Saturday, March 26, 2011

Is Popular Revolt Even Possible In U.S.A.?

As I watch and read about the people's uprising against tyranny across the world, I am very impressed by the courage, bravery and knowledge shown by them. Instant videos appear on YouTube and Al Jazeera, beamed right from the front lines within moments of happening. Raw news abounds and something else, the music and poetry of revolution, each country seems to have similar words and sounds to reflect the human conditions on the ground. I am fascinated by it all, the music moves me even if I don't understand the words sung, one song in particular sung by the crowd in Benghazi, Libya upon victory over Gaddafi's thugs, runs through my mind like a meditation tape. I finally found a very good version on YouTube and listen to it whenever feelings of sadness for the oppressed overwhelms me. After it finishes, my mind and hope are refreshed! The people who sing this song are magicians, full of endless inspiration. It makes me wonder how they came to be so brave, their suffering has somehow made them better human beings than their oppressors. Lots of food for thought!

There was a cartoon in this morning's Daily Rocket-Miner which really put into words just how I have been feeling about our country and our problems when so many of the people seem so uninformed and uneducated about why we have these problems. In the cartoon, a younger guy tells his mom and her friend that a woman told him that babies are born with tails, and asks them if that is true. The two older women look at each other with dumbfounded looks and the mother's friend tells him this: You know, Jack, some people spend their lives drinking from the fountain of knowledge...but you pretty much just swish and spit, don't you? After laughing for a moment, I realized that this cartoon had hit the nail on the head! A large portion of our population in the United States (and Wyoming, in particular!) don't drink from the fountain of knowledge, they just swish and spit! They read very little, watch tv, and take all of what passes for news as gospel truth. We no longer take the time to resolve our daily problems, we just take whatever opinion is presented by our favorite pundit or newspaper columnist as our own, no heavy thought process needed! All of our thinking is done for us by others. It's no wonder that we find ourselves in a country where the rich and powerful have all the say and the poor have no voice at all. We need to take the time to investigate what's going on and see who exactly benefits by our being so poorly informed.

Only with an educated and well informed citizenry, can we even hope to make sure that each citizen has an even chance of making a decent life and earning a living. I'm not saying every one needs to be formally educated, just well informed. Read current events news, discuss things with your friends and family, just do something to make sure you know the truth of any matter. Only when we can make up our own minds and form our own opinions will we be truly able to show others that we are masters of our own destiny. Remember that old expression no pain, no gain? Well, it's going to take a lot of pain to get our country back on the right track, maybe even some protests and uprisings by our own citizens. We need to let our government know that we are not happy with corporations being in control, we are going to gain through self educating ourselves! Then, they can no longer control our lives, and we will be truly free.

Is popular revolt even possible in the United States of America? Only we can be the judge of that, we the people, standing together! People all over the world are doing it, why not us?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Libya,Wisconsin,Wyoming, Japan:What A Week!

It seems at times like there is just so much happening, that an old woman really has to stretch to take it all in! Here in Wyoming, the gas drillers want to drill in the Upper Hoback area, they want to use 18,000 acres of land to drill 136 new wells, install 29 new miles of roads in the wilderness. Each new drilling pad would use 8 yo 10 acres each, they would also drill 5 industrial water wells. 3 wastewater treatment plants with impoundments and up to 4 man camps with 20 workers, all this is to take fifteen years of drilling.

This is what they want to do within a stone's throw of some of the most beautiful wilderness in the state. They have already turned Pinedale, Wyoming into one giant ozone dump, polluted groundwater and made residents and wild game animals sick. Also, nearby Pavillion, Wyoming, which is located in the center of the Wind River Indian Reservation, where residents were informed by the EPA last summer that their drinking water is no longer safe to drink or cook with can attest to what gas drilling does to a place. Of course, Encana Oil and Gas, which drilled 250 wells in the area, denies that they caused it, but will supply bottled water of the town out of the goodness of their heart. Yeah, right! I lived up in Lander, not to far from Pavillion, when I was in high school, and that area was one of the best places on the planet for clean water and air. Now, not so much.

Now to Wisconsin and Libya... what do they have in common? An out of control dictator, would be my answer! The Governor of Wisconsin must have taken lessons from Moammar Gaffafi on how to win friends and influence people. Taking away collective bargaining rights from public employees is just the start, I'm sure this megalomaniac is just getting warmed up I hope the people of Wisconsin are also taking lessons from the Libyan and Egyptian people...I just heard that a group of policemen in Madison went to a bank and closed all their accounts and withdrew $190,000 dollars from the bank. Hitting the rich in the purse, that's the only thing they understand! Best of wishes for all humans who stand up for their rights!

The earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan shows just how powerful Mother Nature can be! Stunning video and pictures coming from Japan, thanks to all this wonderful technology. As I am posting this, the news reported that another aftershock of 7.9 hit Sendai, so it's not over yet. On top of that, one of the nuclear plants right on the coast is having major problems, with the area being evacuated in a 10 mile circle and they are handing out iodine tablets to protect against radiation. My good thoughts are with the people of Japan, I can only imagine how frightened they must be.

Both our planet and the people who live on it are in a state of change. My hope is that we will all emerge from this with courage and understanding. What a week it has been...and it's not over yet!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wisconsin, Wyoming And Worker's Rights

Since my last post, the Wisconsin public employee's union has been ambushed by their governor in his intent to destroy their collective bargaining rights. I loved what the Democrat lawmakers did in response...left the state to avoid having a quorum to push the bill through. It took guts to tell this Republican, labor-hating clone that they wouldn't let him force them to vote against the best interests of their constituents, which also happen to be in the best interests of the state of Wisconsin. My hope meter hit the top seeing all the protesters who occupied the capitol building! Story after story hit the blogs and news outlets itemizing how the governor had made sweetheart deals with corporations giving them tax breaks...which was the real reason for the budget deficit. He was punked by someone pretending to be one of the Koch brothers by telephone and the resulting transcript of that conversation hit the internet like a tidal wave. Man, I love this age of instant communication via internet...it's hard to keep things hidden when everyone has a video camera on their cell phone and politicians are too stupid to realize that transparency is the only sensible approach! Anyway, good for the people of Wisconsin...keep fighting...who know what will happen next!

I got so intrigued by this event, that I began researching the "right to work" law. Yeah, I know, I'm retired, but I think everyone has the right to earn a decent living...and thanks to having a union pension along with my Social Security, my retirement is comfortable and I would like everyone to have this to look forward to after many years of working. Leave it to the right wing to name a law the "right to work" law...it is anything but! What it achieves is keeping wages low and the working individual essentially a slave.

I remember the Wyoming of my youth, where most of my friends fathers belonged to the United Mine Workers Union, and the trona mines were union, the construction trades were union, the railroads were union. They fought hard for the right to bargain collectively with their employers and were proud to belong to a union of brothers. Hell, I remember having a Democrat senator and a Democrat Congressman...now the state is two thirds Republican. I digress...then in 1963, the State of Wyoming became a "right to work" state. Not too long after that, my mama told me that the unemployment fund ran out of money, as I left Wyoming in 1962.

There are now twenty-two states that have the "right to work" law, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming. Overwhelmingly right wing. Corporations rule the politicians with an iron hand, one hand handing out campaign cash and the other hand poised to punish the workers in the state for even having a thought about union membership. Yes, here in Sweetwater County there are still some unions operating, but at such a small strength, that each year membership declines. With the passage of the "right to work" law, unions could still negotiate for their members, but also had many people working that didn't pay dues, so they lost strength. Yes, I know that sometimes unions were corrupt, but that happens because any organization having power can be corrupted by human greed. However, I can say that my experience as a union member is that I was well represented and was happy to pay my dues because it benefited my well-being and long term security...it was money well spent.

In researching, I stumbled upon an excellent website:http://www.wyoworkforce.org which has an abundance of information and statistics relevant to workers in Wyoming. Some of the statistics are really eye openers! I knew that the new Wyoming wasn't anything like the old Wyoming that I lived in as a child, but now I know why. The politicians have sold out to corporations and no longer represent us...corporations like Wal-Mart and Home Depot like having a captive, poor work force that don't cost too much to employ. Now you know why Wisconsin's governor and others like him are pushing to do away with collective bargaining rights, less money for the workers, much, much more money for them. Yes, you have the "right to work", but for less!

In 2008, male workers in Wyoming earned 78% of the median income level in the 50 states, and women earned 63% of the median income level in the United States. The only thing that Wyoming leads on is the mortality rate of workers killed on the job per capita...some distinction, don't you think?

Why every Wyoming worker isn't out on the street organizing for union membership and an end to the "right to work" law is beyond my comprehension. Probably too tired from working two or more jobs to make ends meet! Don't take my word for it, go to the website above and read some of the statistics. I guarantee you it will raise your blood pressure!