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How Can We Live, Without Our Lives?

6:18 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

How Can We Live, Without Our Lives?
By David Glenn Cox

It is the first Friday of the month, the day when the bureau of Labor Statistics releases its monthly job report. I hurried along heading for the coffee shop and as I stepped out into the crosswalk an armored truck was heading right for me, would he stop in time? I closed my eyes fearing the worst and thought…Hit Me! Hit Me! Hit Me! The truck managed to stop and I continued on my way unmolested, but that pretty well sums up this months job report. About the only way for a regular folks to get ahead in this economy is to be hit by an armored truck, a lottery ticket or a drunken doctor in a Ferrari.

The media headlines will proclaim, 163,000 new jobs and unemployment unchanged at 8.3 %

I weary of this tale, they, your government aren’t reporting on the reality of the situation here, they are creating their own reality of the situation. If they officially declare unemployment at 8.3 percent, then officially unemployment stands at 8.3 percent. Officially, there are close to thirteen million Americans unemployed. Officially, that excludes those working part time and those workers considered discouraged workers. Unofficially, there is another category, those of the disappeared. Millions of Americans disappeared from the economy no longer receiving benefits, no longer considered to be in the workforce.

The media headlines will not tell you the following and officially, the word “recovery” has been pulled from the media lexicon, replaced by the word “economy.”

Civilian non institutional population up 199,000 while the civilian labor force is down by a 150,000 or the population is growing, while the working population is shrinking. The participation rate in the economy stood at 64 percent last July and twelve months later, it stands at 63.7 percent, recovery anyone? Remember that headline, the one I was telling you about, the one with the 163,000 new jobs? The actual number of Americans employed this month fell by 195,000 and the employment – population ratio, fell as well. The number of those officially unemployed, rose by 45,000 and the number of workers considered “no longer in the labor force, rose by 348,000.

Imagine, a city the size of Saint Louis, Tampa or Anaheim just disappearing from the map with a new city disappearing nearly every month. The number of workers unemployed over 27 weeks dropped by an astounding 185,000. They are being pushed over the cliff into the valley of the shadow of expended benefits while new entrants to the workforce fell by 20,000. Part time for economic reasons, up by 37,000, could only find part time work, up by 62,000. If 62,000 out of thirteen million unemployed could only find part time work, how many out of those thirteen million, could find none?

The other day as I walked to the coffee shop where I ensconce myself, a young man approached me walking and talking into a cell phone, coming from the other direction as he past by I heard, “Well no, I don’t have to get paid everyday, but just the first couple.” It was a “Grapes of Wrath” moment, of workers needing to get paid each day just to get along, just to make one more day.

When I hear politicians speaking about the economy they tend to speak about it euphemistically, pretending a recovery is well under way and we only need to hold on, seeking shelter as if its just a thunder shower passing over us on a summer day, but its not, its real and its hard. The signs are all around us, men needing to get paid everyday. People who can’t pay their rent because there is no work for them, Mitt Romney uses the economy only to bash Obama, Romney’s solution is to repeat all the same mistakes made in the past. It isn’t even credible platform really, it’s a mishmash of tax cuts and candy store give aways. Obama points his finger and cries “Out Sourcer” at Romney but the truth is, Obama’s never met a trade deal he didn’t like.

Obama’s program if you can call it a program, isn’t much different than Mitt Romney’s plan, give corporations tax cuts to hire workers. So if you give a $30,000 tax cut for a $25,000 job where does the other $5,000 go? The trade deals put the sweetheart deals beyond the reach of elected officials The Colombian free trade agreement gives Caterpillar $100,000 tax advantage over its Asian competitors. It means Caterpillar has a $100,000 pricing advantage in minerally rich Colombia. It also means Cat doesn’t have to set up a locally owned distributorship in the country. Cat can keep those profits in house and the locals, who are hired, work for Americans not Columbians. Free trade anyone?

