Friday, September 28, 2018

Fraud Alert

The ONLY authorized seller of Stonekettle Station Merchandise is ME via my Etsy Store.

There are two exceptions to this:

1. Rich Fizzell at Prairie Art Metal (on Etsy), who is authorized to sell certain products using my logo and designs.

2. Shawn Riley at Rounds By Riley (also on Etsy) who is my business partner and the guy who does the lion's share of our pen manufacturing).

The following screenshots are fraudulent products:





These sites and manufacturers are not authorized to sell products with my intellectual property, likeness, or logos.

This is blatant theft of my intellectual property.

I'm in the process of trying to get these sites taken down, but they are foreign based somewhere in Indonesia and it's a slow and cumbersome process. Some of the sites have California based contact information. That's a front, working through fake email addresses, proxies, and rerouted phone numbers.

The attached screenshots are only a few of the sites I've managed to run down, there are likely more (and if you come across one, please let me know). It's all the same outfit, despite the various fronts, operating via anonymous PayPal accounts and using various falsified social media profiles to target my audience. So far, they are operating mostly on Twitter, but I do see accounts active on Facebook and elsewhere (and if you think social media sites like Twitter and PayPal are at all helpful in policing this kind of crime on their platforms, I've got a T-shirt to sell you). They have also attempted to hack my various accounts, but since I use 2-factor authentication on every site, they have so far been unable to do so. It also appears that when I reported these various sites to Twitter last night, the operators of the sites began reporting me in an attempt to get my Twitter account suspended. I'm not sure, but they may have attempted to do this to my Facebook account as well. As of this morning, the fraudulent accounts are still active and Twitter has, unsurprisingly, taken no action.


If you get a message or see a post purporting to be me advertising this stuff for sale, it's not me. You are being targeted by thieves using my image and brand.

This is a fraud.

It's not cute or funny or flattering or fair use. It's theft. It's a crime. These people are stealing from me (and from thousands of other businesses and artists).

If you attempt to buy from this outfit, you may or may not actually receive a product, and that product will be significantly inferior to what I sell, with a poorly printed copy of my material. I can't stop you from doing it, but if I see you on the street wearing knockoff Stonekettle apparel, you and I are going have some words.

Snark aside, moreover and more importantly, in order to save yourself a (very) few bucks, you will have given a foreign criminal enterprise your personal information and PayPal/Credit Card information. You might want to think about that before you buy this stuff.

If you want to support me, then buy ONLY from my store. This one: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Stonekettle.

If you see pirated versions of my products or what you think might be unauthorized reproductions of my my written material, I always appreciate a heads up. Please given me a link and as much info on the miscreant as you can and I'll take it from there.

Thank you.

Thursday, September 6, 2018


I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations…
-- Anonymous, OpEd, New York Times, September 9, 2018

The Left.

Fake News.

The Swamp.

Witch Hunt.

The Deep State.

Anonymous Sources.

The Shadow Government.

Seems everyone is out to get Trump.


There’s a moment for most people.

It’s part of growing up. The foundation of emotional maturity. The basis of rational adulthood, that moment.

Not everybody gets there. Not everyone has that moment. No. Not everyone. We all have that one needy friend who lives a life of endless self-inflicted disaster. Bad investments. Bad relationships. Bad decisions. Their life is an ongoing car wreck and they just never seem to learn. They show up with a new partner and you know in the first second how it’ll go. You can see it in the date’s eyes. Selfish. Stupid. Too much money and not enough sense – or maybe not enough of either. Entitled. Spoiled. Emotionally crippled. And you’re like, goddammit, here we go again. You can see the whole thing, you know how it’ll play out. The relationship will go down in flames, smoke, wreckage, like a gut-shot B-17 auguring in over 1944 Berlin. You know exactly how it’ll end: on your couch, wailing “what’s wrong with me?”

What’s wrong with you?

You’re a goddammed child. That’s what’s wrong. You just never seem to reach that moment, the moment the rest of us face, the moment when you realize all those shitty horrible relationships you keep finding yourself in, all of those shitty terrible situations, all of the shitty misery that keeps piling up on your pointy head, all of that, the one thing all of that has in common is … you.

You’re the problem.

So, stop doing it. Whatever it takes, stop doing it. Stop being that person. Stop it.

