Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spinning Wild

Work kills, the spirit, too:

55% of What? Shotwell, where are you?:

Perfect example of how confused we are:,0,1905472.column

Living surrounded by opinionated spin is hell. It's easy to grab on a passing lie and go for a long ride far away from your grounded beliefs. Making your way back to what you know as right is called responsibility and standing strong while mental trains of thought want to take you to sweet and promising places, is called integrity.

There is an entire industry in this country called Public Relations populated by "spinmeisters". Their job is to influence us to accept the most unappealing, least cost effective and most tragic human conditions imaginable. They are quite successful at what they do. They are paid to lie and get paid top dollar (at least the firms do, you can always get a wage slave to do the dirty work. It's just their day job.) Getting an individual to decide against his/her best interest must be easy, how else do you explain the current economic crisis founded on massive debt? Convincing someone to sign a note. payable for the next 30 years without missing a payment doesn't seem logical to me, but it's the foundation of this so-called American Dream. How many people have 72 months of car payments? Nonsensical as it is, there must be plenty.

As long as the television is on in your home, you are being spun. Your values are being questioned, your kindness is being ridiculed, you are being misled by PR firm sponsored talking heads. They have an agenda for us and it ain't good, but the truly sick part of this is we will make it happen, not them. We will call for our own demise. We will rationalize the most atrocious behavior, as we do on foreign wars, but this time it will be in your neighborhood. We will act like we know what's best for us, simple, it will be what is worst for us. Handing over decision making power to an appointed agency, recognizing the person with the gun is right. Distrusting our neighbors, friends who speak out against it will be suspect and disappeared without comment.

This culture is one of deception and delusion. It has become a fine art and profitable, respectable endeavour to trick the population and cover for those power hungry and corrupt, defending the people haters. The ones well grounded and clear of thought, free of cognitive dissonance, and with the ability to live in an unvarnished, unperfumed world find each other. They hold on tight knowing the masses are going to suffer and the overseeing forces will come and gather the deprogrammed and no more allow them to teach truth, beauty and kindness.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Time To Fight Back

Legislation in the making:

"An entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables: the slaves of the slaves of white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate, so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the mental children of history... No purpose or place. We have no great war. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression, is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires and movie stars and rock stars... but we won't..."

- from the film, Fight Club

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sport Fascified

How are the people doing?:

Personnel manual here for years:

Let's dust off a new Olde idea:

There are many people in this town organizing against the upcoming Olympics of 2016. They site economic and social reasons of costs and displacement, along with corruption and waste as primary reasons.

I would like them to look at the philosophy of the Olympics and view it as detrimental to the mental health of the citizens. If your child comes home from school and tells you they had a spelling bee that day, rest assured your child has a lazy, unimaginative teacher that plays favorites. Anyone that would allow one winner and all the rest losers is sick. If destroying capitalism is your thing then destroying competition and the celebration of competition should be your calling. Olympics divides people under bickering national flags, is corrupt beyond measure for the sanctified gold medal, and underpins the corporate mentality of prized CEO's, dictators and elitism.

A game is a game. A race is a race. A beauty contest is a beauty contest. Nothing more, nothing less. Are they honestly going to tell me a hockey player is near god-like because his team won a game? He's a hockey player, for Christsakes. Does the one swimmer who won by one thousandth of a second make all the striving swimmers in the world second class? How petty. And as the graceful divers and ice skaters twist and swirl one country's judge gives them a 10 and the other a 2. This isn't sport, it's politics.

I want to see a group of people lined up on Normandy Beach and I want them to swim to Dover. I want another group to climb Mt Everest and the first one there has to set up a picnic. And a good leisurely walk from New York to San Francisco where everyone can participate would be my idea of Olympic endeavors. This 4 year sham, born of the Berlin 1936 drama, is psychologically damaging to every person that doesn't measure up to an unreachable ideal. Like that kid that won the spelling bee and you still resent for it, we should look at these coddled rich kids posing as Olympic champions and remind them it is very lonely at the top.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Work did what it does to me. I spent two days on a jobsite doing what I'm trained to do. Now I sit at a blank screen without an insightful or provocative thought. Work is mind numbing.

I made a few bucks. It was nice to get the tools out, install it properly, do a good job. On some level it was very satisfying. I earned my pay fair and square. I left with better relations with my fellow tradesmen and the customer. All were happy with my effort, and I should be, too.

