Saturday, September 28, 2013

History in the Making - Maybe

The remarkable events of the last few weeks, in which the US president backed down from a war against Syria and accepted the opportunity for diplomacy offered by Russia, have led to an opening for a new US relationship with Iran, and a recasting of the entire Middle East situation.

Andrew Burton/Reuters
The question now is whether the president will stand up to the coming onslaught from Benjamin Netanyahu and the Zionist Lobby, who will try to prevent a US-Iran rapprochement, says Patrick Smith writing in Salon.

Smith isn't hopeful, and as we wait to see what the president will concede in the latest Republican-created budget crises, and remember how he has caved in on issue after issue, from the "public option" in the beginning, through expanded oil drilling, through Bush-era tax cuts, debt ceiling debates and on up to the "fiscal cliff" last summer, how he has catered to the big banks and let working class Americans be evicted from their homes by the millions, agreed to more tax cuts for the rich while the rest of us look for jobs and experience how it feels to have the image of a prosperous future vanish from our imaginations, neither am I.

Nor I would guess are the long suffering Palestinians, who have seen their already tiny slice of what was once Palestine diminish even further while President Obama looked the other way as Israel, unimpeded, steadily gobbled up more and more of Palestine for settlements.

Iran is rising, whether the US or Israel like it or not. Large swathes or Iranian society and a big chunk of its ruling establishment want better relations with the US. A recasting of US-Iranian relations would have far reaching implications in the Middle East, Smith notes, even as he wonders whether Obama even realizes what a historic moment it is.

For an analysis of how newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani maneuvered himself into a position to be able to make overtures to the US so quickly in a country where fundamentalist Islamic clergy and the conservative Revolutionary Guard are the biggest players, the Middle East Report has an interesting piece by Kevan Harris.


Friday, September 27, 2013

The Second Amendment In Polish

The great little web site Watching America that I link to on the right side has posted a column from the Polish media that probably explains better than the US media can the context the Second Amendment was written in and how its meaning and intent are warped by right wing fanatics.

At Watching America volunteers translate articles and opinion columns from around the world that have to do with the US. You get a glimpse of what others are thinking about us and often insights that haven't occurred to the US media.

This column was written in the wake of the Washington DC shipyard mass killing and comes from TOK FM, a news and talk station that broadcasts throughout Poland and has articles and blogs on its web site. (If you know how to use Google translate you can get an idea of who they are. I couldn't get the translated page to copy in the link.)

TOK FM, Poland

After Another Massacre in the US:
In What Way American Right
Doesn’t Understand Constitution

By Filip Grzelak
Translated By MichaƂ Bolek 19 September 2013
Edited by Heather Martin

Poland - TOK FM - Original Article (Polish)

Police statistics show that 260 shootings in which four or more people died took place in America since the beginning of this year (around 290 days). Only the most spectacular murders from the last years are shown on the first pages of newspapers or on the TV: Washington Navy Yard from this year (13 victims), the school Sandy Hook in Newtown in 2012 (20 children and 6 adult victims), the movie theater in Aurora, Colo. in 2012 (12 victims), Tucson in 2011 (6 victims and a bullet in a member of Congress’ head), Virginia Tech in 2007 (32 victims), the school in Columbine, Colo. in 1999 (12 students and a teacher) …

However, even despite the subsequent shocking massacres, a large segment of public opinion believes that access to guns shouldn’t be limited in America. Americans who believe this cite the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Unfortunately, a lot of them don’t know the text of this amendment precisely and base their interpretation on right-wing, conservative politicians and lobbyists from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

The Second Amendment to the Constitution, passed in 1791, is quite short. It says: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

The historical context in which the amendment was passed is essential to understand it. In the time of colonial America, every free man had a duty to serve in the local militia of his community. The task of militia was to defend the community from conflicts with — depending on the region — Native Americans, Catholic Frenchmen and Spaniards, as well as black slave rebellions. The militia was also supposed to maintain order and social hierarchy. However, it wasn’t a democratic organization in which every member could decide on anything. It was local principals — local authorities, planters and merchants — who were in charge of militia units and provided them with weapons. For example, during the war of the colonists and the British with Frenchmen and Native Americans in the 1750s, it was a young planter and aristocrat from somewhere on the Potomac River who was in charge of some militia units from Virginia — George Washington.

