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merrily's Journal
merrily's Journal
September 6, 2015

Bernie Birthday Money Bomb Tuesday, day after Labor Day.

Don't let the holiday throw you off.

If you don't participate in the Birthday Money Bomb to the very best of your ability, may the Bird of Paradise relieve itself in your mouth.

Twice daily.
September 5, 2015

On reflection, I probably should have posted my Haymarket thread in this group,

not in the Populist Group.

But then again, I like the first line of the post.


September 5, 2015

The Haymarket Massacre, or, Why most of the world celebrates Labor Day on May 1 and you don't.

If you think it's hard out there for a populist, you don't know Jack about the Haymarket Massacre--and your ignorance is no accident.

The Haymarket Massacre is sometimes referred to as the "Haymarket Riots," the "Haymarket Bombing" or the uber euphemistic "Haymarket Affair."

No single event has influenced the history of labor in Illinois, the United States, and even the world, more than the Chicago Haymarket Affair. It began with a rally on May 4, 1886, but the consequences are still being felt today. Although the rally is included in American history textbooks, very few present the event accurately or point out its significance.


Labor Day (Labour Day in Canada) in the United States is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.

Labor Day was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, who organized the first parade in New York City. After the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago on May 4, 1886, U.S. President Grover Cleveland feared that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the affair. Therefore, in 1887, the United States holiday was established in September to support the Labor Day that the Knights favored.

Photo: March in NYC May 1, 1909 despite efforts of President Cleveland 23 years earlier.


Following the Civil War, particularly following the Depression of 1873–79, there was a rapid expansion of industrial production in the United States. Chicago was a major industrial center and tens of thousands of German and Bohemian immigrants were employed at about $1.50 a day. American workers worked on average slightly over 60 hours, during a six-day work week.[12] The city became a center for many attempts to organize labor's demands for better working conditions.[13] Employers responded with anti-union measures, such as firing and blacklisting union members, locking out workers, recruiting strikebreakers; employing spies, thugs, and private security forces and exacerbating ethnic tensions in order to divide the workers.[14] Mainstream newspapers supported business interests, and were opposed by the labor and immigrant press.[15] During the economic slowdown between 1882 and 1886, socialist and anarchist organizations were active. Membership of the Knights of Labor, which rejected socialism and radicalism, but supported the 8-hour work day, grew from 70,000 in 1884 to over 700,000 by 1886.[16] In Chicago, the anarchist movement of several thousand, mostly immigrant, workers centered about the German-language newspaper Arbeiter-Zeitung ("Workers' Times&quot , edited by August Spies. Other anarchists operated a militant revolutionary force with an armed section that was equipped with guns and explosives. Its revolutionary strategy centered around the belief that successful operations against the police and the seizure of major industrial centers would result in massive public support by workers, revolution, destroy capitalism, and establish a socialist economy.[17]
May Day parade and strikes

In October 1884, a convention held by the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions unanimously set May 1, 1886, as the date by which the eight-hour work day would become standard.[18] As the chosen date approached, U.S. labor unions prepared for a general strike in support of the eight-hour day.[19]

On Saturday, May 1, thousands of workers went on strike and rallies were held throughout the United States, with the cry, "Eight-hour day with no cut in pay." Estimates of the number of striking workers across the U.S. range from 300,000[20] to half a million.[21] In New York City the number of demonstrators was estimated at 10,000[22] and in Detroit at 11,000.[23] In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, some 10,000 workers turned out.[23] In Chicago, the movement's center, an estimated 30,000-to-40,000 workers had gone on strike[20] and there were perhaps twice as many people out on the streets participating in various demonstrations and marches,[24][25] as, for example, a march by 10,000 men employed in the Chicago lumber yards.[21] Though participants in these events added up to 80,000, it is disputed whether there was a march of that number down Michigan Avenue led by anarchist Albert Parsons, founder of the International Working People's Association [IWPA] and his wife Lucy and their children.[20][26]

