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Thursday, December 22, 2005

current events I'm fairly sure about but not entirely

Here's what I feel about NYC transit workers going on strike: I'm not sure, but I mainly think it's management's fault. I'm a huge fan of organized labor. (Dear Twinters: Blow me) My father was a proud union carpenter (and officer) for decades. Without unions, I never would have remotely been a part of the American middle class (nor would most people, whether they're in unions or not, unions *created* the American middle class) Organized labor put a roof over my head, food in my belly all my life. I certainly never would have gotten to go to a Catholic high school or even a state university without my father's union membership. Unions took us out of the Dark Ages of the nineteenth century, when laborers weren't much more than slaves, indeed, their lives were considered more disposable because they weren't property.

I believe firmly in the right to strike, but as my dad says, never strike unless you know you can win. And thanks to Ronald Reagan (may worms feast upon him) you mostly can't anymore. My hometown's proud Republican newspaper frames this as "unions wanting more money". This is the Big Lie. They're not trying to get more money, they're trying to preserve their pensions and their health benefits. This isn't about greed, this is about fighting for the American way of life. The Captains of Industry, they of the hagiographic magazine covers, want to bring the Dark Ages, back, make no mistake about that. But shutting down New York City was a public relations disaster. It gets people who should be on their side, like my roommate who was vacationing there, hating them. That's not right. And the decent hardworking commuters of New York deserve better too, though I think the anger should be directed at the bean counters and not the workers. A better idea (my roommate's) would be an act of mass civil disobediance: Let everyone ride for free for a couple of days. That would be pretty cool.

But the strongarm tactics I'm hearing about are appaling. People are being docked two days pay for every day they participate in the strike, and they're talking about throwing people in jail. Jail. For striking. What the fuck?

What people need to understand though, is that the world doesn't spin because of Ayn Randian supermen. It spins because of ordinary people like you and me. And those people, all of those people, deserve respect.

The other thing I'm not sure about is the whole NSA spying thing. It's a familiar story: George W Bush does something terrible, the Left screams that Bush is Hitler, obscuring the fact that Bush did in fact do something terrible.

I have no problem with the government spying on the phone conversations of suspected terrorists. No problem. At all. But is it such a Goddamn chore to get input from an outside authority (like say a federal judge) on who exactly a "suspected terrorist" is? 'Cause in the sixties, Martin Luther King was an agent of Communist subversion, and by the seventies, anyone working for the Democratic Party was. Oh yeah, and John Lennon was a dangerous foreign national.

But the Bush crowd views rule of law as weakness against terror. And too many liberals have too hard a time explaining why they too, want to fight the bad guys but in the right way.

Lost in the shuffle (and not as easily tied back to the Boss Man) is the fact that the Defense Department is conducting domestic spy operations (the fuck?) against Quakers and animal rights groups.

As Molly Ivins said, these people can't tell the difference between a vegetarian and a terrorist.

I can. Vegetarians are fine.

Vegans are fucking terrorists.

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Replies: 1 Comment

Read the entry on Dec. 21st, because it makes some salient points.

You know how I love being mentioned, even when you expose my hard-hearted Republican mores.

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