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by spocko

Why isn’t Unemployment an Emergency? Damn it DC, Hire Us!

7:14 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Ioanna - Fire on Hair BS #2Digby’s latest Post Stock market highs — and high unemployment: the new normal? struck me today because of a comment that Thurbers made on my post last night.

“We the People” are closer to the abused employees and/or the defrauded customers of Amy’s Baking Company. We are the real victims, but despite our numbers we are the ones with the least recourse and the least power to change the narrative.

- Thurbers comment 8 Firedoglake

It reminds me of the spot on Onion story, American People Hire High-Powered Lobbyist To Push Interests In Congress.

I’m really sick of how “the economy” is the stock market. It. Is. NOT. I also know that the constituents of unemployed and underemployed aren’t out there putting pressure on congress or the President.  (I’m thinking of paraphrasing SF Writer Harlan Ellison,  ”Dear Obama and Congress. Fuck you. Hire me!”)

When I was traveling cross country to see my sick mother two years ago unemployment was the real issue on people minds, I asked them why they thought the media was writing about the deficit. They didn’t have an answer. I asked if they had heard of Pete Peterson. Nobody had. “Would it surprise you to know that he is a billionaire and is making sure the media cover the deficit and ignore unemployment? Did you know that he is spending at least 500 million dollars to make sure the press cover this?” Nobody had heard of him.

One guy (an owner of a Popeye’s chicken franchise) said that there was probably some billionaire (he suggested George Soros) spending lobbying money to demand more government jobs. Or maybe the Unions were. I said, “Soros isn’t spending his money on this. The unemployed aren’t spending their money on this, they think it should be obvious. I don’t know what the Unions are doing, but they aren’t the force they once were.”

So my question is, if our elected representatives aren’t pushing for jobs, our liberal billionaires aren’t pushing for jobs, and we don’t have any highly paid lobbyists pushing for jobs, is there anyone who “counts” pushing for jobs? (And by that I mean someone who could get the attention of our congress, President or media.)

The media don’t want to write about the lack of jobs because “Stock market!” and frankly those stories are boring, nobody wants to write them and nobody wants to read them. Gawker is having a series on them and it’s like reading the sad stories on “Queen for a day” that women would tell so they could get a washing machine.

It feels like the unemployed have no leverage, no voice and nobody who is going to be their voice since they don’t have anything to give to the people who should be listening and who can make changes.

There is no sense of urgency about this problem in DC. Remember the urgency during the airlines slowdown? Inconvenience the politicians it’s, HAIR ON FIRE TIME. Millions unemployed year after year? They quote Jesus, “The unemployed will always be with us.”

The media need deadlines. Where is the ticking time bomb of this issue? Where is the disaster coverage of this disaster?

AnStanding at the Gates of Helld why the hell aren’t the conservatives trying to hang unemployment around Obama’s neck?  Because it might help unemployed people get government jobs? How many jobs are the trumped up Benghazi scandal creating?

I didn’t mean this to be yet another long-winded Vulcan post, but Digby’s blog still doesn’t have a place to comment and so I’m bringing it to you.

I’d like to think that DC responds to events, but after new gun laws following Newtown got voted down, even though the majority of the voters wanted them, I’m thinking we need more than an event,  you need a goddamn money canon to shoot cash down the halls of Congress.

People sometimes talk about the people marching on Washington to get their attention. (“This time let’s bring real pitchforks!” They don’t care, only the hotels and restaurants in DC care. What will get their attention is if we jam more money down their throat than the other people bribing them. Since we can’t do that, then we need to cut off their money streams so that votes actual count for something again.  The reason that everyone is talking about getting money out of politics is that until that happens my voice is drowned out.

Speaking of money. I want something good to come out of the IRS scandal. Something the right doesn’t want.

I want Congress to rewrite the 501 c code laws. People are complaining about the IRS? Well the IRS is complaining too. “Give us better bright lines so we can define what “social welfare groups” can and can’t do.

I want them to change the rules so big corporations and rich individuals can’t give anonymous money.  I want to chase away the people who want to hide behind  front groups.  ”But that will hurt liberal groups too! Yeah right, as if George Soro is trying to hide. You don’t hide unless you are afraid that people will use that information against you. If they aren’t doing anything wrong what are they afraid of? I’m looking at you Ham Rove. Sure they will find another way, 527′s, laundering money through belief tanks and dead people foundations, but if they want to cry about the IRS thwarting them, let’s really give them something to cry about.

 Photos top: Shane Gorski bottom: RhonsTopModel Creative Commons Attribution license

Cross dressed at Spocko’s Brain

by spocko

Dear MSM: Spare Me Your Lame, “Dow Soars!” pieces. I want Comeuppance Stories!

4:51 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Brute ForceI used to think that if only America’s political leaders could see the unemployed in the media, and hear their stories they would act. I don’t believe that anymore.

Right now in news rooms across the nation well-meaning editors are assigning someone to write a “balanced” story about the Dow breaking 15,000 that also includes some stories about people struggling to find work.  They know not to totally cheer the Dow, “See, we know that not everything is okay, so here’s a sad story of a person sort of like you, which you will dismiss in 10 seconds because it’s depressing as  hell.” ( Pam Spauling’s story “Over 55, out of work more than six months? Headhunters say you’re screwed.” made me loath my birthday and myself instead of loathing the people driving our economy. Their incorrect, destructive austerity metaphor is destroying lives as surely as bullets in our brains.)

