Thursday, May 18, 2017

Is this classic song the REAL National Anthem of American Workers?

"Sixteen Tons" tells an old story----The arduous plight of the exploited manual laborer, or "Company Worker", with no Labor Union or leverage to balance the power of their rapacious employers.





VIDEO (Tennessee Ernie Ford version): 


 VIDEO (Johnny Cash version):


                                               Merle Travis, the writer of "Sixteen Tons"
                                    
            LYRICS:

SIXTEEN TONS
==========
Written by Merle Travis


Some people say a man is made out of mud
A poor man's made out of muscle and blood
Muscle and blood and skin and bones
A mind that's weak and a back that's strong

You load sixteen tons, and what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

I was born one mornin' when the sun didn't shine
I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine
I loaded sixteen tons of number nine coal
And the straw boss said "Well, a-bless my soul"

You load sixteen tons, and what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

I was born one mornin', it was drizzlin' rain
Fightin' and trouble are my middle name
Raised in the Canebrake by an old mama lion
Ain't no a high-toned woman make me walk the line

You load sixteen tons, and what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

If you see me comin', better step aside
A lot of men didn't, and a lot of men died
With one fist of iron, and the other of steel
If the right one don't get you then the left one will

You load sixteen tons, and what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

----Sixteen Tons Lyrics | MetroLyrics----






"Sixteen Tons" is possibly the best song ever written 
about the exploitation-oppression by distant, unreachable, wealthy 
corporate ownership, and the rough plight of the worker 
under an exploitive capitalist-corporate system. 

The song is not a self-conscious, academic/didactic work, 
but a huge, "evergreen" hit on the popular charts,
performed by countless artists down though the years.

This simple song's relevance is timeless, and it stands up 
beautifully to any detailed analysis.

Written by Merle Travis, "Sixteen Tons" is based on the life of coal-miners living in a rural area "company town".

The ownership looks for workers, with "A mind that's weak 
and a back that's strong", who will work a hard, dangerous job,
to produce wealth for them, while not having the will, 
or depth of understanding, to know much about, or question 
the system that exploits them.




The worker in the song has produced, with his strength and effort, 
in a dirty, scary, risk-filled environment, for his employers,
the wealth of "sixteen tons" of coal, which will presumably 
be sold for far more profit than the miner's meagre wages.

Certainly, the employers are pleased with the production ("boss 
said 'Well, a-bless my soul'").

But Ownership has all the leverage, and can pay what it wants, and impose other extractive policies as well. 

This worker's wages are not sufficient to keep him out of serious debt.

The debt is so large for this hard-working man, that it seems 
it could even extend to the afterlife ("Saint Peter don't you call me...").

However, although this working man makes this single reference to a traditional Christian image, he rejects the more poetic/mystical vision of the world (man "made out of mud"). He sees the world as a very material place, where life is brutish, and for some, short ("Poor man's made out of muscle and blood"). And the load he carries is more than 
just his arduous labor, for relatively low pay.

This is a physically-powerful and productive, but simple man.

The worker's debts are magnified further by the fact that he is 
forced to buy essential goods and supplies from the same 
people who employ him, and at presumably very high 
(i.e. gouging) prices, that clearly eat-up the miner's 
small paycheck before he has even paid all his bills.




This hard, risk-filled work in the mine has made the miner 
physically strong and very tough. Due to the routine perils of 
his workplace, he is accustomed to danger.

Also, he was born into hardship, and raised to be strong and tough by others (mother) who had rough lives as well.

As a result, he also has a tendency to become angry and fight, 
perhaps more often than necessary ("Fightin' and trouble 
are my middle name"), and it is apparent he has a tendency to 
express his dissatisfaction with his life--not against his exploitive employers, but against other people on a similar societal level as himselfwhom he can directly challenge in a physical fight.

If he challenges his employers, he could lose his job, or worse, 
so that is not even considered an option. He may never even have 
met the mine-owners, who presumably live far away.

He has much strength and ability to fight ("With one fist of iron...the left one will), maximized by his hard labor, but will probably 
never fight anyone who is not in a peer situation. 

As it is, he tends to fight, often devastatingly ("a lot of men died") over issues such as not being respected ("step aside")
by a relative peer who likely suffers from the same exploitation.

