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Through Their Eyes

11:30 am in Uncategorized by Daveparts

Through Their Eyes
By David Glenn Cox

George Orwell had it all wrong; he couldn’t begin to understand the change which has overtaken the world. Looking back on it with such a wide-eyed innocence, wow, computers were taking over our world. We could purchase goods with debit cards and we could talk to our friends at inappropriate times, on our cell phones. Even though, we’d read Orwell and Huxley and we understood what could happen, we couldn’t understand what it would really mean. Rather than Big Brother is watching you, a thousand Big Brothers are watching you and you’re watching them.

I was born in front of the television, back when television only came in two colors, three channels – no waiting. Thirty minutes, maybe an hour of cartoons, Romper Room and then, shows over kid, that’s it. There was a naivety about technology; even then, believing they could tame this television to do public good. Educational programming, CBS White Paper “Silent Spring” Edward R. Morrow, but most of it was bullshit, but at least, they made the effort. I watched Hoss and Little Joe and I admired Adam, for getting the hell off that damn crazy ranch, where something bad happened every week. I watched the assassination of a President, his brother and of Martin Luther King on television.

The airways were flooded back then, with advertisements for all sorts of consumer goods, floor wax, tooth paste and cigarettes. In 1965, cigarette advertising was banned on television; some apparently believing television was influential on the human mind. In a way, to a cynical mind, it might appear as a golden opportunity to judge television’s drip on the populace. The Vietnam War was the last time a soldier was allowed to say, “I hate it over here, this sucks!” Since then, only recruitment poster soldiers and generals paid by the networks to endorse war are allowed on the public airways.

Cable News Networks, which aren’t networks at all. Merely rooms, studio’s decorated creating an image of trustworthiness or of homeliness, staffed by paid professional performers. This isn’t, The Honeymooners or Your Show of Shows, but a sophisticated operation, where words are the stock in trade. Words are balanced and cobbled together into ideas, judged as to their usefulness in selling the message. Performers mouth the sounds painting an image, just as a painter paints a wall. And if you change the channel, there is another wall, just like it. Maybe this wall is a different shade of paint, a different shade for men and a different shade for women. Maybe a different paint shade for young and old, a different shade for gay and straight, for black or white, until you have 1,001 Big Brothers, can we build one for you?

A file, a dossier kept on you, on what you buy and what you think? Trained from childhood, to buy and to watch, matrixed into the system, every worker ant is accounted for. Sucking at the queen mother entertainment tit, sold horror and criminality as Shock and Awe. As every trait about you is just another box to tick, assuming, you don’t tell on yourself. This warranty card says you bought a DVD player or a Toyota or a coffeemaker. Use your debit card at the grocery store? Transaction number to invoice number, every product you bought is their data about you. Some say, so what? If your E-mails and phone conversations are scanned and your buying history, your Internet history and your banking history, it means, not only are we not free, we’re most enslaved people in the human history, checked in at birth, checked out at death, thank you for participating, records delete. An electronic robot consumer, with name rank and serial number, Soylent Green is made of electrons. Big Brother isn’t just watching, he knows you, he knows what you like, what movies you watch and where you work, he watches your car as you drive down the highway; Big Brother knows everything about you.

As they say, with every door closing another opens, so I do not exempt myself from this critique. When I became homeless, watching television wasn’t much of a priority. I hadn’t watched any programming in nine months. The first commercial I saw was for a fried chicken chain, a family was going through the drive thru, the father looked like Tom Arnold, over-weight, crew-cut, looking like a none too bright, big goof. The wife was a Peg Bundy clone, a bouffant hairdo, loud sunglasses wearing a leopard skin top. The boy looked like Pugsley from the Addams Family, the girl prepubescent and quiet. This was us, this is what corporate America thinks we look like, and this is what corporate America thinks will make us by their chicken, “seeing” ourselves through their eyes.

In the next commercial on a manicured lawn, a male fashion model throws a football to his fashion model son. The father is wearing a beige sweater as his fashion model wife drives up, in a new mini-van and parks in front of a large home. This was a commercial for a mutual fund; apparently, Americans who buy mutual funds are vastly different from Americans who eat fried chicken, you know, better, more refined. But how do you make yourself immune to this onslaught of radio and television propaganda, of Big Brother in a cloud? You stop watching and you take the $100 per month and go to the gym, or the library or the bowling alley. Instead of watching others in mindless Barney the dinosaur situations, go out and live.

Television is Corporate America’s umbilical into your life, and it is as every bit as controlling as Orwell’s Big Brother, ever was. It tells you who to hate and who to love, and the person they want you to hate the most, is yourself. They sell more crap that way; by making you doubt yourself, doubt your looks or your self-worth. After almost four years on the road, I’ve met you, North and South, East and West. I know you, and there ain’t a damn thing wrong with you. Portraying us as fools and goofs makes it easier to sell the “it’s their own fault” mantra. Crazy kid, $100,000 in school debt! What was he thinking? He was thinking he had a future in this country, before the money man pulled the string.

Remember, the guy that didn’t finish his National Guard duty and the war hero, soft on national defense? Remember that nice smooth, no drama Obama and that cranky old Mr. Wilson from next door, or maybe Mr. Romney, with his spokes model looks and brains to match. An investment banker, wow, that’s a real good choice, I wonder sometimes; who the Republican’s could have picked who could have been less elect able, what with Hitler being dead an all. In retrospect, Obama is the pasteurized processed “Cheez Whiz” President. A media construct, hammered out in a factory, a shiny Cadillac, made from our dreams and tears.

As there are now 1,001 Big Brothers, politicians hide in plain sight. News of outrageous statements or draconian cuts to the poor barely makes a dent in the media maelstrom. Picked up and reported only by opponents and used for fundraising, never reaching supporter’s ears or the people who matter. You have the right to free speech, the more the merrier and the right to be drown out, defamed or ignored.