There is what has come to be known as the Wal-Mart phenomenon, as food stamp recipients begin to gather shopping before midnight, waiting for their benefits to post when the clock rolls over at midnight. They fill their carts with milk, bread and baby food. They aren’t there for fun or avoiding the traffic, they are there because they’re hungry.

“How can we live without our lives? How will we know it’s us without our past?”
- John Steinbeck,

Millions upon millions of Americans who find themselves lost in this milieu, these are the days of their lives. This invisible army knows the truth, as officially, wages rose only two cents per hour this month. At the current rate of employment good times will return to us sometime late in the month of never! I feel for the young people growing up in this, never knowing any different, with lowered dreams and lowered expectations. There was a time when going to college meant something and not going meant something as well. It meant that you learned a trade and there was still a possibility for a prosperous lifestyle.

Yet today, all college means is debt, those without college hardly have a chance to climb any sort of ladder to a better life. Only 30 percent of our children will ever have a job in high school because those jobs are filled with people my age. I told this story once, I was sitting in a burger joint and the manager was interviewing a woman in her forties. He asked, “It says here you can’t work Sundays.”

“Yes, she answered, “I go to church on Sundays.”

“Well, we really need someone on Sundays. Could you work maybe a couple of Sundays a month, or say after twelve?”

If she wanted this job, she would have to cast her religion aside and in this economy Jesus would never forgive her for not doing it. These are the 62,000 who seek part time work because full time isn’t available. These are the people who used to teach your kids, down to the public school. These are the contractors, car salesmen, Real Estate agents and secretaries forced into these jobs which suck ass, but they’re glad to get them still because it is an, or else situation. They’re the lucky ones still employable on some level, those who didn’t lose homes or with ruined their credit who will never be hired again at any level.

The junior colleges under an Obama program partner with corporations such as the Gap, Banana Republic and McDonalds to train managers in exchange for student debt.

U-6 Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, July 2011, 16.3%.

U-6 unemployment for July 2012, 15.5 officially, so what choice do they have?

BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT DYNAMICS: FOURTH QUARTER 2011

From September to December 2011 gross job gains from opening and
expanding private sector establishments were 6.9 million, a decrease
of 204,000 from the previous quarter, the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics reported today. Over this period, gross job losses from
closing and contracting private sector establishments were 6.5 million,
an increase of 181,000 from the previous quarter.

The difference between the number of gross job gains and the number
of gross job losses yielded a net employment change of 368,000 jobs
in the private sector during the fourth quarter of 2011. – BLS

When it is all said and done, this says it all, less than a 100,000 new jobs per month for an unemployed population of over 13,000,000 with near lottery ticket odds of being hired. The BLS reported last month that temporary and contract employment accounted for over 20 percent of the new jobs, as the sound of gears gnashing and of fat ladies singing can clearly be heard in the distance. And if you listen closely, you can almost hear the economy crashing and the sound of the gears grinding to a halt

Right now, in millions of American homes, good people scratch and dig, they sell their gold, their mother’s heirlooms, anything, trying to make it just one more month. Every empty store front is the end of a dream and every foreclosed home is the beginning of a nightmare. Losing a home isn’t the end; it’s just the beginning of a new existence. They won’t leave off at just taking your house they must hound you and put the squeeze on you as well. Your credit ruined because the economy collapsed who can you turn to, to make them whole again? Where is the road out for these people?

“But you can’t start over
only a boy can start over
You and me
Why, we’re all that’s been”- John Steinbeck

This is their life, and they don’t get to be twenty or thirty or forty ever again, this is it. It’s not a thunderstorm, it’s a hurricane. The economy isn’t getting any better because they aren’t trying to make it any better, cause it don’t affect them none.

