Monthly Archives: March 2011

Household Hypocrisy Remover

First off, I want to mention an event happening on Monday, March 28th. That is the Time Bank Mahoning Watershed hosting the film FUEL, a documentary that won the audience award at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. The film is about America’s troubling relationship with oil and how alternative and sustainable energies can reduce dependence of fossil fuels. It will be shown at 7 p.m. at the Lemon Grove, 122 W. Federal St. Downtown, Youngstown. Free. Donations accepted for the purchase of future films. For more information on the film, see here.

I want to address one of my many pet peeves. That pet peeve would be hypocrisy. This time the hypocrisy would be in the form of  bumper stickers. Such a bumper sticker may have led to road rage in Niles, Ohio. A man who I’ll call Mr. B had a bumper stickers that urged its readers to “Be American, Buy American” and “Be a Communist, Buy a Foreign Car.” The sticker led to Mr. B and Mr. L, who was driving a Nissan, to spit at one car or the other depending on who you believe. It also led to Mr. B pulling out a pistol. It  ended in a court case where Mr. B was found guilty of disorderly conduct-a minor misdemeanor.

Where is the hypocrisy you are asking?  Well, Mr. B was driving a Chevrolet Tracker which were sold in the U.S. from 1988-2004. Over these years Trackers have been made in Canada, Japan and Mexico. Meanwhile, if Mr. L’s Nissan was an Altima, Maxima, Xtera, Pathfinder, Frontier, Armada, Titan, Quest or the  Leaf electric car odds are it was made in the U.S. Nissan has plants located in Smyrna, Tennessee and Canton, Mississippi.  Mr. B assumed because his car was a Chevrolet it was made in the U.S. Should Mr. B have known better? Well, before he slapped those bumper stickers on his car he might have wanted to check the country of origin of his Tracker. Being that Mr. B is a skilled tradesman at the General Motors Co.’s Lordstown Complex, you’d assume an autoworker might know something about automobiles but then you’d be assuming. I will advise Mr. B that if he wanted to be assured that he was driving a car made in the U.S. he should buy the Chevrolet Cruze which is being made at the GM plant  where he is employed. I have been reading excellent reviews of the Cruze in various auto magazines. Besides, Mr. B would know where to go for parts when he needs them (nod, wink). If I needed a car that size (and had a job that paid a livable wage) I’d buy one in a second.

I see in the news that GM auto workers like Mr. B are going to receive an average of a $4,300 bonus. I’m glad to hear GM has turned around and the bonuses spent in this valley will help our local economy. To add some irony I think Mr. B should be thanking Mr. L instead of allegedly spitting on his car and waving a gun at him. You see, Mr. L , you reading this and I  as taxpayers saved Mr. B’s job at GM. Maybe, Mr. B could come by Mr. L’s and my home and drop some of that bonus money off to thank us.

Mr. B’s not the only uninformed bumper sticker guy on the road. I was exiting my Honda Element recently in a super market parking lot. An elderly man was getting out of his PT Cruiser parked next to me. He cleared his throat loudly  and looked at his bumper sticker then at me. I glanced at his sticker to read, “Keep My American Flag Off of Your Foreign Car.” First off, I do not have an American flag on my car. I said to the man, “It’s not just your flag, it belongs to all of our citizens.” I continued, “My Honda was made in Ohio and the last time I looked Ohio was still part of America.” I added, “I also own a Chevy that was made in California and a Ford made in Tennessee. ” He replied Honda’s money goes back to Japan.” I answered,  “Tell that to the construction workers who built the Honda plants and design studios in this country. Tell that to the Honda auto workers who take home a pay check from Honda.” I then decided to show how uninformed the man was. I said, “You do know that all PT cruisers were made in Mexico don’t you?”  He replied, “No it’s not, it’s a Chrysler.” “Do some research” I stated. As we headed into the store I told him, “Make sure you don’t buy any foreign fruits or vegetables.”

From now on, I will be telling car owners with these bumper stickers that I have a service that can help them. My service is known as, “Household Hypocrisy Remover.” I will come to anyone’s house and remove all electronics, clothing, appliances etc. that are foreign-made. I will do this service free of charge. Contact me here if you are interested.

Right now, I am wrestling with not buying products made by corporations that contribute to politicians who don’t have my families interest in mind. I am starting to realize, if I boycotted all of them I will be naked, cold and walking. On the other hand if we keep buying products from corporations that want to destroy the working-class in the end we’ll be so poor we’ll all be naked, cold and walking anyways. Mr. L, Mr. B we are all working-class and on  the same side. It’s time to work together and not be divided. All of our bumper stickers should read, “Corporate America and Wall Street, Don’t Care About Main Street.”

