Poetry on the Road

Mrs. E and I enjoyed a recent road trip. We went to a concert at Hershey Park, PA. We also spent a day in beautiful, Jim Thorpe, PA. I wrote these two poems while on the trip:

T-shirts in Candy Town

We are eating Continental Breakfast

at the 3 story La Quinta Hotel

in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

It is a t-shirt Sunday morning gathering.

One man’s t-shirt declares, “Dallas sucks.”

I am wondering about the bad timing of that message

in light on the category 4 hurricane that recently hit Texas.

A woman in her 60’s looks rather ruffled and is sleepwalking.

Her bright florescent yellow t-shirt proclaims, “Gym hair.”

She tells her male breakfast companion that she needs caffeine,

and to quickly get to the nearby famous, Hershey Chocolate World.

She says she is craving candy as she has been on a long candy hiatus.

I look up from my peach yogurt, grapefruit juice and bagel,

to see a man wearing a worn out t- shirt proclaiming,

“Mr. Woodcock I’m best known for my meat.”

Walking behind him is a smiling man with one word

in the middle of his t- shirt that largely states, “Lucky.”

A man my age wears a tee proclaiming, “Growing old disgracefully.”

Leaving the hotel with our luggage we pass, a tall young black man,

his gray tee-shirt declares, “Mr. Positive says, be positive.”

On the walk to our car I contemplate all these,

wearable apparel proclamations.

I pull out of the busy motel parking lot

and note that the house next door still has,

a Trump/Pence sign in their front yard.

I am thinking that my morning has just started

on a very negative note, setting a bad vibe for the day.

Driving down the road just a few miles

I see a billboard for a furniture store.

It proclaims, “Our prices are sofa king low.”

I chuckle and decide that I am going to

have a positive day and also grow old disgracefully.

Thanks 100% cotton philosophers!

Feeling Younger?

We are at Hershey Park to see Van Morrison.
At the concert I order an $8 draft beer.
That might seems expensive but it included,
a priceless compliment free of charge.
That was the fact that I was asked to show an ID.
I pulled out my AARP card to show the beer seller.
I then was given a purple wrist band,
so I wouldn’t have to show an ID again.
I may never, ever take it off!
I’ve got to remember to order
some more of that age spot cream.

“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.”

~ George Bernard Shaw

Van Morrison: “Into the Mystic”

“Days Like This”

“Have I Told You Lately That I Love You”

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A Poem I Wish I Didn’t Need to Write

It seems like this poem still is relevant,

I wrote this poem about the Confederate flag a few years back.

A History Lesson

Jesse Helms and Strom Thurman

proved the good do indeed die young.

The Stars and Bars

fly over ole Dixie

to let the black man

know to keep his place.

The flag proves southern whites

haven’t learned from history…

only rewritten it.

There is indeed

a rightful place

for the Confederate flag,

in a fucking museum.

Jason Isbell: “White Man’s World”

“God is a Working Man”

“Racism is man’s gravest threat to man – the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.” –Abraham Joshua Heschel

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Mr. Whole Foods is a Fruit

 

  I laughed so hard the other day that I threw my back out of place. I will have to see if that is covered under Medicare Part A or Part B. Here is what I read that led to my injury, “Walmart is one of the greatest companies in the history of the world! This single company has done more for improving the world than every labor union combined.” This was said by, John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods, which was recently sold to Amazon. If Mackey was standing up when he said this, I would consider it the funniest standup comedy routine I’ve ever heard.

Let me first point out to Mr. Whole Foods what unions have done to improve the world. Trade unions have joined with community organizations to combat child labor; they have done this all around the world. They have implemented and supported “Fair Trade” products and labeling initiatives in countries around the globe. Unions have fought for labor standards, social clauses in trade agreements, public education, human rights, worker safety and towards the end of sweatshops.

Here in the U.S. unions run the largest career training program outside the military. These union apprentice programs help place people in jobs that can support families. Union-trained military vets have rebuilt the World Trade Center. Union are a big reason we have a middle-class in this country. They helped create; public education, military leave, raises, the end of sweatshops, the minimum wage, overtime pay, 8-hour work day, weekends, paid vacations, lunch breaks, sick leave, 40 hour work week, pensions, holiday pay, employer health care insurance, collective bargaining rights, wrongful termination laws, sexual harassment laws, workplace safety standards and regulations, Americans with Disabilities Act,  Occupational Safety & Health (OSHA), Workers Compensation, Social Security, Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Equal Pay Acts of 1963 & 2011 (Requires employers pay men and women equally for the same amount of work), Family Medical Leave Act and Veteran’s Employment and Training Services (VETS).

