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Protected: Things On My Mind…

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“Democracy Is Dead.”

These were the words of a man being interviewed on the street, shortly after learning of the failed recall attempt of the governor of Wisconsin, RethugliKKKan Scott Walker.  Voters chose to keep this corrupt individual in office, even with the knowledge of his anti-union, anti-worker, anti-voter’s rights record – which is documented for anyone to look up and research.  His recent bill, which stripped public employees of all meaningful collective bargaining rights, was described by him as ‘divide & conquer’ – a tactic that has worked all too well in recent years.  Following the money trail will show who is invested in keeping who in office; deeper research should reveal the whys.  I have yet to hear any politician from any party who doesn’t speak in carefully-rehearsed ‘talking points’!  None of them can give a straight answer when asked what they specifically have planned to create jobs, or why they feel it is so important to lower (and/or eliminate) taxes on the wealthy and the corporations, but raise them on the nearly-extinct middle class and the burgeoning lower class.  I love this ignorant statement: “No poor person ever hired me / gave me a job!”  My response to that is, “True – but, no poor person has ever fired me unfairly, nor have they ever ‘downsized’ me and then outsourced my job to China or India!”

Digressing…at any rate, this corporate-backed, union-busting governor gets to keep his seat in office.  This happened on the same day that the Paycheck Fairness act was struck down; this would have ensured that women get wages equal to their male counterparts in similar positions, and would have allowed people to find out what their pay scale is as it compares to their coworkers without fear of reprisal.  Of course, white women have little to fear from this, as they are guaranteed sweet maternity leave programs by the same corporations which are invested in keeping non-white people under the feet of white women – non-white women will be the most affected by this latest action.  For instance, during the nearly 4 years at my last job, four of the 10 women employed there got pregnant; two of them left the company after their kids were born.  Also, at least five of the young men employed there got their wives pregnant, so they would certainly be beneficiaries of the tax breaks they would be getting – not to mention, the raises and new titles they were given not soon after announcing their impending fatherhood.  Seemed coincidental, to me…
Anyway, this failed recall attempt will surely have nationwide ramifications, and people should really sit up and take notice of what is happening.   I hate to break it to that young man; he must be too young to realize that democracy, as it was, has been dead for some time.  AmeriKKKa’s politics have been a plutocracy for quite a while, and has recently been exposed as such ever since the “corporations are people, too!” rule was applied.  It’s fascinating to see the number of pro-‘Thug and Teabagger propaganda-filled billboards polluting the beautiful scenery.  We passed through Wisconsin during our recent travels; I remember seeing the signs in peoples’ front yards, proclaiming that they “Stand With Walker”.  I thought, “those poor fools…they really believe that the greedy son-of-a-bitch that they’ve been supporting cares about them and their struggles, assuming they’re people who’ve been struggling!”  The signs were always on neatly manicured lawns in ‘nice’ neighborhoods, I noted…at any rate, Walker pushed through major tax cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals, and slashed state government budgets, including money for schools.  He rejected $810 million in federal funds to build a high-speed rail line from Madison to Milwaukee.  And, most damningly, he signed a law that requires voters to show government-issued ID before casting a ballot.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18332369

