You Know What? Rand Paul May Be For Real…

U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks with Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity; unsuccessfully attempts hypnosis on already mostly unconscious Fox host.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks with Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity; unsuccessfully attempts hypnosis on already mostly unconscious Fox star.

Stop laughing!

If just for a second you set aside how he would ever get past the primaries (just as we must do when we talk about Bernie surviving the Clinton-industrial complex), consider that, at this point anyway, Rand is creating a lane for himself.  That’s not the same thing as a path to victory, but it’s real fucking important.

In his brilliant diary of his campaign for governor of New York, Mario Cuomo[1] spent quite a bit of ink on explaining his “rationale for office.”  For Cuomo this was the first and single most important question he had to answer for himself before he could run a successful campaign.

Obviously, in the wake of the disintegration of Ted Kennedy’s 1980 campaign for nomination against incumbent Jimmy Carter following a horrible interview in which Kennedy stared in blank silence and then babbled incoherent nonsense for a painful minute or two  in response to Roger Mudd’s simple (but, at that time, not all that obvious) question “Why do you want to be president?”, Cuomo thought it wise to be ready for such a question himself.

But, as he discussed it in his book, Cuomo also had something more fundamental and important in mind:  A credible candidate must know what significant ends s/he will achieve in office that could not or would not be achieved by other contestants for that office.[2]

On the Republican side of the field, despite stylistic differences and minor variations of emphasis and market segment appeal, it’s hard to understand why, other than ambition, half of them feel like they need to hold the office of President of the United States, since the other half are pretty much the same set of guys (well, Carly Fiorina isn’t a guy; on the other hand, her rationale pretty much overlaps Donald Trump’s: None-too-bright, not terribly successful business exec with a chip on the shoulder who is embarrassingly inept at campaigning– Trump videoFiorina video).

As for the Democratic side, Bernie clearly has a rationale for office.  And Hilary well may too, but just this week, she has actually been lauded in America’s now supine media for actually telling an audience that her reason for running is, in effect, just ambition to be president.

In the case of Rand Paul, only he would use the office to fundamentally change how we approach war fighting (which we have gotten used to treating, somewhat alarmingly, as identical to “foreign policy”) and national security.  And while he has not made clear how the office of the presidency could be used to reduce rates of incarceration, particularly for Black men, he has made it a centerpiece of his campaign, unlike any other candidate in the field.

And beyond handicapping his chances for victory, his campaign now is accomplishing something valuable for the GOP (and, indirectly, for presidential politics more broadly).  He is clarifying the ideological framework of conservative/Republican presidential politics.  For 40 years, the “conservative movement” has posed as the force moving the GOP to stake its place as “the party of small government.”  Paul’s stance against the party’s reflexive warmongering and imperialism and his eagerness to undo the most egregious elements of the national security state brought into being by the Patriot Act, as well as the civil liberties rationale he offers to explain his desire to reverse the nation’s unprecedented rates of incarceration, rip the mask off the Republican and conservative masquerade of hostility to “big government” and its alleged infringements on liberty.  Paul makes clear what real small government ideology actually entails, thus making clear the truth that the modern GOP is only hostile to government infringements on the liberties of corporations and business owners, not citizens as such.

Indeed, Paul’s threat to the façade of conservative ideology is so real that the Republican Party media operation known as Fox News is systematically working to make sure that Paul does not make it into the GOP primary debate roster (skim these two articles [one article, the other article] and see if you can connect the dots.  Hint: if the debate host gets to use the candidates’ polling status as the basis for who gets an invitation,  it will be difficult to get a spot for the presidential debates if for some reason  you are not included in the polls…)

Okay.  For a certainty, I would eat my hand before I would let it pull the lever for Rand Paul.  But unless Sanders somehow pulls off a revolution and gets on the ballot for the general, my vote will be entirely one more vote against a Republican.  And I doubt I will be alone. So we should be glad that Paul’s chances of making it past the GOP gatekeepers are lower than Hilary Clinton taking an oath not to appoint Goldman Sachs hacks in her administration.  Because, on the salient issues, for anti-war, anti-security state progressives, Paul might not have quite the scare factor that Hillary will need to rely on for their turnout.  And for younger voters, Paul could be quite appealing on the merits.