Inside of this mass media orgy is the real, tangible, sinister creation of public perception. An electronic Big Brother, a faux media world, where it’s “War of the Worlds” every night on the news, feeding you fear and sugar until you die, selling visions of reality which are not realities, which are shams and offences to the human mind. Selling garbage and always selling cheap, filling heads with cocoons of product information, product placements and product endorsements. Whether its carrying chic corporate logo’ed handbags, or basketball shoes, so proud to be a billboard, paying top dollar for the privilege. In a degraded electron lifestyle Orwell could never imagined, we’re swarmed by flies of advertisement, propaganda and media messaging, lambs to the slaughter, they are the hunter and we are the hunted.

Under the Savannah moon, the lion waits with patient hunger, licking his paws. You’re coming tonight and you can’t escape, but unless you escape…you cannot be free again.

The Right to Belong

12:22 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

By David Glenn Cox

“A nation is truly corrupt, when, after having, by degrees lost its character and liberty, it slides from democracy into aristocracy or monarchy; this is the death of the political body by decrepitude.” – Robespierre

Congratulations, if you’re an hourly worker in the United States you’ve earned a .02 cent per hour raise last month! (April) Now of course, after earning almost a whole extra dollar per week, tax and investment advice should be sought out immediately. If you work in information services for a living, your hours worked increased this month, by one tenth of an hour. 2,691,000 Americans work in the “information” category and I guess they’re lucky to be working that extra fractional hour, even if there are 9,000 less of them, working this month over last.

For everyone else, all 155 million of us American workers, hours worked in every category either fell or stayed the same. The propaganda networks will trumpet 165,000 “new” jobs and that’s Winston Smith’s way of telling you, everything is so much better now. Come out; come out where ever you are! Ollie, Ollie Ocean free! But under the veneer is another story entirely, a story that you will not see on TV or Radio.

While 165,000 new jobs were created last month, 210,000 workers joined the labor force.

The number of Americans working Part-Time, for economic reasons rose sharply by 278,000 in April, to nearly 8,000,000 people. Eight million people in this country that want a Full-Time job, but can’t find one.

Part-Time due to slack work or business conditions rose to 5,250,000.
The number of Americans who could only find part-time work last month declined by 49,000.

Workers marginally attached to labor force were up by 21,000 and discouraged workers are also up by 32,000 workers.

Nearly 2,000,000 Americans now work two or more part-time jobs, an increase of over 20,000 since last April.

So just where are all these “new” jobs? Well, they’re not in mining or logging and not in construction or manufacturing. They’re not in durable goods or non-durable goods; they’re not in wholesale trade or utilities and even our friends in “Information services” lost workers. The new jobs are to be found in private-service providing, 137,000 of 165,000 jobs are in the service industry.

Trade, Transport – 9,000
Retail – 13,000
Financial services – 19,000
Professional and business services – 50,000
Leisure and hospitality services – 36,000
Education & Health Services – 24,000
Other services – 4,000

Realty Trac reported this month, “The number of homes overall in foreclosure or bank-owned rose by 9 percent to 1.5 million properties nationally in the first quarter of 2013 compared to a year ago.” Another 11 million homes remain under water, which brings us to Margaret Thatcher.

Margaret Thatcher once said, “There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families.”

Margaret Thatcher was a Neoliberalist politician, same as Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Duh be you and Barack Obama. And Neoliberalist politicians, Republican and Democrat alike, believe just like Thatcher, that society, American society is only an artificial construct; they believe that it only exists because people say it does.

They believe we’re all just free individuals and we might be our brother’s keeper but definitely not yours. They believe the only rights which actually exist, are property rights; everything else, like society itself is an artificial construct. The Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta and the Constitution are all non-sense, to their way of thinking government owes nothing to the sick, the infirm or the dying.

From Wikipedia:

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We Don’t Love Freedom Enough

11:56 am in Uncategorized by Daveparts

We Don’t Love Freedom Enough
By David Glenn Cox

It is as if someone has died, that realization which comes to you from out of the blue and says, “Oh wow, they really did that!” Armed men in military style fatigues took over an American city and ordered its residents off the streets. Roaming, this force in their armored personnel carriers, interrogated citizens who dared break from their “voluntary” request. They ejected people from their homes and searched them without warrant. It reminded me of a scene from the movie Fahrenheit 451 where they were chasing Montag with the helicopters, while his picture is splashed across the television as “breaking news.”

Authorities pick out official suspects, disallowing any other photographs but those deemed “official.” The authorities ask for the public’s help in identifying the suspects, and then the boy’s mother comes forward saying the FBI has been talking to her son for two years and has been to their home…

http://www.leftistreview.com/2013/04/30/we-dont-love-freedom-enough/davidcox/

The Invisible Class

4:05 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

By David Glenn Cox

We have reached a point in our lives, where from the summit of a high hill we can look back at the road which has delivered us here. Tis a tale of woe in a fairyland dream, sugar-coated pabulum, televised non-sense and unrealized dreams. It is hard to look back, almost painful, as yesterday weighs heavy in your pockets, so you try not to bring it along.

I have come full circle in this new reality, this new duality. This new America, where if we say we can’t see you, then you’re not there. Behind the façade you can see the shadows of agenda, a war on the post office, a war on public employees and educators. It is a complete and total deconstruction of society and of the world, which we once knew. As a young man, I’d wondered what it must have been like to have lived in the third Reich. Trapped as just some plain Joe, watching madness coming into season, what would your consciousness say when there was real money on the line?

Five years ago, I was of the middle class; today I’m of the missing class. There are fewer Americans working today than there were in December. During the same time period, the civilian labor force has fallen by over half a million workers. The official numbers of those unemployed also fell. But strangely, the numbers of persons in the Civilian Non-institutional Population rose by almost 600,000 since December. Do you see it; do you understand what it really means?

Not in Labor Force

Mar. 2012 – 88,288,000
Feb. 2013 – 90,100,000
Mar. 2013 – 90,483,000

The number of men 20 years and over, not in the labor force has grown by almost one million. One million American men, not just unemployed or discouraged workers, but men no longer counted as in the labor force in a single year. Rather than fix the economy, they just said they fixed the economy and the media aped along.

