Is the Daily Show just a Stand-In for Actual Activism?

Is the Jon Stewart Daily Show really dying?
Or was it just a placebo for ACTUAL “activism” all along?

stewart

What concerns me personally, is how easily satisfied people by about “talking” about politics, and mistaking ‘awareness’ for ‘action’

The Daily Show is clearly aware of its own shortcomings as well, and it never set out to change the political landscape to begin with…So it always has that default position to fall back on, if it fails to make a measurable impact.

The audience was certainly entertained, but I fear that they may have been placated with the illusion that idle talk, and finger-pointing is somehow the equivalent of action and change. I think of the Daily Show as a political prosthetic for the motivationally disabled…Esp. since it mostly preaches to its own choir.

God love them though, for making a great go of it 😉

The following, is likely a more right-angled view of things, in the sense that it doesn’t pander to unquestionable Leftist ideology – and it was lifted from Salon.com. But it’s still worth considering, so long as one can factor in the weighting of sources, to see how any balancing points are still interesting and possibly even useful – when it comes to refining our outlook and tactics for better results.

According to Stewart and “The Daily Show,” activists who “glitter bomb” homophobic politicians are acting like “petulant children,” and Occupy Wall Street is a bunch of scatterbrained hippies who don’t truly represent the 99 percent. This is hardly a show that has its fingers on the pulse of the activist community. If the authors were given to copyright infringement, they might publish the following as an appendix in this book:

“The Daily Show’s” Guide to Activism

  • Wake up
  • Play Xbox for one to seven hours
  • Throw away empty PBR cans
  • Write angry Tumblr post about evils of corporations while smoking Marlboro reds, eating McDonald’s hamburger, and drinking Pepsi beverage
  • Watch “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart
  • Email MoveOn.org petition to family
  • Avoid phone calls from family members
  • Change Twitter avatar to whatever color for whatever latest third-world country is being destroyed by crazed dictator
  • Search Wikipedia for information on said country in case later quizzed
  • Play Xbox for several more hours
  • Go to sleep with self-satisfied smile on faceReal activism doesn’t work that way.
    You can’t appoint a progressive messiah and listen to him snipe through your flat screen and expect for things to magically get better.

The only way to effect real change is through the precise instances of direct action that “The Daily Show”—supposed bastion of liberalism—repeatedly mocks, not only in brief comedy sketches on late-night TV, but on a grand scale such as the Rally to Restore Sanity.

In conclusion: Never trust a show owned by Viacom to lead a counter-culture revolution. If “The Daily Show” was ever a real threat to the establishment, it would have been cancelled years ago.

 

Occupy Corporatism?

Corporatism Vs CapitalismThere’s a popular meme of  Corporatism vs. Capitalism, that risks both suppressing the full nature of Capitalism (which most people simply presume to mean ‘free markets’), while trying to demonize Corporations as the root of all the ills of society. Which is clearly a simplistic approach, that ignores the sources of the issues that arise around these much-maligned and misunderstood terms.

Despite the popular trends towards painting all corporations with the same brush with simplistic terms like “Corporatism”, there are some very important reasons to learn more about the corporate structure to try and effect positive change. More on this, as we go along.

Keep in mind that corporate charters are what first allowed huge public works projects, such as roads, bridges and railways to be built. Corporations are simply legal entities.
There are good and bad corporations, just like there are good and bad people…Saying that corporations are what’s wrong with the world belies ignorance about what a corporation actually is.

Everyone knows that money is the root of all evil.

More specifically, the kind of money that allows the association of “time” with the money to produce interest (money out of nothing) at levels that introduce the concept of “usury”. When base capital can basically double it’s value, and all of that excess get’s retained by the lender, you’re looking at what we call usury, and what has in fact been the root of all evil for many, many centuries now. Bankers are not among the most powerful organizations on earth by accident.

Capitalism

Capitalism on the other hand is an entire economic system that allows monetary supply to be manipulated by market-makers, and someone with no actual cash to leverage “assets” to “buy” stuff that they also only own in title (ie. which they can just as easily lose in receivership if credit and cash-flow dries up)…All in order to draw revenues (cash-flow) from paper/electronic assets…Rather than actual work.

ie. Capitalism allows people to draw profits simply from the movement of capital, rather than adding actual value into an economy through productivity. It’s a game that is rigged in favour of those who can accrue capital, generate margins, or trade inside information in order to profit from those who actually work for a living…as opposed to simply “managing capital”.

Capitalism Defined

Are Public Sector Unions Ruining the Labour Movement?

JoinaUnionPublic Sector Union’s have been piggy-backing on alot of messaging from other types of unions lately…Even as public opinion continues to turn against the labour movement as a whole, maybe we can try to recall that organized labour was once a great political force that was poised to change society for everyone.