So the Second Amendment to the Constitution is about a right to a “well-regulated militia” — not for “a citizen” or “an individual” — to carry a weapon. America in 1791 had neither military forces nor police units, nor any local units of a National Guard that could defend Americans from danger. Must Americans today also be afraid of war with Frenchmen, Native Americans, invasion by the British or a slave rebellion, and carry a weapon?

Only the American extreme right, obsessed with fear and hatred of the federal government — especially of the “crypto-Muslim and terrorist” Barack Hussein Obama — calls for the citizens’ right to have unlimited amount of weapons and ammunition. The extreme right believes that if the federal government imposes dictatorship and abolishes the Constitution, the citizens who have weapons will be able to militarily repel the attack of the U.S. Army and victoriously fight against tyranny. Though it sounds incredible and downright psychopathic, unfortunately a part of Americans really believe in such a possibility and are preparing for war with their own government. 


Saturday, September 21, 2013

This Hadn't Occurred To Me

This is a meme. Meme is a term you often hear bandied about now, and there are meme generating web sites with page after page of memes, many of them hilarious.

Like the graphic a couple posts below, this is from Facebook. For a longtime, the memes I saw on Facebook were obviously made up by very clever people and they were re-posted often. Lately I've seen an interesting development on Facebook, interesting to me. It seems that regular people are coming up with their own memes. They are topical, specific, and written in simple language. Sometimes they are even misspelled. Unlike the one above, which relies on a technique used in humor where the reader is left to make a missing connection mentally, which then supplies the delight or humor, and impact, these are straightforward and direct even as they attempt to assume the tone of a pronouncement.

Some get rather complicated.

But most try to keep it simple, in keeping with the prevailing wisdom that our attention spans are getting shorter and anything longer than a three-second sound bite doesn't register with people.

This development of everyone making their own memes is interesting to me because it means that people who used to only listen are now speaking, but even more than that, they are developing the underlying cognitive capabilities required to do it.

There's some critical thinking necessary first, to understand that there's something going on that the corporate media and the government aren't saying, and then there's the ability to put what you are thinking into words. 

On that, you can say that these memes are derivative of what other people are saying, and they are, but when a meme comes out in someone's own words, that signifies something else.

"If you can't talk, you can't reason," Claralee Moody, the English professor whose lawn I mowed during two years of college, said to me in trying to explain the meaning of the Herman Melville novella Billy Budd. Claralee used to bring out a Coke with a lot of ice in a big molded glass tumbler and have me take a break, and once she asked about my classes. I was taking a summer class in literature and I told her we were supposed to read an assigned writing and "find the hidden meaning in it."

I told her I was reading Billy Budd, which is about a sailor who is accused of a crime but can't defend himself because he has a bad stutter that only gets worse when he's agitated.

As this pertains to Facebook, to people learning to express themselves, to the voiceless gaining their voices, the appearance of memes made by regular people is an encouraging sign.

Jim Baca, former head of the Bureau of Land Management, former Albuquerque mayor and the man who taught Arnold Palmer how to play golf, wrote a web log entry this week about the way conservatives are diminishing pubic service by demonizing government workers. 

Government is one of the things we do in common. To attack those things is to speed up the fraying of the communal bonds that hold society together, which is what conservatism wants to do. It is to condition us to act not so much according to our better natures, our drives to cooperate and care for one another, the "social animal" in us, but to our lesser natures, the competitive, the drive to dominate, to eliminate, to fight.

That this conditioning will create more disoriented, alienated mass murderers, that it will halt the forward march of civilization, are among the prices we'll pay for it.

Conservatism wants more guns, more gated communities, more cutting oneself off from the rest of society. "There is no society, only individuals," Margaret Thatcher, the grandaddy of Neoliberalism, conservatism's current mode, famously said. Conservatives don't want us to band together in unions, don't want getting together to have public schools, public parks, public anything. Privatize everything. Do nothing for the common good, only for profit, only for personal, selfish reasons.

Facebook can disappear at any moment. So can Twitter. But because of them a few more people are learning how to express themselves, learning to think critically, learning to speak, to speak up. These are the things that the powers that be try to keep tamped down, because they know that mass uprisings are spontaneous events, but that they are the culmination of other things that percolate from below. They want peoples' frustrations and their voices to be channeled safely through the two political parties that keep a stranglehold on the electoral process. They want the media concentrated in the hands of a few big corporations. They are wary of the internet and spy on it relentlessly.

