It’s Not Left vs Right, It’s Right vs Wrong

MoralMondayA movement is arising.

It began with Occupy Wall  Street.

It arose with Moral Mondays in North Carolina.

It’s spreading.

Throughout the South.

It’s moving to Wisconsin, and there are murmurings in Missouri.

People are getting tired of being tired.

And it’s not Democrats although no doubt most are. It includes Republicans and Independents and people who have little to do with politics. It includes some business folk, but probably not so many as people who are working stiffs. And poor. Lots of the poor.

And they come to state legislatures and stand in silent witness that these bodies of Republican control are unjust and immoral.

Yes immoral.

Republican extremism known by the name of Tea Party, is an immoral wound in America and people are not going to take it any more.

Let us be clear. Like it or not, believe it or not, (and the extremists are very good at refusing to accept reality), big business (aka Koch brothers) organized and funded the Tea Party movement. Their intentions were not made known of course but their intentions are clear: reduce taxes on the rich, reduce corporate taxes, reduce regulation on business, and continue to subsidize business so we can continue to laud “free market economies” (which of course given all this are not even close to being free, but are protected by government itself) as the best thing on earth.

To the Tea Party they formed, the message went: your taxes are going to takers not makers. You have worked hard and deserve that money yourselves. All you need do is fund the military so we can continue to enforce our will of “right” on the world. We can create the jobs if you just do your part and give us a free hand. That’s what democracy is all about, that is capitalism. It’s the government and its incessant socialistic welfare mentality that is destroying this country.

Now some of the Tea Party are well-educated business types. They are tiny business operations for the most part, but they like to think of themselves as “entrepreneurs” which makes them sound like the Kochs, and Trumps and those kind. But most of the Tea Party consists of not very well-educated white aging men and their overly made up and coiffed wives who like that idea that more money should be in their hands and not going to “those” people. You know “those” people, the ones are required to called “black” now, when in the day it was fine to call them “N*****”? And all those Mexicans, which are still just Mexicans, even though plenty of “them” actually come from Guatemala and Nicaragua and other places called Latin America. And then there are those “Orientals” from the “Orient” since Asian is still not de rigueur in this culture, and it’s all one big country isn’t it? After all, Sarah thought Africa might be a country, right?

Then in the ultimate hypocrisy of all hypocrisies, there in a dose of “Christianity” to hide that racism/downright hatred underneath. “See, it’s not me, it’s God who has a problem with fags!” And if that makes them feel vulnerable, well, throw in a dose of the 2nd Amendment was made for you and me, and voila, we have a mess of a human being filled with self-righteous hate, little actual knowledge of the world, but a gun-defended arrogance to do everything but call it publicly what they call it privately.

But ordinary folks are getting tired. Ordinary decent people who don’t have to wave a bible around to know what is right and what is wrong. And they are tired of watching years of work being undone by barely literate Republican senate and house members who pass insane laws one after another, making it safe and right for white America to live in their fantasy of the “good ole days”.

So people are marching. And more of them march every week.

NAACP ProtestsIN NORTH CAROLINA THE GOP HAS SINCE 2010:

  1. Raised taxes on the lowest 80% of it’s citizens
  2. Removed a tax credit on 900,000 working families
  3. Enforced restrictive voter laws
  4. Blocked increased Medicaid coverage for the poor
  5. Cut Pre-Kindergarten funding
  6. Cut unemployment benefits
  7. Voted itself a right to intervene in abortion lawsuits
  8. Repealed a law that allowed death row inmates to challenge their convictions on racial grounds
  9. Increased the standards at abortion clinics to that of surgical centers and made it illegal to offer abortion coverage if you are a public health insurance company.
  10. Offered no increase in base salary to school teachers even though they are paid at the lowest rate in the country.
  11. Tenure is to be phased out and no salary increases are to be given for master’s degrees. Teachers aides are severely cut.

IN GEORGIA, THE GOP HAS:

  1. Refused to grant increase in Medicaid coverage affecting some 600,000 Georgians and made it a crime to assist someone who is seeking ACA coverage.
  2. Cut more than 7.6 BILLION dollars to public education over the last 10 years.
  3. Restricted workers rights and benefits
  4. Promoted more stand your ground and like gun legislation.
  5. Cut unemployment benefits
  6. Promoting enforcement of voter suppression laws.

When you go nation wide, the results are the same. GOP-led legislatures are doing the Koch’s bidding everywhere, often with bills written by the KOCH legislative arm, ALEC. Everywhere the tune is the same–lower taxes on the rich, cut out programs for the poor, all with the promise to Mr. and Mrs. White OLD people–this will all benefit you, we promise. Just wait for it.

