Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Obvious Lies Of A Right Wing Apologist

David Brooks must think New York Times readers are really, really stupid. His latest op-ed piece is the work of a man who has sipped so much of the kool-aid he's staggering, dog-faced drunk, or somebody must have paid him an enormous sum of money to write this piece of right-wing propagandist garbage.

Once there was a majority in favor of liberal immigration policies, but apparently that’s not true anymore, at least if you judge by campaign rhetoric. Once there was a bipartisan consensus behind free trade, but that’s not true anymore, either.

Maybe the reason the bipartisan consensus behind "liberal immigration" and free trade has dried up is because the American people are finally waking up, and are seeing the damage it has caused both the common people--both here in the US and the rest of the world.

Once upon a time, the fact that hundreds of millions of people around the world
are rising out of poverty would have been a source of pride and optimism. But if
you listen to the presidential candidates, improvements in the developing world
are menacing. Their speeches constitute a symphony of woe about lead-painted
toys, manipulated currencies and stolen jobs.

Well, damn! I guess we're not supposed to care if a few little kids get sick because of those poisonous toys so we can all enjoy the fruits of "trickle down" economics--the investor class gets to squeeze as much profit as possible out of those cheap plastic products, while the consumer--who is the one who actually has to deal with it once it is in their homes--gets to deal with all the problems--like hospital bills, or, at best, having to replace a good percentage of one's household goods on a fairly regular basis because much of what is manufactured today could basically be thought of as "disposable". (When was the last time you bought a VCR, vacuum cleaner, or set of pots and pans that lasted longer than a year or two--without having to spend hundreds of dollars on it?) And it is pretty obvious to just about anybody who doesn't spend their entire lives living in a gated community that jobs are getting shipped overseas to those cheap labor meccas faster than the speeding bullets of dudes like Augusto Pinochet.And anyone who thinks the people working in those sweatshops are somehow enjoying "increasing prosperity" would do well to take a look at this:

Or this:

According to Brooks,

America’s fundamental economic strength is rooted in the most stable of
assets — its values.

Some set of values--but to guys like him, slavery is freedom, and abusing workers is nothing more than sound business practices designed to generate profits. Morality is all about bowing before that almighty god, the Dollar. Of course, he would argue in the next paragraph that

The American economy benefits from low levels of corruption.

Guys like Jeffrey Skilling, formerly of Enron, and the newly unemployed CEO of Citicorp, Chuck Prince, can attest to that.

Right wing apologists like Brooks need to improve their skill at lying if they want the American people to continue to deny the truths that are right in front of their faces. While there will always be kool-aid drinkers among us, more and more people in this country are finally waking up, and starting to see the light.

On The Riots In Paris

Once again, there are riots in Paris, as many young people in that city protest the callous treatment they feel two young men received at the hands of the police in that city.

What lessons can what is going on in France teach those of us in America?

The police in France have been accused, repeatedly, of abusing the rights of minorities and youth in France for several years, and like us, they have done little to curb police brutality. As a result, they regularly have to deal with the situation they have now. Is this what we want in the United States?

There are many people in this country who feel the"hype" about police brutality is overblown. That the police really don't abuse people's rights--that those who get the shit beaten out of them by the cops probably did something to deserve it. But a cursory search on Google or You Tube uncovers hundreds of news stories about innocent people who have been brutally mistreated--there is overwhelming evidence that there is something seriously wrong with many law enforcement agencies in this country.

Of course, not all cops are bad. My own grandfather served as sheriff in a rural county for several terms. I have an uncle who is retired a state cop. I have more than a few friends on the police force in my hometown. But one rotten apple can do an untold amount of damage to the people in their community--especially when their supervisors look the other way when they do things that are patently immoral and illegal.

Too many of the wrong sort of people get jobs as cops--the sort of people who may have become violent criminals if they had not joined the police force. The kind of people who make my grandfather and my uncle look bad in the eyes of many. Why isn't there a better screening process for new hires?

The Race To The Bottom

Yet another example of the dehumanizing effects of globalization in this article about the laborers in India who make manhole covers for the city of New York.

In today's economy, human lives have little value. If a worker gets sick, dies, or is injured because of an injury on the job, companies feel they have no responsibility to that person or their families. In today's world, all the workers in places like India and China are expendable. Nothing trumps the almighty dollar.

Increasingly, you and I are expendable, too. Over the last several years, protections for workers in the US have been steadily eroded by various business lobbies in Washington. Programs designed to assist the poor with job training are slowly dying because of funding cuts. Fewer and fewer of the new jobs being created in the US pay a wage a person can live off of. More and more people are forced to work two or three jobs in order to get by.

What we see happening to the workers in India and China is what will soon be happening to all of us if we don't force Congress to reign in corporate America.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Huckabee Gaining Ground Among Conservative Christians...Good For Democrats

Further evidence of the fact that the Republican party is ripping apart at the seams--many GOP Christians seem to be rallying behind Mike Huckabee instead of the big money candidates--and as a result--he is edging his way to the top tier of presidential candidates.

Which is a good thing for Democrats. The American people have had enough of the crookedness of the big money Republicans, and are sick and tired of the GOP Christians' obsession with what goes on in other people's bedrooms. Whoever wins the nomination will have to convince an increasingly alarmed American public that they will not represent more--or worse--than they have experienced under the Bush administration. Meanwhile, all of the Democratic candidates represent change, in one way or another--which is the thing the people in this country desperately want.

Marriage And Privacy

An excellent editorial in the New York Times on marriage makes some excellent points about the whole marriage business--especially that it is a private matter between two individuals.

Why should the state have the right to determine what is--or isn't--a marriage? Under current laws, all a marriage licence does is guarantee certain property rights. "Marriage" is very much a product of Judeao-Christian tradition--and those who do not wish to follow the strictures set forth by religion are shit out of luck.

Why is the state in the marriage business at all? Perhaps all "marriages" should instead be legally classified as "civil unions"--with the two parties agreeing, in advance, what property rights will be conferred to the other party once the arrangement is legalized.

Of course, certain legal provisions would still be necessary to protect the rights of children, ensuring that they receive the support of both parents. In addition, I also believe that children should always be entitled to a share of their parents' property and assets when they die. One thing civil unions should not do is make it easier for some people to get out of the obligations they hold towards their kids--if you bring one into the world, you should accept your responsibility.

The old definition of marriage no longer serves the interests of society--and despite the protestations of the religious right and other groups who have a habit of sticking their noses into other people's underwear--things will never be the same again. Isn't it time to accept reality?

Here I go again...

Seems like I can't get enough of blogging. So we'll see how this one does...where I can state my views on things without restrictions.