So as it pertains to the possibility that the masses will rise up and say No, we're not going to war, in Syria or anywhere, We're not going to accept an ever shrinking slice of the pie, We're not going to let them define us, divide us, demoralize us, We're not going to obey, go along, be good consumers anymore, the appearance of memes from regular people, who are perhaps saying something for the first time, is an encouraging sign. As it pertains to the possibility that people will have the ability to speak to each other and to organize themselves into political movements they control, it's even more encouraging.


Thursday, September 19, 2013


Before I go to work I check the weather forecasts along my nightly route. After I throw a few pallets on the truck I'll leave from Albuquerque, stop in Gallup, continue to Holbrook and stop in Gallup again on the way back to Albuquerque.

Gallup is usually where the worst weather is and the lowest temperature. That town is a magnet for inclement weather. It's higher in elevation, for one thing. Also, the mountains along the west side of the sate, and the high central plateau, seem to funnel the weather down that way from Colorado.

Only one night this summer was the predicted low in Gallup above 60. It hit 61 a few weeks ago. Today for the first time it's in the 40s.

I drop off a couple pallets in Gallup on the way to Holbrook, where I switch trailers with a driver who is coming from Phoenix. That trailer also has a couple pallets for Gallup on it. Another contractor delivers what's on all those Gallup pallets, to Gallup, Grants, the Four Corners and the Navajo Nation.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Theater of the Absurd

What's that old war criminal doing at the table when the US and Russian foreign secretaries announce their agreement on Syria? He's not part of any government. Oh sure, he's a captain in the shadow government that runs the place, but as an American citizen I'm offended to see him up there. These lying, warring, spying, let all the Capitalists who robbed us blind go free thugs have now abandoned all pretense of legality.

The New Mexico State Police Join The Struggle To Defeat Capitalism

As I try to take over Capitalism from the inside, the state transportation police are weakening it from the outside. I've written about my role in the struggle. In this entry I talk about theirs.

Adios Jesus

My part time driver, a semi retired guy who I brought over with me from when we did the Holbrook relay as hourly employees, quit without notice this Sunday past leaving me to do his turn without having slept, so I started the week by being up 48 hours straight. I had a sleep deficit all week that I'm only recouping from now that the week is over.

On one on level I'm not devastated by the guy quitting. He wasn't a forthright paragon of virtue, in my estimation. He was pretty lazy and he was hard on the truck and caused some expensive repairs owing to his inexperience and tendency to hurry. When he drove, it cost me from $30 to $50 more in fuel. Whenever the department of transportation was doing anything  -- its annual roadside inspection week, or implementing new logging rules, or having its annual brake inspection blitz -- anything that might strike fear into the heart of the typical truck driver, who normally doesn't inspect the vehicle before driving off or doesn't know how to adjust the brakes and doesn't really care, he had to take his mother to Mexico.

Not that he wasn't a fairly typical truck driver or that I expect to find someone to replace him who is much different, and not that I was that much different when all the responsibility for all those things wasn't on me as the owner, but in some ways I'm glad he's gone.

On the other hand it causes me a significant logistical problem, and I've had to advertise for the position and start interviewing people and testing their driving, all of which I'd been loathe to do having neither the time nor inclination for it.

I can actually handle all the regular nightly runs by myself, but I let the other driver do one of them because in most weeks that's all there was for him to do. It's only when there's the extra Truth or Consequences or Las Vegas delivery during the day that I really need someone else. If I get caught doing that myself, just one time, and still doing the overnight run, I'm in trouble with the state and federal authorities. I'll be in danger of having my operating authority revoked, and, my insurance will skyrocket.

As I blogged about earlier, the state police in New Mexico, who are also the transportation police and run the weigh stations, have installed license plate reading cameras around the state. These are hooked up to computers that track the movement of trucks. (At least trucks. The system has the capability to track all motor vehicle traffic but I know only about the trucking part. The Albuquerque Journal has done a couple of articles revealing that the Albuquerque Police Department also has these cameras and uses them to spy on all of us. Also, see the graphic at the bottom of this page.)

What these cameras mean to me is that it's much more difficult now to falsify (using the terms they use when they write out the ticket) a log book.