Yesterday, the crew asked if I was going with them for coffee break. I declined and after they left I went and sat on the bench in the backyard, meditated and listened to the birds. Living in the city I don't often hear this wonderful cacophony. In my egocentric human state, I thought the birds were talking about me. It was a very pleasant way to spend a short time on beautiful morning. When they returned, I explained to the local boys how lucky they were to have birds. They looked at me like I was nuts.

I learned, as I now listen carefully, how much stress people are under. The self-anger when things don't go exactly right or the frustrations of the employed in workplace conditions. I don't understand why we don't have more self-compassion. Take it easy on ourselves. It seems so much of our identity is wrapped up in our occupations and being the absolute best at what we do is our personal goal. They broke Fast Eddie's thumbs after all. It doesn't pay to be the best, it pays to be the most satisfied.

Working people truly are their own worst enemies. We allowed middle management to browbeat us into self-doubt and pit us against each other in competition. Now middle management is looking for a job and I'm surviving without one. I don't intend on hiring an overseer. I wonder what their skills were and how needed they are. Their job was to divide, not to create, though by accident they took all the credit when a job was completed. I value my labor and don't need a big fat opinion on how deficient and overvalued it may be. I'd rather not believe lies. I will be appreciated for my efforts or do the job without me. I give my best, I will be respected.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Intelligence Is A Liability

To be well informed in this country means to be constantly enraged. As a working person, I do long for the day I could return to being dumb as an ox. I wish I could rationalize to myself that sucking the Boss' ass was just a part of life. It would be so much easier going through the motions without self-awareness, spouting off any stupid thing that comes to my mind, living only for my immediate gratification, walking over those around me. I wish I could gossip and play office politics. I wish I could laugh at others' mistakes and feel important when I do.

This has been a year of spiritual renewal. It takes a lot of work to attempt to reverse 30 years of bad work habits and confront the destructive nature of my make up. I'm not cured, nor do I want to sound pompous talking about it, but out-of-work and cast a drift in this economic sea, I like myself. I take the time to have friendships and conversations of deep meaning. I refuse to be rushed, smell the roses and look to the sky and all its power. Delving into refection with meditation, yearning for inner peace, and taking the lessons learned in self respect and compassion makes me a more loving and hopeful person for the future.

Work destroys well being. It corrupts your better nature. It prioritizes your life against your self interest. Labor Unions are the modern day slave ships delivering you to the Master. The workplace is a plantation replica with a straw boss, field hands and house slaves. It is near impossible to foster a human consciousness in such conditions.

I find work and some of it is disagreeable and hard. I accept it with humility and thankfulness. I do my best. I will not let it dictate my attitude toward those around me. I will enjoy it and respect those I may work with on the project. My language will be skillful, direct and clear. My mind will now not allow me to return to those conditions that broke me down. I will not participate. I will not bow down when lashed.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Get The Hell Out Of The Way

Blandness wanted:

The modern human species has not evolved from the herd mentality. The reptile brain stem still dictates behavior. The self culling of the weak in the group happens and is recognized as inevitable fact of life. Soylent Green will be enjoyed as easily as foie gras in the future. The public consciousness will rationalize it, only complain when found to be eating cancer patients.

We treat each other as disposable razors, used until it causes bleeding then throw away. All oxygen belongs to me. Slavishly loyal to the alpha male without shame. Distrustful of the free thinker. Frightened of everything.

Humanity is ready to stampede like a buffalo herd. Running as if stopping will be immediate death. Filling ravines with carcasses so the rest can continue forward. Leaving behind the trampled, mutilated and dead. The stampede will only stop upon complete exhaustion, whereby grazing will begin again, without remorse or reflection.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Baseball? How About A Mind Opener?

People are smartening up?:

The cover story of Time Magazine of June 6, 1983 declared us in the Age of Stress. Coincidentally, so began the Age of Going Postal.

Reaganite/Fundy Christian/Corporate philosophy pushed and exacted the "personal responsibility" ethos blaming all ills, whether mental or environmental, on the individual. The corporate good, whether workplace or ethereal, is beyond questioning and eternal. Finding fault in that make up is only made by those mentally unbalanced, disgruntled and they should be avoided at all costs. They will harm what ever is left of your human/workplace soul.