Let me repeat. There is nothing Christian in any of this. People who are TEA PARTY adherents and claim they are Christian are lying. They are at best Christianists, people who use the bible and their own personal interpretation of it to hide behind while they endorse and argue for a denial of health care for the poor (they can use the emergency ward if they need to — duh who pays for that stupid?), a denial public education to the poor (let’s have vouchers, and the poor will end up with the poorest of poor systems but they had their “choice”), a denial of food, unemployment insurance (that breeds dependence and doesn’t teach work ethic–yeah hungry babies are eager to work), a denial of voting rights (everybody can get a voter ID–yeah except for the cost and the travel to a distance center, and oh yeah, lots of people can’t get a birth certificate any more because records are lost, but a gun permit is okay, but  student ID is not), a denial of basic rights to undocumented workers (since they steal our jobs–yeah we were wondering where you were in the bean fields yesterday and even the little one’s can pick can’t they?), a denial of fair wage (business can pay whatever it wants to, that’s the American way–along with child labor, and unsafe working conditions right?), and on and on…

They say all this and have the temerity, the audacity, the chutzpah, to suggest that Jesus would approve! Jesus hated government they say, and Jesus hated the minimum wage. Jesus loved guns and self-defense. Jesus is nothing more than a malleable dummy used while these vile gutless wonders shrink in horror at their own diseased and flesh eaten faces staring out from the dead sockets from which they look upon a world they hate as it slips from their nail-torn fingers.

Lord save me from the Christianists and though I don’t believe in Hell, but God, sometimes I wish there was one, for these puke excuses of humanity.

Other than that, I’m having a great Sunday.

Can We Talk on the D/L?

boycotteveryI consider myself about as decent as the next person. No more no less. Some, usually those of the Rightish persuasion suggest that I’m a bleeding-heart, commie sympathizing, swine of a Jesus hater, but hey, I consider myself just as human as the next woman.

The mind is endlessly fascinating and what motivates us will for some time to come dance between nature and nurture and bad drugs I suspect. We all wish (except for the truly a-social among us) to be thought reasonably well of, and we all succeed at least to enough people that we aren’t pariahs.

That being said, I’m fully aware that what I am about to discuss amounts in some minor or major respect a plea for permission to do what I wish to do, rather than the elegant highly flowered philosophical discourse that I am dribbling forth from my fingertips. (Wasn’t it ever so much more grand to say tip of my pen or even quill? Alas we all type now.)

I speak of the issue of boycotting companies. Not just any companies mind you, but all those whose policies for one reason or fifty offend our individual sensibilities. I speak of Wal-Mart and Hobby Lobby and Exxon-Mobile, and McDonald’s, and Papa Johns, and Pfizer, and General Mills and Monsanto and well, you can fill in five hundred more at your leisure.

We (collectively or singly) have our “issues” with some or all or and entirely different list of corporate monsters whom we claim our vision or version of human/American/women’s/children’s/animals/status/ethnicity rights. And most, perhaps all are laudable no doubt to those who hold them. I know, since I hold many. Anyone whose eager fingertips tremble in anticipation as they seek out my latest verbage knows I rail regularly about any number of corporate entities for their failures/limited visions/or omissions.

So. What the hell am I talking about?

What are our moral responsibilities in making known our opinions of the practices of businesses we disagree with? What should we be doing?

In other words, is boycotting the answer.

I for a long time avoided Wal-Mart for instance. That was easy in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where the local Hi-VEE offered up proper food at comparable prices. Not so here in Las Cruces. The local Albertson’s is a great store, but it’s wildly over priced on most everything. I mean seriously so. Such that I can save nearly $300 a month by doing the bulk of my shopping at Wal-Mart. I leave Albertson’s to do what it does best–provide me with the premium foods that Wal-Mart neglects in its one-size fits most everyone most of the time philosophy, or “tough, take it or leave it”.

I’m moreover well aware of the gimmicks Wal-Mart’s uses to get me to buy more of X which ends up costing me similar to what I would pay for the amount I really want. (Whatever you do Wal-Mart, I’m not buying twelve pre-packaged habaneros when I only need one!) Still, as I said, I’m saving a fair piece of change.

Say that I can afford this, which I can, but should I?

What of those who have not the financial luxury to do this? Are they to suffer their need to shop Wal-Mart in shame at betraying the cause?

Can I use the $300 more effectively in actually funding other things that matter in the world? Are my bigger checks to the local mission and to animal welfare, or to help a local family with expenses a better use of the money than wasting it on over-priced cabbage?

Is there some hierarchy of complaint that should guide me? Surely apartheid practices in South Africa was a serious motivation. Surely the use of chemical warfare on one’s own population should deter us singularly and collectively from contributing to the GNP of any country engaging in such things.

But lets take it down a notch.

Let’s speak of living wages and the attempt to impose personal religious beliefs on employees. Let’s speak of creating products that may turn out in decades to come to be hazardous to health. Let us talk of entire industries devoted to death–whether it be innocent animals or humans in large or small quantity. Let us speak of dangers to our planet, which impact the survival of generations long after we have turned to dust.