As I enter the New Mexico weigh station on the west side of Gallup every night, I drive past a set of these cameras, and past various other cameras, and over some scales embedded in the pavement, and finally between two big panels behind which is equipment that can detect radiation, and can x-ray the inside of the trailer. Finally I pass a little elevated booth where sits a handsome state police officer, who is monitoring two laptop computer screens. The booth is chock full of electronic paraphernalia and multi-colored lights and gadgets that are readouts for all the various monitors. The handsome officer usually waves me on by. If I look in my rear view mirror as I pull away, I can see, on one of his laptops, a readout that looks a lot like one of these:

These are screen shots from the "how-to" manual for using the license plate reading camera system the New Mexico State Police have, that was included in the 247 pages of documents (one big pdf file) the state police gave to the ACLU after the ACLU filed open records requests all over the country about license plate reader systems, and about policies for their use.

Interestingly, the manual reveals the capabilities of the system by telling how to use each of its functions. These screen shots, according to the manual, show where my truck has been photographed and when, going back in time from just a few moments ago and into the distant past. If I'm ever asked to produce my log book, which happens once or twice a year by design and intermittently as spot checking, and if this readout doesn't match up with where and when my log books says I've been at any time from a few moments ago going back into the distant past, I'm in trouble.

According to the manual the system can also be set up to automatically do a search for a vehicle through any records the state police has access to, and thereby a search for me personally or for anyone who's been associated with my vehicle like my part time driver. If you've been keeping up with the NSA domestic spying story, that means the record of just about everything you've ever done and are doing now.

Incidentally, the state responded to the ACLU's open records request by saying there are no policies in place for their camera system's use, which means that the state, and the private company that operates the system, can use the data that's being collected any way it wants to. It can be, and probably is, shared with the NSA and Israel and whoever (see also graphic at bottom of this page.) It can be, and probably is, sold to advertisers and other corporations by the company that sold the system to the state and operates it for them.

Why Experienced Drivers Are Logging Off And How The DOT Is Screwing With Capitalism

My headlines talks bout the state police, but in their defense, they have nothing to do with writing log book rules. They only enforce them.

It's the federal DOT that has been busy trying to prove that they can engineer highway safety through new logging restrictions. But as I demonstrated this week, you can drive while you're half asleep and still be perfectly legal according your log book.

The new rules are the federal DOT's way of trying to force every driver into a 24 hour "circadian cycle." But in doing so they don't allow you to stop and take a nap. You have to keep going so you stay on the 24 hour cycle.

I'll try to explain. In a given day you are allowed to be "on duty" for 14 hours. This "on duty" time includes your driving -- 11 hours are allowed -- plus any loading and unloading, fueling, etc.

It used to be that when you went "off duty" in the log book, the 14 hour clock stopped. So you could stop and eat, or stop and sleep for a few hours, and it wasn't counted against your 14 hours. You could get back in the truck and then continue with your 14 hours "on duty." 

But now your 14 hours includes all the time you take for yourself. If you stop to eat, or to take a nap, the 14 hour clock keeps ticking. Once it starts, you have to go off duty 14 hours later.

Here is what a driver's day looks like in a log book covering two days. Note that after an extended break (off duty line in the center) of from 7:15 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., he went on duty. Thise is when the 14 hour clock starts ticking. Here, he is on duty (either driving, on duty not driving, or off duty) until 7:15 a.m. The legal limit would be until 10:30 a.m. But what if his company had only been able to find a load that couldn't be picked up until sometime after 10:30? Under the old rules, he could have taken a nap, stopped his 14 hour clock, and still picked up the load.

Consider also that as he is driving with a load, say at midnight, a load that doesn't have to be delivered until 4 p.m. the next day, if he gets tired, he can't stop, because the 14 hour clock will keep running and make him run out of hours before he reaches the destination.
The new rules might sound good in theory and might work if all the deliveries and pickups were at regularly scheduled times, but they are not and will never be. They can't be. The world would have to end, or Capitalism would have to cease to exist.

Factories and other places where all the people work 8 to 4 might be able to schedule all their pickups and deliveries at one time. They might have to build some more docks and hire some more fork truck drivers because all the truck show up at once, but it's conceivable. But many firms have two or three shifts and deliveries and pickups around the clock. The Wal Mart warehouse down in Los Lunas, for example, has trucks coming and going 24/7.

Groceries are the biggest consumer product there is -- it's the one thing that everybody buys and buys a lot of -- and it all moves by truck. The can of baked bean that came from a plant in Arkansas or Tennessee where beans are processed was in one bulk shipment of 22 pallets stacked with cases of beans containing 20 or 30 cans each. At the grocery warehouse that shipment gets unloaded with a fork truck and stored on shelves and later on is broken down into the numbers of cases each store needs.

