Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Language is the Currency of a New Consciousness

On an evening while watching the Rachel Maddow show I heard Mr. EJ Dionne say something that was for me the catalyst of a profound ah-ha moment – you know what I mean suddenly a light snaps on and something you’ve known all of your life without saying it has suddenly been said. He simply remarked that in our system of economics, “capital is more important than labor.”

Within seconds a series of associations popped into my mind: money is more important than people; unearned income is more valuable than earned income thus should be taxed less; retirement based upon accrued wealth is more deserved than retirement based upon earned benefits.

I would even go further and say that in the presence of an unbridled Free Market and vulture Capitalism, labor is indeed the enemy of capital.  This is the unstated assertion that supports the belief that while the workers who walked out on strike at Wal-Mart are disruptive-ungrateful-wanting something for nothing slugs, if not just plain foolish, the Walton family who owns Wal-Mart is a clan of heroes in the Capitalist paradigm for paying their employees less than is needed to support a family and offering no benefits. Accordingly, when these worker’s families are forced to go on public assistance such as food stamps or Medicaid in order to survive, the moral responsibility reverts to them and them alone.  They become an object of derision by the very people who hold their offices through the legalized corruption of government by big lobbies representing employers like the Waltons.  These are the same corrupt individuals who promote that paradigm as a secondary implication of the peddling of influence. 

Any political or other leader who dares to elaborate on this inequity too often, too loudly, or too eloquently is immediately labeled a Socialist, a Communist, a Leninist, a Marxist and for those stupid enough to not know their left from their right a Nazi or Fascist. Consequently, terminology like labor’s right to have some ownership in the means of production, alienation of labor, workers rights, Laissez-Faire Capitalism and income distribution equity have been dumb-down and prettied up into “fairness to Middle Class families.”  The poor and the working poor are seldom spoken of these days, although Mr. Obama often speaks of giving those outside of the Middle Class a way in. All of this subterfuge and linguistic sleight-of-hand contributes to a pervasive and pernicious ideology by people such as the Waltons which can be summed up in, “we hired them; we can kill them.” This belief has been given the force of law by their allies in the brothel formally known as the United States Congress.

I subscribe to the Mayan belief in a radical change in the world on December 21st, but do not accept the validity of end time prophecies. Thus, I believe that we are entering a shift in consciousness for good or ill - it’s hard for me to tell. However, I propose that it is possible for us to determine the nature and quality of this shift for ourselves. One way is for labor - workers - to take back control of the language of our liberation. We need to begin to think and speak of ourselves as an indispensable source of production and as wealth engendering. No fortune has ever been made without us. We are not just the chattel of Free Market Capitalism and a consumer culture gone insane.

The intellectual sludge born in a toxic stew of corporate arrogance and gluttony which holds that big money can continue to earn big money without an economically empowered, constantly expanding Working/Middle Class is evidence of the mind numbing properties of chronic greed. The consumer orgy which corporate America has encouraged, indeed mandated, is not possible without a fully enfranchised, stable and economically viable Working Class. You may find this hard to believe, I did, but I actually heard a CEO of a Fortune 500 company say as much recently. 

Since language is the currency of a new and shared consciousness, it follows then that it is time for workers in this country to stand up and demand clearly and loudly the respect they deserve as creators of wealth both in production and consumption. It won’t do any longer to consider workers as red marks on company balance sheets under the heading Cost of Doing Business. We are business. We are the financial system. Without us nothing works, nothing runs and the great engine of the economy stalls like a faulty motor. 

If this is Socialism so be it. It is none of the other aforementioned political/economic systems, and it would behoove those who don’t know the difference to read a damn book once in a while - if they can read that is. The question becomes, is it worse to be a so-called Socialist than it is to be an entrepreneur who benefits from an undeclared Socialism by working their employees for much less than is needed to subsist while throwing them off on the public dole to subsidize their income, thus smugly expecting the taxpayer to pick up the slack?

Labor might want to remind the consumer public that when people don’t make enough to live on and must rely upon federal or state government assistance the five dollar shirt happily purchased at Wal-Mart actually costs much more. Perhaps, when Wal-Mart patrons rushing to save money realize that they will pay for those savings out of their family budget in sales tax or state tax or federal tax they won’t consider the bargains at Wal-Mart such bargains.

My husband Bradley believes that an excellent way to help reduce taxation and perhaps the deficit would be to force people like the Waltons to pay back in taxes the money that must be taken from the tax coffers by their employees in order to live. In addition, since these are the business owners supporting a government culture that resists single payer medical coverage and hates Obama Care, they might be required to help subsidize their community hospitals to defer the cost of treating their uninsured employees. 

