25 November 2014

Status Quo in a White Man's World...

Thanks to Adrian for reminding me of the MLK quote.

On the dawn of a new day after the decision of the grand jury not to charge (white) officer Darrin Wilson with the shooting of (black) teenager Michael Brown all, and I mean all, the news coverage is about the aftermath.  I know the case has been covered, but the tone of the reports this morning sadden me greatly.  Do we shake our heads when discussing the French revolution and say things like... “I really don’t have any hesitation in telling you that I didn’t see a lot of peaceful protest out there tonight, and I’m disappointed about that,” Jon Belmar, the St. Louis County police chief, said early Tuesday at a news conference. “I’m not saying there weren’t folks out there that were out there for the right reason — I’m not saying that wasn’t the case — but I am saying that, unfortunately, this spun out of control.”

So this is tricky, am I condoning violence and riot? 
I'll leave it to MLK on this one....
have a peaceful day everyone...

"It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear ...that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity." "I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Council of the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: 'I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action.'"

22 November 2014

Taxation Without Representation?

For some reason I woke up this morning thinking about the US midterm elections earlier this month.  I myself, to paraphrase one of the greatest writers of all time, don't vote, so I can claim the system doesn't represent me, and thus justify my further lack of participation.  Watterson's intention was sarcastic, but unfortunately for someone of my political leanings, not voting is more of a protest against the lack of an acceptable candidate than it is apathy.  But many of my fellow American's do vote, and I guess what worries me is the general lack of knowledge about policy decisions past that most of us share.
I am not suggesting that the American system has degraded to the point of having taxes cripple us financially so our government can go off and slaughter Huguenots; without asking if any of us really care if the Huguenots are gaining numbers in the south west provinces am I?...Am I?

But I do wonder, in a system where a vast majority of the voting public votes for a party line and knows little to nothing about the policy record of individual candidates, how often do elected officials stray from their party lines? 

More importantly, how often do political actions taken represent the desires of those who elected the official?  "Almost never?"  Yea that's my guess too.   Outside of local politics, where I still see some hope,  we are ruled by a wealthy elite....taxation without representation? yes and no, Policy decisions without representation, yes, profoundly yes.

21 November 2014

Partial Explaination of the Growing Wealth and Income Gap

Just a link today, to a great short piece.
I think the  productivity gains cited here by Ruccio, combined with a narrative about even the "well off workers" no longer being "well off" explains a lot of what we are seeing today in the US.  Namely, post-recession, post-occupy movement, return to business as usual.  Massive excess on the backs of the American worker and all that. Happy weekend all, two days of cheap processed food and mass produced beer before you head back to being exploited on Monday.  


03 October 2014

I Thought This Was America...... Apparently so did the Fathers of MoonGoyle Films

Those who recognize my title as a South Park quote my be inclined towards thinking this is going to be a light hearted post.  Contrary to the suggestion of my chosen literary device, I am writing this with a mixture of anger an apprehension.

Yesterday morning the local rag of northern Connecticut, The Hartford Courant  decided to fill its front page, and lead its website with a story about a local film company.  The chosen title of the article "Two Educators Behind Violence and Nudity in Slasher Flicks" makes it abundantly clear the conservative and aggressive slant taken by reporter Matthew Kauffman (mkauffman@courant.com).  I found this story troubling on a number of levels. 

First there are two personal factors at work here:  One: I am well aquainted with a member of Moongoyle entertainment (neither of the two men named in the story) and know that the article coincides with shooting and production of by far their biggest project to date (My intention here is not to advertise for them, so I will leave it to the interested reader to find more out on their own).  The first things that crossed my mind was that The Courant was running this story to leach off the success of local film company and / or running the story as an excuse to put nudity and gore on their front page on a slow news day.  This would be deplorable enough from an institution that at least in principal has a responsibilty to the community they report on to bring them "actual news".  

Secondly:  As someone who regularly shares controversial opinions in a public forum (here as well as elsewhere) the fallout from this story has worried me on a personal level.  Regardless of my political and economic views I have grown soft and accustomed to having a roof over my head and food on my plate, both for myself and for 5 year old "little man" who relies upon us for these things in his life.  As a result of this article two of the men from Moongoyle entertainment have their careers jeopardized. Jeopardized, as a result of perfectly legal actions that they undertook in spheres of their lives that they thought to be completely separate from their "day jobs".   Both men mentioned in the story are waking up today realizing how little freedom we actually have left in this country. 

As a result of yesterday's article the two men mentioned (a principal and a guidance counselor)  have been placed on administrative leave by the Granby CT. school system where they are employed.  I may not personally be a fan of the type of work done by Moongoyle ("slasher films" with gratuitious and exploitative sex and violence) however these films are not illegal, in-fact, are a commonly accepted genre of American film making, and are certainly not child horror pornography the way Kauffman seems to suggest in his article.  This leads to the conclusion that regardless of its tastefulness, or lack there of, or their work being inappropriate for the children that they educate during the day, these men are in danger of losing their economic lives as a result of ART that they created on their free time and with their own (not schoolboard) resources.  These film-makers should be celebrated by the Granby school system, not placed on leave and possibly fired.  Personally, as a parent I would be thrilled that one of my child's educators could teach something about an experience they actually had instead of just something that they read out of a book.  But I guess that wouldn't be preparing the students for some standardized test that is needed to prove how far behind we are falling compared to the rest of the world...but I rant...that is a topic for another day.    The Courant's attack on MoonGoyle is at very least a sad commentary on the ever increasing power the conservative right is gaining in our school system and press. 

The Hartford Courant's Matt Kauffman (as well as the editorial team that decided to run this garbage story at all, let alone on the front page) should be the ones in danger loosing jobs here.  This story was clearly designed to get boobs on the front page of the paper while enticing conservatives and general Jesus freaks who will of course respond with "Would you want your own daughter naked in one of their films?" 

No I wouldn't want my own daughter naked in a MoonGoyle film, but as long as the filmmakers are not breaking any laws, and we remain free to express ourselves artistically (which I am pretty sure is part of our basic right of freedom of expression), being in one of their films would be my daughter's choice.  What worries me most* is that perhaps we are even less free to express ourselves that I thought, and my next entry will be about how the word "Marx" in the title of this blog has cost me my career as an exploited capitalist worker. 

*Yes I am being a little overly dramatic....

29 August 2014

Apologies Dear Reader....For my Absence and for my Return. And...Apologies dear Capitalist, You Remain the Root of the Problem.

I am attempting a return to the world of blogging, and to some degree a return to the world of intellectual existence. After a long break during which I learned more about myself than I ever cared to know, I am once again ready to engage the world.  What limited world I will be engaging is a question that can only be answered in time.  For now, the time feels right, as right as it has felt in a long time at least, to return to caring about problems and questions of the mind and the world around me.  After my break the world still needs to be changed, and I am again ready to actively contribute.  The passivity of post-modern change aside, it feels good to be back.
This brief paragraph of masturbation aside...I welcome you all...and more importantly (in so far as these things are important) myself...back to Marx, Baseball and Rum!

To paraphrase Gordon Wood: As a result of the revolution Americans changed from being subjects to citizens, and the difference is vast.  My problem with this type of statement is what has driven me back to writing.  Although we are free in political realm of our existence (sigh), we remain subjugated in our working lives. As long as the life of the average American remains not their own on the job, the reality remains, that in our economic existence we are nothing but subjects to the man who signs the check.  We, my working American brothers and sisters are not free, we are not citizens of an economic republic, but rather we toil for the enrichment of a select few.  Systemic change remains the goal! The Hope! The Reason to Get Out of Bed!.