Darwin Doing His Work

Having been in the construction business for over 20 years, I have never seen a more perfect storm hit my industry as the one we’re in now.  The overbuilding, chastened banks, excess supply, frightened homeowners, and mind-boggling paper losses have never happened all at once, and certainly not all across the country, in both the residential and commercial sectors.  In short, this is a shit storm.   Time was, the worst case scenario for a victim of a building bust was to move, but today this is no longer possible; virtually every major metropolitan area in the US will be building things at shadows of their peaks for decades, leaving countless relatively well-paid construction workers to seek employment elsewhere in the unlikely event that they can find any.  In the biggest boom towns of the bubble, Miami, Seattle, Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, even Portland, and on and on, most of the jobs simply aren’t coming back, leaving the number of workers thus permanently displaced in the tens of thousands, and a legacy of unemployment and ruined lives that will haunt those cities for a generation, at least.

Given these sobering facts, I was astonished to read this article in the New York Daily News today, by Samuel Goldsmith:

A growing number of New York construction workers are vowing not to work on the mosque planned near Ground Zero.

“It’s a very touchy thing because they want to do this on sacred ground,” said Dave Kaiser, 38, a blaster who is working to rebuild the World Trade Center site.

This, from a guy who only has a job due to a lot of fake sentiment over 9/11 that led to a bizarre desire to build millions of square feet of completely unwanted office space and a cheesy underground mall on the actual site of Ground Zero, and the government money to pay him to do it.

“I wouldn’t work there, especially after I found out about what the imam said about U.S. policy being responsible for 9/11,” Kaiser said.

Ron Paul and others have said the exact same, correct thing, but Paul is white and Christian, so it’s different.

The grass-roots movement is gaining momentum on the Internet. One construction worker created the “Hard Hat Pledge” on his blog and asked others to vow not to work on the project if it stays on Park Place.

“Thousands of people are signing up from all over the country,” said creator Andy Sullivan, a construction worker from Brooklyn. “People who sell glass, steel, lumber, insurance. They are all refusing to do work if they build there.”

They’re refusing to work?  I thought only liberals and their darky co-conspirators did that.

“Hopefully, this will be a tool to get them to move it,” he said. “I got a problem with this ostentatious building looming over Ground Zero.”

Which would be pretty difficult to do, given the blocks of taller buildings between, but it does make a nice image.  (No drawings of the project have been even drawn, so whatever ostentation involved exists only in this addled mind…)  In fact, Park Place is one of the many streets near the World Trade Center site that weren’t too nice even before that ruinous Urban Renewal project flattened the area and cast it in the shadow of those crappy 70′s behemoths that were useful to New Yorkers only as a compass in the winding streets below the grid.  Since 9/11, the whole area has languished even more due to lack of foot traffic, and any development that brought people and wallets to the area would surely be appreciated by all concerned.  This guy clearly lives somewhere else.

A planned 13-story community center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero, Park51 has exploded into a national debate.

That is, Sarah Palin actually noticed it, and the media blindly followed.

Louis Coletti, president of the Building Trades Employers’ Association, said unions have not yet taken a “formal position” on Park51, but he understands why members would be hesitant to work there.

“It’s a very difficult dilemma for the contractors and the organized labor force because we are experiencing such high levels of unemployment,” he said. “Yet at the same time, this is a very sacred sight to the union guys.”

“There were construction workers killed on 9/11 and many more who got horribly sick cleaning up Ground Zero,” Coletti said. “It’s very emotional.”

The guy from the union at least has the sense to try to stay out of a “controversy” that will directly harm his members, and uses the term “emotional” in the same way I would say “batshit crazy,” so I’m willing to forgive his chickenshittedness this once, but only barely.  He blithely ignores the fact that just a few weeks ago Republicans, who are so aggressively trumpeting this issue, petulantly and dishonestly voted down health care for Ground Zero cleanup workers.

L.V. Spina, a Manhattan construction worker who created anti-mosque stickers that some workers are slapping on their hardhats, said he would “rather pick cans and bottles out of trash cans” than build the Islamic center near Ground Zero.

Wear gloves.

“But if they moved it somewhere else, we would put up a prime building for these people,” he said. “Hell, you could do it next to my house in Rockaway Beach, I would be fine with it. But I’m not fine with it where blood has been spilled.”

The possibility that such an idiot could be a part of building a “prime building” is laughable.

