Saturday, August 11, 2007

AFL/CIO debates

At the AFL-CIO debate, the only credible candidates were Biden and Kucinich. Sunday's New York Times had an article about how dual income couples are in a desparate need of an extra wife to take care of the home front. Could this be the first wave of a broader acceptance of Mormonism, as we head into the inevitable Romney Presidency?

My favorite moment in the debate had Hillary going into schoolteacher mode about how it was fine for a college professor to talk about big ideas, but irresponsible for a Presidential candidate to destabilize Musharref's regime by discussing the possibility of bombing Al Qaeda in Pakistan. Obama offered a weak self-defense and Biden became so frustrated that he interrupted the flow of debate and explained to both of them that it was, in fact, "the law of the land" that we would act on actionable intelligence. So it is as politically preposterous to say that that it is irresponsible when someone presents the law of the land as a hypothetical scenario, as it is politically uninformed to not even know the legislation that the executive branch is charging with executing.

I went there hoping to like Obama more, but as the evening wore on, his platform increasingly consisted of saying that would bring intelligent and reasonable people together and ask them to be intelligent and reasonable. In contrast to Teddy Roosevelt's "speak softly and carry a big stick", he promised "government by seminar", where he would drone on in his semi-autistic monotone until everybody capitulates to reason. In the debate, he presented his willingness to have face-to-face talks with terrorists and murderers as proof of his openness and commitment to reason, but after a few hours in a room with Obama, Kim Jong Il would be begging us for a trip to Guantanamo and a few days of waterboarding.

On a deeper level, though I love the idea of Unions, it insults my intelligence to hear them prattle about their desire a middle class life, while relegating the developing countries to abject poverty. The unions were in a position to achieve global political transformation and an increase in the global standard of living, but their membership settled for a ranch house and a now-rusted station wagon. After selling out the rest of the world, they now feign outrage when global economic forces diminish the price they can command in the marketplace.

The traditional rhetoric of unions says that if they don't hang together they will hang separately, so, after splitting into smaller and smaller units, their eyes are bulging with betrayal as the noose is tightened around their necks. I was happy when Kucinich promised to enforce political rights and polution standards with our trading partners, but I wonder if the applauding audience was ready for the fifty percent decline in purchasing power that would be the result of a boycot of Chinese goods.

And why do unions insist on pretending as though the theory of suplus value has any relevance in the modern technological manageral corporation? When union guys attribute the increase in productivity of the last thirty years to "workers", it is kind of like building sand's self-esteem by telling it that it is just misunderstood glass.

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