Just saying…

[1] It remains a mystery how the son of such a brilliant and stalwart liberal leader and skillful governor turned out to be such an odious  piece of shit…

[2] In the more savvy (cynical) parlance of contemporary politics we talk about the candidates’ need to do what other branded products must do: “differentiate” and “take advantage of market segmentation” (::vomits::). In other words, especially in a crowded field, each candidate must establish a separate lane in which to run the race.  But Cuomo was sincere about his need to understand what made it necessary for him in particular to be the governor of New York.

LEAKED: The Walmart Ad Walmart Wants to Hide — See the HILARIOUS video here

Snapshot 2 walmart (5-20-2015 4-58 PM)Walmart spent $$$ to make a nine-minute advertisement video that it was so ashamed of they decided it must never be seen by the general public. Now you can watch the leaked video here!  (The best stuff starts at about 2:22) 

Watch the video to see what Walmart has to offer you as a new “associate”, and why, in your great new job at Walmart, you should be careful never to be taken in by dishonest tactics used by unions that may try to trick you into

  • Paying union membership dues
  • Joining in collective efforts to increase pay or improve working conditions
  • Putting your signature (!) on union voting cards

In addition to numerous complaints to the National Labor Relations Board (and a pending civil suit) by employees subjected to intimidation sessions and retaliatory actions conducted by Walmart managers against “associates” thought to be engaging in pro-union activities (which is their legally protected right), Walmart has produced this indoctrination video to remind employees that in the big happy Walmart family “we just don’t think we need a union” (and you don’t think so either…Right? RIGHT?!)

Meanwhile, right-wing Jade Helmers distract public attention about Walmart closing 15 stores (Walmart claims for plumbing problems) by hyping made up concerns that they will be used for blacksite detention facilities, when in fact Walmart’s selection of stores for closures all seem to brazenly coincide with union organizing activities.

BREAKING! The American Right: Off Meds and Rapidly Decompensating.


The Jade Helm Conspiracy is Actually Dangerous, But Not for the Reasons Alex Jones Says…

mushroom-cloudSo, where we lived when I was in elementary school, the headquarters for Strategic Air Command for the northern hemisphere was on the outskirts of town. At regular intervals air raid drills were conducted to keep everyone ready to respond properly in case the ground zero target a few miles from downtown came under nuclear attack from the Communists.  But every once in a long while, some glitch at the Base would cause the air raid siren to go off unplanned.

I recall the weirdness of these spurious air raid alerts in which every person on the streets about the town would hesitate momentarily to nervously eye one another to see if anyone else was going to start heading for air raid shelters or begin the actions we had all learned we were supposed to take in case of a real attack. Everyone studiously maintaining an affect of unconcern as long as an undefined critical mass of other folks looked unworried.

I remember people glancing up at the sky as if to see if fighters from the air force base were scrambling, or maybe if warheads were falling.

Everything seems fine downtown...

Everything seems fine downtown…

And then, even while the siren was still wailing, people sort of quietly, hesitantly, and with an odd overlay of sheepish embarrassment went back to carrying on with their day’s tasks–everyone ignoring what very well might have been–in fact, what we were drilled to assume was–the shrieking signal of World War Three. A sort of unspoken communal suicide pact to go politely into the maelstrom without embarrassing ourselves in public.


I’ve thought about that odd phenomenon a lot all this past week, as the reports have become increasingly difficult to ignore or laugh off that the batshit right, particularly in Texas, and egged on by actual members of the real Republican Party (including contenders for the office of Commander in Chief!), have genuinely been discussing what to do about an incoherent, literally paranoid fantasy version of a civil emergency involving a conspiracy by the U.S. government, the U.S. military, and Wal-Mart to invade Texas for the purpose of conducting mass internment of Texas conservatives in local big box department stores.

Jade Helm Delusion…the terminal stage of Obama Derangement Syndrome.jade-helm-7654

And then we all look to see if anyone else is alarmed by the fact that the American right has actually slipped off the rails.

Seeing that everyone else is doing nothing more than making light-hearted jokes about it, we all go on about our business.

Hasn’t anyone else noticed that the American right are collectively like a mental patient gone off meds and rapidly decompensating?  For real?

Leader of the Conservative Revolution, Radio Host Alex Jones

Leader of the Conservative Revolution, Radio Host Alex Jones

And I wonder who’s more nuts, the paranoid rightwing freaks that have made one of Alex Jones’ silly nightmare scenarios an actual public concern, or the rest of us who don’t think it’s important that the right is now actually no longer capable of participating in self-government (or possibly even reality).