Spina, who sells 9/11 apparel on his website, said he’s printed thousands of stickers and plans to produce thousands more.

“They’re going all over the country,” he said. “They got pretty popular fast.”

No trailer park in America doesn’t sport at least one.

Popularity aside, there are some construction workers choosing not to set themselves against the project.

Some?  You mean L.V. from Rockaway perhaps isn’t the brightest bulb in the chandelier?

“Hundreds of guys here are wearing stickers as a sign of protest, but I’m on the fence about it,” said Frank Langan, 50, a site superintendent from Queens working at Ground Zero.

“It’s a tough debate,” he said. “I sympathize with workers’ position, but at the same time, you can’t single out all Muslims because of a small number of terrorists.”

Hearing that makes me feel guilty for my almost Randian arguments thus far, which centered around the economic self-destructiveness of these dimwitted rednecks digging their own graves out of something that could be politely called emotional, but boils down to what Nixon spotted all those years ago:  those dumb “Hard Hats” can be cynically manipulated by appeals to tribal instincts.  Turns out not all of them can, and Frank Langan is a sterling example.  Unlike so many other 50-somethings in this latest Republican-created economic  disaster, at least Langan won’t be digging through trash cans any time soon.


  1. nailheadtom says:

    “The Ground Zero mosque is far from a fait accompli, reports Politico.com, which goes so far as to describe it as a “long shot”:

    The Cordoba Initiative hasn’t yet begun fundraising for its $100 million goal. The group’s latest fundraising report with the state attorney general’s office, from 2008, shows exactly $18,255–not enough even for a down payment on the half of the site the group has yet to purchase.

    The group also lacks even the most basic real estate essentials: no blueprint, architect, lobbyist or engineer–and now operates amid crushing negative publicity. The developers didn’t line up advance support for the project from other religious leaders in the city, who could have risen to their defense with the press.”

    In other words, the nasty imam is just rattling everyone’s cage so the Muslims can have a big laugh.

  2. dirigo says:

    I think the Muslims are behind the bad egg problem.

  3. Gindy52 says:

    “In other words, the nasty imam is just rattling everyone’s cage so the Muslims can have a big laugh.”

    No, I think it is closer to say right wing nutters are rattling their play pen bars trying to rally their red neck moronic base. That union people would fall for this crap from those who would let them die is just pathetic but typical since the dumbing down of America started in the 80′s.
    Keep ‘em stupid and numbed = get away with anything.

    • cocktailhag says:

      …. And distract them with irrelevant horseshit that appeals to their prejudices. After all, everyone knows what great supporters of organized labor the Republicans are. Sheesh.

  4. nailheadtom says:

    As committed to religious freedom as you deeply religious folks are, I know you want to help out any way you can with the Cordoba mosque thing. You can donate at this site: http://www.park51.org/cordoba.htm

    The people organizing the new Southern Baptist Center for Understanding are having some trouble with zoning and such in Mecca so that project is a little behind schedule but the donation website will be up and running soon so you can get in on that, too.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Thanks, Tom. I headed over there expressly to give them some money, but the “donate” function didn’t work. I’ll check back later.
      By the way, I know you’re channeling Newt and other righties with this Mecca talk, but that doesn’t make it not stupid. Saudi Arabia not only is run by Bush’s best friends; it’s also a theocratic dictatorship, of the rabid Wahhabi sect, not the liberal Sufi sect of which Cordoba house is a part. That’s like comparing your beloved Southern Baptists to the Unitarians. Why do you always say such dumb things?

  5. Meremark says:

    Toy boat, toy boat, toy boat.
    Short-said shitstorm, short-said shitstorm, short-said shitstorm.
    You’re making wicked wordwise history, Hag.

    Jon Stewart showed ( http://www.commondreams.org/video/2010/08/20-1 ) the straightline million dollars to totalitarian Governors groupies, moved from Murdoch’s FUX NewsCorp … who conned it from cable TV subscribers. This means YOU, boob-tuber boomer — if the news shits, fear it. No previous graft so clearly and completely illustrates the direct cause-effect of monthly cable TV (subscribers’) money funding the fascism corrupting Congress, WashDC, et al.; as has been hooked up since the 1975 beginning of cable TV, (turned out with then-unknown televangelists), coinciding and colluding with rightwing-bloc voters of a silent (TV-told), ‘moral majority’ catalyzed by a single issue: anti-abortion. (After Roe v. Wade: Jan.’74. After Dumbo and his daddy Herbert escort Jr.’s preggers playmate to Houston hospital for abortion, Sept.16,’73.)

