“Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard”

October 11, 2011 at 11:43 am | Posted in Labor, Occupy, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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The Unknown Citizen by W.H. Auden

(To JS/07 M 378 This Marble Monument Is Erected by the State)

He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a saint,
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn’t a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Installment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A gramophone, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for he time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace; when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation.
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.

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Occupy Your World

October 11, 2011 at 11:25 am | Posted in Economy, environment, health, Labor, Occupy, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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Trade Union procession for Triangle Waist Co. fire victims, 1911. (Library of Congress)

(NYT) The Triangle shirtwaist factory fire, as it is commonly recorded in history books, was one of the nation’s landmark disasters, a tragedy that enveloped the city in grief and remorse but eventually inspired important shifts in the nation’s laws, particularly those protecting the rights of workers and the safety of buildings.

I’ve added a new category to the side bar — Occupy! — where you can find links to various and sundry Occupy websites. If you know of one that you think I should include, please leave me a note in comments.

Occupy Your World

October 5, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Posted in civil rights, Economy, health, Labor, Occupy, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we’re working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.

Brought to you by the people who occupy wall street. Why will YOU occupy?

Occupy Together is now using MeetUp as a means of creating and updating information about solidarity actions popping up all over the world. Be there or be square, as the kids say.

Pennies from heaven, indeed

August 21, 2011 at 12:25 am | Posted in journalism, Obituary, Occupy, politics straight up, Reality Bites | Leave a comment
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Yeah, thanks a bunch.

August 7, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Posted in Reality Bites | Leave a comment
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Was it just a beautiful dream?

June 24, 2011 at 1:19 am | Posted in civil rights, Economy, elections, Obituary, politics straight up, Reality Bites, Voting Rights | Leave a comment
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Benjamin Franklin signing the Declaration of Independence

In every way imaginable, the Right opposes both the inclusiveness and expansiveness that characterized the last three centuries of democratic advance. It is not coincidental that its two great avatars, Thatcher and Reagan, confirmed their political position by breaking strikes.

Mother and child of agricultural day laborers family encamped near Spiro. Sequoyah County, Oklahoma. 1939 June. Photographer, Russell Lee (Library of Congress)

The American polity is foundering in a perfect anti-democratic storm created by, in combination, a depth of inequality that appears unyielding to any prescription and that is maintained by a sclerotic political system; a state that can be mobilized only for self-destructive imperial adventures; a dangerously irrational subset of the citizenry fed toxic propaganda by an hypertrophied mass media; and a financial plutocracy that seems to have outreached all possibilities of containment. If this tendency continues, democracy will become less a contested terrain and more a land of myth and legend.

From Farewell to Democracy? by Philip Green

A Budget Plan We Can Live With

April 23, 2011 at 9:06 am | Posted in Economy, House of Representatives, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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The Congressional Progressive Caucus budget proposal:

Elderly couple and their automobile "home" equipped with bed. c1911 Oct. 2. (Library of Congress)

• Eliminates the deficits and creates a surplus by 2021
• Puts America back to work with a “Make it in America” jobs program
• Protects the social safety net
• Ends the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
• Is FAIR (Fixing America’s Inequality Responsibly)

What the proposal accomplishes:

• Primary budget balance by 2014.
• Budget surplus by 2021.
• Reduces public debt as a share of GDP to 64.1% by 2021, down 16.5 percentage points from
a baseline fully adjusted for both the doc fix and the AMT patch.
• Reduces deficits by $5.6 trillion over 2012-21, relative to this adjusted baseline.
• Outlays equal to 22.2% of GDP and revenue equal 22.3% of GDP by 2021

Is the American Dream becoming a Nightmare?