Sooner or later, most of us realize we’re doing it to ourselves.

That’s the moment.

And we stop.

It’s part of growing up. Part of emotional maturity. Part of being a rational, reasonably happy, functioning adult. Stop hurting yourself.

But not everybody gets there. And even if you do, you always have that one person in your life who doesn’t.

Sooner or later, you have to slap some goddamned sense into these people or, for your own sanity, cut them loose – because they are your shitty relationship. 

That’s America.

That’s who America is, your needy friend, crying on your couch.

And that’s Trump, America’s shitty boyfriend. Selfish. Self centered. Stupid. Too much money and not enough goddamned sense. Entitled. Spoiled. Emotionally stunted. And you can see the whole thing, can’t you? You know how it’s going to play out. You just hope that when it goes down, when it finally crashes and burns, when it augers in, you can avoid being killed in the falling wreckage.

You might be able to slap some sense into your friend, America, but not Trump. Not Trump. He can’t see it. He just doesn’t get it.

Trump doesn't get it.

He can’t get it.

He can’t get it because it’s not possible for him to get it. He’s damaged, crippled by his wealth and privilege. He's pathologically incapable of getting it and his comments this morning are another example of just how thoroughly Trump does not get it.

“The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy…”


No. It’s not the media. It’s not any “Deep State.” It’s not the Left. It’s not any shadowy conspiracy in the White House – though there are certainly forces conspiring against Trump. Hell, I’m one of them. I’m America’s friend, telling her to cut this loser off, kick him to the curb, throw him the hell out and change the locks, do it, before it’s too late. Again.

Goddammit, America, stop hurting yourself.

I’m reminded of Jenkins.

That’s right, Jenkins.

See, Jenkins was that guy. Emotionally stunted. Spoiled. Self-centered. Stupid. Goddamn was he stupid. The only thing Jenkins cared about was basketball. It’s all he ever talked about. It was his go-to move, every time. No matter what. If you were talking about some thing, politics, technology, whatever, that Jenkins didn’t understand, or wasn’t interested in, he’d interrupt with basketball. He never paid attention to anything anybody said, he just waited for a moment to bring up basketball. His wife sat home every night while he was out playing basketball with the fellas. Or she sat in the bedroom while he watched basketball on TV in the living room. At work, we’d be in the middle of some complex military evolution and Jenkins would interrupt to ask if anybody had seen the game last night. I was his supervisor. I’d yell at him, Goddammit, Jenkins, pay attention, you’re gonna get people killed. Yeah, he’d answer, but how about that game, right? Jenkins never got advanced. He couldn’t score high enough on the test. He couldn’t get good enough evaluations. He’d come to me crying, having been passed over for promotion yet again. What’s wrong with me? Well, I’d start… Hey, he’d interrupt, you see the game last night? His wife eventually left him for some other guy who paid attention to her. Jenkins never saw it coming, of course he didn’t. He could tell you the stats of every Hall of Famer, but didn’t know how miserable his own wife was. So she left him. Guy was wrecked. What are you gonna do, he’s one of your people. Hey, man, it’ll be OK. Jenkins broke down crying, I don’t know what happened! What’s wrong with me? Hey … did any of your guys catch the game last night?

He just never got it.

He wasn’t capable of getting it. He was emotionally stunted. Broken in some way and unfixable. He didn’t know how to listen. He didn’t know how to lead. He didn’t even know what questions to ask and he wasn’t willing to learn. And so he lived a life of loud misery.

He never figured out that he was the cause of all of his problems.

Rather than face it, he kept trying to change the narrative. Hey, fellas, how about the game last night, huh?

And as a result, his problems always became my problem, our problem, the unit’s problem – until he got himself thrown out of the service.

Look at this:


"Cosumer [sic] confidence highest in 18 years, Atlanta Fed forecasts 4.7 GDP, manufacturing jobs highest in many years. “It’s the story of the Trump Administration, the Economic Success, that’s unnerving his detractors.” @MariaBartiromo"

Consumer confidence?

What the hell? What’s consumer confidence have to do with anything? Right now, this moment, the country is afire with rumors of chaos in an unmoored, drifting White House helmed by a self-centered lunatic and instead of facing that head on, Trump is talking about consumer confidence and hey, fellas, how about the game last night, huh?

