Watching the decline...

Monthly Archives: November 2015

Stupid Meme of the Year

I feel I should just pack it in now, because nothing could be more stupid than this.

The Donald indeed.trump-tweet

 

Isn’t It Ironic?

Isn’t It Ironic?

There is no way I could have said this better, so I won’t try.

A Short History of Immigrant Fearmongering – And a Warning

When asked whether we should adjust our immigration quotas less than 5% of Americans surveyed said the answer was yes. In another poll, When asked if we should admit 10,000 children fleeing persecution in their home country a whopping 60% flat-out said no. Most people wouldn’t be surprised by these numbers, especially if they had been counted recently. But that isn’t the case at all.

The first poll was taken in July of 1938. When asked whether we should up our immigrant quotas to accept refugees from Austria, Hungary, Germany and other European nations fleeing the rise of the Third Reich, roughly 18% said yes, 67% said no. The second poll (taken in 1939) asks whether we should accept Jewish refugee CHILDREN into the country 10,000 to be exact, and 60% polled, wanted to deny them entry into the US.

Now you could say that the United States was going through a period of Isolationism, which would be true, we were still bruised by the fallout from WW1 and our financial markets were in turmoil so we had plenty to keep us busy internally. You could use that as an excuse, if it had been the only instance of this type of fear we’d experienced, but unfortunately, it isn’t.

Ever hear the term wop? It is a highly offensive term for Italian immigrants (and later Italian-Americans in general) , generally it is thought that the term originates from an acronym without papers or without passport, but this is untrue. But what that false etymology tells us is that there was great distrust for “the other” regardless of where they came from. What about the level of distrust and fear that came along with the immigration of Irish into this country? Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York very graphically illustrates the complex relationships of both established and newly arrived immigrants and their struggles with poverty and acceptance (and how they turn on each other as they become more integrated into American society).

There is also the long resentments between Chinese and Irish immigrants as well as Japanese American internment during WW2. In the last case, immigrants who had in many cases been born American were rounded up and kept in camps simply because of their heritage.

Hell, the poor Irish were even judged on par with “Negroes” in their perceptions as shiftless, lazy and procreative. The propaganda of Irish racialism was so widespread that it appeared in mainstream publications as justification of their judgment of the Irish as “racially inferior.” The Italians went through much the same, as did the Chinese, Indian, etc. etc.

 

So, you may ask, what am I getting at here?

 

None of this recent crop of Imigrintophobia is new.

 

That, however does not mean it isn’t dangerous, terrifying and could turn into something far worse. The “white rage” race-baiting of Trump (he has a bevy of supporters on the far fringe racist right) along with the implicit pandering to anti-feminists, alpha types and assorted other MRA’s, threatens to push us right to the precipice of having our own little lily-white Talibans. Already there have been lone wolves associated loosely with these points of view, shooting up schools, movie theaters and public places. Sikhs, Jews and Blacks have been random targets of bigoted violence. Some of the perpetrators of the violence have claimed to be a part of the “Beta Uprising.”

We are potentially headed down a very dark path.

I’ve heard a few pundits claim that this too shall pass, that the bigoted generation will eventually die off and the younger, more inclusive demographic will lead us out of this. Unfortunately this political generation is different. The middle-aged, white demographic, when it isn’t (sadly, I might add, because suicide is never happy) killing itself off, is living longer, staying healthier and getting more radical.

This generation of disaffected young to middle-aged white males, also serves disproportionately in the armed services, making them potentially very dangerous under the right ideology. It’s already estimated that there are significant numbers of military and ex-military personnel who have been radicalized in white racist ideology. Radicalized. Let that sink in.

None of this is new, except all of it.

Curved Penis Disease???

Ziaflex, look it up, I dare you.

Understanding the Middle East

Vox posted an impressive set of maps and brief histories of the middle east touching on conflicts throughout the region and the history behind them. It is probably the single most readable-by-the-average-guy explanation of a terribly complex situation.

The last shot at the bottom of the page is breathtakingly priceless.

A Quick Note About Tracking Edits

You may have noticed I’ve starting tracking major edits. Pretty much any edits that might impact the wording or change the meaning of certain parts of a post will be tracked. I do this not only for my own protection but for the sake of transparency when I change wording or grammar.

I think it is only fair to my readers that I don’t try to pull the wool over their eyes and therefore be accused of retracting or changing statements.

Oh and by the way if I am ever factually wrong you’ll see a correction and an apology. Although this blog is as much a blog of opinion, I feel that opinion means nothing if it doesn’t have a factual leg to stand on.

 

Thanks for reading.

