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The Polish Daily News

1:10 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

The Polish Daily News
By David Glenn Cox

God has been throwing acorns at the house lately, too much time on his hands, I suppose. He can’t kill African babies all the time and he sure hasn’t been helping Willard (Mitt) Romney any. The acorns come down hard on the roof like rocks or like Mitt’s falling poll numbers whichever you prefer. I think I like Cleveland, its comfortable like an old pair of shoes. They have this lake front, where regular people can live. In Chicago, they would be million dollar properties, here they are just apartments. To me of course a Great Lake is a Great Lake, I’m not about to get snobbish about it, especially as a new comer.

I went to see the Christmas Story house and while we were in the neighborhood we visited Saint Theodosius Cathedral. Poor little Ralphie, his neighborhood falling into disrepair. When we arrived we saw the obligatory leg lamp in Ralphie’s front window and an excavator climbing up the rubble pile of a demolished house next door. Your eyes quickly adjust to this carnage and boarded up houses of what must have been at one time an urban paradise. As we cruised the neighborhoods we saw an old brick building with a concrete mantle which proudly proclaimed, “The Polish Daily News -1922”

It was a time when America held promise, when Ukrainian immigrants could pool their collective resources and build not just a church but a cathedral. They were staking their claim as Americans, they were Ukrainians but now, they were also Americans. They fought for their labor rights and survived the last Great Depression and in their prosperity they were assimilated into the American maelstrom.

The neighborhoods of Cleveland remind me of the neighborhoods of Atlanta, only older. Boarded up windows and doors spare no architecture, be it period housing versus boarded up bungalow ranch style with its vinyl siding and faux brick. Decay is decay, but there is more, this plague cannot be isolated to architecture alone. It permeates our society as a whole, when I was in Portland; I was walking to the coffee shop one morning about 9:30 and all around me were groups of men in twos and three’s who should have been at work.

I was filled with stories of cars which no longer run and of owner’s with no money to fix them. My uncle used to buy a new car every two years. He was a foreman in a factory, I knew lots of people who bought new cars, these were happy times and prosperous memories. Days when people had “good jobs,” remember, “Oh, Mary’s got a “good job” but what is a “good job” today? Just down the street from here is a pretty little three bedroom, two bath period home probably built sometime in the 1920’s. It’s big and roomy, warm and cozy with period trimmings of wide oak moldings, large windows and a big old fashioned front porch surrounded by a heavy railing.

I’m told that this house could be had for $8,000 American and that there are in Cleveland, hundreds of these houses. The simple reason they’re selling so cheaply is because there are no jobs and no credit for what I call the poor, and the politicians call the middle class. The middle class is an imaginary group of American’s like Bill Cosby’s Huxtables who live mainly on TV and on Madison Avenue. But, if these houses are bad assets driving down the banks ability to be profitable and if we have millions of unemployed and millions of homeless including half a million who are children aged 0-5. Then let’s take these houses off of the banks hands. Then let’s hire these unemployed to do the repairs necessary to make the homes livable.

Then let’s sell the house for a reasonable price, say $16,000. We help the bank, we help the poor, we create jobs, just another big govement program, which helps everyone, instead of just the banks. When FDR tried to help people to keep their homes in 1933 with the Home Owners Loan Corporation, the home price slide ended within a year and who did that help the most but the banks. We are entering our fifth year of home price declines, culling the fringe, but now the plague is infecting the whole. If the free market can correct itself, how much longer is this going to take?

We could do a lot of things, God’s not throwing acorns at us, this plague is man made, but Damn it Mitt, you’re not supposed to lose this bad. Not since Montgomery Burns was forced to take a bite from Blinky, the three eyed fish has there been a politician been so publicly debased. Paul Ryan the ambitious man, faced off against a hostile Louisiana crowd, and as Ryan spoke, the crowd murmured aggressively. As Ryan explained that he and Mitt Romney wanted to fix the economy by doing away with Obama care, the crowd loudly booed and cat called.

It was a surreal moment and had it been in black and white would have resembled that scene from “The Bride of Frankenstein” where the monster puts his hands up defensively yelling, “Fire Bad!” from the balcony of the old wind mill. That moment when the flaming torch salesman sells out his stock and the networks begin offering gaff to gaff coverage. Still, I admired Ryan’s courage, Louisiana crowds can be tough even when you’re just playing football against them but when you start talking about taking mamere’s Social Security they will call you, bebette mal pris.