Is there some hierarchy where boycotting is essential for some, but convenience and finances may dictate a different choice for others?

I fully support the efforts of Wal-Mart employees to unionize. But does my boycott help that? Or is it, in the end, the responsibility of employees to get their act together? Wal-Mart will never give them permission, and like other industries in other times, will be as tough as it can be in order to stop their efforts. But in the end it is only the employees who can do this, the same way I made my decision some years ago and voted as I saw fit, and knew there would be consequences for that decision. Or does my boycott encourage and bolster their efforts? Do I change corporate minds?

We know that boycotting can work in some instances. Some companies have seen their fortunes fall for challenging the ACA, by threatening to up prices and lay-off workers. Hint: you don’t lay off workers if you have customers, and it helps to have a product worth buying. Did the boycotts cause the reversal or was it the lousy pizza?

The Right of course is spared these deeply troubling mental ponderings. They conveniently find all answers in a book and are thereby let off the hook–”hey, I don’t have a problem with gays, God does!” I rather suspect that our spiritual growth is directly tied to how willing we are to wrestle with these “no easy answer” questions.

So, I’m asking you.

What do you think?

Just what’s floating through my head these days.

Anonymous_Quotes_

I Wish I Could Work THERE!

googleNo, I’m not saying I wish I could work at Google.

But plenty of people do.

In fact, Google won the top spot for “best place to work” in Fortune’s annual list just released today.

Now, I don’t know that much about Google, except that I pretty much like their search engine, and I like their Images search engine. I didn’t care so much for Chrome, but hey, you can’t hit the jackpot on everything.

They were interviewing someone from Fortune who announced this years top 10 this morning on Morning Joe. The question was inevitably asked: what do all the companies in the top ten have in common. The interviewee responded immediately: they care about their employees, actually they put employees first.

Now we have all heard that the mantra of any company is supposed to be “the customer is always right” which essentially means that customers come first. We know that this is a lie mostly, unless there is fierce competition. But the first goal of most companies seems to be to destroy the competition so you can force the consumer to take what they are offered because there ain’t no alternative. It was surely Rockefeller’s goal that if you wanted kerosene to light your lamps, it’s was either his or sit in the dark, so pay what he demanded.

Those of us not in the top 1% have long known that the real power and the real value in business is the employee. Ideas are essential to the success of any business, but in the end, it is the employees who make it happen. They produce the “product” whatever that may be, and they interact with the public however that is defined. So it is in the end a no brainer: happy employee = successful business (all other things remaining equal of course).

Fortune and others who study this sort of thing seem to agree. Robin Hartman, who helps companies achieve “a great place to work” gives a list of things a good company does:

  • They treat employees like grown-ups. They share information with employees, listen to their ideas (or better yet, actively seek out and act upon their ideas) and assume they are responsible enough to manage their own time.
  •  They treat people fairly. They pay people decently and give them good benefits, including not only decent healthcare but other even rarer essentials, like paid parental leave. And they use lay-offs as a last resort.
  •  They help employees with their careers and understand that not all careers are built the same. They have strong training programs, reimburse tuition for education outside of work, have active, well-thought out platforms for mentoring–especially for women and minorities–and provide pathways for non-traditional career paths.
  •  They understand that people have lives outside of work, and that these lives might sometimes impinge on (or even take over) their time and attention. They realize that allowing for some work-life give and take means not only that they won’t waste time and money on unnecessary turnover, but that they’ll build loyalty and commitment. They know it’s give and take, not give or take.
  •  They see fun, humor and relaxation not as the enemies of hard work, but as its allies.
  •  They have a purpose — a mission — that everyone understands. Even better, every employee can tell you the role he or she plays in achieving that purpose.
  •  They are good citizens of their communities and of the world. Not just according to their P.R. campaigns, but for real. They think about their carbon footprint, they come up with creative ways to support local projects or small businesses, they actively promote volunteerism among their employees.

Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project has his own list.

