The commies and the unions

When my crazy grandmother, Etta, used to say that the “commies and the unions are ruining the country,” I dismissed it as I did most everything else she said, as probably close to the opposite of the fact, which turned out to be  a pretty successful formula over time.  First of all, in Portland, Oregon in the 1970′s, representatives of either seditious faction or the policies they supposedly espoused were nowhere in evidence.  Secondly, if these groups were “ruining” the country, wouldn’t there be some sign of it?  Maybe those gold-plated contracts, not to mention collective farms, were rampant elsewhere and the scourge had just not yet reached our leaden backwater, but realizing Etta was crazy, I dismissed that possibility.

Union membership is about half what it was then, and still nary a commie has hummed “The Internationale” where anybody could hear it, since about 1938.  Without the FBI, the commies couldn’t have credibly filled a phone booth since 1953.  Further, workers today are paid less, both relative to upper management as well as in absolute terms at adjusted dollars, than were their bell-bottom clad forebears.  Etta must be pleased, gazing at us from Heaven, or, more likely, “the other place”, as my mother put it.  Sadly, today’s “conservatives” have veered so far to the right that they would have run Etta’s powder-blue 1970 Maverick off the road, despite the fact that she, as she often told us, “drove like a cop.”  These guys STILL think commies and unions are scuttling around the mopboards, and if only those danged tree-huggers hadn’t banned DDT, they could fix that problem in a big hurry.

Well, into every church must come a fart, and over at St.Ronnie’s, they heard a big one today.  The anti-social exhalation in question was testimony before congress from Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the heroic US Airways pilot who safely landed his debilitated plane in the Hudson recently.  Normally, one would have expected another Bushian medal ceremony; having endured Tillman, Tenet, Bremer, et al, no one even expects these things to be real, let alone significant, but this one was.  Sully showed that he was more than just a hero in his craft, but he would also be a hero to his fellows; he used his moment in the limelight to deliver a astonishingly direct rebuke to the systematic and insidious devaluing of our skilled labor force that has progressed throughout his career, and the grave danger such a choice represented for us as a country.  Rather than basking in accolades and delivering bland platitudes, in his even, measured words, Sullenberger decried the deteriorating working conditions for airline employees and the compromise of safety that resulted, and added an important, telling comment that many other public servants would find familiar.  He said that few pilots would want their children to follow in their footsteps.

Probably every teacher, firefighter, police officer, social worker, or nurse has, or has thought of, telling their children the same thing.   If the commies and the unions are ruining the country, and have been for all these years, I wish they’d hurry up about it.  Because with the other guys running things, the people who serve us and enrich our lives, or even save them, have their pensions and wages cut, while those who exploit us, and who cheapen and devalue our lives, get “retention bonuses” and never, ever, fly commercial.

Could be dangerous, you know.


  1. Karen M says:

    Hah! I didn’t see his testimony, but I read about it. IIRC, he even mentioned the evils of deregulating the airlines.

    • rmp says:

      Karen, do you have a link for the testimony? Same with you Hag on Emptywheel? I’m behind on my Blast and you could save me a little time. I heard about it on PBS and everything I have seen from Sully is nothing but class.

      • cocktailhag says:

        Well, rmp, there are some things I’ve yet to master, and one of them is posting links. When Chad tried to show me, he went too fast, and it sailed over my curlered head. Maybe Karen will come through, though.

        • rmp says:

          What I do is copy the link and paste it into a Word doc, then when I hit the space bar it turns blue and is a clickable link which I then copy into your reply box.

        • Karen M says:

          CH… I’m not sure what kind of help you want with links, but I’m glad to help.

          You can just copy and paste in the URL from the top of the browser directly into a comment box and it will become linkable when posted. (Here, but not at UT or on Salon threads.)

          However, if you want to post this kind of link, let me know, and I’ll ‘splain it all to you. ;~)

          • cocktailhag says:

            My current client, a charming 30-something vixen from an old Portland family, is constantly horrified at my computer ineptitude, and has vowed to come over and put me through remedial computer school. Blocks, links, and photo editing are all included in her demanding syllabus. I’m teaching her to paint woodwork in return.
            Watch this space for improvement; but I don’t think you’d be able to teach me online… 19 years of remodeling allowed the computer era to, (Blanche DuBois voice) “simply pass him by.”
            All I can do is type. I learned on a Selectric.

      • Karen M says:

        RMP, I’m looking for that link now. I think it was on HuffPost, but if not there, then perhaps on Salon.