Hey! Jenkins, you idiot, pay attention! You’re gonna get people killed.

Trump is not just off on a tangent. He pivoted to the economy, as he always does when faced with criticism. That’s his move, his basketball fake, the economy. But it’s more than that. Notice how he always quotes Fox News, but not his own Administration?

Why is that?

Where is Bartiromo getting these numbers? From the Consumer Confidence Board, right? Probably. That’s typically where the Consumer Confidence Index numbers come from. The board is an independent (supposedly) research organization, which attempts to quantify the level of optimism in American consumers based on the opinions of 50,000 households. The Consumer Confidence Index is 40% opinion, 60% Wall Street expectations, and some mumbo-jumbo, smoke, and a couple of rainbows thrown in for leavening. The CCI is considered a leading indicator of economic trends and it’s used by the Federal Reserve when determining interest rates and, naturally, it’s watched pretty closely by stock exchanges around the world.

So, why then doesn't Trump quote the CCB directly?

Or the Federal Reserve?

Or his own Department of Commerce? The Treasury. Anybody in his own administration. Why is he quoting Fox News?

Why? Because he doesn’t even know where the information he’s quoting actually comes from. He doesn’t know how to get it. He doesn’t even know who to talk to in his own administration. And nobody is stepping up. Nobody.

Most of all, he doesn’t really know what it means, so he needs somebody like Maria Bartiromo to whore it up with some flattery because he can’t do it himself. It’s just something he saw on the infotainment channel he watches and he threw it into the public narrative because he doesn’t have any goddamned idea what else to say. It's a pattern, he first attempts to discredit whatever the day's leading story is, Deep State, Fake News, Shadow Government, and then every time pivots to the economy filtered through his pet media outlet. Hey, fellas, did you see the game last night?

It's ironic, isn't it?

Trump daily complains about the news media, who he says doesn't really have the inside scoop on his administration…

…and then, instead of quoting his own staff, his own agencies, his own experts, his own government, he always, every time, presents information filtered through the media instead.

Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.
-- Anonymous, Editorial, NYT

He can’t see it.

He doesn’t get it.

And of course he does this because he doesn't have the attention span to sit through detailed briefings from his own people or the mental rigor to review in detail the reports from his own administration or the education and experience to know what questions to ask. Instead he gets his entire worldview from TV, filtered through a corporate agenda specifically tailored to get his attention, like a parent jiggling keys in front of a baby or a porn star jiggling her … well, you get the idea. This warped worldview is then reinforced by a stable of his own toadies and ass-kissers who tell him only what he wants to hear.

This is an incredibly dangerous situation for a president.

And a very, very dangerous situation for any nation.

It echoes the final days of any totalitarian regime where the leader retreats to his Eagle's Nest or Wolf's Lair or Spider Hole and ignores the rumble of approaching defeat for the comforting lies of his own propaganda.


"The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy - & they don’t know what to do. The Economy is booming like never before, Jobs are at Historic Highs, soon TWO Supreme Court Justices & maybe Declassification to find Additional Corruption. Wow!"

Wow, indeed.

Insulated from reality, Rich Business Guy crows about the economy. Money, Right? It's the only thing that matters to him and those like him. Money. So long as the economy is booming, what are you peons complaining about? Hey, how about the game last night?

It's a pattern with him.

He lives in an artificial bubble, created partly by himself and partly by those around him -- the ones whose own power and identity are irrevocably tied to Trump's. If he goes down, they go down, and so they work diligently to keep that bubble inflated at all costs. In a way, he is like Pu Yi, the last Emperor of China, a child, isolated inside the Forbidden City, who spends his days playing while others run the nation, unaware that outside the walls is a very, very different and very dangerous world. Of course, the analogy only goes so far, unlike Pu Yi, Trump's power extends far beyond the walls and could easily, in a fit of childish temper or imperial ignorance, destroy us all.

And thus we come to that OpEd in the New York Times.

The one penned by an anonymous member of the Imperial Court.

The one that describes a fool, an emotional cripple, an amoral mad child of a president and a government in chaos.

The one that describes a secret resistance inside the Trump Administration, a cabal of unidentified, unelected, unappointed staffers who daily work to thwart this reckless fool and impose upon America their own agenda.

