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Stop The Far Right In California

The Right Responds to "Defeat the Right"

And Responds Again

My blog,
Conceptual Guerilla's Talking Points
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America's "Culture War"

"Cheap-Labor Conservatives" On the Issues

Defending a Savage "SLAPP" Suit

DEFEAT THE RIGHT IN 3 MINUTES


Defeat the Right in Three Minutes

Less Government and Cheap Labor

The "Public Sector" and Private Fortunes

"Personal Responsibility" and Wages

The Mythology of Wealth

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Basic Economics for Debate

The Big Picture

Bogus Conservative Ideas

Corporate Feudalism

Defining a Social Vision

The Difference Between Left and Right

The Goal of Debate

How to Beat the NeoCons

How to Build a Winning Position

How To Control the Agenda

The Legitimate Functions of Government

The Little Red Hen

Millionaire Wannabes

A Plausible Case for War Crimes

The Nature of the Political Contest

Notes on the Theory of Value

"Personal Responsibility" and Wages

Political Logic

The "Strong" and the "Weak"

Staring Into the Right Wing Abyss

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THE CHESS GAME CONTINUES AS ROTTWEILER MAN REPLIES.

 

He didn’t waste any time either.  Hell, I was wondering whether I should wander over there and give him a heads up, but before I got around to it, he had already responded.  He couldn’t have let more than 12 hours go by. 

 

So how are we doing?  Pretty damn good.  Oh well, he hasn’t hoisted the white flag – and never will.  Meanwhile, his side of this little dust up, no doubt believe they’re getting the best of it.  They aren’t.  I am in the driver seat, and I am accomplishing my objectives.

 

You see, Rot Man doesn’t understand the game.  This isn’t “debate”.  This is 21st century street politics.  The goal is to win elections, and the way to win elections is to grab the center.  Now Rot Dog will protest that the Republicans have the center, and we don’t.

 

If he makes that observation, he is pretty much correct.  The Republicans do have the center – or enough of it, anyway -- and you may as well know it.  This all about how to get it back.  Here’s what he doesn’t understand.  They don’t have the center, because the center thinks like he does.  They have the center because Republicans are quite good at putting the “happy face” on corporate feudalism.  Remember, Republicans are better politicians and better salesman, because they have to be.  They’re selling a crummy product.  But Rot Man shows us his crummy product – with his own words.  I defy a moderate voter to come away from this exchange ready to vote for Rot Man and his band of merry wingnuts.

 

Here, I’ll show you.  Below is the complete case against “cheap-labor conservatives” made with a generous helping of Rot Man’s own statements. 

 

This history of this exchange for those of you just joining us, is as follows.

 

Anti-Idolatarian Rottweiler posted a response to “Defeat the Right In Three Minutes”.

 

I responded to that in “Let the Games Begin” 

 

He responded to that – in a hurry – in “Give Us More Oh Caesar”

 

The following is the next installment.

 

 

The Constipated Gorilla Replies...

 

Much better.  Rot Dog has moved away from “blunt instrument abuse” and instead uses a little creativity and humor.  I’m honored.  Really.

 

Prediction: He will sneer and ridicule this last statement. Doesn't bother me any. That response is entirely to be expected.

 

"Hah. He'll reply, just like I predicted. My plan is coming to fruition, just as I have foreseen."

Followed by:

 

After a while, he'll quit doing it. He might quit, starting now.

 

"...or he won't, which I also just predicted. See how smart I am? Soon, I shall conquer the world!!!"

 

Nicely done, Einstein, if it wasn't so bloody transparent.

 

Actually, it was nicely done.  He pretty much did quit.  His use of invective is minimal.  As for the invective he does use, I’ve been promoted from “driveling loon” to “O Wise One” – or better yet “Einstein.”  Make no mistake, when you can cause a rightie to abandon “blunt instrument” verbal abuse in favor of more subtle forms, you have absolutely taken a step toward genuine “rational discourse”.  We’ll probably never get to that stage, but the situation has definitely improved.   

 

 

Now before we get to the really important stuff, let’s take up a couple of small pieces of trivia – because they are useful to show who you are dealing with.

