Posted on December 17, 2009 by eric
The stock market appears to be drawing the appropriate conclusions from the misbegotten health care finance bill:
Insurance corporation share prices are up this week. Prospects for actually ensuring that everyone in the U.S. has access to adequate health care, not so much.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Party Border Collie Patrol are working overtime trying to herd recalcitrant sheep into line. “Be patient”, they bark, “this is just a first step. Once the Democrats have 60 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100 votes in the Senate, they’ll pass something even better.” And ponies unicorns!
The next time I hear some crackpot realist try to justify this crap with the old saws about “the perfect is the enemy of the good” and “politics is the art of the possible”, I might hit them in the face with a shovel. What the health care legislation fiasco illustrates is the greater risk of allowing the horrible to be the enemy of the acceptable. As Gramsci (among many others) taught, “the possible” is always contested terrain, and politics is precisely a struggle about redefining its bounds.
Remember: It was never about change. It is always about power.
lapdog sheepdog yelps.
Filed under: All the King's Men | Tagged: corporations, health, no flim-flam; no compromise; no sell-out, politics | Leave a Comment »
Posted on December 13, 2009 by eric
Despite my recent experience with images not displaying correctly in Chrome, and notwithstanding Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s disturbing views about privacy, I have recently made the switch from Firefox to Chrome as my default browser.
The key is performance: consistent with the company’s claims and most reports, Chrome is noticeably faster and far less crash-prone that Firefox. Of course, Opera is even better on both counts; but I’m not so keen on the Opera interface, which I find too cumbersome. Chrome’s lack of clutter is another big point in its favor. And now that Chrome has full extension support, switching from Firefox no longer means giving up that advantage.
As for privacy, my cynical view is that those horses are already long out of the barn. Between the aggressive expansion of state surveillance and the endless corporate drive to commodify our personal information and habits, we are all living in the Panopticon now. I don’t like it. I believe it should be fought. But there’s no point in pretending that my choice of web browser (or my choice of “privacy” settings on Facebook for that matter) will make any meaningful difference.
Anyway, all of this is merely by way of prelude to this truly charming video portraying the features that have made Chrome my browser of choice.
Filed under: Where the Wild Things Are | Tagged: computers, corporations, privacy, technology, video | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 19, 2009 by eric
This is a great example of trans-national labor solidarity
U.S. and German labor leaders announced a transatlantic alliance on Wednesday aimed at persuading Germany’s giant Deutsche Telekom AG to allow collective bargaining at its subsidiary, T-Mobile USA.
Under the agreement, which U.S. labor officials called unprecedented, German trade union Ver.di will represent T-Mobile USA workers and the Communications Workers of America in talks with Deutsche Telekom managers in Bonn.
Under the agreement, Ver.di will use its seats on Deutsche Telekom’s supervisory board to press German managers to accept union representation at T-Mobile USA and then coordinate any bargaining that follows.
As a long-time T-mobile customer, I applaud this move. As an even longer-time supporter of the labor movement, I hope we see more efforts like this.
Filed under: In Dubious Battle | Tagged: corporations, international, labor | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 8, 2009 by eric
I’ve read several criticisms of universal health care (a.k.a. “government-run medicine”) on the grounds of “you get what you pay for.” As stories like this remind us, that would be a vast improvement over the current insurance corporation-run system.
Filed under: In Dubious Battle | Tagged: corporations, economics, health, law, politics | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 1, 2009 by eric
A great resource exposing the nasty and often illegal tactics of the real “labor thugs”: corporations and their hired lackeys who block workers from exercising their legal and human right to organize for their mutual aid and protection.
Filed under: In Dubious Battle | Tagged: capitalism, corporations, labor, law, no war but class war | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 24, 2009 by eric
Posted on December 23, 2008 by eric
An administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled that Starbucks committed multiple violations of federal law in its effort to squelch a union campaign. The case was initiated by Starbucks workers in Manhattan, who were part of an organizing effort by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).
In an 88-page decision, the NLRB judge found that Starbucks had committed numerous unfair labor practices, including illegally prohibiting workers from discussing the union and their working conditions, and illegally disciplining and firing workers who were involved in the union effort.
Filed under: In Dubious Battle | Tagged: corporations, labor, law | Leave a Comment »
Posted on December 11, 2008 by eric
A sixteen year organizing struggle at the world’s largest pork production plant has ended with a union victory. Workers at the Smithfield Packing Company’s Tar Heel, North Carolina plant voted in favor of representation by the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW).
This caps off a good week for the U.S. labor movement, in which North Carolina — which has the lowest rate of union membership of any state in the nation — played a surprisingly big role. On Monday, truck drivers affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) staged a work-stoppage at two Weyerhaeuser Mills locations in eastern North Carolina, after which the company agreed to meet and discuss the drivers’ concerns. Yesterday, workers ended a 6-day occupation of the Republic Windows and Doors factory in Chicago, Illinois, after reaching a settlement of their claims for wages and benefits arising out of the company’s sudden, unannounced closing.
Filed under: In Dubious Battle | Tagged: corporations, labor, music, north carolina, unions, video | Leave a Comment »