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.

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January 6, 2009

The Tattlesnake – Them That’s Got and Stan Getz Edition

And This Day in Hell…

“Them that’s got shall get,
Them that’s not shall lose…”

– From “God Bless the Child (That’s Got His Own),” by Arthur Herzog Jr. and Billie Holiday, and recorded by her for Okeh Records in 1941.

“Free market capitalism — as a faith — really is an inverse of Marxism. It is a theology that believes their system will bring paradise on earth and moral perfection. When their system is in power in the real world, their true believers claim that any problem only happened because their ideology has not been applied with sufficient purity.”
– Larry Beinhart, “The Fall of a Free Market Prophet,” Common Dreams, Dec. 7, 2008.

“Sometimes the Invisible Hand is all thumbs.”
– Jared Bernstein, C-Span, April 16, 2008.

“The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.”
– Ernest Hemingway [Bush reversed the formula, but it's still true today.]

So far we’ve seen the Top Dogs – underline ‘dogs’ – of Wall Street and Detroit parade before Congress insisting they need our tax money to bail them out. The former ‘Masters of the Universe’ have made so many stupid short-term decisions they have shamed their MBA parchment into so much worthless sheepskin accorded to those who can pay the tuition, or have the family clout, to squeeze them through college. To add insult to injury, the bankers who have fleeced us for billions in the name of providing credit to keep businesses going have refused to use our money to provide credit to keep businesses going, instead financing bonuses for themselves, luxury retreats at pricey resorts, and apparently precipitating a sit-down strike by 300 union workers at a Republic Windows and Doors factory in Chicago last month. Not only were these people unceremoniously fired and given one day to clear out, the company reneged on its contract to provide wages and vacation pay owed them and the severance pay they were guaranteed. That’s right – Republic refused to pay wages and vacation pay already earned and blamed it on the Bank of America, while they hastily moved their Chicago equipment to Iowa. BoA received $25 billion of our tax dollars to avoid just this kind of situation. Fortunately, thanks to nationwide publicity for this sit-down strike, and support from near-President Obama, the Republic workers finally received their back wages and other pay, but let’s see this for what it was: A naked attempt to bust the union, and it was mostly successful. Republic’s union workers are still out of a job and the company has set up a low-wage non-union plant in Iowa. (Incidentally, inquiring minds would like to know: who is paying the salaries of Republic’s top executives and how much do they make?)

Morality and ethics hardly exist in the corporate boardroom but, if this isn’t wrong, what is?

How to correct it? Let’s hope President Obama takes a page from Franklin D. Roosevelt, especially his Economic Bill of Rights speech delivered January 11, 1944, during the Second World War, which included:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

As FDR concluded: “All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

“America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens.”

If we have those rights, the economy will take care of itself.

What Does Late Jazz Sax Player Stan Getz Have to Do with Our Economic Meltdown? Read on:


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