The average number of hours worked from March 2012 to March 2013 is virtually unchanged; there is no improvement anywhere to be seen. Retail trade employment lost 24,000 jobs in 31 days of March; clothing accessories stores lost 500 employees per day in March. Building materials and garden supply stores lost 10,000 people or 322 workers per day, for everyday of the month. It would seem reasonable to assume that if there were any and I do emphasize, any growth, to be seen in this economy, it would be reflected in garden supply store sales in the spring.

Appliance stores lost 6,000 employees last month, I guess we’re all buying our washers, driers and refrigerators on the Internet these days, but more likely, it’s Craigslist. But employment also fell in mining, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation, warehousing, information and financial services. Employment fell from the mine to the check-out line, in this all mighty consumer economy of ours. At a time when legitimate government would be trying to bolster the economy, this government terminated 3,000 Postal employees per week in March.

The unemployed are pushed through the sausage factory, where you don’t ask where it came from unless you want to go there yourself. Through the steam pipes, through the valves and dials, finally poured down the drain pipe of untreated effluent, the waste product of a collapsing economy, deposited into the invisible sea of the missing class.

Through years of electric propaganda Americans have reached a point where it is now patriotic to hate Americans. This is not to say we haven’t hated each other before, but in the past they were at least selective about it. In times past, we hated groups by race or creed, based on grandpa’s hatreds. Clownish playschool Neo-Nazis or robed Klansman, scary only in the way an unchained pit bull is scary. Today our enemies are school teachers, municipal workers, postal workers, Union workers or the poor. All to be disparaged in the press round the clock by the Corporate News Networks.

The city of Detroit is now in the hands of an unelected Overseer, appointed by the governor to institute policies the electorate find unpalatable. Who is to blame for this American city’s descent into ruins? Who is to blame for this catastrophe? According to the blogosphere, it was caused by unions, blacks and decades of democratic politicians. Collective amnesia, plug and play racism, as the paid horde shouts for Barabbas.

It is a strange psychosis where a people profess a love for their country and its Democratic processes, while despising its citizens. Call it cardboard cut-out patriotism or flag waving from behind the bars.

Consumer Price Index

Food at Home – Feb 2012 to February 2013, up 1.2 % (Not seasonally adjusted)
Motor Fuels – Feb 2012 to February 2013, up 3.3%
Electricity – Feb 2012 to February 2013, up .8%
Apparel – Feb 2012 to February 2013, up 2.4%
Shelter – Feb 2012 to February 2013, up 2.3%
Medical Care– Feb 2012 to February 2013, up 3.9%

Official Consumer Price Index rate of inflation – 2.07%

Average hourly earnings of production and non-supervisory employees on non-farm payrolls

March 2012- $ 19.68
March 2013- $ 20.03

The average wage increase was .35 cents an hour, that’s average, now for retail workers it was .14 cents an hour and with an average work week of 33 hours their wages grew just $ 4.62 before taxes and maybe $2.50 after. There is no wage growth in this economy for anyone, regardless of what you do or who you are.

If you take the numbers listed by the bureau of Labor Statistics for duration of unemployment and add the numbers up, currently they stand at 15.68 million. If you do the same with last years numbers they total 15.9 million:

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Where Do They Go?

4:30 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

Where Do They Go?
By David Glenn Cox

All along the watchtower princes kept the view of strange days and of self-same nights.

This month’s Bureau of Labor Statistics report expresses the symptoms of a lingering stagnation that smells. Actual new job hires were 17,000 in a labor population of nearly 157 million; two million more working compared to last year, with another two million more “no longer in the labor force.” Either way, split the difference as the number of officially unemployed grew for a third consecutive month to 12,332,000.

Wages rose at the ridiculously paltry rate of 0.5 percent, seasonally adjusted for three months and for the year; compensation rose only 1.9%. A desert sheik should run such a frugal household. At 1.9% wage growth, any plans for an economic recovery should be placed well off into the far distant future. It’s true you know, you can’t stand still. You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse. The numbers all meander around so, up one month and down the next, but never improving outside of a narrow range.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics report says: “Employer costs for health benefits increased 2.8 percent over the year. In December 2011 the increase was 3.5 percent.” Who paid that increase? So the averages for Americans of all stations are falling backwards. Take heart ye of the class struggle, wages for the higher-ups are doing only proportionally better. Retail workers’ wages increased an average of ten dollars a week, while their boss made twenty. But either way it’s only McDonald’s money.

Weekly hours worked are down in every employment category year after year, save for business services and healthcare. It’s not just a slowdown in this industry or in that, it is a widespread malaise. In its January report the BLS is careful to mention in the footnotes: “Note: Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of the January data.”

Median unemployment duration in weeks:

October – 19.6

November – 18.9

December – 18.00

January – 16.00

I never would have guessed that they adjusted the population controls, would you? Such adjustments make it difficult to assess changes over time through data comparisons and what they’re saying numerically doesn’t truly express the meaning existentially. It means if you were to lose your job today, on average, in a best case scenario, you won’t find a new job until June.

Now take a look at the average length of stay on unemployment.

http://www.leftistreview.com/2013/02/17/where-do-they-go/davidcox/

The Security State

11:38 am in Uncategorized by Daveparts

By David Glenn Cox

Coat of Arms of the Third Reich

Does the Third Reich live on in American foreign policy?

As Russian artillery shells were raining down on Berlin, even after the German Fuehrer had committed suicide, the security state continued on. Through the ruins of the Berlin streets, roving bands of S.S. officers roamed, hunting down and executing on the spot anyone suspected of desertion or cowardess. The third Reich had less than forty eight hours to live; yet, the security state was alive and well and lives on with us today.

Many people fail to understand that though the third Reich was pounded into dust long ago, many of its tenets of government live on. As the Red army rolled into Poland, the Polish underground began to rise up against the German invaders in Warsaw. It was at that moment that Joseph Stalin called a halt to the Russian push towards Warsaw. It was in Stalin we see the afterbirth of modern politics and of the security state. Flash forward to Libya and Syria; American policy has a light touch. Let the combatants bloody and eliminate the strongest and most popular and who do you suppose will be waiting in the wings to pick up the pieces?