    Cable TV subscribers finance(d) the Republican rioters, 1975-present, plain as day.

    When Obama campaign-promised the Medicare-4-All which everyone hopes to change to, the extreme Rightists announcing their opposition sure made Obama look like he was on everyone’s hoping side. Judging through the process and the product, Obama sure looked like the opposition though — his walk and talk and result ended up extremist Right.

    When Obama declares ‘no law respecting establishment of Mohammedanism’ for Manhattan imam’s community center, the Zionic-baited ext-Rightists announcing their opposition sure makes Obama look like he is on America’s ‘Freedom’ side. Whereupon, if America doesn’t build it and no Moslems come, then there’s no telling how close or beyond is Obama to political boundaries — which side’s he on?, preserving the right of building something he knows is not going to be built. (… and the fellow-Leftist unionists at his flank posing contrast without clashing is a nice touch … modernity’s essential presidentiness is image sans substance.)

    You hit every point precisely, Hag, like you been cribbing from Media Matters … at least, that’s one of my favorite tricks. It’s so much less messy to cite truths instead of web-entangling lies.

    The Top Ten searched phrases this week includes “Barack Bombshell,” which finds an exposé of Obama’s classified-Secret background years in CIA tutelage.

    B.O.’s a friggin’ double agent: CIA ‘asset’ born-and-bred (literally), (around and near by Manchuria), a Zionic-baited ext-Rightist like the others, mentoring handlers, ‘installed’ undercover posed as a democratic pol and playing one on TV.

    The CIAObama story sounds like tabloid tease and reads like journalism of record; it might be part refutable if it weren’t so factual … y’know, using honest-to-goodness documentation and real CIA files, wikileaky-like.

    Here’s the homepage of the hero, Wayne Madsen. His journalism reputation is impeccable.

    Here’s the headlines of his offerings; thirty bucks a year to get inside and ride this ride — cheaper than a month of pay TV and much much much more news.

    Here’s the Report that rocked the Google richter, WMR’s ‘Barack Bombshell‘ freely divulged by Alex Jones including photos:

    Wayne Madsen Report
    August 13-15, 2010 — Special Report: The Story of Obama: All in The Company Part I
    Investigative journalist Wayne Madsen has discovered CIA files that document the agency’s connections to institutions and individuals figuring prominently in the lives of Barack Obama and his mother, father, grandmother, and stepfather. The first part of his report highlights the connections between Barack Obama, Sr. and the CIA-sponsored operations …

    August 16, 2010 — PART 2:
    Barack Obama, Jr. and his mother joined Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian who Obama’s mother met at the University of Hawaii in 1965, [and married], when President Obama was four years old. In 1967, Obama and his mother joined her husband in Jakarta ….

    A CIA formerly Secret “Weekly Summary Special Report” on Indonesia, dated August 11, 1967, and titled “The New Order in Indonesia,” reports that in 1966, Indonesia re-aligned its economy in order to receive International Monetary Fund (IMF) assistance. The CIA reports it is happy with the new triumvirate ruling Indonesia in 1967: Suharto, Foreign Minister Adam Malik, and the Sultan of Jogjakarta, who served as minister for economics and finance. The report also rejoices in the outlawing of the PKI, but states it “retains a significant following in East and Central Java,” where Ann Dunham Soetoro would largely concentrate her later efforts on behalf of USAID, the World Bank, and the Ford Foundation, all front activities for the CIA to “win the hearts and minds” of the Javanese farmers and artisans.

    In 1967, after arriving in Indonesia with Obama, Jr., Dunham began teaching English at the American embassy in Jakarta, which also housed one of the largest CIA stations in Asia …. In fact, Obama’s mother was teaching English for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which was a major cover for CIA activities in Indonesia and throughout Southeast Asia, especially in Laos, South Vietnam, and Thailand.

    August 19, 2010 — PART 3:
    Not much is known about Obama’s grandfather, Stanley Armour Dunham, (who Obama mistakenly referred to as “his father” in two speeches, one recently to the Disabled American Veterans).

