The Rude Guy Podcast #73 November 12, 2010
[McBama, a Fourth Political Party, and Blue Collar Guys]
Rich Zubaty here to say…I love being a blue-collar worker. I’ve painted houses and built houses and fixed cars and cooked food, and written books and painted oil paintings and played in bands, and the satisfaction is always the same. I’ve made something. I’ve done something. I’ve brought alive some more function or beauty or excitement in the world. I have not been the guy using an algorithm to chart the rise and fall of stock prices so I can make $100,000 in five minutes after Toyota announces a recall. I am not one who extracts wealth from the system. I am one who makes wealth. One who ADDS wealth to the system. Which is then sliced and diced and securitized and mortgaged by all those white-collar guys and women who add nothing to the system. Who are allowed to operate for the sole reason that they help lazy rich people live off their money without working, by keeping their investments two steps ahead of inflation…by stealing the wealth created by blue-collar guys like me.
But I’d rather just be a blue-collar guy. A wealth-creator. Not a wealth extractor. Mainly because blue-collar guys don’t worry as much. Why? Because we can DO things. And people always want things done. They want things welded or painted or hammered or cooked or irrigated. Plus it’s a lot of fun, and like I said, satisfying, to step back at the end of a day and look at your work. Yeah, after a day of ripping through the stock markets you can go downstairs and purchase the wealth that other people have created, but it’s not the same. All you’ve really done is extract wealth from the economy that was created by the blue-collar people, the ones who make the steaks and champagne and Porsches. So you possess the object, but you don’t possess the art and creativity and satisfaction of having MADE the object. In fact, you’ve stolen it. And deep down in your soul you know that, and if the rest of us made your job illegal tomorrow you’d shrug and say, “What took you so long?”
That’s why you can’t relax. That’s why you’ve got to have more and more and more. You’re worried that someday your ability to make money will dry up. Because you really can’t do anything that human society actually needs or wants, and if a nuclear bomb erased everything tomorrow, and you were one of the 1000 people left, you’d starve and die of exposure, because you cannot hammer a nail or grow a bean. Which means, ultimately, you are just a parasite on the rest of us, you white collar men and women. And you know it and it makes you uneasy.
Because every once in awhile a revolution comes along and wipes out who? The people who grow the food and build the houses? Or the people who live off those who do?
The captains of commerce in a capitalist society spend their days trying to figure out ways to make a few pennies an hour, off the real work, accomplished by thousands other people. This is not admirable. It’s despicable. And it leads to a lot of neuroses. If you spend your entire life stealing wealth and call it “making a profit”, deep down your soul knows the difference, and you never really sleep very well.
So you young people! Don’t worry about going to college and taking psychology classes, so you can learn how to cope with living in a fucked up society. Learn how to do something with your hands. That’s the only job security there is.
Most of the new Democrats who came in with the 50 state strategy in 2008, are out on their ass in 2010. Why? Because the voters in those normally Republican states went back to being Republican. Like I’ve said many many times, the 50 state strategy was a disaster. The Dems had both houses of congress and the presidency, and couldn’t get a fucking thing done. Don’t blame it on the Republicans. Blame it on the blue dog Democrats. Blanche Lincoln, the one who torpedoed the public option by playing to the center, lost her seat! But Dennis Kucinich won. Here in Hawaii we elected a bearded hippie leftist governor, Neil Abercrombie. Across the country, except for Feingold and Grayson who were brutally targeted by big invisible out-of-state money, The Leftists won!
The 50 state strategy brought a lot of conservative blue dogs into Congress who thwarted leftists, and now they’re out on their butts. The new House is actually more polarized. The guys who won are the ones who wanted single payer, not just a lame public option. And of course the tea partiers are going to polarize it on other issues. But there is a chance that the two could come together on things like auditing the Fed. And stopping the wars. And opposing bankster friendly legislation. Things Obama did NOT do!
Obama completely blew it. If he had swing to the left and stayed to the left, allotted $1.5 trillion for job stimulus in the same spirit he allotted 15 trillion to bankster stimulus. If he had actually pursued direct job creation rather than tax cuts and keeping state workers employed, he would have jump-started the economy. If he had stopped the goddam wars and stopped the goddam spying and assassinations, his Democrats would have won. The base would have said, wow, at least he’s trying. We only lost single payer by 10 House votes. Let’s get out there and elect Democrats and push this over the goal line.
