December 23, 2012

OPEC, Chavez & WalMart: Union-busting large and small

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 5:13 pm

Recently I’ve been reading some really hard-core bad stuff about the folks who own WalMart. For instance, despite the fact that Jim and Christy Walton alone are worth approximately 30 billion dollars each, they are still treating their employees pretty much like chopped liver Like some modern-day Ebenezer Scrooges, WalMart’s avaricious owners appear to be hoarding every penny of profits they make — and just in time for Christmas too.

Baby Jesus would NOT approve!

And recently I’ve also been reading Jimmy Carter’s excellent personal memoir, “White House Diary”. And what I have learned so far is that, first, Jimmy Carter was one of America’s greatest presidents because he did everything he possibly could do to help average Americans like you and me get ahead; fought against climate change almost even back before Al Gore; stood up for civil rights worldwide; and scared the shite out of Wall Street, the Pentagon and AIPAC — thus almost guaranteeing that he would never ever get re-elected, be cut off at the knees by the powers that be and get defeated by a puppet like Ronald Reagan as soon as humanly possible.

But if Carter had won a second term and our Ronnie had been forced to go back to making grade-B cowboy movies, we definitely wouldn’t be facing a RepubliDem-generated “Fiscal Cliff” right now But I digress.

The second idea that I came up with after reading this book was that back in the 1950s, the Middle East was pretty much a hell-hole of poverty, thanks to the American “extractive industry” and their scab pashas who had been exploiting that area like it was 1859 back in the States and no one had yet freed the slaves — or like the coal-mine workers had been exploited in West Virginia before miners there unionized themselves back in 1902.

However, the exploited “sweatshop workers” of the Middle East finally began to organize and form their own union too. And they called it OPEC. And practically the entire history of that region from that day to this has been merely one episode after another of what can only be described as UNION-BUSTING — except that the “extractive industries” no longer use Pinkertons. They use GIs.

All over the world today, the “extractive industries” are running people off their land, stealing their resources and, in every way that they possibly can, performing the type of union-busting activities that would make WalMart owners proud. And whenever victims of these “extractive industries” actually try to unionize or rebel, we immediately have yet another union-busting war

Incidentally, it is also my personal opinion that Iran’s leadership made a disastrous deal with the devil when they started negotiating with Ronald Reagan back in the 1980s — because Reagan ended up supplying weapons to both Iran and Iraq, a very clever example of union-busting at its best. And thus the Ayatollah Khomeini, after his deals with Reagan such as the famous alleged October Surprise and the very real Iran-Contra scandal, ended up having the blood of his own people on his hands. One million Iranians died in that “war”.

PS: Have you been noticing lately how Muslims are constantly being demonized and accused of being terrorists and other types of bad people by the powers that be? And have you also noticed that almost every Muslim country from Libya to Indonesia also has oil, valuable minerals or water resources under their soil? Coincidence? I think not.

Further, the Quran clearly states that, “God has sent down the Torah and the Gospel, as a guidance to the people….” And rest assured that this guidance definitely includes the Sermon on the Mount. “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” But what the pseudo-Jews and pseudo-Christians who spread this crap about Muslims don’t seem to understand is that when they are happily busy dissing Muslims, they are also dissing Judaism and Christianity too.

PPS: I just got an e-mail from a friend of mine in Jakarta. She said, “Obama’s better than most presidents because he’s got more dimension, having gained more experience after living all over the world. However, when Obama’s step-father worked for American oil companies in Indonesia, he took that posh lifestyle too seriously. And that’s why he lost Obama’s mom and his family.”

Apparently Obama’s mother couldn’t stand being just another member of the union-busting WalMart generation and so left his step-father and moved back to Hawaii where Obama had originally been born — and how ironic is that? That Obama’s mother’s son should now be helping to preside over some of the greatest “extractive industry” union-busting puschs of all time?

PPPS: Remember the grape strikers out in California’s central valley back in the 1960s? How, under Cesar Chavez, these little guys were demonized and persecuted but they hung in there and persevered and finally won a few union victories over the growers?

And also remember that Hugo Chavez is also a union rep for OPEC — and he too is being demonized and persecuted. But he too is hanging in there and may finally even win a few union victories himself.

And remember back in 1965, when thousands of us marched with Reverend King in Montgomery and chanted “Wallace, you never can jail us all”? That attitude of dogged resistance against injustice, against all odds, also explains why I still keep grinding out this Cassandra-like blog that nobody reads year after year — ever since GWB stole the 2000 election — because there are still more of us than there are of them and eventually, someday, the “union” of all us underdogs will finally prevail. Why? Because our immense “collective bargaining” power is the only single thing that the powers-that-be are afraid of.