Distressed people acting on their anger "didn't take their medication". People stripped of their livelihoods "lost their jobs". Heart attacks are an excepted part of life and should have been avoided. Speaking up for yourself in public brings economic pain and should be expected for those foolish enough to try it. Questioning the very existence of Jesus bring eternal damnation, never mind there is no historical proof.

The bullies have us decent people on the run. We act like frightened animals running towards Hell. The reason the better side of life is enjoyed by the tightening minority is because we like our misery and attach to our own victimization. We wallow in Poor Me, love it, in fact. It's comfortable down here with the other frightened animals and hungry ghosts. It's crowded and cozy in Hell. The gods can have the rest, that takes work.

I'm striving to be more Human. To balance between happiness and suffering, trying to relieve a bit for others and. maybe, bring a bit of happiness along the way. I don't want to join with strivers, the assertive, the aggressive, the top dogs. Competition is dehumanizing and ego driven. There is a better world to be made and someday a magazine will proclaim an Age of Peace.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What's New?

"Dearths, tempests, plagues, our astrologers foretell us; Earthquakes, inundations, ruins of houses, consuming fires, come little by little, or make some noise beforehand; but the knaveries, impostures, injuries and villainies of men no art can avoid. We can keep our professed enemies from our cities, by gates, walls and towers, defend ourselves from thieves and robbers by watchfulness and weapons; but this malice of men, and their pernicious endeavours, no caution can divert, no vigilancy foresee, we have so many secret plots and devices to mischief one another."

-Robert Burton, 1624

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Harry Don't Quit

The Unemployed Need a Union of Their Own;
They Can Become a Powerful Ally of Labor

By Harry Kelber

One of the worst effects of losing your job—in addition to the mental strain and anguish of struggling to survive without a regular paycheck—is the loss of self-respect and the sense you are no longer useful or wanted. There’s the daily pain of seeing people rushing off to work and the kids to school, while you sit at home, wondering what to do with yourself. You’ve tried to find work, written letters and filled out lots of applications for jobs that paid much less than what you earned, but you’ve found no takers.

So what can you do, especially if you’re 40 or 50 years old? Well, there are the unions. They talk a lot about helping working people. But the AFL-CIO and Change to Win are interested in organizing only workers who are employed and who will become regular dues-payers. They have no plan to help those working families who need their help the most, the unemployed. That’s not only immoral, it’s short-sighted. It’s time for labor leaders to get smart and transform the unemployed into their most powerful political ally.

The unions can lay the groundwork for building an eventual national union of the unemployed by sponsoring “jobs for all” committees in each community and inviting out-of-work people to join. At some point in their growth, these committees will elect officers, adopt agendas and function like any independent civic organization, but dedicated to the needs of poor people and the jobless, who have no strong defenders.

Pragmatic labor leaders should favor a union of the unemployed. Jobless workers have a lot more free time on their hands to become involved in union organizing and legislative campaigns. They’d be particularly valuable as a resource during elections, providing the manpower for various political tasks, including staffing phone banks, handing out leaflets and getting out the vote.

Organizing the unemployed is good public relations for unions. When hundreds of thousands of unorganized workers finally find jobs, they will be more likely to join a union if the labor movement gave them a helping hand in their hour of need.

Individually, jobless workers feel powerless and ignored, but when bonded in a union, they would have a voice that commanded public attention. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons rose by 5.1 million. There were 13.2 million people out of work as of of March 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That’s an enormous number of people, which, if organized into a union, can grow into a major political force, allied to the labor movement. That is what has been happening in many foreign countries.

The concept of a union of the unemployed is not new in the United States. During the Great Depression, there were two national organizations devoted to the poor, the homeless and the jobless: The Workers Alliance of America, under Socialist leadership, and the Communist-led Unemployment Councils of the United States. They fought local governments for home relief, stopped apartment evictions, held free speech demonstrations and marches that demanded unemployment insurance and public works jobs, and supported strikes that were on the increase in the early 1930s.

As we now witness, in times of economic crisis, the rich and the powerful, in Wall Street and elsewhere, are managing to take care of themselves, while our neediest citizens are last in line and still waiting for help..