Ownership seems utterly safe and distant from his feelings of aggression/frustration, as well as his ability to fight and defeat others.

This man will eventually wear-out and be replaced by another, 
similar person, though younger and "fresher", like a used or worn-out part in a big machine is replaced with a new one.

And another person will then become the subject of the song, as a 
"new" cog in the big mechanism that grinds away the lives of some, while enriching, distant, unseen others.

To ponder: 
In an age dominated by corporate-Capitalism,
is "Sixteen Tons" actually the story of the TYPICAL 
American worker now, working hard for long hours and low-pay
to produce wealth for others, while the workers themselves 
stay poor, powerless and constantly owing money?

Maybe it should be our new American National Anthem?

It would seem apt, given the nature of the lives of many millions, 
and still-increasing numbers of Americans these days, 
stuck in low-wage jobs and crushed by varied forms of debt.


The gritty, timeless reality of "Sixteen Tons" beats the 
awkward, superficial, war-glorifying "Star-Spangled Banner" 
by a country mile, in the opinion of this writer.

Make that a "coal-country" mile.





                                             LINKS:

Recent coal-mine disaster:
'Dear murderer': With a letter a day, West Virginian tried to remind coal executive of his role in 29 deaths


                     Dr. RD Wolff:  How the system has always worked ...


America, Land of Low Pay -- The Numbers Will Surprise You


The United States Leads in Low-Wage Work and the Lowest Wages for Low-Wage Workers



Overworked America: 12 Charts That Will Make Your Blood Boil

                                        (sample chart)

Low Wage Workers: “We Can’t Breathe”




                                   Great Book:
NICKEL and DIMED, By Barbara Ehrenreich




WIKIPEDIA--"Sixteen Tons"


       Are companies like McDonald's, Amazon 
         and Walmart the new coal-mines?



                      (This post was inspired by the work of Dr. R D Wolff)

=========================

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Even though she "lost", Hillary Clinton Didn't Actually Lose in 2016

........................................................









The Election of 2016 is over. Nothing can change it.

No more tears. No more whining, no more bitter accusations.

This is not about sour grapes. This is a calm consideration of actual facts regarding this election. And note that not all of these facts were reported on 
in mainstream corporate media. 

But truthfully, these facts are disturbing, and highly worthy of sober consideration. 


And in some ways, the truth may disable at least some of the current disagreements between Progressives and Mainstream "Centrist" Democrats, over "who [supposedly] lost 
the election"?


Because, the truth is, the election was rigged, but almost certainly 
not by Russia.

Nope ---- the GOP and their operatives were able to get it done all by 
their little dedicated selves.

The story has actually all been documented, but in many widely-spread 
pieces and sections, with much of the best data not reported on 
in corporate media, so not that many people have been able to add 
up the whole picture.

I am going to bring them all together, on this Blog.


Here's a place to start:

2016 Case Study In GOP Voter Suppression


When you add up all factors, in entirety, it doesn't look like Hillary Clinton actually lost the 2016 election, in terms of the number of people 
who intended to vote for her, as clearly and consistently indicated in 
most polls before the election, as well as in the exit polls, versus the  
number of people who intended to vote for Trump.

The difference?

Nobody stopped anybody from voting in the many polls before the election, or the important exit-polls (which are barely reported on in corporate media).
Clinton consistently won almost all of those, again and again, making 
the end result so confounding.

But somebody was definitely stopping voters from voting for Clinton, when it came to the actual election.

Millions of those with INTENT to vote for Hillary were erased, "caged", unable to get to their polling place, or couldn't overcome the ID requirements in their very "red" state. 

And a mysterious (to statisticians), but recurring "red-shift" in the voting 
results looks like it finished the job, and with an almost surgical precision in 
the crucial swing states.

Meanwhile, a far far smaller number of folks with INTENT to vote for Trump were caged or erased from the rolls, or were unable to overcome ID requirements. Plus, the Trump voters were usually perfectly able to physically get to their polling place.

WHY? 
Things were set-up to work exactly that way, well in advance of the election.
The GOP made sure of that.

Yet, Hillary still got 2.9 Million more popular votes nationwide.