It is much safer to be feared than loved when, of the two, one must be dispensed with. Because … love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails. – Niccolo Machiavelli

No man of prestige is without ambition. It is quaint to think of George Washington as a backwoodsman surveyor, but Washington was a blindly ambitious man. He married one of the wealthiest widows in Virginia and through those marriage vows became a wealthy man himself. Yes, it is entertaining to think of the founding fathers by their popular historical images. The French and Indian War cleared Colonial America’s borders of potential adversaries. Ambitious men asked, “What do we need a British crown for, when we might have our own?”

Read more on the Leftist Review.

Playing with Numbers

2:02 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

Playing with Numbers
By David Glenn Cox

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I only watched the first of the three Presidential debates and after the media declared Willard (Mitt) Romney the winner of the first debate, I didn’t see much point in watching any further. I had mistakenly thought this was an audience participation event, when it was merely a spectacle to be observed by us weed benders. The thundering media herd declares for us the winner and we are expected to sit there, over awed and clap when the applause sign lights up.

I don’t have a dog in this fight; I could easily do fifteen hundred words on the deficiencies of either candidate. In the words of George Wallace, “There ain’t a dimes worth of difference between them. “Two candidates, both, unknown quantities, Barack Obama has been in the public spotlight through two Presidential campaigns plus, four years as President and yet all we know of him is a public image.

We know that when push comes to shove Obama will side with Republicans over his own party. We know Obama will never, ever, ever side with the American people over Corporate America. We know American foreign policy under Barack Obama is no different than it was under Bush / Cheney. The American Imperialist Juggernaut continues unimpeded and will continue unimpeded regardless of who wins this stage show election.

The only thing we really know with any certainty about Willard (Mitt) Romney is that he is insanely rich. He was born insanely rich, attended all the best schools and he took his top drawer education and proceeded to use it to milk the American economy, like a cow. He is a leveraged buy out specialist, he buys up companies to loot them of their assets and once the process is complete, throws the husk and the workers away.

Personally, I thought Obama won the first debate, though Romney certainly looked Presidential enough with his professionally frosted side burns. But when put on the defensive Romney’s voice pitch began to rise, it was a clear sign of rising tension and a failure of debate 101. Despite this, the media claimed Romney won the first debate and then the media declares Obama won the second debate and then the third.

The media claimed Romney earned a huge bump in popularity because of his debate performance, really? While 67 million people watched the first debate, how many of them were undecided voters? Let’s say, for the sake of argument, 10% were undecided voters or 6.7 million voters. So let’s say, that every last one of those undecided viewers decided right then and there, “You know what Margaret, I think that Mitt Romney is on to something, I’m kicking Barack Obama to the curb and voting for Mitt Romney.” There are 236 million people of voting age in this country and almost half of them vote, so if half of those undecided voters turn up at the polls and vote for Willard (Mitt) Romney were looking at 3.4 million votes. Not bad, but certainly not a game changer in an election of 91 million votes.

Ten days ago, every national poll listed Barack Obama as way out in front in the contest. Even Fox News had Obama out in front and now… the contest is deadlocked despite Barack Obama being declared the winner of the last two debates. How can that be? How can a sitting President with adequate approval numbers lose his dominating lead in ten days to a candidate who basically calls 47 percent of the electorate unnecessary untermunchin.

It is a game called swing state, Ohio is the swing states of all swing states and is leaning toward Obama with a 6 percent undecided. How much is 6 % of the Ohio electorate, 83,000 votes.

Time – Obama 49-44 with 3% undecided
Rasmussen – Tied 48 – 48 with 6% undecided
Quinnipiac / CBS – Obama 50 -48 with 3% undecided
Fox – Obama 46 – 43 with 10% undecided

Total Number of registered voters in Ohio, 7,722,180
Combined number of voters polled in the four national polls above; 4,171

Four national polls ask less than one than one tenth of the voters in Erie county Ohio their preference and then proclaim this number as a valid indicator.

The next toss up state, is Florida, hmmm, Florida. What do we know about Florida, orange juice, beaches, Mickey Mouse and senior citizens, lots and lots of senior citizens. So, hypothetically, if a campaign were to talk about privatizing Social Security in Florida it would be suicidal, right?

Rasmussen – Romney 51- 46 with 2% undecided
Fox – Romney 48- 45 with 6% undecided
CNN – Romney 49- 48 with 2% undecided
Survey USA – Obama 47- 46 with 5% undecided

Total number of registered voters in Florida, 11,778,140
Number of voters identifying themselves as Democrats, 4,715,684
Number of voters identifying themselves as Republicans, 4,214,241
No party affiliation, 2,516,757
Combined number of Florida voters polled in the four national polls above, 3,246

So hypothetically, Obama should have a 500,000 vote party advantage. If we split the “no affiliation” category between the two candidates Obama still leads. There are 4.2 million seniors in Florida over 60 years of age. It comprises the states largest voting block, in a state which technically, at least, leans Democratic and the national polls have Romney in the lead over a sitting President by asking one third of one percent of likely Florida voters.

Out West, Colorado is also listed as a “swing state” most of the national polls show Romney with a slight lead. Some of the national polls used a few as 500 likely voters to determine that outcome, the outcome they (the media) wanted.
Colorado has just a few variables which don’t show up in telephone polls of 500 likely voters. First, since 2000, the state’s population has increased by 15% mainly in the urban areas of Denver and Boulder. Secondly, these numbers are younger and better educated, both poor indicators for Republican candidates.

Colorado’s Hispanic population surged by 41 percent since 2000 and Hispanics represent 21 % of the population in Colorado. This combined with the fact that Obama carried a vast majority of Hispanic voters in 2008 carrying the state by nine percentage points over John McCain. What swing state, is Willard (Mitt) Romney really that good of a candidate?