But now with Willard imploding, Obama with no real record to run on and the worst economy in seventy years will coast into office with an alleged mandate of public approval. This too is a part of the plague, this too affects our national mindset, just when the public asks, “Could there ever be a worse candidate than Sarah Palin?” the Republican’s choose two, count em, two Sarah Palin’s.

Did you know that the F-22 fighter program is going to cost us over 66 Billion dollars? Do you know how many homes we could purchase and rehab for 66 billion dollars? How many people we could put to work and in a home? Suddenly we wake on the bus and realize in terror we’ve missed our stop. The President elect will dredge up the corpse of the Simpson – Bowles commission and begin to build a new monster from its parts. The Commission’s report was aptly named, The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Whenever politicians start talking about Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, you have a pretty good idea where they plan on getting the heart and the ass for this new monster.

There are moments when there is no turning back, when your fate has been decided, one is when they push the bar down into your lap on a roller coaster another is when political campaigns no longer have any relationship to what is going on in the general public. Willard promises [Generic Right Wing Political Message Here] while Obama offers us Forward! How many people will work in this forward? What kind of wages can I expect in forward? Can I join Local 12 of the forwarders union? Can I eat forward? Will forward keep me warm this winter?

Where is the vision thing and now that Willard has so screwed the pooch, the Democrats might gain control of the Congress and be forced to actually do something, but what will they do? Personally, I see the kites being launched from the castle, I see a thunderstorm brewing and lights on late in the laboratory windows at night.

Kingfish

11:54 am in Uncategorized by Daveparts

Kingfish
By David Glenn Cox

How often the name of Jesus Christ is commonly bandied about, and for a fictional or faith based character, I suppose that’s all right. I mean, well, Jesus allegedly cast the money changers out of the temple and he healed a few lepers and cured a couple of cases of blindness. He was, after all, a carpenter by trade and a messiah only by a calling later in life. Jesus received much well deserved praise for siding with the poor, the uneducated, and the troubled. The common folk loved him for it. But the rich folk, as rich folk often do, perceive any such individual who avows a mission to assist the poor as a threat, and so, as the story goes they nailed him into the sky.

Funny thing about these religious messiah’s, they always want to help the poor but they always tell’em there’s a better world a waiting for them somewhere else, tomorrow, if you’ll only believe today. The Buddha traveled through the land and met with kings and potentates and told the poor people it was their desire which was the cause of their suffering. Politics has long been called the art of compromise, give and take or what’s commonly referred to as log rolling.

What if there was a politician who wouldn’t compromise on his principals? What if there was a politician who dedicated his life to aiding the poor and unfortunate. A politician who didn’t just rub spit and mud into the eyes of the blind, but instead built hospitals for the blind and trained doctors for the sick, schools for the children, night schools for the illiterate. What if there was a politician who cut taxes for the poor, abolished the poll tax and instituted a foreclosure moratorium, built a medical school, doubled the size of the state university and built a public hospital for the mentally ill? Not to mention, over nine thousand miles of paved roads, 111 bridges including three major bridges.

What would you call such a politician in America? He was called a scoundrel and a crook, a demagogue and a dictator.

“A man is not a dictator when he is given a commission from the people and carries it out.” – Huey Long

Everybody gather ’round
Loosen up your suspenders, hunker down on the ground
I’m a cracker, you are too. Gonna take good care of you
Who built the highway to Baton Rouge?
Who put up the hospital, built you schools?
Who looked after shit-kickers like you?
The Kingfish do

Who gave a party at the Roosevelt Hotel?
Invited whole north half of the state down there for free
People in the city had their eyes bugging out
‘Cause everyone looked just like me

Who took on the Standard Oil men and whipped their ass
Just like he promised he’d do?
Ain’t no Standard Oil men gonna run this state
Gonna be run by little folks like me and you

Here’s the Kingfish, the Kingfish
Friend of the working man
The Kingfish, the Kingfish
The Kingfish gonna save this land
– Randy Newman

More at The Leftist Review;

http://www.leftistreview.com/2012/08/20/kingfish/davidcox/

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

The Director Of The Opponent’s Fate

1:19 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

The Director Of The Opponent’s Fate
By David Glenn Cox

“O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
My tables — meet it is I set it down,
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
At least I’m sure it may be so in Denmark” – Hamlet

In 1933, a group of wealthy industrialists plotted to overthrow the government of the United States. Their plan was to raise a private army of disgruntled war veterans a half million strong to force Franklin Roosevelt to accept a “minder” into his cabinet.