In addition, in late October, the FBI chipped-in, perhaps even at the inside urging of GOP operatives, although that is unknowable at this time.

But in total, all 5 factors combined were devastating to the Clinton campaign.

Here's what happened:

1. Chris Kobach's now well-documented GOP Interstate Cross-Check: Millions 
    of Democratic Party voters, across more than 
    half the states, were caged (i.e. had their names separated, and 
    labeled not-eligibleand were unable to vote.
    This is the biggest single factor, as you will see below.

2. Strategic Closing of Polling Places in Democratic Party demographic zones in 
    nearly all 'red" (i.e. GOP-controlled) states. Thousands more Dem votes were
    snuffed here. These closings did not occur in GOP-heavy areas, 
    only in Democratic Party ones.

3. Strict ID requirements, surgically-designed to affect/limit poor and minority 
    voters (read: Democraic Party voters) in (surprise!) GOP-controlled states, 
    blocking many thousands of (mostly Dem) votes in each state. 
    Democratic Party lawsuits stemmed some of the damage here, 
    but only some
    Thousands more votes per (GOP-controlled) state, were snuffed.

4. Comey's announcement in late October, 11 days before the election, was    
    unquestionably a factor as well, as polls show. 
    Comey insisted later he stood by his quite speculative statement about 
    the Weiner emails, even though there turned out to be nothing there. 
    But damage had been done. The polls changed against Hillary. 
    Not decisive by itself, but this one event didn't have to be, since 
    it is just one part of a "team" of factors combining their forces, 
    into a malevolent political "perfect storm". Virtually all of it, planned.

5. On Election Day----A sneaky, but persistent "red-shift" (i.e. rightward
    trend) in final vote tallies away from (i.e. in direct opposition to) exit     
    poll results, especially in the key swing states. 
    Thousands of votes appear "flipped" during (computerized) tabulation, 
    away from the Democrat and towards the Republican, which is very 
    reminiscent of the Karl Rove era elections (2000/2004).


    Red shifts are nice in fashion ...



    But the "Red-Sift" in elections is a disaster for the concept of 
    Representative Government.

====== red-shift>=======>>>


Before we get into the documentation, I need to say that this Blog represents
a Progressive viewpoint, along the lines of Bernie Sanders/The New Deal/FDR, and his way of dealing with wealthy elites. The policies are clearly described in other posts.

I am very aware of the current bitter arguments between the left/Progressive side of the Democratic Party, and the mainstream "Centrist" side of the Party.

You know, the "Bernie" side is indignant about the shenanigans by DWS and others behind-the-scenes in the Party who "sabotaged" Bernie,  and snubbed other Progressives at the Convention, etc.

Meanwhile, the "centrist" side of the Party accuses Bernie voters of voting 3rd party or even staying home, depriving Hillary of the necessary votes in key states. 

Sure, this was probably a factor, to some degree, but is overrated, IMO.

Most Bernie-supporters I know voted for Hillary out of fear of Trump, 
although were often unhappy about doing so. And I live in a state where Clinton was always way ahead, and folks could vote 3rd party without the danger of Trump taking the state. Still, most Bernie-voters went with Hillary.

Online, I read constantly about Bernie-supporters who were going to "hold their nose and vote" for HC because Trump was just too scary.

Extremely few Bernie-supporters voted for Trump, that is for damn sure. 

Maybe some Bernie-ites in swing states stayed home (not many), and certainly some in swing states did vote 3rd party. But I firmly believe these numbers were definitely NOT what made the difference.

Centrists are correct, however, about the negative effect of the Comey announcement 11 days prior to the election, which did actually cause a drop in the polls for HC, while Trump rose.  The Comey announcement could be seen legitimately as a one of the big factors, and absolutely did do some damage, although it was probably not critical by itself, IMO. 

In addition, Centrists keep bringing up the Russia factor, which is extremely overrated, almost, but not quite, to the point of becoming an urban myth, IMO. 

Russia flipped zero votes in tabulation systems. No evidence for that at all.

Email "hacks" (John Podesta's email account) by Russia, no matter what folks choose to believe, have not so far been verified by actual evidence.
Even so, the Podesta emails' disclosures were no real surprise to politically
sophisticated voters who know how dirty both parties' politics are, and are
way overrated as a source of vote-loss for Clinton. 

