ritaxis: (hat)
There's some really strange posts that get retweeted over and over on Twitter. It's kind of nauseating to watch. I'm going to try to address them all here in a cogent way, which may be feckless but it's what I can think of to do right now.

The origin of these posts is generally obscure people who present as the sort of person whose opinion one might respect--young people of color, maybe. Not always. But some of the posts are by prominent people whose opinion one might respect(1). The content of the posts is always an attack on the left in the name of ... leftism? See, "leftists" lost the election. "Leftists" are the real racists. "Leftists" are in the pocket of Moscow. "Leftists" are crazy Russophobes. Sometimes the word "leftists" is replaced with "progressives," "Sandernistas," "Berniebros," "Clintonistas," "Democrats," or rarely, prominent leftish Democrats.

Folks, don't spread this. It is fifth-column activity even if it thinks it isn't (and I don't think there's not a lot of deliberate action here). It's not principled struggle over the content and means of resistance or forward movement. It is herbicide spread to prevent the flowering of coalition.

Let me just say one thing about the election. Hillary Clinton did not lose the election. Bernie Sanders did not lose the election for her, and no he wouldn't be President now if the Democratic Party hadn't done what it did last year. "Progressives" did not lose the election. "Leftists" did not lose the election (last year).

This election was lost for us seventy-five years ago, when the labor movement and the Communist Party (at the time the biggest progressive organization in the US, and the leader in any broad coalition activities here) decided to essentially disband themselves "for the duration" in World War Two, pledging no oppositional activity "in order to defeat fascism." The result was that while the European countries, for example, came out of the devastation of World War Two with intact labor movements and left movements capable of standing up to their governments, the US has largely been dependent on the good will of its ruling class, which has just run out, as it will, as the ruling class is composed of people who think it is their right to live in privilege paid for by the privations of other people.

And also, Sanders is not "the real racist." No, he's not been perfect. "Progressives" are not the "real racists." Leftists are not "the real racists." Yes, they're all brushed with the the systemic racism of our society & they fuck up sometimes because of it, or they say or do unexamined things worth calling out specifically. But that doesn't make them the "real racists." Not when the White House is about to be overrun with actual Nazis and Klansmen and "alt-right" superstars. You're seriously going to take down & isolate somebody who used a problematic phrase that one time, or didn't show up to as many rallies as you'd like, rather than demand that they join you to fight against men who openly compare folks to animals, advocate hurting & killing them, decorate themselves with swastikas & the Stars&Bars, and express nostalgia for slavery days and the Third Reich?

We have been able to mount effective coalitions here and there over time, and that is our hope now. Lacking a deep progressive structure, we need to build the ad hoc coalitions that we've seen before (in the civil rights movement, yes the labor movement, the anti-war movement, the environmental movement). I don't mean we don't have any organizations with history and reach. I mean that we need to pull more and more people in, to coordinate activities, to stand firm and support one another.

We very much need to not play along with this smear campaign. And it is a campaign. Just look at it. Every day, there's countless tweets showing up in my tiny timeline from people who mindlessly retweet this garbage because it looks cutting-edge to them or something.

Coalition doesn't mean we make namby-pamby compromises and overlook all differences. But it does mean not letting the fifth column determine the nature of the everloving discourse.
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Just the last couple of days I'm making phone calls and signing feckless petitions in advance of discovering more effective things to do. I'm also being a broken record in the public spaces where I am--twitter and facebook (I hate facebook but it's a public space).

Phone calls I've made: Two to Paul Ryan's office--once to leave a message about the ACA, once to take part in his stupid poll (there's a long recording you have to listen to about how terrible the ACA is and how the brave Congress is determined to gut it, and now what do you think?); one to the House Oversight Committee about the election. Feckless petitions: one to the electors not to confirm Trump, one to UCSC to be a sanctuary for immigrants.

More calls: to Lindsay Graham to investigate Trump: to my reps to be strong (they've all registered some opposition so far & only need to know we support them). And? I forget, I need to make a big list in addition to searching the internet every day.

