Raise the Minimum Wage

From Nick Hanauer:

Trump is a manifestation of a serious civic sickness. But treating the symptom by removing Trump won’t cure the disease, even if it temporarily makes us feel better. No, to heal the body politic we must confront the disease itself…

Nothing is going to get better until we enact laws and standards that persuade or oblige every business to pay every worker a fair, dignified and livable wage. Everything else, from Trump on down, is a distraction or a lie…

There’s no intrinsic reason why the social and political changes delivered by technological advances and globalization have to massively concentrate wealth in the hands of the few. We simply exploited changing circumstances to take advantage of people with less power than us.

Over the last 40 years, corporate profits as a percentage of GDP have increased from about six percent to about 11 percent, while wages as a percentage of GDP have fallen by about the same amount. That represents about a trillion dollars a year that used to go to wages, but now goes to shareholders and executives. One trick we use to keep profits high and labor costs low is to refuse to schedule workers for the 30-plus hours a week they would need to qualify for benefits…

Manufacturing as a percentage of the overall economy, and of jobs, has been declining globally for decades. This trend will not reverse. Trump cannot restore the middle class with empty promises to bring manufacturing jobs back from the dead.

No, the only realistic near term way to insure Americans do better is to make existing jobs into good jobs by requiring they be paid adequately…

The only difference between today’s service workers and yesterday’s manufacturing workers is that most service workers have no union, and thus have no power…

Raising wages will no more kill jobs than eliminating slavery killed jobs, or giving women the right to vote killed democracy (both of which arguments were made at the time).

I have zero hope this advice will be heeded.  Traditionally, the Left would undertake the proposition, but they sold out to neoliberal globalists.  While their leadership focuses on proving Trump collusion with Russia, the GOP establishment stonewalls healthcare reform in Congress, rather than give up Medicaid expansion.  Sooner or later, Trump will be deposed, only to be replaced by another member of the corrupt establishment.

Such a depressing outcome is virtually assured by the comprehensive efforts of ALEC and Libertarians at every level of politics.  And since Trump has no such pipeline of pols espousing populist Nationalism, when he is gone, so will be the hopes of those who voted for him, many for the first time.  Thus, in a year or two we will return to the managed democracy supported by the plutocrats and fascist austerity.

Civil war in 2021 sound about right, when Trump supporters will be heard from again.  Unfortunately, they will not have access to the plutocrats, so locals in country clubs and gated communities will have to do.  Ironically, by then they will probably have succumbed to enormous debts and be in pretty bad shape, themselves.  It is likely that those with torches, pitchforks and rope will find no one whom to attack.

The coming demise of the salary class will rob the working class of righteous victims, but the plutocracy will quickly find itself paralyzed by an absence of infrastructure, once run by the salary class.  By the time the wealthy capitulate, I suspect too much damage will have been done to the power grid and transportation network for a national reboot.   And absent an internet, digital wealth will cease to exist.

Given the need of the internet to express private wealth, drastic abridgment of net neutrality is in the offing, and soon.

Posted in Employment Disasters | Tagged | Leave a comment

John Hood on Violence

From the chairman of the John Locke Foundation:

Former Congressman Barney Frank once offered a definition of the term that many progressives, populists and others who form the modern Democratic coalition appreciate and quote: “Government is simply the name we give to the things we choose to do together.” Pioneering sociologist Max Weber offered a strikingly different definition that, with some refinements and explanations, has been embraced by many of the conservatives and libertarians who constitute the modern Republican coalition: a government is “a human community that successfully claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of violence within a given territory.”

Of all the political factions, I am most offended by Libertarians.  They are the selfish children of politics.  Their leadership wear suits and ties, but Libertarians in the wild are much different.  We have the hippy down the street who refuses to police his yard, or the lady who spends every dime she makes foolishly, rather than sacrifice to pay for health insurance.  Indeed, these freeloaders consider any abridgment of their freedom as violence.

I happen to like roads, bridges, schools and hospitals.  Because I have a BCBSNC policy, the thousands of dollars worth of drugs for my diabetes are essentially free.  I find the world works quite well, if you follow the rules.

I’m still able to fly my freak flag and attempt to raise consciousness without being a misanthrope, which brings me to the best thing I read yesterday:

“The deepest emotion I have is my malice against the well-constituted as compared with the ill-constituted…Dwarfs, morons, idiots, imbeciles, hunchbacks, degenerates, perverts, paranoiacs, neurasthenics, every type of individual upon whom the world looked down, I loved…admired…and imitated.” – John Cowper Powys

I don’t even have malice against the well-constituted, so long as they pay their taxes and don’t legislate religion.