And so the world’s WalMart types always keep trying to brainwash us peons into hating one another instead of organizing against them. But this divide-and-conquer technique can’t go on forever. Sooner or later, as things go further and further downhill across the world both economically and democratically, all of us little guys are gonna finally be forced to become “Union Maids” too.

November 14, 2012

Brain drain: The new Israeli diaspora

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 1:46 pm

I recently went to a showing of an excellent British mini-series called “The Promise” Filmed in Israel, it depicts the struggles of one brave English soldier at the end of the British Mandate period — as he futilely tries to save the lives of his Palestinian friends and fellow-soldiers during the violent and pitiless 1948 takeover of the Holy Land by Zionist thugs.

During this movie, I cried a lot.

And after the film was over and refreshments were being served (“Never turn down free food,” is my motto!), I had an interesting conversation with some guy who currently works down in Silicon Valley.

“You know,” he said, “things are changing rapidly in Israel right now.”

“You mean that it’s no longer the same-old same-old there any more? With Israeli neo-cons trying to pass themselves off as pious Jews while happily committing mass murder and partying all night in Tel Aviv — and Christians and Muslims constantly getting beat up and shot at for the crime of making olive oil while Palestinian?”

By this time I had become rather cynical about Israeli neo-con mercenaries and land-grabbers — almost as cynical as I’ve become about the neo-con mercenaries and land-grabbers here in America too.

“Well, of course there’s still that,” the techie guy replied, “but something else is happening in Israel now as well. People have started to leave there en masse. And not just the usual ones either — not just the poor abused Palestinians still trying to sneak over the border into Jordan or Egypt. And not the discriminated-against Sephardi Jews either, at the very bottom of the Israeli social pecking order, last hired and first fired, who you wouldn’t want dating your daughter.”

“Then who?”

“The technological elite in general are now leaving in large numbers. And formerly-Russian tech experts in particular are leaving as fast as they can.” Interesting. Hmmm.

“Are you talking about the kind of people referred to in all those Israeli-sponsored subway ads,” I replied, “bragging that Israelis have invented thus-and-so hot new gadget or found a cure for this or that horrendous disease? Those are the ones that are leaving?”

“Like rats from a sinking ship.” I guess no one with any brains wants to keep living in a country where its leaders are always either declaring war, waging war or industriously hunting for a new war to declare.

“This new brain-drain is actually happening right now — and pretty soon all the people who will be left living in Israel will be the hotel maids, the IDF hard-liners, the land-grabbing neo-cons and racists, haters and religious nuts.” Good grief.

“You have to understand that much of the current Israeli scientific community had originally immigrated to Israel from Russia in order to get away from all the persecution, corruption, wars, lack of civil rights and poverty that existed there before, during and after the breakup of the old USSR.” And from the winters of course.

“Many of these Russian immigrants were not even Jews. They were gentiles who just wanted to get out. And, once in Israel, they discovered that it wasn’t the land of milk and honey that they had expected. And so now they are leaving Israel also, moving on.”

“Where to?”


PS: I’m currently in the middle of reading Jimmy Carter’s fascinating memoir, “White House Diary”. Good grief! If only we had elected Carter for another four years instead of that lying skunk Reagan, America would be in so much better shape right now. For instance, the whole world loved Jimmy for his heroic stands on civil rights, which gave the United States even more love, sympathy and cachet back then than we’ve ever had since, even on the day after 9-11 (before Bush bungled it).

And Carter didn’t “give away” the Panama Canal either. He traded it for the whole world’s good will and to make up for what Nixon, Kissinger and the CIA had done to Chile, Argentina, etc. Back then, Carter could go into almost any country on the planet and get a standing ovation — while Nixon, Reagan and both Bushes only got rotten tomatoes.

Plus if we had listened to Carter back in the day, perhaps global warming, 9-11, Hurricane Sandy and Karl Rove also might have been avoided!

And if only we had listened to Carter back when he warned us again and again about how Israeli neo-cons spoke with forked-tongues. And they still do. And now we’ve got a whole new crop of neo-con serpents all of our own here in America as well! Plus now various neo-con Red States are actually threatening to secede. Ah, if only they WOULD. Just think of all the money the rest of us would save.

Can’t you just picture Arkansas out spending billions of dollars on its 800-odd military bases around the world or dealing with the Benghazi crisis? Or Alabama supplying Israel with F16s, cluster bombs and white phosphorus? Or South Carolina scaring China into adjusting its trade deficit? Or oil-depleted Texas trying to intimidate OPEC, Iran, Kuwait, Iraq, Venezuela and the Saudis? Or Tennessee happily trying to tell Putin or even North Korea to go to hell?