  1. Commit to paying every employee a living wage. To see examples of how much that is, depending on where you live, go to this site. Many companies do not meet that standard for many of their jobs. It’s nothing short of obscene to pay a CEO millions of dollars a year while paying any employee a sum for full time work that falls below the poverty line.
  2. Give all employees a stake in the company’s success, in the form of profit sharing, or stock options, or bonuses tied to performance. If the company does well, all employees should share in the success, in meaningful ways.
  3. Design working environments that are safe, comfortable and appealing to work in. In offices, include a range of physical spaces that allow for privacy, collaboration, and simply hanging out.
  4. Provide healthy, high quality food, at the lowest possible prices, including in vending machines.
  5. Create places for employees to rest and renew during the course of the working day and encourage them to take intermittent breaks. Ideally, leaders would permit afternoon naps, which fuel higher productivity in the several hours that follow.
  6. Offer a well equipped gym and other facilities that encourage employees to move physically and stay fit. Provide incentives for employees to use the facilities, including during the work day as a source of renewal.
  7. Define clear and specific expectations for what success looks like in any given job. Then, treat employees as adults by giving them as much autonomy as possible to choose when they work, where they do their work, and how best to get it accomplished.
  8. Institute two-way performance reviews, so that employees not only receive regular feedback about how they’re doing, in ways that support their growth, but are also given the opportunity to provide feedback to their supervisors, anonymously if they so choose, to avoid recrimination.
  9. Hold leaders and managers accountable for treating all employees with respect and care, all of the time, and encourage them to regularly recognize those they supervise for the positive contributions they make.
  10. Create policies that encourage employees to set aside time to focus without interruption on their most important priorities, including long-term projects and more strategic and creative thinking. Ideally, give them a designated amount of time to pursue projects they’re especially passionate about and which have the potential to add value to the company.
  11. Provide employees with ongoing opportunities and incentives to learn, develop and grow, both in establishing new job-specific hard skills, as well as softer skills that serve them well as individuals, and as managers and leaders.
  12. Stand for something beyond simply increasing profits. Create products or provide services or serve causes that clearly add value in the world, making it possible for employees to derive a sense of meaning from their work, and to feel good about the companies for which they work.

Interestingly, Schwartz’s list was compiled in 2012, and he stated that no company can do all of these perfectly, but Google probably does the best job. Hence, Google‘s number one position in the Fortune list appears to be no fluke.

All this is mildly interesting, for in fact, those of us who have been mostly employees rather than employers already know all this stuff.

But in a world where we are told that employers are “job creators” and thus should expect everyone else to cut them all the monetary slack they need to get on with that job, we are reminded anew that we, the worker is what really counts. Make no mistake, business is still in the business to make money, but the surest way to get there is to create a happy work force, not just with “gifts of money and benefits” but to be cherished as part of a team, and valuable for their brains as well as their brawn.

We all know that Wal-Mart and McDonald’s can pay a living wage. We know they can but won’t because nobody has yet forced them to. Jobs are so scarce that people hold on for dear life those puny jobs that force them to apply for food stamps in order to feed their kids. They continue to call these jobs “entry-level” for which there somehow is supposed to be low remuneration in return for the “gift” of a job at all. That is nonsense. There is no greater learning curve to flipping a burger than there is to learning how to integrate into a company’s bookkeeping framework. One is called “entry-level” the other surely not.

Little by little, we are educating the public to what they used to know. Workers matter.

 

 

 

 

A Lunch Tray and A Broom

tea-party-tea-party-political-poster-1283712026Well, they are at it again. At least weekly, often more, some addle-brained Tea Party lovin’ crazy GOPer opens his pie hole and spews forth something that other members of the GOP must hasten to “straighten out”.

Today’s numbskull is none other than Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), who explained to members of a local Chamber of Commerce, that those poor kids who are receiving free lunches ought to be made to sweep floors in the school, just to remind them that work is good, and nothing should be free.

“Moderate” Republicans were quick to explain that what Kingston was referring to was in fact laudable, being that the GOP has always touted the value of work, but that his delivery was a bit, shall we say, “insensitive.”

Really?

Didn’t Newt the Toot say something similar when he was trying to convince the GOP electorate to make his the candidate to go against Obama? As I recall, he talked about making little kids “junior” janitors. All in the hopes of teaching the lil chillin’ the importance of work.

And you see, that IS the point for these tone-deaf, living on another planet Republicans: they really do think that poor people don’t have a clue about the amazing joy of work. I mean, all of us who worked for 25-35 years do don’t we? Wasn’t that the most joyous time of your life? Didn’t you feel special and accomplished as you pushed widget A down the throat of widget B, or for the thousandth time, regurgitated the litany of “rights” one was giving up in coping the proverbial plea to a lessor offense? I know I went home every evening proclaiming that I only wished I could do that stuff for another hundred years, God willing.

But I do not mean to denigrate the world of work, for work is important, and we do feel like real normal people when we engage in it and not people so ignorant and incapable that we can’t do the simplest of “flipping” motions to turn a burger.

What I demean is the assumption that the poor do not understand this and don’t yearn for it as naturally as the smart-alecky rich kid whose idea of a job is really to “intern” at some fancy corporate headquarters arranged by daddy, wherein said “worker” will go out and get the lattes and mocha-lites with appropriate croissants, stopping to pick up the bosses phone-purchased little trinket for the wife’s birthday on the way. Said rich-shit will call this work, dutifully add it to his resume as “experience in the hedge-fund industry” and snicker over such nonsense with roommates over Sam Adams at the local pub in Boston near Harvard.

Meanwhile in the real world, the poor kid will flip the burgers and be too poor to move out of his mother’s flat until somebody entices him to do a “little something” for a lot bigger profit. And he will be a minority, since most of those poor kids will just do the best they can trying to making it on $7.54 a hour with a baby on the way.