On November 22, 1963 on the streets of Dallas Texas, the President of the United States was murdered in an open car by persons unknown in a successful coup d’état. A bullet wound tore the President’s scalp from just above his ear towards the back of his head. A large piece of the President’s cranium was retrieved from the trunk lid of the car, yet we are told the President was killed by a lone gunman firing from behind the motorcade.

Just 69 days after being sworn in to office in 1981, an attempt was made on the life of Ronald Reagan. A lone gunman shot the President as he walked out the front door of the Washington D.C. Hilton hotel. I’ll repeat; a lone gunman shot the President as he walked out the front door of the Washington D.C. Hilton hotel. Reagan and fellow shooting victim James Brady are rushed to the hospital, yet despite their limosences leaving the scene at approximately the same time, the car carrying the President, “got lost” on the way to the hospital in the driver’s home town, arriving fifteen minutes later than the car containing Press Secretary James Brady. Reagan was x-rayed three times as he coughed up blood; doctors reported Reagan had almost bled to death… almost.

Secretary of State Alexander Haig had complained bitterly to Reagan’s press secretary Brady that someone in the administration was undermining his communications and his relations with the President. As the Vice President was out of town at the time of the shooting, Secretary of State Haig spoke directly with George H. W. Bush by phone. The Vice President told Haig that he was in charge of the White House, until he Bush returned in a few hours. Haig chaired a meeting in the situation room ordering an immediate investigation into the shooting. Haig writes in his memoir, “that he was at first adamant that a conspiracy, if discovered, should be ruthlessly exposed: “It was essential that we get the facts and publish them quickly. Rumor must not be allowed to breed on this tragedy. Remembering the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination, I said to Woody Goldberg, ‘No matter what the truth is about this shooting, the American people must know it.’”

Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger reported to the group that there was a NORAD (North American Air Defense Command) exercise scheduled for the following morning simulating an incoming missile attack. Weinberger along with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff agree and cancel the exercise. At this point, James Baker told the room there was also a planned FEMA (Federal Emegency Managemnt Agency) exercise scheduled for the following day, code named ‘Nine Lives’ which dealt with, of all things, a Presidential succession emergency. Immediately, ‘Nine Lives’ was also cancelled by the assembled.

The President of the United States lies gravely wounded in a downtown hospital, the accused shooter sits in a jail cell after only the most rudimentary questioning. The Vice President enters the situation room after landing at Andrews Air Force Base and according to Weinberger, “At almost exactly 7:00, the Vice President came into the situation Room and very calmly assumed the chair at the head of the table. The first item which the Vice President wanted to discuss was the need for someone to sign the dairy farm support bill the next day so as to reassure the public.”

http://www.leftistreview.com/2012/08/04/…/davidcox/

The Free Market

10:38 am in Uncategorized by Daveparts

I recently walked to a grocery store; I entered from the darkness into this brightly lit arena, like a pilgrim entering Mecca. Shelves brightly decorated with bright, colorful displays of potato chips, nacho chips, Cheetos, cookies and candy, frozen pizza, frozen lasagna, TV dinners, Hungry man or big fat ass TV dinners. In the back, a factory meat counter which delivers meats straight from where god only knows, and he ain’t saying. Lustrous colorful vegetables, straight from America’s heartland–Mexico, picked by the poor and the indigent.

A corporate mutant made up of Mickey Mouse & Uncle Moneybags.

A shrinking number of corporations control our entertainment choices, and our lives (Photo: CHRISTOPHER DOMBRES / Flickr).

