I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
February 21, 2017 - 11:33 a.m.
I missed listening to Folk Alley so that's on but I'm afraid I have to turn it off while I write. I spoiled myself. Back to chamber music. I'm playing the Baroque channel on Amazon Prime.
Every day I want to do something I find scary. I didn't yesterday. The good news is that I did three of the things that I found scary in the last week; I didn't find them scary now. They weren't anxiety free but it was manageable. I did what was scariest thing thing again this morning. Today's mission is to get those pictures from my camera to my computer. I'm looking forward to that. When I get it done I'll have some surprises for you. That might take time to edit.
I realized that I have not written about my current binge watch, Jessica Jones. I stared watching because Brianne raved over it. It took me months to try it; there are anxiety issues there too. But now I love it. I love the premise. I love the writing. I love the cinematography. I love the acting. I love that it has David Tennant the most charming the new Doctor Who as one of the great dramatic villains. It's a film noir Marvel Superhero. She has no costume, no secret identity, she's a hard-boiled private eye.
Is it sad that almost all the TV shows I watch regularly are based on comic books? Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, and Jessica Jones. When I finish that I move on to the spinoff Luke Cage. Have I shredded my reputation as an intellectual?
I just realized that I didn't leave the house the last two days yet they were good mental health days. They were, I have things to do at home and no need to go out days. Maybe I will be able to go back to staying home for the pleasure of staying home, not because I can't get the energy to go out.
I'm mapping out today trying to find to optimal order to do things. Based solely on travel optimization it would be post office, Trader Joes, Rockwood Music Hall. The problem with that is that I wouldn't be able to buy perishables and I'd have to have the groceries with me at Rockwood. I could do Post Office, Rockwood, Trader Joes. I'll have enough time to pick up a few things if I do that. The problem is that one of the things I need is eggs and they often run out at the end of the day. T
The point of telling you that was to see what goes on in my head. That's not anxiety speaking. I enjoy working out logistics.
The reason I'm going to Rockwood is this month's John Platt's On Your Radar; the guests are Cole Quest and the City Pickers, Susan Kane, and Bill Scorzari. If you read this and don't know me but go to the show come over and say hi. I always sit at the same table, front row house left. I'm going to bring my camera! How exciting.
Time to take something from the ideas bin. It has become common wisdom that the Democratic Party has ignored the interests of working class whites. As is so often the case the common wisdom is wrong. I have immediately raised some hackles. What the hell is a hackle? I don't know but I know I raised those of some of My Gentle Readers. Consider this; all the news stories pointing out that what Trump and the GOP congress are doing is going to hurt the very working class white people that voted for Trump. Who do you think has been preventing all those things happening before now, the Democrats. They have not been able to enact their agenda because of Republicans in congress but Obama was able to stop the GOP from enacting theirs and that is looking out for the interests of working class whites.
The Democrats were responsible for extending unemployment, enacting the stimulus, and passing the ACA. Millions of people, largely working class whites were able to get insurance. The expanded Medicaid has helped even more.
Perhaps most importantly the Democrats support the expansion of unions. Germany manages to be a huge exporter and it pays its workers well. Why? They have strong unions. When corporations are making record profits they are clearly capable of paying their workforce more. They don't because workers have too little bargaining power party due to the weakening of unions by Republicans.
What the Democrats have not been willing to do and the GOP has, is to lie to the working class whites. Protectionism is not going to bring back the factory jobs. Getting rid of NAFTA is not going to be a job creating engine. Trump is willing to tell those lies, the Democrats aren't.
The other Republican lie is that by giving "special privileges" and "rights" to minorities the Democrats are hurting whites.
There probably are no quick fixes for the economy. There's a reason economics is called the dismal science. There are things we can do to ameliorate the problems in the form of after tax transfers. The ACA is a huge transfer of wealth from the 1% to the bottom 75%. That's why the Republicans hate it so much. Notice what their replacement plan does. Instead of giving people a subsidy based on need where the poor get the most, they are giving the same subsidy to everyone, from billionaires to minimum wage workers.
We can also transfer wealth by increasing taxes and public spending. That helps in the long run too. If we invest more in infrastructure, education, and public health the workforce will be more productive. Public health is not just medical care. It's making sure everyone has safe water to drink. It's cleaning up lead in paint. The lead permanently depresses intelligence and that keeps poor people poor and the entire country less productive. The Republicans fight all those things and Democrats support them.
The Democrats problem is not neglecting the working class but allowing Trump to paint them that way. Median income has stagnated since Reagan with the only rises during Democratic administrations but even when the president has been a Democrat the Republicans have thwarted their agenda. Then as things don't improve people blame the president.
OK enough politics. Tomorrow I'll write about music and people. Till then; hasta la vista, baby.
Working Man Blues - February 21, 2017
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