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By Tom Cushing

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About this blog: The Raucous Caucus shares the southpaw perspectives of this Boomer on the state of the nation, the world, and, sometimes, other stuff. I enjoy crafting it to keep current, and occasionally to rant on some issue I care about deeply...  (More)

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How much is enough?

Uploaded: Nov 16, 2013
I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in a few years this week on BART. He's about my age, a career professional and marathoner, a programmer who worked for a global telecom company – an outfit with $7.2 billion in 2012 net income. He'd been laid-off two years ago. He's bagging groceries at Safeway – it's all he can find.

Now, before you turn the virtual page and dismiss his personal calamity as probably deserved, or just one of those things, kindly consider this: what if you're wrong about him and his situation? And what if the bell tolls for your career next? Most folks' grip on the middle class is more fragile than any of us would want to believe. There, but for grace ?

There's a drama unfolding to the north that bears on this topic, which I will broadly call the hollowing-out of the middle class. I wrote on an aspect of the phenomenon early in this bloggery series, in the parable of the last cookie – unhealthy wealth migration toward the top has only gotten worse since that time ('unhealthy' used to reflect the fact that a consumer economy relies on a vibrant middle class to buy its stuff). This particular incident arises in the context of Boeing's ongoing strife with the International Association of Machinists (IAM) union representing workers in its assembly plants.

As the world's leading aerospace company with $82 billion in sales and over $7B in core operating earnings in 2012 (plus a $400B orders backlog), Boeing is often held-out as a paragon of enduring US manufacturing prowess. It located and grew in the Pacific Northwest to take advantage of cheap electricity provided by massive public investments in hydroelectric power along the Columbia River. Boeing employs 172K workers, almost half of that total in Washington State. It pays solid wages: machinists earn up to $80K; the CEO took home $27.5 million last year (lest we forget, that '.5' alone is five-hundred thousand dollars – thus, it deserves to not be rounded).

Boeing also has a particularly contentious relationship with those workers, especially the machinists. Collective Bargaining Agreements being typically three years, strikes have been a regular triennial event in Rainier country. After the most recent edition in 2010, the company announced that it was adding an assembly line for its 787 Dreamliner in its newly acquired plant in South Carolina, a right-to-work state. It is no coincidence that Boeing acquired that site immediately after the workers there had decertified their former union: the same IAM that represents the Washington machinists. The company stated publicly that the move was precipitated by the disruptive effects of past and prospective strikes.

The NLRB promptly brought unfair labor practice charges, which, depending on your politics, were either an unprecedented power grab or business as usual – the labor law system working precisely as it was designed to do. Those charges were dropped later that year, after the two sides settled their contract differences.

At current issue is the company's announced plan to seek alternatives for building a new factory to assemble the prospective model 777X passenger plane, coincident with this year's bargaining. Having extracted $8.7B from the state in tax avoidance, and $.5B in government-sponsored training (.5 meaning $500 million this time), the company has sought to extract wage, pension and benefits give-backs from its union over a now seven-year contract offer. Just this week, the union defiantly voted 2-1 to reject that opportunity, and Boeing is jetting off to go shopping.

Is this just Detroit, chapter next, with workers asked to pitch-in together with management to save the company from drowning in red ink? Clearly not – Boeing is immensely profitable, and the CEO does, after all, already pull-down 344X the comp of the best-paid among the rank-and-file. Boeing is doing it because they can (Come to think of it, 344X is a kind of a snappy name for a new Boeing jet model).

So that begs the question: to whom do the Boeing execs answer? As recounted in John Cassidy's brilliant post-Enron review of the subject,CEOs used to be the ultimate bureaucrats, beholden to numerous interests: customers, suppliers, investors, employees, communities and, ultimately, to society at-large by means of an unwritten 'social contract.' They were paid that way, too – an inflation-adjusted pittance compared to today's business behemoths.

That all began to change in the 1970s, as corporate raiders recognized that such a model led to under-valued assets – companies were less than the sum of their parts, and could be dismembered and sold for a profit. By the 1980s, with that succinctly brazen Gordon Gecko slogan in their hearts, if not on their lips, corporate boards began directing their CEOs to use stockholders and share price as their sole guide star, and rewarded them handsomely for it. Having just one primary success criterion, and such a personally profitable one at that, has laser-focused the minds of execs. Profits and productivity have exploded, and terms like downsizing, outsourcing and give-backs have entered the lexicon. Capital looms large and in-charge; employee interests – unionized or not – are in severe retreat.