This is what Capitalism offers us, rather than a food store, a candy store, a junk food store. We have a choice, this is what we are told, Capitalism offers us variety and in that variety is said, opportunity. Take for example our choice in soft drinks, if we don’t like Coke we can have… Pepsi. If we don’t like either of those choices, we have Fanta soft drinks, but Fanta is owned by Coca-cola. Over 3,500 products are offered by Coca – cola, diet and sparkling beverages to beverages such as 100 percent fruit juices and fruit drinks, waters, sports and energy drinks, teas and coffees, and milk-and soy-based beverages. Pepsi, offers us over 22 brands each generating a billion dollars in revenue such as, Frito Lay, Quaker, Tropicana and Gatorade brands, but what is this really?

What does it mean, when our grocery stores are filled with, dare I say it, shit? Thousands of products all owned by a handful of mega corporations, Jell-O, Capri Sun, Oscar Myer, Philly Cream cheese, brands all owned by Kraft Foods. Duncan Hines cake mix is Pinnacle Foods, and Pinnacle foods includes, Vlassic pickles, Aunt Jemima pancakes, Bird’s Eye frozen foods and Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks. So, as you stand there in the grocery aisle trying to decide between Log Cabin syrup or Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup remember, they’re both made by Pinnacle Foods. Pinnacle claims on its website that its products are in 85 percent of American households and I don’t doubt that fact for a minute.

Thirty percent of all groceries in the United States are sold by… anyone? It’s Wal-Mart, the largest grocery retailer in the country with 3,016 stores plus, 167 Wal-Mart Neighborhood Stores, not to mention the 600 Sam’s Club stores.

Kroger Foods operates – 2,460 stores under various names such as Bakers, City Markets, Dillon’s, Food 4 Less, Fred Myers, Fry’s Food and Drugs, Gerbes, Jay C Food Stores, King Soopers, Owen’s Market, Pay Less Food Markets, Quality Food Centers, Ralph’s, Scott’s Food and Pharmacy and Smith’s food and Drugs.

Supervalu Inc. – 2,398 stores including, Save-A-Lot, Acme Markets, Albertsons, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh Food and Pharmacy, Hornbacher’s, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Shaw’s, Shop ‘n Save, Shopper’s Food & Pharmacy and Star Market.

Safeway Inc, – 1,458 stores also operating as Carr’s, Dominick’s, Genuardi’s, Pavilion’s, Randall’s and Von’s

Delhaize Group- with 1,300 stores including, Bottom Dollar Foods, Food Lion, Hannaford, Harvey’s and Sweet Bay Super Markets, do you see the hand of the free market at work here?

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The Past Is Prologue

12:12 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

The past is prologue, the future is yet defined, the emergence of a Fascist police state is now clearly rising and almost impossible to argue against. From New York City’s controversial “stop and frisk” program to this from the, Atlanta Journal Constitution:

“Code enforcement officer fired after entering woman’s bedroom”

“He let himself in and actually came through the house and into my bedroom and yelled at me to wake me up to let me know that I needed to come back outside and sign the violation notice,” Masters told WJBF-TV News Channel 6 station in Augusta.

“I woke up, I didn’t have my glasses on or my contacts in and all I see is this big burly figure standing in my doorway,” she said. “A big huge guy with a grey shirt, it scared the mess out of me.”

The video shows Vowell at the front door, then moments later walking slowly through the home and peering into rooms. Moments later Masters is seen nervously walking through the home. Vowell, who first denied he’d entered Master’s home, was fired Monday over the incident.

In a Facebook posting, Vowell said he called out to Masters several times before entering after he said he smelled something, according to the Columbia County News-Times.”

Of course he was fired, as he should have been, but where despite training, did he ever get the idea he could enter a citizen’s private residence over a grass citation? But a larger question prompts us to ask, was he fired because of his actions or because he lied about them to his supervisors? Why in a time of tight budgets are there still code enforcement officers on the payroll in the first place? Why should we keep even one code enforcement officer to make sure our grass is the appropriate length, when we are laying off school teachers?

http://www.leftistreview.com/2012/07/17/the-past-is-prologue/davidcox/

We Poke Along

1:55 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

In May of 1935, Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 7034 establishing the Works Projects Administration. The WPA replaced the Federal Emergency Relief Agency. You see, they didn’t have any cut-and-dried answers, they were in new territory and kept trying things until they got it right. The WPA only existed for eight years, but over the course of its life it employed a total of 8,500,000 people.

