Again, terrible, terrible news. Unemployment is down, by some 250,000 in the last two months, assuming those numbers don’t fall under the category of lying lies. Would that they were lies, because if true, they spells trouble. But for the sake of argument let’s accept that a quarter of a million more Americans are now at work under Bush rule. That can only mean harsh new forms of exploitation, falling wages, disappearing benefits, non-existent workplace protections and rising repetitive stress syndromes. OSHA is adrift in an ocean of indifference. Homelessness is now a feature of the nation’s plants and factories. Hunger is what unites the lunch bucket brigade. Bush America is back to being On the Waterfront America. So-called new jobs reflect the job that this administration is doing on the rest of us.
The only meaningful steady work is being done by the nine Democratic presidential hopefuls (sic). Their work is so indispensable there’s talk of its being unionized. Just in time, too. Given the 54 debates they have scheduled between today and December 31, they have every reason to go on strike if reasonable demands for a shorter debate-hour day and week aren’t met. Already there’s talk of a lockout, sparked by suggestions from conservative circles that the Democratic field be thinned of its “also-rans.” But since by definition and qualification each of the nine is a certified also-ran, who would that leave to mind the store? Talk about your closed shop.
So let’s hear it for the Dems: one for nine (incidentally the Yankees’ average with men in scoring position) and nine for one. Though that sometimes means all nine will light a cross across Howie Dean’s lawn. (Yes, that presumes Dean was himself one of the nine, which as a deft and shifty fellow he managed with no trouble at all.) It was unfortunate that Dean stereotyped the South as a region of white men driving pickup trucks that display the Confederate (apologies for this use of the C-word) flag, when anyone with eyes can see that those trucks are as often as not driven by white women. This time only we’ll forgive Howie for carrying on while wearing conservative blinders. We do look so much forward to his visit at — indeed, his assuming the presidency of — Bob Jones University.
According to the next issue of National Review, Ms. Hillary Clinton, who in her Southern days drove an Oldsmobile, is back at her hard labors. No longer the demure, pristine presence we’ve come to admire and emulate, she joined other fanatics and Hoffas to celebrate the opening of a new Democratic stink tank, the Center for American Progress. While the Kissinger of this new operation, Al Franken, entertained the rabble with an expletive-replete equivalent of an SDS H-Bomb recipe, Ms. Hillary was seen to nod her head and smile and laugh and guffaw. On the bright side, in her own remarks she defiantly endorsed to “the war that we’re engaged in with the other side.” She didn’t mean the war against terrorists. She meant the domestic war against you and all other products of civilization. Do we want her now, or in 2008?
In certain ways, it’s a world war, right in our backyard. On the left-coast front, CBS surrendered without a fight, withdrawing its anti-Reagan two-parter faster than even the right could blame Dan Rather and Barbra Streisand for the entire project. When last spotted, the remnants of the CBS defense forces were bleating something about free speech and artistic creativity and Iran-contra. It wasn’t pretty, this rout that brought to mind the last days of the 1991 Gulf war.
On the right-coast, something else was a foot. Once again the Enola Gay is being brought out of the closet, this time for permanent display in a huge new museum outside Washington, D.C. To hear the usual culprits squawk, you’d think the display of the Hiroshima plane will include the mushroom cloud itself. But there’s something more at work as well. Well over 150 prize post-Leninists — where were they when Joe McCarthy could have read their names from a list? — have signed on to a document demanding that their version of the August 6 bombing be the official version of events, OR ELSE.
All the usual suspects are there: Robert Jay Lifton, Daniel Ellsberg, Gar Alperovitz, Norman Lear, Oliver Stone, Todd Gittlin, E. L. Doctorow, Stanley Hoffmann, Julian Bond, Jane Mansbridge and Ron Kovic. They detest what they call a “celebratory” exhibit that “both legitimizes what happened in 1945 and helps build support for the Bush administration’s dangerous new nuclear policies.” Talk about a surprise attack. Not only are these wonder profs unhappy more Americans weren’t killed in the Pacific war, they assume our president will soon be dropping nukes on Tikrit and Gaza and anywhere else he damn well chooses.
So let’s hear it for the comrades of this week’s EOW collective, the Committee for a National Discussion of Nuclear History and Current Policy. Thanks to its labors, we can’t sleep at night.