In his first months in office Obama could have pursued bold new initiatives, with the American public covering his back. His sheer popularity could have brought congress to heel. Instead he played kissy with republicans and the Clintonite Democratic establishment. He could have been FDR, instead he’s Jimmy Carter.
Two years later, electing Democrats became synonymous with electing business as usual. A travesty. Who are their political gurus? Guys who think crafting a message is more important that executing an action! That’s what the executive branch does. EXECUTE LAW. Enforce law. Not just talk. Obama should have learned this when he was a teacher.
We need a fourth party. A leftist populist party. A progressive populist party. Light on the social issues, heavy on the economic issues. I am NOT going to fight for gay rights just so I can get worker’s rights. Worker’s rights are for everybody. Gay rights are for gays. Even gay Republicans. There are no Republican workers right’s advocates, but there sure are log cabin Republican gay rights activists. Same with women’s issues. Women’s issues are not leftist. Sarah Palin is a woman. Feminists supported the invasion of Afghanistan so Afghan women wouldn’t have to wear burkas. We need a progressive populist party that zeroes in on economics. Economics.
For two years we’ve listened to knee-jerk Democrats tell us how much better Barack Obama is than George W Bush, or John McCain. I don’t see it. Obama stayed with Bush’s Iraq withdrawal schedule, but increased war funding and tripled U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Obama bailed out the banks, but not the people who the banks hurt. His stimulus bill was one-third tax cuts and one-third state and local government welfare. His health care reform was corporate welfare. His financial reform bill didn’t address too-big-to-fail banks, the whole REASON we needed a financial reform bill in the first place. It was as if, during an epidemic of biting dogs, he arrested all stray cats and announced that he had just passed pet reform legislation.
Transparency of his administration is worse than Bush, and his approval of domestic spying, overseas prisons, and international assassinations is shocking. Eric Holder is a shit bag of an Attorney General. A Washington status quo-tician, who will not prosecute Bush era torture – not even now that George Bush has insolently admitted he approved water boarding. Which is against international and U.S. law. Nor will he prosecute BP’s malfeasance and refusal to pay for the devastation in the Gulf, or home mortgage lending fraud by banks – my god, he’s standing by with a thumb up his ass while 50 states attorneys general have banded together to investigate loan and foreclosure fraud – AND he’s standing by with a thumb up his ass while federal goons invade the apartments of anti-war activists. And few on the professional left complain. The pendulum of history owed us a swing to the far far left, and instead we got a brown-skinned coward hanging around center court, throwing bounce passes to bankers and insurance companies, while the populists are banished to the frozen parking lot. Enough already.
Here’s what Cindy Sheehan wrote about this on al Jazeera:
Starting with this quote from 5-time presidential candidate, Eugene J. McCarthy…”The two-party system has given this country the war of Lyndon Johnson, the Watergate of Nixon and the incompetence of Carter. Saying we should keep the two-party system simply because it is working, is like saying the Titanic voyage was a success because a few people survived on life rafts.” Unquote
If John McCain were president, we can never be exactly sure what would be happening, but I think we can make some educated speculations.
First of all, the “banksters” would be receiving their carte blanche bailouts, and Ben Bernanke would have been re-appointed as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Robert Gates would probably still be the secretary of defence, and Sarah Palin would be offering late night comedians endless fodder, for their monologues.
If John McCain happened to be the one infesting the Oval Office at this time, single-payer health care would surely be “off the table”. I am confident that a health care “reform” bill probably would have contained massive giveaways to the insurance and big pharmaceutical industries, with no “robust” public option.
We citizens would, I’m sure, have been forced to purchase insurance from the very same insurance companies that spread out a largess of nearly $170 million lobbying dollars to Congress in 2009. If we are one of the “lucky ones” that happen to already have coverage, we would have been taxed for the benefit.
Without a doubt, McCain’s Justice Department would be protecting war criminals – like John Yoo – of the preceding administration, and the McCain Department of Justice would probably be vigorously defending the discriminatory practice of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell for the military.
More than likely, under this nightmarish scenario, McCain’s Federal Bureau of Investigation would be committing home invasion break-ins (designated as “legal raids”) to intimidate activists, especially peace activists.
