Article 43

 

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Welcome

Welcome to article43.com - a memorial to the layed off workers of (PRE SBC MERGER) AT&T, and the disappearing MIDDLE CLASS citizens of America.  It is NOT endorsed or affiliated with AT&T or the CWA in any way.

This sticky post was written the day we appeared on the internet in 2004.

In addition to INFORMATION, resources and opinion for former AT&T workers DEALING WITH the EFFECTS OF LAYOFF and looking for meaningful employment, some articles here are meant to bring into awareness the LARGER PICTURE of corporate dominance of the UNITED STATES’ political and economic policies which brazenly DISREGARDS, disrespects and EXPLOITS worker, citizen and HUMAN RIGHTS under masks like FREE TRADE and the PATRIOT ACT - resulting in a return to a society of very rich and very poor dominated by a few very rich and powerful - whose voices are anything but - for the people. If left UNCHALLENGED, the self-serving interests of those in control may result in the end of DEMOCRACY, the end of the middle class, irreversible ENVIRONMENTAL damage to the planet, and widespread global poverty brought on by exploitation and supression of the voices of common people EVERYWHERE, while the United States turns into a REINCARNATION of the ROMAN EMPIRE.  Author Thom Hartmann shares some history and outlines some basic steps to return our country to “The People” in his two articles TEN STEPS TO RETURN TO DEMOCRACY and SAVING THE MIDDLE CLASS. I support CERNIG’S idea for a new POLITICAL MOVEMENT - if not a revolution to cleanse our country of the filth ruling it - as we EVOLVE into a GLOBAL community - assuming we learn the THE LESSONS OF OUR TIME and don’t DESTROY CIVILIZATION first.

Everything here can be viewed anonymously.  Inserting or commenting on articles requires a free user account (for former AT&T employees with a real, non throw-away, email address.) Requests to the new user registration page are redirected to BLOGGED DOT COM’S site because most new signups I get are from COMMENT SPAMMERS and their ilk, so if you want to contribute, contact me through email, phone, or some other way.

There’s no third-party scripts here like privacy-eroding WEB COUNTERS, hidden datamining widgets like Pay-Pal donation boxes, or AMAZON DOT COM tracking stuff.  The RSS feeds are pulled by the server, and have no relation to anything you may be doing here.  Standard Apache WEB LOGS of info like IP, and pages visited are rotated every few days, and used internally to check the web server’s performance.  Logs of suspicious activity may be shared with law enforcement, or other ISPs, to deal with troublemakers.  Nothing here is for sale, and donations are not solicited.

If you get an email that claims to be from somebody here that’s anything but a request to post your article, or report suspicious activity (like logs sent to an ISP to report an attack) - it’s SPAM. I do not, and will not - ever - join the junk mail sender community. There are no mechanisms to prevent anyone from forging anyone elses email address in a “from” or “reply-to” mail header. For those of us whose email addresses are fraudently used, the best we can do is filter out NDR REPORTS.

Per U.S.C. COPYRIGHT LAW - TITLE 17, SECTION 107, this not-for-profit site may reproduce copyrighted material not specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such articles will either have a web link to the source, home page, and/or show credit to the author.  If yours is here and you have a problem with that, send me an EMAIL, and I’ll take it off. Stuff I wrote carries a CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE permitting non-commercial sharing. In addition, this site’s owner forbids insertion and injecting data of any kind - especially advertisements - into ours by any person or entity.  Should you see a commercial ad that looks like it’s from here, please report it by sending me a tcpdump and/or screenshot in an EMAIL, then READ UP about how the PARTNERING OF INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS and companies like NEBUAD are DESTROYING INTERNET PRIVACY

Resumes of layed off AT&T workers are posted for free HERE.

Information on the Pension Class Action Lawsuit against AT&T is HERE.  More pension-related articles are HERE.

Links to some Telecom companies’ career pages are HERE.

Click HERE to learn a little about Article 43 and why I loathe the CWA.
Click HERE or HERE to learn what the CWA did when given a chance to do the right thing.
Click HERE for a glimpse of undemocratic and hypocritical CWA practices.
Click HERE for an article on Corporate Unionism.
Click HERE for an article of AFL-CIO’s undemocratic history.