Now that I think about it, secession could actually be the final key to finally putting an end to America’s “endless wars”.

Maybe Lincoln should never have tried to save the Union after all — except for perhaps New Orleans and Nashville.

March 31, 2011

The Dying of the Right: Republicans WILL Believe Anything

If it’s about Obama, Clinton or poor old born-again Jimmy Carter, nothing is too absurd for the gullible right-wingers, as long as it’s defamatory. Some of these dizzy neocons, in a massive exercise in psychological projection, seriously believe liberals and progressives are fascists who want to see them in camps or dead, even though no evidence of this exists outside of the empty spinning flywheels of right-wing propaganda. (And these are the same bubbleheads who enthusiastically thumbs-up such Republican reptiles as WI Gov. Scott Walker, OH Gov. John Kasich, NJ Gov. Chris Christie, and MI Gov. Rick Snyder, the latter actually trying to secure the power to nullify local elections and run towns from the governor’s office. If that’s not fascism, I don’t know what is.) They didn’t learn the lesson of the Junior Bush years: There is a steep price to pay for those who create their own reality, and disinformation and delusion inevitably lead to ruin. The current incarnation of the GOP as a minority Christopublican-Tea Party is already sliding down the slippery chute; in ten years, both of these addled factions will have been shunted to the sidelines where they belong and a true conservative secular Goldwater Republican Party will reemerge to own the brand.

“Stupid or ‘lop-eared’ marks are often played; they are too dull to see their own advantage, and must be worked up to the point again and again before a ray of light filters through their thick heads. . . . Always they merit the scorn and contempt of the con men. Elderly men are easy to play because age has slowed down their reactions.”
– Excerpt from “The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man” by David W. Maurer, published in 1940, (pgs.103-4). The film “The Sting” was based on Maurer’s book.

“Put together any ten Americans at random and get their honest opinions — odds are at least two of them are going to be scary dumb.”
– Mac Carroll

Will Republican Voters Believe Anything? The Right’s Hyperbolic, Dysfunctional World

To have credibility within the Republican Party is to have none outside it. They act as if all their Kool-Aid has been spiked.

By Gary Younge
Comment is Free
The Guardian (UK)
Via AlterNet
March 28, 2011

Polls suggest there are between one in three and one in four Americans who would believe anything. More than a third thought President George Bush did a good job during Hurricane Katrina; half of those thought he was excellent.

Throughout most of 2008, as the economy careered into depression, just over one in four believed Bush was handling the economy well.

As Bush prepared to leave office in January 2009, bequeathing bank bailouts, rampant unemployment, and Iraq and Afghanistan in tatters, a quarter of the country approved of his presidency.

These are national polls that span the political spectrum. So you can imagine how concentrated the distortions become when filtered through the tainted lens of the right. A poll earlier this month revealed that a quarter of Republicans believe a community rights organisation called Acorn will try to steal the election for Barack Obama next year, while 31% aren’t sure whether it will or not. It won’t. Because Acorn does not exist. It was defunded and disbanded after a successful sting operation by conservatives a couple of years ago.

Meanwhile, a poll last month showed that a majority of Republicans likely to vote in the primaries still believe Obama was not born in the United States. He was. But no number of verified birth certificates will convince them.

Read the rest here.

December 28, 2009

The Tattlesnake – Why the GOP Hates ACORN and the Poor Edition

Remember those ACORN-office videos that a right-wing ringer named James O’Keefe, posing as a pimp, surreptitiously taped with Hannah Giles, a young woman pretending to be his prostitute, that were a media kerfluffle a few months back?


Watching them gave me a familiar feeling – it was the same feeling I had back in 2003 when glowering TV Doctor Colin Powell, performing at the U.N. Club in New York, shook a vial of white powder in front of the camera and claimed it was Saddam’s Very Own Anthrax. The feeling only increased when ‘Dr.’ Powell produced artist’s renderings of super-secret Iraqi chemical-labs-on-wheels, views that we apparently couldn’t catch photographically from sophisticated spy satellites or aerial reconnaisance overflights because – well, he never actually said why.

This feeling, as close as I can come to describing it, is akin to doing Houdini’s Chinese Water Torture trick, wherein the master magician was suspended upside-down in a glass-paneled cabinet filled to the top with water — only instead of water, imagine horse manure.

