right wing think tanks are buying up all of the advertising on those programs, in order to ensure that those programs are all that Americans have access to. That system is finally starting to fall apart. Right wing talkers are being pulled from radio stations all across the country, finally. Nobody is fucking listening anymore.

We have a really fucking big, really fucking expensive machine trying to crank out republicans in America. But that machine is failing to accomplish it’s task. You can’t throw enough money at Americans to convince them to want to legislate’s a woman’s uterus. You can’t throw enough money at Americans to convince them to hate people for being gay (anymore). You can’t throw enough money at Americans to convince them that workers should give up their right to organize.

And you know what? The right wing corporate interests know they’re losing. That’s why they’re making a concerted effort to bust the unions. They need to make sure that no money goes to liberal voices, so that they can buy themselves a little bit more time. You think that all of these republican governors suddenly all, independently decided to launch an attack against the unions in their state? No, it’s obviously a coordinated effort. Republicanism is going to collapse. It’s just a matter of time.

Let me be clear, when I say that republicanism is going to collapse, I’m not referring to conservatism. Republicans went horribly wrong when they walked away from every single tenet of conservatism. Republicanism isn’t about smaller government. It’s about big giant government, picking your pocket at every turn.

The tea party emerged as a backlash to republicanism. It had the right idea when it started, but it went horribly wrong when the movement was taken over by Dick Armey and the Koch brothers. But I believe that true conservatives will eventually take the tea party back. Yes, I realize that I just gave the tea party some credit but I am a sunny optimist! Oh, and I look at polls.

Americans don’t want what the oligarchs want and it’s just a matter of time before they can’t fool us anymore.

Americans are not prospering the way they were in the past. And even the most politically disengaged American knows that something is horribly wrong. I think that what we’re seeing in Wisconsin is just the beginning. And I believe that defeating Scott Walker will serve as inspiration to make us realize that we do have all of the power. We just need to use it.

There is not enough money in the world to keep the robber barons in our good graces for much longer. They’re going to have to keep throwing more and more money at the problem, just to buy themselves another month, year, maybe five. But it’s all going to fall apart eventually.

And this isn’t about political parties. Obama’s approval ratings have stayed unimpressive because Americans aren’t seeing the sweeping change they were hoping for.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a democrat or a republican. Americans are going to turn on any politician that supports republicanism. The machine overplayed its hand in Wisconsin. I believe that we’re watching the beginning of the end of republicanism.

I say good riddance. I want to go back to the days of debating conservative and liberal ideas. This oligarch diversion has been bad for all of us. It’s time to move on.

Share

The Remedy To The Walker Dictatorship

Here’s the deal – Walker is going to win in Wisconsin if he doesn’t blink. I hate that is it so, but it is. The only way that he won’t successfully take away collective bargaining rights for public employees, is if he backs down. I’m not saying that it’s not possible that may back down, but if he doesn’t he will get his way.

Honestly, if I were him I wouldn’t back down at this point. He’s already ensured that he’s going to be a one term governor. He’s also already ensured that he’s going to get a very high paying lobbying job when his one term is over. There’s no reason for him to back down so going after him is the wrong strategy.

But don’t worry, it’s not hopeless. There is a a winning strategy to ensure that this doesn’t happen all across the country. Wisconsinites must swiftly move to recall every member of the state house and senate that voted to strip public workers of their bargaining rights. They need to take a page out of Darrell Issa’s (he orchestrated the recall of Grey Davis in California) book and start collecting signatures to recall everyone that is eligible for recall right at this moment. I know that Wisconsin has a provision that says that a legislator must fuck up for a full year before they can be recalled, but there are plenty of people supporting Walker that have served for a year. Walker’s bill has passed the house, so there’s already a list of names to start with. If Wisconsin can get enough names to instigate a recall of even one or two state house members, there’s some chance that they can peel off a few republican votes in the senate.

Let’s be honest about the current situation – averting this vote, means having faith that democrats can hold out. When was the last time a democrat held out and stood on principal? Oh yeah, that would be Russ Feingold, who Wisconsin voted out of office last November! But aside from Feingold and a handful of others, the odds of democrats holding their ground are historically slim. No, banking on democrats to have balls is not going to turn out well for us.