Iowa where the campaign began so long ago and yet is still to decide on a candidate. The state has 607,936 registered Republicans versus 595,423 registered Democrats. In 2008, Barack Obama carried the state with 54% of the vote, what could have changed? Iowa’s economy has fared better than most places in the United States, so why the change?

Rasmussen, Tied, 48- 48 with 2% undecided.
PPP – Romney, 48-49 with 4% undecided
NBC/WSJ/Marist – Obama, 51- 43 with 4% undecided
We Ask America – Obama, 49 – 46 with 4% undecided

Registered Iowa voters – 2,090,309
Total number of Iowa voters polled above- 4,005

Now it all gets very interesting when we look at these amazing number shifts which have closed a once lop sided race and turned it into a nail biter. Did the rescue helicopters crash in Iran; was Obama filmed while driving a tank? Was Willard (Mitt) Romney’s debate performance so magnificently strong, that overnight, millions upon millions of Americans just up and changed their minds?

“In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.” – Mark Twain

Polling data from thirty days ago;

NBC/ WSJ, Obama 49 – 46 with 3.4% undecided
NPR, Obama 51 – 44 with 4% undecided
ABC/ Wash Post, Obama 49 – 47 with 4% undecided
Quinnipiac, Obama 49 – 45 with 6% undecided
Wash Times, Obama 50 – 41 with 7% undecided
Politico, Obama 49 – 47 with 5% undecided
FOX, Obama 48 – 43 with 4% undecided
Bloomberg, Obama 49 – 43 with 4% undecided
National Journal, Obama 50 – 43 with 3% undecided

Either a sitting President with no major gaffs in his campaign has suddenly become unpopular for no particular reason, what so ever as to prompt tens of millions of voters to change their minds about him in a scant thirty days. These millions are suddenly willing to do a complete 180 degree about face in their political preferences, swayed by the person, persona and politics of Willard (Mitt) Romney. Either it is so, or the numbers are jimmied. It is an impossibility outside of the domain of heaven.

“A statistician is a person who draws a mathematically precise line from an unwarranted assumption to a foregone conclusion.” – Unknown

“In earlier times, they had no statistics, and so they had to fall back on lies.” – Stephan Leacock

Really Polite Fascists

6:08 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

Really Polite Fascists
By David Glenn Cox

I had an appointment this morning at the Northwest Pilot Program in Downtown Portland. Since this was my first visit and I was technically a “walk in,” I was advised to be at least an hour early for the 9:00 AM opening. Well, as I’ve explained before, I’m a little anal about being on time for appointments and I knew well, that when you ask for help in America, you had better bring your lunch.

I’d planned to take the seven o’clock bus to arrive ninety minutes early, but I left the house early enough to catch the six thirty bus. A quick walk from the bus stop and at ten to seven, I arrived to find myself fourth in line. At first, all was quiet in the line. Soon however, the ice was broken and we all became fast friends. Michael was first in line as he played his digital card game and when I asked, what time he had arrived to be first in line, he answered without looking away, “5:30.”

Johnny was second in line, he was younger than Michael and had hearing aids in each ear and was a bit more talkative. He commented, on a pretty young girl across the street, “How old do you this she is?”

“Old enough to ruin your life,” I answered. Our line was quickly filling now, I was number four, two hours early. Five, six and seven showed up right behind me. The staff’s warning of only serving the first four in the morning session rang in my ears and made me grateful I had caught that early bus. Several walked away, unwilling to wait, seeking that Domino’s America, thirty minutes or its free. Some in line had canes, some had walkers and none were too well dressed and all were seeking housing.

My primary goal in coming was to seek assistance in resolving my ID problem. It was after eight, when an older woman approached us from the sidewalk announcing, “The door unlocks automatically at eight o’clock.” I thought, ain’t technology grand? It unlocks a door automatically, without ever communicating that somewhat important fact to anyone at all. For some reason, the hour wait inside seemed so much longer than an hour wait outside, but it ended with them offering to help me. First, I would have to make a trip to the Social Security office.

Released into the streets of Portland with a lightly printed map I would make the overland trip to Social Security on foot. Portland is the city of Roses; people like me, Easterners mainly, think its Pasadena, but nope, it’s Portland. I try to write about these places where I’m immersed and I have held off writing much about Portland because Portland is weird. At least that’s what the bumper stickers on the back of every third car say anyway. I think, weird is kind of an over generalization. Portland is unique, funky and Bohemian. It is a low city; it has its share of high rise, sterile steel and glass skyscrapers, if you like those sorts of things. But mainly, it is a brick and mortar town.

Tree lined city streets are filled with a varied assortment of generations of funky architecture. There are so many coffee shops in Portland; I think you could probably run from one to the next while holding your breath, without ever turning blue. Me, I’m a coffee slug; I happily drank Folgers or Maxwell House for years never knowing the difference. But to do so in Portland is like going to the wine country of France and ordering “Ripple.”

Nestled along the banks of the Columbia River, it is a city of bridges, industry and quiet neighborhoods. Compared to homicidal traffic of Atlanta, her traffic her almost genial, but because of the hills and the rivers and time, you can suddenly find yourself at a geometric convergence of half a dozen roads which could confuse even Stephan Hawking. Always off in the distance is the ghostly image of Mt. Hood, a sleeping and hopefully, dormant volcano. Though the temperature has been in the eighties and nineties for several months now, on top of snow white Mt. Hood this morning it was seventeen degrees. I visited this mountain back in May and as we pulled into the parking lot of the ski lodge we were surrounded by snow banks towering fifteen feet above us. Snow banks not piled high or shoveled high, but snow fallen high, still hanging around in May!