 

Oh, and LBJ also left us with a war that nobody wanted to win, leading to thousands upon thousands of good American soldiers getting killed for no good reason. But hey, that didn't touch upon you any, did it? After all, by your own admission, you and your family were perfectly insulated from that little "mistake", right?

 

He’s making a lot of assumptions about where I was during the Vietnam War – a war he “blames” on LBJ, as if it wasn’t cheap-labor conservatives like him who wanted it.  And since he “grew up in Europe” he goddamn sure didn’t fight in it.

Now let’s take a quick look at something else Rot Dog said in response to my speculation that he went broke [more about that later].

 

That is a cheap shot, I admit it.

 

I really, honestly don't have a problem with it being "cheap". All's fair...

 

But the fact that it's so wide off the mark tends to make you look rather ridiculous. And I'm fine with that too. It's not like I'd expected anything else.

 

Wide off the mark, was it?  I still remember watching LBJ give his “I shall not seek and I will not accept the nomination of my party . . .” speech.  That was in March of 1968.  I was eight years old, Rot Man.  I tell you, we’ve got to something about those “elementary school draft deferments.”  Now who is “wide off the mark” talking out his ass?  Now who looks ridiculous?  [The old man served in the 82nd Airborne during the Korean War, so don’t bother jumping on him, either.]  And I haven’t said one word for or against the war in Vietnam, other than to call it a tragedy – an assessment I believe you just agreed with.  So why don’t you take your anger about a war you didn’t fight in either, and go dump on somebody else about it.

 

In fact, if you’re looking for someone to be pissed off at over Vietnam, I suggest chicken hawks like Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, Donald Rumsfeld, Dan Quayle, Rush Limbaugh [didn’t serve because of a boil on his ass – which apparently never healed], and of course President George W. “Champaign-Squadron-When-He-Bothered-To-Show-Up” Bush. 

 

Lyndon Johnson, yet another liberal democrat, gave us Medicare, Head Start, Job Corps, the Civil Rights of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and many other similar initiatives.

 

Oh, this is rich... Now he's giving the Donks credit for the CRA of '64. Yeah, we remember it well... A Democrat initiative furiously filibustered by those mean Republicans.

 

This is a little piece of very insidious revisionist history being pushed not only by Rot Man, but across the board by right-wingers.  It seems they are taking credit for the Civil Rights of 1964.  Here’s some more.

 

So you get to handpick the Democrats who are "real" Democrats, dismissing the rest and then proceed to say "ha, I win, because the Democrats you're referring to aren't really Democrats"?

Just like Clarence Thomas, Condi Rice and Colin Powell aren't "really" black?

 

Nice try.

 

So the CRA of '64 was a Democrat initiative, passed in spite of furious filibustering from the Republicans?

Yes, I already asked you this. Just interested in an answer, 's all.

 

This is really crude manipulation, Rot Dog.  First of all I don’t credit “Democrats” I credit “Liberals” for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  As for Republicans, my brief is with “cheap-labor conservatives”.  Now it is true that today’s Republican Party is “cheap-labor conservative central”, but that has not always been the case.  There is an increasingly rare beast known as a “liberal Republican”.  The best example that comes to mind was Nelson Rockefeller.  Today, the closest thing would be folks like Lincoln Chafee and Olympia Snowe.

 

In fact, I believe you have a name for them.  You call them “RINO’s” – Republican In Name Only, for those readers who don’t know what that is.  In fact, I believe you referred to Dubya as a RINO in your previous response [puhleeze].  Now what were you saying about “deciding who a real Democrat is”?  Did you just learn about this contradiction?  Or did you know you were being a two-faced hypocrite when you wrote those words.   Say you weren’t.  Say, “no, I’m just a dumbass who can’t perceive a simple contradiction.”  More likely, you thought I was a dumbass who couldn’t perceive one.  Next time you’ll know better.

 

Of course Strom Thurmond was a Democrat – a conservative Democrat, as were all of the southern Democrats who joined the filibuster.  They were not liberals – and a number of them would later become Republicans.  So don’t tell me that it was “conservatives” who pushed civil rights legislation.  And don’t tell me you’d have any use for the liberal Republicans that supported it.  Every of them would be a “RINO”, if they were still around, and you know it.