Lucinda Williams: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road

Are You Alright?

Hypocrite: “The man who murders both his parents…pleaded for mercy on the grounds he was an orphan.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

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Too Much Corporate Nation Not Enough Iroquois Nation

Mr. and Mrs. E’s wages and benefits are under attack by Ohio Governor John Kasich. If that isn’t enough, the price of gasoline seems to be going up on a daily basis. The governor wants to help me out with that problem by drilling for oil in Ohio’s state parks. It’s drill baby drill with this Republican crowd. The truth is more drilling won’t bring down the price of gasoline. That is because the price has nothing to do with supply and demand. The price is being ran up by oil speculators.

My daughter, the Mac goes to college in Pittsburgh. She has been notified that her grants will be cut in half for next year because of Pennsylvania’s Republican  Governor Corbett’s budget cuts. This will be more economic worries on Mr. and Mrs. E. Mac is already working a job and has worked for years to put away money for college. She is wondering what else she can do to help pay for college. I have suggested to her that she could get plenty of assistance from Gov. Corbett if she would do the kinds of things he and his fellow Republicans respect. So in other words, she needs to poison the drinking water, and contaminate the ground and air. She needs to cause health risks that extend from rashes to cancer. I say this because these are the dangers faced by” fracking”. Governor Corbett has given special interest tax breaks for energy companies that use environmentally destructive “fracking” to obtain natural gas. This tax break will give energy companies hundreds of millions of dollars in profits. Pennsylvania is the only state out of the top 15 gas producers that doesn’t have a tax on the gas companies.

Of course,  to give the tax break, $1 billion was cut in education funding. Dental care was also cut for Medicaid recipients and teachers salaries were frozen among other things being cut. The public education cuts hit poorer districts ten times harder than students in wealthier districts. It goes without saying that the energy industry that Gov. Corbett is giving tax breaks to donated to his gubernatorial campaign.

Our Ohio house has passed a tax break for the petroleum industry also. Gov. Kasich’s budget plan includes a repeal of the Ohio estate tax and includes an income tax cut for the rich which had been halted by former Gov. Strickland because of Ohio’s financial crisis. While Strickland wanted the petroleum companies and the wealthy to pay their fair share to help balance the budget, Gov. Kasich has other plans. Instead of the balancing the budget on the backs of the greedy he is going to do it on the backs of the needy. Kasich’s budget proposes cuts of  25 percent of  the state’s education budget, $1 million from food banks, $12 million from children’s hospitals, and $15.9 million from an adoption program for children with special needs. In a further pay back to the energy companies that helped finance his gubernatorial campaign he announced that he’d like to open Ohio’s state parks to gas and oil drilling. In D.C. every House Republican voted against taking away taxpayer-funded subsidies from big oil companies. Ending such subsidies would have saved taxpayers billions of dollars.

As you can see turning the middle class into the poor is not enough for the GOP. Their sole interest is to serve the corporate interest that finances and owns them. Humanity is of no value to the GOP. The human race, the animal kingdom and Mother Earth are in danger from the Republican Party. If the examples of a couple of  corporate-owned governors doesn’t give you the dangers we face from Republicans I have other examples.  Wall Street and its financial reporters were more concerned about the economic destruction cause by the recent earthquake in Japan than the loss of human life. Not only are these conservative soulless bastards, they are down right dangerous to human life. Recently, conservative commentators Ann Coulter said that radiation is good for people.

There are plenty of other recent examples to show how Republicans are about protecting corporations at the expense of people’s health. Many freshman Teabagger Republicans are siding with Newt Gingrich in his idea to do away with the Environmental Protection Agency. Republicans in the House Energy Committee unanimously voted three times to deny that climate change is real, despite the broad scientific consensus that “climate change is happening and human beings are a major reason for it.” Republican like to talk about being the party of responsibility. To them that means a poor person should not ask for help but instead pull him self up by his own bootstraps (no matter that he doesn’t own a pair of shoes). Of course Republican self-responsibility world doesn’t extend to Corporate America. Corporate America is allowed to poison people and get all manner of taxpayer-funded, corporate welfare.

I’ve always believed we can learn a lot from history. For example, we need to look at, the Great Law of the Iroquois – which considers seven generations ahead (a couple hundred years into the future) and decides whether the decisions they make today would benefit their children seven generations into the future. Part of this law says, ” in your efforts at law making, in all your official acts, self-interest shall be cast into oblivion.” Another part states, ” look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground-the unborn of the future Nation.”