“Let me say,
at the risk of seeming ridiculous,
that the true revolutionary
is guided by great feelings of love.”- Ernesto Che Guevara

May Day

2:22 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

May Day

By David Glenn Cox

 

I had begun another piece about May Day and I abandoned it. It was filled with interesting quotes about May Day. May Day began as a struggle for the eight hour day. It grew and grew until it was world wide event. It was smeared as being leftist or Communist by the usual suspects but as I was researching this legacy of humanity yearning to breathe free, I found this. May Day is supposed to be about educating ourselves so I will turn you over to one far wiser than myself.

“Dear Hildita, Aleidita, Camilo, Celia and Ernesto,

If you read this letter one day, it will mean that I am no longer alive. You will hardly remember me, and the smallest among you will have entirely forgotten me.

Your father was a man who acted as he thought best and who has been absolutely faithful to his convictions. Grow up into good revolutionaries. Study hard to master technique, which gives you mastery over nature. Remember that it is the Revolution which is important and that each of us, taken in isolation, is worth nothing. Above all be sensitive, in the deepest areas of yourselves, to any injustice committed against whoever it may be anywhere in the world.

Yours always, my children. I hope to see you again.

A big strong kiss from Daddy.”- Ernesto Che Guevara

Che Guevara was a young man when he died, he left behind a wife and a family of small children. So why did he do it? Why did he abandon a career as a physician to become a revolutionary? He was sick, he had asthma and was eating a poor diet.

“Dear old folks:

Once again I feel beneath my heels the ribs of Rocinante*. Once more, I’m on the road with my shield on my arm. Almost ten years ago I wrote you another farewell letter. As I recall, I lamented not being a better soilder and a better doctor. The latter no longer interests me; I am not such a bad soilder. Nothing has changed in essence, except that I am much more consious.

My Marxism has taken root and become purified. I believe in armed struggle as the only solution for those peoples who fight to free themselves, and I am consistent with my beliefs. Many will call me an adventurer, and that I am….only one of a different sort: one who risks his skin to prove his truths. It is possible that this may be the end. I don’t seek it, but it’s within the logical relms of probailities. If it should be so, I send you a final embrace. I have loved you very much, only I have not known how to express my affection. I am extremly rigid in my actions, and I think that sometimes you did not understand me. Nevertheless, please believe me today.

Now a willpower that I have polished with an artist’s delight will sustain some shaky legs and some weary lungs. I will do it. Give a thought once in awhile to this little soilder of fortune of the twentieth century.

A kiss to Celia, to Roberto, Juán Martín and Patotín, to Beatriz, to everybody. For you, a big hug from your obstinate and prodigal son,

Ernesto” — Ernesto Che Guevara

*Rocinante was Don Quixote’s horse.

Ernesto Che Guevara went on because he thought that we were all worth the struggle. Che could have stayed home, he was doing good work at home, he had a family and he was sick. All good reasons to stay home but there was something more to Che than just his own desires.

“After graduation, due to special circumstances and perhaps also to my character, I began to travel throughout America, and I became acquainted with all of it. Except for Haiti and Santo Domingo, I have visited, to some extent, all the other Latin American countries. Because of the circumstances in which I traveled, first as a student and later as a doctor, I came into close contact with poverty, hunger and disease; with the inability to treat a child because of lack of money; with the stupefaction provoked by the continual hunger and punishment, to the point that a father can accept the loss of a son as an unimportant accident, as occurs often in the downtrodden classes of our American homeland. And I began to realize at that time that there were things that were almost as important to me as becoming famous for making a significant contribution to medical science: I wanted to help those people.” – Ernesto Che Guevara

A Lower Order of Being

2:04 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

A Lower Order of Being
By David Glenn Cox

I was perusing the Internet the other day when I came across this, “10 Che Guevara quotes the left would rather not talk about.”

“Next time your kid comes home in a Che Guevara T-shirt, ask him if he knows what the Cuban murderer actually stood for. Sit him down, strip the gauze of ignorance from his eyes and have him read these Guevara quotes. Then burn the damn T-shirt.”

