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December 23, 2013

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Nothing -- nothing -- will change until people start raising holy hell and, yes, are willing to shed their own blood in the name of calling out the dog & pony show that has become American life. Leaders of both political parties act like spokespersons for the corporatocracy, dangling just enough "economic recovery" to keep the masses quiet. Progressives, desperate for signs of caring by anyone in power, fall all over themselves to praise a religious leader's photo ops, not bothering to discern PR from policy. Wingnuts hang onto what little they still possess like a two-year-old clutching the last cookie from the jar. Their worship of the likes of a backwoods reality TV star speaks volumes of the rampant distrust Americans hold toward each other. In the meantime, the number of people who can't afford to contribute to the economy via discretionary spending grows. I wonder how big it has to be before critical mass occurs.

Let me recount a story as told by Samuel Gompers. Gompers was hiding in a stairwell from Pinkerton 'detectives' who had once again attacked a union line with truncheons and guns. As he watched what was happening to his men he resolved to turn the tables on the oligarchs.

Years before he had been approached by organized crime who had stated that they would get the oligarchs off labors' back in return for a piece of the action. They explained to Gompers that they knew how to handle these guys (the oligarchs) and the leaders of the labor movement did not.

Gompers declined the offer at that time, but resolved to himself years later while in the stairwell, that he would take them up on their offer -- which he did.

And that, friends and neighbors, is how organized crime got a foothold in organized labor.

In addition to more protectionism (yes, I said the dreaded P word), the race-to-the-bottom war between the states vis a vis generous tax incentives need to be halted. It is blowing a hole in state budgets. Intel, whose former CEO Craig Barrett likes to wring his hands over Arizona's stingy education spending, got a sales factor tax break that was worth $100 million.

PR over policy is dead on, Diane. Just look at all the swooning over Chris Christie. He's following the Arpaio playbook to the letter. You can be a total dick to the "undesirables" so long as you tug at heartstrings every so often and come across as an Everyman.

That bit about Gompers was interesting, headless lucy. I did a quick Google but nothing obvious came up (except about the early organizers' resistance to the syndicate) - would love to read more on that.

It peaked my interest as well because I (hanging my head in shame) had a very very negative view of unions from my childhood on up to about the mid-80's.

In my defense... I grew up in New Jersey and the paternal side of my family were Sicilian. I overheard a lot of braggadocio - some of it surely embellished - that didn't sit well with me. "The Sopranos" may be fiction, but it'll give you the idea.

It is ironic that unions grew to derive their power from the underground oligarchy.

I evolved into deciding that unionization is a necessary evil to counteract the oligarchic pressures in a Capitalist paradigm. But that's just a bad system adding complexity to try to fine tune itself.

Goodbye Capitalism... goodbye the need for unions (which have to hew to the imperatives of capitalism in order to remain engaged - which was the Achilles' Heel of Communist states in a Capitalist world economy.)

Petro -- The story is from a biography that I read about Gompers. It was part of a college paper (NAU)that I wrote on the labor movement in the U.S. That was in 1973 and I have tried to find that source again, but have not been able to. Wish I'd saved the paper.

It's an actual anecdote from the book. I'll try to find it again.

Where we stand: They're led once again by Washington state, which will continue to have the highest state minimum wage in the nation, at $9.32 per hour.

How is it that a failed 30-year experiment to unleash America's animal spirits and thereby bring about heaven on Earth continues to fail but the faith in the experiment itself only grows? Yes, the rich are richer, which is nice. But what about the rest of us? Do we matter, or were we only meant to be the chorus in an epic adventure involving our betters? Social mobility is at an all-time low. Income inequality is at levels not seen since 1929. And this is how it is meant to be. Because Zeus loves those who help themselves. Or something spiritual like that.

Horatio Alger stories bewitch us because the pornography of material excess dovetails with the political methodology enabling it. We got Powerball dreams to go along with our Big Mac appetites. Maybe you're supposed to float an IPO on the basis of an idea dreamed up after too many Bud Lites? Why not? What's evil is liberals taxing your Powerball winnings so low-lifes can continue to live the good life on food stamps.

The American right doesn't do policy anymore because that would suggest there's actually something government can do in lieu of just cutting taxes to zero and ushering in the Randian End Times. The social compact is revealed by a see-through fig leaf: bend over, grab your knees, and wait for an infusion of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus was born in a manger with granite countertops and a 12-man hot tub. He came to Earth so we wouldn't be damned for eternity by long DMV lines and affirmative action. He was a non-union carpenter who turned fishes into the Gadarene Swine who worked at Goldman Sachs. You don't have to believe any of this. But if you do, your life will be much richer for it. Or you can move to a FEMA camp in socialist Europe.

For some reason, when I talk to college educated, conservative, economic-theory types, they get really agitated when I insist that their supply side nonsense is, in reality, just a zero sum game.

another great day on the Mountain.

I saw John Galts name on a Park Bathroom wall this morning?

Soleri:"The social compact is revealed by a see-through fig leaf: bend over, grab your knees, and wait for an infusion of the Holy Spirit."