How does that compare with today’s supposed Christian law makers? The Bible says that man is Earth’s caretaker. To me that means the Iroquois had it right that we should take care of the Earth for future generation. Conservatives and Fundamentalist Christian read the same Bible verse about being the Earth’s caretaker and get a different interpretation. They feel that since they are the Earths caretaker, the planet is theirs to rape, future generations be damned. Guys like Rush Limbaugh look at the magnificense of a Sequoia Tree and see only how many picnic tables it would make.

If we want the best health care we can get for our own safety and Mother Natures we have to stop this cancer called, “conservatism.” Conservatives have realized they have an image problem in recent years. That is why they were using the term, “compassionate conservative.” Don’t be fooled. A “compassionate conservative” is jut a smiling cannibal. In the end he will still devour you and this planet.

Calvin Russel: One Meatball

Big Brother

“It apparently no longer matters in Congress what health experts and scientists think, all that seems to matter is what Koch Industries thinks.” ~ Rep. Harry Waxman (D-CA)

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Nothing for the Workers and Everything for the Nuttings

Now that I found out that Mrs. E. and I are overpaid public sector workers (never mind that my wages classify me as poverty level) I have a plan. With both of us supposedly rolling in the dough we are an asset to any community. We will move to a community and bring our big wages with us. Of course, we want all property taxes, any levy taxes, sales taxes and local income taxes deferred until a later date, at which time we will demand a later date into infinity.  We will take the highest bid from communities in Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties. Our area likes to roll out the welcome mat for companies that line up at the feeding trough of corporate welfare. Our state and local governments are eager to “give away the store” (read, my tax money), with as few rules as possible, most times providing only minimum-wage jobs, which don’t support a single person, let alone a family. I’m telling all of our city and township officials that we are willing to move to their community if they throw enough of those corporate welfare give aways our way. We will be awaiting your offers.

Have you ever been puzzled as to which side of an issue to be on? It’s easy to figure out in our valley. All you need to do is pick up a copy of the, Warren Tribune. Go to the editorial page and see which side editor, Frank Robinson is on. Then you’ll know which ever position Frank is on is the wrong side. That is unless you are a corporation instead of a working American. I saw a comment that really summed up why Frank loves it when workers in the private or public sector take concessions. It was that – workers bucks = + bucks for the Bucs. You see, Bob Nutting who owns the Warren Tribune also owns the Pittsburgh Pirates (called Bucs, short for Buccaneers). The less money people have means more money in the system for corporate welfare kings like Nutting to snag.

Nutting benefits greatly from publicly financed PNC Park where the Pirates play. He also gets shared revenue from MLB (Major League Baseball). He keeps a big chunk of that MLB money and doesn’t use it like he’s suppose to by buying  good players. Which is why the Pirates always have a losing team and Pittsburgh hates him. It’s OK, Bob laughs all the way to the bank. He earns his profits from the equity of others, like Pennsylvania taxpayers, or his peer owners. Nutting’s fellow team owners consider him a  Corporate Welfare Bum as the taxpayers should also. So while Nutting is a deadbeat stealing millions of taxpayer dollars his stooge Editor Robinson is calling public sector workers who plow our roads, police our streets, fight our fires and teach our kids (and buy his crappy newspaper) deadbeats who need to work for next to nothing, so everything goes to Nutting. Nutting and Robinson are just some of the enemies working people have to be aware of.

Some of the other enemies of working people in Ohio are the people, organizations and corporations that backed John Kasich for governor. Check out the site for the Federal Election Commission for a list his donors. Look it over and see if there aren’t companies on it you can boycott. You’ve probably heard about Kasich referring to  a police man who pulled him over as an, idiot. Well, John has a history of disrespecting people who he thinks don’t worship his self-importance.

Sadly, some of the working-classes enemies are the working-class. People like the Teabaggers who are bought and paid for by corporations.  Here is an example of one of these Teabagger idiots from a Youngstown Vindicator article covering demonstrations in Columbus for and against Senate Bill 5. Harvey McClary, a Diamond resident, is a retired autoworker and union member of more than 50 years. But unlike the other union representatives who have rallied at the Statehouse in recent weeks, McClary is backing Senate Bill 5. “Now, the state workers are making more money than the people that are paying them,” he said. “The people that are paying them are working for $11, $12 an hour and they’re making way more with better benefits. The whole thing’s upside down.” He added,“The fact of it is, schoolteachers and civil-service workers are holding our state hostage and the children hostage,” he said. “Teachers can get an honest living without having to have a union to get it.”

