On labor and survival of the species

I’ve had a political reckoning, of sorts.

CATEGORY: BusinessFinanceAs much as I hate boxes and labels, I think I’ve finally figured out where my political inclinations actually lean. I’m labor, but we have no party that I’d currently be comfortable with.

Basically, I think the workers should benefit equally with capital, and I’ll work with my own loosey-goosey definitions so I don’t get bogged down by not speaking fluent socialist or capitalist, and trust that a better-read reader will get the gist of what I’m saying. I’m open to correction, but it’s the point, not how I say it that matters. Now, if my gist is wrong, I need to know that for sure. Otherwise, this is what I’m going with.

Without labor, nothing happens. Our labor has worth. Push that idea far enough so that labor takes predominance and one lands somewhere in socialism or communism or some such -ism. But I’m not so quick to condemn the management and financial classes as I believe my comrades on the far left are wont to do. Continue reading

The Left’s one-dimensional cartoon buffoon shitshow

Exposing the rift in America’s labor politics

Donald Trump announces his candidacy for  president during a rally at his Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York, on Tuesday June 16, 2015. Mr. Trump also announced the release of a financial statement that he says denotes a personal net worth of over 8 billion dollars.

Donald Trump announces his candidacy for president during a rally at his Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York, on Tuesday June 16, 2015. Mr. Trump also announced the release of a financial statement that he says denotes a personal net worth of over 8 billion dollars.

The Guardian has an excellent piece that dissects the Trump phenomenon with an honesty not found in American media: Millions of ordinary Americans support Donald Trump. Here’s why.

“Here is the most salient supporting fact: when people talk to white, working-class Trump supporters, instead of simply imagining what they might say, they find that what most concerns these people is the economy and their place in it. I am referring to a study just published by Working America, a political-action auxiliary of the AFL-CIO, which interviewed some 1,600 white working-class voters in the suburbs of Cleveland and Pittsburgh in December and January.

Support for Donald Trump, the group found, ran strong among these people, even among self-identified Democrats, but not because they are all pining for a racist in the White House. Continue reading

NFL screwing the refs, players enjoying the show

nullJeff MacGregor brings the hammer down on Roger Goodell and the NFL re: its lockout of the refs. The money shot:

If Roger Goodell and the NFL and the NFL owners were serious about player safety and player conduct, for $50 million a year — less than 1 percent of total revenue — they could hire 200 well-trained full-time officials at $250,000 each.

But the NFL and the NFL owners and Roger Goodell are not serious about those things. They’re only serious about looking serious about those things. With the simple application of cash and backbone, they could make the game safer overnight. Instead, they’ll nickel-and-dime the officials’ union just because they can. Continue reading

Coming of age in the games industry: The Collective Agreement

by Michael Smith

It’s no secret that the video games industry likes to compare its successes to those of the film industry. For several years now, game sales have surpassed the box office. The recent Avengers film set an opening weekend record, grossing $200 million in its first three days. Compare that to last November’s hit game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which did $400 million of business on day one. And that doesn’t even get into the recent revolutions in social gaming and the ironically named free-to-play games.

In spite of this, the film industry continues to lead the games industry in one important way — a sustainable business environment. Continue reading

Kansas's war on workers, coming soon to a state near you (and by the way, how can the Secretary of Labor do her job when she doesn't even know what the AFL-CIO is?)

by Colin Curtis

In recent history Kansas has become the breeding ground for extremist right wing agendas, legislation and beliefs. The Kansas Republican Party has abandoned the moderate beliefs of former heroes like President Dwight Eisenhower and turned into the main water carriers for the Kochs, ALEC and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. Since the Republican “clean sweep” of 2010, when the conservative arms of the Kansas GOP led by Gov. Sam Brownback took every statewide office, every Congressional seat and an overwhelming majority in the House, it has been an all-out war on the middle and working classes.

Kansas is becoming the proving ground for extremist legislation. Last year the legislature attempted to pass a string of anti-worker bills like HB 2130, Continue reading

Give me Liberty Park or give me death

AP photo from Eldorado News-Times, Eldorado AR

In 1913, Colorado coal miners went on strike to demand enforcement of the 8 hour workday law, to secure payment for “dead work” such as laying railroad track and timbering, for which JD Rockefeller Sr and the other coal barons paid nothing, and to gain the right to live outside company towns, buy goods from non-company stores, and choose non-company doctors. Continue reading

Can the NBA be saved? A modest proposal….