On May 3, striking workers in Chicago met near the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company plant. Union molders at the plant had been locked out since early February and the predominantly Irish-American workers at McCormick had come under attack from Pinkerton guards during an earlier strike action in 1885. This event, along with the eight-hour militancy of McCormick workers, had gained the strikers some respect and notoriety around the city. By the time of the 1886 general strike, strikebreakers entering the McCormick plant were under protection from a garrison of 400 police officers. Although half of the replacement workers defected to the general strike on May 1, McCormick workers continued to harass strikebreakers as they crossed the picket lines.

Speaking to a rally outside the plant on May 3, August Spies advised the striking workers to "hold together, to stand by their union, or they would not succeed."[27] Well-planned and coordinated, the general strike to this point had remained largely nonviolent. When the end-of-the-workday bell sounded, however, a group of workers surged to the gates to confront the strikebreakers. Despite calls for calm by Spies, the police fired on the crowd. Two McCormick workers were killed (although some newspaper accounts said there were six fatalities).[28] Spies would later testify, "I was very indignant. I knew from experience of the past that this butchering of people was done for the express purpose of defeating the eight-hour movement."[27]


Please read the entire article.

See also: http://www.democraticunderground.com/11177664 (Evolution of Labor Day, a great thread in Omaha Steve's Labor Group, by Omaha Steve himself.)

They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.

Isaiah 26:14 King James Version

For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 King James Version

IMO, joining most of the rest of the world (and, for some of us, our own ancestors, in honoring these and other martyrs of the labor movement on May 1 is a fine idea. SOLIDARITY.

And now, an old fashioned union hall sing along.


Her voice is gone at this point, but she wrote the song in the 1030s, when her husband was involved in a bloody strike.


September 5, 2015

Sanders arm waving is acceptable ONLY if interspersed with imitating Kennedy forefinger pressing,

mastered by both Bubba and Darell Hammond, and more recently adopted by Hillary. Otherwise, arm waving just seems untrustworthy.



See, that's where Sanders is a big FAIL: intersperse deficit. He doesn't mix up his arm waving.

Obviously, Sanders needs a tutorial.

September 5, 2015

Ya gotta start off each day wid a song, Labor Day weekend edition (more substance than usual).

Every Saturday is, or can be, Sanders Saturday for Sanders' campaign volunteers. However, Saturday of Labor Day weekend is a unique opportunity to leaflet at a mall. Labor Day weekend shoppers stocking up for barbecues and back to school. Everyone (I hope) in a pro-labor state of mind, etc.

In that vein, I point you one of many of Playinghardball's great threads in this group, this one about Betty, a 91-year old woman who stands (with aid from her walker) outside WalMart's every week to campaign for Bernie Sanders, entitled "If a 90 year old woman can stand in front of Walmart every week to tell people about Bernie," (okay, so he gave her a year.)


And also to Aerows' thread about spreading the Bern Labor Day weekend, which contains a lot of info about leafleting.


And, to help you prepare for future campaigning, my thread about picking up something like stickers or mini-campaign buttons at the Bernie Store, so you can give them away as part of the campaign effort. (spoiler; the secret to saving money at the Bernie store is to buy in quantity or buy a pack)


I find it's easier to slap a leaflet into the extended, open hand of a passerby right after they've agreed to accept my offer of a free sticker or mini-campaign button.

BTW, buying at the Bernie store, where everything sold is union made in the USA, may just be the best possible way to observe Labor Day.

Annnnneeeeewayyyy.......ya gotta

(Sing it, Jimmy, boy! Sing it for the hoi polloi!)

In honor of 91 year old Betty standing in front of Walmart in Redding, CA and in honor of all Sanders campaign volunteers or all ages and stages who do whatever they possibly can to spread the Bern every day, today's song is an old school campaign jingle, written and rendered by an anonymous 92-year old woman Bernie supporter and her back up singers (who are so far back, they never appear in the video, except via their harmonies).