However the anti-communist era, and the enormous concessions given to the most powerful unions, all but assured that this deeper political force would be channeled into simply satisfying the needs of it’s membership, rather than meddling with how the public could better see the risks and benefits of free-market capitalism. This image (right-side) is from a Trade Union, but was found on a Wisconsin State AFL-CIO page.

 Trade Unions are the organizations that, not so long ago,  made great strides to assure workplace safety and better labour relations for workers, because they were so sorely needed at the time. But time have certainly changed quite significantly since then, as we all know.

By contrast, Public Sector workers had historically already enjoyed some of the best job security and safest working conditions in the past half-century, even as organized labour grew among government, education and healthcare workers.

Public Sector Unions (PSU’s) nevertheless still used the same tactics to extort the captive public in order to achieve levels of benefits that are now not only much greater than the social norm, but also not even commensurate with skill-levels (according to national job standards), nor tied to performance or work value (it’s a system based on tenure not merit). Essentially the application of organized labour tactics and CBA’s to the Public Sector has created a privileged class of worker, as defined not only by public opinion, but also based simply on the numbers and job descriptions.

In my opinion, I’m starting to suspect that this, in some ways, is similar to how Communist Party members used their affiliations to become a privileged class in an abusable system that eventually collapsed, because it ran out of ways to pay for itself – basically because it wasn’t sustainable either. But that’s a weak theory about decay, greed and corruption that I’ll leave for another day, to not detract from the current subject. Maybe read “Animal Farm” again for a refresher on human nature, if required.

Extorting Public Opinion

Nowadays, the right-wing is getting better at turning the current state of organized labour against itself. Currently, the large gap between PSU’s and the rest of the public that works to support their CBA’s is now turning into a political leverage point. One that has gained so much visibility that it now be used to divide society and undo the historic gains of the labour movement – by letting politicians with right-wing agendas easily make a case for out how greed and self-interest have become more important to PSU’s than assuring fair-wages and equality for all.

As we know, the PSU’s never really took any truly serious haircuts along with the rest of society to reflect the realities of an economic downturn and the changing conditions in the job market. Nor did they mount any serious public relations and TV campaigns (akin to the TV campaigns that are run during election periods, to counter non-aligned politicians) in order to clearly demonstrate the corruption in the financial systems that have led us to this point.

Now they simply stand out from the rest of society, and don’t even seem to realize this, as they continue to recite propaganda based on 50 year-old achievements and ideals…All while failing to demonstrate accountability to all the current social and economic risks that aren’t even recognized in any of the messaging, let alone addressed by union propaganda with any proposed solutions or clear concessions. All the public really hears in the messaging, is “support us or else” or, “if you don’t like it, then form your own union”. This level of selfish arrogance speaks volumes, and the people saying don’t even seem to realize what they sound like. Being fully indoctrinated is likely the cause.

So regrettably, rather than representing the founding ideals of the Labour Movement, the PSU’s have now come to simply represent greed and self-interest – to many people. Every new CBA process, where the public was held hostage for more gains, while fighting to not at least give up ridiculous benefits like banked sick-days, etc, etc, only further damaged the public opinion of PSU’s. Who cares, right?

This situation is compounded by the fact that membership seems to be failing to see how they are being perceived as simply out of touch with reality, as they adopt misguided dogma that offers simplistic slogans like “the rest of society should also unionize if they are so jealous”. The narrow rhetoric just gets even more ridiculously unrealistic from there, so there’s no point in elaborating.

It’s About the Economy, Stupid!

Meanwhile, as our governments continue to put our grand-children deeper into lifelong debt, people are waking up to the fact that public debt is indeed a form of slavery. Enslavement of the unborn, no less!

It’s a shame that the PSU’s couldn’t figure out how to keep their wages and benefits from becoming a glaring example of inequality, and turning into the greatest cost (by far) of running a tax-funded society. Even though they had already achieved a level of benefit and job security that is far out of touch from present day reality, the public has still seen no clear signs from the PSU’s that organized labour has the interests of the public at heart. Talk is cheap, after all, and most of that talk simply takes on a threatening tone, at the slightest hint that the public might not blindly support “Big Labour” any longer. This also betrays an undercurrent of anti-social self-interest.

Perhaps it’s the labour movement’s organizational and cultural roots in organized crime, that makes extortion and bullying an accepted labour tactic, even today?