“In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be…” – M.L. King, Letter from Birmingham Jail

Maybe it’s just me, but I prefer the people who sell and serve my food to be dressed nicely and in good health.  They’re nice enough, though I am at a loss as to why.  Libertarians and Christofascists engage in the fascist practice of blaming the victim to justify their  privileged entitlement.

“Soul-level intolerance makes it necessary to decide whom one can include in the human community that will be reasonably friendly to the ego and its defenses, and who must be left outside the palisade to feed the beasts.”

I blew up a John Locke Foundation confab in Greensboro in 200 6.  My soul-level intolerance for them was damn near violent.  To my knowledge, they’ve not been back.  And I maintain the repository of evidence and mockery which stopped the local Tea Party cold in 2014, for which I was sued.  In my defense, Karl Popper said we must tolerate everything save intolerance.

At this moment, in our western civilization, as capitalism in its dying throes intensifies the suffering for all but the few at the top, something seems to be asked of our understanding of love that’s never before been asked, and you will not hear it asked today on any mainstream media, Hollywood movie, or by your friends on Facebook. Not only is “love” now understood to include the full diversity that exists on the earth, in terms of different races and cultures and species, in terms of minority groups in our own society, but it is also to include the diversity of individuals. This involves a little understood requirement that, as an individual, each one must take up the responsibility handed to her/him in the form of individual freedom, and must seek the full expression of his/her essential difference; otherwise there is no difference and no tolerance for difference, let alone love. This challenge to love across difference is formulated in the New Testament as “Love thine enemy.” For that which feels truly different – in oneself – threatens the ego structure that cannot tolerate other centers, other realities, other gods. It cannot tolerate difference in one’s own children, thus resulting in that issue common to psychotherapists’ offices, the pain of not having been seen by one’s parents. Modern parents fail to see their child in his/her otherness because the ego’s need for self-preservation demands there should be “no other gods before me.”

Somebody just stumbled on tribalism, for which I’ve never had any use and paid the price.  It bothers Libertarians and Christofascists that somewhere a gay couple is getting married or a woman on welfare is having a baby, as thought their ox was getting gored.  Strange that people who desperately want to be left alone seek to govern us.

The central faith of anarchism, that individuals can cooperate and govern themselves, without need of top-down authority, rests upon an assumption that society consists of individuals. But as we are horrified to see, this is less and less the case; as the “first world” world advances, the human individual is increasingly erased; be all you can be an empty slogan to sell us a brand and join with the rest in forgetting all about the tedious, painful, lifelong quest of becoming human, a task not only arduous but completely without guarantee of success. Even artists, the “crazies” socially positioned to be our shamans, shirk the task in order to obtain the grant or the teaching position.

I submit becoming human requires caring for the least of us.  When I refer to John Hood  as a fascist, my defense lies in his description of becoming human as violence.  In that, he is truly a selfish child.

Posted in Political Disasters | Tagged | Leave a comment

Burnt Offerings

The A/C, fan motor replaced, just cut off at 75 degrees. It’d been out for five weeks. I put away the portables for next time.

The Wife wages war for a living. It is a terrible sight to behold.

She is haunted by the things she has to do.

I just bury the bodies.

Someday, I’ll tell the story of what she did to the home warranty insurer. You will laugh.

And then you will be in awe, or very afraid, like me.

If we hadn’t taken Darth Beetle to the parkway, I don’t think the A/C would ever have gotten fixed.

She really loves that car. Sometimes, I feel like I’m Oliver Reed and she’s Karen Black. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oswKV2DZZAU

Thank God we don’t have a pool.

I’m chillin’ in the Kia Soul, replete with A/C and Outlaw Country on Sirius.

It is now that those of us who mowed our yards at the highest setting begin not to look like fools.

I can’t work a job, mow two yards and grow any vegetables.

He-Man Women Hater’s University is producing lots of green breans and okra without my assistance, but from rainwater off the roof.  Preparations for Fall semester progress.

I’ve been amazed by the durability of the Gerber daisies in the flower boxes at the store.  Those fuckers take a beating, but so long as I keep them watered and fertilized, they remain enormous. I’m pulling worn out things and replacing them as required.  Dianthus has been the MVP, continuing to bloom for maybe five months.

I spent yesterday afternoon processing a big order w/ 1 day express postage. Then I schlepped the 18 lb box to the USPS on the third level of the mall, so it made the 5:30 truck. I’ve found that most of the problems in the world come from people with too much money.