BREAKING: Texas Under Attack From US Government As Military Trains Roll In

The Coming Triumph of Liberals

Patriots Beware!

Do not be tricked into fretting over Hilary Clinton or the charade of election campaigns.

The true play for Liberal domination lies elsewhere.

Every paranoid fever dream the right has had about American liberalism–everything they’ve written about it and screamed into the darkness is, in reality…


Using their power centers in Hollywood a number of university English Departments and MSNBC, liberals are, as conservatives have long suspected, committed to the destruction of traditional American values. They are coming to take your guns away, to wean you away from your ignorant Biblical literalisms, and to force you to accept living cheek-by-jowl with the new post-gender-hierarchy, mongrelized  races and off-white ethnicities.

Why?  Not as ends in themselves; these wily liberals play a longer game.  For now they seek to erode American traditions because they are ruthlessly disciplined in the methods of secularism, reason, shared security, and “fair play.”

But do not be fooled.  With their continual spineless sheep’s-clothing calls to “deliberation” and “discussion” and “sensible public policy” these liberal wolves mean only to lull the public into a false sense of complacency about any danger of actual change from liberals.

And then?

Once so lulled, America will be ripe for the final stage: The replacement of traditional culture with a New Order of broad domestic consensus, sensible shoes, wholesome food. and hiking! Liberals are bent on ushering in the New Age of a cruel, crushing academic-conference-style communitarian pluralism!

And then, when the Beautiful Revolution is complete, liberals will finally call their secret leader out of his hiding place in the merciless, remote and desolate mountain passes of the Berkshires to take his place as the supreme dictator, placing his heroic and terrifying boot upon the necks of traditional Americans FOREVER!

Comandante Dukakis in a secret rebel liberal commando training camp.

Comandante Dukakis in a secret rebel liberal commando training camp.

And on that day, you will tremble to hear the thunder of their voices deliriously shouting in unison:
All Hail the Glorious Hammer of the People, Comandante Dukakis!

Xfinite Bullshit: Part 3

Public Relations is NOT Equivalent to Customer Service.
Fire  “Executive Vice President of Customer Experience” Charlie Herrin; Invest his salary in fixing the massive technical incapacities plaguing your system.

Comcast parody logoIn our last two episodes Comcast had screwed the pooch on the rollout of its inanely branded X-1 “platform”—an overhyped DVR/set-top box so bug infested it should have been sold with a complimentary can of Raid—and was suffering a shitstorm of complaints about its apparent role in widespread service interruptions. Just weeks later, Comcast was reeling again from widespread, unexplained outages all along the I-95 corridor from DC to NY.

Since then, the entire cable industry was dealt a huge blow by the Obama Administration’s recategorization of cable providers to treat them as public utilities (as they always should have been given the value of the easements they have received for running cable and the monopoly status they enjoy in most communities each company “serves”, and the severe disadvantage suffered be people or communities who cannot access broadband services).  And Comcast in particular was publicly bitchslapped when regulators nixed a deal Comcast had put big muscle behind in their effort to acquire the second worst cable provider on earth: Time Warner Cable (Comcast itself holding the number one spot). Among the reasons cited for putting the stop on this proposed marriage made in the 3rd, 4th, and 8th circles of Hell, was the incredibly poor service record of the two would-be spouses.

But did this blow to its plans for market hegemony make Comcast’s corporate weenie get all puckered and shriveled?  Hell no!  Faced with a defeat not unlike the GOP was dealt in 2008, Comcast took a page from the RNC playbook and took a good hard look in the mirror (apparently to see if, through tough self-examination and coldly critical autopsy, it could somehow gain insight into what millions of people had been saying directly to them for years: You suck, Comcast, You don’t deliver on anything that matters. You suck!)

And like the GOP, Comcast went directly at the heart of the problem-solving puzzle: It developed a (wait for it…) PUBLIC RELATIONS CAMPAIGN!

Using the best minds in their lavishly populated corporate stable of fencepost stupid executives, Comcast decided that offering the “fastest cable speeds in the industry” (if you leave out of the averaging all those hours of zero up/zero down that happen when the company experiences “outages”, which is roughly one in any week that has a day in it) is not enough for its customers.[1]

So, over the past several months Comcast has made several important announcements meant to show its “customers” it is working on improving the Comcast Customer Experience®.