I predicted months ago that there would be no 2011-12 NBA season. I hoped I was wrong (still do), but there were some fundamental structural issues that I felt were going to be hard to address in the collective bargaining process. While all hope isn’t yet completely dead, it looks very, very bad – so bad that at this stage I’m already beginning to wonder if there’s going to be a 2012-13 season. I’m wondering if the NBA as we know it is done.

Actually, the crux of the issue lies with the fact that, unlike most labor cycles, this one doesn’t feature two sides at odds. Continue reading

#Occupy Oakland: an injury to one is an injury to all

So Twitter is abuzz with the news that the Port of Oakland has been shut down; major news sites are either ignoring the act or standing with reports from earlier in the day that the port is operating. That makes it sound like the general strike, focusing on the port, has been a failure. But then there’s this:

The Port of Oakland was chosen as the protest site because the International Longshore and Warehouse Union has a rare contract clause that allows workers to honor certain community picket lines. If workers arriving for a 7 p.m. shift decide not to cross the line, a shutdown could result. LA Times

So i suppose that neither sort of report is true, or even knowable yet.
There are also reports of wildcat strikes inside the port, but those may well be work related. It’s possible that the longshoremen will walk out when the Occupy protesters form their picket line outside the port. Continue reading

Capitalism, raw and bloody

by Terry Hargrove

I took my family to the aquarium in Mystic last week, because it was Presidents’ Day. I’m lying. I took them because I like the aquarium. True, the price of admission is steep, the fish all look small and terrified, and the over-priced food isn’t very good, but we enjoy the beluga whales, and I can‘t look at penguins without cracking up. A penguin is Nature’s stand-up comic. But at the end of the day, I had to balance the joy of penguins by facing the horror of the gift shop.

“Dad? Can I have this stuffed shark?” Joey asked.

“No,” I said. “How much does it cost?”

“Only $44.95,” he said.

“Oh. Then I’ll change my answer. From no to Hell No.” Continue reading

Nota Bene #112: GOOOLLLLLLLL

“Freedom of any kind is the worst for creativity.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #110: WEHT SWK?

“In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #101: Your Pal, Mike S.

“The guys who are shooting films now are technically brilliant, but there’s no content in their films. I marvel at what I see and wish I could have done a shot like that. But shots are secondary for my films, and with some of these films, it’s all about the shots. What’s the point? I’m not sure people know what points to make.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #92: Echoblowcation

A few things for you NB readers: Continue reading

What else is Palin willing to risk?

by Jennifer Angliss

Let’s take Sarah Palin at her word that Trig is her biological son. We do not currently have any hard evidence to say otherwise, despite all those pictures floating around the internet.

But the evidence we do have is disturbing enough. At 36 weeks of pregnancy, Palin was in Texas for an energy conference. She began leaking amniotic fluid and having some contractions that “seemed different from the false labor she had been having for months.”

These are signs of early labor. And at 36 weeks, that’s premature labor. Continue reading

Are escort services poised to go mainstream?

Whores no more.

On the job, the key for many of us is adapting by adopting — an alternate personality, that is. But some jobs arouse emotions and sensations that are too overwhelming for the conscious mind. In the process called splitting, we shunt those off to a kind of branch line of our consciousness.

Sex work is such a job. Its laborers often find the only way to survive is by putting as much distance as possible between their real and work selves. The lack of self-respect inherent in these evasion tactics is magnified by the need to hide the nature of their work from loved ones. Continue reading

Reframing the Republican lie about wealth in America

In America, the Republicans are seen as the party of money and wealth. This perception is certainly accurate in one sense – the GOP is the favored party of the wealthy elite. Unfortunately, the party is also supported in large numbers by those who have no wealth, and thanks to the policies of the Republican party, no hope of ever attaining any. But they continue to support the party for reasons that seem irrational to us. Why?

In a nutshell, I want to argue here that they do so because the GOP has, through a long-term and exceptionally effective messaging campaign, drawn around itself the ideology of hope. Forgive a brief over-generalization, but they’re the party that preaches wealth and that tells people they can join the club (never mind that the message is a lie, given our current economic policy structure). In the popular frame, the Republicans are often seen as being about getting and having money while the Democrats are about taking your hard-earned money and giving it to people who didn’t earn it. Continue reading