Posted in Automobile Disasters | Leave a comment

Rinse and Repeat

We dare not open the windows at night, lest we be treated to the millennials next door, smoking cigs and talking way into the night.  I might not mind it so much if they had something to say, but they don’t appear to know anything.

I remember hanging out at the Liberty Drive-In with friends and relatives, and going to parties where politics was always a topic for lively discussion.  Nearly everyone had an informed opinion on the big issues and was up on current events.  When we disagreed, everyone knew why.

I was invited to a party last year and warned not to talk about politics.  Later, I was chewed out by someone offended by my Facebook page, which contains articles I’ve read and what I think about them.  I’m still doing what I’ve pretty much always done.

And apparently since no one is paying attention to the media, they resort to fake news for ratings.  We went from ignorance born of apathy to believing things which aren’t true.  All those people we see talking on their phones aren’t discussing the pros and cons of domestic or foreign policy.  They’re merely navel-gazing.

Those of us who are trying to pay attention are beginning to notice some dreadful trends:

So long as Hillary Clinton and the Third Way globalist technocrats control the DNC, the Left is doomed.

The Koch brothers have such a lock on the GOP establishment as to render Trump irrelevant.  But they don’t know how to legislate and must rely on ALEC for bills.  They don’t know how to compromise and therefore are not politicians.  Anybody who gets primaried as a result of this will be replaced by someone just like them.  Rinse and repeat.

The Zionist deep state remains in possession of foreign policy and is currently making war on the whole world at once.  So, forget about Trump and Putin getting along.  It doesn’t matter.  Neither apparently does it matter that North Korea is a victim of American Imperialism, as are Syria and all the countries we destroyed before them.  We have traitorously surrendered our will to that of Israel and war is the price.  Rinse and repeat.

Given the demise of the Left and predominance of neoliberals on the Right, we are stuck in a time loop, where the only change will be for the worse.  And the poor will continue to suffer.  Worship of materialism and technology will drown out appeals to common sense.  The media will grow even more absurd in their death throes and truth will survive in protected enclaves, like fire in deep winter.

You are welcome to hope, but expectations for change are forlorn.

Posted in Political Disasters | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Davenport on Inequality

From Charles Davenport at the N&R:

When Councilman Mike Barber proposed a 7.5 percent increase for the city’s police officers and firefighters several weeks ago, he encountered stiff resistance from two fellow members of the council: Sharon Hightower and Jamal Fox. Both argued that pay increases should be fair, meaning equal, for all city employees. (The larger increase for law enforcement officers and firefighters was approved two weeks ago.)

Barber’s argument was sound: Cops and firefighters engage in hazardous work, and surrounding cities, including Durham, Raleigh and Charlotte, pay their public safety employees more than Greensboro does. Our personnel often leave for greener pastures elsewhere.

Hightower and Fox disagreed. According to an article by Kate Elizabeth Queram on June 7, Hightower “has argued that all city salaries should be raised at the same rate to avoid the perception that one department is more important than another.”

First of all, Barber, who mocks poor kids for a living as head of First Tee of the Triad, didn’t suggest a pay increase for the GPD because he is a liberal; he suggested it because he lives in the country club and wants to make sure the thin blue line continues to protect him and his kind from increasingly marginalized undesirables.

Secondly, Fox has been increasingly marginalized by the economy, and as an adjunct professor, was in danger of becoming homeless.  He has apparently found work elsewhere and recently resigned from city council.

But enough of that.  I have an enormous catalog refuting Davenport.

11-10-2011 on the Guilford Guardian:

Charles Davenport, Jr. – Editor and Publisher, responsible for writing articles demeaning blacks as “mascots, dupes and yes, victims of the Democratic Party,” with frequent warnings that “Conservatives must never become to the GOP what blacks are to the Democratic Party.”

1-12-2012 in the Guilford Guardian:

I would like to thank my long-time editors at the (Greensboro) News &Record, Allen Johnson and Doug Clark, who, for over a decade, granted column space to a scribbler widely denounced as a “radical, mean-spirited, right-wing extremist.”

10-18-2012 on W’s third term:

President Obama’s extreme left-wing philosophy and Carter-like incompetence are obvious to all but the most strident liberals.

12-15-2012:

Death penalty opponents sneer that executing murderers is nothing more than “vengeance,” as if there were something unseemly about retribution. But I am not in the least disturbed by the terminology; vengeance, in this context, is synonymous with justice.

In rebuttal, I quoted Romans 2:19 to the false Christian and false conservative:

Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

12-26-2012 on Ann Coulter‘s Mugged:

Over and over again, Coulter demolishes the myth that the GOP is the party of racism, bigotry, and hate speech. It is unfortunate that the nation’s “low information voters,” those who voted for Barack Obama, can’t be tied down and forced—ideally by waterboarding–to read this book.