But said Kingston’s of the world don’t get this, because see, really really really what they think? Is that these poor kids will never get work as long as the government gives them just enough to survive on.

Which begs the question raised by someone I read last week: Why do they argue that the rich need tax cuts so they will have more money, because as we all know, more money means more investment and more jobs, and the poor need more taxes and less government money because they just waste it on frivolities. The rich need more money to use it “right” and the poor need less, cause they use it “wrong”.

For that IS the assumption isn’t it? For the poor are just DIFFERENT.

That’s what the GOP really really really means, and it’s what they believe. Seriously.

How they got to believe that is anybody’s guess, but I’m pretty sure that the rich who seem to own the GOP had something to do with it. And that’s why we better remember this stuff when it comes to voting, because they REALLY do want to kill health insurance for the poor and average person. And they REALLY do want to kill off Medicare and Medicaid, and Social Security–because THEY REALLY BELIEVE IT BREEDS LAZINESS.

See Mitt the Twit meant it when he talked about the 47% who are expecting the government to take care of them. Paul Ryan paraded across the country during the campaign referring to all of us as “takers”, not “makers”. Ayn Rand is their Goddess.

And the Waltons who own as much as the bottom 42% of ALL THE ENTIRE AMERICAN POPULATION, control 1/4 of all the food moved and eaten in this country. And if left to their own devices they surely wish to control ALL of the food moving across America. And when they do, if it just happens to coincide with one of them deciding that they know better than you WHAT YOU SHOULD EAT, well then hold on to your boots kiddies, because change will be coming to America then won’t it?

When so-called Moderates within the party suggest that King or Bachmann or Stockman, or Gohmert and any of a hundred other nitwits “spoke poorly” well what they mean is that they spoke too DIRECTLY and STRAIGHTFORWARDLY is all. The masters of the obfuscation don’t like that.

For God’s sake Kingston don’t tell them what we really plan on doing!

But hey, Wal-Mart will sell you your broom at a good price, made by those fine little kids in Bangladesh. Now that’s what a labor force ought to be like, I tell ya.

Oh yeah…here’s how the poor actually spend their money.

Whew! Dodged a Bullet. Time to Start Filling the Bunker

teapartyThe shutdown is over, the fiscal cliff averted, and we can all sigh with relief and go back to Packer football, raking leaves, and worrying about whether Uncle Henry’s flatulence will ruin the Thanksgiving dinner once again this year.

Ted Cruz and Tea Party soundly defeated. Dust off the hands. Job well done.

Not so fast my dears. Not so fast.

When nearly everyone with a brain that can think of a good answer to 2 + 2 (tea baggers excluded since whatever is in their skulls doesn’t qualify as a brain anyway), says that this was a no brainer from day one in that it had a SNOWBALLS CHANCE IN HELL OF WORKING, well, methinks I smell a rat. This had nothing to do with winning on the issue of dismantling Obamacare. NEVER. It was the ruse used to light the fire under the rank and file.

Ted Cruz is not an idiot. He may be crazy and narcissistic to a fault, but stupid he is not. He got out of this exactly what he wanted: a bigger national name, money pouring into his coffers, and a brand spanking new donor list to use. If I had to guess, I’d be really really sure that Cruz has read at least one book on how Adolph Hitler (a not stupid person) managed through sheer force of charisma to incite a small group of rabble (Brown Shirts) to catapult him into the Chancellery and ultimately to the dictatorship of the German people. Ted has a plan, I can assure you of that, ill-conceived and product of a meglamaniacal mind as it may be.

While Sarah, the grinning Barbie doll,  paraded around the WWII memorial with 200 elderly veterans,  and spouted how Obama was abusing them for political gain, as she abused them for political gain, veterans across America suffered from the loss of Meals on Wheels. Oh yeah, they couldn’t quite see the photo-op there did they?

Did the teabaggers learn a lesson? Sure they did.

They learned that a rather tiny group of very angry people can wreak big havoc with government, and cause millions of people real pain. And when you are a destructionist rather than a constructionist, well, that’s a valuable lesson.

Will they do it again?

Yes. We will go through all this again in January and February because disrupting things works. They have no care whatsoever that the fortunes of the GOP are falling faster than a meteor streaking across the sky. They only care that they can disrupt and bring government to a screeching halt.

If you have any question about that read Eric Erickson, founder of Red State, and his call for making all those “RINOS” pay in the 2014 elections. “A vote to end the crisis, is a vote for Obamacare!” If you don’t believe me still, compare the votes against ending the shutdown to those who are running for re-election in 2014.