A WPA plaque from 1936

Photo: Brian Wright / Flickr

Republicans called it a bastion for waste and pork barrel projects, lampooning the acronym of WPA as “We Poke Along.” Their answer was to let the market work. Those eight and a half million people didn’t need jobs; all they really needed was self-reliance and faith that tomorrow would be a better day.

At its height, the WPA employed 3,400,000 workers who worked a maximum of 30 hours per week. The goal was to put enough money in the workers’ pockets to keep a roof over their heads and feed themselves. Thirty hours made room for more workers and also time for those employed workers to look for private employment. No more than one person per family were allowed to participate in the WPA.

In those eight years the WPA built over 651,000 miles of streets, roads and highways. They built or repaired 124,031 bridges; they built, modernized or repaired 125,031 public buildings. They built 851 airport landing fields and 8,192 public parks and playgrounds. The Federal Writer’s Project created pamphlets and guidebooks and organized state archives. The Federal Arts Project employed artists to create murals, sculptures and canvases to decorate schools and public buildings.

In the cities the WPA organized summer day camps to keep children occupied and to give them a hopeful diversion complete with a hot meal served at lunch. Symphony orchestras and traveling stock companies toured the country to bring music and theater to the masses who had little in the way of diversions. We Poke Along indeed.

Night school classes taught welding, radio repair, auto mechanics, aviation mechanics, construction techniques and management techniques. Music & art lessons were available. Training in tailoring and as nurse’s aides was available, unless you were attending one of the dances sponsored by the WPA. The WPA was about more than just reviving the economy, it was about reviving a people’s spirits, as well.

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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

Fear Not the Apathy

2:06 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

Fear Not the Apathy
By David Glenn Cox

It is interesting to down right frightening to look at the state of American politics in this election year of our lord. We have two, count em, two wholly lackluster Presidential candidates both running in an epic spectacle of absurdities. Our reformer has ignored us and laughed at us and he thinks we don’t know, but we do. I was reading a story about Obama’s drone missile program and the very first reader comment asked, “Police state much?”

There is a vibe, a feeling, reflected in the lens of my own life; you don’t care so much about what you don’t own. The American people get it and respond accordingly, as someone who doesn’t own nor has any stake in the electoral process. Suddenly, Obama has become the Jon Lovitz’ character who can’t say no, “Gay marriage? Yeah, I’m for that, I was always for that! Immigration reform? Sure, we need immigration reform, yes; I’m in favor of that!” The candidate assumes we own neither calendar nor sense enough to smell election year stunting from a president who’s spent the bulk of the last three years keeping most of John McCain’s campaign promises.

On the other side we have Willard (Mitt) Romney, a campaign that should carry as its slogan, “No really, were serious.” A cocktail party on the Fiesta deck of the Titanic. We’ve seen the trade offs to extend Bush tax cuts and jobs bills which was sixty percent tax breaks. What’s more, the American people see this economy and in this economy they see two candidates promising them only more of the same or worse. There are two kinds of people in this economy, those who have lost their jobs and those who haven’t lost their jobs yet.

In Willard (Mitt) Romney we have the personification of all American evil. In an era of economic struggle the Republicans choose to nominate T.J. Money bags, the man off the monopoly box. A campaign dynamic operating under the premise everything is Obama’s fault, we’d rather go back to doing it the way that caused the problem. It’s the vision thing; Romney has no vision because he only sees the America visible from the veranda of the country club. A banker, a bully, a child of the super rich, a draft dodger and elite educrat promising the American people nothing but a smile.

Romney is possibly the worst presidential candidate since Thomas Dewey and Dewey almost won. Dewy also had an uncomfortable look about him and a disconnected manner which could turn people off, so much so, that Dewey had as much to do with losing the Presidency as Truman did in winning it. Dewy was a cold fish as is our Willard, Dewy was an empty suit as is Willard. Only times have changed in America, the same tired old platitudes have a grinding irritation to them now. And after three years of economic hard times with no sign of relief on the horizon puts an even a finer point on it. There’s just nothing here get excited about unless your primary interest in life is Bibles, bullets, babies or bumping uglies.

With Barack Obama we’ve been through the wash cycle once, we know when Obama says create jobs he means more corporate tax cuts. In Ronald Reagan’s first administration they pushed through eight different tax cuts while the Obama administration has pushed for twenty two. Obama is a corporate Fascist, a corporate whore. His reelection for a second term will prompt an immediate sharp right turn and this time when his administration says “Fuck the UAW” they’ll mean it.

