Posts tagged politics
Posts tagged politics
(pretty damn accurate)
My hero, Alan Grayson, explains Occupy Wall Street (in less than 2 minutes) to the 1% and other idiots who just don’t get it yet.
I feel extremely accomplished today, and a little more powerful. Hooray for the little people!
I work in a “temporary” office space in an old run-down building on Wilshire Blvd. I say temporary, but how temporary is three years? The office and building itself could be reported for multiple health and safety violations. Oh, let me count the ways. The cockroaches I could deal with…I mean, USC has cockroaches and USC has more money than god. I’d almost gotten used to them. The bathrooms were old, creepy and unsanitary. On more than one occasion, a man was found in the women’s bathroom…doing what? I’m not sure. Homeless people seemed to know that the bathroom on floor five was often unlocked, and used it at their leisure, though, when it was found locked, had been known to relieve themselves on the floor. While these are not exactly the best working conditions, they are aspects of city life that one cannot truly escape…without leaving the city.
There were two instances that changed my general passivity towards my work situation.
1. One day, I had gotten into the elevator on the 5th floor, and this creaky, old and slightly smelly traveling box decided it wouldn’t do what elevators were made to do. The lights shut off and it free fell, from the fifth to the third floor. I got out, terrified, my stomach in my throat. Having reported it to several people I was told “that’s scary. hmmm…i guess you should use the stairs.”
2. And then, a week ago, people finally began putting together that they had been getting bitten by fleas. While I’m not the hugest fan of bugs, I have dogs, I have cats. I live in the hills. While I’m not exactly excited to see them, I’ll mostly let them be. I’m the person who usually has to carry out the spider and release it into the urban jungle of wilshire blvd. That wasn’t my problem.
My problem was that, without any notice, warning or general “oh by the way…” building management sent in a pest control service. In fact, we only discovered the place had been fumigated when we asked about what had happened to a couple of our coffee cups. Our building has little to no ventilation. The windows cannot open. The fans barely work.
"What about all the toxic chemicals and fumes?" I asked.
"I don’t smell anything." I was told.(Can I just respond to this here and say that, for the most part, toxic chemicals are usually odorless. That’s why there are additives to most pesticides and gases to make them smell, so you are warned).
A few hours later, people, myself included, began feeling dizzy, nauseous and began to get headaches. A little while later and the sore throats began. I proceeded to get a random bloody nose.
After doing some research (why was this my job, I wonder? Why aren’t there other people that put together the "toxic fumes+unventilated building=bad" equation?) I found that not only were we supposed to be warned of the fumigation, there was to be a posted notice saying what chemicals were used, and then a test, or certification, by the pest control company, to determine whether it was safe to go in or not. We were also not to be admitted to the building for 12-15 hours after fumigation. They told us “2 hours is fine.”
Not only that, I began to realize that there was a pregnant woman down the hall, in our aging, unventilated building. The toxins in fumigation and pesticide use are especially harmful for pregnant women (it even stated so on the letter sent to the landlord, which no one else was privy to), yet she was never notified.
I’m absolutely furious for multiple reasons.
1. That this even happened, that our landlord could not or would not be bothered when it came to regulations or the safety of the buildings occupants.
2. That it wouldn’t even occur to people, in this day and age, that when using toxic chemicals, you can’t then shut an unventilated room and let people go back in after 2 hours. Not only is this ridiculous on the pest control company’s part, it is ridiculous that this isn’t common sense for pretty much everyone. Why was I the only one to bring this up?
3. I think about this happening all over, in so many places, where people either don’t know or can’t afford to complain. There are reasons so many buildings have those warning signs regarding potentially lethal materials like asbestos- because so many people had to get sick and die before a lawsuit was filed.
I was tired of my complains falling on deaf ears, or being ignored completely. I decided I didn’t care if people just thought I was a pain in the ass. I was sick of being told that “asbestos testing was too expensive”, that “it sucks but we just have t deal with it.” I wrote to the head of school, copied everyone, outlined my concerns and the illegal nature of the activities. I wrote to OSHA. People are finally taking action! Talks are in the works, with building management, the board, potentially Building and Safety. I don’t know what will happen, but I am proud of myself for finally yelling loud enough for people to hear. I am proud of myself for having what i thought was) common sense, to know what chemicals can do, what’s illegal, what’s against worker’s rights.
And so I’d like to take a moment here, and relate this all to my firmest belief- the belief that regulation, government regulation especially, is probably the single most important thing we have. While conservatives argue that the privatization of everything is the key to a golden economy and the birth of more “job creators”, that “the government should keep it’s filthy hands off my medicare!”, that regulations are horrible, detrimental things, I would just like to say that it is the regulations that keep us safe. It is the regulations that keep toxic pesticides out of our food (for the most part), that protect our human rights, our environmental rights, our right to live in a safe place. And while bureaucracy is a slow, sad thing, these agencies, such as the Occupational Health and Safety Organization, allow the little people, like me, to say, “hey-wait a minute. I think it might not be a good idea to sit in a cloud of pesticides for eight hours a day.”
