The progress being made in our 4 1/2 year war of terror on Iraq is phenomenal. So impressive are our recent gains that the “top tier” Democratic candidates who have lined up in competition to become the heirs of this great struggle for freedom, for Middle Eastern democracy, for oil and gas rights for western corporations and of course for lucrative contracts in arms sales and private security for campaign contributors, last night went way out on a limb and declared their goal of removing our troops from the quagmire in Mesopotamia by the end of their first term in office in 2013.
Despite their boldness, they did not report whether or not they could guarantee the colonization of Mars, a cure for cancer, or flying pigs within that time frame.
The Congress of the United States of America, a legislative body established by the American Constitution over two centuries ago has declared itself to be toothless, spineless and ultimately meaningless. Yesterday they condemned a reputable political organization for running a completely truthful newspaper ad and voted to declare the military of a sovereign nation a terrorist organization in order to present their Fuhrer with a gift wrapped excuse for his next adventure.
They were asked by Bush’s Defense Secretary for an additional 190 billion ($190,000,000,000) dollars to continue their criminal enterprises in Iraq and Afghanistan and despite the fact that a sizable majority of the people of our country want to end this war, the cowardly swine will approve it. That will bring the total publicly reported expenditures to 800 billion dollars ($800,000,000,000). Most of this has been spent, squandered, swindled, bamboozled away since our chief arrogant little asswipe stood on the deck of an aircraft carrier and declared that the mission had been accomplished.
With the possible exception of Barry Goldwater for whom I have have always had a somewhat grudging admiration and a few others, perhaps John McCain before he developed a taste for the flavor of George Bush’s ass and decided that performing oral sex on Jerry Falwell, indeed the entire religious right was a natural rite of passage on the road to earning the Presidency, Republicanism has always been abhorrent to me.
My animus toward the GOP probably began during my early residence in the womb of a Mother who was a Democrat, a long time member of the UAW and the daughter of hard scrabble Sicilian Democrats from Connecticut as well as exposure to Willie Higgins my paternal grandfather who was a printer, a pressman and a lifelong Democrat. (except for the part about FDR sending his son to fight a war in Europe. Willie loved Harry Truman, but hated FDR, there may be a lesson about war or public relations or whose ox is being gored in there somewhere.)
Anyway, I came by my liberal passions early and honestly and before the end of elementary school had begun to feel a strong disdain for Hamilton and all he represented and a deep affinity for Jefferson and what I saw as the enlightened, egalitarian ideals of a more liberal political philosophy.
With this background it should be quite understandable that the October election was celebrated around my house as “the night of the living Democrats” and great sighs of relief were breathed over the weighing of the Republican anchor on the Ship of State which contains our mutual American asses.
However, it seems that my smug satisfaction with the coming Democratic majority was somewhat immoderate and premature because those Republican bastards are lame ducking the hell out of the country before the Democrats take office.
The midterm election is barely over and the religious far right is already acting out over incoming Minnesota Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison’s stated intention to be sworn in using the Koran rather than the Bible.
Ellison, the first member of the Islamic faith to be elected to the United States Congress has served in the Minnesota Legislature. His desire to use the Koran at his swearing-in ceremony has apparently caused great consternation and hand wringing among some of the luminaries of the religious and not so religious right. Fox News’ Sean Hannity, famous for making mole hills appear as mountains could not pass up an opportunity to dig in to this nonsensical non issue last week.
His invited guest was a guy named Dennis Prager who I am told has a right wing talk-show in Los Angeles, I envision the type of show that Donald Fagin sang of in “Night Fly.”
“So you say there’s a race of men in the trees, I wait all night for calls like these.” Donald Fagin
I stopped by yesterday to visit my friend Jane who I wrote about a few days ago in “Class Warfare At Big Flo’s Diner, Let Them Eat Hash.”
I thought it was her day off. I was wrong.
She was amazed, as was I, that so many people, hundreds, took the time to comment on our portrayal of her dilemma, and did so, for the most part, in a positive and supportive fashion.
There are a few ironies involved in this story that I didn’t report as I felt that they had nothing to do with the “guts” of the story which, I believed, was the rampant and criminal exploitation of the working class, specifically, of my friend Jane, by the criminal class that is corporate America.
I suppose that the major irony, and I’m sure that many have already guessed this, is that when Jane arrived at “Big Flo’s” ten years ago she was a disaffected Democrat who had become a Reagan Republican and voted for George HW Bush and would later vote for his addled progeny, Shrub.
She is open about her disdain for, and disappointment with, our minority party over the past decade and more, and at times in that period was enthusiastic about her support for Bush.
Her enthusiasm though, has steadily waned as her financial condition has weakened under the pro business anti labor policies of the administration of “Bush the Lesser.”
Jane says she will probably return to the Democratic fold in this coming election as she comes full circle and accepts her new mantle as a “Disaffected Republican” ( I like that phrase, I find it … musical, almost joyful.)
I’m sure that Jane is just one of millions of working class people who have spent a great deal of time and energy since the Reagan era, voting for people who despise and neglect them, publicly supporting policies that abuse and impoverish them, and finally gently stroking the gloved fist of the masters who beat them.
I have a feeling that this fact speaks, certainly, to a large amount of political naiveté in our electorate, but even more points to the enormous strength of the Republican, Corporate, Religious propaganda machine that with the almost limitless funds at it’s disposal, successfully disseminates lie after lie in their education of … well, Jane.
The minimum wage battle continues, with unions and workers fighting for an entry level raise for honest American workers that has been denied for nearly a decade while the dispassionate empty suits of business, their lackeys in local and national Chambers of Commerce, and the evil lick spittle minions they have purchased wholesale in our government at all levels, make pious pronouncements about the “marketplace” and the peril of allowing the government to regulate wages.
In the meantime, I’ve been talking to my friend, Jane.
Jane is a hardworking person, a decent, honest, American citizen, whose children are grown and now, divorced, has found herself forced to stay in the workplace to support the cost of her health insurance.
Jane has worked in the service sector as a Server in various restaurants for many years. As I say, she has a good work ethic and goes in every day, works hard, hustles and takes care of her customers, many of whom are regulars and patronize the restaurant in large part due her friendly attitude and the good service she provides.
The company that Jane works for is a large one with more than twenty five thousand employees working all over the country in various restaurant enterprises as well as other areas of the industry. (This ain’t Ma and Pa Kettle’s Corner Choke and Chew.) They are a very successful company and make a lot of money. A whole, big, heaping lot of money.
Their upper management is exceptionally well compensated and middle management is able to live very comfortably. The individual managers make a decent living, but, being at the bottom of the management food chain, they are often taken advantage of with long hours, chronic micro-management and the ever present threat of uncertainty in their continued employment.
And then there’s Jane. Jane worked thirty five hours last week, from four in the afternoon until closing time, which is usually around eleven in the evening. She works five shifts a week, bustling around performing all the functions expected of her by a demanding management and an often more demanding clientele. She does her job as a Server well, with an easy grace and earns decent tips. (Note the word decent.) (Also note the word earns)
Jane manages, on the tips she brings home after taxes, to support herself in a small apartment, drive the twenty five mile round trip to work in an older model used car of somewhat questionable reliability, and rise each day to iron a fresh uniform to do it all again. She has worked for this particular company for ten years.
For the services she provides to the company, let’s just call them “Big Flo’s Diner and Steam Table Amalgamated International Restaurant Barons and Bloated Plutocrat Chop House” they pay Jane two dollars and thirty six cents an hour. That’s $2.36 per hour and Jane is a “Team Leader,” the others on her team,, the “Team Members” make $2.13 per hour.