If you’re looking for telco nostalgia, you won’t find it here.  Check out THE CENTRAL OFFICE, BELL SYSTEM MEMORIAL, MUSEUM OF COMMUNICATIONS, TELEPHONE TRIBUTE, and THE READING WORKS websites instead.

This site can disappear anytime if I run out of money to pay for luxuries like food, health care, or internet service.

Discernment of truth is left to the reader - whose encouraged to seek as much information as possible, from as many different sources as possible - and pass them through his/her own filters - before believing anything.

...the Devil is just one man with a plan, but evil, true evil, is a collaboration of men…
- Fox Mulder, X Files

No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.
- John F. Kennedy

Today my country, your country and the Earth face a corporate holocaust against human and Earthly rights. I call their efforts a holocaust because when giant corporations wield human rights backed by constitutions and the law (and therefore enforced by police, the courts, and armed forces) and sanctioned by cultural norms, the rights of people, other species and the Earth are annihilated.
- Richard L. Grossman

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.
- Albert Einstein

He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust.
- Aquinas

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
- Bishop Desmond Tutu

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- Martin Luther King Jr

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
- Benjamin Franklin

If we do not hang together, we will surely hang separately.
- Benjamin Franklin

We must be prepared to make heroic sacrifices for the cause of peace that we make ungrudgingly for the cause of war.
- Albert Einstein

Solidarity has always been key to political and economic advance by working families, and it is key to mastering the politics of globalization.
- Thomas Palley

As we head into another depression, fueled by selfish corporate greed, and a corrupt, SOCIOPATHIC US government, MIKE WHITNEY wrote a solution in 2007 that still makes a lot of sense to me :

The impending credit crisis cant be avoided, but it could be mitigated by taking radical steps to soften the blow. Emergency changes to the federal tax code could put more money in the hands of maxed-out consumers and keep the economy sputtering along while efforts are made to curtail the ruinous trade deficit. We should eliminate the Social Security tax for any couple making under $60, 000 per year and restore the 1953 tax-brackets for Americans highest earners so that the upper 1%-- who have benefited the most from the years of prosperity---will be required to pay 93% of all earnings above the first $1 million income. At the same time, corporate profits should be taxed at a flat 35%, while capital gains should be locked in at 35%. No loopholes. No exceptions.

Congress should initiate a program of incentives for reopening American factories and provide generous sufbsidies to rebuild US manufacturing. The emphasis should be on reestablishing a competitive market for US exports while developing the new technologies which will address the imminent problems of environmental degradation, global warming, peak oil, overpopulation, resource scarcity, disease and food production. Off-shoring of American jobs should be penalized by tariffs levied against the offending industries.

The oil and natural gas industries should be nationalized with the profits earmarked for vocational training, free college tuition, universal health care and improvements to then nations infrastructure.

Posted by Admin on 09/05/04 •

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Thursday, November 18, 2021

NWO - Union Lockouts During Covid

image: union lockout

Q. How does the worthess PRO ACT fit in with the two issues below going on now?

A. It does nothing to stop employers from LOCKING OUT or replacing striking workers.

“Kellogg’s turn toward using scabs to break strike. This will test whether a resurgent labor movement will win or be repressed. Will labor’s allies help? Deep stresses are rising to challenge and change US capitalism.”
- Richard Wolff 11/18/2021

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Kelloggs reportedly hiring to replace workers on strike after a failed negotiation

EcconoTimes
November 15, 2021

Kellogg’s, the American food manufacturing company headquartered in Battle Creek, Michigan, is allegedly hiring new workers that will replace those who are on strike. They are still protesting after the negotiations between the union and the management failed.

At this point, no additional negotiation meeting has been set between Kellogg’s and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union. While the strike is ongoing, the company is said to be actively hiring so it can immediately replace at least 1,400 plant workers who have not returned to work yet and still protesting.

ACCORDING TO FOX BUSINESS, because of the ongoing protest over contract deals, the company said late last week that it has resorted to “tapping our global manufacturing network and expertise” and currently hiring to fill in roles at Kellogg’s four factories located in Battle Creek, Michigan; Memphis, Tennessee; Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Omaha, Nebraska.

While the new hiring begins, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union workers are still on the picket lines. Some of the employees receiving hourly pay and salaried ones have also begun to work and restarted the productions at the affected plants.

The union members have been on strike since early October and Kellogg’s was forced to continue operations at its facilities by depending on “other sources” to avoid any disruptions with the supply.