  1. Last September, Comcast Cable president and CEO Neil Smit acknowledged Comcast’s customer service problems (perhaps while taking lunch in the executive dining lounge Neil spotted some footage of local Comcast offices coming under siege by mobs of angry villagers brandishing torches and hay rakes), “Over the last few years, we’ve been incredibly focused on product innovation and delivering great technology experiences…But…the way we interact with our customers – on the phone, online, in their homes – is as important to our success as the technology we provide.” In other words, Comcast has been so busy innovating for you, that it has let you down when you call for service.  Unfortunately, non of that “product innovation” or “great technology” has made it any less necessary to have to call the friggin’ lousy customer service line in the first place.  Here’s a thought, Neil, maybe reducing the number of events that require customers to reach out for service complaints and help in the first place would greatly improve the overall Comcast “customer experience” for everybody!
  2. Just a few days ago, Comcast publicized a tough new service goal: by the third quarter of this year, its technicians are to be “always on time for customer appointments.” Always.  So what’s the fucking standard now? Half the appointments?  A few appointments a week will be on time? Oh, and this new tougher standard will be backed by a guarantee: if a technician is late, a customer will get a $20 credit.  Okay, so two things on this: (A) I have had Comcast technicians be as much as two days late for an appointment.  Even if they are only 3 hours late (which, honest to god, I’ve been grateful when some grunting misanthrope with a pair of pliers and half a roll of wrinkled tape shows up from Comcast only 3 hours late), you’re telling me I’m getting less than minimum wage from Comcast for sitting around because some office dink egregiously overbooked a technician who is now having a stroke because he’s backed up three appointments while the current party tries to figure out where the cable modem can go without spoiling the Cracker Barrel country  decor in the living room? (B) Why am I fairly certain that regional managers with short budgets for technicians will calculate the cost of increasing the workforce against the amount it will cost to pay out 20 bucks a dozen or so times a month for missed appointments.
  3. Just this part April Fools Day, for instance, Comcast announced the promotion of Charlie Herrin from his position as senior VP of customer experience to executive VP of customer experience (no doubt as a reward his role in helping Comcast tie for for dead last in customer satisfaction ratings with its would-be fuck-buddy TWC–according to JD Power & Associates [2]) along with 19 other executive promotions made that day.  (Oddly, customers noted no perceptible improvements in cable or internet performance resulting from this bold step.)
  4. This month in Chicago Comcast unveiled its new “Studio Xfinity”  a prototype makeover for what it hopes will be the model for all its local sales offices  (right now it is only “a new concept in the testing stage”).  The aim is to create a new kind of cable office with “gadgets displayed and demonstrated with the utmost enticement.”  (That should make getting your fucked up cable bill over-charges straightened out a much improved customer experience!)
  5. Also this month,  Comcast Corporation CEO Brian Roberts [3] proclaimed, “Our products weren’t getting some of the excitement they deserved because you were waiting on hold on the phone or we missed an appointment.” Yep.  The Comcast executive team has certainly zeroed in on the reason it is one of the two “most hated companies in America” (the other being TWC): We’re missing all the excitement of Comcast innovations while we’re on the phone just trying to get the fucking TV to show TV shows.

NONE of this is suggests actual effort to fix their crappy, unreliable, unconscionably expensive “service”.  It’s all PR.  FIX YOUR SHIT SO MY FUCKING CABLE DOESN’T TAKE AT LEAST A TWO-HOUR CRAP AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK.  And give me at least the internet speed I would get FOR FUCKING FREE at an internet cafe in goddam Estonia!  FIX IT!

In case it wasn’t obvious, my cable has been out again today.  All I really wanted was reliable internet service.  At the speeds I pay Comcast for.  Or at least something than the 0/0 I got for most of the day today.

That and some TV.  I am almost 58 years old. For almost 50 of those years TV watching has pretty simple.  Bag of chips.  Soft drink or beer. Couch.  Switch on.  TV show. Repeat until unconsciousness or slightly glowing translucent greenish TV pallor is achieved. Whichever comes first

I specifically don’t seek excitement when I sit in front of the goddamn BOOB tube.  In fact I kinda want the polar opposite of an “exciting customer experience.”  For exciting customer experience, I’ll go get another speeding ticket. Or take up scuba diving. Or go pay for a boilermaker and a lap dance.