Of course, democracy has been a fairly loosely applied concept – not all residents of this great nation have consistently had equitable rights or opportunities when it comes to voting and politics.  Women weren’t allowed to vote in the United States until 1756, at the earliest; black people, specifically, weren’t allowed to vote until the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 – which really wasn’t that long ago!  Now, with the new attacks on voting rights, those days of discrimination are alive and well again.  Ruthelle Frank, an 81-year-old (white) woman from a small town in Wisconsin who has been voting since 1948, was recently told she needs to purchase new identification papers to vote in 2012, due to the new voter ID requirement passed by the state legislature (thank you, Gov. Walker).   In Chattanooga, TN, Dorothy Cooper, a 96-year-old AA woman who has cast a ballot in every election since she became eligible to vote (again, not that long ago!), is told she needs new paperwork to vote in 2012.  Right-wing legislators in 34 states have introduced voter ID laws that could prevent millions of voters from casting votes in 2012.  Interestingly enough, those laws may not apply to white males, since they are rarely questioned or required to prove their identity – I hardly ever see store employees asking white men for their IDs whenever they pull out a credit card to purchase something!  For instance, I know of an individual who lives in Scappoose, OR, who has no birth certificate or Social Security number – yet, he has a job, a bank account with which he can secure loans for his house and vehicles, owns guns, and can vote.  His wife is a former co-worker of mine, and was talking about that at work one day.  I found it fascinating…go figure, eh?  Politically, though, black people are at the bottom of the totem pole – presumably, if recent propaganda is to be believed, Native Americans have more rights and benefits.  Also, the ‘latino vote’ is now the most desired bloc next to the ‘gay vote’…watching the expected pandering is a means of amusement, for me!  Yes, ‘divide & conquer’ is quite the useful tool…when you look at all of the social constructs that have been invented and how they are used to create rifts amongst us all, it puts the head in a tailspin!  ‘White’ vs. ‘non’…male vs. female…religious vs. secular…RethugliKKKan vs. DemoKKKrap…straight vs. gay…haves vs. have-nots…the list is endless.  Then, of course, the divisions in the ‘sub-groups’: union member vs. non…public union vs. private union…middle-class vs. ‘lower’ class… ‘upper’ class vs. everyone else…straight vs. bisexual…bisexual vs. transsexual…mentally unstable vs. physically disabled…old vs. young…etc., ad nausem, ad infinitum…for instance, people have quite a negative view of unions and the vitriol directed at them is astounding.  The IBEW union hall that my fiancée’s father was a member of (and my fiancée himself, for a time), L.U. 970, recently closed and voted to join up with my fiancée’s current union, L.U. 48.  It was a bittersweet farewell dinner; good that the union members now have the protection and territory rights, sad that a hall had to close its doors because the economical and political climate is so negative.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-18336641

Gas prices are very high in the part of the country I reside in – $4.50 is the average price being paid for premium (91-octane or higher) gasoline.  Back east, we found prices as low as $2.90/gallon for premium, 93-octane gas!  It was interesting, though to find high gas prices in Gary, IN – especially since a massive BP refinery is located there, right on the shores of Lake Michigan…acre after acre of containment tanks lining the road, behind mile after mile of razor-wire-topped chain-link fences.  Gas prices were a little over $4.00/gallon there, and we saw many depressed neighborhoods.  It seemed that there would be low employment numbers there, seeing as how a mighty corporation could easily have put every homeless person we saw to work, but it was not the impression I got.  Alaska is another state that pays fairly high gas prices – why is that, I wonder, when the oil is readily available right there?  Fascinating, no?  The toll roads and turnpikes seemed endless – from Illinois through Pennsylvania, there were the dreaded toll lanes and booths.  I understood, though, the need for them.  If you use the road, you pay for the benefit of using it.  If people want to bitch about taxes being used for the necessary maintenance and upkeep of roads, then perhaps a toll is required.  If you want to use the road and/or bridge in question, pay up – otherwise, take a detour!  We did that a few times; taking the scenic route was actually quite delightful.  It made really SEEING the country a possibility…politicians don’t do that.  They don’t want to go outside of their carefully-constructed routes, or deviate from their carefully-written scripts of limited ‘talkin points’.  Listening to them is like calling a customer service number and getting someone with a Pakistani accent on the other end of the phone.  You want to ask a question that isn’t in their script, but they keep going to the beginning of the list they have and commence repeating themselves endlessly, like a skipping disc of vinyl on an old Victrola.

As we passed through Chicago on our return journey home, the city was gearing up for a NATO summit and the Occupy movement was getting ready for mass protests.  The city police were geared up for war, as usual, and there were arrests of people even before the summit began.  I watched the images of police brutality and screeching people as the footage played out on TV; we were sitting in a bar in Wall Drug, eating dry bison-burger and drinking ale.  My mind flashed to the phony bullshit encouraged by Andrew Breitbart, and I wondered to myself: “How many of those people are ‘plants’?  How many of them have been paid to cause strife and make the movement look more violent than it is?”

Things that make you go “Hmmmmmmmm…” – here are some songs that were relevant when they first came out, and are even more relevant today…enjoy.

Marvin Gaye – “What’s Goin’ On?”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f39Zs0gB87c

Buffalo Springfield – “For What It’s Worth”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIoKr9VDg3A

Marvin Gaye – “Mercy Mercy Me”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WxgeYXCjM8&feature=related

Ten Years After – “Change The World”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjpNqfKUtfw

Phil Ochs – “A Small Circle of Friends”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulTmmTIlM_o

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