I’m not an expert on tax policy or deficit reduction; however, I know a little something about working for a living. The idea that labor is a charitable investment and/or a parasitic drain on the likes of Wal-Mart is patently stupid if not insane. It is unlikely that we will hear our elected officials, in office or running for office, emphasize this so we must emphasize it. Without us there are no great industries, no great corporations, no small or large businesses - no Wal-Marts! In the final analysis capital and labor are equal partners in the creation of any economy, particularly the Free Market Economy. They should enjoy equal respect and recognition - if for no other reason than because the vast majority of this country works for a living, and we are the consumers of the products of all industries, corporations and businesses small and large. The people who squall and whine about paying taxes at the top end of the income scale are often the same people who are more than happy to take advantage of the government’s ability to subsidize the income of their underpaid employees.  What can we call such infants save entitlement babies or Welfare monarchs?


Monday, November 19, 2012

Our Coin Operated Media

To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful. . . Edward R. Murrow
I grow increasingly disgusted with the corporate-owned, open sewer that was once our free press.  Their collusion by omission, their refusal to tell both sides of the story, their insistence upon limited vision via limited scope appalls me.   For instance, in the current mess in the Middle East the American news viewing public has been consistently treated to the world according to the pro-Israeli lobby while the voices of the pro-Palestinian camp are conspicuously ignored.  The ever present chant “Israel has a right to defend herself,” rattles through the ether like the chains of Jacob Marley in Dickens’ famous Christmas Carol.  However, what of the settlements that Israel persists in extending into the occupied territory of the Palestinian people in violation of international law – nothing, silence, they aren’t relevant enough to mentioned.  Apparently, Israel has a monopoly on the right of self defense. 

Don’t get me wrong, Hamas is an abomination.  It is a terrorist organization that lends the stain of a terrorist state to the hopes and dreams of the Palestinians.  On the other hand, to whom do they turn for fair treatment?  Certainly not us, or the UN or the EU or Ralph Nader.  So the terrorists move in and we are astounded at the bad judgment of the Palestinian electorate.  We lead the world in being astounded at the ramifications of crises of our own making. 
The attack on our Consulate in Benghazi is yet another example of the media playing fast and loose with critical information.  While the Republicans line up in pairs chains and clusters like bacteria to pillory the Obama Administration and Ambassador Rice for failure to protect our diplomats and the alleged reporting of misleading information concerning that attack to cover negligence, these same partisan Republicans conveniently forget that earlier this year their House cut billions from the State Department’s budget some of which was earmarked for protection of our embassies, consulates and missions.  The Viagra brothers McCain and Graham, always happy to rob State to pay Defense and keep George Carlin’s bigger dick theory of diplomacy alive, never objecting to the action taken by their colleagues in the lower chamber are suddenly prostrate with grief at the loss of our diplomats in Libya.  The media allows this circus to go forward, never calling any of them out no matter how vicious their insinuations or accusations. 

In much the same way the press allowed Republican pundits and assorted hatchet people to refer repeatedly to Obama as a failed president during the election.  The same press did not make a point of reporting on the organized Republican obstructionism – conceived of on the night of Mr. Obama’s inauguration – that was responsible for the failure of the president’s first term agenda where it did fail, until well into the campaign.   Now, many of these obstructionist Right-wingers who were driven by an irrational hatred of this president are counting on a similar pass from the media as they try to reinvent themselves as reasonable leaders for the benefit of an electorate that kicked their buts earlier this month. 

This puts me in mind of the old story about the lunatic inside the asylum gate who notices a car stopped outside.  The lunatic informs the car’s driver that he has a flat tire to which the driver responds with an astonished look.  Prompting the lunatic to announce, “I am in here for being crazy not stupid.”  Let that be a lesson to us all.  Just because someone is capable of presenting themselves intelligently and rationally in one instance does not make them sane under the surface no matter what the corporate whoring, fact hiding media of limited perception and short memory would have us believe.

Monday, November 5, 2012

What Tomorrow May Bring

So, it is almost over.  The speeches, the rallies, the robo calls, the idiots showing up at my door wanting me to vote for Romney, only to be told that I would rather vote for Charlie Manson  - all of it is almost over.  If the Right wins tomorrow the American people will acquiesce to a new path to the White House strewn with lies, half-truths, scare tactics and racially charged innuendo, not to mention rewarding obstructionism at the expense of the country with a return to power.  The American people will have opened the front door and let the vampire in to suck them dry as the Bush Administration did, and the Reagan Administration did, indeed as hardcore Conservative Republicans have done going back to Hoover and before.  We will have dumped leadership and solid public policy into the ashcan along with education, health care, women, labor and voter’s rights, our national social conscience and our international dignity.  We will be back to what George Carlin called, “the bigger dick theory of diplomacy.”  We will have moved retrograde into a time when robber barons can drive Wall Street all over the lives and dreams of working families on Main Street.  Then the people who have cast their lot with the Romney/Ryan vaudeville act and those who didn’t bother to vote will have the nightmare they deserve.  The rest of us will have another long walk in the wilderness until we can mobilize to take the midterm elections in ’14 and start to turn the clock back to the future.  If on the other hand, we awake on Wednesday morning to learn that our good President Obama has been retained and we have gains in the House with continued control and/or a larger majority in the Senate then it will be time to round up the lunatics and put them back in the asylum so that the rest of us can continue rebuilding OUR country.  OBAMA/BIDEN 2012.