So I am confident the Boeing execs view themselves as answerable to the shareholders, and are single-mindedly doing their bidding. In that insulated setting, "because we can" is a sufficient answer. But in the biggest picture, they've lost track of the fact that somebody needs to be able to fly in those planes. Henry Ford understood it, when he sought to build a car, and pay his workers, at levels that meant those workers could afford to buy one. There is also a bigger picture about why business exists – just to maximize share value, or to serve human needs? In the latter frame, profits are a very big and necessary thing – but they are not the only thing. I return often in my life to the comic wisdom of one Chris Rock: "just because you CAN do something, that doesn't make it a good idea."

I would argue that the larger social context, and Henry Ford-style leadership are required today. Business needs to be more than just the numbers; its titans must account for human effects, as well, and exercise judgment to know when enough really is Enough. The so-called stakeholder model of CEO accountability has regained some traction, but this time it's pushing back against a tide of self-interested rewards. Perhaps the process of pitting communities and people against each other to beggar one's employee pool can come to be viewed as another negative corporate externality, like unregulated pollution. I'm not optimistic that will happen any time soon.

Meanwhile, my programmer friend bags groceries.

Here are a few articles of possible interest, regarding past topics:

Object of Interest: Cheese Powder, a food-like substance: (Blog:
Taking Leave of GRAS)

Disrespect, Race and Obama: (Blogs: Inheriting the Wind, Does Race Matter?)
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Samuel G., a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Nov 16, 2013 at 3:46 pm

So, let's hear it again. Which side are you on, Tom? Oh, that of the owners and CEOs, of course, only you wish, by golly, they'd care as much about the community as you do. Maybe those CEOs make a little too much? Oh, if only this were a perfect world!

Boeing, yes, that company that hasn't so much as sponsored a Little League team in Seattle over the decades its been there. And now, shucks, they're going shopping for cheaper labor? Boy, I wish that weren't so! Y'know, it wasn't like that in the good old days like, um, I dunno, when Reagan was in office. Or Nixon. Or maybe the 1920s? Or the 1890s maybe?

This isn't about the laws of capitalism. Nope. This is about wishing those darned Captains of Industry just didn't by golly make quite so much. Like, heck, give back a .5 million or something. But, really, how much would justice demand? Heck, how should I know? Jeepers creepers, I'm just wishing out loud. You know, up in the air, where pies can be wished for only for the wishing.

And what happened to the Safeway employee, Tom? It seems like you introduced him and then left him high-tailing it with his fellow workers in abject retreat. Is he involved with his union? Is he using his skills in order to help better organize his work peers? Is he working to better organize non-unionized grocery workers? Is he attempting to uplift the dignity of himself and fellow workers, through self empowerment, so they don't get thought of by bloggers and others as losers? Because, you see, after one has actually picked a side, there's the realization that change doesn't come about because some faux liberal sits on his fat fanny and wishes for it. Change only comes from active organization, by grass roots folks and rank and file workers, for grass roots folks and rank and file workers.

Labor in retreat? Hardly. Only if you read the corporate media which reports on Supreme Court decisions and record corporate profits, but precious little about how, say, Walmart workers have set up their own website in order to protect the anonymity of workers across the country who are seeking a more just compensation for their labor than minimum wage and food stamps. Retreat? Hah! Just recently: the 24 hour shut-down of a couple years back by Latino laborers in Cali; fast-food industry workers striking for higher wages; citizens mobilized in Wash DC in order to get local pols to enact a higher minimum wage from employers like Walmart; Walmart workers striking at various Walmart outlets (with nary a word from the corporate media); Bart workers' successful strike. Workers in retreat? Looks that way only if you're a Republican or a faux liberal who swallows hook, line and sinker the Republican Party rhetoric that's disseminated in the corporate media on a 24-7 basis.

So, listen up Waltons! Tom Cushing wishes you'd care more about the community. Maybe enough to put ecologically friendly detergent on your shelves? Naw! But, still, we could all live happily ever after if you guys just, you know, cared a little bit more. What? You say the laws of capitalism demand that survival dictates you should only care about profit? Yeah, but Tom sure wishes you'd reconsider. And then next we'll all join hands in wishful thinking with those beauty queen aspirants who stand on the stage and hope for world peace.

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Nov 17, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Does the G. stand for Gompers?


Posted by Samuel G., a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Nov 17, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Why should my last name concern you, Roz?