Personhead Nick Mamatas([livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid) suggested getting #Scatocracy to trend. It's silly but it's cool, so I'm taking him up on it, more than he seems to be doing. Also being a broken record about the crimes of Trump and the whole damned GOP. That's what they did about the non-crimes of Democrats for the last generation, and they got it to stick. Of course they had the collusion of the media, which I do not. But there's no noise without noise. Remember how Jonathan Edwards, a progressive Southerner, was ruined over having a friends-with-benefits affair while his wife was in the hospital? Never mind that he kept visiting her and taking care of her, being loyal in the ways that matter. Meanwhile! Trump gets away with serial rape and people just stop talking about it. Also: theft! fraud! Stiffing employees and contractors! Death threats! Treason!

"When they go low, we go high," isn't even wrong, it's irrelevant. Hammering them on real crimes is not going low, it's insisting on truth. It's also a wedge towards talking about the real crimes of capitalism. Trump steals from his employees and it gets glossed over? That's because that's what bosses do. And so on.

I know, everything I'm doing is spontaneous, unfocused, feckless. But it's what I can think of to do at the moment. I remember Nelson Peery saying "If all you can think of to do is to make mistakes, make mistakes," and I don't think these are mistakes.

I have to do other things. But later in the day I'll make a big list of the numbers and share them. Meanwhile, other people are sharing them.
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I'm not crazy. I applied for a part-time, temporary field research job that begins in January. I should be able to handle it: I won't be undergoing heavy medical treatments anymore. It sounds interesting. It's interviewing people for a tobacco use study sponsored by the FDA. I'm qualified. We'll see what happens.


As for the biggest & most terrible thing that's on everybody's minds and tongues: I don't have much to add right now. You could do worse than to read Nick Mamatas's analysis. Probably I could argue with him about certain historical details, but on the whole, he has it.

Somewhere along the line we allowed people to say that civil rights, labor justice, human respect, and demands for equality were elitist values. And all too often a lot of us acted like they were. Obviously a lot of other things went down, but on our side, we did that, and it meant that the broad coalition that is necessary to defeat fascism simply wasn't there. Also, something happened to coalition building. That's hard work, yes, but I don't think it's laziness that keeps people from doing it: I think it's other things, one of which is people approaching politics as self-expression.

But coalition building doesn't, as some people seem to think, require embracing the most center-right position available. It requires picking the one or two or three most righteous things you can get these groups to temporarily agree on, and driving hard on those things, building from small victories to large ones. If you can't get that coalition to agree on some things, you build another coalition that works on those. And then come election time you build a coalition that gets the election won.

But the election is not the goal anyways. If we'd gotten Hillary, we'd have been much better off, but we'd still be facing off with a hawkish, center-right government, just like we'd had for the last eight years. Most likely, a lot of people would have been complacent about it, but now, a lot of people are in danger of their lives, and that's worse.

Sarah Kendzior
, a very wise Missourian journalist and anthropologist (whose earlier writings tended to cover Central Asian dictatorships, which she finds much more relevant these days than she'd like), is suggesting that, rather than undertake vast protests at this time, people should be getting together quietly and planning focused political action, including a longer timeline. Not least of the reasons she's suggesting this is safety. But though safety is a real issue with the most hateful and violent of our country feeling both vindicated and still aggrieved, and also being armed to the teeth and beyond, it's also true that protest can be the easiest and least effective political tool we have. I say "can be," because often protest is effective and it's often not easy. Donald Trump has already made statements about protestors that suggest he'll be ready to "crack down". Sometimes it's the only thing available--and that might become the case here too, if the Republicans continue to move in the directions they've been moving in, consolidating power and abrogating the Constitution so that legal recourses are less and less available. But for now we have the full toolbox to the degree that we are organized to use it, and it makes sense to use all of the tools, each in their most appropriate ways.

I am thinking about my own personal role. I'm not yet well, and I don't have financial resources to throw at the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center. But I know a little about organizing. Not a lot. I hate to be the one saying "let's you and him fight," so I have to figure out some way I can actually contribute to this. And I don't kid myself that some tweets or this journal are that way.