  2. cocktailhag says:

    Emptywheel at FDL has a great post up on it, “Sully Goes to Washington,” I think. I loved it.

  3. rmp says:

    I thought Obama’s speech was totally on target. The Repugs haven’t figured it out yet, but he is slowly emasculating them. Jindal’s response to Obama was pathetic, RW and totally predictable.

    Here’s an interesting piece from George Lakoff. I don’t have time to post it on UT tonight. Maybe one of you two might want to.

    The Obama Code

    • cocktailhag says:

      I’ll have to find it rmp. I personally think Jindal is just Palin with a (small ) wienie…. If that’s the best spokesmodel they can come up with, “bring it on.”

  4. Mona says:

    Reposted from wrong thread,
    Cocktialhag, you know, the ‘commies’ — or CPUSA — really did infiltrate the unions. A good, (now deceased) liberal prof of mine who got his Ph.D post-WWII on the GI Bill, was instrumental in ousting them.

    His tale was that these CPUSA guys did not give a rat’s patooty about the American workingman, but only about trying to drive union policy in directions as ordered by Uncle Joe.

    I’ve read enough to have that anecdotal version verified.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Yes, Mona, I did know that actual commies sometimes lurked within “legitimate” left outfits. But the support rarely amounted to anything, as I recall from reading Jessica Mitford’s “A Fine Old Conflict,” wherein she recounts her long involvement with CPUSA. I guess what I meant was that the commies’ efforts didn’t amount to much, despite the hysteria.

    • Meremark says:

      Weird PDX still home to the lastMarx, and that’s wonderful

      his blog: Michael Munk .COM

      The Portland Red Guide, by Michael Munk

      • cocktailhag says:

        Ah, Powell’s Books and Little Beirut. Would one be possible without the other? I met former Mayor Bud Clark, quoted in the review, last summer. Over beers at his tavern. He looks the same as ever, and is still an involved, committed liberal, and a great guy. I brought up the hypocrisy of his predecessor, my neighbor Frank Ivancie, who only went to church with his wife and10 children a few weeks before each election. Bud said, “I did him a favor… as soon as I beat him, he unloaded his wife.” And perhaps spared the world a few more Ivancies

  5. rmp says:

    They can’t make this film and release it soon enough for me:

    Sean Penn in talks for film on outed CIA spy: report

    • cocktailhag says:

      Wow, rmp… That ought to be good; I read the book and liked it a lot. I just read a bunch of speech recaps, and I almost feel sorry for Bobby… to be slammed by David Brooks is about as bad as it can get for a republician.

  6. cocktailhag says:

    LORD! I just got done watching Jindal. Bugs Bunny would call it a “stinkuh.” Talk about 20 pounds of shit in a 10 pound sack… not to mention the creepy Mr. Rogers delivery. The righties really have convinced themselves that Americans are as dumb as posts. I bet even FOX watchers got a bit queasy….

    • rmp says:

      Amen! The Repugs continue to be their own worst enemy. Keep it up boys since all you know to do is stick it to people. Before you know it, you might even drive Crist to change parties.

      • Karen M says:

        Gosh! With Limbaugh considered to be the unofficial head of the Republican Party, and with Jindal as the GOP’s “Obama,” and with the Republicans in Congress having more or less painted themselves into a corner with their fiscal hypocrisy and mean-spirited (and politically motivated) obstructionism… what is there not to like?

        More popcorn, please… but hold the butter.

        Okay, I have to close up shop here, catch a train, and log back in at home.

        • cocktailhag says:

          It was comical, almost. Republicians being panned at FOX is just about all you could ask for. Ironically, Sarah Palin would have been better, since the message was only for that tiny, bonkers group that loves her. At least she’s cute.
          Jindal was really kind of excruciating to watch after about two minutes. That’s a problem, when your message sucks.

        • Meremark says:

          Just sayin’ …

          Limbaugh Defends Jindal, Warns Conservatives They Are ‘Making A Real Mistake If They Go After’ Him

          LIMBAUGH: [T]he people on our side are really making a mistake if they go after Bobby Jindal on the basis of style. Because if you think — people on our side I’m talking to you — those of you who think Jindal was horrible, you think — in fact, I don’t ever want to hear from you ever again. … I’ve spoken to him numerous times, he’s brilliant. He’s the real deal.

          Watch it: [video at the link, above]

          Update Paul Begala urges Jindal to “dump Rush.” Begala writes, “But if it is Pres. Bush who haunts Gov. Jindal’s past, it is Rush Limbaugh who haunts his future.”