Another “Loyal” Manufacturer Leaves Connecticut: Dear Sirs, Don’t Let The Door Hit Your Ass On the Way Out

Edited (again) on 11/19/15 because you should never write while agitated.

Edited for Typos on 11/18/15 8:12am

Edited for clarity on 11/17/15 @ 2:03pm

 

I have a love/hate relationship with Google. I own an Android smartphone, generally use Google for routine web searches and use Gmail as my primary personal webmail. One thing I am particularly feeling both ways about is the feature on Android called “Cards” collections of shipping, bank, local event and news alerts that, on my phone, show up in one of the secondary pages.

I love the feature when it gets what I’m interested in right, but hate it when it does so and presents me with a news article that infuriates me when I have no chance to comment on it.

 

This is one such case.

 

So I’ve made it obvious that I live in Connecticut, I’ve lived here consistently for the better part of my life and I love my state.  The temperate climate, the beauty of the northwest hills, the rolling terrain and occasional bursts of autumn color make it one of the most beautiful places to live. The people are another matter but that is part of the story.

I have many friends who have either been constantly complaining about the state, have left, or are threatening to leave. For the most part the ones who leave can afford to do so, and the ones who can’t either end up returning or never leaving in the first place. Yes, there is a pattern.

Of those who could afford to leave the general consensus is that life is better elsewhere, which to a certain extent I understand. Not everyone loves the harsh winters or muggy summers, and I’m becoming less and less a fan of the snooty attitude that has taken over the state. However, if you are going to leave, and bitch about leaving, Don’t lie about why, especially if you are a business owner. Don’t bullshit us about the reasons to make a political point, at least not so obviously as these people do.

Here is a sample:

We have always believed that to attract the best employees, we need to be among the best employers. We have never paid minimum wage and we have always offered our employees excellent benefits, including health insurance plans, paid vacation time, disability insurance, a 401(k) plan with employer matching contributions, profit sharing, and other time off based on individual needs.

Some people in authority in Connecticut refuse to understand that a mandated $15 minimum wage would mean that companies like ours would have to raise pay across the board. It would mean that rather than investing in our company and being able to create more jobs, we would have to raise pay for all employees, including those who are already being paid a good wage. These cost increases would cause us to raise the price of our product and become less competitive with companies outside Connecticut”

The article is short, so I’m not accused of taking it out of context I suggest you go and read it for yourself. When you do, keep in mind these few things:

Never does the writer, one of the owners of the company, suggest that his business is in trouble as a result of operating in Connecticut. He only states vaguely that it is “too expensive” to do business here, a refrain that , frankly, I hear every day about this state. A refrain, all things considered, which is largely bullshit considering the educated  workforce and the proximity to shipping channels of all types, not to mention the productivity of our workforce.

The above paragraphs are especially troubling because as businessmen they display a lack of understanding of practical economics, and a terrible shortsightedness that afflicts much of the business community today especially in the northeast.  The part about the $15 minimum wage affecting what they would have to pay their (unspecified) employees is especially troubling and misleading considering the fact that according to him they pay excellent benefits, including health insurance plans, paid vacation time, disability insurance, a 401(k) plan with employer matching contributions, profit sharing, and other time off based on individual needs” much better than any minimum wage $15 an hour job will. And presumably, the skill level required would be far beyond what one would need to flip burgers.

All this aside from the fact that higher minimum wages generally do not result in immediate raises for everyone else as he suggests. It does cause a “ripple effect” but that effect is concentrated mostly on low-wage workers and not skilled manufacturing jobs. In other words, bullshit. The only guaranteed tide riser would be an increase in the FEDERAL minimum wage as that was what it was designed to do in the first place.

A few other obvious obstrufications of the true reasoning behind such a move are:

Year after year employers like us have to fight off efforts to:

— Expand state requirements for paid sick leave.

— Increase the highest minimum wage in the nation to $15 per hour and more.

— Require paid family and medical leave.

— Impose unworkable restrictions on workforce scheduling.

— Restrict our ability to talk to our employees about union organizing efforts.

— And, of course, make us pay for every new “investment” policymakers think is a good idea.”

So let me get this straight, you are BRAGGING about trying to diminish worker protections or the push for FEDERAL policies that support the ones on a state level? You already offer leave of a sort, unless you are lying, you already offer pretty good benefits as good or better than mandated by the state and federal government. Oh and a correction, Washington State currently has the highest minimum wage, not Connecticut. Ct has the 3rd highest, 4th if you count Washington D.C.

The simple fact that Connecticut does all this , makes this a BETTER place for employees and therefore better for employers. With these protections workers can be more productive, in fact Connecticut is one of the most productive states (AND not surprisingly, so are many of the states often complained about by business as being “too expensive” to do business in). Worker productivity in states that have better worker protections is on average higher than those without. So in essence, there is only one reason to leave, greed.