So. Right now, the UK has Theresa May: Russia has Putin: Turkey has Erdogan: (imagine much longer list): the US has Trump. It's a worldwide thing. It's terrifying. But despair is not what we need: anger, maybe, if it fuels determination.
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Did you notice what else the Supreme Court did this week? In the housing discrimination case, they ruled that you don't have to intend discrimination to be held accountable for the effects of it. This is huge. I believe in the future it will be talked about as much as the other decisions--at least in the courts.

Because, for example, school districts where children have experienced differential harm in the wake of No Child Left Behind and the movement to privatize education are now open to new litigation. And, for example, people who have been jerrymandered out of fair representation have a clearer shot to their day in court. Rural communities whose Dignity Health hospital has been closed while wealthy communities are getting new up-to-the-minute facilities have the beginnings of a case. Affirmative action can be re-revisited.

All you have to do is prove harm, and that the policy in question caused the harm. Forcing remediation is another issue, still, though. But it has to be inspiring some true social justice warriors.
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I'm talking aboiut Blue Shield's behavior right now, but I don't know that the other companies are behavin better. So you already know that Blue Shield customers in California had their rates jump at the New Year (since the good people of California bought the idea that having the [elected] Insurance Commissioner be able to regulate health insurance rates is--somehow tyrranical? Somehow is bad for consumers? anyway, they voted against it). For example, the part I pay after my subsidy has increased 220%. I'm still not paying much, but we have no apparatus to keep it from increasing at the same rate year after year, do we?

What else happened after the New Year--not quite after open enrollment has ended (that'll be February 12), but contemplating changing my insurance while I'm in the middle of preparations for surgery (February 15) is not a happy thought, and I imagine a lot of other patients have similar issue to changing abruptly--is this:

Blue Shield has announced that as of December 31, 2014, they've ended their contract with Palo Alto Medical Foundation (Sutter Hospitals). They magnanimously conceded that they'll cover us through June 30, but after that we all have to get new doctors. PAMF has been sending us letters about how they're trying to re-open negotiations and how they're trying to get us covered through the year, and Blue Shield is not cooperating.

Nobody's ever said what Blue Shield and PAMF are disagreeing about in the negotiations.

My belief is that it has nothing to do with anything PAMF is doing, or anything they're asking for, or anything they're saying. I have believed it is a simple attempt to deny coverage to a large number of patients while still collecting their subsidy money.  Because in my part of California, there's not another large organized health provider which is not connected with a religious organization. The next available places are forty miles away over a narrow winding mountain road. The fact that a lot of people in my community drive that road to go to work every day makes this situation worse. But wait, I have another thought down the line.

Did I say that for the Affordable Care Act some wit invented the EPO--Exclusive Provider-- which means that if you go to a doctor, etc., that's not "in network," they don't pay reduced rates, they pay nothing? Which means if you don't find a doctor from the network, you're screwed, right? Remember what I said about PAMF being the only large organized health provider besides the Catholic Church in the Monterey Bay Area? There's a passle of tiny hospitals and physician's groups, but nothing like Kaiser down here. And we're short of medical providers of all kinds anyways because the only doctors who establish independent practice here are ones who will sacrifice making the normal doctor's living for a chance to go surfing in the morning. I'm serious: the fixed costs of doing medical business in this area are as high as they are in San Francisco, but Medicare (for example) pays the "rural" rates -- that is, the amount of money they would give to a doctor in the middle of the country.

My point, and I do have one: when we have to get new doctors in May and June, there will be none. Every doctor who actually is covered by Blue Shield at that time, if there are any left, will have no places for new patients.

I don't remember and I'm not in the mood to check to see whether I told you about the shenanigans I experienced at the beginning of this, where my old doctor was listed on the EPO website during signup time but it was revealed months later, after I (like many others) had accrued hundreds of dollars of costs, that in fact the Physician's Medical Group had not achieved a contract with Blue Shield, and eaqch doctor had to contract indivually and in the meantime... in the meantime, I had to pay for all the healthcare I had received at the outrageous uninsured rates that still pertain in this stupid stupid country.