It is a National PTSD, a slow moving train wreck four years long. As I was taking out the trash at the apartment complex, I noticed groups of men standing in several areas around the complex. I’ve seen these men before, I’ve seen them in Georgia, I’ve seen them in Minnesota and now I see them in Oregon. There is zero wage growth in this economy in any demographic; it means that even doctors and lawyers aren’t getting raises anymore. It means the system is slowly strangling on itself.

It means most high school kids will never have a part time job while in school. It means twenty percent of our households have at least one unemployed member in them. Millions who will never be able to save for retirement and a generation of unemployed face abject abandonment by their country. It is a dangerous thing to impoverish millions and then to ignore them. It makes the ignored think along the lines of other more radical solutions. It makes them susceptible to following unscrupulous leadership of someone promising easy respite, a road to dark place.

Fear not the apathy, but fear what comes after the apathy. Tens of millions Americans live lives of what used to be, former titles of former employers. Grant writers, supervisor, head cashier and it’s all been snatched away from them. They don’t live in that world anymore, they see a house like the one they used to live in or a car like they one they used to drive and it grates upon them like tight shoes. They look upon their former life and see no improvement in their current one, none, after three years and they get to thinking, maybe the recovery’s not coming.

They would be right, a recovery that’s not coming instead, they will face $1.2 trillion in budget cuts coming in January, known as sequestration; roughly $321 billion would be cut from the “nondefense discretionary” spending. Education, food inspections, cancer research even law enforcement and grants to cities. We face as a nation the most potentially devastating assault on the domestic economy in American history and the American public get, nary a word from either camp.

New York Times – “There has been a great deal of attention to the defense side,” said Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington. “I think a lot of people simply aren’t aware” of the other cuts, she added.”

It would be easy to speculate why most Americans don’t know about the other cuts, as well as why they aren’t being told about them. Could it be because a lot of people have no ownership in this society? They hang on and rather than hoping for a better instead hope only for no worse. The attention which defense has been receiving is only to make sure our juggernaut keeps rolling. While little attention is being paid to the budget cuts affecting the little people you know, you and me? Already in advance of government cuts contractors are planning hundreds of layoffs. Cascading in to thousands after removing $321 billion from an anemic economy can only roll down hill. Millions cut from social programs while the economy falters. What will it matter then, Obama will be our leader for the next four years and will revert to Jon Lovitz, “Fix the economy? With er um, tax cuts! Yeah tax cuts, that’s the ticket! We didn’t want to extend the Bush tax cuts but we made a bipartisan deal and well, the millionaires get a tax cut and the administration got this ah, this, solid gold hockey puck. Yeah that’s it, we really needed a new hockey puck!

“Into the ears of many of you has been dinned the cry that your Government is piling up an unconscionable and back-breaking debt. Let me tell you a simple story: In the spring of 1933, many of the great bankers of the United States flocked to Washington. They were there to get the help of their Government in saving their banks from insolvency. To them I pointed out, in all fairness, the simple fact that you could not make bread without flour, the simple fact that the Government would be compelled to go heavily into debt for a few years to come, in order to save banks and save insurance companies and mortgage companies, and railroads, and to take care of millions of people who were on the verge of starvation. Every one of these gentlemen expressed to me at that time the firm conviction that it was all well worth the price and that they heartily approved.

But I did not stop there. In order to get their further judgment, I asked them what they thought the maximum national debt of the United States Government could rise to without serious danger to the national credit. Their answers — remember this was in the spring of 1933 — were that the country could safely stand a national debt of between fifty-five and seventy billion dollars. I told them that a rise in the national debt to any such figure was, in my judgment, wholly unnecessary, and that even if they, the bankers, were willing I could not and would not go along with them. I told them then that only a moderate increase in the debt for the next few years seemed likely and justified. That objective holds good today; but remember that at that time many bankers and big business men would have been willing to put the country far deeper into debt than I shall ever let it go.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt 1935

There is your difference, this time the people will get the bill but no bailout, no WPA or CCC. It is Friday night in Portland and as I walked back from the store a young couple in their twenties are fishing for cans and bottles out of the trash cans, I wonder who they plan to vote for?