The simplistic claim that everyone should be able to extort higher wages/benefits if they were to also unionize as well, isn’t just propaganda designed to distract from the current reality, it’s actually economically unsustainable. Low-skilled or clerical labour cannot be paid the same as skilled professionals across the board, so this flawed logic simply raises wages for everyone, without increasing real wages, since the cost of living will also rise in accordance with higher labour costs. Perhaps if the labour movement had focuses it’s efforts on socializing things like banking, insurance, energy, and agriculture, we’d be in an entirely different position today. But there are many reasons why Labour is selective about what industries it chooses to organize, and to what extent it will ever take any of the risks of actually owning, or at least managing a stake in our shared economy.

Anybody who’s taken highschool economics will remind us that trying to raise all salaries/benefits means you’ll need more money supply, and in economic terms that’s called an inflationary force, and it severely devalues currency for everyone. Of course in the case of PSU’s these increased costs are simply offloaded to public debt, or cuts to other areas of government, like investments in infrastructure, for example. In the private sector, that kind of debt-financing leads to weak bottom lines, and eventually insolvency. Since there isn’t such a large float of tax-revenue that can underwrite billions in debt, out in the real and accountable world of private business.

It’s too bad that Tommy Douglas isn’t around anymore, to remind people why deficit budgets will actually destroy government (society?) in the long run. But by then, the current PSU membership/leadership will have already retired and left someone else holding the bag for their excess.

It’s sad to see how short-sighted and self-interested the labour movement has become. Shameful to see that organized labour has instead become synonymous with selfishness, when it could have helped build a completely different society for everyone. The labour movement was basically bought-off long ago, and neutralized with the complacency that comes from financial gains and security. Thus rendered incapable of producing any real social change…and now the social divide continues to grow as the PSU’s have now turned into a political football that can be used to shift political power…Much as the PSU’s have already tried to direct electoral politics in their own favour already.

TL:DR
In short, I believe that the Labour Movement has let us all down, even as we supported it’s gains with taxes and other social costs. The rest of society has wound up paying for a privileged class, that will eventually be targeted by right-wing politicians seeking to gain public favour, as it becomes more clear that the entire system is unsustainable.

Dear Union Bosses…

Democracy Rules...Even if it means Katheryne Schulz  https://www.facebook.com/katheryne.schulz

” We said it best in CUPE: Invest in people: We are the solution.”

That rhetoric is all fine and good so long as the public purse can keep getting topped up with deficit spending and more debt. But what about managing that investment, to assure that it doesn’t cost more than what it’s worth?

When was the last time that CUPE stated that over-compensating a certain job description (beyond fair-market value) creates an un-necessary burden on the rest of society?

How does over-investing in people, create the capital required to buy computers for schools, or an MRI machine for a hospital?

If those “people” (ie. unionized people) continue to gain via CBA’s to the point that they earn more than they are worth,then they’re just an economic drag…Due to the displaced funds that go into paying the OpEx for ‘human capital’ – rather than longer-lasting economic development through investments (and debt reduction) that yield long-term dividends for everyone, right across the board…not simply the individual public sector employee.

Or do you forsee a future where a service economy exists to support a privileged public sector class, and we all grow our economy via investments in offshored industries, and speculating on market bubbles perhaps?

I’d like to see indications (not just rhetorical grand-standing) that the public sector unions can see past the benefits they seek for their own membership, and demonstrate how society at large is served by continuing to support PS labour organizations in the future with our hard-earned taxes.

Unions: Observations from the Inside

For now…

Here’s a selected comment from Reddit, that’s representative of some oft repeated sentiments from people in Teacher’s Unions:

[–]GroverEatsGrapes 2 points 25 minutes ago

Like you, I’m concerned about the government’s willingness to get involved in labour disputes.

But let’s be clear… a strike by workers at Air Canada is tantamount to holding the entire country hostage. This is too much power to be given to the associated unions. There must be a balancing force to prevent this kind of power from being misused.

Teachers also have a great deal of power. Their unions have arranged things very nicely for teachers. Teachers get more time off in a year than virtually anyone else. The summer break alone is enough to vault them to the top of the time off list. But they also get vacation time. They get extended breaks for many holidays, without the need to use those vacation days. They also work short days. My son is home from school at 2:30 in the afternoon. I have watched teachers leaving the parking lot before my son comes to the door. Yes, many are dedicated and put in a lot of extra hours coaching teams, preparing lessons, and marking student work. But this is not a requirement. Teachers who are less dedicated arrive in time to deliver the bare minimum of content and head for the door when the last bell rings. There’s no requirement for them to take work home with them – they have designated periods throughout the day to do this stuff at the school. All of this together would suggest that the associated compensation would reasonably be on the low side. But this isn’t the case. Their benefits are excellent. They are afforded extraordinary access to on-the-job training opportunities. Teachers are very much over compensated.

I say this as a teacher myself.

