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Stuff I Wrote
The Right to Keep and
    Bear Arms
Odd Words
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Hedda Garza Memorial
~   ~   ~   ~
Statement of Purpose
Who Am I?

Previous Essays:

Links I Like

Twenty Years of the CIO — 
This is a great piece of

The Ethical Spectacle
Fascinating Video Lecture
International Journal
    of Occupational and
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Students for Concealed
     Carry on Campus

Gun Sales Up, Violent

     Crime Down (Again)

Book Review:
“The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor — The Life and Times of Tony Mazzocchi” This is a fascinating book about a labor leader who has had tremendous influence on our lives, but whose name is not even known by millions of Americans. Please read my review.


Happy Old Year!

Do you really think that 2008 will be very different from 2007? I don’t. There are a lot of things that ought to change, but will not:

  1. The President — unfortunately, the country is stuck with him and his crowd until January of 2009, unless, perchance, the assassins of Benazir Bhutto should decide to come over here and practice their arts, but then, why would they help us?
  2. The war in Iraq — forget about it ending this year. On the outside chance that Ron Paul gets elected, he said he’d shut it down right away, but that would be in 2009. Richardson promised to withdraw the troops within a year; that would be in 2010 at the earliest. None of the other candidates promise anything at all, and it’s exceedingly doubtful that members of Congress will grow spines before then, even with all science knows about stem cells. The flag-draped caskets will continue arriving and the money that could be spent on things that would improve life will continue sinking into the sands of the Middle East.
  3. The candidates — they’ll be getting fewer, but not better. Except for Paul, the Republicans are pretty undifferentiated. They are all struggling to find ways not to be dragged down by Bush’s unpopularity, while trying to be otherwise the same, but with better grammar. To greater or lesser degrees, they are bringing religious prejudice into their campaigns. (What other reason is there for mentioning it at all?) McCain has a history of trying to undermine democracy with legislation to limit the speech and participation of groups that represent their voter members, hardly something to brag about. Giuliani made a career of presuming people guilty until proven innocent as a U.S. Attorney. Only Huckabee, Paul and Thompson have decent records on supporting the Second Amendment.

    The Democrats are, for the most part, also pretty undifferentiated and not much to get excited about. Clinton seems to have all of the negatives of her husband (except the philandering): machine politics and free-market, not-very-liberalism. Edwards talks a little more in the populist vein, and has gathered, like Clinton, some solid union support, but hasn’t shown much in the past that makes him stand out. Obama is hard to distinguish from the others in political positions. Kucinich differs from the pack a little in the area of animal rights and extreme vegetarianism. The only one who stands out in a positive way from the rest is Richardson. While most of his positions of those of typical Democrats, he has hugely greater experience in foreign affairs than the rest, and is the only Democratic candidate with a position on the Second Amendment that is based on a real understanding of the facts and the situations of real people, as opposed to knee-jerk hysteria. This could be a secret weapon for him if he would emphasize it more but, alas, he doesn’t, probably on the advice of some political advisor.

  4. The education system — most children will continue being left behind, at least from where they ought to be for their age. Public education has been deteriorating for at least three decades, since its Sputnik-generated boom. More and more teachers who were educated in that period are retiring, being replaced by people who got their starts after the decline began. Those who are really dedicated to their profession, probably a significant majority, continue to be frustrated by students and families who don’t really care, by bureaucrats who have left teaching behind, and by political correctness and education fads that make things worse. Here in La-La-Land, it is all made worse by weak spending, a mayor who is trying to take over education for political reasons (and is not only failing at that, but not doing well in his traditional mayoral duties, not to mention his loss of respect stemming from an extramarital affair and a break-up with his wife) and strife between the bureaucrats and the teachers union.

    Since this country had such an excellent public education system in the recent past, it is baffling why no one seems to be examining that for ways to improve the current situation. First, there should be a point-by-point investigation of the differences between then and now, and then a concentration on those divergences to correct things. Second, since math and science were strong points then and weak points now, methods and textbooks used in the ’60s ought to be reintroduced in updated form to teach the subjects now. I still have mine, if anyone wants to look at them.