I'll not comment on your 'name'. But I do wonder: Do you have an intelligent response to offer? I didn't think so.

Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Nov 18, 2013 at 6:29 am

So, Sam, it?s my turn to sift through the horse apples? Okay, I?ll try ? but I cannot escape my inclination to observe and analyze, as I have wit to see and think. There?s enough hyperbole in the world from its zealots on all sides.

To say that Labor is not in retreat by trotting-out several anecdotes from around the country is to ignore quite dispassionate, non-corporate statistics to the contrary. They reflect that union membership has been in steady decline for 40 years generally, although it has grown in some sectors ? notably the public sector (>50% union in CA). The numbers are very clear ? 40% in the 1950s to 10-12% nationwide now, and about 16% in CA.

There are many causes, including specific and sophisticated management-side anti-union tactics. But I believe that the primary cause has been structural changes to the American economy ? away from a relatively static, one-size-fits-all Industrial Economy, toward what Robert Reich calls ?The Age of the Terrific Deal? ? exactly what you want, cheaper, from anywhere, tomorrow. The new Knowledge Economy rewards speed and agility much more so than sheer size and its economies, such that workers? ?community of interests? that underlie the traditional industrial labor law system are fleeting or absent.

Workers have borne the brunt of this New Age, which, in one sense, is a war on fixed costs. Companies have tried hard to move wages into the variable cost column ? translated, that means job insecurity as a way of life. The American legal system of employment at-will facilitates that approach. So, with traditional unions, despite their very best efforts, being unable to organize New Economy workers broadly, and companies able to easily jettison wages and the workers who earn them, the middle class here is in trouble.

Now, you can also look at globalization as a contributing culprit that entices production to its cheapest locales, and free trade as a facilitator thereof. Unions have not been successful to-date in organizing industries globally, and have lost leverage there, too.

Another absolutely important aspect of the problem relates to the forces that drive corporate decision-making ? to whom do corporate execs answer? That?s the part I happened to focus on. You appear to be willing to assume the venality of corporate execs as The Enemy, a greedy breed apart ? I believe they answer to incentives, which have gone overboard in the direction of kiting short-term shareholder wealth, via stock prices. It?s no accident that workers were better-off in the 1940s-1970s, when CEOs considered them, and the human capital they represent, to be part of their responsibility. That?s not charity, it?s frame of reference. Belittle it if you wish ? there?s no doubt in my mind that it is an important factor in the mix. Change the incentives, you change the frame.

So thanks for your contribution to the conversation. You raise some important points, and your Voice is a useful call in this wilderness. I Could Do with fewer of the lashings-out at me and anyone else who deigns to participate. Bluster, like simultaneously asking and answering ?do you have an intelligent response? I didn?t think so? says a lot more about arrogance than IQ. I also think it may encourage folks to turn the page more than to consider you a font of superior wisdom, especially given its small-mindedness. If you?re after heat, you?ve failed to generate it; why not go for light, instead?

Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville,
on Nov 18, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I tried reading Sam G?s post, but dozed off. What happened after he wrote, ?Jeepers creepers?? Anything interesting?

Tom uses fluffy language like, ?titans must account for human effects,? to describe what needs to be done, but he doesn?t offer any specific proposals.

I believe Tom is saying Boeing should reduce its CEO?s $27.5 million annual pay, and pay that to its employees instead, right?

Personally, I believe CEO pay is best determined by a company?s board of directors, guided by its shareholders, not outsiders like Tom. But let?s assume Tom?s idea has merit.

Suppose Boeing?s CEO agreed to work for free. If you took his $27.5 million annual pay and gave it instead to Boeing?s 169,908 employees, that would result in each employee getting a raise of $161.85. Or in other words, an extra $13.49 a month, or $3.11 a week, before taxes.

That?s not going to save the middle class.

Focusing on pay disparities merely stokes class envy, which breeds dissatisfaction, unhappiness, and political instability.

Corporate management has no choice but to focus on shareholder value. If they don?t, the company may perish. If a company doesn?t meet earnings expectations, its stock price will suffer, it will become undervalued and the company will become a target for corporate raiders who will buy the company and do what needs to be done in order to maximize shareholder value, often breaking it apart and selling it for scrap.

Think about what happened to Mervyns, that great California retailer. It did not focus on shareholder value and was bought first by Target and then Sun Capital and Cerberus. They tore the company apart and it is no longer with us. Losing Mervyns made the middle class worse off, not better. Had Mervyns focused better on shareholder value, it might still be here.