The "Russian effect" did exist, but I am convinced after much research and cross-referencing that it had a much lesser effect than the factors 
discussed here, which, in total, basically STOLE the election 
for the GOP. 
The election wasn't stolen by a foreign power, but by 
domestic operatives----All-American thieves who have done it before.

As far as claims of mass-numbers of online trolls "hired by Russia" are concerned ...

I myself have had a number of online encounters with these types over 
the last year or so, including some nasty "head-butts" with what I cane to 
strongly suspect were some of those hired Russian/Macedonian 
"professional trolls" mean't to twist peoples' minds 
and affect the election. 

Yeah, they were around, and still are, BTW, as nasty as ever.

Those A-holes changed very few minds, I can assure you.
Not. A. Factor.

I am utterly convinced,
it was those 5 big factors listed above that were the difference. 
It just becomes more and more obvious the more you research it.

The 5 factors' combined effect was overwhelming.

The Shocking Truth:
America did not actually intend to reject Hillary Clinton in November, 
as crazy as that may sound to some folks now.

A large number of her votes got effectively snuffed by the combination of GOP vote-erasure, geographical/demographic manipulations, and vote-caging. 

And then, ofcourse, there was Comey. 

So ... as far as blame for the election loss is concerned ...

Both sides (Progressives and Centrists) need to back-off and CHILL.

Because BOTH SIDES ARE WRONG.

The election was rigged and stolen, but BY THE GOP.


You want to hate on somebody, hate on them.


Hey, they're good at it. That's what they do. Nothing new here.
They stole 2000 and 2004 as well. No kidding.

Plus, just for another piece of the election-fraud picture, please note 
the famous GOP extreme-gerrymandering since 2010, which 
gives them a built-in advantage in The House Of Representatives.

All cut from the same cloth, of fraud.
Again, that's what the GOP does.

But those, although related, are whole other stories.

However, IMO, the GOP did steal the Presidency in 2016, and may well be 
able to do it again in the future.

Here's how:

#1. Interstate Cross-Check, reported on brilliantly by Greg Palast, which 
         basically, scrubs voters off "eligible" lists for people having matching 
         names in multiple states with criminals in other states. 

         In other words, if someone with the same name as you in another state 
         committed some crime, YOU lose your right to vote in your state (if it is 
         GOP-controlled). All names were computer-program verified to be 
         Democratic Party demographics by address, ethnicity and even 
         by such details as the magazines and periodicals they subscribe to.

         Now that is precision.


                       Millions of votes were lost over a range of 
                       (always GOP-controlled) states.




The GOP's Stealth War Against Voters - Greg Palast 

Over 2-Million Voters on Caging List - Greg Palast



#2. The closing of polling places undoubtedly took out thousands more Dem 
         votes in more than half the states.


868 POLLING PLACES CLOSED BY GOP FOR 2016 ELECTION 

Mass poll closures in battleground states create potential for Election Day chaos

REPORTS ON VOTING PROBLEMS AROUND US, INCLUDING POLL CLOSURES, NOV, 2016

Polling places become battleground in US voting rights fight - Reuters


This process was especially blatant in Arizona, where long lines resulted from
so many polling places being closed.
"State Rep. Reginald Bolding, a Democrat and the only black member of the Legislature, 
said he visited four county polling places and said what he saw "was disheartening."
"You saw individuals who were seniors, handicapped, you also saw individuals who 
had to spend their entire workday waiting in line to cast a vote," Bolding said. 
"And this was directly due to the county recorder's negligence in cutting the 
polling locations in Maricopa County from 200 to 60 locations."

He said while he didn't suspect the efforts were intended to suppress turnout, 
combined with cuts in election funding and new laws passed by the GOP-controlled 
Legislature, he sees a pattern.

"When you start to put all of these different voter-suppression mechanisms in a line, 
it's hard to believe that this is all coincidental," Bolding said.





Long Voting Lines in Phoenix

And the problem continues TODAY ...

91,000 voters left off voter rolls in Maricopa County Alone in 2017

#3. Ultra-strict, picky ID Card requirements in, where else---GOP-controlled
           states, eliminated thousands more votes.

