At least 80 other countries are giving people the day off to hold parades and other events in memory of Chicago's Haymarket Massacre. Even though this event occurred in the United States, the One Indispensable Nation of Disposable People is not officially celebrating. The only thing they're celebrating in Chicago today (at least as far as the mainstream media are concerned) is the awarding of the bid for President Obama's library shrine, part of which is to be built on public parkland without the permission of the actual public.
Luckily, the actual public has neither needed nor asked for permission to march in the streets. They're doing it in Baltimore, in Philly, in New York City,and they're doing it in solidarity and protest. Labor rights are civil rights, and civil rights are labor rights.
What a difference a May Day makes. Looking back over my blog-post from a year ago today, I see that on May 1, 2014, Democrats were busily and pathologically celebrating the failures of their $10.10 minimum wage bill and the Paycheck Fairness Act -- because they could use their failures as a fund-raising tool. We now know how well that turned out for them in the mid-terms.
So while establishment politicians and pundits are decrying the "violence" on the streets, let's remember that it was violence on the streets in 1886 that got us the eight-hour day.
I've written three comments on New York Times articles so far this week. (Please excuse the overlapping points)
The first, in response to Charles Blow's excellent piece condemning the bland politics of black respectability:
Then there's Paul Krugman's smarmy veiled endorsement of Hillary Clinton, warts and all. The Conscience of a Liberal implies that we should pay attention not to what she's done, but to what she now says. Words have so much integrity. Mrs. Lesser Evil Candidate at least admits that mistakes were made, while the Grim Old Party just lies, lies and lies some more. Meh. My comment:Great column, Mr. Blow.
Just before Hillary gave her rousing social justice speech, she hired political operative Charlie Baker, who helped orchestrate the Fix the Debt astroturf campaign of Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson. Its aim was (and still is) to impose even more austerity on the poor by cutting the already tattered safety net.
But all is not lost. Sen. Bernie Sanders will be challenging her in the primaries. While Clinton trills out her vague platitudes, Bernie tells it like it is -- with genuine rage -- and offers real solutions: a government jobs program, higher taxes on wealth, expansion of Social Security, the overturn of Citizens United.
Even more heartening is that millions of people have finally had enough, all over this country. We're joining in solidarity to rein in the police state, stop the secretive job-killing "free trade" deals, and raise wages not just to a minimum level, but to a living one.
The ills of Baltimore and other struggling cities are not natural phenomena. It's State-sponsored pathology that arrests, jails and kills Blacks, that loots pension funds, that closes schools and mental health and recreation centers, that cuts off the human right of life-sustaining water for families unable to pay the high bill. It's abnormal for wealthy donor-bribers of corrupt politicians to use public money for private profit.
When things are this FUBAR, rage is the healthiest and most effective response there is.
Political integrity in the era of Citizens United is an oxymoron.
Promises for a rosy future and admissions that "mistakes were made" are falling on the increasingly deaf ears of a cynical and battered public fully aware that the jobs aren't emerging, the wages aren't increasing, and the wars are not stopping.
Follow the money. If candidates are raking it in from Wall Street and the weapons industry, you can rest assured that no banker will go to jail and that the invasions and bombings of other countries will continue. Jeb Bush surrounds hmself with the same neocons and economic hucksters who, in a functioning democracy, would be in prison. Hillary Clinton, despite her rousing social justice speech, has just hired the owner of the lobby shop that developed billionaire Pete Peterson's astroturf austerity campaign (Fix the Debt) for a top spot in her campaign. She may say she's against the TPP, but the think tanks pushing it are filled to the brim with Clinton insiders.
As Gilens and Page have established, the political donor class -- the oligarchy -- gets what it wants in the way of policies. And with campaign spending reaching the billions, what godzillionaires want and what the rest of us need are two different things.
As far as I'm concerned, the only candidate with integrity is Bernie Sanders. What you see is what you get. He has an entourage of one, no money, and thinks the government should work for the people. What a radical concept.Last and not only least, but bottom-of-the-barrel awful, is David Brooks. The gist is that Freddie Gray is responsible for his own death because his heroin-addicted mother let him munch on lead paint chips, despite the fact that poor people have it so great and therefore we shouldn't throw away money on the poor. David Brooks gives them ladders of opportunity and all they do is loll around on their cushions of dependency. You can tell that David Brooks has now gone into full Wolf Blitzer mode, unable to hide his colorblind racism as well as he usually does. And I was unable to temper my absolute disdain for him as well as I usually do. I couldn't even use up my allotted 1500 characters:
This column was nasty, solitary, brutish, but at least blessedly short. I feel like I need a shower, but I think I might need to throw up first.
This particular offering is in the Brooksian category of "Provoke the Normal People". It will get millions of clicks and go viral, just like an antibiotic-resistant strain of a particularly loathsome disease. It will be quoted by the same pundits now using the "Thug is the New Black" meme during their own concern-trolling coverage.
David Brooks, leading the charge in the War Against the Poor from the safety of his millionaire's perch. Why is it that when I imagine him sitting down to write this drivel I picture a madman spewing saliva as he cackles out his hatred of humanity?
I refuse to waste any more time on this crap. Life is too short, and David Brooks's agenda is way too toxic.