Boeing is also in tight competition with Airbus and other non-U.S. aircraft companies. It must stay price competitive or it will get outbid and go out of business. Costs must be kept in check, including labor costs.

That doesn?t always mean outsourced labor is necessarily cost effective, of course. Outsourced labor and lack of oversight was the main reason Boeing?s 787 has had so many problems. The best way for U.S. labor to succeed is to do a good job at a reasonable price.

Tom asks a ?big picture? question about, ?why business exists ? just to maximize share value, or to serve human needs??

That question belongs to the shareholders, not to liberal philosophers, like Tom. The money companies make belongs to the shareholders, not Tom. Shareholders should be free to invest their money as they wish.

Millions of American investors live off of corporate earnings and stock values. It?s how people save for and pay for retirement. You can?t blame these shareholders for wanting a maximum return on their 401K, IRAs, and other investments.

Tom and other liberals have no business forcing people to spend their retirement investments on ?human needs? that liberals deem desirable.

Posted by BH Taylor, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 18, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Notice how Tom is staying away from the Obama fiasco.LOL! What a friggin mess.

Posted by Samuel G., a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Nov 18, 2013 at 10:00 pm

You're a pretty funny guy, Tom. First, in a previous post, you chide me for using more than one name on different threads (which is permitted by PW rules). But you forgot that you recently were caught violating PW rules, in that in order to drum up interest in your blog, you began signing into your own blog threads as Citizen, Citizen Paine, and the like. (Were you censored or rebuked by PW editors/censors? I doubt it.) Were you aware of the utter hypocrisy of so chiding me in light of your own unethical behavior? Doesn't seem like it.

Now, your emphasis is directed at my use of hyperbole and sarcasm, this within a thread where you start off talking about 'sifting through horse apples'. No hyperbole or sarcasm there, right Tom? No hypocrisy there.

You have one thing to offer in your response to me. You cite stats that union membership is down over the past decades, though you admit in passing that union membership among public workers is up. What to make of the latter? Oh, just part of those horse apples you don't want to deal with, I guess.

Your contributions make a couple of things very clear, Tom. You are no friend of workers. And as I successfully argued in previous posts, you are no friend of African Americans. So, what kind of a self-professed liberal are you? I personally think you're closer than you think to the guy who puts some consonants together, spcwt -- you know, the guy who brags about not being able to read anything beyond a fourth grade level, and who refers to you as a philosopher. In fact, it occurred to me: If Cushing is willing to engage in unethical behavior -- using pseudo names on his OWN Tom Cushing generated thread -- then why should we think he's beyond using spcwt as his own self-generated foil? This is easy to imagine, as the two of you seemed joined at the hip not only in terms of writing style but in ideational content as well.

I don't think the workers at Boeing, Walmart, BART, think of their ongoing struggles as 'anecdotal' as you so conveniently refer to them. Walmart workers are not unionized, but they're making some noteworthy progress; to call the 1.4 million workers in the US who work at Walmart 'in retreat' is simply to toss them out with the applecart. This is akin to the fascist spcwt telling them to do their jobs, accept minimum wage, and go stand in line for food stamps. Only someone too wrapped up in his own little make believe "liberal" opposition to spcwt's fascism could possibly make such a claim.

You seem to think that anyone who criticizes those who own and control workplaces and the profits accrued therefrom must be see them as evil greedies. At least that is how you reduced my claims. What you conveniently miss, is that I referred to corporate owners and controllers as bound up within the laws and logic of capital, which demand that greed be normalized as part and parcel of any "successful" capitalistic enterprise.

You can kowtow and squirm before the Captains of Industry all you want, guy. You can politely ask if they might consider reducing their gargantuan salaries and pensions because, golly gee, it would be nice, that's all. At the same time, your bootlicking appears to show no sensitivity to how companies continue to go to extreme lengths to fight unions. Head-bashings along the U.S.-corporate owned Maquilladora sector along the US-Mexico border are routine; as are American companies filing for bankruptcy and then starting up again only a day or two after killing off the union (e.g., Continental -- and have fun flying while thinking about that airline's poorly paid pilots). But heck, guffaws Tom, these are anecdotal stories. Because, says Tom, it's the changing nature of capital. You see, products must be delivered faster and, by Tom's implication, unions just can't deliver the goods. Now, I ask, whose actually spreading horse apples here? I can understand your desire for a return to Reagan; but yearning for such while calling yourself a liberal is just too far-fetched. Only your self-invented pal, spcwt, is going to believe such tripe.