Nowhere in the screed of Conservative talking points does the owner take into account any of this.

Nowhere does he say that moving to South Carolina simply means more money in the pockets of the owners. It is heavily implied, but never explicitly stated. Never do they say, “fuck you Connecticut, we don’t make enough money here so fuck the families we are leaving behind and fuck our responsibility to all the people we put out of work, we just aren’t making enough money here.” But, in actuality, that is exactly what they are saying.

Take a few of the talking points as examples: We have always believed that to attract the best employees, we need to be among the best employers. “ So what’s the problem? If you are so damn good to your employees, why leave? You don’t seem to be struggling here, at least you don’t state that. I would see it as a simple oversight but you go to great lengths to talk about everything else. Not once did you say that your business was struggling.

And this: some people in authority in Connecticut refuse to understand that a mandated $15 minimum wage would mean that companies like ours would have to raise pay across the board. This is just an outright lie,  wages would not go up as a direct result of an increase in the minimum wage on skilled manufacturing jobs any time soon. There is no direct correlation between raising the minimum wage and manufacturing wages, especially if you already pay your employees well to begin with. It is total compensation, not simply wages that attract the best people, and $15 an hour alone is not a rising tide that lifts any boats except those at the very bottom. Hell, it might even help your business in the long run by allowing more people to buy the products your parts are in.

This is especially telling: “We are taking a third of our employees with us and paying them the same wages. With South Carolina’s lower cost of living, it is as if they are getting a big raise. And we pay our new employees in South Carolina competitive local wages” A few statistics here: The current Minimum wage in SC is 7.25 an hour and the unemployment rate is 6.7%, while in CT the minimum wage is currently 9.15 an hour and the unemployment rate is 6.3%, no correlation there. Where there is a correlation is in poverty rates, CT’s is 15% while that of SC is almost 19%. Granted the great wealth in the state  creates an unbalanced statistic but the poorest city in CT doesn’t compare to the poorest in South Carolina.

So what is actually being said here is that, we are taking profits on this move, we have abandoned our state and our friends because a few of us will do MUCH better in South Carolina while those we hire here will do at least slightly better than they would do otherwise. 

I don’t begrudge anyone for leaving the state if that is what they choose to do, nor do I feel that companies should be compelled to stay if they are truly unable to make it here. What we should all ask for is that people and companies not lie about the reasons for doing so to score some points in the anti-regulatory crusade. The same regulations that keep CT one of the highest income states also bless us with some of the most productive workers who deserve every benefit they get.

Oh and one last thing, I call bullshit on the Union Busting rhetoric, I worked for a company in Connecticut that was notoriously anti-union and they never had a problem giving us regular seminars on how evil unions were and how much better off we are without them. If you were feeling constrained by the states laws in this regard you must have been trying to suppress union organizing in a way that was illegal at a federal level.  Besides, unions actually make employees more productive, not less, therefore costing manufacturers less in the long run.

Goodbye.

#OpISIS and #OpParis expose thousands of ISIS twitter accounts

http://pastebin.com/N9rPZ3Ar

 

Though some of their followers may be users monitoring them, these users have shown allegiance to terror and should be called out.

Well someone else noticed….A Huffington Post writer and I agree Republicans are dicks.

I was the first though, it’s just that no one reads me, ah well…

A HuffPo writers response to the republican bluster over France is yet another reminder that the Republican party is full of  hypocritical dicks.

They are lead by a bunch of lunatic sycophants who will kneel down to any idea that will get them votes. The American people deserve so much better even if some of us don’t deserve much at all. I’m not a huge fan of the Huffington Post, but every once in a while they let some shred of common sense leak through the celebrity gossip.

From “Freedom Fries” to “vie à la France”: right-wing twitter goes batshit over the country they called a pussy 10 years ago

How short the memories of sycophants to an ideology  are.

France suffers while the right goes on a hate-fest.

There is almost nothing redeeming about this. There is no cleansing in the release of pent-up anger that in it brings, no discussion it invites, no comfort. Especially the great irony that many of the same people who have been sounding off lately were the same ones stirring up anti-french shit in 2003. Now, suddenly, Obama is the reason the french people are suffering and not the architects of the war that created ISIS in the first place.

For such supposedly intellectually superior individuals (Yeah, looking at you James Woods) there is a whole lot of stupid out there stirring up shit that will probably never settle.

How about this, really, truly grieve for the people who lost their lives yesterday in acts of senseless barbarism. Maybe go even further and recognize that by encouraging the creation of ISIS in the first place we are partially responsible for it.

But that would be thoughtful and adult, and God knows we can’t have that.

 

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