When everything is left to private companies, things get dangerous. Customers will most likely pick the cheapest route, and the cheapest route gets cheap by cutting costs. Costs like certifications, inspections, and paying for the health and safety of their workers. They choose the quick and easy way- the fastest, most toxic chemical that “gets the job done now!” Instead of the safer, more health-friendly route. And when there are no regulations companies have to follow, people pay the price. And they’ll only realize this when they come home with thousands of dollars in debt due to their medical bills.
"The one bright spot in consumer purchasing has been in the luxury market but a falling stock market is likely to take a big bite out of that too."
–Don Lee (Firms Invest Abroad to Grow, LA Times).
Ya…this article is about how nobody can afford to buy anything anymore so the companies are giving up on America. But Yachts and $200,000 razors? Yes please!
I just don’t understand how people DON’T GET IT YET.
My computer at work goes to “word of the day” dictionary definitions when the screen saver starts up, and today’s word just happened to be liberal. Just reading this definition, it’s hard for me to see how anyone could be against any of the things “liberal” stands for. This also goes with my theory that, if you were to look at any super hero villain, or movie villain in general, and really comb through their character flaws and what exactly makes them so evil, and were to then designate them to a poltical party, I absolutely 100% guarentee you that they would all vote republican.
Thinking about our education system, health care system, infrastructure and the constant backtracking we do regarding human rights, workers rights, the dismissal and often vilification of intelligence and forward thinking, I often think “for god’s sake- we should be flattered that illegal immigrants even want to cross the borders anymore!”
I am embarrassed by our country, by republicans as well as by democrats who claimed they would fight for science, common sense and reason. How is it that, in 2011, a time when we expected to have improved all aspects of life in the united states, we have gone so incredibly backwards in both our thinking, reasoning and actions?
In 2011 we now bail out and give incredible raises to wall street executives but want to take away benefits from teachers to take care of costs. We want to outlaw abortions and take away methods of contraception when it is proven that options in contraception greatly reduce the amount of abortions that take place. We demonize gays, saying that they are a threat to the institution of marriage- and by we I mean those Republican politicians that are constantly getting caught with their pants around their ankles, alongside a hooker, an underage boy and a bible, prostletyzing to the masses). People literally vote against themselves- against universal health care that would benefit each and every person, against workers rights and benefits, against improving infrastructure (roads, transportation, safety codes- ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING THAT KEEPS US SAFE). We demonize the fucking planet that we live on. Sometimes I get so infuriated I don’t even want to know what’s going on in the world anymore. You embarrass me America. You make me sick. Each and every republican, every tea-partier, every racist, selfish, hatred-filled enemy of common sense- YOU DISGUST ME.
Sometimes I wonder why it is so easy to convince people of things that are so obviously, so blatantly and undeniably insane. Can we not agree that, when your “party lines” require that opponents be silenced, blackmailed into submission, that truth be shoved under a blanket, hidden from your followers, that what you stand for is innately, undeniably WRONG? For if it were true, would you have to go to such lengths to protect it?
Wisconsin is a microcosm of what is going on in America as a whole. Once again, ordinary people are being sacrificed to pay for the damage inflicted by those who were too selfish to want to pay their taxes, to follow and promote regulations (whether they concern safety, the environment and even morality) and too goddamn stupid to educate themselves on their own policies. The one-liners of this ridiculous debate claim that teachers (union members) get lavish benefits, that unions destroy industry and corporations. Why are those who claim to stand for the average, blue-collar american so keen to destroy one of the only aspects of America right now that keeps us from reverting to an Upton Sinclair The Jungle-esque existence?
The right to organize and bargain collectively is the basic human right to pool our individual power into a unified voice that’s strong enough to stand up against unfair or abusive workplaces and to ensure fair pay and benefits. When workers are denied their most basic right to bargain collectively, rampant abuse and exploitation are inevitable.
And yet…why teachers? Why demonize teachers? Because an education is all that stands in the way of a giant, unquestioning and compliant mass of yes-men and women. Take away the teachers, the correct history of the world in textbooks (yes Texas, I’m looking at you), the books that contradict the bible, sex education, an institution like the national public radio, the freedom of web content or at least the speed and expediency of websites that promote unpopular views, and then promote the very idea that being able to think, to understand and to question is a good thing, and not some elitist, arugula bullshit, and you will have one massive population of dumb, ignorant baby-making machines.