McCain probably would have given himself the power to be judge and jury over any American citizen that didn’t approve of his foreign policy.
There is not even a shadow of doubt that McCain would be feigning strictness with Israel, while turning a blind eye, to the continued expansions, of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and the completely immoral and destructive blockade of Gaza.
If the unthinkable occurred, and McCain beat Obama in 2008, official unemployment would be hovering around 10 per cent (unofficial around 20 per cent). And one in every five homes would be in danger of being foreclosed upon. We might even be experiencing the widest income disparity between the rich and poor that we have seen since before the stock market crash of 1929!
McCain, being the “brave” military man, may have tripled troop deployments to Afghanistan, and the needless deaths of US troops and Afghan civilians, would probably have increased dramatically. I am sure that McCain would have given huge contracts to the US war machine for drones, mercenaries, airplanes and other military hardware.
Being a loyal Bushite, McCain would probably be conscientiously following the Status of Forces Agreement, for the slow withdrawal from Iraq, that was negotiated between the Bush government, and their puppet regime in Iraq.
I get informed all the time, that even though “Obama isn’t so great”, at least he hasn’t invaded Iran yet, and McCain surely would have been bombing Iran by now.
Rhetoric towards Iran would be heightened, but whether McCain would have waged another military campaign during the current political climate, (and two hot wars and a rabid anti-war movement), would be an assumption too far.
Gosh, if McCain were president right now, the defense budget might be the largest since World War II — $741.2 billion dollars a year. He might even have asked for billions upon billions of supplemental funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Horrors!
Of course, a McCain education budget would only be about 1/10th of the defense budget, at $78 billion dollars. And, a McCain education plan would probably contain lots of rigorous testing, if the states were to want more desperately needed funds.
If McCain were president, there would be an active “anti-war” movement. However — as during the Bush years — the “movement” wouldn’t be so much antiwar, but anti-war waged by the Republicans. The anti-Republican movement wants no systemic change, it just wants Democrats in office.
However in almost every case, Democrat equals the status quo.
Of course, in all of my above scenarios, Obama and his regime have done all of those things that people were afraid that McCain would do, but there’s an extremely small outcry.
Voting for the “lesser of two evils” has become a national pastime. When the elite class gives the appearance of only two choices on the ballot, we end up voting “against” a candidate, far more times than we vote “for” someone.
The Democrats had their chance during the last four years, and instead of passing progressive legislation and ending the wars, they have pandered to the right, which has been emboldened by the power the Democrats gave it.
Now the Republicans have taken over the House of Representatives. And Democrats will begin to spew progressivism out of their lying mouths, and abuse the energy of their newly-angry base, to try to regain power — like the Republicans have done effectively for the past two years.
Will progressives ever learn that political pandering and fear-based voting never brings anything but defeat, or are we trapped in a vicious cycle of our own making?
Thank you Cindy. And these are the reasons why I am going to start a chapter of : “The Rent is Too Damn High Party” in my local community. Lots of people now, including Ralph Nader and Michael Moore, are talking not about a third party, but a fourth party. I don’t wannna see Obama sashay into a second term just because the Republicans and the Tea Party are eating each other alive. Moreover, there are natural points of populist majority agreement between the far right and far left. Audit the FED is something everybody who is not a bankster agrees on. How in God’s name can the private banks, who print our money, be doing so in complete secrecy? With no oversight? Audit the FED. The left and right both agree on that.
Stop the war. You want to stop insane government spending? Stop the wars and cut the military budget in half. Libertarians and leftists agree on this already. And the rent IS too damn high. Rich people and banksters, who fled the two stock market collapses at both the beginning, and the end, of the George Bush presidency, had nowhere to park their money, so they began investing wildly in real estate, driving the price of housing through the roof. They did it through no-down-payment, and low interest loans, and they just kept churning sales and flipping property until the whole fucking thing collapsed. And they did it because government was asleep at the switch. When any economy has a million homeless people and a million vacant houses you can conclude that it is NOT a free market. Because if it WERE a free market, the price of rentals and mortgages would come down down down to the point where those million people would be out of their cars and off the streets. No, the banksters and the FED are printing money to inflate the economy and keep the prices of housing high, so their bonds don’t collapse. Fuck their bonds. We’re paying for their bonds by sleeping in vans and station wagons.