Harvey has a fat auto workers pension because he was in a union but doesn’t think teachers should have a union or good benefits. Teachers and other public sector workers were part of the taxpayers that bailed GM out. Doing that made sure retried autoworkers like ole Harvey wouldn’t lose their pensions and benefits. I guess attacking those who saved your ass is your way of thanking your fellow workers. As far as people making $11, $12 dollars an hour and not being able to afford gas, houses and groceries I agree. I therefore would ask you as someone who made $28 or more an hr. (plus benefits) as an autoworker why you voted for a second tier of workers to make less than half of what you made for doing the same job. Do they pay any less for gas or milk than you? Mr. McClary you’re one stupid hypocritical bastard and a corporate tool.

I ran across this which shows how working people’s enemies in Wisconsin are being heralded as heroes by the corporations that own them:

Republicans from Wisconsin State Senate to be rewarded at Washington fundraiser
Fresh off a vote to end collective bargaining rights, Republican leaders of the Wisconsin state Senate are heading to a March 16 fundraiser in their honor at the Washington, D.C., lobbying firm of BGR Group, founded by Mississippi Gov. and big-time Republican fundraiser Haley Barbour. Donors are asked to give $1,000 to the state Republican Party; sponsors are asked for $2,500 while hosts must pay $5,000.

While at the fundraiser the Wisconsin state senators can recite their Republican vows, “I pledge allegiance to the greed of United Corporations of America…..One nation, under greed, with liberty, and justice for the rich.”

The enemies list against working-class people is a long list and I’ve written a long enough post for now.

The Picnic: A Rich and Poor Story

Matt McGinn: Rich Man’s Paradise Poor Man’s Hell

If It Wasn’t For the Union

Happy St. Patricks Day!

“Hear me people: We now have to deal with another race—small and feeble when our fathers first met them, but now great and overbearing.
Strangely enough they have a mind to till the soil and the love of possessions is a disease with them.
They take their tithes from the poor and weak to support the rich and those who rule.”
Chief Sitting Bull

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Punishing Working-Class Heroes

I spent 28 years working as a steelworker and USWA union member.  I never made much money doing that because 23 of those years were concessionary contracts. Our plant had several owners over the years and every one who bought it required concessions from the workers and corporate welfare from taxpayers. I ended up with a ten-year pension, four years stolen (as the owner lied and never paid into it) and a small amount of 401K funds (1% I paid into and 1% my employer paid into).

When my plant closed in 1999 I was to poor and young to retire. I got a job in the public sector, I am a classroom assistant in a school unit for autistic children. It is a spiritually rewarding job but not financially rewarding. The  federal poverty level for a family of four is a household income of $22,050 or less a year. My fellow assistants and I make several thousand a year less than that even when they work a summer program like I always have. Our family is very lucky that Mrs. E works or we’d be in the poor house on my wages.

I will talk about working-class heroes and corporate owned worms in my next post. I’d rather give you an example of some of my fellow, working-class heroes that are under attack by the Ohio Senate Bill 5. A bill that will punish people like the ones I work with that give so much, for so little already. Here is a poem I wrote several years ago to honor them:

Daily Working-Class Heroes

Daily flashes of heroism
illuminated their dedication.
No dollar figure can respect
such humble people
that lessen the pains of the earth.
Fighting the good fight
moving aside all obstacles
to get the job done.
To them giving becomes nourishment
which never fills them up.
For they have bottomless
pockets on their hearts.
They protect autistic children
from life’s cruelties.
Breaking down walls
to give them a future.
Listening attentively and respectfully
to each child’s collage of needs.
Helping them grow up
strong physically and morally.
And growth when dealing
with an autistic child
can be a painful process.
When working with these kids
two words march together:
love and pain.
The pain of
bites and scratches from the kids
and so many bruises
there’s not enough
chocolate to heal.
If God judges people
by their scars these folks
will have VIP suites in heaven.
For they expend all their energy
to satisfy endless needs.
Through toil and moil
strife and struggle.
And they do it with
courage and calmness
and laughter.
When days are really bad
they practice a little math
by subtracting negativity
and adding a little more devotion,
a little more charity
and a little more patience.
For they’re specialists
who cannot be just spectators.
Liberators who’s only fear
would be surrender.
They’re part Gandhi
with the defensive moves
of Bruce Lee.
They’ve found nothing is difficult
when you put your heart into it.
They know that the evolution
of the child
mirrors the evolution
of the race.
Those live longest
who live most.
Long lives and a hug
to you all.

Governor Kasich the above are the kind of people you want to punish by cutting their wages and benefits.  You do this while you give your staff raises? You have no decency.

John Stewart exposes the media and political hypocrites.

Song: US Workers VS. Multi-Billionaires

Sarah Turner: Youngstown

Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at times they accomplish this impossible task. ~ Haim G. Ginott

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