As somebody noted on my Twitter feed, what is most disturbing about the NYT article is we're all asking who wrote it, not if it's actually true.

Because we all, all of us no matter our political affiliation, we know that it’s true. It can hardly be otherwise. And it is all too likely.

I don’t need to analyze it, or prove its veracity, even if I had the data and the tools to do so.

Trump proves its truth over and over.

This editorial, comes the day after the release of Bob Woodward’s new book – a book written with meticulous care by a trusted legend of the genre and that describes the same situation, the chaos and disarray, in the White House.

A book, even one from a veteran like Woodward, an editorial, even one from The Gray Lady herself, those could be dismissed in isolation. But they are hardly isolated incidents. Everywhere you turn – everywhere but Fox News and its satellites – every source from inside the administration, every former employee, everyone who has to deal with Trump up close and personal, they all paint the same picture.

And Trump himself does nothing to dispel this impression. Because he can’t.

As I type this, literally as I typed the above paragraph, Trump posted this to Twitter:


And there it is.  Look at that.

I mean, you do see it, don’t you?

He’s spent the last two days, the last year of his presidency, denying that any such sources within his administration exist.

He daily rails against “fake news” and says repeatedly that “anonymous sources” don’t really exist.




And yet, at the end of the day, he demands to know the source’s identity.


You don’t demand the name of the source, you don’t demand the source be turned over to the government for “national security purposes” (at once!), if you believe that source doesn’t really exist.

Trump knows.

He knows the New York Times editorial is true.

He knows Woodward’s book paints a true picture.

We all know it. And I don’t know what’s more of a danger to the Republic, this buffoon of a president or some unelected cabal pulling the strings.

Trump has lost control, if indeed he ever had such – which I doubt. And he can’t figure out why all of these bad things keep happening to him.

It’s not the the Left, or Fake News, or The Swamp, or any Witch Hunt. There is no Deep State. And it’s not anonymous sources who are the problem.

It’s Trump.

He doesn’t know what to do, because he’s never had that moment, that moment where he takes responsibility for his own life and becomes an adult.

He doesn’t get it. He’s not capable of getting it. He’s intellectually crippled and emotionally stunted. Broken in some way and unfixable. He doesn’t know how to listen. He doesn’t know how to lead. He doesn’t know how to get critical information and he doesn’t even know what questions to ask and he is unwilling and unable to learn. And so he lives a life of loud misery and makes us miserable too.

Worst of all, he can’t seem to figure out that he and he alone is the ultimate cause of all of his problems.

He can’t face it. So he keeps trying to change the narrative.

Hey, fellas, how about the game last night, huh?

And unfortunately for us, his problems become our problems.

Trump is America’s Jenkins.

There is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first. But the real difference will be made by everyday citizens rising above politics, reaching across the aisle and resolving to shed the labels in favor of a single one: Americans.
Anonymous, Editorial, NYT

Monday, September 3, 2018

Labor Day 2018

As we celebrate Labor Day, we honor the men and women who fought tirelessly for workers' rights, which are so critical to our strong and successful labor force.
-- Elizabeth Esty


Happy Labor Day.

Our Country is doing better than ever before with unemployment setting record lows.

The U.S. has tremendous upside potential as we go about fixing some of the worst Trade Deals ever made by any country in the world.

Big progress being made.

Big progress.

That’s what the President of the United States said. “Happy Labor Day! Our country is doing better than ever before with unemployment setting record lows. The U.S. has tremendous upside potential as we go about fixing some of the worst Trade Deals ever made by any country in the world. Big progress being made!”

Big progress.

Big. Progress.

I guess that would depend on how you define progress, wouldn’t it?

I guess that would depend on how you define “better.”

Donald Trump has absolutely no idea what Labor Day actually is or what it’s supposed to celebrate.

He literally has no idea at all.


The worker in America is doing better than ever before.


Define “better.”

Define “big progress being made.”

It matters, those definitions.

But we’ll come back to that.

This isn’t Business Day.

This isn’t CEO Day.

This isn’t Stockholder Day.

This isn’t Trade Deal Day or Gross Domestic Product Day or Wall Street Day.

It’s Labor Day.