“We need a Nuremberg to put on trial the economic order that they have imposed on us, that every three years kills more men, women and children by hunger and preventable or curable diseases than the death toll in six years of the Second World War.” – Fidel Castro

Hollowed Out

3:15 pm in Uncategorized by Daveparts

Hollowed Out
By David Glenn Cox

I’ve gotten into the habit each month of reading the Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner’s statement, on the employment situation. This month’s report was as somber as a suicide note, after reading it all I could say was, “wow.” The report displays an economy flat on its back, prostrate and starved. It is a story of a people toiling for little renumeration, as the average American worker’s paycheck increased by one single, shinny, penny last month.

The chart below displays mass layoffs for March; mass layoffs are fifty or more workers by any one employer. At first glance, it seems, not too bad, but with a closer inspection it becomes quite dire indeed.

Table A. Six-digit NAICS industries with the largest number of mass layoff initial claims in March 2012, private nonfarm, not seasonally adjusted.

……………………………………………………………………..​……..March peak

……………………………………….Initial Claims……Year………Initial claims

Industry

Temporary help services ………………..11,732…..2002………….14,338

Food service contractors …………………9,629……2012…………..9,629

School & employee bus transportation..6,815……2008………….8,073

Motion picture and video production….6,367……2005………….7,192

Payroll services ………………………………2,563……2001…………..5,099

Warehouse clubs and supercenters …….1,900……2012…………..1,900

Discount department stores ………………1,776……2007…………..3,670

Supermarkets and other grocery stores. 1,713……2009…………..2,220

Professional employer organizations……1,663……2009…………..4,892

Automobile manufacturing ………………..1,627……1996………….15,411

With a closer look you see record high layoffs in 2 of 10 categories. We are only 2,600 layoffs away from a record high in the largest category, involving the largest number of claims. You see, it isn’t just the number of jobs lost, but what kinds of jobs were lost. Think of it, 11,732 American’s were handed a pink slip last month from a temporary help agencies. They were laid off from the very place most of these workers went looking for work, after they lost their regular job. The very place where they went as a last resort just to try and do something, just trying to hang on, to keep from losing everything.

There is this recurring theme to these otherwise dry statistics; there were record high job losses in Food service contracting, Warehouse clubs and super centers. Just 500 jobs short of record layoffs in Supermarkets and other grocery stores as for some, odd reason, the American people appear to be eating less. The number of hours worked each week by American workers is virtually unchanged from a year ago and in all job categories.

“In 2011, 11.5 percent of families included an unemployed person,

falling from a peak of 12.4 percent in 2010, the U.S. Bureau of

Labor Statistics reported today. Of the nation’s 78.4 million

families, 79.8 percent had at least one employed member in 2011.”

I know, I’ve used this paragraph before, but it bears repeating, because it so clearly illustrates just how the employment numbers are sliced, diced and spread all around. If you take that same number of, 79.8 percent of families which had at least one member employed and invert it, it means that 20.2 percent of all American families “Do Not” have at least one employed member.

“Over the past12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 1.8 percent.

From March 2011 to March 2012, the Consumer Price Index for All

Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 2.6 percent.

Turning now to our survey of households, both the unemployment rate, at 8.1 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 12.5 million, were little changed in April. Among the unemployed, 41.3 percent had been looking for work for 27 weeks or more.

The labor force participation rate–the share of the population that was working or looking for work–declined to 63.6 percent in April. The employment-population ratio, at 58.4 percent, changed little.

In summary, nonfarm payroll employment grew by 115,000 in

April, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 8.1 percent.”

* Commissioners Statement

The media and politicians stand proclaiming, we must have a better educated work force to compete for jobs. Yet in the previous year the participation rate for those with Bachelor degrees and above, fell at double the rate of those without even a high school diploma, from 8/10ths of one percent versus 4/10ths of one percent. Now add in, there were there were 11,703,000 without high school diplomas last year versus only 11,490, 000 this year. While for the college educated the number of jobs created for those with a Bachelors degree or above was only 172,000 for the year, out of a population of over forty four million

We see a repeated up, down, yo-yo effect in unemployment, one month is up and everyone cheers, the next month is down and the pundits scratch their heads. Yet the average time spent on the unemployment rolls is little changed, last year was 41.4 weeks, down this month to 39.1 weeks. Forty one percent of the unemployed have been unemployed for over 27 weeks, six million of them last year, with five million this year. Despite the addition of 138,000 new entrants to our workforce each month, 300,000 Americans disappeared from the work force last month, with another 522,000 disappeared from the work force this month. Over 800, 000 American workers have been disappeared from the labor roles in the last 60 days.