I used to believe that personal stories, combined with cold hard statistics could break through to politicians and policy makers who would say, ‘Enough! The lack of good jobs with good wages is a national tragedy, we must fix it or I’ll never get re-elected!” I had the same delusion when it came to weapons. Silly rational Spocko. I thought 20 dead kids with their arms and legs shot off combined with 90 percent of the country behind a sensible change in gun laws would do the trick.  I was an optimist, but I am not stupid. I do know how the world works. It takes more than stories and statistics. It takes leverage.

Individual stories about the unemployed won’t force politician into working for change.  Polling data showing a desire for jobs aren’t going to move politicians to act.  You might get some pity, and a pledge for future action, but not the massive shift in actions we need RIGHT NOW.  Especially when the unemployed people whose stories finally get told aren’t donating to your re-election campaign or you don’t need to be re-elected.

The people who benefit when the Dow soars use their leverage to keep the country on course with current economic policies.  Policies which don’t include a massive jobs program in the United States, because those people don’t feel the pain the way the rest of us feel the pain.  You will note that when they do feel something they call pain, say in the form of delayed flights, they will let the politicians know and they are quickly healed, even if it is a band-aid just for them.  Who is using leverage to ease our pain?

People who read me know that I’m a big science fiction fan (my name is a clue!) but I’m also a fan of what I call “comeuppance stories” ones where a person or group of people work together to ensure the bad guys get their comeuppance. I don’t like violent revenge stories, but stories of justice. I like seeing a show of karma in this lifetime.  In the olden days journalists used to work on stories that lead to someone getting their comeuppance. You know, “afflict the comfortable.” But now these kind of stories are almost entirely seen in fiction.

These days people who SHOULD be getting their comeuppance have insulated themselves from the traditional sources of comeupatude–the press, the prosecutor, the politicians, the people.

Instead of the press creating stories that might lead to someone’s comeuppance they wait for someone else to do the heavy lifting and jump in to report on  “both sides.”

Prosecutors don’t want to go after big complex cases.  Politicians see that if you have a well-funded small group of supporters you can ignore the people. And the people, well the people can rant and rave and march and tweet, but if they don’t have leverage (via the law, politicians they own, money streams they control, votes they can cast or dirt they know) nothing will happen.

So that is why I think about ways to gain leverage. Since I’m a communicator I often think about how to use the media, but I know that you need multiple methods. I always like to point out the successes we have had interrupting the money stream of right wing media. The naysayers love to come back with, “Yes, but… Rush is still rich, Beck is back.” I remind them that this one form of leverage worked when people thought nothing ever would. (I wish that the media that cover this story would ask about the goals of the people coordinating the advertiser alert campaigns instead of listening to the straw men that are offered up by the subjects.)

We wanted advertisers to walk away from the hosts because the host was tainting their brand. They did. We wanted to create a situation in a corporation that is financially unsupportable if they wanted normal ad sources. We did.  We showed shareholders that what was an asset has become either a liability or an under-performing asset. CEOs responded as they often do with other under-performing assets in a pure capitalist environment.  They look at ways to get out of their contract.

We need to be constantly looking for leverage points to help the economy of the 99% sometimes it involves pushing for accountability, other times it involves pushing for people to enforce the laws that still exist. I have showed how with one model we used successfully against the RW media, but there are others.  I know there are more “comeuppance” stories out there. People love those stories. There is a reason that Shawshank Redemption is a lot of people’s favorite movie.

So tonight or tomorrow, as you listen to “Dow Soars!” stories and skim over the depressing bits about the unemployed, “Joe Btfsplk is 55 years old and has sent out 3,500 resumes blah, blah blah, spent retirement saving, yada yada yada played by the rules. zzzzz” think about what kind of leverage you can wield to help change things. What leverage can you develop that helps the 99%? I look forward to reading your comeuppance stories. Read the rest of this entry →

by spocko

Unemployed Man Shoots at School Board That Fired His Wife

4:06 pm in Uncategorized by spocko

Watch this video of a Florida man who walks into a school board meeting and talks to –then shoots at– school board members.

I’ve linked to the full version,  I chose this one because I want people to see and hear what his comments are before the shooting. And I want people to hear the responses of the school board members as they are held at gun point.

This is NOT, I repeat, NOT how I think that desperate unemployed people should confront the people who they think are responsible for their current situation.

When I read about someone talking about getting out the pitchforks and torches or guillotines I want them to pause a bit and consider how real violence would be carried out in modern America.  This is what it would look like. And the response to threats of violence will be just like at the end of this video, only more graphic.

I’ve been reading the comments on the video at various sources and they range from comments about the school board’s members calm response to the shooter to supporters for a “2nd Amendment solution”.

You may want to read this story in the New York Times that provides some background and links to the man’s Facebook page where he posted this entry:

My Testament: Some people (the government sponsored media) will say I was evil, a monster (V)… no… I was just born poor in a country where the Wealthy manipulate, use, abuse, and economically enslave 95% of the population. Rich Republicans, Rich Democrats… same-same… rich… they take turns fleecing us… our few dollars… pyramiding the wealth for themselves. The 95%… the us, in US of A, are the neo slaves of the Global South. Our Masters, the Wealthy, do, as they like to us…

The media will focus on the individual story then move to the next celebrity news tidbit. Like a shark they consume visuals and keep moving looking for the next striking bit of “news”. What I would like to discuss is what economic despair can lead to and what we can do to and to alleviate it.

I would also like to discuss other non-violent methods we can take to hold people accountable for their actions that lead to economic despair.