  5. The economy — it will continue being hard to evaluate because of all of the phony statistics being thrown at us. The United States has had its economy deindustrialized by private interests and has sent its well-paying, union jobs overseas. Meanwhile, government statistics shows lots of new jobs created. Unfortunately, and dishonestly, the stats equate the former good-paying jobs with new, service-sector McJobs. Let the economists say what they will, a country without its own heavy industrial base is going is going to be dependent upon the rest of the world for its survival, with the rest able to dictate terms. What isn’t going to change with the new year is that the economy, from the point of view of working people and not the leaders of big business, is a lot worse we are told it is.
  6. The unions — stagnation and decline will persist until members and leaders alike wake up and do something. The Los Angeles area has the largest manufacturing base in the country. Most of it is unorganized. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of organizing going on there. The egotists at the head of unions representing about half of the union members in the country have seen fit to split the afl-cio, an unconscionable act. The unions that remain in the afl-cio might be doing some organizing somewhere in the country, but not much here. U.S. unions are still playing footsy with the Democrats instead of exercising independent political action, just like in the past. They do it in every election, and every time they get screwed; no learning goes on at the level of union leadership. In addition to deindustrialization, illegal immigrants are undercutting the efforts unions have been making for over a century to raises wages and benefits. The situation is bad and there is no good leadership, no vision to try to turn things around. Too bad.
  7. The media — it will continue its manipulation of readers and viewers. It will keep on covering fewer and fewer candidates, under the guise of concentrating on those who “can win.” As a result, only the ones the media covers will have a chance of winning. (A recent L.A. Times supplement entitled On the Trail only mentioned Romney, Clinton, Huckabee, Obama, Giuliani, Edwards, Thompson and McCain.) This is the same approach the media takes on political issues it opposes. Instead of just openly editorializing, the issues disappear from factual coverage. The press will continue the decline in its standards and those of their staffs, in the areas of grammar, spelling and knowledge of subject. Locally, the L.A. Times will further dumb down and continue to pluralize millennium as millenniums instead of the proper millennia.
  8. The so-called War on Terror — this will continue to be a do-nothing enterprise that will continue to succeed only insofar as it erodes Americans’ fundamental liberties. So far, nothing has been done to make the United States a less desirable target. It is government policy, past, present and probably future, that puts the American people in jeopardy for terrorism. As long as this country’s government sides with the world’s most repressive regimes and with the imperialist policies of the past that divided up the Middle East among the European powers, hostile feelings will continue. And as long as the United States sides with those who stole Palestine from the Palestinians, hostile feelings will continue. There are legitimate grievances against the policies this country has embraced. Innocent people do not deserve to be terrorized. Unfortunately, despite the ideals of the founders of this country, this country does not have clean hands. As long as people choose to remain ignorant, and don’t force their government to reform and live up to the country’s ideals, nothing will change and the new year will be just like the old.
  9. The also-so-called War on Drugs — the lessons of Prohibition will continue not to be learned. Neither concentrating on supply nor on demand will have any substantial effect. Seizures will continue, maybe grow, but the drug “industry” makes more it can sell, so the losses can be absorbed. There will be no substantive changes in the foreseeable future.
  10. The world — the whole world will continue to fester with unhappy souls. Will 2008 be any different than 2007? Nope.
  11. The electorate — Americans will continue to be as gullible as before. Advertising backed by all kinds of behavioral research works. The population of the United States has overwhelmingly been turned into a society of rabid consumers. People believe what is fed to them electronically and buy into all of the gimmicks, status and political propaganda. To wit, the candidates that the electorate will choose from, and one of whom it will elect as president. All, of whichever party, represent the the same policies that have gotten us into all of our current bad circumstances. Is the electorate even asking for anything new? Not yet. Someday, maybe.

Happy Old Year!

January 1, 2008

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