Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Can You Just Stop Working Me? -- UPDATE

"Can you stop working me for ten seconds straight?  Drop the whole 'concerned dad' thing and tell me the truth…"
-- Jesse Pinkman, Breaking Bad
A long time ago, when I was a young driftglass, I worked for a large, red insurance company in downtown Chicago. At that time, many of America's biggest industrial unions were in steep decline and the union movement was aggressively trying to make inroads with clerks, secretaries, assistants, stenos, mail room stoners and every other species of desk jockey which once used to roam the wide open office spaces of America, as  common as IBM Selectrics.

Of the many wounds from which Big Labor was bleeding during that period, one of the more notable was mostly self-inflicted:   the longstanding, very ugly and very public association that some prominent unions had with the mob.  This made organizing office peons like me -- who labored in air-conditioned comfort, and already enjoyed (thanks to unions) weekends and holidays off, decent benefits, a 40 hour week, paid overtime and relatively safe working conditions -- an even more uphill battle than it otherwise might have been.

When it came down to choosing sides, on the one hand, I knew any number of union guys who were lazy, overpaid, racist assholes.  On the other hand, I came from a union home and knew first-hand how much good the labor movement had done for my family specifically and the middle class generally.  So I let both sides make their cases, which is the point at which management lost me entirely.


Because they wouldn't stop working me.

They wouldn't stop exaggerating. They wouldn't stop lying.  If we signed up with the union, "Big Tuna" Accardo would be my boss.  I'd be jacking cars before the year was out just to keep my job.  The mob would rough up my parents.  Make my brother a junkie and turn my sister out to work the streets!

Their wildly over-the-top,  OMFG-horse-head-in-your-bed! conniptions

were so transparently manipulative -- so insulting to my intelligence -- that it I stopped listening and started laughing.

Because why in the world would I listen to anyone who was frantically trying to sell me a team membership while at the same time making it perfectly clear that he felt the only way he could get me to join his team was to lie-lie-lie to me?

And as phenomenally dumb as that strategy is, if you're really Hell-bent on making a bad situation oh so much worse, you can always resort to hysterically screaming "Stooge!  Fraud!  Cultist!" at people who simply take issue with being lied to.

You have a case to make?

Then make it.  Here's a decent example of how it's done:
Obama’s flawed case for a Syria strike
By Ari Melber SEPTEMBER 3, 2013

We should not bomb Syria without a vital national security interest and a precise foreign policy objective.

Right now, the Obama administration has not established either.

Under the United States’ legal and historical precedents, a president faces the highest burden for justifying military attacks that are essentially optional: actions not required for self-defense and which are not in response to an attack on the United States — or imminent threat of such attack.  Intervening in the Syrian civil war fits that difficult category.

Even supporters of Syrian intervention do not claim it is required for U.S. security, since the Assad regime has not directly attacked the United States or its interests. In fact, the mission’s stated goal doesn’t attempt to qualify as traditional self-defense. The aim is to “prevent or deter” Syria from killing its citizens with chemical weapons, according to the Obama administration’s original draft resolution.

The White House has every right to make the humanitarian case for intervention, a rationale pressed earnestly in Bosnia and dishonestly in Iraq. This altruistic argument, however, has rarely provided the sole policy or legal justification for a proactive attack on a sovereign nation. That’s true both in American history and under international law. Given that context, the administration’s piecemeal case for limited intervention is particularly hard to accept.
You want to lose me in a hurry?

Then keep working me as if I were an easily-frightened halfwit.


Because some people don't know how to use The Google, here is a quick refresher on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Explanatory Memorandum definition of "crimes against humanity":
Crimes against humanity..."are particularly odious offenses in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of human beings." They are not isolated or sporadic events, but are part either of a government policy (although the perpetrators need not identify themselves with this policy) or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority. Murder; extermination; torture; rape; political, racial, or religious persecution and other inhumane acts reach the threshold of crimes against humanity only if they are part of a widespread or systematic practice. 


Anonymous said...

Picture if you will...the future.
National interest, strategic goals, blah..blah..blah..
I have spent the last 5 years being clubbed over the head because maybe 100? maybe less? civilian casualties? inflicted as a side effect to killing people whose stated life's goal..is to kill me and everyone I know.
Now ..thousands of people will die, needless, horrific, painful beyond description deaths...because...why?
We cant get our collective shit together long enough as a country to intervene?
Just stop...for gods sakes. Stop the political maneuvering, stop the disinterested hyperbole..stop.
These are real people...dieing in excruciating ways, you can not imagine.
Real people.
Syrian ...is just a word.

Anonymous said...

Signed blackdaug

dinthebeast said...

Your union story reminds me of the anti-drug propaganda they aimed at us in grade school in the late '60s/early'70s: If it hadn't been such obviously overblown bullshit, more of us would have listened.
But the way they presented it, it did more harm than good, because it was so obviously lies, very few of us believed the actual good information they built their dramatic lies around.
More of us would still be around today if we had.

-Doug in Oakland

Anonymous said...

Says the blogger who exaggerates and engages in hyperbole: "Stop exaggerating and engaging in hyperbole, because it makes me have a sad, and then I will have to take Dick Cheney's side on everything!"

Oh well, maybe that's an exaggeration.

Anonymous said...

Just a few posts ago, Jesse Pinkman was your model for the shoutycrackers right wing. Now it's apparently you.

Compound F said...

Oh, come off it! Everyone has been saying our attacking Syria would be a war crime for a very long fucking time. And it would be! You're just complaining that, "Oh, here's how a decent person criticizes war crimes!"

Fuck the fuck off. You're acting like a half-wit partisan fuck. And mebbe that's all you are.

Jiminy fuggin Christmas. Now you've become David Gregory.

Anonymous said...

Compound f proves the point. Drift glass is David Gregory? You are really persuasive...at making me glaze over your future posts.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

"Everyone" has been saying that? That's a pretty extensive claim. And pretty easily disproven.

You're acting like a half-wit partisan fuck

Stop working us. Hold off on the hand-wringing, the intemperate name-calling, and frenzied conniptions.

Pink No More said...

Anonymous pants-pissers and screaming Greenrubes trying desperately to link something - ANYTHING - this admin does with a Truly Terrible Crime so as to stop That Negro Who Won't Listen To His Rich White Angry Male Betters and his obviously-paid-shill DG.

Same old same old.

Keith said...


It could be argued, in response to the Ari Melber quote in re Syria, that the Obama administration does have national security interest and a foreign policy objective in that keeping their word about the consequences of certain Syrian actions is both. Leaders who routinely make threats they fail to followup on ruins credibility, like Kim Jong Il and Kimi Jong Un and a host of others.

I'm not suggesting that it is enough of a reason to go and attack Syria, just that the argument could be made that it is in our interest to do so.

Perhaps this is one instance where a politician should have been more opaque.

Anonymous said...

Regarding crimes against humanity:

Initiating a war of aggression is the ultimate atrocity.

The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, which followed World War II, called the waging of aggressive war "essentially an evil thing...to initiate a war of aggression...is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

Anonymous said...

Are you spinning or are you being spun?

The intelligence community's main center for analyzing all issues relating to weapons of mass destruction is the CIA's Office of Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation and Arms Control (WINPAC) Center. It is the same center that tilted the 2002 Iraq estimate toward conclusions that were not supported by technical facts. As the Robb-Silverman report on the Iraq WMD intelligence fiasco pointed out, intelligence analysts at WINPAC explained to the staff privately that they had reversed the normal intelligence analysis burden of proof and operated on the assumption that Iraq did have WMD programs.