Grocery warehouses are busy places. They have incoming trucks, from the plants, and outgoing trucks, to the individual stores. They want their incoming, i.e., bulk, deliveries -- the loads of baked beans from Tennessee and paper towels from Portland and corn from Indianapolis and everything else in a grocery store -- to be there between midnight and 4 a.m. The truck driver bringing in the baked beans or paper towels will have an appointment during that time.

After that truck gets unloaded, one of the grocery chain's truck is waiting to back into the same dock, to be loaded with the things one of the chain's stores will sell that day. The fork truck driver who just unloaded the bulk shipment loads the truck. The same people working in the warehouse who counted and stored the bulk shipment -- people called Hi-Lo drivers, pickers and checkers -- also get the new shipments ready to go.

In other words, one crew of fork truck drivers, hi-lo drivers, pickers and checkers can do both incoming and outgoing shipping tasks. And only one set of docks is required for both sets of trucks. And the warehouse is set up -- the logistics of the movement of things within the warehouse are designed in such a way -- that one set of docks can be used, not two sets that would be separated by some distance.

Say what you will about Capitalism, and I say a lot about it, but the way the grocery warehouse system is set up (combined with the way profit is distributed under Capitalism) is the reason a can of beans costs $1 and not $2 or $3.

If trucking is able to adopt to the new "24 hour circadian cycle" logging rules, which will mean buying a lot of new trucks and hiring a lot of new drivers at a cost of millions, all of which will sit idle much the time, so also will each grocery warehouse have to accommodate both incoming and outgoing shipments at once, and hire an additional set of fork truck drivers, Hi-lo drivers, pickers and checkers each, at a cost of millions, and will have to install a new set of docks so both incoming and outgoing trucks can dock at the same time, at a cost of millions.

The way trucking is set up, which also is for efficiency's sake, in keeping with Capitalism's disparate and around the clock needs, the driver who had that 4 a.m. grocery warehouse delivery will then be sent to pick up a load that might have a 4 p.m. delivery three days later, or a 10 a.m. delivery two days later. The pickup and delivery times will always be different from load to load because it's all part of a big system called Capitalism that always seeks efficiency. By maintaining some flexibility, which the old 14 hour rules would allow, trucking companies were able to adapt to that system, and could charge lower rates. Grocery warehouses could use one crew for incoming and outgoing, and on and on.

So much for your 14 hour circadian cycle. The old logging rules developed over decades of practice and took into account that the business world isn't on a 24 hour "circadian cycle." After unloading at a grocery warehouse, you could go and do your next pickup at 8 a.m., then take a nap, and then keep going, but under the new rules you have to keep driving even when you're tired. It's nuts.

Final Screen Shot

For anyone who might be interested, also from the instruction manual for the license plate reader system used by the New Mexico State Police (which are also in use by the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department and the Albquerque Police Department.)

On the left are "roadside sensors." The cameras, 13 in New Mexico. Most are at weigh stations and across the highway from them to catch people going both ways.

Note, on the right, how the system is connected, to NCIC, SAFER, and PRISM.

NCIC - This is the National Crime Information Center, which is run by the FBI. Whenever police on patrol or in the office look up someone's record or a vehicle's record, this is where they look.

SAFER - The US Department of Transportation's new system for rating trucking companies according to their safety records and for tracking them. (You can look up my company at SAFER by entering my USDOT number, 2381097. I'm too new to have a safety rating yet.)

PRISM - A web search for PRISM brings up various things those letters can stand for. I don't see any that might plausibly be hooked up to a state's license plate reader system, except one, the secret NSA program for spying on US citizens that was revealed by Edward Snowden, and that I have written about repeatedly.

Facial recognition technology is already here. Whether it's part of these systems I don't know, but it's coming. It's in use in some places. It's been used to pick an individual out of a demonstration of thousands.



Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How To Give The Single Finger Salute To The NSA

Almost every day, a new revelation shows that the government has been lying about the extent to which it spies on us. One way they spy on us is by ordering web service companies to hand over their customers' private, personal information.

Companies can be ordered to hand over customers' information, and to not reveal that they have been ordered to hand it over. Lately, several small, specialized web service companies have gone out of business rather than turn over their customers' information to the government.

An idea for getting around this is to use something called a "dead man's switch".