Posted by Samuel G., a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Nov 18, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Web Link

Labor in retreat? I think not.

Posted by A, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Nov 19, 2013 at 1:03 am

Samuel G. says, "You cite stats that union membership is down over the past decades, though you admit in passing that union membership among public workers is up. What to make of the latter?"

I call it a Cancer hurting real people. While I do support private sector unions I'm fed-up with the public unions that seem hell-bent on punishing the true middle class. I'm sick of listening to PUBLIC EMPLOYEE union members claiming attacking their benefits is an afront to the entire middle class. They do NOT represent me but they have no problem trying to pick my pocket or asking me to use my money to fund their outrageous retirement pensions and lifetime health care. I have my own retirement to worry about, Mr. GOMPERS.

In my middle class enviorment nobody is retiring at 50, or 55, with lucrative pensions, lifetime medical, and at least ten more years to collect both a pension and paycheck. And you can defend BART UNIONS all you want - and you can stick it too.

Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Nov 19, 2013 at 6:50 am

@S-P: Of course there are choices -- and much debate -- over the contrast between the shareholder and stakeholder models of corporate governance -- google is your friend, there. And the Cassidy article, although long, is quite insightful regarding the excesses wrought by a slavish adherence to the former, as well as short-term vs long term incentives. Trotting out Mervyn's is a little silly, especially when your claim doesn't really match the case. Companies go belly-up all the time, for lots of reasons.

Your strawman arithmetic is also more than silly. The gap between Exec comp and Rank-and-file comp is huge and growing, and a distinctly American phenomenon. As I wrote, in 1965, the CEO pay was roughly 20X the average worker -- now, it's more than 10X more than that -- averaging 273X the average! Web Link Boeing is at 344X. The point being not that s/he should work for free, but that the system has become badly skewed by self-serving arguments about 'competing for top talent.'

I'd be willing to guess that the cost of the average AirBus plane has more in wages than does Boeing. The EU employment system is substantially more worker-centric.

Finally -- who are those shareholders? Increasingly, they too are at the very top end of the wealth spectrum, as the middle class no longer has dough to invest.

@BHT: yeah, it's a huge mess. A government that can spy well enough to know when I scratch my, uh, ankle, ought to be able to put up a proper website.

@sam: let's see, when I compliment you on ideas, and suggest fewer personal attacks, I get back 6/7 paragraphs of ad hominen horse-cherries/peaches/avocados/feathers -- you choose. Clearly I'm using the wrong psychology, here, so how's this: your content sucks, and Bring it ON, snarkboy!. Let's see if that works.

Your article about WalMart is just another anecdote. There are low thousands of similar cases on the NLRB docket all the time -- do you not know that? A big reason the Board exists is to handle that volume, expertly, instead of consigning those disagreements to the general-purpose court system. One WalMart robin does not make the spring, nor does that caseload volume really go to the point about labor being in retreat.

The unassailable fact that union membership as a % of the economy has fallen by roughly 3/4 IS pretty good evidence of that retreat. And that fact is true DESPITE unions' pubsector success, included in that number. The public sector has many of the conditions in which unions work well: large numbers of folks doing similar jobs (prison guards, teachers), that can't be readily outsourced to China (police, fire, DMV), and in contrast to the private sector, there's no invisible hand to slap anyone who over-reaches -- the 'company' can't easily go out of business. So that's where they've gravitated, but it's not the bulk of the economy, where organizing attempts have not been very successful. Them's just facts.

Posted by Ava, a resident of Diablo,
on Nov 19, 2013 at 7:15 am

I'm a happy Boeing stockholder who despises all unions who protect the lazy. More power to the corporations, the engines of America! Unions have ruined and brainwashed the public schools--- we watched BART thugs shut it all down, baby. SEIU is an Obama/dem/soros cabal.

Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Nov 19, 2013 at 7:22 am

Oh and Sam -- I forgot to add that I do think you're having an impact. Sunday evening, for example, we were watching 60 Minutes on the corporate media. There was a supposedly uplifting story about Paraguayans living -- literally -- on a garbage dump, making musical instruments out of trash and creating a youth orchestra. The story mentioned only in passing that the townsfolk lived there because they'd been kicked out of their homes by 'the landowners.' THAT parenthetic reference was The Story, not that they were making lemonade out of discarded lemon peels.

The old 60 Minutes would've chosen to expose THAT story. That said, your ideas still suck, and Bring it ON, snarkboy.

Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville,
on Nov 19, 2013 at 9:50 am

Tom, you?re missing the point. Mervyns didn?t go belly up. It was a good store that treated their employees well. They sold great products at a great price. I bought some underwear there in the 1990?s that I still wear to this day.

What Mervyns had was prime real estate. They bought it in the 50?s ? 70?s when California land was cheap. Sun Capital and Cerberus knew the land was much more valuable than the stores themselves. So they bought Mervyns, chopped it up, and sold it piece by piece.

My point is, if a company doesn?t take steps to maximize shareholder value, then the Gordon Gecko-types will.

And why must you be so insensitive to Mr. Samuel G, calling him names like snarkboy? You might hurt his feelings and make him feel sad. Have you ever thought about that?

I know he said mean things to me, said I don?t exist. Said you invented me. That I?m unable to read anything beyond a fourth grade level. It hurt. But I realized, maybe it?s true. Maybe I don?t exist. How can I know for sure? Plus, I watched a lot of TV as a kid and it has affected my cognitive abilities. Maybe that?s why I?m bored reading his posts. Maybe his rants aren?t boring to others and they find him enjoyable.

Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Nov 19, 2013 at 10:32 am

S-P: I Tried straight encouragement with our Blogging Crass Hero, and got the opposite effect out of his/her next post. So I\'m trying reverse psychology, to see if that works better. I am not optimistic.

And Please -- change your undergarments. At least once a decade, more or less, would be good. Look for the union label.

Posted by Samuel G., a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Nov 19, 2013 at 11:28 am

Gotta love it. Here we have the uniting of Tom and his imaginary friend, spcwt, both of whom share the opinion that workers don't count. You see, after all, they're in retreat, workers are, don't ya know, and forget about all those anecdotal stories you hear about workers' struggles because, hey, they're meaningless and, besides, they should be shutting their mouths and taking what their corporate masters give them. Bart strike? What strike? Just another story. Walmart workers organizing in an effort to form unions? Pfffft. There's ALWAYS stories about that stuff! What's the big deal? Who cares what 1.4 million Walmart workers are about? Until they become unionized, they're just unimportant as a statistical entity which, Tom says, or was it his playmate, spcwt, is the only measure of whether workers' struggles to attain dignity and justice are worth mentioning. Truth be told, Tom and his playmate don't care a whit about America's workers. But they do care about this CEO earnings business. And why might that be? Well, the concern must be that those hefty salaries might otherwise go back to investors. And the workers? Pfffft.

Hey folks, its the new liberalism. Issues of justice that pertain to African Americans aren't worth writing about because, hey, haven't you heard?, Barack Obama is president. Let's see. Women experiencing violence in the military? How best to deal with this sordid affair? We'll toss out a few hee-hee jokes and then ponder: With a male-dominated civilian tribunal or a male-dominated military tribunal? And workers? How quaint. Because, you see, we've redefined the economy so as to make them passé; they're in retreat as they well should be. Ah, if only we could go back to the days of Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan. Because, see, since all three of them were a tad to the left of Franco, they must've been liberals. And I'm a liberal too! Believe it! Signed, Citizen Paine (aka Tom Cushing, aka spcwt).

Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Nov 19, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Regular readers of the Danville edition will get a good chuckle out of your confusion of S-P and YT. We've been going at it for 116 editions. I'm not Roz, or Gina, Sierra or Tim, either. I may as well accuse you of being cholo and Ava.

As for the CP thing, it's gotten old and stale. This is you: Web Link I don't think you can ride it anywhere, anymore.

Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville,
on Nov 19, 2013 at 12:47 pm


What are your thoughts on buying underwear? Is once a decade too much? Not enough?

Posted by Samuel G., a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Nov 19, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Any comment on the criticisms? Nope. Ah, but defending against the charge that spwgt is an alter contrived by Tom? Lots. Got narcissism?

Citizen Paine is old news ... because Citizen Paine (aka Tom Cushing) says so. Honest! For he's no longer that horse of that color. And he expects us to believe him, on anything? Oh, please.

At any rate, it's fun watching Tom and his alter spcwt blend into one another.

Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Nov 19, 2013 at 12:53 pm

See, Sam? Underwear jokes -- how crude is that? Lord knows I'd never make an undergarment joke. Not even a magic one.


Posted by Dave, a resident of Danville,
on Nov 23, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Roz: For all his bluster, Samuel G. apparently didn't understand the Samuel Gompers reference. So much for his labor acumen.

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