Quit Picking On Unions


Attacks on unions (as in organized labor) from the left and from the right have almost succeeded in eliminating this social institution from the United States of America.


On the right, the oddly named Right To Work laws are working their way up from the south into the (formerly) industrial Midwest. This peculiar "philosophy" claims to believe that people shouldn't have to join unions and pay dues if they don't want to. But it actually proposes and imposes the practice that people shouldn't have to pay to support an institution that they benefit from. And in reality eliminates unions as a balance to the power of management and capital.


As it stands at the moment with electoral representational democracy, this country believes that you do not have to vote, but we should still hold elections. And it believes that if you personally prefer Monarchy or the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, that's up to you, but you have to pay taxes, some of which goes to pay for the apparatus of elections. Likewise, a town, county, or state cannot vote to eliminate voting, choosing to save money and protect individual freedom by establishing a hereditary royalty or officially self perpetuating ruling party.


Elections and democracy can be corrupted or cleaned up, ditto trade unions, an invention that brought a little bit of democracy to the work place as the country industrialized. But what if we just eliminated elections altogether, and told citizens that if they didn't like the way their unelected officials ran things, they could just move somewhere else? Over the border to the neighboring county, state, or country. That's the Right To Work philosophy.


On the left, trade unions are blamed for their own demise. Too conservative, too corrupt, too lazy, too narrow minded. All of which can be true, as it is for any institution run by human beings. But I have seen the unions get berated by their "friends" for decades without adding the context: that there has been a well organized war on unions since at least the end of World War II.


Read This Book

invisible handsHow about a little less blame the victim and a little more support for an institution that's on the verge of elimination.


As a retired union member, I'm all for unions making alliances, looking outside their comfort zones, and working harder to engage the public. I would prefer it, however, if those who think of themselves as Democrats, liberals, lefties, or progressives could keep in mind that unions have been under attack because they were successful. They gave working people a better life and a bit of a voice in their workplace, and in the process helped create a society that once had a lot of middle class in the middle.


Unions, when they can reach a critical mass big enough to make a difference also help raise the bottom and the middle of the pay scale high enough to keep the higher classes in position. In the last 30 years or so, this has gone out of style, and the attitude, at least until very recently has been "As long as your standard of living is dropping faster than mine, I'm happy."


Want to read a really scary book? Read Invisible Hands, by historian Kim Phillips-Fein. A big chunk of the corporate community has been plotting to eliminate unions ever since the New Deal. It only sounds like a hard to believe conspiracy instead of an openly planned attack because almost no one has been paying attention.


January, 2014


The Palin Watch


Will Trump Revive Palin?


She endorsed him, but he's so much better at what she was doing than she is now, she needs him more than he needs her. She's reduced now to an opening act.


June 2016

Palin the Pundit


She paved the way for Trump and Carson as untainted outsiders so why isn't she in the debates? Waiting to be picked as the VP again? I'm disappointed, but not disillusioned. Part of her mojo was believing she represented a majority, whether true or not.


November 2015


Palin In the Wilderness


Pushed out of Fox News along with Glenn Beck while the big boys in charge got serious about elected George Romney and then failed, Sarah Palin has kept her foot in the door of the establishment by endorsing candidates that push Republican primaries to the right. But that doesn't translate into the kind of cultural and political impact she had in the first go round against Obama and seems to be frittering away.


It's a slide downhill from Palin to Ted Cruz or who? Rand Paul? So pure at heart Real America right wingers have to wonder why the luster didn't last. Palin is reminding me of sixties left celebrities in the 1980s. Still somewhat interesting but marginal now. Is that it? Was it all an act? Playing the integrity card in politics can be complicated.


January 2014



Accents And Their Effects

The first-time double bill of Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman at the recent covered-live-by-Sean-Hannity Tea Party shindig in the Twin Cities released a flurry of excited speculation.  How about an all-woman all-teapartyish Republican Presidential ticket in 2012?  Palin-Bachman might make Joe Biden look boring, and would certainly remix the relationship between feminism and Civil Rights.  But here’s what I noticed:  Palin and Bachman have the same accent.  And affect.

Others have noted that Alaska was settled by a lot of folks with Minnesota (Scandinavia and bits of Germany) accents.  But Palin and Bachman both make it work for them.  You betcha.  Ya sure.  In print the rhetoric might look a little flamboyant. But on YouTube or Fox, Sarah and Michelle sound, well, full of common sense.  No southern accents here.  No George Wallace, or even the sound of Arizona or Southern California.  We are now post-Goldwater, post-Reagan, post-Bush, and post-McCain.  The drone of the Northern Plains signifies a new combo: Good Old Boys minus the boys and the Civil War plus bomb Iran plus I Am Woman hockey-mom small business owner. The Prairie Home Companion on Fox News.


sarah palin and tina feyTina Fey is a genius of course, and just like Obama, passed through Chicago.  (Saul Alinsky or Bernie Sahlins, it’s all the same). But you can’t parody something that’s weak. Palin is savvy: she embraces Fey in Going Rouge but hasn’t lost that accent.  With her focus and intuition, and the right luck she could end up as real and mythological as Reagan.  Laugh at Saturday Night Live, but don't smirk.



April 20, 2010




Election Predictions


With her arrival at Fox News, Paliin has a chance to practice and perfect negotiating the right wing pundit terrain from Hannity to O'Reilly to Beck, while fundraising and making appearances for a clever mix of Republican Party establishment figures and Tea Party rebels. So far, she seems a lot more sure-footed than creepy Ann Coulter, and I suspect her time in front of the camera at Fox will clarify as well as soften her message and image.


For 2012 I predict she will run for the Presidency and lose the Republican primary to Mitt Romney, who can take credit, behind the scenes in Massachusetts for Scott Brown getting elected to the Senate and ending the Democrats super majority. Romney will lose narrowly to Obama, discrediting a move to the center for Republicans, and by the end of Obama's second term, the populace will be tired of the Democrats and vote in Palin for President, running as an untainted, unapologetic conservative, who will by then have lots of practice working in front of the national media. Just like Ronald Reagan.


February 14, 2010


Pop Music in "Going Rogue"


sarah palin going rogue"Our big trips were drives into Anchorage, and on those rare occasions we'd sing along to "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree" on the scratchy AM radio." (page 16)


". . . gave us a whole blueberry pie that we shared with friends after our 800-mile, 40 hour round-trip, driven to the sound of the Black Eyed Peas and an old LLCool J remix we found in the glove box." (page 114)


"Kid Rock, for instance, is very pro-American and has common sense ideas." . . . ."We also welcomed "Redneck Woman" Gretchen Wilson aboard the campaign plane. We knew all her songs, and I loved that she loved to talk about her daughter." (page 300)


"Along with other patriots, Hank Williams Jr., John Rich, Naomi Judd, and Lee Greenwood joined us on the trail" . . . "Meanwhile, other people called. I talked to Bono" (page 301)


"It was a thrill to meet so many courageous Americans on the trail, including well-known patriot Hank Williams Jr." (caption on picture showing Williams at rally on 12th page in photo section following page 370.)


January 14, 2010