The quotes listed are inflammatory and incendiary; they speak of blood, murder and revolution. “Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any enemy that falls in my hands! My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood. With the deaths of my enemies I prepare my being for the sacred fight and join the triumphant proletariat with a bestial howl!”

Pretty powerful stuff, but then Che lived in a time of tape recorders and television. George Washington advocated genocide against Native American tribes simply because he wanted their lands, so what motivated Che Guevara? He was born into a wealthy family in Argentina and attended college and then medical school. You see, he was Dr. Guevara. As a young man he traveled through South America on a motorcycle and he saw widespread poverty. He saw a wealthy few and an impoverished multitude.

George Washington was born the son of a farmer and began a career as a surveyor. He fought for the British in the French and Indian wars and led an unsuccessful charge in pursuit of retreating Native Americans into a forest. George learned that day that you never follow Native Americans retreating into a forest. Washington lost many men and sustained his first military defeat. What about the innocent blood on George’s hands?

George married one of the wealthiest widows in Virginia and began to petition his king for land grants west of the Appalachians. George was a man with a dream and a vision, George wanted to be rich, really, really rich, so when his king turned him down George decided that what this country needed was a revolution. His British King was suppressing his dreams and oppressing his freedom to occupy lands which did not belong to him.

The British on the other hand had just settled a war and thought that since British blood and treasure had been expended for the benefit of the colonists that perhaps the colonists should be taxed to pay for British protection. American Colonial leaders saw things a bit differently, the war had been won, their adversaries had been defeated so what did they need with these Brits hanging around for, oppressing and suppressing them?

This is the view of the American Revolution from the British perspective, a side rarely seen through the gauze of two centuries of propaganda. So George Washington was a revolutionary for vaporous freedom, financial opportunity and the freedom to commit genocide of native peoples and take their lands while Che Guevara was seeking revolution to aid the poor and disenfranchised.

Many, many, too many in this country romanticize war. War is the failure of politics; it is the failure of the human mind and the human tongue to seek reason. It is caused by the arrogance and intransigence to understand our common humanity. This so-called peaceful nation of ours has buried her sons in graveyards all over the world seeking…peace.

When Che came to Cuba he found a country where anything goes. America’s playground was just ninety miles from Miami.  Gambling, prostitution anything was available in Havana. In the Cuban countryside there was grinding poverty with little or no education or health care. Cuba was the number one Caribbean export market for Cadillac. American companies made millions in Cuba while paying ridiculously low wages and almost no taxes. Cuba was a plutocracy where 75 percent of the assets were owned by foreign nationals, a money machine lubricated by the blood and sweat of its people.

It is hard to look back over the past ten years and not to see the change that has come over the United States. So imagine looking back thirty plus years.  My friend who was a few years ahead of me in school graduated from high school and got a union job working for GM. He didn’t like it much, working on the third shift, so he was trying to get a job with AT&T working in a factory making telephones. Today those cars are built in Mexico and those telephones in China, countries where GM and AT&T can pay ridiculously low wages and almost no taxes. In countries where anything goes, where a blue jeans manufacturer can dump acids and dyes right into the Mexican drinking water supply, they brought 300 hundred jobs but poisoned the water supply for 2,400.

You see, I am not trying to justify Che’s violence as much as to explain it and to understand it. Ten million homes foreclosed equal more than forty million men, women and children ejected from their homes. They live their lives under threats and under pressure, searching for a decent job when there are none. This is no accident, this is violence done in the name of profit. This is revolution by the pen and the freedom to be manipulated and ordered out for the benefit of others. Forty million people is the largest peace time human disenfranchisement in human history. The bankers who profited from this crime have not been punished but have been rewarded and are receiving their annual bonuses again.

This government, your government continues to insist that free trade will help our economy and create jobs. South Korea exports 700,000 cars to the United States but imports less than 7,000 from the United States. South Korea jails labor activists and pays their full time autoworkers a mere $5.00 per hour. They keep on staff contract workers who earn $3.00 per hour but who stand ready to step in the event of any labor stoppage.