I am closer to Alaska and Hawaii here than I am to my native South; The Pacific Ocean is a scant forty five minutes away. Currents carry air and water in from the North Pacific and it means, the Ocean is truly beautiful and truly cold. On a ninety degree day when you approach the ocean, from three feet away, it as if you have just opened the door to a refrigerator cooler. Yet, if you drive east from Portland, suddenly as you crest the top of a hill the trees and greenery disappear, replaced by an amazing high desert panorama and just for good measure, this high desert like the one in the cowboy pictures has a beautiful river running through it. The Columbia River Gorge to the North is a one of a kind splendor and it is as if Portland is a city surrounded by theme parks. Pick a direction, pick a climate and pick a landscape.

The big financial institutions seem to be the only chain stores; there is a noticeable and pleasant absence of fast food chains. In central Portland, there are colorful Jitney’s, small trailers selling all manner of ethnic foods and in two of the cities parks, what else, but coffee shops. I navigated my way towards the Social Security office crossing a bridge across the 405 and I couldn’t help but to take note of the decorative high iron bars and steel lattice installed at public expense to keep our people from killing themselves by diving off of the bridge into traffic. Why do you suppose that is, I mean, government is not so proactive as to install such a thing unless absolutely necessary and decorative no less.

Arriving at the Social Security office, I was greeted by a rent a cop and a metal detector, well, two rent a cops actually. An extra was present, just in case the other needed back up in this scary, scary Social Security office. The first cop was genial enough, as he searched my shoulder bag and he reminded me a lot of my cousin Tommy. Of course, Tommy was taller and didn’t slouch as much, Tommy was also bigger across the chest and better looking, but their hair cuts were strikingly similar. As the cop searched my bag pulling out each of the six CD cases I was carrying. I asked, “If you don’t mind my asking, what are you looking for?”

In a no nonsense manner he explained, “Weapons.”

Thinking about that for a minute, I asked again, “You mean like razor blades?”

I want to get this right; he wasn’t obnoxious, only noxious. In an overtly Fascist police state, he hadn’t lost his sense of polite decorum. Even if he did miss two compartments in my bag including the one containing my camera he remained very polite. Due to his polite negligence, if I had decided to, I could have gotten the photographic drop on the both of them. I could have illegally snapped photographs and the cops could have only responded with pepper spray, night sticks or by shooting me dead with their service revolvers.

But again, I want to emphasize, he was very polite as he said, “Thank you very much sir, take a number from the machine over there.” I had come to obtain information from my government, but first I had to deal with armed men threatening deadly force searching my valuables. I took a ticket from the computerized machine, I was number B522 and the next number called was 53, then 54, then 55. So I went back over to the two ersatz Gestapo fascists keeping me safe from Democracy and asked, “Is this right? Am I really 467 numbers away?”

He explained the machine cycled the numbers and I guess he was satisfied having done his hardest work for the day. A few moments later, my number was called and I quickly received the information I needed to obtain a print out of my social security number, so that I could take that to the state government which would allow the state to grant me a photo ID, so that I could then return to Social Security to replace my card lost in a tragic washing machine accident in back in 1972.

But by now, it was lunch time and I’d had a busy day and yes, I really did pack my lunch and I shared it with a pigeon in Teacher’s park. The children were playing in the fountain when this gray fellow with a black head and just a spot of green ambled up to me. He looked up at me, right in the eye as if to say, “What’s up bud?” Let me be clear, he didn’t beg, but asked politely, “what you got there?” I threw him some crust and he seemed to approve, so I threw him a Cheese it.“ He pecked at a corner of it, but then politely declined, so I threw him some more crust and he gratefully munched it down before nodding to me as if to say “thanks”, before ambling on.

After lunch, I faced a moral dilemma. Should I walk another mile or two down to get a TB test as required by the homeless shelters or call it a day? I was a little tired but thought I would give her a go. It was a beautiful day, just a scoush over 72 degrees, with the sun shining. The streets and parks are filled with art of all descriptions honoring pioneers, sailors and the nondescript, but as I walked, I was overcome by the numbers of truly desperate homeless people in the streets. More homeless people per city block than I could ever have imagined.

They were literally competing for intersections, from the hard up to hard bitten. From young to old, from prey to predator. Some held signs while others stared blankly, aimlessly into the sky, just killing time. They all remained perfectly silent, perhaps they no longer had anything left to say or maybe that’s the rule, you can beg, but you cannot make noise. It is a beautiful city in a garden spot of the world, but there is also a yin to this yang. Fading light and long shadows, art appreciation amongst the ruins with food festivals amongst the hungry, in the city of Roses.

No Place to Go

10:17 am in Uncategorized by Daveparts

No Place to Go
By David Glenn Cox

“Necessitous men are not free men. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

I am a child of history; I was a kid who sat in the corner listening to the stories of the garrulous old men reflecting on life, after having too much to drink. My parents both grew up poor during the last Great Depression and occasionally, something will occur which strikes one of those old memory chords. This morning as I walked out into the sunlight, at the bottom of the stairs there sat parked, a shiny new automobile and instantly my brain shouted “Rock!” at me.

My mother had told me about this game that she and the other children played growing up in inner city Chicago. The girls would be jumping rope or playing hopscotch and the boys would be doing what boys do when someone would shout, “Rock!” The children would drop their toys and cease their play and hunt up a nice, good sized rock. Because the cry “Rock!” carried with it a special meaning, it meant that there was a new car coming down the street. Was this class envy perhaps or poor parenting skills, what could make these children all behave so wantonly?

To these young children the appearance of a new car meant someone with money was coming down the street. The only people who came into their neighborhood in new cars were landlords, rent or bill collectors. These children at ten or twelve years of age well understood the distinction between rich and poor and what they saw wasn’t envy, but oppression. Mr. Hoover had told them prosperity was just around the corner, the newspapers, all staunchly Republican, had repeated and encouraged Mr. Hoover’s message,

“Economic depression cannot be cured by legislative action or executive pronouncement. Economic wounds must be healed by the action of the cells of the economic body – the producers and consumers themselves.” – Herbert Hoover

A very high and grand philosophical pronouncement, but to these children they saw it a bit differently. To these children with bright eyes and eager faces, it meant they would go without enough to eat. It meant their families would disintegrate before their eyes because their fathers and mothers could find no work. My own mother held life long enmity for her own father who had abandoned the family during the depression. It wasn’t until many years later, after I had studied the times and finally had the message jack hammered into my own brain like a pounding, before I could begin to understand myself.