[1] Comcast subscribers, usually having zero to one other option for cable providers in their area, are not so much “customers” as “hopelessly captive livestock to be bled until they turn to dust.”

[2] Seriously?  JD Power?  You know who JD Power & Associates is, right?  You know, when you see a car commercial about some new model that looks like every other fucking $13,000 car made for the last five years and the voice-over says something like “ranked number one not-too-horrible-to-rent macro-sub-sport-utility-leisure-family-midsize-compact-touring-towne-and-country-urban-mini-yellowpainted-front-wheel-chain-drive-centrifugal-double-fan-cooled-non-turbo-synthetic-diesel-fueled-twin-under-wheelhub-suspended-para-automobile by 37 coeds we asked at an Ann Arbor bar crawl last Tuesday, according to JD Power & Associates”?  Yeah! That JD Power! Those guys! Right?! Like, the company that exists just to create micro categories so that every product they are paid to “rate” can be number 1 in something? Even they dumped on Comcast like a Nebraska farmer after eating the El Grande Burrito Platter at Poncho’s Tex-Mex Diner and Nail Salon out on the interstate.

[3] Not to be confused with Comcast Cable CEO Neil Smit. (The Vatican’s seating chart for a papal looks like a model of Amish austerity compared to Comcast’s org-report-chart. Unraveling the slimy tangled web of leftovers in the dumpster behind your local Old Spaghetti Factory  after all-you-can-eat-night would be simpler…and less nauseating.)


Xfinite Bullshit
Xfinite Bullshit: Part 2

BPD Disinformation Operation: Washington Post Stenographer of the Corrupt, Peter Hermann

Peter Hermann - WantedThe Washington Post’s Peter Herman late yesterday filed a “report” that alleges that an unidentified prisoner who was also in the back of a police van with Gray claimed he could hear Gray “banging against the walls” and “was intentionally trying to injure himself.”

Citing a document “written by a Baltimore police investigator” which is part of an allegedly secret probe, Herman (playing the role NYT’s Judith Miller first made famous while “covering” the pre-Iraq invasion Bush info-war/domestic  psyops operation ), tells us this unsourced leak “offers the first glimpse of what might have happened inside the van.”  Which is a plain and easily revealed lie.

We already know from publicly available sources a number of facts about what did happen: Police officials have stated that Gray was conscious and able to climb into the van when he was first placed in it; police officials have already said that Gray was alone with police in the van for 30 minutes before the second and only other passenger-prisoner was picked up.  Previous, unchallenged reporting puts the distance between that second pick up and the final stop at the police station at less than seven blocks, taking approximately seven minutes.

All of which means that if the implication of the Washington Post’s sickeningly irresponsible headline (Prisoner in van said Freddie Gray was ‘trying to injure himself,’…) is true, then Gray not only tried to but succeeded in severing his own spine  in the last 5 to 7 minutes of a 40 minute ride—and did it without leaving any other visible signs of injury other than a collapsed larynx.

Well then…

Why would a professional journalist cooperate with such a self-serving an obvious attempt at BPD disinformation.  Why would anyone not do some real investigation into who was behind leaking a document so at odds with the known facts?

As it turn out other reporters knew of the leaked document and dismissed it as chaff.  WBAL’s Jayne Miller fiercely debunked the phony report in an interview with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell last night.

In my 50-plus years of literate awareness, I cannot recall a more repulsive case of blaming a victim.


Daily Kos: Washington Post, citing anonymous Baltimore PD document, says Freddie Gray severed his own spine

May Day Again: The World Remembers US Labor Heroes, America Forgets

May Day Garland 1895

How about if this year we begin to get May Day right.

Some May Day history:

In October 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (FOTLU) placed a stake on the landscape of American labor’s struggle for workers’ rights and workplace justice.  By the 1880s, the most unifying demand around which all the fractious groups and unions could organize their many-fronted fight was the shared aspiration to win an eight-hour workday.

And so at the October convention in 1884, FOTLU proclaimed that beginning on May 1, 1886, the eight-hour work day would become the law of the land.  In 1885, the powerful Knights of Labor declared its solidarity with the fight for the eight-hour workday and that the demand would be supported by strikes, demonstrations, and militant direct action.  Many anarchists and radicals thought demand for the eight-hour day was too reformist, claiming that nothing less than the complete overthrow of industrial capitalism should be the aim of the struggle against the combined forces of oligarchic corporations and government.  But as conflict heated up with the approach of labor’s announced May 1 deadline, solidarity strengthened and the radicals threw in with the broader movement for the eight-hour day.