This is not to say that the Tea Creatures are only about destruction. Like just about anybody, once in actual power, they will enjoy it all too well, and will merrily go about the business of enlarging government to suit their predilections. All that talk about “getting government out of our lives” is true. They mean that, but they missed a few words that always are in their head when they say it. It’s more like getting government out of OUR lives and into the lives of all those who don’t live the RIGHT way.”

Surely women will no longer get abortions except illegally, and once the nice white people have picked all the kids they want to adopt from the foundling homes set up to deal with the influx, the rest will be raised by the states. There will be no such thing as health care for the poor, no such thing as Medicaid surely. No such things as food stamps or any of that stuff. The poor will not be left to die, but rather, work houses will be set up in every county where they will live.

Work? Oh there will be plenty of that to go around for the foundling kids and poor-house inhabitants. Streets and bridges to repair and build, lettuce to pick, trash to collect. All the stuff that white people don’t like to do, well they will do for a bed and three squares a day.

While the monied interests will pay these workhouse overseers well, letting them have a few more dribbles of cash to live in the best part of town, not quite in the elite section reserved for monied business interests, but the next best thing. For you see the rich shall be very busy once again. With no restrictions upon them at all, they will be busy building businesses that no longer have to care about working conditions, product safety and all that.

Rockefeller you may recall had no interest in fairness. He wanted to destroy the competition. When you have so much money you can’t begin to spend it, you have to do something. So winning the game is all that matters. And once they have locked up control of America they will expand the game to the rest of the planet. And then, well, there is the moon, and Mars, and from there on read whatever version of science fiction “galaxy wars” excites you, but it surely won’t be a “federation of planets” ala Star Trek.

This all works so damn beautifully. As Theda Skocpol informs us, it’s a pincer effect. The grass-roots crazy ignorant frightened white people do the dirty work and the money pays the tab. The grassroots never knows it’s being used until it’s too late. Like I said, enough of them are paid off handsomely to forget that they are nothing more than enforcers for the “man” now. No freedom for you! TeaNazi.

You remember that some weeks ago we had a conversation about physical discipline of children. I lamented that a segment of my high school classmates thought today’s youth was “disrespectful” and not as they should be, and that mostly that was due to not being beaten as they had been. Course, they don’t call it being “beaten” they call nostalgically call it, “being whooped on”. Another classmate was always telling us how her relative was “scamming” the food stamp system, and she used that example as “proof” that the system was rife with people who were “just too lazy to work”.

Skocpol says this too is normal, for these grass-roots angry white people don’t like their own kids and grandkids, finding them all too willing to take government student loans for granted, and certainly not thinking as they do on social issues.

The monied interests, on the other hand adore their fundamentalist social straight-laced attitudes, for they fit right in with their agenda. While nobody suggests that the monied interests share tea party social values, it’s convenient to them when their work force is mired in simple-minded beliefs that are focused on them versus us in so many guises. So they give lip service to ending abortion and marriage amendments to keep the ignorant teabibbers lasered in on their own neighbors and co-workers rather than of course where they should be–the uber rich who pull the strings and continue to garner all the assets.

Can we stop this?

Well, as in most things, that depends.

When most people are rightly focused on how to make ends meet as a full-time occupation, it’s hard to find time to become involved in our civic responsibilities. When monied interests are all too happy to ply us with toys of every kind (how much bigger can that big screen get and how more pixilly perfect?), we are dutifully lost in our pleasure palaces that are controlled by the flick of thumbs on buttons. So we have to move ourselves off of that to be an effective counterpoint.

I have utter faith in the instinctive goodness of most people and in their can’t-quite-put-my-finger-on-why-it’s-wrong-but-know-it-is ability to separate the goats from the sheep. I believe that the American public at large see through the smooth talk of Ted Cruz and knows him for what he is, a demagogic wannabe, much as the public saw through sista-Sarah and her grifting scheme to be a celebrity Vice President, and prance around in designer clothes and nifty heels.

But that means we have to go further than simply voting for a Democrat come 2014. It means a whole lot more since these old angry white people are infested in our state legislatures and school boards, and city councils.

Whether we are up to the task remains to be seen.

cruz3 This guy is so cynical, he thinks that YOU are no more his match than the tea party minions who are following him as their new god.

I’m betting you are more than his match.

What do you think?

 

 

 

I would highly suggest you read this post from Salon, which I read after composing this post in my head, and suggested to me, that I’m not too far off the mark here. And you might want to pick up the book by Theda Skocpol as well.

 

 

A New Perspective on Tea

thankyoufoxinfromedYes, I know, it’s been my general  belief that the Tea Crustaceans are largely a rag-tag motley crew of uninformed, uneducated, old, white men who are angry at not being able to retire to a tropical island with the requisite trophy wife half his age, and who choose, are directed to blame all that on government, Negroes, Muslims, and various illegals of the brown complexion.

They want “government out of their lives and pocketbooks” all the while demanding that government keep it’s hands off their medicare, but incongruity aside, peering up women’s lady parts to determine the state of her pregnancy and then explaining in patient and slow detail what is going on up there that she is of course quite incapable (because of her sex) to understand fully and competently.

