Liberal Disconnect- Unions


I’ve been thinking quite a bit about how the so called liberals of the US are disconnected from the people they are representing.  Let’s face it, Democrats are not winning any votes.  They have become real adept at losing seats and are becoming increasingly disconnected from the middle and working classes.

I’ll start with a story.

My daughter recently got her first job.  She’s 19 years old and has been doing really good since she got it.  I don’t believe she’s been late at all.  She’s maintaining a good attitude.

I have joint bank accounts with both of my kids.  I set them up years ago so that I could transfer money to them in case of emergency or for allowance.  I’ve also been able to help them out understanding how to maintain a bank account and what some of the rules are.  The idea is that once they feel stable, they separate from me and take their accounts to themselves.

I see my daughter has been setting aside $100 each week.  She’s also been getting stuff.  I’m good with that.  She should while she can.  But the saving money is a smart move.

She’s making ten cents over minimum wage.

I can honestly say that my wife was a bit pissed about this as she makes minimum wage.  That’s the world we live in.  It’s not really about working hard.  You want to leave the job market in order to raise your kids, you’ve just put yourself to the back of the line.  That’s the next topic.

The other day some snail mail came for my daughter.  Her job is at the local grocery store.  She is now part of a union.  She owes them $225.  My wife now has a better hourly wage than my daughter.

My daughter hasn’t said anything.  That’s who she is.

And here we are to my topic.

I believe unions once served a very fine purpose.  They allowed for some very needed protections for some people who were not being treated fairly at the work place.

Unions negotiated better pay for workers so they could support their families better.  Without unions, people were making pennies a day and working unhealthy hours in horrible conditions.

I argue that the union shouldn’t have to exist for these people.  That the country should take care of the people and not be forced to create laws that give people rights and create healthy working conditions.  I argue that every once in a while decisions and laws should be made for people, and not negotiated on behalf of those already in power.

But that’s not how America works.

My daughter has a union job that pays her ten cents above minimum wage.  She now has to work 20 hours for free to maintain that standard of living.  Every month the union will take money from her.  If she gets a promotion or raise, the union will take another $50.

So that she can make ten cents over minimum wage.

Any other job in the world would pay her within $4 per week without dues.

I could understand more if she was walking into a high demand position which offers a few dollars over minimum wage, but this is not it.

I now understand why I rarely see the same faces at the local grocery store.

Back to my point.

Unions have made themselves irrelevant over the last 40 years.  They are now perceived as a Ponzi Scheme skimming money from hard working lower and middle class individuals without any benefit and without providing any service at all.

They had their day.  They really did.  But they gave it up.

I remember the 80’s when the unions were still somewhat strong.  They helped people and when they felt they were being undercut, they gave the workers the ability to demand more.

Labor unions always endorse the Democrat in any race.  And they should.  Because Republicans always run on a platform of trickle down economics.  They always run on an idea that the wealthy need more of their money and unions restrict the free market.

Let me put the dots together.

If I was a young person in today’s world and I was making minimum wage while watching my paychecks get raped by an organization which is not really giving me a single advantage in the workplace, I’m voting for the party who is in favor of putting that money back in my paycheck.  I’m voting for the party who has the anti-union platform.

If I was a young person who went out an caucused for a person who said he was going to help people make more of the money they deserve only to watch the DNC act as a union and skim off the top, I’m not likely to vote for that party.  Unions can do good things, but they, like most corporations, need to be nudged the right direction.

See, liberals and Democrats, you have a problem.  You’re not helping people at all.  And I’m not even talking about Goldman Sachs right now.

You are failing to help even one person who is making less than $75,000 a year.  You’ve lost your constituents.

Take that union endorsement if you want, but insist that the union take strides to help people more.  Because too many people are not getting any benefits.  Call them out.  You’ll get votes.  But then follow up.

We can blame the Republicans.  We can blame corporations and capitalism.  We can blame globalization.  We can blame a multitude of things.

But I blame the Democrats.  You have the ball.  But instead of running any real plays, you keep taking a knee on the 50 yard line, and that ain’t progress.  Never will be.  Because after a few plays, you have to either punt or give the ball to the Republicans.

I have a feeling my daughter is looking for new work.  I would.

And so should those who are running the Democrats.

Know Your Role


This is a post about media in our capitalist society and the damaging impact it has done to the world in which we live.  I’m writing this as a person who resides on the far left of the spectrum.  If you believe that politics and policy reside on a two dimensional line.

Now it’s your choice if you wish to read on.

The media acts as if it’s America’s muse.  Delivering to it what it really wants to happen by thinly veiling their intentions as news.

The media sat down and read a book on how to play jedi mind tricks like Yoda, but isn’t really good at it.  Did Russia influence our elections?  We don’t know, but will examine the situation for the next four hours solid.

The media pretends as if they are the parents in the room, but refuse to admit that Santa is not real when confronted.

I don’t think any of this is really news to the people of this country.

This is why Trump has not lost the support he had a year ago.

This is exactly why all factions of politicians can take shots at the press.  This why virtually nobody but centrist thinkers are skeptical of reporting.

The media convinced America that Iraq was necessary.  The media didn’t warn America of the pending recession even though it was blatantly obvious what was going to happen.  They put Donald Trump on television constantly and gave him unlimited airtime.  The fact that the press was negative toward the orange wonder only gave Trump supporters the proof they needed.  The media continues to push this Russian story.