          • cocktailhag says:

            Jeez.. it takes a strong stomach to watch that tub of oleaginous goo; it’s worse than watching Jindal, the Mr. Rogers of the Punjab. As my mother used to say about really unattractive couples, “It’s nice they found each other.”
            I read an article where some Repub ninny was gushing about the GOP “stars,” Palin, Romney, and Jindal. With stars like that, who needs extras?

          • sysprog says:

            Mister Rogers?

            Author of “Going to the Potty”?

            Mister Rogers?

            The dispenser of the best parenting advice for talking to children about the events of 9/11?

            Mr. Rogers?

            The guy who charmed the U.S. Congress?

            Strange but true. When the government wanted to cut Public Television funds in 1969, the relatively unknown Mister Rogers went to Washington. Almost straight out of a Capra film, his 5-6 minute testimony on how TV had the potential to give kids hope and create more productive citizens was so simple but passionate that even the most gruff politicians were charmed. While the budget should have been cut, the funding instead jumped from $9 to $22 million. Rogers also spoke to Congress, and swayed senators into voting to allow VCR’s to record television shows from the home. It was a cantankerous debate at the time, but his argument was that recording a program like his allowed working parents to sit down with their children and watch shows as a family.

            Mr. Rogers?

            The guy who had the presence to do this?

            He had already won his third Daytime Emmy, and now he went onstage to accept Emmy’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and there, in front of all the soap-opera stars and talk-show sinceratrons, in front of all the jutting man-tanned jaws and jutting saltwater bosoms, he made his small bow and said into the microphone, “All of us have special ones who have loved us into being. Would you just take, along with me, ten seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are … Ten seconds of silence.” And then he lifted his wrist, and looked at the audience, and looked at his watch, and said softly, “I’ll watch the time,” and there was, at first, a small whoop from the crowd, a giddy, strangled hiccup of laughter, as people realized that he wasn’t kidding, that Mister Rogers was not some convenient eunuch but rather a man, an authority figure who actually expected them to do what he asked … and so they did. One second, two seconds, three seconds … and now the jaws clenched, and the bosoms heaved, and the mascara ran, and the tears fell upon the beglittered gathering like rain leaking down a crystal chandelier, and Mister Rogers finally looked up from his watch and said, “May God be with you” to all his vanquished children.

            Now don’t go dissing Mister Rogers by linking him to Bobby Jindal, who has nothing useful to say about going to the potty.

            And anyway Bobby’s more akin to Ron Popeil no wait that’s unfair to Mr. Popeil and smokeless ashtrays and pocket fishermen oh dang I’m at a loss.

          • cocktailhag says:

            Ah, yes, the actual Mr. Rogers. It was the television show I disliked, I don’t know why. Compared to Sesame Street and Electric Company it just seemed boring and old-fashioned, and I found his manner of speaking grating.
            Of course, Rogers was actually talking to children, and had a reason to talk that way. Jindal was addressing slow-witted adults, where a different tone is required. (see O’Rielly, Bill)

      • cocktailhag says:

        I’m thinking of a post comparing Obama’s Road Runner to the Repub’s Wile E. Coyote. Or Buggsy Bunny and Elmer Fudd. Doesn’t it feel good, Paul? Took a while.

        • rmp says:

          At first I thought you presented a tough choice, but on a little more contemplation I clearly choose Coyote. Fudd is that much of a dummy and Coyote is a total dunce who keeps making the same mistake over and over no matter how dire the consequences.

        • rmp says:

          I left out the word “not” as in not that much of a dummy.

          • cocktailhag says:

            I was already biased toward using Wile E, because of my new coyote coat, so it’s nice to get validation from a neutral observer. I wonder what Jindal could order from Acme this time? The box labeled “Katrina” turned out to be another dud. (did you see the post on Kos where he made that whole thing up, the Dem sheriff in question being conveniently dead?)
            He was documented to be in Baton Rouge the day he said he walked into the guy’s “makeshift office.”

          • rmp says:

            The only other thing that Repugs know besides cutting taxes is Dems raising taxes. So Jindal could say, the Dems want to raise taxes so Wile E. has more speed when he’s already done more than enough for those reprobates who live on the federal dole and why should they get more help just because they get tired of emergency rooms. Natural disasters happen to everybody, but those losers made choices so they have to live in mobile homes. And then Wile E. complains that it takes to long to get federal dollars when everybody knows its a big job and the government has to take the time to do things right. We increased the size of government significantly and still they complain. And before those left wing crazies on the Internet complain that my party stands for small government I need to remind them that Wilie E. made us increase the size and made us do it even though they knew we wanted small government.