At any rate, Kellogg’s has sued the striking workers at its cereal plant in Omaha. In the lawsuit that was filed last week against the union, the company accused the striking union members of intimidating workers at the Omaha, Nebraska facility who are not part of the union. The company added that the workers also blocked vehicles from coming in and out of the factory.

With the actions, Kellogg’s said in the suit that the company is suffering and will continue to suffer irreparable damages. Moreover, the cereal maker is asking the court for an immediate order of prohibiting the conduct described.

“We sought a temporary restraining order to help ensure the safety of all individuals in the vicinity of the plant, including the picketers themselves,” Kris Bahner, Kellogg’s spokeswoman, told Business insider. “As Kellogg continues to conduct business at the plant, we are concerned about dangerous and unlawful behavior, such as blocking plant access, threatening violence against individuals entering the plant, and damaging property, to name a few.”

SOURCE

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Massachusetts nurses strike faces collapse due to unions isolation of their struggle

By Ben Oliver
World Socialist Web Site
Novermber 15, 2021

Roughly 600 nurses are still on strike in Worcester, Massachusetts, as they fight to defend their working conditions and the safety of their patients at Saint Vincent Hospital. A full year into the pandemic, on March 8, 2021, they forced the hand of their union, the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), to call an open-ended strike. It is now the longest nurses strike in Massachusetts history. Despite nurses’ commitment and sacrifice, their struggle is in danger of collapse due to the role of the unions and their subservience to Democratic Party politicians.

With the fiduciary duty to maximize returns of its private stakeholders, executives expect this move to render double-digit returns within three years, as Tenet seeks to derive more profit from less capital intensive, lower cost-of-care settings. Offsetting these purchases is Tenet’s divestiture from inpatient care. In June 2021, four months into the nurses’ strike, it announced the $1.1 billion sale of five hospitals in Florida to Steward Healthcare.

According to a December 2020 article in the Dallas Morning News, while then CEO Ron Rittenmeyer claimed that CARES Act money was not used in Tenets December purchase, the $2.5 billion Tenet received protected investors from pandemic losses, as did deep spending cuts and furloughs of 10 percent of Tenet’s workforce.

With Tenet making fundamental changes to its business model and Saint Vincent management weighing the possibility of making service cuts permanent, even the MNAs Marlena Pellegrino cannot maintain the same hollow confidence that once inspired the insipid slogan “one day longer, one day stronger” pathetically echoed by union bureaucrats and Democratic politicians at a June rally marking the strike’s 100th day.

In response to CEO Jackson’s calls for a poll of striking nurses to determine their willingness to return to work, Pellegrino refused, saying, “They just need to offer us our jobs back, and then they will see whos coming back. I think they will see that many Saint Vincent nurses are coming back.”

In reply to a Reddit post by a nursing student concerned about conditions in their hospital and the prospect of a union-led strike, one worker responded:

Google “St. Vincents nurses strike, Worcester Massachusetts.” Those nurses have been striking for over 8 months. They have had nothing good come out of it. They are all taking travel contracts to work at local hospitals in the area, while the hospital is offering well below par care with the newly hired travelers ...

A recent headline on wgbh.org of Boston, quoting Pelligrino, read: “‘There actually is no shame in this corporation’” says St. Vincent’s nurse on strike.” When the Democratic congressional delegation from Massachusetts recently penned a letter to Tenets CEO Saum Sutaria, decrying its ғviolation of the ԓlong accepted standards of doing business between capitalists and the labor bureaucracy, Sutaria was able to respond in similar style, replying that ԓbringing in permanent replacement nurses, while certainly not our first choice, was a necessary step to ensure continuity of care and to preserve access to the most critical services for our community.

In the Saint Vincent strike, there is no end to empty rhetoric because it is in the interest of the Democratic Party and the MNA apparatus to conceal the objective dimensions of the class struggle and derail the mass opposition of nurses. They are rewarded with salaries that secure them membership in the upper middle class.

Stifled by the MNA, and isolated from other health care workersԒ struggles, the Saint Vincent nurses strike is headed for what one academic commentator called a natural death,Ӕ with enough nurses being forced to cross or abandon the picket for jobs elsewhere.