In the weeks preceding the planned mass strike on the movement’s deadline date, the Chicago radical anarchist paper The Alarm published incendiary articles supporting the movement.  Along with articles on how to make homemade dynamite, The Alarm published an editorial that included this:

Workingmen to Arms! War to the Palace, Peace to the Cottage, and Death to LUXURIOUS IDLENESS. The wage system is the only cause of the World’s misery. It is supported by the rich classes, and to destroy it, they must be either made to work or DIE. One pound of DYNAMITE is better than a bushel of BALLOTS! MAKE YOUR DEMAND FOR EIGHT HOURS with weapons in your hands to meet the capitalistic bloodhounds, police, and militia in proper manner.

The table was thus set for the tragic and glorious Haymarket Uprising of 1886.[1]

A General Exhortation and Harangue 

As in the latter 19th century, we live right now in a time when the never-sleeping impulses to oligarchic order, inherent and always present in the assumptions of capitalism and property-liberty ideology, are (re)consolidating the forces of plutocratic power and unilaterally (re)imposing the terms and conditions of our labor, lives, and liberties as well as the very boundary parameters of our human social agency.

Meanwhile, we all forget what Labor Day commemorates–it’s date deliberately moved by law from the anniversary of the Haymarket Uprising and conveniently placed on an obscure long-weekend-excuse Monday at summer’s end–strategically banished from the date upon which the entire rest of the Western world honors workers.  May Day is the workers’ holiday marking the anniversary of America’s pivotal moment in labor history, the event that set the world afire: Haymarket. The Battle of West Randolph Street, Chicago. May 1, 1886.

Our children would hardly know it, but we are the descendants of homely heroes and workaday champions, of anarchists and labor activists who fought for justice, dignity, and a bit of human grace for the working class.

We are the generations Joe Hill and Mother Mary Jones and labor hero, Frederick Douglass (that’s right, go look up the Colored National Labor Union, established in 1869), [2] and, as important–though their names are lost to history, the thousand of strikers, organizers, random drifting day laborers, misfit malcontents, the shabby martyrs and quotidian saints of Hay Market, Lawrence, Ludlow, Homestead, Lynn, Troy, Martinsburg, Seattle, Cripple Creek.

And more: Every American alive is the inheritor of the vast estate left by tens and hundreds of thousands whose names were barely ever known at all who were maimed, starved, scarred and killed on their feet, working their tools and dies and looms and pickaxes and crop rows and furnaces and  blades and plowshares and on and on, creating stunning wealth, building the foundation for dizzying heights of academic enterprise and expressive arts, the breathtaking advance of science and medicine, as well as the new technologies of mastery and bureaucratic control that would insure that they, the workers—the wealth creators, would never be allowed to dis-alienate from the astonishing and abundant products of their own labor nor share but a fractional nanoportion of the vastness of the wealth their toil alone created.

But, as long and bitter as their days were, they spent their meager hours before succumbing to sleep organizing resistance to the bestial life fashioned for them and their children by the self-anointed proprietors of the Earth’s bounty and the products of other people’s labor—the social squatters and parasites who would now have themselves called “job creators.”  Generations of American workers creating the prosperity of nations by day and struggling for worldwide justice by night.

This is American History as proud and exceptional as it gets.  This is the history of the struggle for workplace dignity and the rights of the proletariat as American as guns and riveted blue jeans.  It is no exaggeration to say that America is the world’s nursery of Socialist dreams; only the successful suppression of this history of America’s powerful place in labor history makes such a perspective seem fanciful.[3]

This is the real exceptionalism which all of America’s various power classes have agreed to deny—the substantive exeptionalism that has defined us since winning our separate and equal station among the nations:  That beacon-light which America once shined brightest and most hopeful for all places on earth embroiled in the historic worldwide struggle for the rights of workers; Our national heritage as the vanguard of workers battling to secure the humanity, dignity, and agency of those in every corner of the Earth whose toils build what prosperity this world knows, the anonymous class who labor while their self-appointed masters wring “their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces.” [4]

Our ragtag American founding heroes of International Labor heroically built a movement and constructed a history that we, carelessly and cravenly, have allowed to become a largely suppressed and thoroughly sanitized set of shadows from the footlights of the minstrel show version of our American past , a shadow play we amnesiacally submit to as we are ceaselessly fed the bovine ruminations of history- scrubbers: the David McCullochs and Steven Ambroses, chipper and saccharine Ken Burns, wooly and well-meaning Arthur Schlessinger.  All the commercialized purveyors of airbrushed portraiture honoring tyrants and thieves (…the founding fathers tireless efforts to…); singing smorzando encomiums to enemies of the people.