What has Walmart given the world?  Truth is, if I typed all of the wrong Walmart (and Sam’s Club) did to this world, I’d get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. They are on the wrong side of every social justice issue.  Let me start, with the lawsuits Walmart has lost. In the US, it is had a $50 million settlement in Colorado for off-the-clock working, an $11 million federal settlement for using illegal immigrants, and an $80 million fine in Texas for not disclosing evidence about safety problems. Raids in 1998, 2001 and 2005 resulted in the arrests of 225 workers without documentation located at Walmart stores around the country.

Barry C. Lynn, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation (a think tank), says that Walmart’s constant demand for lower prices caused Kraft Foods to “shut down thirty-nine plants, to let go [of] 13,500 workers, and to eliminate a quarter of its products.” In 2000, meat cutters in Jacksonville, Texas voted to unionize. Walmart subsequently eliminated in-house meat-cutting jobs in favor of prepackaged meats. A Walmart store in Jonquiere, Quebec (Canada) voted to join a union in 2004, so Walmart closed the store five months later. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the growing United States trade deficit with China, heavily influenced by Walmart imports, is estimated to have moved over 1.5 million jobs that might otherwise be in America to China between 1989 and 2003. In 1995, Chinese dissident Harry Wu charged that Walmart was contracting prison labor in Guangdong Province. There have also been reports of teenagers in Bangladesh working in sweatshops 80 hours per week at $0.14 per hour, for Walmart supplier Beximco.

On November 24, 2012 a fire in a Bangladesh clothing factory killed 112 workers. Survivors said that fire extinguishers did not work and that when the fire alarm went off, bosses told workers to return to their sewing machines. Victims were trapped or jumped to their deaths from the eight-story building, which had no fire escapes or exits. Photos taken by Bangladeshi labor activists showed Walmart-branded clothing present in the factory. Documents revealed that at least five supplier companies had been using the Bangladesh factory to provide apparel for Walmart and its subsidiary Sam’s Club. It was also disclosed in a New York Times article that officials who had attended a 2011 Bangladesh meeting to discuss factory safety in the garment industry said that the Walmart official there had played the lead role in blocking an effort to have global retailers pay more for apparel to help Bangladesh factories improve their electrical and fire safety. In Mexico, Walmart bribed officials to change zoning maps so they could build stores.

Until the mid-1990s, Walmart took out insurance policies on its employees including “low-level” employees such as janitors, cashiers, and stockers. This type of insurance is usually purchased to cover a company against financial loss when a high-ranking employee (i.e. management) dies, and is usually known as “Key Man Insurance”. The United States Internal Revenue Service charged that the company was trying to profit from the deaths of its employees, and take advantage of the tax law which allowed it to deduct the premiums. Walmart’s low-wage workers cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing, according to a report published by Americans for Tax Fairness.  They found that, “a single Walmart Supercenter cost taxpayers between $904,542 and $1.75 million per year, or between $3,015 and $5,815 on average for each of 300 workers.”

To get back to John Mackey, he stated in the Harvard Business Review that, “a business has to be sort of ruthless and heartless to be successful”. That shows why he really admires Walmart. Mackey is known for his strong anti-union views, he compared unions to herpes in that “it won’t kill you, but it’s very unpleasant and will make a lot of people not want to be your lover.” Whole Foods was accused of threatening immigrant workers in California who were trying to form a union. The company fired its unionized workers at its Auburn, Wash., distribution center for going on strike, and illegally hired scabs. In 2014 Whole Foods was forced to shell out $800,000 to the municipal governments of Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and San Diego for mislabeling prepackaged food products with incorrect weights. In New York City, investigators weighed 80 different items at eight locations, every single one of the labels was found to be incorrect, usually overcharging the customer.