That they are led around by the nose by the likes of very important and wealthy Republicans, aka Koch brothers, who have a most different agenda, is well-known too. Since they have gone to some lengths to allow the lemmings to believe it was all their idea, aided and abetted by Foxy Noise, they have successfully pushed their real agenda of low taxes, no regulation, all the while allowing the mob to rant about all manner of things social that the powers that be care nothing about by and large. They are also allowed to rant long and hard on any “safety net” program that they themselves don’t partake in, i.e. NOT social security and not medicare, all the while not having a clue that in fact their handlers do verily intend to destroy those too once they are in the ascendency.

This has all been my general belief.

Until I read this. Michael Lind’s contention is that the Tea Party is anything but “new” but really just the latest manifestation of a really old Right. He argues that the true base of the fringe group is decidedly Southern and upscale. Once these white town leaders had driven the Reconstructionists out of the South, they put in play a variety mechanisms that gave them control such as segregation, disenfranchisement, bloc voting, and federally the filibuster, to maintain control of local affairs. This state of affairs was upset by the civil rights movement of the 60′s driving a lot of white working class into the arms of the Republicans. They managed because of this,  to gain control of the federal government and basically through 2008, had their way.

With the growing Latino presence, and Blacks now firmly in the Democratic camp, they are looking at a very different demographic in the future. Since they don’t really want Latinos and African-Americans in their wheelhouse, the best solution for them is to dismantle as best they can, the federal government in the hopes of regaining/retaining local control. Their new methodology is to use the filibuster to prevent any more “liberal” and federal control, disenfranchisement of as many Democrats as possible, and the continuing call to privatize federal programs to obtain local control over them once again.

Lind argues that all this is rational and goal-oriented.

This argument is essentially echoed by Zack Beauchamp at Think Progress. He strikes the epicenter of the shift closer to the New Deal, but essentially ends at the same place, these people have always been around in one guise or another and their aim is to maintain power and control over their region and over their lives without federal (read non-white at this point) interference.

Beauchamp takes us on a long and rich history ride to make his point, and though long, this article is a really lesson to us all.

If you think that his government shut down or debt ceiling issue has “just come up” and the GOP through its champion Ted Cruz, “just came up with this unique strategy”, think again. In reality, these uber conservative Republicans met literally within days of Obama’s re-election mapping out the strategy for shutting down the government and holding the debt ceiling hostage to destroy Obamacare. It was not done because they think the program is “damaging  to the economy” or any other such nonsense, but because it will work and work all too well. It will become put another nail in the coffin of local control of people and economies.

It should be noted that the Democratic budget bill was scrapped and the House (sequestration level budget) was accepted precisely because Boehner, said that if the Democrats did so, he could pass a clean bill. The minute Democrats acceded to that, the goal post was moved and we got into the “defund Obamacare too” and all that has followed. So the negotiations have gone on and it was the GOP who refused up until the “crisis” occurred to meet and discuss differences. More than 20 times Republicans refused to attend a conference between the House and Senate bills to reconcile differences.

This is where we are, and this is how we got there I believe. There are lots of opinions out there as to what comes next. Some say that Boehner has promised that he will put a clean bill on the floor at the last minute. Some say he was very pissed when the media outed this position, and this caused him to backtrack to his hardline position of demanding a concession of some sort. Some say he will still put the bill on the floor at the last minute. Others think he is so in love with his gavel that he will see the country go down before giving it up.

We are all waiting to find out. Because one thing we know.

We are not in control.

Unless we decide that enough is enough and throw these idiots out.

Anybody’s guess if we are there yet.

It’s the DICKS!

BYyWCJRDnmerdenlwlqj1OFYo1_500A person I know has been known to say that being conservative is a difficult thing. What he means of course is that one must get past the emotional desire to help everyone (known as the bleeding-heart syndrome) and recognize that such a thing is economically impossible.

Of course the truth is that being a conservative is a very easy thing to be. No one put it better than John Kenneth Galbraith in his famous quote:

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

The difficulty is in fashioning a good excuse as it were. The excuses were helped along wonderfully by the Protestant work ethic (something to do with the devil finding good use for idle hands), rugged individualism, and pulling oneself up by one’s own bootstraps.  The work ethic comes from Calvin and his belief that successful people (i.e. hard workers) were the identifiable chosen of God. Rugged individualism arose during the Hoover administration and was some sort of plea to every day people who their success was in their own hands and presumably not in the disaster that was coming at them from a failed American and world economy. The last about the bootstraps arose from a tall tale that finally became another euphemism for working hard to succeed.

This of course was all immeasurably aided when a group of “elitist” Eastern scholars decided to expropriate Darwin’s evolutionary “survival of the fittest” to explain why some people succeeded and why others did not. Mix them all together and you have the perfect storm of excuses for why I’m wealthy, and you not only are not, but don’t deserve to be.