So the thing I just realized is this: last year, Blue Shield used the new enrollees under Covered California as a lever to effectively break up the collective bargaining power of the Physicians Medical Group. This year, they're using us to attack PAMF.

I don't know what they're doing in the rest of California, and I don't know what they're doing in other ACA states, and I don't know what the other insurance companies are doing, but I know for sure it's not even a little bit benign.

The thing about being used as a weapon is that weapons get used up in the process. And that's what's happening in the marketplace.

So I'm getting all the healthcare I can before June, because after that I don't know if I can get any.

Edit: as the letter from PAMF points out, also:"Blue Shield sold health plan products during open-enrollment that featured the doctors and hospitals of Sutter Health; and then just days into the New Year abruptly announced plans to reassign members to non-Sutter doctors." That's what they did to Physicians Medical Group patients last year.
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There's been a nice healthy conversation going on lately about how editors can recruit marginalized writers to submit to their magazines, websites, and anthologies. Tonight I hit head-on to a barrier that I don't believe has been discussed lately: the actual language of the submission guidelines. I seriously had to guess and google several terms, including one that simply didn't appear anywhere until I input the whole phrase it was in. Well. The string of letters showed up, but in every result they pointed to cell phone technology, and I was pretty sure that wasn't the thing at issue.

I'm an old-timer, which means I know a lot of jargon but also that a lot of jargon sprung up while I wasn't looking. I'm also a lot more bullheaded than I was when I was younger--I might have given up after the second paragraph, even though there were sentences meant to reassure the potential submitter that they didn't have to be a particular type of person. But. It was quite clear that when the guidelines were written, the editors had simply assumed that anybody who fit their desired demographic and was interested in these issues just would know these words. They hadn't questioned themselves at all on what being inclusive means, in the larger sense.

Imagine this: you're a young person and your pockets are burning up with that great new passionate story you've written that seems like it maybe fits that anthology you stumbled on. And there's a whole pile of stuff in the guidelines you think you can guess at the meaning of, but you're not sure, and oh well crap, they probably only want somebody who can use those words correctly anyhow. What next? What fantastic new writer will not be submitting to that anthology?

Don't assume that everyone who wants to submit to your publication is a Tumblr or facebook activist or has had queer theory classes in a high-tone liberal arts college. By this I mean, don't use buckets of jargon and words which mean one thing in context and another thing in general language without defining them for the newcomer. Assume that you might be interested in very young or very old working-class writers who might even be new to the internet, let alone your specialized vocabulary. Welcome them by giving them a bridge. Define those terms in a casual, friendly, accessible way.

I definitely do not mean "don't use the vocabulary your cohort has been carefully developing to make it easier to talk with precision about things that matter to you. I mean do enrich your prose with embedded definitions so you don't make people do crazy google search term gymnastics just to know what the hell you're talking about.
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"Let's talk about death panels"

You keep saying that the ACA puts death panels in place to decide who's going to live and die.
The old system decided years ago that I should die young and in agony. I worked at low-wage jobs till I was fifty-nine. Now I have severe arthritis and I can't do it without knee surgery. I also have familial early onset of the diseases of age. Without medicine, I would die young like many members of my family. My husband died young too.
The ACA gave me insurance again. My medicine was costing me about a hundred and fifty dollars a month (after my pharmacist gave me an unofficial discount: otherwise it would have cost five hundred dollars a month) and there was no hope of paying for physical therapy or surgery. Now I pay a dollar a month for my insurance, I see a whole team of regular health professionals, and my medicine costs twenty-five dollars a month. I'm doing the preliminaries for surgery. So much for death panels -- the ACA has insured that I'll have a decent life.
Some Republican spokespeople have actually gone on record as saying that people like me should suffer and die young. Well, I'm going on record as saying that I don't agree. I have two beautiful children who deserve to have a mother to encourage them, and I contribute to my community as best I can (I volunteer, I give blood, I am an active citizen).
Every time one of you people spreads your lies about ACA death panels, you discourage more people like me from signing up for insurance and getting taken care of. Those people are at higher risk of increased disability and early death. Do you understand this makes you a murderer?
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Busy today, found this article and I should be writing, so linking to it for my own use. Until I read the whole thing I don't know whether it does express the thing I've been feeling lately about the vitriol sloshing around the space that ought to be the left, or whether it is more of it. It's a year old and I found it in an Avedon Carol piece from a couple months ago, also linked for my own use so I won't obsessively Read All the Things instead of working.
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Gawker's done some tripe of a tournament to give a prize to the "ugliest" American accent, and of course the accents in the running are working class ones. One of the linguists whose work they've appropriated to illustrate their trash is calling bullshit.