As union membership has declined in the past 30 years, wages, the middle class, worker’s rights, and the overall economy has declined also. That just shows you that unions are as relevant as ever. Part of the good that unions can do for the world, is to continue to battle the harm done by all the Walmarts, Sam’s Clubs and Whole Foods.
John Oliver: “Whole Foods”

“Walmart High Cost of Living Low”

 

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Open the Door to the Future

Look around at what passes as success by some of our fellow Americans.

“Keeping Up With the Kardashians” has been on TV for a decade,

making it the longest running reality series in the U.S.

The only things the Kardashian women have to offer is

being whores of attention with large posteriors.

The show has led to six spin offs and has won several awards.

This show and all those housewife of wherever series,

with drunken wealthy do nothing cat fighting vulgar women

are the current useless pet rocks of the TV media.

It is all part of the make something out of nothing

that now passes for achieving the “American Dream.”

America seems to be bankrupt of new ideas for movies.

If a movie succeeds even a little bit it will be made

into a sequel, prequel, interquel, paraquel or circulquel.

Hollywood is currently working on 179 sequels.

We have had nine Stars Wars films with five more in the works.

There are seven Fast and the Furious films,

nine Batman movies, nine Harry Potter films

ten Halloween flicks and twenty four James Bond movies.

The story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has been

made into films over 125 times.

Amnesia has been featured in 126 films.

Heroes who casually strut away without

ever looking back at exploding fireballs,

have been featured in over 100 movies.

Overcoming the monster, coming of age

and road trip movies have been done to death.

Instead of new music being created we have,

singers recording other singer’s hits.

Worse yet, tribute bands pretending

down to the clothing that they are clones

of a band that became huge stars.

There is no originality and everything is derivative.

We have come to accept dull and boring

forms of entertainment in our country.

If you think we should return to books

as a means of entertainment and knowledge,

consider who some of our bestselling authors are.

FOX NEW TV host, Bill O’Reilly’s daughter

testified that she witnessed him

chocking her mother and dragging her

down the stairs of their home.

He lost custody of both children in his divorce.

Five women’s harassment charges against Bill,

have cost Fox News some $13 million to settle.

Meanwhile, his new book about virtues

and old fashion traditional family values

is number one on the NY Times Best Sellers List.

We vote for and are led by hypocritical losers.

A man who files bankruptcy half a dozen times

has been elected president to run the U.S. economy.

He also talks of wanting to be a HUGE creator of jobs in the U.S.

while he and his daughter sell clothing made in Chinese sweatshops.

A plagiarist judge who ruled that it was OK

for a school to give minimum help to an autistic boy,

and who was founder of Fascist Forever on his college campus

was just confirmed as the newest judge to the Supreme Court.

Betsy DeVos who has never set foot inside a public school

was confirmed to be head of the Department of Education.

In America, mediocrity sells.

It sells so well that to succeed here

all you have to do is milk that mediocrity,

by franchising the same idea over and over.

Creating a current food trend and franchising it

is as exciting as American cuisine gets.

Grabbing an idea and choking it to death,

is the new American Dream.

A new dream and new ideas are needed.

Where will the new ideas for this dream come from?

I believe it is from the very source

that many Americans want to shut down.

I say it’s obvious that we need more immigrants.

Over the last 15 years, immigrants have increased the rate

of start up businesses by more than 50 percent,

while the native-born business rate has declined10 percent.

Immigrants are more than twice as likely to start a business

as native-born Americans are to start one.

Immigrant-owned businesses now currently employ

1 in 10 Americans who work for private companies.

The proposed EB-6 “startup visa” bill

that passed in the Senate but stalled in the House,

would offer a path to permanent U.S. citizenship

to foreign-born entrepreneurs who raise at least $500,000

from qualified investors and create at least five full-time U.S. jobs.

This bill would create as many as 1.6 million jobs in 10 years.

It is obvious that the most entrepreneurial group

in American wasn’t born in America.

I hope along with the job growth, immigrants

can also bring us fresh ideas in other areas

like; music, food, art and films.

Let’s not make the path to U.S. citizenship harder

by constructing walls and unending paperwork.

Let’s lay down some red carpet and a welcome mat for immigrants.