    What is officially known about Stanley Armour Dunham is that he served with the 9th Air Force in Britain and France prior to and after the D-Day invasion. After the war, Dunham and his wife, Madelyn and his daughter Stanley Ann — Obama’s mother — moved to Berkeley, California; El Dorado, Kansas; Seattle; and Honolulu. Armour Dunham is said to have worked for a series of furniture stores. …

    The photograph of Armour Dunham with Barack Obama, Sr., indicates that the “furniture salesman” in Hawaii was, in fact, working with a CIA-funded project to rapidly educate aspiring politicians to serve in post-independence African governments to counter Soviet- and Chinese-backed political leaders in the region.

    There is a strong reason to believe that Armour Dunham worked in the 1950s for the CIA in the Middle East. An FBI file on Armour Dunham existed but the bureau claimed it destroyed the file on May 1, 1997. Considering the sour relations between the FBI and CIA during the Cold War, it is likely that Armour Dunham was being monitored by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover in the same manner as a number of other CIA officials and agents were being surveilled. Similarly, the pre-1968 passport records of Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, were destroyed by the State Department. …

    And then, for good measure, a footnote:

    August 20, 2010 – Book reveals fascinating insight into the CIA world of the Dunhams in the 1960s

    An examination of the hard-to-find book, “Who’s Who in CIA,” published by Julius Mader in West Berlin in 1968 and favorably reviewed in a 1971 Boston Globe article, provides a fascinating insight into the CIA world in which the family of President Obama operated in the 1960s.
    Most of the 3,000 CIA agents named in the book operated under various State Department “Official Cover” occupations as diplomats, as well as US Agency for International Development (USAID), US Information.Agency (USIA), and military attache officials.
    U.S. diplomatic posts with a heavy CIA presence included the U.S. embassies in Jakarta, Indonesia; Vientiane, Laos; Saigon, South Vietnam; Karachi, Pakistan; Ankara, Turkey; Leopoldville, Congo; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Tehran, Iran; Bangkok, Thailand; Manila, Philippines; Beirut, Lebanon; London, UK; Athens, Greece; Baghdad, Iraq; Bonn, West Germany; Brussels, Belgium; The Hague, Netherlands; Vienna, Austria; Paris, France; Tokyo, Japan; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Warsaw, Poland; Kabul, Afghanistan; Cairo, Egypt; Singapore; Rangoon, Burma; Rome, Italy; Taipei, Taiwan; Kathmandu, Nepal; Mexico City; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Geneva, Switzerland; Seoul. South Korea; New Delhi, India; and Moscow, USSR. [... not far from Manchuria.]
    Busy CIA stations also existed at the U.S. Consulates General in Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Munich, West Germany; Lahore, Pakistan; Trieste, Italy; Bombay, India; Casablanca, Morocco; Tangier, Morocco; Dacca, East Pakistan; Istanbul, Turkey; the U.S. Consulates in Isfahan, Iran; Port Said, Egypt; and Chiang Mai, Thailand; and the U.S. mission in West Berlin.
    A number of companies provided cover for CIA operatives, including Litton Industries, Boeing Corp., Hughes Aircraft, Rand Corporation. Marconi Telegraph-Cable Company; General Electric; Eastman Kodak; and RCA.
    The smallest CIA stations at the time were one-man operations in Vaduz, Liechtenstein; Monaco; and Antarctica.
    One familiar name listed in the book is that of Peter Earnest, now director of the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. His past assignments are listed as Athens, Nicosia, Cyprus, as well as Langley, Virginia. Last month, President Obama, the First Lady, and their daughter Sasha paid a surprise visit to the International Spy Museum.

    And now why is there NO total riot rightwing media assault — marathon ‘Obamaspy‘ scandal — instead of silence? Unless such TV stonewall is accommodating one of their own totalitarians.

    Riddle: When are Rightist-pretended criticisms of Obama not criticisms?
    Ans.: When they’re ridiculous.

    Palin, Beck, Rush, Rove, Gingrich … bad cop. Obama … good cop.

    They’re all cops, policing their ‘national politics security.’ … as told by pre-recorded television.

    It’s The Phantom of the Opera, redux, en mosque as it weren’t and likely won’t be.


    • cocktailhag says:

      Well, it would explain a lot, but that’s why it could be hooey. Any story that picks up all the threads too well is always to be suspected. Fox does it all the time.

  6. You raise several quite useful points. Well worth a read through. I’ve sent your website through to friends