Don’t the jobless deserve to have an organization of their own,. and shouldn’t the labor movement feel an obligation to help them build one?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday Morning Going Down

BigPharma Rushes to target and drug the vulnerable:

Obama is a war criminal. Congress is full of war criminals.

Peruvians just threw their ex-President in jail for 25 years. The French are kidnapping their Bosses and humiliating them in public. The people in Tblisi, Georgia are sieging the parliament and demanding their leadership resign.

What do Americans do? Buy more guns. Live in quiet shame that they don't have a job. Expect Obama to fix things. Generally, not much, but grumble.

The war budget will be voted on soon. It's even higher than Bush ever asked for, with a supplemental of 72 Billion more. Is there any opposition? Just grumbles. How can propping up a bankrupt banking system help the common man? Is there a connection in people's minds about the war and the bankrupt banking system? grumble, grumble (don't make me think).

... and Labor. Pitiful, big, dumb Labor. Not an original idea, or a good old idea for that matter. Just a lump of fatty tissue on the body politic. Waiting for capitalism to come around and ask for their help. Not a peep of protest. Not a hint of direction. They would rather fight internally, as if, invaded by virus. Ineptness this bad has to be planned. It's time for leadership and they are invisible, void of any ability to say or do anything to challenge the status quo. Useless to the unemployed. Useless to their pensioners. Useless to their legacy. Done.

The Depression is coming like a freight train without signals. Get ready. Holding onto your false security will not help. Do everything possible to maintain your mental and spiritual health. Your money will be gone and you better know who your friends are.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Another World Is Needed

Do ya think?

I think it's about 7:;_ylt=AoDuazTQaT3z4B8vmz_FpXqs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTJvMm01NjBnBGFzc2V0A2hzbi8yMDA5MDQxMC9ob3dvbGRpc3Rvb29sZHRvd29yawRjcG9zAzEwBHBvcwMxOQRzZWMDeW5fdG9wX3N0b3J5BHNsawNob3dvbGRpc3Rvb28-

I went to a panel discussion the other night - "A Communist, a priest and a Buddhist discuss Morality". It was sponsored by the Revolutionary Communist Party, it was a packed house and it's apparent to me that people are dying for this discourse.

The Catholic priest started off and in his presentation he talked about something I thought very important that was never mentioned the rest of the evening. He stated that as a young man he had a mystical experience - being of God, with God, and God-like - and it changed the course of his life. He is a pacifist with a 40 year service and well respected credentials of social justice and antiwar work. It is also difficult these days to defend the Church and he didn't. He deflected into hierarchy and community, he siding with community.

The Communist was pro-Mao, atheist, and unapologetic about it. Unflappable in the Q&A, her case was exponential rationality, shilling a concept of "communist morality". I would love to believe her, and many there did, as exciting as she tried to make economic equality I was left with a coldness and grey Marxian concept of the world. The exploitative capitalist system has to end if this world is to survive, but the destruction of the family as she described seems unnecessary and cruel. She made many strong points, trying to put perfume on a pig.

The Buddhist argued that much of the superstitious nature of religion is comforting to humans. Animism, or the belief in spirits, is the most popular belief system in the world. The whole discussion had a Western/European/monotheistic slant which the majority of the population does not share. His short history on the Buddha, his rebellion and outgrowth against Hinduism and the caste system, the precepts of belief were powerful and most comforting to me. He certainly disagreed with the RCP gal on Mao and the Cultural Revolution treatment of Buddhists and Chinese treatment to this day.

I take it all in through the emotional lens, as I often do these days. One person had a powerful emotional life changing experience and through it has added love and compassion in this world by his actions, words and deeds. The next is totally infused by intellect and rational ordering of society, one human a cut out resembling the other. The final speaker dwelled on the pain and suffering a person has by attaching or craving his desires. It is best to control and be one step ahead of those destructive emotions for a useful life.

Three profoundly different views of the future, all well presented. I'm glad I went, I hope the road show comes your way.

Monday, April 6, 2009

What Time Is It?

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.

Cowardice asks the question: Is it safe? Expedience asks the question: Is it politic? Vanity asks the question: Is it popular? But conscience asks the question: Is it right?