It is the path that will lead us to fresh and exciting destinations.
R.I. P. Greg Allman: “I’m No Angel”

“Dreams”

“I take issue with many people’s description of people being “Illegal” Immigrants. There aren’t any illegal Human Beings as far as I’m concerned.” ~ Dennis Kucinich

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This Isn’t Woodstock, It Is Laughingstock

Ever had one of those times in life where you need an alternative that would help you with the bad stuff of life like; bad health, bad wealth, bad habits, bad luck and a car that has bad brakes? A good escape is to have a beer, attend a concert and hear some great music.

Once again the option of going to a concert and enjoying some good music will not be available at the Warren Amphitheater. That is because once again, the Amp will feature lame ass music by tribute bands. For 2017 there will be pseudo bands of: Kiss, Queen, Pink Floyd, Jimmy Buffett, Jason Aldean, “Aeroscrud,” Led Zeppelin, Rush, Journey and the Eagles.

I have never attended any of the shows as I’d much rather hear the worst band in the world as long as they were playing originals. Here’s where I make enemies. The truth is I wouldn’t have gone to see any of the above classic rock acts even if they were the originals band. I have never ever been a Queen fan. I could never understand how they could play a Nazi goosestep beat and sing, ‘We Will Rock You.” Not with that beat you won’t Fred. And what in the Hell is that “Bohemian Rhapsody” about? “Galileo you’re a boy scout he will not let you go.” What the F.

As far as Pink Floyd the beat to “Another Brick in the Wall” is just as bad. I’ve heard enough Floyd that I never have to hear it again. Hearing, “Wish You Were Here” would just make me say, “I Wish I Wasn’t Here.”

Jimmy Buffett, ever notice how dunk people at his concerts are? You don’t stand a fighting chance of enjoying the concert if you decide to see Jimmy sober. I can’t get that drunk to appreciate him. I also hate foofoo mixed drinks. Alcohol should be able to stand on its own without a mix or it ain’t crap. You’re drinking the wrong stuff if you need to cut it with a mix so try a shot of Jameson. I personally love singer-songwriter music. The great ones write tunes about love, life and pain. Jimmy writes about margaritas and cheeseburgers. It’s as if the Applebee’s’ happy hour menu was his inspiration.

Speaking of having to be shitfaced drunk to enjoy the music, we have a tribute band doing Justin Aldean’s corporate country style of music. That should please some of Trumbull County’s outer region’s redneck shitkickers. They will be able to attend now that the cable company has provided DVR’s so that these outer region sidewalk cowboys can tape, “Duck Dynasty” and Honey Boo Boo that evening. It will be an hour and a half beer commercial. Aldean will acknowledge his audience when he asks, “Where are my rednecks?” The ones not puking at that moment will howl,  yee haw.”  Aldean who was married with two kids stuck his tongue down the throat of another woman in the middle of a public bar. Because he is a punk who can’t hold his liquor he blamed it on being drunk. Because of these lowlife antics he was rewarded with the job of hosting the CMT awards. Aldean is poser country music for poser country music fans. He likes to trash Justin Beiber at concerts. That is because Aldean is the Justin Beiber of country music.
“Aerosrud” wrote “Love in an Elevator” and “Dude Looks Like a Lady.” If you didn’t know it from those lame ass songs they were using heroin. Those songs in themselves should be enough reason for kids not to do drugs. Just say no to “Dude Looks Like a Lady.” Aeroscrud has always been a third rate Rolling Stones. Who needs a third rate Rolling Stones? If we do we’ve got the last 35 years of the Stones third-rate career. Don’t “Start Up” Jagger it’s too late.

Kiss is not a band it is capitalism exploited to the max. Is there anything Kiss related that Gene Simmons isn’t having made by 8 year-olds at sweatshops in China? What genius wrote, “Hot, Hot She Looked Hotter than Hell?” Probably the same genius in Foreigner that wrote, “She’s as Cold as Ice to Me.”

