Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A HITLER MOMENT



Last November after the 2016 election many questioned those of us who drew the obvious parallels between the rise of Trumpism in America to that of Naziism in Hitler's Germany in 1933.

After hearing Trump double-down on white supremacy today as the guiding policy lynchpin he established Saturday, it's time to abandon this aversion to Godwin's law and dare to routinely refer to Hitler and Nazi Germany in rhetorical argument when it's appropriate.

It seems to be some kind of "exception that proves the rule" allowing for one bizarre corner of dialectic where ignorance of history doesn't doom one to repeat it.


Act as if Hitler and the Nazis never happened and they'll never happen again? No- it's time to treat events like they actually happened and stop whistling in the genocidal graveyard.

Let's remember that it was less than 100 years ago that privileged European white supremacists elected and politically nurtured a man and government that used xenophobia and general fear and hate-mongering to perpetrate the mass murder of millions while the rest stood back and remained silent because they benefited from that privilege.

It's time to reopen the dialogue and examine the relationship between our current political milieu and what happened less than 85 years ago.


Hint: As much as we'd like to think it's a whole new world, nothing has changed. The maxim about turning our heads in horror and simply going about our business causing us to be doomed to repeat that horror applies in all cases, not just the ones we choose to acknowledge.

Monday, January 2, 2017

SOOOOLD, AMERICAN


"Since minimum wage is so low I think I'll hire more people than I absolutely need to run my business," said NO BUSINESS OWNER EVER.

Yet the predicable crocodile tears shed by employers large and small over the $15/hr minimum wage State Senator Josh Green will introduce during the upcoming Hawai`i legislative session are already flooding over the rail at the Capitol.

The truth is that all business owners hire not one more nor one less worker than they need, because, as you can hear even the most curmudgeonly sarcastic among them routinely remind their workers, "I ain't runnin' no charity here, ya know."

So where is this magical world they seem to be living in, where a hike to the minimum wage – or even a living remuneration – will cause them to lay off some of their staff? Probably shouting from the same post-truth delusional universe where they alone are the "job creators" who "pay way too much in taxes" because "I built this business without any government help," while standing on a public sidewalk beside a public highway, all of which were built with taxpayers’ money and are patrolled by municipal police and fire departments.
And I guess they must use some kind of barter system or maybe Bit-coin so as not to have to depend on the government to print the money they grub.

The worst ones even have the temerity to complain about "the bums" who sit on the pavement outside their establishments – you know, the ones we, at best, call "homeless" so we don't have to acknowledge that they work full time but, at the current minimum wage level, can't afford both rent and food.

As you might have guessed by now, I don't have much respect for western capitalism, although there's nothing wrong with "cottage industry." The problem comes not when you make and sell those cute little $20 hand-made hats that are oh-so popular and take you an hour to make. Rather, it's when you can't keep up with the demand for them, so you hire staff at $10 an hour to make more hats than you and your family can make, and keep the other $10 a piece so you can live in your penthouse and send your kids to private school while your employees live not just down the street but on the street, and their kids have to drop out of school so maybe all of them together can afford to rent a one-room tenement apartment – that's when we've got a problem.

Sen. Green's bill would make a $15-an-hour minimum the law by 2018 and $22 over time. And, no matter what kind of faulty reasoning – or faulty economic system – the Chamber of Commerce wants to sell you, once you have a taste of it, it's not hard to recognize that it's just another turd sandwich they want you to chew on.

Just don't swallow.