The following is a letter and link sent to me by my old chum and wonderful Minneapolis composer, Mark Gottlieb — and my response.
Hi Russ — Check out the video and the incredibly callus manner he explains to the pink slipped worker how “…this will have an impact….”.
Even in their vocal anger there is a quiet and more subtle heartbreak.

I sent my US Rep Keith Allison, a fairly decent fellow a note suggesting such a move makes good sense if all their product remains in Mexico or south. But then asked that once Carrier Corp moves to Monterey, Mexico what % of their product will end up here.

Russ, I’ve probably sent several hundred letters, calls, emails to my reps and others. I should have saved every response and made a book.
It would have been the funnest and most depressing book .. all at the same time.
I don’t know how you keep at it without needing gallons of antacids.

Mark (really a more musical guy than political)

Hey Mark –

Well, isn’t this heart warming? This little Scrooge has the gall to scold the “class” for being too noisy after telling them he has pawned their livelihoods. This is what the corporatocracy looks like. Began in earnest with “Close-the-Pits” Thatcher and “Fire-the-Air Controllers” Reagan, maintained and encouraged by Clinton, then went into overdrive with Bush/Cheney

I knew things had changed when my unions last went on strike. As a member of long standing, I had seen my fair share of strikes and near-strikes so I was used to the adamant cries of poverty by producers — how much productions cost theses days, you actors are breaking us, blah blah blah. But from both sides I could always feel a sense of resigned inevitability, that there would ultimately be compromise and a deal would be struck.

Fast forward to the commercials strike of 2000. After a few years of trickle-down economics, free trade pacts, right-to-work and other union-killing legislation and, most importantly, our government’s abrogation of its anti-trust responsibilities that allowed and encouraged ad agencies to gang up with multi-nationals, like Seagrams and Sony, who had gulped down every film and production company in the universe, we members of SAG/AFTRA now encountered a monolith of power that saw us as ants at THEIR picnic. Compromise was out of the question. Management’s attitude toward us had morphed into something like, “How dare they ask for more money and better conditions? Don’t they understand that we are the King, and we do and pay what we want?” This was not a negotiating tactic — they meant it. Needless to say, the strike went on forever and was ultimately a failure.

The responsibility for all this, of course, lies with the American people — the chumps of the universe. As one of my favorite political writers put it, “Where did America’s middle class go? It committed suicide in the voting booth.” Okay, I confess, that writer was me, but I always liked that line, depressing as it is.

Be well, my friend –


  1. Chuck Love says:

    As I recall, our race to the bottom really took hold with the arrival of “trickle-down” economics in the early eighties. Hmmm, anything else change around that time? Oh yeah, Reagan’s “voodoo” economic policies. Since then, maximizing profits at the expense of everything of value in life became the watchword of corporate governance. With the advent of Citizens-United, any hope for control of our lives perished and with it, middle class existence. Right now, while I hate to be political, Bernie is the only candidate for president who represents “The Masses.” His “Revolution” needs support from all democratic voters and candidates for office. We have been running this nation, at all levels, on the cheap for too many years. Now is the time to take a stand against the power we have given, too freely, to huge monied interests.


  2. Russ Buchanan says:

    My Charles –

    Yep. I’ve probably discussed the documentary/faux doc, “The American Ruling Class,”with you before. Essentially, the film interviews a number of very powerful money and policy movers — Bohemian Grove types, la creme. How the producers got these folks, like Kissinger, for heaven’s sake, to wax so candidly about power and their – dare I say plot – to take back control of the country from the movements of the sixties is beyond me. I know, I sound like one of those drooling conspiracy madmen. But I gotta say hearing these guys refer to the sixties as a wake-up call and their concerted plan to make sure that shit never happens again is both fascinating and chilling.

    Yeah, all roads lead to campaign finance — the poisonous tree (how’s that for metaphor mixture?). Citizens United is Scalia’s legacy. The spike in American democracy’s heart. Good goin’, homeboy.

    Of course, I am of mixed feeling re old Bernie. Needless to say, his words are poetry for my soul. But I am so damned afraid of a Republican ascension, blah, blah. However, I may very well be stuck in the old, too leisurely way of thinking — that today we can afford anything less than a political revolution because tomorrow won’t be too late. Or as Baldwin put it, “The Fire Next Time.”

    Come visit us already — with your lovely Diane or ? — hell, I can’t remember her other name.



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