And a time comes when man must take a stand that’s neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it’s right.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Don't Let The Bastards Grind You Down

"[They] were not fighting this perpetual war for victory, they were fighting to keep a state of emergency always present as the surest guarantee of authoritarianism."- George Orwell, 1984

This country is on a razor's edge. There will be an explosion or implosion, which may be worse. The course will be made day by day, solutions to large public problems pointed at society's structures seem so lame. As much as "throwing money" at a problem is degraded that is exactly what we do with hurricanes or financial meltdowns. Of course, getting the money out of the working persons' hide must happen first before the throwing can begin.

What is happening now is a squeezing by higher forces of our bank accounts, our integrity and our balanced mental make-ups. In the economic world, very little comfort exists for any but the elite and it forebodes to get worse. In our daily lives we are assaulted by news and observations of corruption and our emotional and interpersonal relationships deteriorate as these destructive instances invade a happier life. It takes an incredible amount of awareness, self and worldly, to be on top and ahead of depression in all its forms.

Your job (if you have one) stinks. Your spouse is a louse. Your pension plan is swirling down Wall Street's toilet. Getting older, unappreciated and peace seems like such a fantastic prospect. Where do you go from here? I'd suggest to be thankful for the roof that is, hopefully, over your head every night. To be grateful for the state of health, hopefully well, that you are in today. And to tell any loved ones that, hopefully you be with, their importance in your life. It's absolutely essential to train your mind to see the wonder of the world around you and negate the misery so prevalent today with honesty and empathy. If any tools of kindness are available its' time to use them.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Live Bait and Ammo #127

A visit from one of the most insightful writer on workers in America today:

Live Bait & Ammo #127: Two Tiered Too Long

The credit crisis jammed the automakers’ restructuring plan like a semi jackknifed on the highway. But the rescue plan reveals a more insidious malady than credit default swaps and pimped out politicians. Two tier.

Two tier has morphed from a union concession in collective bargaining to a standard American bias. Two tier is a whopping bonus to the rich and a moral hazard whip to the poor. Two tier delivers bailouts to the investor class and foreclosures to the outsourced class. Two tier is not a cure, it’s a curse.

Two tier demands more jails and less schools; more arsenals and less tools; more greed and less kindness; more revenge and less justice.

Two tier is not a solution to economic crisis. Two tier is a symptom of social decadence.

Master Madoff couldn’t devise a more sinister method of bankrupting a family every hour of every day than our two tier system of health insurance. But health care for profit is just another symptom of social decay in the land of the free marketeer and the home of the wage slave.
People express outrage when executives at AIG are rewarded for failure but Delphi workers are used to it. Every three months for the last three years Judge Drain has awarded millions of dollars in bonuses to the very executives whose mismanagement and fraud drove Delphi into a J.P. Morgan financed bankruptcy.

Who believes the government will manage GM and Chrysler differently in a so called “surgical bankruptcy”?

We know where all the cuts will come.

Workers take pay cuts, job cuts, benefit cuts. Executives take home cash in wheel barrows. The crisis in manufacturing can’t be quarantined in Detroit or amputated with buy outs. Every manufacturer in America is on the gurney. We are merging into the ranks of nations who are neither self-sufficient nor independently wealthy. No one needs or desires to import our financial wizardry.

Manufacturing in the US hasn’t failed from a lack of skills or productivity. It was waylaid by a lack of political will to provide (1) universal single payer health care and (2) investment in products that confront the dual challenge of environmental crisis and energy independence.

Government support for more concessions rather than long term investment means more of the same. Two tier is the predicate of class conflict.

A society that degrades rather than rewards labor is self destructive, not competitive. Two tier may prevail in the precincts of law and yellow dog contracts, but sooner or later the underclass will push the pendulum back. Some of us aren’t waiting for leaders to emerge.

When Magna Inc. and their UAW partners presented workers at New Process Gear in Syracuse, NY with an ultimatum—accept more concessions or the plant will close—workers voted to close. Twice. Within weeks of the first vote Magna was back with another offer, but workers had had enough.

Every crisis has a bottom.

Bottom isn’t a wage cut, a speed up, or an unfair labor practice. Bottom is the point at which one worker says to another worker, “Enough is enough”, and together they begin pushing back. Are we there yet? Are we ready for a national strike? Are citizens ready to defy the corporate state? To occupy Congress?

Not just yet, but I wouldn’t park on the tracks.

Our soldiers are coming home and they’ve been two tiered too long.

sos, Gregg Shotwell