1-2-2013 on what the NYT called “the least credible history book in print.”

Please read Barton’s “Original Intent.”

On unemployment benefits:

If people are paid to engage in sloth and indolence—to sit at home and watch Family Feud– people will engage in sloth and indolence.

1-20-2013 on MWBE participation:

When we judge people based on the color of their skin (in defiance of King’s dream), or by gender, we establish rival factions of “victims” who will be at each other’s throats over the spoils of an inherently flawed diversity program.

2-3-2013:

There is a fine line between providing compassionate assistance to those sincerely in need, and subsidizing sloth and indolence.

2-20-2013:

[Y]ou, sir, are just as disgusting as the ghetto-blasters at Food Lion. Your attitude and air of entitlement is no better than the slouching, obese, house coat and flip-flop wearing, welfare-queen baby mama who laughs all the way home while using YOUR tax dollars to pay for her groceries.

3-24-2013:

[W]hether teachers qualify as “professionals” is also a matter of dispute…

4-2-2013:

[G]ay marriage is a civil rights issue in the same sense that smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol are civil rights issues. Voluntary behavioral choices—particularly those that defy centuries of human experience—do not constitute civil rights.

4-22-2013:

The diversity cultist seems to have two primary objectives, the first of which is shared with the Democratic Party: pandering to women and minorities, who are presumably incapable of fending for themselves; and second, the diversity enthusiast is in the business of nurturing her own sense of moral superiority…

When progressives speak of “diversity,” they do not mean merely “difference or variety.” They are referring to a political crusade, the mascots and tokens of which are women, blacks, Hispanics, gays and every other group “victimized” and “excluded” by sinister white males.

6-7-2013:

Voter ID, for instance, hardly qualifies as “extreme.”

6-16-2013:

On Thursday came news that 16 local schools will offer free breakfast and lunch to needy children. Feeding hungry kids is a commendable enterprise, but it is “free” only in the sense that the happy recipients’ parents don’t have to pay for it.

3-29-2014:

Hayes-Greene’s nightmarish perception of modern American — a society seething with racism — is flagrantly, demonstrably false.

The Guilford Guardian subsequently folded.

Posted in Journalistic Disasters | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Fractured Fun Fourth Festival

From the N&R:

GREENSBORO — Nearly 300 additional police officers will be on-duty Monday and Tuesday to support the many Fun Fourth events in the city.

Officers will be on foot, bicycles, Segways, motorcycles and in marked and unmarked patrol vehicles as thousands of people expected to celebrate Independence Day, according to a police news release.

Hundreds of snowflakes are expected to emerge from their parents’ basements, head downtown and wither like blisters in the sun from too many IPAs.

Mustache wax will run in the gutters.

Meanwhile, at The Forge: Instructing the landscaper so as to be pleased with your yard.

DGI head, Zack Matheny, will don a clown costume for the events and no one will even notice.

Despite throngs of revelers, the ICRCM will do zero business, again.

Festivities will end with people stuck in alleys, gazing at their smartphones. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1v0jB3OswM

If things go as normal, about 9:00 tonight, a half dozen of GSO’s finest will tackle and subdue a homeless inebriate in a wheelchair. The crowd will roar.

DGI is renting tasers.

Thousands of visitors will come downtown, look at the IGMFUPAC mudhole and wonder WTF?

At the Cone Denim popup museum, an artisan will be sewing buttons on reproduction shirts no one wants to buy.

Unfortunately, most of the restaurants and coffee shops will be closed as they jockey for position closer to the IGMFUPAC mudhole.

No expense has been spared in preparation for the riot of the dispossessed children at midnight. Residents of Center Pointe will hang from their tiny balconies and yell racist epithets.

Lest Schiffman’s suffer another broken window, security guards and attack dogs will be on hand because that’s how they treat family.

People will celebrate under giant trees on an enormous boulevard, leading to the river, featuring several performing art centers, a suspension bridge and lots of hotels effortlessly accessed by a free trolley. Oh wait. that was last month in Greenville, SC.

If the guy promoting the megasite hadn’t embezzled, gotten caught and offed himself, he might have hosted a tour of the IGMFUPAC mudhole for foreign dignitaries.

Walker Sanders, head of CFGG and unable to attract more pledges for the IGMFUPAC mudhole, will raise money in a dunking booth, where he will demonstrate the amazing ability to breathe through his ears.

Dabney Sanders, unable to raise money for the downtown greenway, will be on hand with a towel, offering encouragement.

