As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Revenge Of The Indie Rocker

This is a pretty amazing story. David Berman is the lead singer of a rock outfit called Silver Jew. I can't say I've heard much of them until now, but they've been on the fringes of fame for close to 20 years. Now, via my favorite music blog Stereogum, I find out that Silver Jew has called it quits. But not before Berman reveals that his father is the Rick Berman, head of the "Center for Union Facts" and the point man for conservative anti-union actions around the Employee Free Choice Act.

My Father, My Attack Dog

Now that the Joos are over I can tell you my gravest secret. Worse than suicide, worse than crack addiction:

My father.

You might be surprised to know he is famous, for terrible reasons.

My father is a despicable man. My father is a sort of human molestor.

An exploiter. A scoundrel. A world historical motherfucking son of a bitch. (sorry grandma)

You can read about him here.

Berman Exposed is indeed a good source of information, detailing the dozens of industry-funded propaganda outfits that Berman runs, designed to subvert the interests of workers and the public and enrich corporate fat cats. Sadly, Berman is treated as a respectable figure in the media, who constantly run to him for a quote for their stories in the interest of "balance." These groups have lots of money but no grassroots support, and their power comes in many ways from this symbiotic relationship with the media.

His son continues:

A couple of years ago I demanded he stop his work. Close down his company or I would sever our relationship.

He refused. He has just gotten worse. More evil. More powerful. We've been "estranged" for over three years.

Even as a child I disliked him. We were opposites. I wanted to read. He wanted to play games.

He is a union buster.

When I got out of college I joined the Teamsters (the guards were union organized at the Whitney).

I went off to hide in art and academia.

I fled through this art portal for twenty years. In the mean time my Dad started a very very bad company called Berman and Company.

He props up fast food/soda/factory farming/childhood obesity and diabetes/drunk driving/secondhand smoke.

He attacks animal lovers, ecologists, civil action attorneys, scientists, dieticians, doctors, teachers.

His clients include everyone from the makers of Agent Orange to the Tanning Salon Owners of America.

He helped ensure the minimum wage did not move a penny from 1997-2007!

The Rick Bermans of the world exist as fronts for enormous amounts of corporate money and power. They get to hide in the shadows while their funds power anti-worker rhetoric. With exposure, these people lose a lot of their cachet. The media gets forced to note them for who they are. They find a counterpoint in people power.

It sounds like this will be David Berman's crusade:

This winter I decided that the SJs were too small of a force to ever come close to undoing a millionth of all the harm he has caused. To you and everyone you know.

Literally, if you eat food or have a job, he is reaching you [...]

Previously I thought, through songs and poems and drawings I could find and build a refuge away from his world.

But there is the matter of Justice.

And i'll tell you it's not just a metaphor. The desire for it actually burns.

It hurts.

There needs to be something more. I'll see what that might be.

Right on. We can make room for another warrior for justice. Especially against the likes of a Rick Berman. way we all can help is by demanding that Senate Republicans stop slowing the confirmation of Hilda Solis as Secretary of Labor. She is more than qualified and her views on the Employee Free Choice Act, which is a legislative fight, are hardly germane as well as well-known. She deserves a vote and not this nonsense. America needs a friend to labor at the Labor Department again.

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