Enjoy, beloveds.

September 4, 2015

It's September 4 (soon to be September 8). Cedar Rapids Town Meeting and Sanders Song

Cedar Rapids Town Meeting, hosted by Bernie Sanders 7 pm Coe College


I don't know if that means no Friday lunch with Bernie.

Either way, you still gotta start off each day wid a song.

"Sing it, Jimmy, boy! Sing it for the hoi polloi!"

Since it's TGIF, I'm going with a humorous song today.

"Who's gonna run the country? Who's gonna be in charge...of me? ....The only one is Trump!....And nothing will go wrong." (I said it was humorous, didn't I?)

September 4, 2015

In politics, the "conventional wisdom" may be neither conventional nor wisdom. Discuss.

Last night, as on other nights, MSNBC's Chris Hayes was gushing about Trump (as usual, mentioning Sanders only in passing and only to dismiss him). Part of "the gush" was to put down Carson, who has been gaining on Trump, by opining that Carson would be no competition for Hillary--not the eventual Democratic nominee, mind you, but Hillary.

Shouted Hayes, with that faux "sports fan in the stands" enthusiasm style that both Hayes and Maddow have worn out: "It's like what people said about Dean in 2004: 'I don't care what you think about this guy, he can't possibly win against George W. Bush.'" As Hayes repeated this pro-Democratic establishment meme from decade past, Hayes seemed totally oblivious to the fact that Kerry had not won against George W. Bush.

This is the trouble with political predictions made too early and things we only imagine. They don't even have to make sense. Those whom we assume know political shit can just say anything and pretend it's indisputable. Not only that the claim is indisputable, but so is everything implied by the claim: "This guy (who is firing up voters) can't possibly win against George W. Bush. (Implied: But the guy the establishment is pushing for President shall win.)

We will never know if Howard Dean could have won against George W. Bush. But we do know Kerry could not win against George W. Bush. And that is the problem with "conventional political wisdom:" It's a great deal more political establishment propaganda than it is conventional political wisdom.

In 2003-04, the attack on the World Trade Center was incredibly fresh in the minds of Americans--IMO, kept so quite deliberately. Americans had already seen an attack on the WTC in 1993. The 1993 bombing of the WTC had been treated as a crime that had occurred in New York City. Arrests had been made. However, in 2001, the attack was treated like an act of war against the United States by another sovereign nation, a casus belli, akin to the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the nation of Japan--the War on Terror. And, as we all recall, the "War" was used to pass the Patriot Act, an unprecedented and unconstitutional--even by Republican SCOTUS standards--law. The "War" was also used to institute periodic "terror" alerts that some Americans came to mock cynically. Release to the public of vetted videos from Bin Laden coincided with the 2004 Presidential campaign.

Americans have never, in all their history, voted a war time incumbent CIC out of office and Americans had not, in modern times, ever been attacked on USA soil (bearing in mind that Pearl Harbor was not, when attacked, either within a state of the United States or "soil&quot . In 2003-04, whether the attack on the World Trade Center would be the last of such attacks was still highly uncertain. Fear and uncertainty were both still quite palpable, not to mention the combination of patriotism and jingoism that kicks in after an attack.

At the time, I heard a bus driver, who was also the son of the owner of the bus company, say, "He (Bush) is the only one who knows where each of those guys (terrorists) is." Not true at all, but also said as though it were indisputable--and, as far as I know, taken as true by everyone on the bus who expressed agreement with the driver. (Obviously, i did not agree, but I did remain silent).