And it’s Labor Day for a reason. It’s Labor Day, it’s about labor, it’s about the American worker, it’s about history, because a century ago, those who labored in this country lived radically different, and far worse, lives.

In 1918, the United States was in the middle of the Second Industrial Revolution. 

It was a time of war, and wonder, and ever advancing technology.


It began with steel, the Bessemer process to be specific, a cheap and easy way to mass produce strong and reasonably lightweight metals.  Strong lightweight steel was the skeleton of the modern age, the core of everything from the new cars to steamships and oil rigs to utensils and lunchboxes, to the machines that manufactured the future.  A few years before, in 1911, a tall skinny fellow by the name of Eugene Ely landed a Curtiss #2 Pusher on the deck of USS Pennsylvania and took off again – and thus was born naval aviation, a profound moment that would change the very way wars were fought and thus change almost everything else too and the effects of which are still being felt to this very day.  Steel built those ships, the industrial revolution built those airplanes, labor built that mighty military.

If you were moderately wealthy, you could buy a Cadillac with an electric starter.

If you weren’t, you could still maybe afford a Model T. Despite the fact that there were still plenty of horses out there on the roads, the car had become so ubiquitous and affordable that Michigan created the first modern roads when the state started painting white lines down the middle of the more heavily traveled avenues. 

Though many factories were still powered by steam, electricity was no longer a novelty.  The first modern public elevator began operation in London, England, and soon became common everywhere – leading directly to the modern city skyline.  America was booming. Her factories were churning out new products at a record pace. The western frontier had all but disappeared – oh, there were still a few bandits and cattle rustlers out there, but the wild woolly west was long gone.  The gold rushes, the boom towns and gun fights were long over.  Hell, by 1915 Wyatt Earp was living in Hollywood and working as a consultant for the new movie industry.

It was certainly a marvelous time.

If you could afford it.

If you lived through it.

See, those churning factories were horrible places. 

In 1918, most were still powered by a massive central steam engine which drove an enormous flywheel, which in turn powered shafts and belts and pulleys, which finally powered the machines.  And though, as noted above, electricity was becoming increasingly common, most of those factories were dark and poorly lit – typically illumination was sunlight through skylights and banks of single pane glazed windows.  Often boiling hellholes in the summer and freezing dungeons in the winter – both air conditioning and central heating were still decades away and all those single pane windows didn’t do much to keep out either the cold or the heat. Those factories were filled with smoke and poisonous fumes from the various manufacturing processes, lead vapor, heavy metals, acids, chlorine, bleaches, all were common.  Normal working hours were from dawn to dusk, typically anywhere from twelve to fourteen hours a day, sixty and seventy hours per week for wages that would barely pay the rent and put food on a factory worker’s table.

Child labor was common, especially in the textile industry, though in some states there were supposed to be laws regulating it.  The kids toiled right alongside their parents.  The children typically worked the same hours as adults, but for a quarter, or less, of the pay.  Pictures of the time show children working barefoot among the machines, ragged sleeves flapping near the flying belts and spinning pulleys.  Whole families hired out to the factories, the men doing the heavy labor, the women and children doing the more delicate tasks.

Towns sprang up around the mills, often controlled by the factory owners. Company towns, where workers very often became little more than indentured servants.  Though life in a company town was often better than the alternative on the streets of places like Hell’s Kitchen or out in the hellishly hot cotton and peanut fields of the South. Company towns gave workers a higher standard of living than they would otherwise be able to afford. But the running joke was that while your soul might belong to God, your ass belonged to the company.  Mill towns and mining towns and factory towns and logging towns were common across America, places where the company owned everything from your house to your job to the church you prayed in to the store you bought your food from. And prices were whatever made the company the most profit and in many places there were laws that prevented you from renting or buying outside the company town.  The company might pay you a decent wage for the time, but they got a lot of it back too.  Get crosswise of the company and you lost it all.  Get injured on the job and could no longer work, and you lost it all. Get sick, and you could lose it all.  Get killed, and your family was out on the street.  There was no workman’s comp. No insurance. No retirement but what you managed to save – and since you probably owed a significant debt to the company store, your savings were unlikely to go very far.

Of course, you could always take a pass on factory work and return to the land. 