Other republican governors that were talking about union busting are already losing their stomach for proceeding down that road, so public pressure has done a lot of good. A swift move to remove Wisconsin legislators that helped to make this happen will put the fear of god in every pro-union busting piece of shit all across the country. Here’s the thing – although Walker is assured a big fat Koch brothers paycheck at the end of all of this, the legislators that supported him aren’t. They key here is to go after the low hanging fruit. No politician in their right mind is going to sacrifice themselves so that some other asshole can get rich. No, they’re far more interested in amassing wealth and power for themselves. Making it clear that we won’t give them the opportunity to get rich if they go against the will of the people should remedy this situation.

You’ll never get to be a Koch whore if you’ve only served for a year in government because a year isn’t long enough to make you worth anything to them.

Trust me on this one, going after Walker is futile. Counting on democrats to stand firm is foolish. The only way to win this is by recall, recall, RECALL.

Share

Low Self Esteem

I’ve given a lot of thought to why the hell anyone that depends on a paycheck to survive, would possibly support the busting of a union. The only explanation that I can come up with, is that they have low self esteem. This explanation actually works to explain several otherwise perplexing¬†opinions.

On any given day, Rush Limbaugh spends three hours riling up his listeners by telling them that they should hate people that have more than they do. “Fuck the people with pensions! You don’t have one, so fuck em!”. That’s his mantra, day after day. Fox news is a little more subtle, but the message is basically the same; the problem always lies with the people that have what you don’t, unless of course, we’re talking about the richest 2% among us. In the case of the mega rich, you need to fellate them, until they generously trickle their wealth down to you.

I get why the commentators that take this stance. They’re being generously paid to do the bidding of corporate America. But the working class people that buy into this? They obviously suffer from low self esteem issues.

Let me explain. Every single one of us knew a bully in our school days. And every single one of us remembers that when confronted, the bully crumbled like a republican economy. On the day that someone finally confronted the bully, we all realized that he/she was the most insecure person on campus. A bully chooses bullying because it’s easier and less thoughtful than self-improvement. Why put the time and effort into becoming someone that you can feel good about, when shitting on someone else offers so much instant gratification?

Fighting to get a pension for yourself takes a lot of work and organizing. Hating people that have pensions is much easier! You don’t have to organize. You don’t have to educate yourself. And you don’t have to confront your employer, which requires self esteem. The instant gratification of hating someone that has something that you don’t, simply requires having a small mind and a bitter attitude. It’s easy. And voila! You get a little boost in your mood without having to do any work.

And the reason why you don’t want to do the hard work required to get what the people that you hate have? Say it with me, it’s low self esteem.

This also explains that Sarah Palin phenomena. Think about, the thing that you hear most often from her supporters is that “she’s just like me”. And they’re right. She’s ignorant, and too lazy to remedy that ignorance by learning things. Her supporters know that they’re in no way qualified to occupy an office in the white house, but having someone like them some so close makes them feel better about themselves. The “reasoning” is this; she doesn’t know anything, just like me. And if she can make it into the white house, I have a shot.

What those people failed to consider, is that her ignorance isn’t what got her so close (although it didn’t hurt). Her fuckability is. Poll after poll shows that the majority of her supporters are men. Here’s a newsflash for Sarah Palin’s ignorant supporters; if you’re ignorant and you weigh 300 pounds, Bill Kristol’s penis is never going to pick you to be a vice presidential candidate. But don’t let that deter you. I understand that supporting her helps you feel better about your low self esteem issues.

Low self esteem is what makes people believe the unbelievable. Like the inexplicable belief that government workers are taking us all to the cleaners, with their above market compensation packages. Seriously, how can you believe that? If that were true, everyone would be clamoring to work for the state of Nevada, instead of Google. Why are technology professionals fighting over low paying Google jobs, when they can get rich on a government salary? You have to be an idiot to actually believe that. Trust me, I battle the behemoth that is Google to hire talent every single day. The fact of the matter, is that Wisconsin state workers’ total compensation is 5% below that of their private sector counterparts. That’s right, their total compensation (including health benefits and pensions) is 5% under what the market dictates.

I’m not even going to bother posting all of the statistical data that shows that government jobs pay less than private sector jobs. You can find that for yourself, and it defies common sense anyway so it’s not worth my time. So I’m going to go the other way, and ask you to suspend your self esteem for a moment. Let’s all hate government and union workers together, by accepting the premise that they’re all getting fat on our backs. If you add up all of the state and federal employees, government would by far, be the biggest employer in America. If all of those government entities were grossly overpaying their employees, wouldn’t that drive up your wage in the private sector? Wouldn’t your company be forced to compete with the government and it’s bloated compensation structure in order to get anyone to work for them?

Okay, I can’t keep this up. My self esteem isn’t low enough to accept this bullshit premise. I’m worried if I keep it up, my IQ will go down and that I will become angry and insecure.