March 27, 2011 at 10:49 am | Posted in civil rights, God machine, Historical, Labor, politics straight up, Reality Bites | Leave a comment
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A view of Ewen Breaker of the Pennsylvania Coal Co. The dust was so dense at times as to obscure the view. This dust penetrates the utmost recesses of the boy's lungs. A kind of slave driver sometimes stands over the boys, prodding or kicking them into obedience. Location: South Pittston, Pennsylvania. 1911 January. Lewis Wickes Hine, photographer. (Library of Congress) (Right click on image to view larger)

Neither has slept well for a Fortnight, amid the house-rocking Ponderosities of commercial Drayage, the Barrels and Sledges rumbling at all Hours over the paving-Stones, the Town on a-hammering and brick-laying itself together about them, the street-sellers’ cries, the unforeseen coalescences of Sailors and Citizens anywhere in the neighboring night to sing Liberty and wreack Mischief, hoofbeats in large numbers passing beneath the Window, the cries of Beasts from the city Shambles, — Philadelphia in the Dark, in an all-night Din Residents may have got accustom’d to, but which seems to the Astronomers, not yet detach’d from the liquid, dutiful lurches of the Packet thro’ th’ October seas, the very Mill of Hell.

“Worse than London by far,” Mason brushing away Bugs, rolling over and over, four sides at five minutes per side, a Goose upon Insomnia’s Spit, uncontrollably humming to himself an idiotic Galop from The Rebel Weaver, which he attended in London just before Departure, instead of Mr. Arne’s Love in a Cottage, which would have been wiser. Smells of wood-smoke, horses, and human sewage blow in the windows, along with the noise. Somewhere down the Street a midnight Church congregation sings with a fervency unknown in Sapperton, or in Bisley, for that matter. He keeps waking with his heart racing, fear in his Bowels, something loud having just ocurr’d … waiting for it to repeat. And as he relaxes, never knowing the precise moment it begins, the infernal deedle ee, deedle ee, deedle-eedle-eedle-dee again.

When I read this passage in Thomas Pynchon’s novel Mason & Dixon (page 292), I shuddered, because I imagine this could well be the kind of life most people in this country will be living again in not too many decades if the “conservative,” anti-education, anti-progress, pro-corporation have their way.

They are willing to not just violate the law but set themselves above it in order to destroy once and for one of the most important founding principles of this country — “all men are created equal” — by denying the rights of working people to a living wage and a safe workplace.

“Pennsylvania Politics? Its name is Simplicity. Religious bodies here cannot be distinguish’d from Political Factions. These are Quaker, Anglican, Presbyterian, German Pietist. Each prevails in its own area of the Province. Till about five years ago, the Presbyterians fought among themselves so fiercely, that despite their great Numbers, they remain’d without much Political Effect, — lately, since the Old and New Lights reach’d their Accommodation, all the other Parties have hasten’d to strike bargains with them as they may, — not least of these the Penns, who tho’ Quaker by ancestry are Anglican in Praxis, — some eve say, Tools of Rome. Mr. Shippen, upon whom you must wait for each penny you’ll spend, is a Presbyterian, the City Variety, quite at ease as a member of the Governor’s Council. As for the Anglicans of Philadelphia, the periodick arrival in Town of traveling ministries such as the Reverend MacClenaghan’s have now split those Folk between traditional Pennites, and Reborns a-dazzle with the New Light, who are more than ready to throw in with the Presbyterians, against the Quakers, — tho’ so far Quakers have been able to act in the Assembly as a body, and prevail, — “

This is what it was like in the 1760s, before the United States Constitution established a barrier — the Founding Fathers thought — between Church and State. Are we going back to this?

Is it already too late to save the dream that America once was?

Truth Hurts

November 11, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Posted in civil rights, Economy, elections, environment, God machine, immigration, journalism, Judiciary, Labor, Reality Bites | Leave a comment
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Vodpod videos no longer available.

Oklahoma’s Race to the Bottom on Vimeo, posted with vodpod

Words to live by

October 10, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Posted in elections, Historical, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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The great Bartholdi statue, liberty enlightening the world: the gift of France to the American people. Chromolithograph, published by Currier & Ives, c1885. (Library of Congress)

“There is nothing patriotic about … pretending that
you can love your country but despise your government.”

President Bill Clinton, May 1995

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