At regular intervals, you'd post a notice that you have not received a secret government order to hand over information. Then, if one day you say nothing, your customers will know their information has been compromised.

"The method is a way around legally binding orders that forbid email, cloud computing and other Internet service providers from notifying their clients when they receive government directives to release user information," says Truthdig.

The idea was floated by Cory Doctorow in The Guardian.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day

Only in the United States is May Day celebrated in September. Just like it is everywhere else, the celebration of the labor movement, here in the USA, used to be May 1.

It started with the Knights of Labor parading down Fifth Avenue, the official histories proclaim. President Grover Cleveland is given credit for establishing it as a national holiday in 1897, and for changing the date. Cleveland, siding with Capital in labor disputes, like all presidents do, had recently used US troops to end the Pullman Strike. The troops had murdered some striking workers, so he wanted to make amends, it is said.

But labor histories say he didn't want Labor Day to be May 1 because workers had begun marching on that day to commemorate the Haymarket Massacre of 10 years earlier, when law enforcement had also murdered workers. The general strikes in Chicago that led up to the Haymarket Massacre, in which a lot of blood was shed to win the eight hour workday, is really where it all began, what the May 1 marches were all about, and where Labor Day, and May Day celebrations all over the world, got their start, right here in the good old USA.

We've come to a point at which just about 11 percent of US workers are in unions, which is why politicians think they can blow off Labor Day without a mention. They realize that we have a president who although he runs as a Democrat is anti Labor, who, for example, dropped his support for the Employee Free Choice Act as soon as he was elected and who, as part of his deal to "bail out" the US automakers forced UAW members to accept a two tiered wage system, which means starting autoworkers now make half what they used to, which is really what the corporations wanted and why they got together and created the auto industry "crises" in the first place, all of which Barak Obama full well knew.

Of New Mexico's legislative delegation, four of them, Michelle Grisham, Tom Udall, Ben Lujan and Steve Pearce have nothing at all to say about Labor Day, either at their web sites, or on their Facebook pages which is where most announcements from politicians appear now. As far as Grisham, Udall, Lujan and Pearce are concerned, working people can take a flying leap at a rolling donut.

Martin Heinrich, who, although like the rest of them has done absolutely nothing to support the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, did post a statement about Labor Day on his Facebook page:

"Labor Day is very special to me. My father was an IBEW lineman, and his union wages were what helped pay my way through college. It's important that today we honor and remember the people who built this great nation. I believe that our country is strongest when we support working families, seniors, and our veterans. We need to build America from the middle class out, not from the top down. I will continue to fight for every hard-working New Mexicans who deserve a fair shake."

On the one hand, this cliche ridden, non committal, grammatically mangled, misspelled piece of blather is so goddamn inane that it brings tears to my eyes. Read it. After acknowledging that he got his education alright, it meanders its way through veterans and seniors and says absolutely nothing. Notice how the word "union" is nowhere in it -- he's simply honoring and remembering people who work for a living, not the labor movement, unions, which is what Labor Day is there to honor --  but notice how it mentions the IBEW, so that only the small minority of readers who know those letters stand for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers will even know he's referring to a union.

On the other hand, he did take a little time, unlike the others, out of his summer vacation to mention Labor Day, in a way that is so goddamn condescending and takes whoever bothers to read it for such a goddamn idiot that it brings tears to my eyes.

Read it again. It says, This what you have to look forward to for the next 30 years while I enjoy the perks of being a US senator. It says, I promise you nothing, I owe you nothing, I will do nothing for you. It says, My people tell me that I can dash off inane, poorly written, misspelled crap like this and enough of you are gullible enough to swallow it that you will still vote for me, and vote for me and vote for me until I decide I'd like to retire and go to work for someone from the class of people I'm up here to serve.

So happy Labor Day, as we commemorate the just about one hundred years in this country when working people stood up on their hind legs and demanded something instead of letting themselves be rolled over like we do now and when politicians were decent enough the help them get it, when the people of this country fought, enough of them did anyway so that everybody benefited from it, fought and died for more than the ruling class wanted to toss to them, and for things like good health care benefits and for the privacy in which to enjoy the fruits of their labor in peace, fought for things like the good publicly funded education Martin Heinrich got, that kids nowadays, kids like he was, can get no more.

Happy Labor Day, as we remember those people, those union members, and how we benefited from what they did, and as we kiss the American Dream goodbye.