Rush is the anchovies of rock music. 99% of us don’t want anchovies anywhere near our pizza. They are an overproduced, overrated staple of bland Classic Rock radio. Sticking knitting needles in your ears would be less painful than listen to Geddy Lee’s constipated screeching.  Here are the lyrics to Rush’s , “Xanadu,”
“To stand within the Pleasure Dome/Decreed by Kubla Khan/To taste anew the fruits of life/The last immortal man/To find the sacred river Alph/To walk the caves of ice/Oh, I will dine on honeydew/And drink the milk of Paradise.” Not even die hard Rush fans; can defend lyrics like that with a straight face. The only thing that sucks more than the band Rush is, Rush Limbaugh and Limbaugh has an excuse as he is a drug addict. On a personal note Rush is the only concert I ever walked out of after hearing one of their songs. I was there to see the opening band.

The Eagles: In the film, “The Big Lebowski, ” Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski hated the Eagles. He was willing to be thrown out of a cab because he told the driver to turn off their music. I hate the Eagles so much that I would have personally jumped from the cab while it was moving. The Eagles were shallow, rich, cowboy wannabee, womanizing cokeheads. Even a rocker like, Joe Walsh couldn’t save them from, life in the boring lane. They are the kings of lowest-common-denominator rock, making inoffensive rock designed to appeal to the broadest vanilla record-buying, radio-listening public. This SoCal country-rock scene was invented by the late great, Graham Parsons. Parson called it, cosmic American music,” a fusion of country, rock and soul. The Eagles stole that sound but never could add any soul to their lifeless music.

I have always hated, Led Zeppelin. They’d have been a great band if their first choice of singer hadn’t turned them down. That is the greatest rock singer of all time. Terry Reid. Instead, their second choice, that banshee wailing, Robert Plant became the singer. He sounds like a terrified, screaming teenage school girl from one of the three dozen, “ Halloween” movies. Zep lyrics all sounded better when written the first time around by; Memphis Millie, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Blind Willie Johnson, Howlin`Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Robert Johnson, Bukka White, Sleepy John Estees, Albert King, Davy Graham, Bert Jansch, Jake Holms and Anne Breden. Zep never met a  black guy’s lyrics they didn’t love and steal. Saying you’re paying homage to a bluesman by stealing his lyrics isn’t a tribute to an artist it is being a douche. Zep has enabled generations of middle class white kids to avoid learning the true history of the blues. Led Zeppelin is no more than a millionaire cover band. Besides, haven’t enough proms already been ruined with that, “Stairway to Heaven” theme?

I saw Journey at Youngstown’s, The Tomorrow Club years ago. It was when they had their first album out. They were very jazzy and quite good. They soon added Steve Perry and became a boring, bland homogenized chic band. No self-respecting man would be a Journey fan. Bands like Journey, Foreigner, Styx and the Eagles are not a band; they are just a hit factory. I don’t want to hear a tribute band singing, “I Can’t Stop Believing.” It would only further make me want to scream, “Come on Warren, I can’t stop believing we can do better than tribute bands.”

If you went to the concerts at the amphitheater you couldn’t have used enough drugs to reach any amount of groove quotient. In the old days at a concert folks took enough drugs they thought they saw God. At today’s tribute band concerts you just look at your watch and think god when is this going to end. If I sat through such concerts I could only get a smile on my face thinking about the Koran. You know that passage where 72 virgins are promised to martyrs. Truth is I’m not enough of a martyr to sit through such tribute crap. I don’t really care for that ecstasy drug kids now use as at my age cortisone is my ecstasy.

“Bad taste creates many more millionaires than good taste.” ~ Charles Bukowski

 

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Tell Me No Lies

We live in a culture that does not value honesty or integrity.

Too many people believe the end justifies the means used.

Ego, envy, excess, malice and worship of the almighty dollar

all, sadly have replaced fairness, honor and especially, truth.

Believing that lying politicians serve the public,

some of our fellow citizens lie to themselves.

Congressmen feel no compunction to tell the truth.

If they did they wouldn’t get elected or re-elected.

Lies have been called, fibs, fables, fairy tales, fabrications, fallacy,

fiction, half-truths, distortions, exaggerations, bluffs and canards.

Politicians are now trying to further soften the term, lies.

They were most recently referred to as, “alternative facts.”

I’m old school so I use the terms, lies, bald-faced lies, balderdash,

baloney, bogus, bullhonky, bollocks, booty-chatter, booty-cheddar,

poppycock, whopper, crock, crock of shit, horseshit and bullshit.

My hearing is going a bit but I have an excellent nose for Pinnochioitis.

I had to learn a second language in high school but it wasn’t bullshit.

