What Can One Say? (9/9/10)

Here is where I shall vent my spleen on whatever political topic might cross my mind on a given day. Comments or responses may be posted to whatever forum might be appropriate to that particular topic.

What Can One Say? (9/9/10)

Postby Ferguson Foont » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:09 pm

I haven't written much lately. Between building a shed in our back yard (a task for which I am almost uniquely unsuited) and taking a vacation in Napa Valley (which I am FAR better at), there hasn't been much time to write.

But that's not really it. It's just that so much is going on, and it's all so weirdly loony, that I just can't find a place to start. I feel almost like a Haitian child must have felt when he first viewed the rubble following last year's earthquake -- there's so very much that is all so very wrong that your mind careens from one thing to another to another to another without leaving you with any time to ponder any of it, much less take the time to write about it.

Take that guy in Florida who wants to burn those copies of the Koran. It seems to me that he doesn't seek to accomplish anything except to garner a lot of publicity for himself, and our media is permitting him to succeed in this goal beyond his wildest dreams, whole parsecs beyond anything he might ever deserve in his whole life.

How did this guy become a "reverend?" What divinity school did he attend to earn that title? Who ordained him?

The most interesting thing about this, and about the way it is being reported in the press and reacted to by our various levels of officialdom, is the universally-professed notion that the problem with it is that it will put our servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan in harm's way. Well, aren't they in harm's way already? This is the tack being taken by almost everyone who comments on this matter, now being slightly supplanted by the notion that it will serve as a recruiting tool for al-Qa'eda and other anti-American Islamic extremists. Doesn't our continued presence in Iraq and Afghanistan already provide that little boost for their recruitment?

Of course it does, but the things about this guy and his stunt aren't the practical shortcomings or the immediate results of it, although they are real and significant. It's the fact that HE'S BURNING BOOKS! This isn't supposed to be Nazi Germany, but a lot of right-wingers seem to think that becoming more like Nazi Germany is not such a bad idea here in America.

I disagree.

Now, let's look at the way our various media sources, both print and broadcast, are reporting opinion poll results. For one thing, they report a decline in the approval rating of the President and congress, but fail to mention the even steeper decline (and from a lower base level) in the popularity of the Republican Party and its leadership. Furthermore, they trumpet, loudly and repeatedly, the findings that a majority of Americans think "we're on the wrong track." Then they interpret this, not quite openly but cleverly in a backhanded way, to mean that people think that this dissatisfaction is the result of our government's slight move leftward since the days of Bush.

Well, guess what? I would be one of those in the majority who see us as being on the wrong track. But that's not because I disapprove of our tiny, almost imperceptible move to the left -- indeed it is because that move has fallen so short of our hopes for its extent. My dissatisfaction is, among other things, because Republican obstruction of progress has been permitted to succeed, and because Obama's economic policies have been "trickle-down" in nature, and because polls show us trending politically rightward as if we've all collectively lost our memories even of the RECENT past and the mess it left America and our people in.

Y'know, the Tea Partiers actually are on the RIGHT track, frustrated that America is no longer governed of, by or for "The People," but they're rushing headlong in the WRONG direction on that track. They seem to think liberty was intended by our Founders to be limited to guns and corporate/wealthy entities, whose sense of noblesse oblige will allow the rest of us to share in freedom and prosperity, which we can then protect with our pistols. What instead they will find, should they succeed in electing the nonsensical candidates they're running on the Republican ticket all over America, is a feudal America where 95+% of the people toil in serfdom for our corporate Lords of the Manor.

But I am quite seriously afraid that this is PRECISELY where we are headed, and if that ain't the "wrong track," what on earth might be?

Now let's talk about Mott's, who make the applesauce we see in every store everywhere even if, as in the case of various price clubs, they carry only a single brand. They are undoubtedly one of the most evil companies around, and their products (and those of their parent company, Dr. Pepper/Snapple, whose products many Democrats and liberals already boycott because of their sponsorship of Rush Limbaugh) must be universally shunned by intelligent, reasonable people.

If you boycott any company in this world, it should be Mott's. Despite record profits, they are demanding givebacks from their unions (on top of the concessions their unions have already granted, which are genuinely substantial), including a SERIOUS pay cut. Their rationale for this is that they are located in Rochester, NY, the home of Xerox, Polaroid and Kodak, three of America's finest corporate stalwarts that have been the most seriously injured by the onset of the digital age and by foreign competition. They therefore see the declining fortunes of the local workforce and want to take full advantage of their neighbor's desperation by reducing the pay and benefits they agreed under contract to pay their workers.

It was the onset of the labor movement in America that gave us nearly unbroken prosperity from the mid-1930s through the 1980s, when unionism came under a full frontal assault by the Reagan administration and the Republican Party. The success of their efforts, which are still ongoing, is one of the primary causes of the steady decline in income American workers have experienced since the 1970s, and that have allowed the robber baron class to take for themselves and to keep more and more of the various fruits of American labor. Mott's is taking even the flimsy rationalizations, like pleading poverty, that management often employs against labor protection to another, bolder, more damaging and dangerous level, where even a company's prosperity no longer suffices to improve the standard of living of their labor force.

This is so wrong that it makes me furious every time I think about it. Boycott Mott's and EVERYTHING from Dr. Pepper/Snapple -- FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. Their brands include (obviously) Dr. Pepper, Snapple and Mott's, and also 7-Up, Hawaiian Punch, Sunkist (which surprises me -- I thought they were Coca Cola), A&W Root Beer, Canada Dry, Crush, Schweppe's, Squirt, Welch's, YooHoo, Deja Blue (water), Vernors, IBC Root Beer, Country Time, Clamato, Nantucket Nectars, Mr. & Mrs. T. drink mixes, ReaLemon, Rose's (you know, the lime juice you use in Tom Collinses), Margaritaville, Stewart's Root Beer, Diet Rite, Pinafiel Water, Hires Root Beer, and Orangina.

I hope you aren't addicted to Root Beer. Remember, Mott's is making RECORD profits right now, and they are trying to take advantage of hard times elsewhere to screw their employees and destroy their union (and, with it, their already battered community).

Dr. Pepper/Snapple, by the way, is a corporate sibling of Pepsi, one of the long-time biggest contributors to the Republican Party. I've been boycotting Pepsi for decades because of it.

That's all I can deal with right now. And I've not even BEGUN to scratch the surface (like the parallel between the root cause of this "Great Recession" and the "Great Depression," which in both cases involve the overconcentration of wealth at the top of the ladder, and the absurd distortions our campaign finance laws, and the courts that restrict them, have on our body politic). Oh well. TTFN.
Republicans whine and Republicans bitch: "Our rich are too poor, and our poor are too rich."
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Ferguson Foont
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