Sunday, April 24, 2011

Back to the future

During the 1870s, powerful financial syndicates controlled the railroads and the coalfields. Coal companies had begun to recruit immigrants from overseas, luring them with "promises of fortune-making". Herded into freight trains by the hundreds, these workers often replaced English-speaking miners who, according to George Korson, "...were compelled to give way in one coal field after another, either abandoning the industry altogether for other occupations or else retreating, like the vanishing American Indian, westward..."[18] Frequently unable to read safety instructions, the immigrant workers, "...faced constant hazards from violation of safety precautions, such as they were. Injuries and deaths in mine disasters, frequently reported in the newspapers, shocked the nation."[18] Twenty-two thousand coal miners worked in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.[12] Fifty-five hundred of the mineworkers in the county were children between the ages of seven and sixteen years[19] who earned between one and three dollars a week separating slate from the coal. Injured miners, or those too old to work at the face, were also assigned to picking slate at the "breakers" where the coal was crushed into a manageable size. Thus, many of the elderly miners finished their mining days as they'd begun in their youth.[20]
-- From Wikipedia article on the Molly McGuires

One wonders, based upon stories such as Sen. Bruce Caswell, R-Hillsdale(MI) forcing foster children to buy all their clothing at used clothing stores and the continued GOP jihad against Social Security and Medicare, whether the GOP pines for the days when children between the ages of seven and sixteen years earned their keep as virtual slave laborers. Are there no workhouses? Are there no coal mines to put these greedy foster children into? And those old welfare whores sucking off the government Social Security teat should just be tossed back onto the open market. Let them sort coal in the coal mines! Sheesh!

Of course, the blatant unfairness of punishing foster children for something they had no part in creating (you think foster children want to be foster children?!), or of taking away the Social Security retirement that people paid into and worked for during their entire working life, simply makes Republicans guffaw. Fairness, they say, is something losers talk about. Buck it up, they say, life's not fair. Why, if you work really hard in life, if you study hard and do everything you're supposed to do to get ahead, you could even become a personal servant to the rich and powerful, and be allowed to lick their shoes clean every evening!

Uhm, yeah. Ok. Alrighty then. So here's a song for the GOP...

-- Badtux the "Even the mighty fall" Penguin

Update: Bryan at Why Now is equally horrified... see our discussion of the lizard people there.


  1. "allowed to lick their shoes clean every evening!" Then can we burn their houses down; virus their programs, and sell their families into slavery?

  2. Glad you're feeling better and no, children generally don't ask to become foster children, but in some of our cases it was better than the alternative.

  3. No no, MandT, you would not be allowed within the eyesight of our lords and masters unless you have exhibited the correct amount of butt-kissing servility for sufficient number of years to gain their trust, and I think neither of us are capable of sufficiently suppressing our true feelings for long enough to manage that.

    Nunya, apparently the GOP believes those little urchins with the misfortune to be orphaned or to be born to parents unable to care for them are just welfare whores sucking off the public teat and should get a job, already. The simple inhumanity of treating children who would like nothing more than the opportunity to be children in a loving home as if they were scum eludes the GOP, because they lack humanity.

    - Badtux the "GOP=inhumane" Penguin

  4. Now there's a song I don't need to look up the lyrics to! That may have been the first song I ever learned from a fake book (well, OK, a commercial, fake "fake" book).

    Your ref to the 1870s, railroad barons, mine workers, child laborers, etc. reminds me of a fictional mystery series I'm working my way through, set in that era but in London. The class differences... which author Emily Brightwell does not shy away from describing in all their ugly "glory" ... are hard for an older American to fathom. And yet it's beginning to look as if we're headed back to those bad old days, right here in the good ol' US of A. (Sigh!)

  5. And FTR, yes, I blame the heartless GOPers, not that Dems are doing much either to alleviate the blight of poverty...


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