I checked earlier on Friday morning to see if Andy Divine had yet posted his regular column at New York Magazine, it was 7 AM PST , which meant that it was 11 AM EST. Andy must be a late riser, and from the evidence of his writing he does it last minute.
I thought of that 1944 movie ‘Laura’ ‘The screenplay by Jay Dratler, Samuel Hoffenstein and Betty Reinhardt, based on the 1943 novel Laura by Vera Caspary.’* Produced and Directed by Otto Preminger: he made one good movie! In one rather bizarre scene Dana Andrews, playing detective Mark McPherson, interviews Clifton Webb, playing the part of a Hollywood Queer Stereotype Waldo Lydecker, while he is propped up in a bathtub typing his latest column, surrounded by what can only be described as Roman bath-house kitsch. So much for my little reverie about Andy’s morning ritual
Andy opens his usual Three Act Melodrama :
Act One: It’s Time to Resist the Excesses of #MeToo.
Now the fact that Andy is afflicted with a perpetual case of misogyny, allied to a penchant for publicly shaming those who don’t meet his exacting standards of civic comportment, is realized in verbose and jejune detail.
After the avalanche of words festooned by insider, and not so insider chatter, about the excesses of #MeToo , in its many iterations: the reader reaches the political mainspring of the Andy Divine screeching.
This strikes me as a new development for the social-justice left: They now believe in suppressing free speech — even before they know its content!
Not deterred by anything like the practice of brevity, or that he has just tipped his hand of low numbered cards, Andy continues to chatter. McCarthyism even gets a mention. Andy Divine, like J. Edgar Hoover, finds ‘The Reds’ are everywhere and in plain sight! This act ends in this lush effusion of self -congratulation:
In this nihilist moment when Bannonites and left-feminists want simply to burn it all down, it’s especially vital to keep a fire brigade in good order.
Act Two: The Trump Boom
In this act Andy Divine demonstrates that he is still a Neo-Liberal Dunce.
This 2015 report by CBS News’ MoneyWatch can’t be that out of date, even in the face of the Walmart ‘pay raise’.
Headline: How low-wage employers cost taxpayers $153B a year
Last Updated Apr 13, 2015 6:20 PM EDT
Here’s a stark number for understanding how low-wage employers are relying on the kindness of taxpayers: $153 billion.That’s the annual bill that state and federal governments are footing for working families making poverty-level wages at big corporations such as Walmart (WMT) and McDonald’s (MCD), according to a new study from the University of California Berkeley Labor Center. Because these workers are paid so little, they are increasingly turning to government aid programs such as food stamps to keep them from dire poverty, the study found.
While McDonald’s has vowed to raise wages and Walmart is just this month boosting pay for many workers, that’s come after intense political pressure from advocacy groups such as the Fight for $15, which is urging legislation and private-sector change to push the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. While the cost of living has continued to rise, the baseline hourly rate has remained at $7.25 since 2009. At the same time, the post-recession years have created more low-wage jobs than higher-paid ones, adding 1.85 million more Americans to the ranks of poorly paid workers.
“When companies pay too little for workers to provide for their families, workers rely on public assistance programs to meet their basic needs,” Ken Jacobs, chair of the labor center and co-author of the new report, said in a statement. “This creates significant cost to the states.”
This New Republic essay of January 9, 2018 seems to contradict Andy’s economic optimism, or more aptly call it a carefully cultivated self-serving ignorance :
Headline: Amazon Is Thriving Thanks to Taxpayer Dollars
Sub-headline: The tech giant has received more than $1 billion in tax breaks. The government is also funding food stamps for many of its workers.
As Amazon builds up its distribution network, it’s hit on a trick long practiced by the likes of Walmart: using the federal government to help pay its workers. A new study by Policy Matters Ohio found that more than 700 Amazon employees receive food stamps, or more than 10 percent of the tech giant’s 6,000-strong workforce in the state. Some of those recipients may be part-time help, but the fact that they need federal aid to survive suggests that they would be happy to work more. “Why is this giant, successful company offering such limited pay and hours of work that many of its workers need help buying food?” asked Zach Schiller, research director at Policy Matters.
Amazon ranks nineteenth among Ohio businesses in number of employees on food stamps, behind Walmart, McDonald’s, and Kroger. But Amazon is only the fifty-third-largest employer in Ohio, suggesting a higher rate of employees on food stamps than its counterparts. More important, Amazon has obtained at least $123 million in state tax incentives to place warehouse and data center locations in Ohio. This reflects a perverse form of double-dipping: Amazon gets a bounty to create jobs in Ohio, and then a good chunk of the jobs are so low-paying that workers have to seek federal assistance, providing a second subsidy for the e-commerce giant.
Cities and states are offering Amazon eye-popping tax subsidies to win its second headquarters. But smaller, existing tax incentives have already made Amazon the leading recipient of so-called “economic development” subsidies in the country. According to Good Jobs First, a non-profit that tracks state tax breaks, since 2000 Amazon has received $1.115 billion in 129 communities in the U.S., rocketing past the previous leader in this category: Walmart.
Walmart and Amazon have the same Business Model: worker exploitation while taking government subsidies, in the form of state aid for workers, and tax breaks for locating their companies in their states and cities.
Act 3 : Israel’s Troubling Trajectory
The ‘Liberal Zionist’ is dead! And Andy’s hand-wringing last act of his melodrama is, in sum, an inexcusable trivialization. The sordid, murderous history of European Colonialism, and its documents of Sykes-Picot that created the ‘Middle East’. And the Balfour Declaration, allied to the European/American guilt over the Holocaust has created a problem that cannot be solved. The Fascist State of Israel is a fact: it is the mirror of the Third Reich and its racial/ethnic/autochthonous obsessions, with its own Warsaw Ghetto, in the open air concentration camp of Gaza!
Headline : Arendt: Born in conflict, Israel will degenerate into Sparta, and American Jews will need to back away
Under such circumstances… the Palestinian Jews would degenerate into one of those small warrior tribes about whose possibilities and importance history has amply informed us since the days of Sparta. Their relations with world Jewry would become problematical, since their defense interests might clash at any moment with those of other countries where large number of Jews lived. Palestine Jewry would eventually separate itself from the larger body of world Jewry and in its isolation develop into an entirely new people. Thus it becomes plain that at this moment and under present circumstances a Jewish state can only be erected at the price of the Jewish homeland…
And on the question of festering racism in Israel, if Andy wasn’t so blind that someone on the dreaded ‘Left’ Max Bloomenthal has been covering this question since 2013:
Headline: Israel Cranks Up the PR Machine
Sub-headline: It’s deploying all its resources to fight the growing world movement against the occupation.
Given this information is it a surprise that Netanyahu will deport these ‘racial infiltrators’ ?
Andy Divine ends his three act melodrama with a trivialization that ignores a history wrapped up in violence, guilt and a ‘solution’ that cannot be found. And that eludes the Technocrats who brought us the War on Terror ,that didn’t check, but simply placed Israel’s chief protagonist, Iran, in position of regional dominance. On the question of who upset the ‘nuclear balance of power’ in the region: Israel has between 100 and 200 nuclear weapons, and the means to use them against a non-nuclear Iran. No matter Netanyahu’s hysterics and his European and American allies supporting that lie, that is the ineluctable reality.