Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Moral of the Story

In our economic structure, as E. J. Dionne once said, capital is more important than labor.  It is also more deserving.  Accordingly, labor doesn't deserve anything; not its wages, its retirement, its benefits.  Only capital earns.  The relationship between labor and capital is one of parasite and host in the minds of the Republicans and their Rightwing talking heads.  That is to say that capital falls like manna from heaven onto the chosen.  Labor on the other had drains capital away from those who acquire it – earned or not, righteous or not.  Money and truth are seldom on speaking terms, much like the free market and the rights of human beings.  The idea, therefore, that labor generates capital or that the relationship between labor and capital is symbiotic rather than adversarial is heresy in modern America.

With this in mind it behooves workers and the poor to pay attention to what latter day populists like Joanie Ernst and John Boehner are really saying when they talk about the needs of the middle class.  They are in fact saying that the vast majority of the people in this oligarchy must work harder, to earn less and be grateful for the privilege of doing so.  Sacrifice, struggle and suffering are noble so long as it is not the 1% – their contributors – doing the sacrificing, struggling or suffering.  Any talk of the affluent paying their fair share of taxes, of increasing the minimum wage or cutting taxes for the middle class is greeted with the old and tired redistribution of wealth rant.  The underlying premise is that wealth belongs to the wealthy whether they earned it or not.  Once again be clear, labor owns nothing and should be grateful for what it gets. 

Recently on the Ed Schultz show I saw something that was long overdue.  Mr. David Frum, a brilliant conservative who is also sane by the way, was having a conversation with the aforementioned Mr. Dionne.  Frum was going on in the usual vein about how we mustn't take money “earned” by one group and give it to another that “hasn't” earned the money.  It was the old redistribution of wealth nonsense dressed up in good English and sound syntax.  Mr. Dionne, ever the gentleman, listened patiently.  When it was his turn to speak – both of these men are far too intelligent to engage in the shouting, name calling and interrupting that so often attends cable T.V. debates – E. J. simply thanked Mr. Frum for his comments and said that he was sure the conservative would undoubtedly support a very strong labor movement.  Frum’s eyes popped open, his lips moved but nothing came out.  He seemed to be struck dumb.  Schultz also a very nice man saved him by calling an end to the debate.

The moral of the story is simple.  You can’t insist that the top of the economic scale gets all they can lay their hands on while also insisting that labor can make as much as they need and want through their own initiative unless you support a very powerful and compelling labor coalition.  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

In the Name of God

This morning His Thickness, Chuck Todd, interviewed the new editor and chief of Charlie Hebdo, Gerard Biard. This man was clear in his assertion that God/faith has no place in politics and by extension government. He is bloody right. France is a secular nation, albeit Catholic by in large. This country was also founded as a secular nation. Jefferson and the boys were clear that religion has no place in government – the Freedom of Religion clause is just that; freedom OF religion not FOR religion. As Mr. Gerard asserted correctly, when God enters politics tyranny ensues. Is it not religious tyranny that the Fundamentalist Right is offering this nation?

I believe and always have that most Americans agree with Mr. Gerard. However, currently the United States of America is run, governed or should I say ruled, by a loud, vicious, sanctimonious and hypocritical minority. Part of this is down to the media that focuses not on the common good or the common person, but on the outrageous, even lunatic fringe, that builds their ratings. The rest of it is down to us for having tolerated this state of affairs and not listened to the advice of Barry Goldwater, “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them.”

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Unity Rally

Our Ambassador to France was our only representative at the Unity Rally in Paris where over one million people, along with many heads of state, took to the streets in a show of defiance against terrorism.  I don’t know why neither Secretary Kerry nor Attorney General Holder – who is in France – didn't attend the rally; I can imagine why the Secret Service would have blown a fuse if the most threatened and menaced president in history attempted to join such a gathering.  Still in all, I think we could have made a bit better showing.  Even though to spite what many Americans think everything is not about us and this certainly was not. 

What really sent my hostility gauge jumping above fuming was the way our media handled coverage of this event.  Alex Witt on MSNBC this morning had a collection of “experts” nay saying and doomsdaying and finger pointing.  The last’s function was fulfilled by a young Israeli who spent the better part of his segment blaming Palestine, Islam and anybody else he could think of for the tragedy in Paris which he seemed to think was aimed primarily at the Jewish community.  Even Witt looked disgusted by the time she finished with him; not disgusted enough to give the other side equal time however.

Is it any wonder that the average person feels powerless and voiceless when such a fine show of human solidarity is treated with disrespect and indifference bordering on contempt?  The 24/7 media, acting like nothing so much as a flock of Carrion birds snacking on the dead, would have us believe that all is hopeless because if it bleeds it leads and hopelessness hemorrhages.   

Friday, January 9, 2015

Those Who Exploit

The object of terrorism is terror.  Not religion or politics, although it often hides its ugly face behind both.  As a follower of the Old Religion, a Pagan, I have little sympathy for people who engage in mass murder because they take umbrage at something that is said, written or drawn about their faith.  After all my Craft has been maligned, ridiculed, demonized, caricaturized,  satirized and exploited for fun and profit by almost every religion in history.  However, no matter what is said against us, not one tiny increment of our faith in Goddess or determination to walk our spiritual path depends upon the good opinion of others.   That is probably why we have no need or desire to perpetrate terrorism.

It has been my experience that those who are the most willing to squeal about persecution are often those who are most willing to offer it up to others.  To wit:  people who strenuously object to anti Christian or Semitic literature, speech or deeds have no problem tarring all Muslims with the same terrorist brush. 

Even more despicable in many ways is the so-called person of faith who uses terrorist carnage like the Paris tragedy to gain political ground, to distort information and distill hate, pander to the troglodytes who put them in office and to keep their mug before the cameras.  By way of demonstration I give you Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.