Look at the pictures from those times; count the hundreds of men standing in those bread lines. They weren’t men who were broke; they were men who were broken. They were men who felt the shame of not being able to care for their families. Men who came home each night empty handed without a job and without hope. They were men forced to look into the eyes of their hungry children; they were men hiding from their own shame and their own sense of failure.

“Freedom is the open window through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit and human dignity.” – Herbert Hoover

I guess it’s all a matter of perspective isn’t it? How a big fat man living in a big white house eating sumptuous meals can speak about freedom and sunlight so, as children starved and ate from garbage cans.

“The people of this country want relief, and they do not have to eat a whole side of beef to tell when it is tainted. They have bitten off the hoof of this situation in the United States. They know. We have given them no place to go.” – Huey Long

As you travel through your life today you must see what is unseen and hear what is unspoken. That man at the convenience store or the waitress who brings you your coffee, they are poor people. They work for less than subsistence wages, they don’t save for retirement and they don’t have health care. One in three Americans can’t make their rent or mortgage payments. Of fifty million mortgages in America, twelve million are currently under water. Over ten million homes have been foreclosed already, affecting at least forty million Americans including twenty million children and we have given them no place to go.

From the Washington Post: “Foreclosures will probably rise in 2012 — and that could be a good sign”

Why does the Washington Post think another one million more families thrown out into the road to live as vagrants is a good idea?

“Economic depression cannot be cured by legislative action or executive pronouncement. Economic wounds must be healed by the action of the cells of the economic body – the producers and consumers themselves.” – Herbert Hoover

It is repetitions of the fat man speak, it is sugar coated and dressed up in fine clothes but when you strip it bare and look honestly at the message of the naked words they are those of your government saying, Fuck you!

“The royalists of the economic order have conceded that political freedom was the business of the Government, but they have maintained that economic slavery was nobody’s business. They granted that the Government could protect the citizen in his right to vote, but they denied that the Government could do anything to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to live.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Since April of 2006, wage growth in this country has reached 0.1 in only two months while in seven months there has been no wage growth at all. Over the same time period the cost of living has averaged a rise of 0.6 percent per month. If you are very, very lucky you are working the same number of hours you worked twelve months ago. In all private non farm payrolls the average number of hours worked per week is 34.5 meaning even at $10 per hour, well above the minimum wage, a worker must try to survive on $345.00 per week before taxes. The average rent in 2012 has risen to $1,091 per month; meaning at nearly 40% per hour over and above the federal minimum wage American workers cannot afford the very basics of life. The average pay for those in the leisure and hospitality industry is $349.00, that’s bars, restaurants, hotel workers, theaters and amusement parks. For retail workers the average wage for all workers is $16.31 per hour or $500 per week, that is, if they get the average 34 hours.

After paying rent they are left with $900 for the month to buy food, pay utilities, laundry, gas or car insurance. As I walked passed a pay phone in front of the grocery store yesterday, I heard a young woman on the phone, “A car? I haven’t had a car in six months. It broke down and I couldn’t afford to get it fixed.” And I thought to myself, “I bet that’s right.” Over eight million American workers laboring part time for economic reasons and they dream about $500 per week. In May, the Bureau of Labor statistics proudly announced, 79.1 percent of American households have at least one member employed. Think about that, think about what that really means. It means over 20 percent of American households don’t have anyone employed in them.

It is a crime and a travesty, it is the thing which revolutions are made of. Over 16 million children live in poverty and half of all Americans will live in poverty before the age of 65. One in six Americans currently live in poverty and one in two are either in poverty or are low income. From the CIA world Fact Book: “The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan required major shifts in national resources from civilian to military purposes and contributed to the growth of the US budget deficit and public debt – through 2011, the direct costs of the wars totaled nearly $900 billion, according to US government figures.” But for you my fellow Americans you get the fat man talk,

“And to all those who have wondered if Americas beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope. – Barack Obama

Somehow, blowing smoke and up my rear end got left out of that equation, what about the sunshine and the open windows? Fat man speak says, ignore the needs of the people, speak in lofty platitudes, tell the hungry, the poor and the dispossessed just how wonderful they have it. Then tell them why we need to make even more cuts.

“A mob is coming here in six months to hang the other ninety-five of you damned scoundrels, and I’m undecided whether to stick here with you or go out and lead them.”
- Huey Long to the United States Senate

No Road Back

12:18 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

No Road Back
By David Glenn Cox

It is really not so hard to be poor, the inability to purchase things or accumulate things is a relatively an easy adjustment. It is also an easy matter to adapt from a personal vehicle to public transport. The primary difference is without any income you really don’t have anyplace to go. You must marshal your resources for those things which are truly necessary. Where for instance would it be more important to visit than say to purchase tooth paste?

Life becomes a matter of rather simple choices, when this poverty first fell upon me, I was in shock. Me? This can’t happen to me, I’ve always been able to find work. I’ve always been that good employee. I’ve danced the Capitalist tune and said nothing as my benefits were cut. But hey, it all going to be alright isn’t it?

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross describes to us the five stages of grief, a hypothesis explaining how the human mind deals with catastrophic loss. So of course, my own shock and disorientation was quite predictable and to be expected. This is the first stage, Denial.

Anger is the second step in the process, and perhaps, the most difficult to explain. If I were suffering from terminal cancer, I could be as angry as I liked but with poverty, ah, that is very different. You better not be angry, no sir, you must smile and say yes, all is wonderful. You mustn’t upset the children or the spouse or potential employers or the police. Your rage at being publicly pillaged must be suppressed because as far as society is concerned, it isn’t happening.

Ten million home foreclosures which really didn’t happen either, twenty million permanently unemployed and under employed who really don’t exist. I have crossed this country in a bizarre odyssey and everywhere I go I see the homeless, the struggling and the unemployed. I see nerves on edge and minds ragged from long nights of distress. Mother’s trying to feed children and mothers put out of their homes because they earned too much for food stamps and not enough for mortgage assistance.