                            (sample card)



In some states, court challenges may have moderated some effect of this policy, to some degree, 
but not in most states ...



Again last September, the GOP admitted the importance of the Voter ID laws ----


Also, from last Spring...





Also, from back in 2012, you may remember this ...


General Info


How voter ID laws helped Donald Trump win the presidency







#4. The Comey Effect.

          
         

      
          "...the big change does coincide well with the release of the Comey letter. Opinion swung toward Trump by 4 percentage points, and about half of this was a lasting change. This was larger than the victory margin in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Wisconsin. Many factors went into this year’s Presidental race, but on the home stretch, Comey’s letter appears to have been a critical factor in the home stretch."


PRINCETON ELECTION CONSORTIUM--THE COMEY EFFECT

THE COMEY LETTER PROBABLY COST HILLARY THE ELECTION




Before the election, even Fox News certainly thought Comey's announcement 
had an effect ...
New poll: 34 percent 'less likely' to vote for Clinton after new email revelations


Even though Clinton won big in CA, she may actually have still lost a few 
votes there due to Comey's Letter ----
CLINTON'S LEAD DROPS IN CALIFORNIA IN THE DAYS AFTER COMEY ANNOUNCEMENT


Presidential race tightens, Hillary Clinton’s support falls after FBI reopens email probe



Polls Show Clinton Support Slipped After FBI Letter (Bloomberg)



#5. The mysterious election day "Red-Shift" (cue creepy sci-Fi music), 
          especially in swing states.
          Please note: The way exit polls work (around the entire world), 
          is this ---- Generally, any variance between actual votes counted from 
          exit polls that is over 1%, is a red flag in a close race and is
          calling out for investigation. 
          BTW, landslide wins, for either candidate in 
          a state, may have larger shifts and it is not considered a factor.

         Still, it's odd that Trump gained the most votes (by %) in a state he lost by a 
         whopping 24%, but a GOP-controlled state (NJ) with an eager-to-please 
         Buddy (Gov Christie), and a long-storied history of political shenanigans. 
         But no worry, just a curiosity.

         In the chart below, note the nifty, almost-perfectly-reversed victory       
         margins for Trump in those key swing states. 
         For students of the 2004 Election, this is like deja vu. 

         But 2004 is another story. Just rest assured, "red shifts" 
         have appeared before. A lot.

         Repeatedly, Trump won in those swing states by almost the same 
         margins he was predicted by polls to lose.

         BTW, please note that "blue shifts" in close races basically 
         never happen.  Not in any US election, ever. 
         Seriously. This blank spot "anomaly" drives statisticians crazy.


        The disturbingly-consistent "Red-Sift" is reported on 
        very soberly, here:

         US ELECTIONS "RED-SHIFT" FROM 1988- 
      2012

         2012 ARTICLE BY LONGTIME 
    ELECTION EXPERT WHO GIVES   
    BACKGROUND HISTORY ON 
    THE "RED-SHIFT"



     DAILY KOS ON THE "RED-SHIFT" --
     IT'S REAL
     


         But back to 2016 ...





Surgical precision?

"Of the more than 120 million votes cast in the 2016 election, 107,000 votes in three states [Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania] effectively decided the election."
Myths About Clinton’s Defeat in Election 2016 Debunked

EXIT POLLS CAST DOUBT ON 2016 ELECTION RESULTS

RED SHIFTS found in 2016 Presidential race & in nearly every Senate race in states with exit polls

Something Stinks When Exit Polls and Official Counts Don't Match

===========>>==========>>


   Plus, we knew this ominous truth well before the election:

     GOP To Control Voting Process In 2016 Swing States


                                America doesn't need to trust it's voting systems, 
                         it needs to verify them.






Here's some more:

New Voting Restrictions in Place for 2016 Presidential Election 

Did the Republican War on Voting Rights Help Trump Win?




The GOP’s Attack on Voting Rights Was the Most Under-Covered Story of 2016

                            Yes--US elections can be stolen!


Current GOP claims of "voter fraud" is a cover for a new Trump/GOP effort to erase even more votes in future elections.



Did Trump win, or “win”? And what about those “winning” Senate races? Exit polls show a “suspicious pattern”









Alert:
Please be aware that all of the above factors are still in play for upcoming elections.