They must be disappeared for it is the only way to drive down the U-6 unemployment number from 15.5 percent unemployed last April to 14.1 percent this April. Officially acknowledged are 12.5 million unemployed Americans, only nobody really believes the official number to be very accurate. Yet each percentage point of error represents tens of thousands of Americans. American’s who struggle each day to get by while their government ignores their plight and does its level best to ignore them by erasing them from the figures.

From Realty Trac – Foreclosures sold in February, 73,687 and the number of new foreclosures this month is 198,853. Currently, an estimated four million mortgages are more than 90 days delinquent and these are the same people who just got pink slips from temporary agencies, the same people who are just trying to hold on. This month’s employment report is stark; no doubt about it, there were no bright spots or silver linings.

Even when sanitized for your protection, the employment report illustrates a very sick economy. It is an economy stagnant and rife with unemployment, rising inflation and falling wages. Despite this being for millions of Americans a Great Depression of the first magnitude, the Dow Jones Industrial average has risen nine percent this year based on??? It is based on artificially low interest rates, interest rates which makes it almost impossible for banking interests to profit in their traditional business of lending money.

With home prices still falling sales and sales expected to reach a fifty year low, what sort of banker wants to risk $200,000 on a mortgage for a lousy 3 percent? If you were a loan officer, what would you consider a safe occupation for a borrower to have these days? Who is safe from a layoff in this economy? Who among us once laid off, stands half a chance of landing a new job for the same wages?

The only answer for the banks is to play the stock market, to play pump and dump. From its initial public offering in March, Groupon raised $750 million selling stock for $20.00 per share. Touted to be the next big thing by the Wall Street experts, the company sells discount coupons for Internet advertising’s, brick and mortar… what’s that? Those who bought early and sold early made money, now its stock chart looks like a ball rolling down hill. It just goes to illustrate exactly what that this is, a paper thin, hollow economy.

What other reasons are there for Americans to be eating less? Last month, less than 50 percent of same store sales equaled or exceeded last year. Nearly 20 percent of Americans have no bank account and the use of prepaid debit cards is soaring with unregulated card companies charging users four of five dollars per transaction to use their own money.

We read these things and we shake our heads and say, “gee it’s really tough out there, but these numbers are real flesh and blood people. People just like you and like me, they are men women and children. They are the elderly whose savings have been wiped out and yet their government simply ignores them.

A California man in his foreclosed house which he owed $552,000 shot and killed his wife and her elderly parents after being notified he was about to be put out into the street. The house appraises now for only $240,000. The couple had lived in the house since 1999; these weren’t speculators or house flippers. They were honest working people abused by the system and ignored by those who are supposed to protect them.

A former Chillicothe Ohio couple facing eviction from their Athens County home were found dead in their house Monday morning in an apparent murder/suicide. When Robert T. Nusser age 68, was told by deputies he would have to leave the home responded by asking, “What am I supposed to do? Where am I going to go?” His answer was to shoot his 64 year old wife Paulette in the head and then to turn the shotgun on himself.

Tampa- Florida Man Shoots Terminally Ill Wife on Day of Foreclosure Sale

This is carnage; this is a blood bath far beyond an accident or tough breaks. This is the abandonment of a people, left behind, in an economy hollowed out.

“The hopes of the Republic cannot forever tolerate either undeserved poverty or self-serving wealth. We know that we still have far to go; that we must more greatly build the security and the opportunity and the knowledge of every citizen, in the measure justified by the resources and the capacity of the land. But it is not enough to achieve these purposes alone. It is not enough to clothe and feed the body of this Nation, and instruct and inform its mind. For there is also the spirit, and of the three, the greatest is the spirit. Without the body and the mind, as all men know, the Nation could not live. But if the spirit of America were killed, even though the nation’s body and mind, constricted in an alien world, lived on, the America we know would have perished.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt 1941

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