Belling The Cat

Monday, October 31, 2005 at 02:23 AM

Oil prices up there with air fare. Pension funds evaporating at warp. More jobs going overseas. A war going into the toilet. All that, and some actually ask "Can all this be fixed?"

Over in dear old Darlington, over at the track "too tough to tame", local firm Nucor Steel is going to hold a "town meeting", starring certain elected reps, some food and yes, open to the public. The hot topic?

Nucor is this nation's El Numero Uno maker of steel. They are also one hell of a recycler: They take scrap steel by the boxcar load, smelt it down, and out roll trucks loaded down with new steel products.

Okay, they used to, so to speak. Their pet bitch? Why, steel from Korea, Bulgaria, China, that sort of thing.

In other words? Cheap foreign competition, naturally, and they're scared of the day that they may have to shut it all down because of unfair trade practices. Hence, a town meeting, to propose ideas, and yes, get the locals all riled up to doing something.

Meanwhile, at work the other day, a co-worker mentioned to me that Congress may well look into "gouging" as allegedly done by Big Oil.

I shoot back my usual Spock look. "Illogical. Why bite the hand that feeds?"

So, what do these two things have in common? What do they all have in common?...dying pensions, humans living closer to total poverty, no health care, jobs going overseas, big oil raping us all?

Why, fascism, dearest one, plain and simple. See, our government no longer reports to the public, but, as Mussolini so well put it, they bow and scrape to whoever hands them funds for their campaign, not to mention goodies under the table, nor need we mention, as Greg Palast has so clued us in, in most cases, they cut to the chase and install their own into office.

When one mentions "fascism", most think Hitler, Mussolini, and so on. What they miss is the rest of the equation: Fascism is a skillful marriage of government and those with more loot than there are stars in all of Andromeda. Democracy, on the other hand, is when government listens to the public, rich, middle class and poor, not to Ken Lay, Mike Eisner, Rupert Murdoch and their ilk.

Thus, we're right back to that old yarn from nursery school, sort of: We mice wish to bell the goddamned cat, but which of us can propose a way to do so?

Follow the math: Person A bitches to their congressperson, "I don't like big oil getting away with screwing me and my kinfolk." But, this congressperson doesn't dare do a thing: Big oil put a lot of cash into their pockets, true?

And, too, look at who's playing sheriff and Barney Fife, willya? Yep, the town drunk is Big Oil, his kin are deep into that, ain't they? (House of Bush, House of Saud). Oh, and his deputy is a former Halliburton CEO. Need we add more clues?

So, we can make noises all we wish. Solution? Big oil does as they fucking wish to, screw me, screw you, screw everybody along the way.

Nucor Steel, bless their hearts, I really do feel for them, as back in the 80's and 90's, they paid their workers damned well to crank out steel by the gigaton. They contribute to the local economy, a rare thing these days. But, they're facing more and more competition, especially from those nations whose workers only get 50 cents a day.

Sorry, Nucor. Wal-Mart says otherwise. Hewlett-Packard says otherwise. You name the firm, they outsource out the wazoo. Even the annoying bill collectors now come equipped with Indian accents, eh?

Why? Because lower costing of labor is profitable, duh. This is done to stay competitive, the very joy of every fascist neocon that doth exist to this hour. It's all about raking in loot, correct?

"But,", our social-minded friends gasp, "That kills jobs! It cuts into the tax base!...."

No shit, Sherlock. I said it TEN years ago. "I can foresee a day, when, Wal-Mart opens theirs doors to absolutely no customers. Why so? No money in the pockets, that's why. No job, no income, end of the story."

In fact, I saw this all coming further back than most did, especially when Ronnie Raygun allowed Japan to dump cheap electronics onto the shelves, which, in turn, shut down RCA, Admiral, Zenith, you name it. The electronics industry in America began to die then.

Now, what electronics industry do we speak of? I can walk through Best Buy, and not a damned thing, shy of some appliances...are made on these shores, and worse, not a lick of it is repairable: It's all disposable, use it, break it, toss it.

Then, later, Clinton signs off on NAFTA. Oh, so lovely, Bill, gee thanks. Pressure from Wall Street, of course. And now, we come down to El Presidente and Barney Fife, replete with The Congress That Can't Find It's Ass With Either Hand, and the picture is darker than ever.

To repair the problem, we have to overhaul the entire system. What is needed to help Nucor, to restore jobs and pensions, to crank down the prices of oil....uh oh.....yep.....a little FDR!

FDR saw the headaches, but knew, if this doesn't get fixed, it can get worse. Thus, wealth redistribution (oww!), job programs (NO!), and fixing big money's little red wagon (MOMMMY!). Of course, if we read history, a so-called "business revolt" became part of the picture, as certain Wall Streeters thought FDR totally mad...

In other words, sports fans, you want more jobs, lower priced oil, your pension, health care, and a return to "government of the people", well, it's going to take a major overhaul, thank you.

But, some say, cynically, what good would it do? Big money plays the game far better than we poor folks do, don't they? I can run for office, but, face it, unless I have a few million behind me, well, nice try, right?

Say I did make it to the White House. Say I did manage to get there...what would stop me? Oh, a few hundred down the street, that's who, especially if they're still getting their marching orders from Wall Street, so....why bother?

I don't know what to propose. I'd like to think that, if we can fire enough of those who suck up to big money, we can turn things around. Sadly, though, there ain't enough of those like Conyers, Boxer, be found. What we get is more like Frist, Santorum, Delay...and Clinton, Kerry...the party of Big Money.

So, until we do get ourselves another FDR, and a congress willing to listen more to the masses, don't expect cheap gas, jobs or anything approaching civility anytime soon. Except to see our nation continue its journey into 3rd-world status.

Too, a lot will depend on the jaded ones who don't think, don't read and don't realize whose hand is jiggling their strings. As I and Lee have pointed out, they dismiss politics as "someone else's headache", which is very sad, as those who ignore reality....are often bitten hardest when it does storm the door.

That's the biggest variable to the equation. The "clueless" let this happen, merely by listening to empty rhetoric, crappy ad slogans and thinking Sean Hannibal is a smart person. What, I ask, does it take to wake them up to the sad, sorry, sickening truth of it all?

"Here's the deal. We have no jobs, we have expensive gas, no pensions and no future because our elected don't give a tinker's goddamn about anything other than what is told to them by those with megatons of cash. What part of that doesn't make sense?"

And until everyone realizes this? Don't look to bell the cat anytime soon.