Education is the mortal enemy of political myth-makers who want to shape your thoughts and chart your behavior — all to meet the end of further income redistribution. Consider the latest budget proposals in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the state where I teach anthropology at a public university. Citing the mythic benefits of lower taxes and limited government, Governor Tom Corbett, a Republican, wants to slash the public higher education budget by 50 percent. Such a cut would simply decimate public higher education in Pennsylvania. What does that mean? In addition to staff layoffs, and program cuts, it means that our students, many of whom come from lower-middle class and working class families, would face an estimated 28 percent increase in tuition. Put another way, it means that if Governor Corbett has his way, scores of my students, no longer able to pay for their education, would have to drop out of school.
-Bob Burnett, Suffer the Little Children
However, let’s say teachers really were receiving these lavish benefits, ridiculous salaries, that the right-wing claims they do. Would I really mind? Would I mind that a teacher was making more than a wall-street executive? The average factory worker? An entertainment lawyer? HELL NO. We should celebrate the people that work in order to ensure better futures for OUR FUTURE. Firemen, policemen, teachers, they should all receive their deserved salaries, their healthcare, their benefits. What is the correct compensation for someone who saves people in burning buildings? Faces off with dangerous criminals? Wakes up at 5am to get to school and teach children, only to take on a second job when they can’t make ends meet?
Whatever it is, they’re not getting it.
I’m tired of selfishness being celebrated. Of people being brainwashed to vote against their own interests. I’m tired of our stupidity. But without teachers, without unions, without those who’s sole job is to educate and to protect, all we’re going to be left with IS the stupidity.
I have a few things to say about the inevitable downfall of the United States, perpetrated by 8 years of Republican leadership and the short-term memory of all those Tea-Partiers, Conservatives and general retards who have not paid attention to anything going on around them other than TV commercials funded by corporations and greedy rich people. I stand by everything I say and there is no middle-ground for me. SO DEAL.
1. Bipartisanship will never work because Republicans are wrong (100% of the time).
The free market does not work. We tried that (can we take a short trip down memory lane to the 8 years of the Republican free market coupled with complete deregulation that lead to the wall street crisis, housing bubble and general economic depression we’ve been suffering through? Let’s talk about how less government=less money towards infrastructure. How could we have prevented the devastation of Katrina? Government money could have gone to help reinforce and redesign the structures. Corporations could have had to work within stricter safety and environmental guidelines. Why are bridges collapsing, roads are falling apart? Because people are against government spending. And by people, I mean republicans. If you really want to get down to exactly how and why the whole idea of the free market does not work, read up on Milton Friedman and his whole neo-con party’s experiment in Chile. (I recommend the Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein)
The bible has no place in government. America is not a Catholic/Christian or Evangelical state. It’s simply not. I don’t even think I need to expand on that. What do we call it when other countries try to enforce radical religious ideals upon all their citizens? Terrorist states.
More guns=more murders. That is an inescapable fact. You may have a right to protect yourself- but at what point did we decide that everyone should have access to automatic weapons?
The environment is not evil. It is not tricking us. People who want to save the environment are not crazy. People who don’t care about the environment are. It’s like climate-change deniers forget where we live. You don’t buy a house and then fill it up with exhaust fumes and dump toxins into your water supply and then just sit there while it all goes to shit, do you? I guess you do- if you’re a republican.
It’s pro-choice and anti-choice. ANTI-CHOICE!!!
2. Undecided voters should not be allowed to vote. Period
If you haven’t figured out where you stand on the issues, you simply aren’t paying attention. Do you think people should have access to health care? Do you think women should have choices when it comes to their own bodies? Do you have a problem with the icebergs melting, fish disappearing and our water giving people cancer? Have you thought about any of this? No? Then stay out of the voting booth.
3. All Republican ideals have come from American greed and egotism, pure and simple
The 1098 initiative is a perfect example. Washington state does not have any income tax. This initiative would have taxed (a minimal amount) the wealthiest people in Washington (those who made over $200,000) and that money would have been put towards education. But fuck everyone else.
We want to keep our money. We don’t want to pay for roads, firemen, police officers, hospitals, or schools. That stuff will all just figure itself out.
I quote Mitchell Bard: “Sure, their constituents loved it when they promised to cut spending, but will the voters be happy when the cuts result in fired police officers, closed schools and reduced benefits? Doubtful.”
6. Creating a public option when it comes to health care will destroy insurance companies and be devastating to the economy!
Here’s a simple analogy. UCLA exists. So does USC. (and they have for many many years)
7. Gay marriage does not destroy the sanctity of marriage, nor has its legalization caused the apocalypse.
Are people still getting married? Yes. Have the fact that two dudes have gotten married somewhere within your vicinity had any negative effect on your life? Well, has it?
And that’s just the beginning of my “why all republicans are a bunch of greedy, selfish morons” rant. But I’m honestly just too frustrated and disappointed with the human race to finish.