I would like to say to working class people that support Scott Walker – please work on your self esteem. I know it will be hard at first but in the end, you and your family will benefit from the strong belief that you deserve better.

I would like to say to Fox news – you should encourage your viewers to fight for more, because this will help your rich benefactors in the long term. When people make more money, they have more to spend on your rich friends’ products.

And lastly, I would like to say to Rush Limbaugh – you need to find a way to be happy. I know that your viagra fueled limp dick and your giant ass are bummers. But you’re filthy fucking rich! You can afford to pay people to get you viagra, and you can afford to pay women to fuck you! See the glass as half full, Rush. You’re not doing your listeners much good when you’re this angry.

Share

Parity

I’ve always loved that word. I love the way it sounds, and I love what it means.

[par-i-tee] – equality, as in amount, status, or character; equivalence; correspondence; similarity; analogy

Parity is the single most important ingredient in what made America great back in the day. We didn’t start this country off with parity. Contrary to what Michele Bachmann will have you believe, our founding fathers did not fight to free the slaves that they owned (holy shit, that woman is an idiot!). Nor did they advocate for their wives’ right to vote and right to work. No, parity was more abstract back then. It was an ideal, espoused in our founding documents. The actuality of parity is something that was fought for, and earned throughout the evolution of our nation. I believe that those ideals of parity that were fundamental in our founding documents, were the motivational tools that kept Americans fighting for equality over the course of our evolution. We are now in an era where parity is being systematically dismantled in our country. I fundamentally believe that in any given situation, the best possible result is achieved when two opposing forces with parity are forced to compromise in order to get to the end result. The greatest era in American history was one in which the government butted heads with corporations, and achieved compromise that resulted in the greatest expansion of our economy that we’ve ever seen. Thank you, FDR for showing us how to get it right. We no longer have that parity between corporations and government. We now have a situation where both entities are on the same side, leaving Americans with no one to fight for us. The situation in Wisconsin is the perfect illustration of the further breakdown of parity. Make no mistake, what Scott Walker is trying to do in Wisconsin has nothing to do with balancing a budget. It’s about creating more disparity. Just to recap, Scott Walker was sworn in as governor of Wisconsin a month ago. At the time of his swearing in, his state had a budget surplus thanks to his his democratic predecessor. Here’s where the story starts to sound really fucking familiar. This asshat, Scott Walker took that surplus and spent $140 million dollars in a month. He gave the wealthiest Wisconsinites $67 million in tax breaks and spent the rest on kickbacks to cronies, thereby creating a budget crisis. A crisis that he wants to remedy by (say it with me) crapping on working people. This situation would be pretty fucked up if it were just about a reverse Robin Hood menacing working people in Wisconsin, but that’s not what he’s doing here. He’s not asking Wisconsin state employees to make sacrifices in order to balance the budget that he fucked up this year. He’s asking them to forever relinquish any bargaining power they have. This is about the age old GOP tradition of busting unions. Unions that by the way, were formed in order to remedy the disparity between American workers and corporations that existed early on in our country’s history. Before unions, the average worker faced 12 hour work days, 7 days a week. But that isn’t as bad as it sounds because they got to work right next to their kids. It really was a golden age of quality time with the family. You see, because there was no parity between workers and companies, people got fucked. Corporations have no feelings or compassion because they’re not people. Corporations are motivated purely by profit, which doesn’t leave much room for human rights’ issues to prevail unless people organize and created a modicum of parity. Regardless of what you do for a living, you have benefited from the existence of unions. You wouldn’t have a weekend if it weren’t for unions. You wouldn’t have vacation time were it not for unions. You wouldn’t have dozens of other rights that you take for granted if it weren’t for unions. I’m not saying that unions are perfect. Far from it. Unions definitely have their fair share of corruption and embezzlement. But they create a level of parity. Without unions, labor’s power is eviscerated. And when one side is eviscerated in any negotiation, we all lose. How you personally feel about unions is irrelevant. I would hope that you would have the common sense to understand eviscerating workers is a bad idea, just as eviscerating corporations would be a bad idea. We need parity. I am utterly flummoxed and disgusted by anyone that doesn’t understand this. Listening to right wing media this week has been a particularly vomitous  experience. The constant barrage of insults against working people that just want parity is not something that is comprehensible to me. You wanna know who has the right to negotiate their working conditions, benefits, and termination packages? Every single fucking asshat on Fox news that is telling you that unions blow, that’s who. You wanna know who else has a shit ton of bargaining power? Really fucking rich people, regardless of their level of competence. That’s right, Crazy Carly Fiorina negotiated the $40 million dollars that she ultimately got paid to leave HP, because she sucked. Can you, in your wildest dreams, imagine sitting on one side of a negotiating able saying, "And if you need to fire me, I will need $40 million before I leave"? I can assure you that every single Fox News "personality" has negotiated generous exit packages for themselves, in the event that they get fired. The fact that they have disdain for people who want what they have is appalling, but it’s also the very foundation of Fox news. You shouldn’t listen to people that tell you that you don’t deserve what they have. That makes you a fucking idiot and a tool for a machine that places no value on you. You also shouldn’t listen to anybody that wants to eviscerate one side in any power struggle. That person is a tunnel visioned ideologue that can’t understand the value of parity.

