Friday, September 27, 2013

The US mass media, a cultural wasteland

Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

Just a few thoughts after a rather stressful day.  I was listening to KQED radio on the way back to my motel today and I heard a discussion going on about this law that would enable people with green cards to sit on juries.  It was a bit frustrating listening to it.  One politician that opposed the law on the grounds that the "Founding Fathers" no founding mothers were around at the time apparently, intended juries to be filled by citizens only.

Now, I don't have my books they're all in storage since the fire (those that weren't burned) but as far as I can recall US history on juries, only men of property were allowed to sit on them. In fact if workers got together to discuss "combining" to raise wages they were breaking the law as strikes were illegal.  They were then charged under conspiracy laws and judged by a jury of men of property like their boss. Workers in struggle and in opposition to capitalists changed this. Then there's the Indians, blacks women etc. The Founding Fathers were all dead by the time workers and the specially oppressed minorities got the vote.

One supporter of the bill said that letting non citizens serve on juries would help them understand the country and its laws and encourage them to feel part of it. Then some nitwit, in response said that this could lead to allowing them to participate in elections or influencing the policies of government or words to that effect.  Non citizens influencing the US government? What the hell is the Israeli lobby?

Rich people are only "patriotic" if they can make money. They have been renouncing their citizenship in record numbers because they don't like filling out complicated tax forms or paying taxes at all.  They don't fight wars in their wars and they don't pay taxes if they can help it. And they call Edward Snowden a traitor and Bradley Manning traitors.

And we should take note of an important statement by Obama today. With regards to the right wing Republican's war on Obama care and the threat of the US government shutting down because Congress may not be able to raise the debt limit, Obama said, "No one gets to hurt our economy and millions of innocent people just because there are a couple of laws that you do not like."

Workers and organized labor should take note.  The 1% that Obama represents are pushing all sorts of laws that are detrimental to workers' interests. Unions were illegal at one time. It was mass direct action and strikes against the most brutal bourgeois in the history of capitalism that changed that, not academics and lawyers. When Obama talks about hurting the economy he means profits.  A strike hurts the economy, in fact, a strike is mass terror as far as Obama and the class he represents is concerned. The unelected rulers of this country and the politicians in their two parties have no qualms about hurting millions of people, innocent or otherwise.  Millions in the US are living in poverty, homelessness is an epidemic with many of these victims of the market being veterans or the mentally impaired.  As the video I posted the other days shows, we have child labor here as well and there are two million in the US prison industrial complex with no chance of survival on the outside, over 50% of these are people of color. Obama's drones mill and maim children and innocents on a regular basis and there is no justification for them in any law other than might makes right. This is the real mover of laws.

These words of Obama's are meant as much or more for the workers, poor and oppressed among us as they are for the Tea Baggers that are threatening to split the Republican Party over a government shutdown.  Strikes are often political, this is not welcome as the only right way to express our political views is through the ballot box and one of the two Wall Street parties.

There's a lot of nonsense in the mass media but we can sure there will be no threat to the nonsense from the heads of organized labor, their silence is deafening.

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