I want a campaign to record literature read passionately aloud by people from all the accents people call ugly. 
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Just got a precinct-walking visit from Richelle Noroyan running for city council. I said I was concerned that the city council wasn't doing enough to make the city livable for working class people and she said all the right things after that about infrastructure and housing and even race.

Having talked to other people since then, I believe she was just agreeing with me to get my vote. Union folks say she sides with management all the time and doesn't care about wages and working conditions, and she's cozy with the people I despise in local politics (Take Back Santa Cruz/Santa Cruz Neighbors).

Currently voting for Leonie Sherman and Bruce Van Allen.
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(I've been back almost a week, I have internet, but I am also jetlagged so I will only be gradually be catching up with reading everything you all wrote while I was having offline adventures, and also only gradually catching up on telling you about those adventures. Also, I have book news, but I will save that for later today).

I want to take note of, and respond to, a couple of trends I have noticed online the last week or so. Of course both of them have been around longer than that by a long shot, but now is when I want to talk about them.

The first one is this. A fellow, usually someone who makes their living from something publically geeky, will write about how he was doing something with his daughter and had a feminist insight. There will be some memorializing about how the activity in question resonates with his earliest and truest experiences as a boy and young man, how he dearly wishes to share this experience with his child, the degree to which he does, his deep love and admiration for his smart, strong, interesting daughter. There will be a crushing experience--no girl characters, someone saying something terrible to his daughter: the kinds of things girls experience in a gendered way (of course, I say pre-emptively, boys have crushing experiences, and even gendered crushing experiences, but it's not symmetrical, and that's the point). The father is appalled and furious that his daughter experienced this, and wants to let you know about this. Partly he wants to make a statement that he Gets It, partly he wants to speak to other men who might not get it and say "This is why I get it, and why you should to," and sometimes there's even a bit of "what is to be done," that is, a call for specific action or discussion.

The second one is a response. There are lots of different responses out there, many of which amount to "You lovely man! I am so glad you Get It now." But there's this other one that is "I am so tired of you men who only Get It when you have a personal stake in it. Where were you ten years ago before your daughter was born? All you're doing is posing to get praise. I don't buy it. You're self-absorbed, not feminist. I excoriate you."

Of course he's self-absorbed. He is a person who is writing about intimate personal and family experiences on the internet, frequently with adorable pictures of the daughter in question and/or his own smiling self. Seriously, that's not much of an accusation. And yes, of course he wants his readers to think he's brilliant and caring and forward-thinking. Again, not much of an accusation. But to say that his insight is worthless because it came on the heels of a personal experience is odd. Is it that his referencing his own family is to ignore the rest of the world of women and girls who suffer all these and more every day? Is it that some of us don't want fellows like him to stand over here with us?

I'm going to stop here for a second and wander down a side road in my mind. The very first man I heard day that any man with a daughter has to be a feminist was the fellow I married. He told people about looking at the world from this perspective, how he couldn't stand that people would limit his daughter's passage through the world. He was an imperfect feminist, too. He said things at times that he only later realized were awful. But I wouldn't say he suddenly became a feminist because of one of those experiences he talked about. He was developing into a feminist before I met him, and unlike many women I've known, wasn't reluctant to call himself one even around his most misogynist associates. I suspect that at least a large number of these men writing about their feminist insights with their daughters were like him, and the insight did not pop out of nowhere.