Share

Steven Slater

No, I’m not going all pop culture on you. Don’t worry, Lindsay Lohan posts will not be forthcoming.

I’m fascinated with how quickly Mr. Slater has become a national hero.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, let me give you the background. Mr. Slater was a flight attendant with JetBlue. He snapped a few days ago when a passenger was abusive toward him, after he asked her to follow FAA rules and remain in her seat until the plane stopped moving. The passenger refused to apologize for her rude behavior, so Mr. Slater did what none of us would do – he took to the PA system on the plane to curse her out, bid farewell to a 28 year long career in the airline industry, grabbed a couple of beers from the galley, deployed the emergency exit slide, and slid off the plane.

I say that none of us would do this because it wouldn’t occur to most of us. If it did occur to us, it would probably end at being a lovely, reoccurring revenge fantasy.

But what he did isn’t the interesting part to me. The interesting part is that he’s become a national hero. I’ve seen at least three Facebook groups dedicated to lionizing him. Every news story I’ve seen is full of praise for Mr. Slater. Everyone seems to be on his side. This is particularly interesting to me since, the rude public that he pushed back on is us! Let’s be honest here, we’ve all taken out a little aggression on a flight attendant or TSA officer for making us abide by some stupid arbitrary rule, haven’t we? So why are we all jumping on the “Steve Slater is a hero” bandwagon when we’re essentially the public that put him over the edge?

He’s a hero because he’s one of “us” in the battle of “us versus them”. He’s every working man, standing up against a shitty job that doesn’t pay enough to compensate for the grief that comes with that job. We’re collectively angry at corporate America for the situation that we find ourselves in. We viscerally know that our precarious job security, plummeting home value, and diminishing 401ks lay squarely on the shoulder of big business.

We’re all pro-Steve Slater because we’re as anti-corporate as we’ve ever been.

It’s just interesting to me that when politics is taken out of the equation, Americans generally agree on most issues. To be pro-Steve Slater is to be pro-labor and yet, we’ve been led to believe that Americans aren’t pro-labor because unions are evil.

Let me go off on a union tangent for a moment. 8% of American workers today are union members. Unions get their “strength” from union dues. They’re what fuel union lobbying efforts. Let’s think about this for a minute. 8% of blue collar Americans are union members. So 8% of Americans are paying some percentage of their salaries in union dues which, in turn pay for union activities (of which lobbying is a small part). Are we to believe that unions have more power than corporate interests? Really? HOW? I have yet to hear someone explain how that math creates an equation in which unions are the big, powerful interest group that has ruined everything.

But I digress. Back to Steve. He’s our hero because he stood up to “the man” in a way that most of us want to. And he doesn’t (didn’t) even work for a a company that is generally regarded as evil! He works (worked) for a company that is generally well regarded and yet, we’re elated that he stood up for himself. We’re elated because we’re vicariously standing up for ourselves through him.

Maybe we need to stop framing our issues in political terms, and start talking about what we want to change and how we want to change it.

This artificial right/left divide that has been created is designed to keep us fighting amongst ourselves so that we don’t pay attention to who is doing evil unto us. We’re told to hate the Mexicans, the gays, Obama, black racists, and everyone that isn’t like us. And a certain segment of America is happy to jump on board because they’re angry about the situation they find themselves in, and are happy to hate whomever they’re told to hate. Figuring out who’s responsible takes more work than following Glenn Beck’s chalk board scribblings.

But those people aren’t really angry at the gays, the Mexicans, the blacks, or Obama. They’re angry at the same people that those of us that pay attention are angry at.

The lionization of Steve Slater proves that.

We need to learn from this and reframe the debate and close the false divide that has been created to divert us from the real issues.

Share