I don’t have a welcome mat at my door because I am not a liar.

Here in America we’re indoctrinated in lies from an early age.

Our parents start with the Tooth Fairy, Santa, and the Easter Bunny.

This leads to kids developing their own universally told lies to parents.

“I didn’t do it,” ‘I don’t know,” “I did my homework,” “My brother did it,”

“My friend Billy is allowed to,” “I’ll be home early,” ‘I wasn’t texting and driving.”

Every teenage girl has told her mom, “I’m sleeping over at my friend Mary’s house tonight.”

When mom calls Mary’s mom she is told, “My daughter said they were staying at your house.”

I’m sure it was all just some minor miscommunication between the girls, right?

What kid hasn’t lied to their teacher saying,

“The dog ate my homework.”

Young adults are taught to lie on job resumes if they want to get a job.

They pad their degrees, grades, their technical abilities,

inflate their titles, previous salary, and charitable deeds.

Of course once you get a job, the boss is going to lie to you.

“We’re one big happy family here.”

“Employees are our most valuable asset.”

“We appreciate hard work and reward it.”

“Sorry, but my hands are tied.”

“We can’t afford to pay you more.”

“This is a 9 to 5 salary job.”

And, “Your participation is voluntary.”

We lie about our age, height and weight.

We lie about our looks and income when we date online.

Cat fishing online is a fancy word for liar.

We lie when we do taxes, sell used cars, homes etc.

The Dr.’s receptionist says, “The Dr. will be right with you.”

The dentist says, “Trust me, this won’t hurt”

The phone call salesman says, “I will only take a minute of your time.”

You call the cable company to complain and are told,

“Hang on the line as your call is really important to us.”

Anytime a corporation says they care,

or a politician says that they promise,

it is an outright first-class, boldfaced lie.

When your wife asks, “Does this dress make my ass look fat?”

I guarantee that all men will lie because it’s safer than the truth.

Guys, you know you’ve told some woman;

“I’ve never done anything like this before.”

“I’ll respect you in the morning.”

“I’ll call you tomorrow.”

“Let’s do this again.”

“But we can still be good friends.”

Some of you guys might have said;

“Of course I love you.”

“My wife doesn’t understand me.”

“She means nothing to me.”

“I am getting a divorce.”

“Don’t worry, it’s OK – I’m sterile.”

“It’s only a cold sore.”

And women you know you’ve said;

“I’m busy Friday night or

“I’m seeing someone right now.”

“I didn’t expect anything from you anyway.”

“He’s just a friend.”

“I’m usually not this scatter-brained.”

“I’m on a diet.”

“I workout.”

“I’m not the type that gets jealous.”

“My phone died.”

“I promise I won’t get mad.”

“I never do this.”

“I’m on my period.”

Once married your wife will lie and say;

“I’ll be ready in just 5 minutes.”

“I’m on my way right now.”

“I’m fine nothing’s wrong.”

“Don’t worry that you forgot,

my birthday or our anniversary.”

“It wasn’t that expensive.”

“It was on sale.”

“I’ve got a headache.”

“You’re right,” which actually means

you weren’t and never will be.

How many of you have said:

“The check is in the mail.”

“I gave at the office.”

“You get this one, I’ll pay next time.”

“Drinking? Why, no, Officer.”

or “sorry, officer but that’s not mine.”

“It’s not the money; it’s the principle of the thing.”

Humans are lied to as many as 200 times a day.

Studies show we detect lies with only 54% accuracy.

One is six judges reaches an incorrect verdict.

One man daily sums up our lying world.

That is Maury Povich, who on his TV show

says over and over, “That was a lie.”

That is when he isn’t saying, “You are the father

or you are not the father.

Tell those you come in contact with,

“I’m worth the truth.”

With my aging pains I can tell you,

I will be one of the few people,

not lying when I say,

“It’s for medicinal purposes.”

The Knickerbockers: “Lies”

Henry Rollins: “Liar”

“Don’t lie to people that trust you, and don’t trust people that lie to you.” ~ Unknown

 

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A Voice for the Voiceless?