It’s time for a revolution. But I’m too old for that, and anyway I don’t trust the American people. I’ll get my ass flapping out there in the political wind and the Limbaugh-addled mob will change directions and trample me to death. I will not be a martyr to America stupidity.
Here’s a real political story about a real politician. Not some college professor who got elected because he had no moral compass and was willing to cut deals with anybody.
Dilma Rousseff began her political career as a Marxist guerrilla, but has just become the first female president to lead Brazil, the world’s 8th largest economy. Yaa Hooo!
Rousseff was born in December 1947 to a Bulgarian immigrant father and a Brazilian mother.
After becoming an active militant guerilla in an underground Marxist group, seeking to overturn the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985, she was arrested in January 1970 and sentenced to six years in prison.
After nearly three years behind bars, where she was tortured, she was released, at the end of 1972.
In 1980 she became involved in a leftist populist party, the Democratic Workers Party.
Married twice, Rousseff has one daughter, Paula, and became a grandmother in September.
By 2007, former president Lula was promoting Rousseff as the “mother” of his government’s plan, to accelerate economic growth, by investing massively in infrastructure projects.
The decision paid off, as Brazil has experienced sustained growth.
Sustained growth by investing in massive infrastructure projects. That’s rocket science to a knee jerk capitalist. That’s voodoo to a free-market economist. Invest in infrastructure and have a functioning economy. It’s not a theory, it’s a fucking fact.
I just ran across some quotes by Alexis de Tocqueville, the French philosopher/historian who visited America in 1831. And I want you to see how accurately he predicted what America would be like 180 years later! Listen to this:
There are two things which a democratic people will always find very difficult – to begin a war and to end it.
All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know, that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it.
No protracted war can fail to endanger the freedom, of a democratic country.
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public, with the public’s money.
History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies.
Boy, that’s Barack Obama all over. There’s nothing original about the man except his skin color.
I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind, and real freedom of discussion, as in America.
In America, the majority raises formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion; within these barriers an author may write what he pleases, but woe to him if he goes beyond them.
Right, try critiquing women, or free markets, in American mass media. You have to start a podcast.
In the United States, the majority undertakes to supply a multitude of ready-made opinions for the use of individuals, who are thus relieved from the necessity of forming opinions of their own.
How about: lowering taxes on the rich creates jobs? Heard that one? We’ve been trying it for 30 years and it hasn’t worked once. Not once. Or how about we need to slash government spending by cutting social programs, but ooohhh don’t touch military spending. Or how about freedom isn’t free, and that’s why we need a total military, CIA, and Homeland Security budget approaching One Trillion dollars a year. Disgusting.
In the United States, the majority undertakes to supply a multitude of ready-made opinions for the use of individuals, who are thus relieved from the necessity of forming opinions of their own.
Alexis de Tocqueville, 180 years ago.
Some closing words from the late Howard Zinn:
Quote “The Constitution gave no rights to working people; no right to work less than 12 hours a day, no right to a living wage, no right to safe working conditions. Workers had to organize, go on strike, defy the law, the courts, the police, create a great movement which won the eight-hour day, and caused such commotion that Congress was forced to pass a minimum wage law, and Social Security, and unemployment insurance….Those rights only come alive when citizens organize, protest, demonstrate, strike, boycott, rebel and violate the law in order to uphold justice.”
If you like this show, email me. So I hear about it. So I muster the will to keep on going. email@example.com and maybe I’ll even read some of your thoughts on the air…and visit my website too. I’ve got a new painting about the Iraq war: happyfool.ORG
I just endured a $500 dollar car repair bill, that really hurt, so if you can donate a few bucks please do.
Plus my dad just died, my family is in an uproar because one of my brothers stole his house and all his money, leaving us the only option of having to hire a probate attorney, and I feel numb. My dad fought in the Philippines in World War Two as a PT boat gunner. We used to go pheasant hunting in Illinois and he was a great shot. He never missed. He worked as a truck driver for 45 years and paid the freight for 7 kids. My mom never worked. But he was lonely and isolated and completely dominated by my mom, and died without single a friend his age, though some navy guys showed up to honor him with a bugle player and a flag. Oh well, this isn’t the place for that kind of sentimentality I guess.