In any event, the odds that ANYone was going to defeat CIC George W. Bush in 2004 were massive, just as the odds against defeating war time incumbent Nixon were massive in 1972. Democrats knew this BEFORE they even had a nominee. And no one did defeat Nixon or Bush. However, 11 years later, and in the mind of a smart man like Chris Hayes, it still makes sense to assume that Howard Dean should not have been the nominee of the Democratic Party in 2004--and Kerry should have--because Dean could not have beaten George W. Bush and Kerry could have. Why? Because that was the "conventional wisdom" political meme sold in 2004 to keep Dean out of the race; and, as best I can tell, Hayes apparently has not examined it since, else why cite is so exuberantly as a reason for us not to consider Carson as a serious candidate for the Republican nomination?

Could Dean have defeated George W. Bush? Maybe not, but I don't know. No one knows, just as no one knows what imaginary President Gore would have done after 911. Supposedly, Gore would never have attacked Afghanistan or invaded Iraq. I have heard that said and read it repeatedly since 2001, as though it were indisputable. Really? President Clinton did not go to war over the 1993 attack on the WTC, but he did bomb Iraq--supposedly to rid Iraq of WMD--and Hillary Clinton voted for the use of military force against both Afghanistan and Iraq, as did 2004 nominee Kerry, as did Biden, another name currently being bandied about for POTUS. But, we know, just as sure as we know that the sun rises in the East, that imaginary President Gore would not have gone to war over 911. Why?

It's conventional political wisdom, just as it has somehow become conventional political wisdom that centrist Mondale lost to incumbent Reagan solely or largely because centrist Mondale was a liberal. We also "know' that centrist Carter lost to Reagan solely because then liberal Kennedy had attempted to primary Carter. But the beauty of predictions made way too early in a primary and hypothetical conclusions about imaginary and/or dead Presidents is that you can say anything and no one can disprove it (or prove it).

Trouble is, I don't think any of those bits of conventional political wisdom stands up to even superficial examination. At the very least, dozens of other valid political "lessons" could have been drawn from the primaries and elections of 1972 and 1980, like "Do vet your VP well," or "If you're running against a war time incumbent Republican CIC, you'd best run a VERY compelling, dynamic, charismatic Democrat who really excites voters--and even then, realize he may well lose because...war-time incumbent."

But, the conventional political wisdom, every time, was "Not toeing the establishment line will mean certain loss at the polls in November and the end of the world as we know it;" and the party line is "Avoid democratic things, like primaries, especially Presidential primaries, and, above all, make the establishment candidate your nominee."

http://www.democraticunderground.com/12776532 (Bush, Clinton, Clinton Bush - Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iraq) (My apologies to the Beach Boys for being one Iraq bombing short of a proper R & R beat. But, who knows, if all goes as the establishment want, maybe I can add another by 2016?)

http://www.democraticunderground.com/12778825 (This ain't 1972.)

http://www.democraticunderground.com/12778872 (Candidate Reagan)

http://www.democraticunderground.com/12778873 (1976-1980: the Carter Mondale years)

http://www.democraticunderground.com/12779277 (Candidate Mondale)

http://www.democraticunderground.com/12776064 (Does the Party discourage primaries and, if so, how realistic is populist reform?)

And now, my dears, the conventional political wisdom--coming at you from BOTH Fox News and MSNBC-- is that Hillary Clinton is (again) the inevitable Democratic Presidential nominee; Bernie Damn Sanders cannot possibly--and should not--become the Democratic nominee because he cannot possibly defeat a single one of the clowns in the clown bus; and--but only from MSNBC--Hillary Clinton not only can, but shall, handily defeat every single one of said clowns, even if almost 65% of Americans who hold a precious, blood-bought franchise no longer care enough about politicians to exercise it and today's news.

My general political advice: When a bit of "indisputable" conventional political "wisdom" is being dunned into you, especially when both Republicans and Democrats are doing the dunning simultaneously, know that it at least may be a totally bullshit establishment meme that, by definition, is not good for average Americans, and re-examine the hell out of that fucker.

My specific political advice for 2016 (aside from working off your bottoms NOW)--and I bet all you clever uns have seen this one coming since the subject line:

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