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No Words….

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/new-evidence-emerges-of-steve-bannon-and-cambridge-analyticas-role-in-brexit

Hate to be self-referential but….

Dismantling the Popular Democratic Process

The Love of Money is the Root of All Evil….

It all comes down to money, doesn’t it?

Money coupled with power. Power over people via “ideas” that have more in common with emotional revulsion than logic. This is what we are now.

Steve Bannon was at the left hand of the seat of power; he was the co-pilot of the administration, arguably the primary architect of the Trump victory. You’d have to be utterly blind, delusional, Stockholm Syndrome-addled or just uncaring not to see this.  The nearly transparent lie that there was no collusion on the part of Bannon’s appeals to race resentment and the violence that often erupted at Trump rallies doesn’t need calling out, it is there, in plain sight, for all to see.

Nor does the connections to the Alt-Right, real Nazis, and other assorted white supremacists, they too, are plain. Through the denials (what common criminal ever said, “Yeah, I did it, that was me” when being cornered by the cops?) the obstrufications and every logical event to the contrary, Bannon, Breitbart and its network of ideologues and hangers-on continue to play a role in the conversation or at least continue to keep the discussion about them, bolstering the profiles of both the wave riders and the hard idealogues.

There is no such thing as bad press.

So why are we still playing this game?

Why are we still under the delusion that we are living under anything but a proto-fascist state, a state that combines the worst elements of our cold war and second world war enemies.  We now represent the things we have purportedly fought against for most of the 20th century. It’s no longer about left and right ideologies because both would be crushed under the weight of the oligarchy. When there isn’t freedom for anyone, ideology is moot.

It is a cold hard fact that for all of the history of the United States we have been awash in white supremacy. Its taken many forms as the idea of whiteness have been adopted by various Europeans and those of European descent. It isn’t unique to this nation, but the brand of white superiority and supremacy is.  We are unique in the fact that we’ve inhabited a Janus-like guise, out of one face we say we are pluralistic and generous, the huddled masses are welcome to come and add their uniqueness to our own and to our collective culture, on the other we are xenophobic, racist and fearful of difference although demonstrably, once we know each other personally those elements diminish.

We also claim to value our collective contributions to our society. We claim to not see race or sex and that the value we place on our fair values is absolute. Even on our political left, there is this illusion, the corridors of power in our entertainment are littered with the desiccated bodies of the women who know better. Liberal Hollywood is awash in its form of hypocrisy. Weinstein, Cosby, and Baldwin, either get a pass or use their considerable power as men to create false personas that defy their goodness while hiding their toxic badness.

At the risk of sounding SWJish, White Male Superiority in general. Yes, even Cosby.

Masculinity is at least a convening force in all this. I’ve spoken before about how this mirror universe came to pass, how the power structure that was had been challenged by an educated, non-white man, and then an educated (albeit universally unlikeable) white woman and the resulting pushback gave us a starring role in the Truman shitshow we live in now. How the years of ingrained, assumed norms of power and who was inherently qualified to wield it, unraveled while Rural White Male America slept soundly in their beds, secure in the fact that their hegemony wouldn’t be undone by a one-term Nigger president.

See how that happened?

We didn’t elect a white knight, we chose the anti-Nigger, the crass boldness embodiment of everything we would have lynched Obama for, and some things lesser, that we tried to. Trump’s money, his conspicuous consumptive nature on full display in House Horrific gold inlay pimp my penthouse bling, his pussy grabbing dullard braggadocio, his obviously ignorant grasp of policy and its implications, all of it punishable by death for any nonwhite who isn’t signed to Bad Boy or in the NBA.  Trump is gangsta personified.

Must be the money…

Trump Won the Supreme Court

As much as Trump likes to brag about his victory in November , as much as he has ignored the irony of his golf game and his immediate and deliberate use of executive power and as much as his general braggadocio has highlighted his complete disregard for the nuances of policy, he scored the biggest, and arguably the ONLY win needed to secure his legacy today.

The appointment of Neil Gorsuch as the next Supreme Court justice has solidified not only the Trump legacy but also the legacy of the most underhanded republican leadership’s bad magic slight of hand. Its a power grab pure and simple, a power grab disguised as a courtesy to the “next president.” A power grab that could very well backfire in the vein of Anthony Kennedy but that will likely have repercussions throughout my lifetime at the very least. The financial wing of the party, I predict, won especially big.

Lets ignore the fact that the American people yet again failed to see past their partisanship through to the fact that it should have been Obama, not Trump and Garland, not Gorsuch but that by both denying the former president his right and mandate, and changing the senate rules to install a corporate friendly Justice, they have not only flouted convention, but have also caused irreparable damage to the foundations of American democracy. They have set up a situation that weakens the hand of any minority congress including theirs, and I’m sure when it does impact them, much whining will ensue.

 

7 Days….(the Tape)

So supposedly there is this tape floating around the New York Times that confirms what anyone with half a brain already knows, “the Donald” is full of shit.

Earlier this week he started rumbling about suing the media when they print mean things about him (damn that pesky 1st amendment, you know that one that wouldn’t exist without the one following it) and now in a conveniently not at all retaliatory fashion the NYT’s Gail Collins strongly hinted that the tape was a game changer for Trump, although given the fervor of his legion of zombies, I highly doubt that.

Right now, nothing short of Trump revealing himself as Barak Obama’s Kenyan uncle could derail this campaign. Part of the appeal of any sort of fascistic movement is its complete divorce from reality, its utter anti-intellectualism and cultural understanding outside its own angry demographic.

Does anyone really think this guy who famously wrote about his style of “winning” which consisted of saying whatever people wanted to hear to get them in the door and then, once they are trapped inside, completely changing the rules? Has anyone actually read “The Art of the Deal?” Seen the Apprentice?

Trump’s juggernaut is about one thing anger, no rage. Rage at the fact that what was guaranteed by status was not fulfilled, and that average Joe White is losing ground, ground overlooking average Joe Minority but slowly eroding. Ground lost because Average Joe White allowed his natural advantage to distance himself from the plight of Average Joe and Jane everyone else. The ground lost because instead of looking at opportunity in equal measure with effort, he championed effort without equal opportunity all the while ignoring his own privilege. And yeah, I said it, privilege. So instead of recognizing the fact that the opportunities that they had all along, that others never had, should be expanded to include everyone, their skin takes precedence over their situation.

The ethnic lines that once divided them (Irish, German, Swiss, English, Dutch etc…) are now uniting them and ironically, they are turning on themselves as much as they are anyone else. I’ve already written about the sad fact that middle aged white men are dying off in large numbers due to a combination of lifestyle diseases and suicide.

WTF??? ANY group that has that high a death rate should be assisted, treated and taken care of, but again irony intercedes.  Because of the very myths of independence they still cling to, myths that time and time again are disproved, they are not seeking help, and therefore, literally dying off.

This cancerous anger, resentment and fear is killing off people and that is something to bemoan regardless of whether you agree with them politically or not. People are people and they deserve the same life, liberty and happiness that everyone does.

They just may have to give up a little status to get it.

Something many, sadly,  just cannot do.

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.

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