In 1918, millions of Americans were farmers.  Farming was hard backbreaking work (it still is, just in a different way) – so hard that seventy hours a week in a smoke filled factory with a high probability of getting maimed or killed looked pretty good in comparison.  Most of those farmers, especially in the South, didn’t own their fields. They were sharecroppers, living in conditions little better than slavery or the serfdom of the Dark Ages.  Of the small farmers who did own their own land or rather owed the bank for their own land, more than half lived in abject poverty.  In the coming decade, the decade of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, most would lose everything.

Most of America was powered by coal in those days and if there was anything that would make life in a factory town or in the sweltering fields look good, it was working in a West Virginia coal mining town.  It was a race to see what would kill you first, explosion, cave-in, or the black lung.  And just like in the fields and factories, children worked alongside their parents – if they had parents, orphanages were also common. And orphan labor was even cheaper than the average child laborer, both in life and in pay. Renting out orphan labor was a good gig, if you could get it.

In September of 1918, Americans were fighting in the trenches of France and Belgium. Europe was engulfed in the first world war and America had finally joined them. Things were winding down, but it would go on for another two months. You could join up, be a soldier, there was still time to go fight and die in a foreign land.

You could always become a merchant seaman, though life at sea was damned rough.

You could move west and become a logger, though you’d probably live longer in the mines of West Virginia or on the battlefields of Europe.

You could still be a cowboy, or a cop, or carpenter, none which paid worth a good Goddamn, or offered any benefits, or much in the way of a future.

Since people got sick and injured a lot, and most couldn’t afford even rudimentary medical care, many turned to patent medicines.  The pharmaceutical industry was only loosely regulated, but by 1918 there were some few laws in a handful of states regulating the more outrageous claims for the various elixirs. The big medicine shows were gone, but there were still plenty of drug store shelves stocked with hundreds of varieties of patent medicines. Some were mostly benign, like Coca-Cola. And some were downright toxic, like Radithor, made from water and radioactive radium.  As late as 1917, The Rattlesnake King, Clark Stanley, was still making Stanley’s Snake Oil, a worthless mixture of mineral oil, turpentine, and red pepper, and fleecing sick people out of their money and making them yet sicker (hell, as late as the 1960’s TV’s commercials touted the benefits of smoking for sore throats. And, as late as 1970 there were still X-ray foot measuring devices that would give you cancer, in use in a handful of shoe stores across America).

In 1918, only a few states mandated that your kids attend school, and then only through elementary. 

In the South segregation and Jim Crow Laws were in full force and civil rights were decades away. Lynching was as common as sharecropping. 

Women could actually vote in six states.

In 1918, maybe three out of ten Americans could ever expect to own a home, most would pay a landlord their whole lives. Middleclass suburbia was a generation and another War World away. Few had any rights in those relationships either, you paid the owner and you lived with what you got or you got thrown out.

In 1918, a lot of Americans were hungry. More than fifty percent of seniors lived in poverty, but then the average lifespan was only about fifty-five, maybe sixty if you hadn’t been breathing coal dust or lead vapor all your life.  Few of those seniors had pensions, most lived on the charity of their families – if they were lucky enough to have families.  Sanatoriums were a common place for the aged and infirm to spend their brief final years, stacked like cordwood, forgotten, warehoused.

In 1918, if you had ten kids, you might expect six of them to survive to adulthood.  If you were lucky. Polio, tuberculosis, measles, mumps, pneumonia, whooping cough, hard labor in the mines and factories and fields, lack of social safety nets, lack of proper nutrition, lead paint, food poisoning, poverty, orphaned by parents killed by the same, would probably claim at least four of those kids. Likely more.

Ironically, people from that generation always wax nostalgic for The Good Old Days.

And then they immediately proceed to tell you why life was so much harder and more miserable back then.

The simple truth of the matter is nowadays we Americans live a pretty damned good life.  And we live that good life because since 1918 we’ve put systems and laws and regulations in place to improve life for all of us.  Programs like Social Security and Medicare have a direct and measurable effect on how long we live, and how well. Regulations governing working conditions and workplace safety have a direct and measurable effect on the probability that we’ll survive to retirement.  Laws that prevent the rich from owning a whole town, or abusing workers, or turning them into indentured servants, or hiring children at pauper’s wages to maintain the machines in their bare feet, have directly benefitted all but the most greedy few.