This government, your government wants to establish a free trade pact with Colombia where the Colombian Army stands accused in over 200 murders of labor organizers. Colombia is considered the most dangerous place on earth to be a labor organizer so one can only imagine what it must be like to be a worker in Colombia. The Colombian government promises very sweetly to investigate these murders but once the trade pact is ratified, what’s done is done. Did you know the United States runs an annual trade deficit of around a billion dollars a year with Colombia?

Che Guevara and George Washington were in the same line of work, they were both revolutionaries. They were both willing to pit their lives and fortunes to bring about change. They both killed people and destroyed property and they both knew the horrors of combat.

Che said, “A revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate.” We must create the pedagogy of the Wall!”, meaning they would execute traitors and deserters.
George said, “It is always best to keep the militia in front of you” a reference to shooting conscripts who turn in the face of the enemy.

Lest you think that I am condemning George Washington, I will add that Washington had the presence of mind and the strength of character to stay in the fight. He understood well that he was the lynch pin of the struggle. If he had run or abandoned his post, the American Revolution would have been over. He also understood that had he run away, the British would have hunted him down and hung him as a traitor.

Che Guevara was a doctor.  He could have lived a quiet sedate life growing wealthy and raising a family. Instead, he lived in jungle camps eating bad food risking his life fighting for an idea not unlike our own George Washington, but George was a man of the seventeenth century. George believed that people with brown skin or black skin or red skin were inferior to him. He believed that these people were chattel to be used by him like farm animals or beasts of burden to be bought and sold for profit. He believed that if these people had something that he wanted, it was acceptable for him to take it from them, because he saw them as a lower order of being.

Che burned with an idea that people should not be exploited, that we all share a common dignity and common humanity. He also understood that the entrenched powers would do anything to preserve their inhuman system of exploitation. Che understood that these powers were so steeped in their own barbarity that they could not be reasoned with or made to understand the evil nature of their own crimes.

“In fact, if Christ himself stood in my way, I, like Nietzsche, would not hesitate to squish him like a worm.”  Che Guevara

When Fulgencio Batista fled Cuba, he left with over one hundred million dollars that did not belong to him. He robbed the people, he didn’t care if or how they would suffer. He didn’t care if the children were denied an education or if the elderly were denied health care. He was motivated only by greed; he worked only for those who paid him. Law was for sale, exploitation was for sale and the lives of the Cuban people mattered to him only for the coins they would put in his pocket.

So how was Batista any different from say, Paul Ryan or Eric Cantor? How is he any different from Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf or Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein? How are their policies and beliefs any different from the beliefs of George Washington or even from Barack Obama? They carry on the legacy of a lower order of being with the policies of exploiter and exploited, anything for a buck. Tax cuts for the rich while cutting Medicare and Social Security for the elderly.

I guess that is why Che said, “If any person has a good word for the previous government that is good enough for me to have him shot.”

I don’t agree with everything that Che said.  I do. however, understand the motivations that made him say them. I don’t own nor would I wear a Che Guevara tee shirt because to do so would dishonor his memory. I don’t like the idea of Capitalist sweatshops making a buck off of his likeness, selling his image while forgetting his ideals.

Che was murdered while fighting in Bolivia; he gave his life for a cause. He traded upper class comforts to become a revolutionary, and that is not something to be remembered on a tee shirt but in your heart. I have seen with my own eyes the suffering and I have heard the tears of women crying, I’ve seen them put out of their homes and I understand well that the definition of murderer or revolutionary depends only upon which way the rifles are pointing. Che died for the idea that people should not be exploited for profit or by their governments.

I will never disavow that idea.

“Many will call me an adventurer – and that I am, only one of a different sort: one of those who risks his skin to prove his platitudes.”

“I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man.”
Che Guevara

http://www.ihatethemedia.com/10-che-guevara-quotes-the-left-would-rather-not-talk-about