Sunday, April 12, 2015


Industrial Strength Projection

Daniel Patrick Moynihan (who was the commencement speaker when I graduated in 1975) is credited with saying: Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts. In accordance with Moynihan's predictive ability and wisdom, here is my poor effort of a semi-fisking of this fact free deplorable calumny from some writer at the WaPo with whom I am happily unfamiliar.

One hundred and fifty years ago Thursday, after Union infantry effectively encircled the Army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee sent a note to Ulysses S. Grant proposing a meeting to discuss terms of surrender. With that, the Civil War began to end.
And at some point in the future, it may yet.
There are long term consequences from even trivial historical events and certainly the most deadly war (to Americans) that we have ever fought will have substantial long term consequences, but to say the war isn't over is absurd. Not a brilliant start but it gets worse.

The emancipation of the slaves that accompanied the North’s victory ushered in, as Abraham Lincoln had hoped, a new birth of freedom, but the old order also managed to adapt itself to the new circumstances. The subjugation of and violence against African Americans continued apace, particularly after U.S. Army troops withdrew from the South at the end of Reconstruction. Black voting was suppressed. The Southern labor system retained, in altered form, its most distinctive characteristic: unfree labor. As Douglas A. Blackmon has demonstrated in his Pulitzer Prize-winning study “Slavery by Another Name,” numerous corporations — many of them headquartered in the North — relied heavily on the labor of thousands of black prisoners, many serving long sentences for minor crimes or no crimes at all.
Much of this is true, but let's first identify the players. The Northern Republicans vigorously pursued a war to restore the Union (with the added benefit of ending slavery in America). The Northern Democrats vigorously supported not restoring the Union and not freeing the slaves. The Southern Democrats, mirable dictu, had the same agenda. After the war the guys subjugating and visiting violence on the former slaves were Democrats. I wonder why the author here doesn't even appear to know that?

It is a tragedy that the occupation of the South by more enlightened (Republican) troops ended too soon. Because the Democrats did indeed continue slavery by other means and did actually suppressed black voting (the 15th Amendment, which no Democrat voted for in Congress, notwithstanding). The "reliance" on black prisoner labor is also true but it was on a much smaller scale than is suggested here, it was kind of like a pimple on the butt of a large Ku Klux Klan jackass.

I'll skip over the tedious paragraphs that cotton was an important part of the whole nation's economy then. Duh! Oh and slavery was important to the production of cotton. More duh! But what follows next in the opinion piece is the major sloppy legerdemain of this delusion. Behold.

Even today, one of America’s most fundamental problems is that the alliance between the current form of Southern labor and the current form of New York finance is with us still. The five states that have no minimum wage laws of their own are in the South: Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee. Southern-based corporations such as Wal-Mart are among the leading opponents of workers’ right to organize, and as Wal-Mart has expanded into the North and West, so have the “right-to-work” statutes of Southern states been enacted by Republican governments in the Midwest.

Hold on there, kitty cat. That some states allow the "invisible hands" of the market to set the market price for labor, rather than bureaucrats or politicians setting it, is in no way comparable to slavery. That you don't have to join a union in order to get a job is also the opposite of slavery. The comparisons in this paragraph are not just idiotic but are through the looking glass opposites of reality. In a right to work state one is free to work without being forced by the government to join a union which will forcibly take part of the new member's wages and use that stolen money to support causes with which the new member disagrees. Remember the key word 'free' I used there. Where there is no state minimum wage one's erstwhile employer is likewise more free to offer prospective employees wages which their skills and work ethic support, which their value to the employer supports. And they remain free to insist on more, if their labor truly is worth more. I'm still using that word 'free' so that you can see how opposite slavery and right to work laws and market minimum wage setting are. But keep in mind that there is a federal minimum wage law so most of the complaint there is wholly wasted effort. Then the piece goes full Democrat delusional.

The Southernization of the Republican Party and the increasing domination of Wall Street’s brand of shareholder capitalism over the nation’s economic life have combined to erode both the income and the power of U.S. workers. Unions are anathema to Wall Street and the GOP. Federal regulations empowering consumers and employees are opposed by both.

I have written often about the awful Big Lie. The party of former slave owners would have you believe that other racist, Jim Crow law writing, KKK joining Democrats in the South (the very attackers of the Selma marchers) have, for no reason whatsoever, magically switched racial animi with the freedom loving, abolitionist, anti-lynching law writing, Civil Rights supporting Republicans. I feel I should push back a Big Lie so that it doesn't get established through un-rebutted repetition. (There are unfortunately those, the moronic true believer left, who already seem to believe it). Everyone should push back against this and every Big Lie. So here we are again. There was no switch for racist reasons. The modern Democrats, whose antebellum members exclusively owned slaves, so they know how it used to be done, have created a new form of political slavery on the metaphorical plantations of the Democrat run inner cities throughout our nation.

But the real bizarro world idea here is that the erosion of the income of the middle class in the past 9 years comes from southern Republicans and "shareholder capitalist" whoever they are. The erosion of the middle class income comes almost wholly from the implementation of Democrat supported economic policies which have, inter alia, driven some manufacturing overseas and which keeps wages low by importing tons of foreign workers eager to work for less than most Americans. Now the big finish.

Fueled by the mega-donations of the mega-rich, today’s Republican Party is not just far from being the party of Lincoln: It’s really the party of Jefferson Davis. It suppresses black voting; it opposes federal efforts to mitigate poverty; it objects to federal investment in infrastructure and education just as the antebellum South opposed internal improvements and rejected public education; it scorns compromise. It is nearly all white. It is the lineal descendant of Lee’s army, and the descendants of Grant’s have yet to subdue it.
Most of the mega-rich are Democrats. It is an outrageous lie that photo ID laws suppress black voting. In fact, in states with such laws, minority voter turnout has increased. It remains straight up racist to insist that minorities are too incompetent to get a free photo ID. That is logically undeniable.

The Republican party opposes federal efforts to mitigate poverty because such efforts stretching back to Johnson's Great Society and continuing at the cost of nearly $23 Trillion (with a T) have abysmally failed. Indeed the Democrats idea of poverty mitigation is actually poverty prolongation and is part of the foundation for the metaphorical modern plantation system. Opposing the Democrats' bad ideas is something the Republicans are known for (when they aren't supporting their own bad ideas). The Republicans support the Tuskegee method of poverty eradication that Booker T. Washington created. Washington was a Republican. How is supporting black Republican ideas being part of the party of slavery supporting, Democrat Jeff Davis. There is no universe, even the bizarre one the Democrats delusionally think is real, in which that notion could possibly be true.

The Republicans do not oppose improvement to education; that's the Democrats' game. Keeping inner city schools horrible keeps poor uneducated blacks on the metaphorical plantation and merely throwing money at the problems supports a strong Democrat base, the public teacher unions. What we support, again, is freedom, the freedom to choose a better school, to attend a well run private school, for example, still on the public's dime.

I hope we scorn compromise (but I fear we too often cave) with the proven failures of Democrats' policies that have helped create the modern metaphorical plantation. Indeed, the Republican party is today less integrated than in former times. We have some work to do.

The lineal descendants of Lee's Army were 99% Democrats until the 80s when the stone, open racists of the Democrat party died out finally and the ever leftward movement of the Party of Jeff Davis drove the freedom loving, patriotic South to the Republicans, who had always been that way.

Sorry, I went so long but it was a target rich environment.


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