 

 

But enough of that, let’s get to the important stuff.  Rot Man started out saying that “cheap-labor conservative” is a compliment.  I asked how many elections he expected to win with that admission and he hasn’t answered me.  So I will assume that he has enough political sense to know that while he might be complimented, the middle of the road voters his side needs might not see it that way.

 

In fact, he has expended some considerable energy justifying himself as a “cheap-labor conservative”.  I win either way.  If he runs from the label, I win when he tries to “moderate”.  If he embraces the label, I win because he winds up alienating moderate “swing voters”.  As it turns out, he does a little bit of both.      

 

First, let’s probe the depths of this man’s “cheap-labor soul”.  A few examples will suffice.

 

Does my very existence depend on [Evil Rightwing Republicans] because they own 99% of production facilities? Does he claim this is good? Am I supposed to be grateful to economic giants who have gained such a stranglehold on the economy, that my very existence depends on them?

 

No, you're not. You could always quit your job and see how well you'd do without a paycheck.

 

In other words, everybody’s over a barrel.  Isn’t that what I said?  And didn’t I say that those Evil Rightwing Republicans intend to keep people there?  You haven’t answered the question.  Tell the voters, “Listen up.  Corporations have you by the balls, so you’d better give them everything they want.  Oh, and be grateful that they control 99% of production facilities – because if they didn’t, you would.”

 

So you want to take it away from private citizens and hand it to the Government, huh? Or where is it, exactly, that you want to put it? Because it won't go away, as I just told you.

You may trust the Government with all the power in the world, but I don't.

 

Here we come face to face with the rhetorical trick these jokers use to claim that democratic self-government is “tyranny”, and privatized tyranny is really “freedom”.  His distinction is between “private citizens” and “the Government.”  But that isn’t quite accurate is it – unless he seriously contends that transnational corporations, with annual revenues in excess of the GDP of some nations are just “private citizens.” 

 

First of all, corporations are creations of the government.  Second of all, they are not “private citizens” but organizations of anywhere from one to millions of people.  You say their power is decentralized?  Bullshit.  Corporate power represents the concentration of wealth and power, such as when Walmart builds a “super store” in every one stop light town in America – driving tens and hundreds of thousands small business owners out of business.  Those tens of thousands of small business people are “decentralized”, not Wal –Mart.  [If he now wheels around and touts the virtues of Wal-Mart’s “economy of scale” or some such, he concedes the point that his claim of “corporate decentralization” is horseshit.] 

 

Meanwhile, here’s something else transnational Corporations are not.  They are not accountable to many of the people affected by their power.  Did Nike – to continue the example we’ve been using – owe its work force an explanation for its move to Indonesia?  Did it owe the people of Indonesia one?  What accounting has Nike made for the use of government strikebreakers in Indonesia?

 

In fact, many if not most of their stockholders were all for it.  You say power never goes away.  Well in the case of Nike, government power was put into their service to keep wage earners from organizing.  And Nike had to account to not a single one for those human rights abuses but its own shareholders, using one and only one standard of accountability.  Did those human rights abuses make them money?

 

So let’s reframe the question shall we?  Do you believe in power exercised by democratically elected officials, who answer to you at the voting booth?  Or do you believe in power exercised by private institutions, who answer to stockholders who don’t give a rat’s ass about your well being – and if they do it is the same care the massah had for the health and well-being of his slaves?  That’s the real question.

 

Public power exercised by elected officials is called Democracy.  Private power exercised by owners is called feudalism.  If Rot Man knows any history – and I have seen precious little evidence of it -- he will recall that power in feudal Europe was decentralized among the nobility – who were actually quite unruly with respect to the kings, and whose principle pastime was fighting each other.  As for the state, there wasn’t one.  The modern state did not emerge until the sixteenth century.  But that didn’t prevent the existence of serfdom, and it was still tyranny.  That model of society – private lords exacting their living from coulees who own “nothing but their bellies” is exactly what this son of a bitch has in mind for you

 

In fact, we have seen ample evidence of his attitude toward the work force.  First of all he acknowledges

 

To suggest that any of us Evil KKKonservatives are quite content having our money stashed away in the bank while watching a great, untapped pool of labor go to waste in the form of unemployment is so damned ignorant that it defies belief.