And those systems were put in place because labor fought for them, sometimes, often, at the cost of their very lives.

It is a measure of just how far we’ve come, and just how big an impact that those laws, regulations, and social safety programs have had, that those who directly benefit the most can complain with full bellies just how terrible they have it.

It is a measure of how far we’ve come, and the danger of complacency, that those who don’t remember that history, who again work for less than a living wage, without benefit, without safety nets, without recourse, have been convinced by the wealthy, by business, by politicians, that they don’t need them.

Things like a 40 hour work week, Social Security, Medicare, Workman’s Compensation Insurance, The Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance, child labor laws, federal minimum wage, occupational health and safety standards, the Environmental Protection Agency, The Centers for Disease Control, The departments of Education and Health, Labor Unions and workers’ rights, and yes, even Welfare, all of these things were created for a reason. For a good reason. For compelling reasons.

But if you don’t remember history, then you’ll never know those reasons.

And you will be ever at the mercy of the powerful and greedy.

That’s what this day is supposed to be about.

Because, you see, these protections, those systems, those safety nets, they were created because when you leave it up to the church and charity to feed the hungry and clothe the poor and heal the sick, a hell of a lot of people go hungry and cold and ill. 

It is really just that brutally simple.

These things were created because when you leave it up to charity and family to take care of old people, a hell of a lot of old people end up stacked like cordwood in institutions.

The moldering remnants of such places are all around us.

These things were put in place because when you leave it up to devoutly righteous people who go to church every Sunday to decide what is right and proper and moral, you end up with lynchings and segregation and Jim Crow. And that is a Goddamned fact.

These things were created because when you leave it up to people to save for their retirement or a rainy day or for accident and infirmity, a hell of a lot of them don’t, or can’t, or won’t.

These things were put in place because when you leave it solely up to the market to weed out poor products and fake medicine and unsafe machines, the market doesn’t, or can’t, or won't, and it’s perfectly happy to go right on killing people for profit.

These things were put in place because when you leave it up to industrialists and share holders to treat their workers with dignity and respect and to pay them a living wage for their hard work, you get indentured servitude. Every. Time. Every single time.

These things were put in place because when you leave it up to the factory owners to decide wages and safety and working hours, you get this:

When you leave it solely up to bankers and the factory owners and the industrialists and the politicians, well, Sir, then what happens is they end up owning it all and you get the privilege of paying them to eat out of their garbage can.

And for most of history, right up until very recently, that’s exactly how it was.

Lately there are a lot of folks who think they want to live in 1918, rather than in 2018.

And that is because they have forgotten, or never knew, the history of labor in this country.

And nowhere is this foolishness more evident than the White House. In the mindset that put this buffoon in the White House.


Happy Labor Day! Our country is doing better than ever before with unemployment setting record lows. The U.S. has tremendous upside potential as we go about fixing some of the worst Trade Deals ever made by any country in the world. Big progress being made!

On this Labor Day, Trump attacks labor and crows about profits.

This day isn’t about profit.

And there is far more to labor than employment.

The worker in America is doing better than ever before, that’s what Trump said this morning.

Define “better.”

Define “progress.”

As I said above, it matters, those definitions.

It matters a great deal. It matters because there is an enormous difference in how the wealthy, in how a guy who was born rich and who has never labored a single day in his privileged life, defines “better” and “big progress” and how somebody who works 60 hours a week on the line without a living wage, without healthcare, without benefits, with a paycheck that has stayed flat for the last three decades while CEO salaries have increased more than 900% defines “better” and “big progress.”

Better, progress, those words are defined very, very differently by those who live in the manor house and to those who labor in the fields.

Trump has no idea what this day is about and he is utterly ignorant the history which led to it.

Why would he?

Why would Donald J. Trump know that history?

For him, for those like him, it’s right there in his own words, money, profit, business. That’s all that matters.

But this day was created to remind America of its history, to remember the security and safeties put in place – often at very, very high cost – specifically to protect labor from business, from unfettered greed, from the wealthy.

From those exactly like Donald Trump.

My grandfather once told me there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to be in the first group; there was much less competition.
-- Indira Gandhi