DGI will be offering bus tours to the revamped Revolution Mill, where everyone will be mugged by the precocious locals.

Greensboro businesses can’t get to Revolution Mill fast enough, before it defaults.

Indeed, GSO enjoys a rich tradition of shopping centers opening in bankruptcy.

Visitors, seeking respite from the heat and beggars, will be horrified to find homeless people waiting tables.

As usual, every entree served in each restaurant will come with a side of fries, probably from duck fat.

Dozens will succumb to exposure while waiting for their food truck order.

Restaurateurs from Raleigh, inhabiting the worst possible location downtown, will again go ignored and be reduced to extorting money for parking.

Further down, near downtown’s only crummy bridge, a schizo place will try to decide whether to sell coffee or burgers.

Nearby, a place serving only fowl will alarm patrons with a B&W mural of a swamp in winter.

In a new event, the top of the Greene Street parking deck will be quelled of recent riots by those attempting to park. Desperate downtown developers will vie for a twenty dollar bill being waved by Zack Matheny down below by attempting to fly.

Posted in Holiday Disasters | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How the Left Will Win

I’ve been convinced for some time that the greatest domestic threat to American democracy lies with the Libertarian Koch brothers and the Christofascists who serve as useful idiots:

Talent Market’s list of clients is a “who’s who” of the far right, including the Koch’s Americans for Prosperity Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Ayn Rand Institute. Current job openings advertised on the website include openings at the Charles Koch Institute, the Charles Koch Foundation, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the State Policy Network, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

The Koch-funded CEI is working hard to push climate change deniers into the Trump administration, so it is advertising for a “discrete” “libertarian or conservative” who can “discuss your philosophical alignment with CEIs mission and vision.” Greenpeace members need not apply.

About now would be a great time to hear from the Left:

Congressional Republicans seem to be trying as hard as they can to arouse the enmity of as many people as possible by passing the horrifying American Health Care Act — which is only serving to build support for a single-payer system. Trump’s tax plan, which admittedly is pie in the sky, proposes “one of the biggest tax cuts in American history” (according to the director of Trump’s National Economic Council) — to benefit the wealthy, who don’t have enough money yet. More fodder for populist rage on the left. And, of course, yet another device to “starve the beast,” i.e., hamstring the federal government’s ability to administer society in such a way that society continues to function.

Trump’s budget, as we know, is a masterpiece of misanthropy. Among its shining provisions are $2 trillion of cuts to health programs, a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency, $472 billion slashed from income security programs, and $346 billion of cuts to education, training and employment programs. It has no chance of becoming law, but since it’s just an extreme version of Republican priorities, it doesn’t bode well for the country’s future. Which is to say, it doesn’t bode well for the ruling class’s untrammeled exercise of power — because of the civic collapse and consequent popular resistance it augurs…

[T]he unique historical role of neoliberalism has been to bring the long epoch of capitalism to its global consummation — which, in classic dialectical fashion, could end up precipitating its downfall. In fact, the nation-state system itself, which is integrally connected to capitalism, is in the early stages of its long decline. The political economy of privatization and social atomization on the one hand, and transnationalism on the other, which has emerged on the basis of information technology deployed in a neoliberal context, is unraveling the social fabric of the nation-state — in part by facilitating the emergence of a global consciousness and the undermining of a national one. This, in turn, is making possible the rise of global social movements (which, incidentally, are what Marxism was all about to begin with: “Workers of the world, unite!”)…

It’s unlikely we’ll see a return to 20th-century social democracy, because the nationalistic, heavily unionized political economy that produced that social formation is dead. It has succumbed to relative fragmentation and atomization. Instead, we’ll likely see momentum grow behind more radical initiatives like the democratization of ownership — which is proposed in the Labor Party’s manifesto and has been championed by Bernie Sanders and other senators. The very structures of government and the economy will be thrown into question as the idea spreads that humanity’s current predicament is a direct product of these structures. Popular pressures to address global warming will reinforce and align with anti-capitalist movements, as it becomes clearer that only radical changes in the economy will be adequate to meet the ecological threat. The very inseparability of all the crises afflicting the country and the world — militarism, the privatization of resources, climate change, income inequality, economic stagnation, unemployment — will likely foment wholesale popular radicalization.

Sheldon Wolin’s concept of Inverted Totalitarianism as expressed by a worship of materialism/technology mitigates against the rise of the Left.  At least a generation of re-education must occur before effective political opposition can begin to make a difference.  Until then, we will be subjected to the senseless violence of anarchy.

Posted in Political Disasters | Tagged , | Leave a comment