This Vapid Mythtorian Chorus sings us a well-rehearsed, palliative yet bracing, pianoforte operatic, bourgeois misnarration of “our” courageous will to march on, against the slings and arrows of naysayers and skeptics, as a good and classless nonsociety of individual strivers headed toward our God-guaranteed place in the shining city on the hill of human history under the enlightened leadership of the crowned heads of the Houses of Astor, Mellon, Rockefeller, the Council of Titans at Bretton Woods, WTO, ISDS,  Koch and Coke, not mention Siemans Shell Walmart & Sinopec (LLC).

And then, at intermission, so to speak, we are treated to polite and tepid tributes to labor heroes, brief anodyne accounts of martyrs to justice (as well, by the way, see obscure footnote, see hyphenated-history side panel).

A Peroration

Perhaps this May Day we will recall that other May Day, Haymarket, 1886. The origin of that worldshaping collective action was the simple struggle for the eight hour workday.  The strikers’ homely aim was to carve out some small daily space for their humanity—as parents, as spouses, as lovers, as drunkards and dreamers, as singers and sinners, as religious believers, barbershop philosophers, atheiststic  parkbench belly scratchers, flowerbox botanists. Just a one-third slice of day between each exhausted night’s eight hours sleep and each workday’s eight hours labor to use as such persons will. As men and women; as more than merely resources for production; more than a stubborn collective cost against revenue, a drag on capitalist profit.

As worker-protesters gathered on the soon to be hallowed ground of West Randolph Street, the labor poet-activists of the eight-hour workday movement handed out the simple words to the protest anthem:

We want to feel the sunshine

We want to smell the flowers;

We’re sure God has willed it.

And we mean to have eight hours.

We’re summoning our forces from

shipyard, shop, and mill;


Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest

Eight hours for what we will.


A Call to Action: Do Something!

This year take May 1st off.  Use the day to read some labor history.  Post messages of solidarity and support on the dozens of Facebook pages devoted to workers’ groups.  Write your elected representatives demanding action on raising the minimum wage.  Send hate messages to National Right to Work.  Come up with ideas on how to stimulate revival of the American union organization, share your ideas on social media.


[1] For anyone unfamiliar with the story of the Haymarket Uprising a couple of places to get started are linked HERE and  HERE.

[2] Colored National Labor Union, established in 1869.

[3] A quarter century before a dyspeptic German expat vagrant would, from whatever open seat he could find in the British Museum’s Reading Room, scratch out his first article for America’s most widely circulated journal, Horace Greeley’s  New York Tribune (August 21, 1851) and nearly half a century before that same penniless savant of social theory, Karl Marx, would be tossed out of his own Workingmen’s Association by  a faction of anarchists (1872), factory workers in Philadelphia had already established the world’s first Workingmen’s Party (1827). America: The World’s Nursery of Socialist Dreams.

[4] Go get a timeline of Labor History and set it alongside a timeline of the lead up to, and aftermath of, the Civil War and see if you can figure out how this kind of language might have occurred in the mind of the Illinoisan President’s s he penned his Second Inaugural Address. And perhaps why the business base of “moderates” in the Republican Party might rushed to shutdown the Radical Republican’s Reconstruction plans for land reform and the seizing of plantation property to turn them over to collectives of the freedmen.



Li’l Soldiergirl Barbie® Show Us How to Treat Old Glory with Respect


Protest inspector and flag protector, Michelle Manhart. michelle manhart-flag respect

I have no problem with former Air Force Sergeant, Michelle Manhart being a former sex worker.

I have to laugh though when L’il Soldier Barbie gets herself all in a snit about the flag touching the ground at a protest after doing a Playboy spread holding a flag that is DRAGGING on the fucking studio floor.

But I guess since it’s in the cause of capitalist exploitation, dragging the “sacred” flag around is okay.