The Tattler was wincing with disgust while laughing as I watched geeky white boy O’Keefe, dressed for all the world like Sonny Bono when he had Cher, babe, trying to pass himself off as Mr. Bad Ass Pimp to a collection of black women from the ‘Hood who had doubtless seen the real thing at sometime in their lives – it was like casting Wally Cox as Don Vito Corleone: “Gee whillikers, we’ll make ‘em an offer they won’t get mad at and refuse!”

Hannah didn’t play her role much better – she was dumb enough, but a little too clean and preppy – but hers wasn’t the important role.

The college-educated ofay voice of O’Keefe, in the same tone as a census-taker, earnestly asking for help to avoid paying his pimp taxes and advice in running a brothel with underage girls rightfully had the ACORN women stifling grins. This was a surreal spectacle that only a teabagger could swallow whole without gagging on the absurdity.

Well, a teabagger, our vacuous illiberal media, and the growing crop of space cadets in our Congress.

It was expected that the GOP would indulge in their usual over-popped level of fake moral outrage – they paid for the video, after all — and the pundits live off their crumbs, but couldn’t we have had at least one Democrat call ‘bullshit’ on this silly nonsense? No one but a halfwit would believe this skinny white boy wearing his mother’s old chinchilla coat is actually a pimp, and anybody who’s been around a city block more than once knows it. But the risible sight of O’Keefe in his cartoon pimp outfit is instructive, both as to the contempt with which the corporate Republican elite hold the public, and to their knee-shaking fear of the extension of democracy and equality to people without money.

The Republican Party’s fringe-right wingnuts, excuse me for repeating myself, have long had a bitter grudge against ACORN, the community service group that registers voters and helps poor people. Why? Because, to put it simply, the GOP hates the poor, even though they work diligently to produce more of them to reward their corporate backers with a large pool of ever-cheaper labor. This is filtered through several levels of the corporate Republican psyche:


January 10, 2009

The Tattlesnake – Presidential Meeting at the White House Edition

On January 7, 2009, the four living US presidents and President-Elect Barack Obama met for lunch at the White House. Details of their private conversation have been kept from the media but, thanks to a Tattler fly on the wall, the details can now be revealed.

Scene: George W. Bush (JUNIOR), his father George H.W. Bush (POPPY), Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama in the Oval Office.

JUNIOR: “Let’s all take a load off an’ get this here thing started.”

[Everyone sits down.]

OBAMA: “First, I’d like to ask you all for your opinions on the crisis in the Gaza –”

JUNIOR: “Whoa, doggies, there, pard’ner. I’m still the president here so I get to do the decidin’ of whut goes first where.”

OBAMA: “Of course, Mr. President. What topic would you like to address first?”

JUNIOR: “Uh, I dunno – hey, since muh Daddy’s here, why don’t we talk about pussy?”

POPPY: “Arrrhhhh, har, har, har, har, arrrhhhh, uuuhhhh.”

OBAMA: “Pussy?”

CARTER: “Oh, my God.”

CLINTON: “Sweet Jesus on a pogo stick.”

JUNIOR: “Yeah, ah think thass a real good topic for conversatin’ over. Hey, Bill, show us whut happened with that Lew-in-sky girl in here.”

POPPY: “Arrrhhhh, har, har, har, har, arrrhhhh, uuuhhhh.”

CLINTON: “George, you know I’m not gonna talk about that.”

OBAMA: “Excuse me, Mr. President, but I asked for this meeting to get your perspectives on some of the pressing issues of our time.”

JUNIOR: “Take th’ stick outta yore butt, Bar-rack! Presidentin’ is easy – all you do is sign yore name where they tell yuh tuh sign it, say whut they tell ya’ tuh say, and pose pretty for th’ pictures. Oh, yeah, an’ yuh gotta main-tain the dignity of the office. Ain’t that right, Daddy?”

POPPY: “Arrrhhhh, har, har, har, har, arrrhhhh, uuuhhhh.”

CLINTON: “That’s what’s known as the ‘Bush Doctrine,’ I believe.”

JUNIOR: “I sleep like a baby ever night ’cause I don’t let things get tuh me by thinkin’ about ‘em too much. Thass the key to successful presidentin’!”

CLINTON: “We aren’t going to accomplish much here. We’ll talk later in private, Barack.”

OBAMA: “I think you’re right, Bill.”

CARTER: “Let’s pose for the photo-op and get the hell out of here.”

OBAMA: “Can we have the photographers in now?”

JUNIOR: “Yuh mean we ain’t gonna talk about pussy?”

POPPY: “Arrrhhhh, har, har, har, har, arrrhhhh, uuuhhhh.”

(Photographers enter; the end.)

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