  7. timothy3 says:

    Lordie, CH, “I’ll have to find it rmp. I personally think Jindal is just Palin with a (small ) wienie …”
    I think I know this guy–he’s me! Well, apart from not being a GOPer, a governor of Louisiana, a child of South Asian immigrants, etc.
    But everything else is accurate!

    • cocktailhag says:

      Maybe you just need some of those reading glasses people of a certain age wear; I got a pair of 2x power, and now when I look at my Powerbook G4, the screen looks like CinemaScope.

      • timothy3 says:

        You’re right! I donned those glasses and realized I’ve missed my real vocation: starring in heru-ur’s/Fox-sponsored movies.

        • cocktailhag says:

          Careful, if you put on the 3x kind, you’ll think you’re ready for something even racier.

          • timothy3 says:

            Sorry to report I’ve just been fired from my first gig. Apparently, my performance was “pathetically flaccid.” That’s an actual quote. I was under the impression that flaccid had something to do with global warming but, the powers-that-be told me to take my turgid opinion elsewhere.
            I’m glad I didn’t quit my day job with Snatch International (formerly known as Xe).

          • cocktailhag says:

            There’s pills for that, you know. A pretty worthwhile expenditure, too, to build a performing career. (see my previous article, about baseball bats…)
            Use caution, however, when wielding your thus fortified “opinion.” You could poke someone’s eye out.

          • timothy3 says:

            You are so much fun. I thoroughly enjoy you!

          • cocktailhag says:

            When you get to be a hag, you have to get by on your personality.

  8. sysprog says:

    My father worked in D.C. and took me in to see his office, and then on a guided tour of the FBI in D.C. many decades ago, and I dimly remember the tour guide pointing out an exhibit on how to spot commies or something like that or did that really happen, or is my memory playing tricks on me?

    Well anyway, sometimes there’s no trick to spotting them. More recently, and still fresh in my memory, I was at a funeral at a Unitarian church. The dead boy’s grieving father is on David Horowitz’s list of the “The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America” and he gave one of the eulogies and the eulogy had some parts that would have given old Etta and old J. Edgar no doubt that the red menace was at hand. Then the dead boy’s grieving mother gave an even more impassioned speech and half of the funeral crowd (that is, the black folks) were calling and responding and there were even a few white folk doing the call and response but those were probably the FBI agents. As for me, it more political than I’d choose for my own funeral, and different politics than I’d choose, but it wasn’t my funeral. They shared their anger and grief and I was there for that. There were other speakers, including one who fainted and one who was too choked up to say anything. There was a big meal in the church hall afterwards. If one didnt know better, one would have thought it was all quite human and humane.

    Another recent night, I went to another church, a Roman Catholic one, to see an X-rated movie. There were a bunch of graying peaceniks down in the church cellar and one guy in the crowd whose age had to be checked because the movie was “Taxi to the Dark Side” and the movie can’t be shown to anybody under 18.
    The guy was old enough to stay.
    Under the gaze of the various bishops and cardinals hanging around on the cellar wall, the show went on.
    Then there was some discussion of the need to keep putting pressure on the Obama administration.

    Flyer were passed around directing people to web sites like:

    As for me, that’s not the kind of place I’d choose for my funeral, but the Christians were there to share some of their politics, and I was there for that.

    Nine years ago, NYC’s conservative Cardinal John O’Connor wrote to not merely apologize for but to approve of Dorothy Day’s strange bedfellows :

    It has long been my contention that Dorothy Day is a saint [...] It has also been noted that Dorothy Day often seemed friendly to political groups hostile to the Church, for example, communists, socialists, and anarchists. [...] she often held opinions in common with them. What they held in common was a common respect for the poor and a desire for economic equity. In no sense did she approve of any form of atheism, agnosticism, or religious indifference. Moreover, her complete commitment to pacifism in imitation of Christ often separated her from these political ideologies. She rejected all military force; she rejected aid to force in any way in a most idealistic manner.

    It’s easy to label the late cardinal as conservative and he certainly did things, like banning gay groups from the St. Patrick’s parade, to earn the label. But there’s more to people than simple labels. The label obscures the fact that his brand of conservatism favored “economic equity” and he could speak approvingly of extreme pacificsm.
    Conversely, just as the Cardinal could, with difficulty, come to accept Dorothy Day hanging out with radicals, so, too, can some radicals, with difficulty, come to accept hanging out with Catholics.