The media has not focused on jobs or DAPL or the continued dealings of an unchecked Wall Street.  They have tried to run the narrative by reporting on what they want you to hear.

And the people who are struggling day in and day out have lost all interest.  People, it turns out, just want to make ends meet.  They just want a job and health care and an occasional vacation.

You continue to tell us that each tooth means a quarter under the pillow in the morning, but we are like a teenager whose eyes glaze over with each and every statement which has happened.

The media is not the muse.

The media is not Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The media is the boy who cried wolf.

The media is Eddie Haskell.

America wants to know what the angle is with each and every story that runs.  Especially when it has been aired for months and nothing has happened.

No smoking gun.

Stop telling me that you’re reporting on my best interests when you’re not.

If anything, the constant negative coverage has actually empowered Trump and his base because the media is being proven to be the biased machine that has always been perceived they are.

I don’t like Trump’s agenda.  I think the Republicans are awful people.

I think the fact that the media reports the way they do is proof that capitalism is a dysfunctional system that needs better checks in order to be successful for the common person.

The media reports on the concerns of the wealthy and empowered.

The media runs cover when they are supposed to be exposing the truth.

Trump’s approval rating has gone down, but not really below the level of those who supported him in the first place.  The fact is that the media has strengthened the views of Trump supporters.

The fact is that the media and Congress are so out of touch with the common person and their needs that people have no choice but to rally against their own interests.

They are basically saying, I saw you hid the eggs, dad.

We all believe what we want to believe.  There are so many ways of getting exactly what we need to hear in order to justify our beliefs in today’s world.  And the only people to blame for some of the misinformation that is being spread by alternative news sources is the misdirection and misinformation being repeated on the television supported by large money on any given day.

I realize that corporations are now people.  But they really aren’t, so they need a face.  They need somebody to represent and present their views so that they can get what they want.

That’s why Sean Hannity, Joy Reid, Rachel Maddow, Wolf Blitzer, and all the rest even exist.  They were invented and propped up in order to push the agenda of the people who cut them checks.

Not to help the people who need help most.

If CNN really wanted to cut Trump down, they should go after policy.  They should report what happens.  They should report on jobs.  They should create a narrative conducive to helping the average person.  No sensationalism.

The centrists are licking their chops at an impeachment hearing.  Best ratings ever.

They should not weaken our system any more.

So I encourage you.

Find a reliable source.  Find news.

And to the media:  just fucking stop.  You’re turning the country against their own interests.

Noise of the World


As I sat there with the headphones pressed into my ear holes and the mist of the waterfall drifting over my face, thoughts passing through my head.  These hikes to someplace have become quite regular for me.  Pack the dog up with some food and ensure my camera and phone batteries are charged.

And.

Headphones.

That’s my topic.  Or at least the springboard to my topic.

When I was a kid, we had to get those ones with the foam covers and that little wire shaped to hold them over our head.  They are, as most things, much better today.  Much more flexible.  Much better sound.  Much more prevalent.

Let’s face it.  Nobody has to lug around a Walkman.  Nobody has to create mix tapes.  Nobody has to haul around all this equipment.  Or a boombox on their shoulder.

Go to the store.  Walk around and notice how many people of various ages have headphones in.  Connected with wires or Bluetooth, all these people are walking around listening to music or books or news or podcasts or probably nothing at all.  Depends on their reason for having the headphones in.

Thoughts lead me to believe there are two reasons for headphones.

I figure that there’s a good chunk of people who are trying to let the noise in.

I’m guessing there’s a bigger percentage of people who are trying to keep the noise out.  They want to be oblivious to everything and everybody.

Is that guy in line at the grocery store really captivated by his Facebook feed?  Or is it simply his way of avoiding having to create small talk or be friendly to the cashier?  Does he think it makes him look important?

We see it everywhere.  People trying to avoid the noise of the world.  Sucking themselves into their own little shell.

I’ve known people who told me they do not actually have any music on when they wear headphones.  They do not receive any calls.  They just want to be left alone.

I’m not going to lie.  I keep my headphones in when I go the store.  If I’m already wearing them.  If I’m already out on a walk.  But I’m letting the noise in.  Nothing brings me greater piece.

But there is a part of me that realizes me doing this is also to keep the noise out.  I know this.

I hate all the noise.

Static.

White noise.

Ear hole clutter.

We live in a world where the neighbor no longer has to look through the kitchen blinds in order to find out what is going on.  Bewitched would have a whole new set of plots these days.

Your neighbor is announcing everything.  Your neighbor is blasting it on every social media and your neighbor does not care who reads or hears it.

We all have leashes electronically tied to us.  Everybody thinks they should be able to get a hold of you at anytime.  For any reason.  All the time.

I don’t need that noise.

All that static.

That constant invasion of gossip and garbage.

This isn’t progress.

I changed my phone number over a year ago.  Didn’t give it to many people.

No static at all.

I stepped back and simplified.  And I didn’t care who it offended.  I didn’t care who got upset.

I’ve been happy about it.

I finished my walk this afternoon.  Me and the dog.  Headphones in.  I’ve been finding so much new music lately.  My drug of choice.

I took pictures of the landscape around me.  I tried to change the settings for a fluid waterfall.  I guess I need I need a stabilizer.  Add it to my list.

I never heard when somebody walked behind me on the trail.

It’s okay.

I was at peace.

And I’m not sacrificing any of this peace.

No matter how upset somebody may get.

fluidfall