Or as Elmer Gantry would say, I rammed the fear of god into her behind the altar.

...We got Powerball dreams to go along with our Big Mac appetites. Maybe you're supposed to float an IPO on the basis of an idea dreamed up after too many Bud Lites? Why not?...

Actually, soleri, that is exactly it. It is also an embarrassingly accurate description of how I spent my greedhead years. Me and my fellow dreamers were rummaging for that golden ring anywhere.

Hell, one of our fantasies was... oh, never mind. I've soiled myself enough already for now.

I keep thinking that the price of fuel is so cheap that things that are made in China are shipped half way around the world, marked up by 50% and still sold for less than we can manufacture here. I think that may have something to do with protectionism and maybe even organized crime – I’m not sure.

cal,
I myself was out on a mountain today too. It was so clear that I thought I saw you out on your patio chair somewhere in the Sonoran desert with your phantom dog. It was a beautiful day.

When all boats rise, they're still the same boats, and you had better not have them tied to tightly to the pier.

It's a question of percentages, hence it's a zero sum game, which is why you have to keep an eye on the percentages.

To make a simple comparison, the economy is like a game of checkers, not like boats rising in a high tide. Even if, for instance, the checkerboard gets bigger, there are still the same amount of checkers. Therefore, whoever has the most checkers is taking checkers from the other player, and may well win.

Starting another checkers game is what the right calls "redistribution" -- and is, in Wingnutopia, an invalid thing.

Suzanne I hope I didnt shock you with my winter sun bathing, nude, in the great Sonoran desert, whats left of it.

No amount of change in entrenched economic policy can turn this juggernaut or overcome the limits to growth. Only the abandonment of growth -- that is, the overthrow of Western-style Capitalism, which is clearly not going to happen -- could give us any chance for survival. Technology has postponed the day of reckoning, but there's abundant evidence we have tipped beyond the tipping points toward the cliff at the end of the line. Melting ice caps and methane plumes, melting Fukushima coriums and radiation plumes, fires, floods, drought, superstorms, dying marine life, and more -- all signal an ELE, that is an abrupt end of the human experiment, if not all life on earth. Enjoy what we can while it lasts, but be kind to those in need.

Well said Gaylord!!

cal,

that was you out sunbathing neked in the desert??

there's a joke in there somewheres, but dang if I can think of it.

Gaylord -- "...that is, the overthrow of Western-style Capitalism, which is clearly not going to happen...."

Do you have any documentation for that statement, or is it just your personal opinion? Revolutions often have predictable causes but unforeseeable sparks and paths.

For example, it is also clear that the world banking system will implode upon itself in the foreseeable future, but whether it will be bailed out again is not so certain.

Since control of capital is what makes capitalism capitalism, it's repeated self destruction and artificial re-inflation through political fiat after self-destruction, is in no way or form "...clearly not going to {not happen}."

That was me Reb.
Sun bathing neked while reading my copy of Adbuster. No joke.

Moronistan Report: "Opening soon: Kentucky's first ninja star throwing range"

That just made my day.
In lieu of Rogue's heathenish "Happy Holidays", a belated Merry Christmas!

If the world turns more into a system of 'winner-takes-all' capitalism then one would think that redistribution schemes will become more important to keep society stable (as they have been historically). Somehow most cultists (e.g. Singularity) at the altar of innovation think more redistribution won't be that necessary and the average boat will be floating happily along. In a roundabout way they may be right because of those new gizmos like drones and total surveillance that come just in time to keep the lid on the unhappy masses. IMO innovation won't enable us to solve all our problems (it's already game over for climate change) and let us become immortal man-machine creatures. Instead it will turn on itself and if we're lucky we get back to a middle of the 20th century lifestyle.

Meanwhile:

So in my view, the dominant social effect of all these ever-accelerating-integrated-globalized-world-stuff is to create a divide: if you are sufficiently smart/skilled/creative to stay employed and take advantage of all the new toys, life gets better and more fun and you feel more powerful and enabled. But if you are not sufficiently smart/skilled/creative (or you just decide the game is fucked), then you are out of a job and now you can't afford most of the fun stuff and not only that, you live in the midst of a society that you know doesn't have any use for you and doesn't value you.

http://earlywarn.blogspot.de/2010/05/singularity-climate-change-peak-oil.html

I'm sunbathing and all is lost. I read it in a book somewhere.

Boy! You sure hit the nail on the head this time, headless!

Well said!

Its Robert Redfords last movie.

"Majorities of the middle class spending the past 33 years voting against their self interest."

Everyone single one of you who votes Democrat or Republican is voting against your self-interest. The two-party system and their sycophants and talking windbags have polarized this country into stagnation. Every decision that is made is not because it's the right thing to do, but because it's the right thing to do politically (either to their advantage, their opponent's disadvantage, or some combination thereof). That is the sole motivator, and if we are to ever wrest control of our country back we need to completely dismantle the two-party system, remove all the roadblocks to legitimate third-party success and educate the public on the ramifications of all decisions.

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