    • Karen M says:


      I did watch the Dorothy Day film before writing about it, and it was pretty interesting (even though I am not that kind of believer), although some of the comments I read online were critical of the film because it did not show enough of the complexity of her life. I think that would have been impossible in a single film. Perhaps in a mini-series.

      She was definitely a complicated person, and I did enjoy the scene when the Cardinal was trying to get her to toe the line and quit embarrassing him, and she threatened him with moving her project to another parish (or maybe it was another diocese) where her work would be more appreciated. So… the Cardinal toed the line instead.

      I thought her story was primarily about Love.

    • cocktailhag says:

      It’s funny, but growing up Catholic, the only politics I ever got from church was pacifism and concern for the poor. I guess that was before the Repugs came up with “tort reform.” My neighborhood Unitarian church, just a couple of blocks away, is where I went to see Joe Conason, Greg Palast, and Mark Crispin Miller. Not as fancy as my old church, but I felt a lot more at home there.
      Ironically, my brothers and I joked that, when the Soviet Union collapsed, Etta, who died in 1980, would have been beside herself…. her bogeyman was gone. But as we’ve seen lately, her politics live on. She’ll always have Castro and Kim Jong Il….

    • cocktailhag says:

      Sysprog, Did you ever read “Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J Edgar Hoover,” by Anthony Summers, or “J Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets, ” by Curt Gentry? I became a huge fan of Hooveriana, if not the man himself, reading those. I have no doubt that your memories of commie hysteria around the FBI are entirely accurate. Have you ever seen the sensational cover of “Masters of Deceit,” one of Hoover’s staff-written potboilers? What a strange man, and what a strange mania, to have had so much power for so long.

  9. Karen M says:

    Speaking of Rush… (from above)

    I posted a little something about him on Open Salon today.

    It appears he’s planning to convene a “Female Summit” so he can find out why women don’t like him. As much as men do.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Dang it, Karen… You left out the link again. I laughed my ass off when I saw something about Rush’s “summit.” It’s kind of like me, decked out in my coyote coat, summoning the pesky varmints to find out why the bad blood. Those danged feminazis are just so ungrateful.
      Anyway, I’m home from work early, and blocked on a post topic….. Maybe your piece will be a springboard.

  10. mikeinportc says:

    :) The Congresscritters held a feel-good photo-op and got some actual content.

    Coyote is a total dunce who keeps making the same mistake over and over no matter how dire the consequences.
    Wile E. is the appropriate character. Like the ‘ol SUPERGENIUS, they think they’re brilliant, (If only we’d all realize it.) while embarking on another episode of EPICFAIL. :)

    On the link thingy , it’s: (a href=link)WORD(S)to link (/a) , except use < in stead of (. There’s a space between the “a” & “href”.

    Limbaugh having a womyn summit? LOL!

    Btw, CH, in looking at your photos, I had to look twice to make sure it wasn’t my brother(except for the fur coat part ;) . I’m gonna be thinking of you as my otherbrother Darrell (Derek) . :) )))

    • cocktailhag says:

      Well, Mike, I’m sorry to hear that your poor brother doesn’t have a fur, despite his dashing handsomeness. Maybe Karen can help; she’s bagged a pelt or two that need nailing to the wall, or better yet, made into something useful. I do dead animal rescues, if the cause is right. Anyway, I’m still waiting for my Wile E. post to gel; I find that some thing mustn’t be hurried. Hail Jello well set, and all.
      I just put up a new post; involving, albeit peripherally, Rush and his ilk.

      • Karen M says:

        Yikes! Not me! Never have I bagged a pelt or two in my life. At least not in this one. I think it was bystander who mentioned something in a thread on some UT post or other. There was a question about the proper combination of vehicle and fire arm, if I recall, for protecting ones dogs from coyotes. Another thing… I don’t have any dogs, nor a truck, nor any fire arms. Just for the record… with a last name like “Murphy” I cannot be toooooo cautious.

        • cocktailhag says:

          Ah, I thought that was MK, but your were the first, Karen, to pipe up and Identify the varmint in question, so I got mixed up. Besides, I thought that the proper way to bag a coyote was with an exploding ACME product or an anvil dropped on the head.

    • Karen M says:

      There should be some ” ” , too.

      [a href="URLURLURLURLURL"]link name[/a]

      except that the square brackets should be the pointy, less-than, and greater-than brackets.