I decided to have lunch the other day, in one of my favorite working-class bars. I sat at the circular bar in the dimly lit room. On the other side of the bar sat four rather inebriated men. They were a dozen seats away from me and talking loudly. From their conversations I noted they were retired working-class men. Having worked in a steel plant for 28 years, I recognized much of their frustrations with living in a system that doesn’t listen to their views. I decided to just sit and listen to their conversation.

A man wearing a Steelers ball cap said, “Screw that Meryl Streep, no one wants to hear her opinion.” A man in a plaid flannel shirt added, “It wasn’t even her opinion, she read it off a cue card. Some Hollywood liberal producer probably wrote it.” Steelers ball cap shot back, “Why is her opinion any more important than mine?” I concluded that maybe they are right and their opinion should be heard. I took out the pen; I always have in my shirt pocket and took notes on a few napkins. I decided I would do a blog about the thoughts of my fellow workers. This whole conversation about Meryl Streep started because the TV in the corner of the bar had on the news. The newsman mentioned her criticism of Trump at the Global Awards.

A third man had both his hands so tightly wrapped around his bottle of Yuengling I thought it was a life raft. I note that Yuengling broke its Teamster Union, so I wonder why a working-class bar is serving such a beer. Yuengling drinker said, “Trump needs to kick Streep’s behind like he did that liberal judge bitch. He canned her ass for trying to override his orders. God dammit Trump’s right we need to send these “Ahabs” back to their own countries. I’m tired of foreigners from wherever arriving and not being vetted. The man is just trying to keep our asses safe.” All four heads nod in agreement.” They all then stated how glad they were that they had voted for Trump.

The judge fired was actually, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. She had refused to defend his executive order imposing a temporary ban on refugees and visa holders from seven majority-Muslim countries. The thoughts by many that immigrants arrive without spending a long time being vetted just isn’t true. Immigration experts said the process for refugee visas typically takes between 18 months and three years, during which applicants undergo screenings by counter terrorism agents, medical exams and other checks.

An elderly man and woman arrived and sat next to the four retired Trump voters. The woman knew the men and offered to buy them beers. Three accepted but flannel shirt said, “I have to go soon I’ve been sitting here drinking since, 11:00 AM.” As he stumbled out I noted it was now 1:45 PM. I glanced over at the TV across the room for vital info. That is because that is a video of the parking lot, and I was hoping he was not parked near me. Once the danger in the parking lot was solved, I picked up a new conversation, joined by the two newcomers.

They were now focused on local issues. They were attacking the Youngstown School Board for having too many “coloreds on it.” They were convinced the new white guy CEO was going to straighten everything out. They like the new school CEO Krish Mohip because he talks tough and acts as dictatorial as Trump. I will admit I think some of the school board members need to go as they have been there too long. Next the bar gang blasted a “colored” man who was talking about running for mayor of Youngstown. They said that the current white mayor needs to stay until they drag him out. They love Mayor John McNally, despite him being indicted in May 2014 on charges including racketeering, conspiracy, bribery and perjury.

The next conversation turned to how unions were obsolete. I wondered how many of this crew was able to retire because they were in a union or benefitted by the struggles of the union movement. How many of them had pensions and healthcare because of a union. Yuengling drinker said, “The only strong union left is those UAW unions in Michigan and elsewhere. At those UAW plants the boss has to ask the workers if he can go to the bathroom.” I laugh as the UAW has so little power that they voted in a second tier that pays new workers half of what the older workers make. I think unions are actually needed now as much as they have ever been. When I hear people talking about how strong unions are I find myself wishing they had just 5% of the power that union-bashers think they have.

I reflected on guys I worked with in the mill and realized things haven’t changed much. I worked with racists, homophobes, misogynists, Christian hypocrites, Reagan Democrats, NRA pawns and in general guys who voted against their own self interests. It has now been 18 years since my plant closed. I realized the working-class are still voting against their own interests. The only thing that has changed is that the Reagan Democrats are now Trump Democrats and watching way more FOX News. I have long said that the biggest enemy of the working-class is the working-class. The working-class will continue to be downtrodden, as long as they sit in bars bashing people and organizations that benefit them and raising glasses of union-busting beer and toasting the Reagans and Trumps who seek their demise.

Gil Scott Heron: “Message to Messengers”

“Did You Hear What They Said”

“We are our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.” ~ Tom Robbins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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