People forget that schools originally released their students for the summer months not because it benefits the students – but because those students were required on the farm to work. Things have changed a lot since the days when this was necessary. The population is primarily urban now – and mechanization of farm work has made it less necessary for rural kids to work they way they once did. Since the science clearly indicates that keeping kids in school year-round would benefit their education – why is it not happening. The answer, in a word is unions.

Those same unions are protecting the bad teachers. They have developed a system that dis-incentivizes teachers from caring about kids. They have removed any ability for a teacher to discipline students meaningfully. They have sought, and won, concessions in wages and benefits that have robbed dollars from programs like music and art. There’s only so much money – and the unions’ gimmie gimme policy leaves little for even necessities like text books.

So the unions have benefited enormously from a system which has been rigged in their favour for years. Teachers have been riding the wave. It’s certainly time for some common sense to be injected into the picture.

Like I said, I am a teacher. I take home a healthy pay cheque. I would still be a teacher if they paid me much much less, because I love the work. There are plenty like me. Unfortunately, the leeches – the ones who don’t care about the kids – outnumber good teachers, and not by just a little. They simply can not be fired – unless they either sleep with or assault a student.

Unions are great. They were, at one time, absolutely necessary. That time has come and gone. In recent memory unions have had to focus on getting their members more, in order to justify their existence.

It’s a balancing act – the government is trying to walk a line where the needs of the unions do not trump the welfare of society at large. Without this kind of intervention, unions would put this whole country out of business.

[–]worstchristmasever 1 point 8 minutes ago

Unfortunately many unions protect bad workers at the peril of canadian businesses. I’m speaking from first-hand experience. The reasons why workers should have some kind of leverage against employers is more obvious now than in the recent past, with the job market being like it is.

But consider this: Why should some complacent 55-year-old be able to make $100k when there are 2 25-year-olds who would happily work harder, produce better quality work and make half as much? This situation is not at all uncommon and it’s hurting more people than it helps.

[–]GroverEatsGrapes 1 point 18 seconds ago

I agree.

To be fair, there are plenty of motivated 55-year-olds, and no shortage of underachieving 25-year-olds. Really, it isn’t so much the age that is the problem – it’s the dedication that matters.

Union workplaces systemically dis-incentivize the kind of dedication that the best workers in any industry bring to the job.

[–]salmontarre 3 points 43 minutes ago

Doesn’t matter in the long run, because what the union busters seemingly fail to recognize is that the existence of unions is the compromise.

If unions go, then molotov cocktails and radical politics will be as appealing to the shit-for-pay employee as they have been in the past.

Related article and a list of around 200 restrictive labour laws, with a brief summary for each. We have a lot of work ahead of us to change legislatio

[–]TheWinrar 3 points 1 hour ago

What are we going to do about it?

Go on strike!

[–]TemporaryBoyfriend 1 point 58 seconds ago

Teacher’s unions (especially here in Ontario) hold some of the largest investment portfolios in the country.

Let them do some lobbying like everyone else with money.

[–]LegionX2 2 points 15 minutes ago

FDR was a big fan of unions and even HE foresaw problems with them in the public sector:

“The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote in 1937 to the head of the National Federation of Federal Employees. In the private sector, organized employees and the employer meet across the bargaining table as (theoretical) equals. But in the public sector, said FDR, “the employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress.”

Allowing public-employee unions to engage in collective bargaining would mean opening the door to the manipulation of government policy by a privileged private interest.

You don’t need to be raving union buster to see problems with civil servants denying citizens access to services of their own government because they’re having a labor dispute.

[–]SaintSamuel 1 point 16 minutes ago

It’s hard to answer that question. I work for a company that belongs to the CAW local 222 union, and for the first time 2 weeks ago i went to a union meeting. The reason i went was because the company is going through with a few very harsh unreasonable changes, and from what I got from the union meeting, because of the poor contract the union couldn’t do anything. When the idea of a strike arose, the union said ‘whoa whoa, not now, didn’t you hear what happened in BC and london ontario? We can’t chance that.” Although they did assure us that they ‘are working on a strategy’. It seems that i cannot trust the union to protect me, and i cannot trust the company to keep a fair workplace. I don’t know how this happened

 

[–]wideiris 1 point 16 minutes ago

we have to recognize the optics of unions is bad, and not all unions are good. the bad part of unions that the public decry is that ‘you can’t be fired’ and you make too much. first, we have to make firing people easier. this sounds crass, but unions look bad because they shield bad people sometimes. let’s make it a bit easier to get rid of the people we shouldn’t be associated with. second, we need to ensure that people in the free market understand that unions ensure THEIR wages/benefits are higher by offering a comparable model. if there were no unions, there’d be much less drug plans/sick days/wage increases in the private/non union sector. those bastards need us to line their own pockets.