 

It's money laying around, waiting to be earned, and there's not ONE of us cutthroat, evil sharks that will let it lay around for very long, given half a chance.

 

Basically, he just admitted that "yes, starvation and poverty serve as the primary incentive to work." Meanwhile, we have social spending. We have a social safety net, and we manage to have plenty of people who get up every day and go to work.

 

...because social spending hasn't reached the level where it serves as an incentive not to go to work. Yet.

 

First of all, there is another admission in this, best stated by Adam Smith himself.  “The annual labor of a nation is the fund which furnishes the necessaries and conveniences of life that a nation annually consumes.”  Or as often I say in contemporary English, labor is the engine of the economy.  These comments – and others – acknowledge this fact.  But notice Rot Man’s take on it.  Your labor power is somebody else’s money “laying around, waiting to be earned.  And there’s not ONE of us cutthroat, evil sharks that will let it lay around for very long.”

 

In other words, you are a “resource” for him to exploit.  And it just chaps his ass when any circumstance exists which gives you any boost in bargaining leverage with him.  But here’s the question.  Why would anyone LET THEIR OWN LABOR POWER lay around, if they could make a profit with it.  The subtext is that there is no economy and no work without corporate giants.  He talks about “decentralized power”, but in fact defends highly centralized economic power – and seems to suggest that we can’t do without it.  We can’t even regulate it.

 

He’s making my case for me.  The corporate lords have the means to prosper from your labor.  But you don’t.  The so-called “self-regulating market place” enables them to make a profit off your labor, but that same “world market” requires you to work cheap.  After all, they can pack up and move to Indonesia.  Where are you going to pack up and move to?  Hence starvation is the only motivation available for you to go to work.  You have to be driven to work.  The whip they use isn’t made of rawhide anymore – at least not in first world economies.  They just gain control of 99% of production facilities, and wait for you to get hungry enough.  And its tyranny – tyranny I tell you – if your elected officials “meddle” in this system, such as it is. 

 

No, your only recourse is to passively accept a “world market” where decisions made about your livelihood are made by board of directors a thousand miles away, who don’t answer to you for their decisions.  He won’t even allow you to counter balance the organized power of stockholders forming corporations, with the organized power of labor unions.  It seems that when corporations have you over a barrel that’s good, but when you organize and put them over barrel that’s tyranny and “blackmail”. 

 

That is the world-view this man defends.  He claims that it is inevitable.  Apparently, he thinks people will vote in favor of it.  Oh wait.  He doesn’t like the power of democratically elected governments.  Now you know why.

Now let’s get back to this question of why anyone would let their own labor power lay around, if they could make a profit with it.  The answer is they wouldn’t.  For proof we have his own example, which he has furnished.  This is contained in the sad tale of how Rot Man went broke.  Oh, wait, I’m sorry.  He didn’t go broke.

 

The profit margin became to small for me to bother with it anymore, so I sold my assets (with a nice profit, thankyouverymuch) and found something else to do with my time, something that paid me a lot more for a lot less effort.

 

. . .

 

Well, some of us tried to hang in there, outbidding the low bidders, decreasing our profit margin to the point where it just wasn't worth it anymore.

 

Let me see if I’ve got this straight.  Your business ceased to be profitable, so you sold your unprofitable business “with a nice profit.”   Let me guess, you took the buyer’s check straight to his bank and then hauled ass out of town, before the sucker wised up.  No wait, you hauled ass out of the country – and came here.

 

 

Back to the main point . . .

 

Well, you see... Back then (and we're overseas now), the wonderful Socialist Nanny Gov't introduced a new subsidy to get unemployed people off the streets, in itself a very noble idea.

They did this by handing out free money to them so that they could start small businesses, and a lot of those newcomers chose the same line of business that I was in. Of course, not knowing what the Hell this business was all about and, understandably so, eager to get going, they proceeded to underbid everybody who were already IN the business (including my humble self) which, of course, led to our contractors to sign the newbies up. They'd have been idiots not to, after all.