Citizen soldiers stripped of their civilian identities, men living under bridges and men who live nowhere at all. Mother’s explaining why there will be no seconds or Christmas. Politicians who speak of economic recovery as a foregone conclusion as they claim for a third year that the housing market has finally bottomed out, Yet they speak of us the American people, as no more than ghosts, as faceless numbers, as arbitrary statistics. I have met these numbers, these men, women and children; I have felt their pain and heard their tears. The innocents debased and ignored, young people trying to make it in a fixed crap game. Children told to study to get ahead when there are no jobs and will be no jobs.

A minimum of forty million Americans pushed from their homes plus those evicted from rental homes and apartments and this invisible army grows exponentially.

Civilian Labor Force; May 2011, 153,700,000
Civilian Labor Force; May 2012, 155,007,000

Employed; May 2011, 139,808,000
Employed; May, 2012 142,287,000

Not in Labor Force; May 2011, 85,613,000
Not in Labor Force; May 2012, 87,958,000

Persons who currently want a job; May 2011, 6,216,000
Persons who currently want a job; May 2012, 6,291,000

Could only find part-time work; May 2011, 2,475,000
Could only find part-time work; May 2012, 2,649,000

The next step is bargaining; when you begin to bargain you no longer think of yourself as what you once were, you now think expediently. What I can do today to earn a buck, you no longer think of yourself as a manger, salesmen or biological engineer. You’re no longer a grant writer helping underprivileged children, you’re a maid cleaning someone’s house for cash to put gas in your car or you’re shoveling dirt or rocks or building fences or lumping trucks to buy a pair of shoes, anything for a buck and for the most part, you’re working for the same people who claim you don’t exist in the first place.

Government workers; May 2011, 20,348,000
Government workers; May 2012, 20,059,000

You bargain for your wages and now, in a new twist many of the Craigslist ads want you to bid on the job in a race to the bottom.

Marginally attached to the work force; May 2011, 2,206,000
Marginally attached to the work force; May 2012, 2,423,000

Discouraged workers; May 2011, 822,000
Discouraged workers; May 2012, 830,000

After the bargaining stage comes depression, which is an easy step with no need to deviate too far or too fast to begin to understand the simple and obvious fact. Not one single occupation listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics website shows any wage growth above the rate of inflation.

Not a single political party offers any plans or prescriptions, let alone respite or shelter from the storm. So we move along to acceptance, now acceptance is a little tougher to swallow because it sticks like a bone in your throat. You’re asked to accept that you will never have anything ever again. You will never control your own destiny but instead just drift along on the winds of discontent and the storms of misfortune.

“Remember, remember always that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

There is a shattering reality which comes with acceptance that this prolonged poverty daily saps your soul and your strength, it robs you of who you really are. You have become something different from who you once were, you begin to lose your identity and become a cold empty shell unsure of how to act anymore.

“Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made. – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

I am no longer a free; I am no longer either a Democrat or a Republican. I spit upon the foolish political side show of corporate fascism designed to convince the rubes in the hustings that they are somehow free when they are nothing of a sort. I am a revolutionist now with utter contempt for my government, I am oppressed and impoverished by its neo-liberal policies and my only salute this Fourth of July for the government of the United States consists of only one finger.

From the CIA World Fact Book:

“In this market-oriented economy, private individuals and business firms make most of the decisions, and the federal and state governments buy needed goods and services predominantly in the private marketplace. US business firms enjoy greater flexibility than their counterparts in Western Europe and Japan in decisions to expand capital plant, to lay off surplus workers, and to develop new products. At the same time, they face higher barriers to enter their rivals’ home markets than foreign firms face entering US markets.”

“The onrush of technology largely explains the gradual development of a “two-tier labor market” in which those at the bottom lack the education and the professional/technical skills of those at the top and, more and more, fail to get comparable pay raises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits. Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households. Since 1996, dividends and capital gains have grown faster than wages or any other category of after-tax income.”

“In 2008, soaring oil prices threatened inflation and caused a deterioration in the US merchandise trade deficit, which peaked at $840 billion. In 2009, with the global recession deepening, oil prices dropped 40% and the US trade deficit shrank, as US domestic demand declined, but in 2011 the trade deficit ramped back up to $803 billion, as oil prices climbed once more. The global economic downturn, the sub-prime mortgage crisis, investment bank failures, falling home prices, and tight credit pushed the United States into a recession by mid-2008. GDP contracted until the third quarter of 2009, making this the deepest and longest downturn since the Great Depression.”

If this is the longest downturn since the Great Depression why is it called a recession? It is a rhetorical question of course, as Newsweek magazine promotes a cover story on Annie Leibovitz on its domestic cover and “Losing Afghanistan” as the headline on its international version. No different than any other corporate state sponsored propaganda.

“Of course, Socialism is violently denounced by the capitalist press and by all the brood of subsidized contributors to magazine literature, but this only confirms the view that the advance of Socialism is very properly recognized by the capitalist class as the one cloud upon the horizon which portends an end to the system in which they have waxed fat, insolent and despotic through the exploitation of their countless wage-working slaves.” – Eugene Victor Debs

The modern proletarian class doesn’t carry out its struggle according to a plan set out in some book or theory; the modern workers’ struggle is a part of history, a part of social progress, and in the middle of history, in the middle of progress, in the middle of the fight, we learn how we must fight… That’s exactly what is laudable about it, that’s exactly why this colossal piece of culture, within the modern workers’ movement, is epoch-defining: that the great masses of the working people first forge from their own consciousness, from their own belief, and even from their own understanding the weapons of their own liberation. – Rosa Luxemburg

So there is one last step in the chain reaction, one more phase of acceptance, it is understanding. The understanding that you did not choose this path for yourself, it was chosen for you by your enemies. An identity created in the crucible of understanding which explains to you, you’ve nothing left and there’s no road back