January 12, 2007


BECAUSE THIS IS THE deadline week of the monthly journal I write for, I won’t have a lot of time or energy to contribute much original writing to this space for another several days. Meanwhile here is a miscellany of five important links, the first of which, from The News Tribune of Tacoma, shows us how corporate-controlled public-school educators serve their murderously greedy Big Business masters by ensuring we remain ignorant of the looming environmental apocalypse. The next three links tell us all we need to know about how the dependably treacherous Democrats are already breaking their promise to raise the minimum wage -- a betrayal that provides yet another example of how utterly meaningless our elections have become: a reality clearly understood by the 50 percent of the electorate who vote “none of the above” by not voting at all. The last link accompanies a socioeconomically relevant letter I sent to Congress via an American Civil Liberties Union petition drive.


Global warming, a genteel euphemism for what should more appropriately be labeled terminal climate change, will determine whether humanity survives or follows the dinosaurs into extinction. Our response to global warming should therefore be the core issue in every political ideology on the planet, for only if we respond appropriately is there even the slightest possibility we might yet save our species. Thus the deliberate obfuscation of the relevant details of terminal climate change is identical to deliberate concealment of an outbreak of terminal disease: a genocidal act in which not only are the original patients denied treatment, but the entire human community is deliberately exposed to mortal risk.

Never mind that an overwhelming majority of the world‘s most authoritative scientists have given An Inconvenient Truth the highest possible grades both for accuracy and for translating a complex subject into everyday language, the Federal Way, Washington, School Board has decided Al Gore’s movie on global warming is…

too hot for students to see without an opposing viewpoint.

It’s so hot that the board required Superintendent Tom Murphy to approve when the former vice president’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” can be presented. And teachers can show it only when it’s balanced with the other side of the issue.

Board President Ed Barney said Wednesday that he’s received about half a dozen complaints from parents that their child was taking the film as fact after viewing it at school.

“We have to ensure that our schools are not being used to politically indoctrinate anyone,” added board member Dave Larson.

The remainder of this alarming and infuriating report, for which free registration may be required, is linked here.

Sociological note: most readers of Tacoma's TNT would know that Federal Way is one of the wealthier cities in Washington state, and that its population includes both a number of top-ranking corporate plutocrats and an unusual concentration of Christian fundamentalists: two groups united in their infinite contempt for nature and their bottomless hatred of environmental scientists and environmental science in general. Moreover, despite its wealth, Federal Way is a textbook example of how America has become a synonym for intentional ecocide: designed exclusively for the automobile, Federal Way is defiantly pedestrian-hostile, a breathtakingly ugly sprawl of garishly neon shopping malls surrounded by suburban developments that range from moderate impoverishment to high posh. Though I covered its politics, social issues and crime from 1976 through 1981, the felony that even now most aptly symbolizes the Federal Way state of mind occurred the year before my arrival, when -- just for kicks -- a couple of rich, pampered and malevolently anti-intellectual teenagers torched the local library and danced with self-congratulatory glee as it burned to the ground. Alas, such dysfunctional pseudo-communities are increasingly the norm throughout the United States: another reason for the terminal appropriateness of the label Moron Nation.


More than any other campaign promise, the Democrats’ pledge to raise the federal minimum wage brought the chronically non-voting poor to the polls in greater numbers than any other such proposal in years -- a turnout perhaps without equal since Lyndon Johnson promised the Great Society would end poverty forever. But buried in one of yesterday's Associated Press reports is the embittering truth that makes it obvious the Democrats never had the slightest intention of defying their fat-cat corporate benefactors or actually giving the poorest working Americans a long-overdue raise:

The legislation, which now goes to the Senate, would raise the current $5.15 minimum to $5.85 effective 60 days after the measure became law. The minimum would go to $6.55 a year later and $7.25 a year after that.

The White House issued a statement of opposition to the legislation as drafted. It called for the increase to be accompanied by "tax and regulatory relief to help small businesses stay competitive and to help the economy keep growing."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has already signaled that Democrats will accept pro-business changes. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, told reporters that he and other lawmakers are working on between $8 billion and $10 billion in relief over 10 years.

The Democrats are thus guilty of at least four deliberate deceptions. First, throughout the 2006 campaign they gave the impression that the proposed raise -- due to corporate opposition the first such raise in a decade -- would be effective “within the first 100 days” of the new Congress. Now of course we see that’s a Big Lie: if the minimum wage is raised at all -- and the report cited above makes it obvious there’s a high probability it won’t be -- it will be raised only gradually. Secondly, Unitary Decider Bush will clearly veto any such measure -- a veto the Democrats cannot override. Thirdly, the Senate is still absolutely controlled by Big Business thanks to the fact many of the Democrats who make up the one-vote Democratic majority are in truth Republicans in disguise; therefore there is almost no chance the Senate will allow enactment of any significant minimum wage hike: never mind that a minimum-wage job is virtually slave labor -- a condemnation to inescapable poverty. Fourthly, the Democrats are already using the alleged minimum wage hike to rationalize still more looting of the federal treasury just to further fatten the bank accounts of the bosses -- yet another defacto tax cut for the rich.

With a thank-you to Truthout, the full text of the Associated Press report is linked here. Facts about the minimum wage including its history -- it originated as part of the New Deal -- are available here. And a revealing 2001 Senate vote on the re-imposition of indentured servitude via “bankruptcy reform” -- the vote provides absolute identification of the Democrats who despise working families and are thus nothing more than closet Republicans (never mind the lies these Democrats tell at election time) -- is reported here.