 

Inevitably, these new guys would go bankrupt in seconds flat because of a lack of knowledge of how a business is run (and it's not like they were burning their OWN money, after all, Mama State had given it to them), and quality of service fell because they didn't have the experience that the rest of us had. Not that it mattered when the newbies went belly up, because a new batch would spring up immediately, pockets filled with the taxpayers' money.

 

In other words, if you give people access to the resources to make use of their own labor in their own businesses, they’ll jump on it like stink on shit.  Guess what, Rot Man, we did something very similar in this country.  Only it wasn’t start-up capital, but land we gave away – free.  It seems the United States Government had bought all of this land between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains, and it was just laying around unused.  So the US government gave it away to people.  All they to do, was go live on it for seven years.  Many of them did just that, and you can see their descendents today in places like Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota and the Dakotas.  That act of “socialism” was known as the Homestead Act.  It stands as a monument to what happens when you give people – that’s right, give people – some resources to work with.

 

But you don’t think your program was effective, do you?  Since I know nothing about it, I’ll have to take your word for it.  But there are a few things I can tell, based on your account.

 

Lots of new competitors drove down the price – something I thought was good.  Turns out, don’t you believe in the customer enjoying the benefits of “low prices” – when you’re the one working cheap?  But you’re perfectly willing to see someone else over exactly the same barrel – competing with unemployed people in Indonesia, and forced to work for a wage “too small for me to bother with.” 

 

You’re example also includes a couple of implicit assumptions.  One, we just can’t have too many people as entrepreneurs, and two, lack of capital is a real barrier to people “starting their own business.”  Never mind, that you said,

 

Or, Heaven Forbid!, you could start a business of your own, but that would make YOU an Evil Corporate Monster™, wouldn't it?

 

Apparently, that isn’t something someone can just up and do – as your own experience shows.  [What’s with the trademark symbol?  Is that some sort of hair brained money-making scheme?  Don’t tell me.  You bought a set of cassette tapes from some joker like Don LePre, and that was one of the ideas.] 

 

Meanwhile, you sneer at people who weren’t “burning their own money”.  I find this curious.  I find it interesting that a man who claims to have so much “real world” knowledge is so profoundly ignorant of one simple fact of life in business.  Everybody doesn’t “burn their own money” in a new business venture.  Many people borrow it.  They persuade investors.  They get it from their aunt.  Or they do like Dubya, and call up their “skull and bones” buddies – if they have any.  If you go broke, there’s this thing called “bankruptcy”, and the guy who lent you the capital can whistle up a rope.  If invested in equity, he can’t even sue you.  Unless you’re Dubya.  Then, those “skull and bones” buddies will come through again and again, no matter how many times you go broke.  

 

The fact is, that no matter where you get the capital, odds are you aren’t going to make it, at least not the first time out.  And nobody given such an opportunity, is going to do anything but make the most of it.  Because those particular competitors of yours had exactly one shot.  The one’s that failed – as you point out – wound up in the boat they started out in.

 

 

There was another minor matter contained in your recitation.  Your customers “would have been idiots not to” take advantage of the lower bids of competitors.  Except maybe they were idiots.   

 

and quality of service fell because they didn't have the experience that the rest of us had.

 

. . .

 

I've since heard tell that the quality of service finally dropped so far that some contractors went back to hiring the "old hands" again, in spite of higher prices.

 

You mean they figured out that “you get what you pay for.”  What I don’t understand is how these successful people who “understand business” didn’t know that to start with. 

 

Note that I take your recitation of the facts at “face value” – since I don’t have any evidence to the contrary.  It may be that these “newbies” offered a higher level of service than you report.  It may be that a lot more of them “made it” than you report.  It may be that your customers went with the “low bidder” because the service was so basic there was no real quality difference.  Or it may be that our champion of “real world” business wasn’t the Rockefeller he sees himself as being.  Who knows.  Maybe you’ll tell us.