I would argue that the average business entrepreneur is anything but a true conservative. We like to think of conservatives as being people who don’t like change, who harken to the “good old days”, albeit as seen through rose-colored glasses. This cannot be true of the business person of course, since nobody who thinks like this is likely to risk their all on some belief that they have invented the new wheel of the day.  Business persons simple vote for and support those that promote the kinds of policies that most protect their interests.

Of course all these terms don’t explain anything at all. One may ascribe to the belief that some of the great titans were perhaps brilliant in some way, but more likely they are men who had an inordinate desire to (a) make fabulous sums of money, (b) acquire fabulous amounts of power, or (c) acquire fabulous amounts of accolades for being “successes”. Actually all three feed each other. And with that personality in tow, they happened upon the right idea at exactly the right point in history. The rest is as they say, history.  Imagine the poor hunter-gatherer who happened upon a pool of black sticky goo. He might have dreamed of using this substance in some way that would power his lifestyle, but without either the steel, refinery or car awaiting, it’s unlikely he would become Chief Rocker-negie.

These “conservatives” were a different sort of course than the ones we have today. They cared little about social issues, the rabble could act and interact within their tenements in whatever manner they chose. And they were and are not the same as those “new conservatives” known as the neo-cons, who have applied survival of the fittest to the very nation itself, and given our superior  American exceptionalism, the right to fashion the rest of the world to our liking, even if it means by force.

No, the “New” new conservatives suffer from a much different issue than the mundane guilt facing the average conservative of old, assuaged as was by the phrases above, expropriated to their cause of “me first, you probably never.”

I am of an age, when we were taught that each generation in America did better than the one before it. Each family wished better for their children than themselves, and they expected that. We are the first for which, for many at least, that was not so. In fact for most, staying even has been the best we could hope for.

This leads to the inevitable question of why. And that question scares the bejesus out of the rich. For if the rabble in mass discerns that it has lost at the hands of those who have profited by our misfortune, the wealthy cannot withstand the onslaught. They know it and they have worked tirelessly to avoid that question being turned to them.

The corporate interests, flush with their bulbous bank accounts, bought up the media, and in some cases created their own. The chants began. If you are feeling left behind by the American “dream” then look left.

It is the fault of the blacks who just maybe (hints are everywhere) aren’t as capable in the first place, and are genetically lazy. They are the “takers” the “lazies” the 47%’ers. The subsist on “freebies” and from the Santa Claus syndrome, making a “good” life while aspiring to be nothing more than they are.

It is the fault of the browns, the “illegals” who take our jobs from us, and are prone to being lazy and takers as well. It is all the more horrific because they don’t have any “rights” having entered this country by nefarious and illegal means.

Recognizing that there is a strain of Bible Belt Christianity, you can turn your ire upon the “non-Christian” especially those who look different, are brown, and follow Islam. They are intent upon bringing their hate religion to our shores, taking control of our government and forcing us into their mosques. They are out to destroy American and everything we hold dear.

It is the fault of uppity women and gays who demand equal rights and are surely a part of that “One World Government” thing, that sounds un-American and sinister to boot. It all means that white men are losing their grip on power and money in this world.

Throw in a good dose of government is bad because it just is, continue the mantras of work ethics, and you have a supper to be served to the rank and file American who spends little or no time reading books or articles that deal with real issues in the world.

Soon you have a strange mix of folks who don’t want to pay taxes for all those “others” and who have managed to extricate from their King James’ Bible, plenty of justification for blaming it all on everybody not white, not male, and not Christian.

YOU COULD MAKE IT IF YOU WORK HARD AND IF IT WERE NOT FOR THEM.

The angry mobs will elect people who spout this, and assure them that they are right in their new-found angers and hatreds. A new cadre of grifters are paid to stir the pot daily, assuaging your guilt that tugs at your heart from time to time, making you feel just the slightest bit petty and selfish.

State legislatures across the land become engaged in bizarre bills to destroying women’s reproductive rights, limit the rights of immigrants, legal or not, ban gays from equality, pass looser gun laws (just in case we need them against the government), and otherwise suggesting that life outside the US of A might be better for all, and other secessionist blather.

These bands of ignorance can be found all over America, calling themselves “patriots” and other misbegotten appellations. They are no party, but a band of misfits of no particular ideology other than “stop taking my money” and “it’s not my fault I don’t have the life I dreamed of.” Those two ideas drive all their so-called “opinions. They know nothing, and care to know nothing.

But to call them the Know Nothings is to do a disservice to  another time and place and to misrepresent the meaning of the term when used. They deserve their own name, these “new, new” conservatives.

I coin the phrase The DICKS© to define them. They are the Determinedly Ignorant Conservative Koalition, or DICKS.