Though I claim no prophetic powers, what I suspect will happen (and what I believe the Democrats secretly intended all along), is that the minimum wage will remain at its present, obscenely below-the-poverty-level rate of $5.15 an hour, so that the Democrats can use it in 2008 to again bait the poor to the polls and again buy our votes -- when what we should be doing instead (and starting immediately) is begging organized labor to help us (and every other working American) unite in the solidarity of a viable third party.


A longtime ACLU member, I regularly receive e-mails from that organization, one of which was yesterday’s request I sign a petition to Congress demanding the restoration of habeas corpus and due process; the end to torture in secret prisons; the end to warrantless eavesdropping on innocent Americans; and modification of the Patriot Act to bring it into compliance with the Constitution -- all of which I support. The petition, which I of course signed, also asked me to add my own “resolution for moving freedom forward in 2007.” Here is what I wrote:

“There is no freedom in the wage-slavery that is increasingly the identifying characteristic of America's working families. Thus to ‘move freedom forward in 2007’ we need not only the restoration of the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment freedoms methodically stolen from us by a long succession of increasingly despotic Republican and Democratic administrations, but also -- because political abstractions are meaningless when one is hungry, homeless or trapped in a sweatshop -- the restoration of the equality of socioeconomic opportunity that gave our now-officially-abandoned Constitutional principles such compelling power.”

I wrote what I did not because I expect the present Congress will heed it -- I’m sure it won’t -- but because the ACLU is primarily an organization of the bourgeoisie: that is, a group of yuppies. And despite their commendable commitment to defend nine of the Bill of Rights’ ten amendments (the ACLU fanatically opposes the right to keep and bear arms and in fact favors forcible disarmament -- one of the reasons I also belong to the National Rifle Association), these yuppies are predictably oblivious to socioeconomic reality and how it intersects with political reality. Protected as they are by their deceptively insulated yuppoid lives, too many ACLU members not only deny the reality of class warfare but smugly refuse to acknowledge the pivotal fact -- still well know in the labor movement but otherwise methodically brainwashed from American consciousness -- that without economic democracy, there is no democracy at all.

Any readers who want to sign the ACLU’s petition -- and I urge you all to do so -- will find it here. (Click on “ACLU Calls on New Congress to Restore Civil Liberties” and please be patient as the secure link is damnably slow.)

Posted by Loren at January 12, 2007 03:05 AM | TrackBack

I wonder if Federal Way read this release from Washington State CTED and the Dept of Ecology:

Climate change is already affecting Washington's economy, according to a study requested by the departments of Ecology and Community Trade and Economic Development. Results were released this week.

A team of scientists and economists evaluated climate change in producing the state report, "Impacts of Climate Change on Washington's Economy." The study warns that economic effects are likely to grow in the Pacific Northwest as temperatures increase. A warming Pacific Northwest, extreme weather, reduced snow pack and sea level rise are four major ways climate change is disrupting Washington's economy, environment and communities.

Key evidence of climate change effects in Washington include retreating glaciers, decreasing snow pack, lower summer stream flows, more wildfires, and rising sea levels. Ecology and CTED have published the report on their new multi-agency climate change web portal.

After reviewing the report, Ecology Director Jay Manning said: "This study documents ongoing economic impact from climate change, and predicts even more significant economic disruption in Washington. Our regional scientists expect our climate to warm three times faster than it has during the 20th century, and absent focused efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to prepare, to the extent possible, for the environmental and economic changes that cannot be avoided, damage to our northwest economy will only increase."

Juli Wilkerson, who directs Washington's Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development, said: "This is a global issue and we're already connected to trading partners who are facing climate change issues along with us. If we're flexible and responsive, we can seize opportunities to help reduce climate change effects and benefit our region economically. Our ability to export technology and expertise can help us all prepare for climate changes and its effects," she added.

CONTACT: Nelsa Brodie, Ecology Water Resources Public Information Manager, 360-407-7139; or Seth Preston, Ecology Air Quality Public Information Officer, 360-407-6848

Posted by: Barb Gorzinski at January 12, 2007 09:36 AM

Thank you, Barb. That DOE/DCTED release -- vital information on its own -- makes the Federal Way school board's confuse-the-issue censorship even more of an outrage. Taken literally, FW board policy demands that if a teacher shows a film about the Holocaust, s/he's got to give equal screening to the Nazi apologists who deny the Holocaust happened. It also means that if teachers want to show a film about Martin Luther King Jr., they are required to counter it with a film about Robert K. Shelton, who at the time of the Civil Rights Movement was Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan. I have no doubt this applies equally to the evolution versus "intelligent design" controversy; maybe it even requires defense of the flat-earth/geocentric-universe theory in response to modern astronomy. But the policy's ultimate purpose is obviously furtherance of the (unspoken) goal of corporate-run public schools everywhere in America: the dumbing down of the population, the methodical moronation necessary to impose and maintain Moron Nation.

Posted by: Loren Bliss at January 12, 2007 12:11 PM

Bugger on over to popi, Wolf. The signup bug is fixed (they tell me).

Posted by: Mairead at January 12, 2007 12:32 PM

Many thanks, Mairead; will try again tonight. (Too busy with deadline stuff just now and for the rest of the day.)

Posted by: Loren Bliss at January 12, 2007 01:32 PM

Brilliant analysis and a compelling read, Loren. Thanks.

Posted by: Mike at January 13, 2007 12:47 PM

Thank YOU, Mike. Will be joining you all at PopI very soon.

Posted by: Loren Bliss at January 13, 2007 06:59 PM