 

But you didn’t take your “nice profit” and put it into another business, and you haven’t stacked up enough Ben Franklins working for somebody else to “buy IBM”, and that’s your evidence.  [That was that point where I didn’t know what I was talking about, except it turned out that I did.]  Oh, and you didn’t yourself take advantage of this “free start-up capital”.   

 

And of course, you have done what I expected you to do, eventually.  You have made a concession to my position.

 

Prosperity leads to higher wages.

 

When businesses prosper, they expand. When they expand, they demand more labor. When demand of labor rises, then so does the price of that labor. When the price of labor rises, then so does demand for goods. When demand for goods rises, you either produce more goods or increase the prices.

 

And so, we wind up agreeing.  In fact, what you describe is a circle – or rather an upward spiral.  We just disagree on where the best place on the spiral is to stimulate the whole business.  I suggest here – as I have elsewhere – that one way to do it is to stimulate demand through boosts in wages. 

 

And indeed, we have done this repeatedly over the 70 years, with very good results, thank you very much.  You said that boosts in wages will lead to higher prices “instantly”.  That was your word, not mine.

 

Then you say, “well, maybe not instantly”.  You say this because of the hard data I previously furnished that shows boosts in the minimum wage that didn’t lead to “instant inflation”.  You point out – correctly – that we had 5% inflation in 1969.  You apparently contend that this 5% inflation was caused by a minimum wage increase six years earlier.  News flash, Rot Man.  A six year time lag ain’t “instantly”.  I could point out the little matter of the Vietnam war as a possible source of that inflation, but why bother.  I’ll take the wage earner being ahead of the game for six years, even if you’re right. 

 

Meanwhile, your own description of how prosperity boosts wages, boosts demand, boosts business expansion, boosts demand for labor, boosts wages etc., etc., etc., shows a gradual inflationary spiral entirely consistent with the figures that I have shown. 

 

All of which proves once again, something I say over and over again, and is worth repeating every chance I get.  Prosperity flows from the bottom up, not from the top down. 

 

 

For instance, for all of the socialist meddling that has been tried in this country, it's still closer to my model of a free economy than it is to yours,

 

Actually, it isn’t.  You’re apparent belief that I am a “socialist” is misplaced – which you would know if you would just wander over and read “The Public Sector and Private Fortunes.”  I’m a New Deal liberal.  In fact, I’ll make a concession to you – completely unforced since you do not know how to extract from me, the way I do from you.   All of New Deal liberalism wasn’t successful.  The stuff that didn’t work, we pretty much abandoned.  Furthermore, I’m not a big fan of the “cash dole”.  But neither was Lyndon Johnson, and indeed the welfare system that was recently reformed was actually signed into law by Richard Nixon.   But it is better than starvation, and as you acknowledge the level of it in this country hasn’t yet provided a “disincentive to work”.  Meanwhile, whatever shortcomings I see in “cash dole welfare” as an effective anti-poverty measure, I don’t go the bed at night pissed off because some mama’s baby got some “free milk” on my dime.

 

I do believe in trade policies that make sense to American wage earners, and not just American corporations.  For example, I would outlaw investment in any country where government goons break strikes by workers making 24 cents an hour.  And that would be constitutional by the way, since Article I Section 8 explicitly empowers Congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations.  I believe in organized labor as a necessary counterbalance to organized capital.  But if you just can’t tolerate unions, no problem.  Let’s abolish corporations – since the government didn’t have to create them to start with – and put “private citizens” on a more equal footing. 

 

I also believe in government creation of infrastructure, including such things as rural electrification, transportation systems, communications satellites, research and development into new technology [like say, jet propulsion, semi-conductors, computer networks among many other examples], and of course, public education.

 

Because in fact, there are places on earth that do things closer to your way than mine – as I have previously pointed out.  They don’t have unions.  They don’t have any welfare system.  They don’t have social security.  They spend next to nothing on public infrastructure.  They have no public schools.  But they have rich people living on the backs of the people who do the work, you can believe it.  They are all every one of them underdeveloped third world shit holes – far more “hopelessly fucked up” than the social democratic countries of Western Europe ever thought about being.  I mean if you think the UK or France or Germany are “fucked up”, you really ought to take a trip to Brazil some day.

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TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
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Terminus
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