But that's a side trip. It's not the important thing. We're better off if the internet is chock full of conversion moments where men who Don't Get It become men who Get It and write impassioned personal pieces about it replete with cute photos and references to beloved cultural icons. We're better off if every self-absorbed man on the internet decides he's a feminist now because he has some shocking personal experience. These men vote: they spend money: they talk to other men: they even talk to men I can't stand to be in the same room with. No, you don't need to respect them more than the woman who has spent her life fighting the good fight at every turn and getting beat for it. But why spend your bile on them? We have actual enemies in this world, and they are better organized than to attack the person who wishes to give them support.
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According to this BBC article, the US is getting criticism for its protesting crowd-handling behavior from Egypt, Iran and China.
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I'm surrounded by young people trying to get the jobs they trained for. Or trying to get any job at all. And not just the very young: I have folks around me who are closer to forty than thirty, well-educated, well-trained, successfully employed in the past, who can't get work in their field or any other. Even the terrible jobs are ridiculously hard to get. And they are getting more terrible, as well. Wages are falling, conditions get ever more grueling, workers' rights are lost in the courts.

Is it any wonder I have taken my creaky old self out of the job market?

So what happened? I've seen automation take the blame. But it's just not true for the jobs my young friends are looking for. In many cases they are looking for jobs that will not be automatable until we have human-replacing artificial intelligence. Robots can do a lot of things, but they can't do these things.

What's happening is two things: work that needs to be done is not being done, and work that is being done is being done by people who are working too hard. People who work eighty hours a week (and like as not get paid for thirty), people who have to attend to too many tasks at once.

Roads are going unmended, schools are being allowed to deteriorate, hospitals are understaffed, inspections are not being done. How come? Because these are all public functions, publicly funded for the public good, and all the funds are being diverted to private hoards. While West Virginia's water supply went unprotected (and may be permanently damaged), the money was being shoveled into Scrooge McDuck's swimming pool.
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I do believe it is interesting that the vote in the Crimean Autonomous Region to hold a referendum to determine secession from Ukraine is being called "illegal" by Kerry and his buddies. This is after encouraging every sort of secession in Europe and beyond, whether by ballot or bullet. And it is in context of referring to the violent coup d'etat in Ukraine as if it were the legitimate, elected government it replaced.

The broader point is: these people never mean anything principled in what they say. (news flash, I know) They just make stuff up to bolster their current tactics (I am not saying strategy, because strategy implies a long-term analysis of the developing situation).

Currently, for reasons I do not pretend to understand, Kerry and the rest of them have closed ranks behind Angela Merkel's desire to dump German goods in Ukraine without regulation or taxes. This is not good for Ukrainian workers. A certain nasty part of me thinks this fact alone is sufficient for the one percent to be in favor of it. But I'm really not completely sure that these guys have enough perception or imagination to care one way or the other about what happens to people. I mean, clearly, US politicians hate American workers (well, should we say workers when work is being so determinedly witheld from them?) passionately and want them to suffer in every way possible -- just listen to their rhetoric about, well, anything -- but I'm not sure any of these politicians in any of these countries feel the same way about workers outside their own countries. I'm not sure they know they exist, even though they do keep demanding austerity and suffering everywhere.

So anyway, for some reason the secession of Crimea seems to these fellows like a thing that will make it harder for Merkel to have her way in Ukraine, so they're against it. The secession of Ukraine (how many years ago now?) seemed like a thing that would make it easier to do whatever mischief they were up to at the time, so they were for it.

I'm not going to bother with pointing out that Crimea was never part of Ukraine till Kruschev put it there, because that was a long time ago and it doesn't matter anyhow. These borders are all just weapons the ruling classes use in their little spats with each other, and more importantly weapons they use in their ongoing one-sided war against the rest of us.
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All those people who are so happy that the comparatgively mildly corrupt democratically elected government of Ukraine has been forced out by violent right-wing thuggery will not ever admit they backed the wrong horse even after the right wing thugs continue to behave in criminal fashion as they hold on to their illegitimately-gained power. As time goes on, they will quietly stop calling them the heroes of the Ukraine spring and gradually start wringing their hands over the "growing pains of democracy" in Ukraine.

At some point they will acknowledge the corruption and viciousness embedded in the Ukrainian right-wing and call the coup d'etat by its name, but when they do that, they will also identify some other gang of criminals as their new heroes.
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Every day we get unsatisfactory news about employment. People who worked their whole lives find themselves out of work for years and with diminishing prospects of ever working again -- losing their retirement prospects, losing their homes. And young people, freshly-minted qualified experts, cannot get a toehold on the career ladder they've worked so hard to get access to.

Peoplw keep blaming this on automation, on culture changes, everything but the real cause. It's simply not true that automation has put us all at ease and made us all redundant. And the changes in the workplace are not due to an abandonment of the work ethic. The changes are due to who pays for what and what is being paid for.

In many industries, while thousands of people are being laid off, their coworkers left behind are expected to work well beyond the forty hour work week with little or no extra compensation. This has a ripple effect of course. With less leisure they'll spend less on optional activities. And in many cases their real income is falling anyway. so they're spending less even on the basics. So that puts more people out of work.

And then there's the work that simply isn't being done though there is a crying need for it. We need an army of technical workers to monitor and tend to the greater environment, more so in the face of climate change, but we aren't even doing the things we used to take for granted: road maintenance and upgrading, for example. But all those science majors out there working at fast food joints ought to be sampling water, tagging birds, testing soils, replanting devastated lands. The entire fleet of sidelined fishermen ought to be out on the water, monitoring it, engaged in mitigation. "Cities with crumbling infrastructure" -- which has become a set phrase -- ought to be getting the lead out, getting renovated, getting planted and fitted with solar and fiber and stormwater facilities. Instead of closing schools and privatising education, we ought to be hiring enough teachers, aides, and support staff -- yes, janitors and cooks and bus drivers -- to bring the quality up past the paltry standards of before. There's more, so much more.

We should be hiring all these people at good wages -- forty-five thousand a year -- with good benefits and generous time off. Because with those good wages and generous time off they're going to inspire the kind of goods and services that will support a healthy blue-collar population. The whole economy will benefit.

"But we have no money" -- this is entirely untrue. We have lots and lots of money. Collectively we are ridiculously wealthy. But we've chosen to rob our people and funnel all the wealth to a few corrupt, selfish, visionless criminals, who simnply pile the money up like Scrooge McDuck so they can play in it. They don't spend the money on projects that create jobs: they don't even spend most of it. They "invest it" in elaborate scams that don't create anything. That money is the fruit of generations of unpaid and underpaid labor (a lot of it got its birth in the profits of institutionalized slavery, which is not something most people want to think about): it belongs to the people.

That's why I say taxing the rich is not sufficient (though it is probably more than we can do in the present climate): we should be confiscating that money and folding it into the economy at large by funding the real work of this world which ought to be done, which our people are more than capable of doing.
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Adrian Moore, from the Koch Brothers-funded magazine "Reason," doesn't think that unskilled laborers should expect to make a living from their work (link goes to Crooks and Liars' Video Cafe).

I can't think that he actually means what he's saying here. I think he's spent so much time justifying the high salaries of his compatriots that he thinks "make a living" means "make a fortune."

Or, maybe, he really does think that malnutrition, homelessness, and premature death for a large class of people is an acceptable price to pay for a cheap strawberry and a clean hotel room.

Either way, he's in that space where the distinction between evil and stupid is not possible to make.
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and livejournal got knocked with a pile of DOS attacks.

Livejournal does a pretty good job of keeping up with this crap, over all, considering how much they get of it.

I'm staying here.
ritaxis: (hat)
Go here and read the petition to the big stores that buy the clothes made in Pakistan.

October 2017

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