The agreement reached between the MNA and Tenet in August, which was scuttled due to Tenets refusal to give nurses their jobs back, included concessions on nursesҒ central demand: a staffing ratio of four nurses to every patient on medical-surgical floors. That agreement was reached five months into the strike. Since then, Tenet has continued to hire permanent replacements, offering thousands of dollars in bonuses. Meanwhile, the striking nurses have run out of unemployment insurance and receive nothing from the coffers of their union.

Under siege and abandoned, save for fake shows of solidarity, charity, appeals to the capitalist state in the form of pending Unfair Labor Practices complaints, and the odd scolding letter from labor bureaucrats and politicians to Tenet, the nurses of Saint Vincent Hospital have been left with nowhere to turn, except to their allies in the working class, both national and international.

The first step to building this movement is for nurses and health care workers - along with teachers, autoworkers, meatpackers, Amazon workers and others - to form RANK-AND-FILE COMMITTEES to take direct control of their struggles and to join the INTERNATIONAL WORKERS ALLIANCE OF RANK-AND-FILE COMMITTEES.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 11/18/21 •
Section Revelations • Section NWO • Section Dying America • Section Workplace
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Saturday, November 06, 2021

Democracy Hollowed Out Part 40 - The Dictator

 image: joe biden

Minnesota nurses say that negative reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine are underreported as hospitals discourage their staff from recording them. Another nurse also said she got a concerning email from her hospital instructing her not to report whether or not new cases of the virus are occurring in patients who have been vaccinated. These reports that the COVID shot may be more dangerous than the public is led to believe came by way of a town hall hosted by Rep. Erik Mortensen.
- Minnesota Nurses Say Vaccine Injuries Likely Underreported, Alpha News, August 30, 2021

October 5, 2021 NICHD recently awarded five institutions one-year supplemental grants totaling $1.67 million to explore potential links between COVID-19 vaccination and MENSTRUAL CHANGES. Some people have reported changes in their menstruation after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, including changes in duration, flow, and accompanying symptoms such as pain.
- COVID-19 Vaccines and the Menstrual Cycle, NIH

“We have come to learn… that corporations are continuously using the government to push something that’s profitable for them, whether or not it’s healthy, or safe ,or good for us. So, being suspicious about government mandates is perfectly reasonable. Ditto, being suspicious about Big Pharma drug companies...”
- Understanding Anti-Vaxxer Suspicion of Government Mandates & Corporations - Richard D Woff, Sept, 14, 2021

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) held a panel discussion with doctors and medical researchers who have treated COVID-19 vaccine injuries and are researching the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, patients who have experienced adverse events due to the COVID-19 vaccine, and vaccine mandates. The senator spoke to his advocacy for early treatment, the importance of Americans health care freedom and recognizing natural immunity, the impacts of mandates on the American workforce and the economy, and the lack of transparency from federal health agencies in response to his COVID-19 oversight requests.
- Roundtable on Vaccine Mandates, Nov 2, 2021

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Majority of US workers to fall under vaccine mandate on Jan. 4
Workers outside health care, federal government to be given the option to test.

By Anne Flaherty
ABC News
November 4, 2021

Nearly 100 million U.S. workers will be required to get the COVID vaccine by Jan. 4, with some workers allowed to test weekly instead, under sweeping federal rules released Thursday by the BIDEN administration that identifies COVID-19 as an occupational hazard.

The regulations are aimed at health care workers and businesses with 100 or more employees, covering two-thirds of the nation’s workforce. Businesses that don’t comply could be fined $14,000 per infraction, and hospitals could lose access to Medicare and Medicaid dollars.

It’s part of President JOE BIDEN’S aggressive new plan to try quell a pandemic that’s overshadowed his presidency and hobbled the economy. At the same time, the Jan. 4 date is a nod to industry groups that insisted the administration wait until after the holidays to impose mandates in the midst of a worker shortage.

“This is good for the economy,” a senior administration official told reporters late Wednesday on the rationale for the plan.

Since taking office, the Biden administration had avoided imposing nationwide vaccine mandates, focusing instead on incentives for businesses and individuals. But with the arrival of the delta variant, a surge in pediatric cases and pockets of the country remaining hesitant to get a shot, Biden’s COVID strategy shifted in recent weeks.

“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us,” Biden said of unvaccinated Americans on Sept. 9 when announcing his plan to draft the rule.

Biden’s plan also gives federal contractors an extra month to comply, sliding a previous Dec. 8 deadline set by the administration. Federal workers are still required to be vaccinated by Nov. 22.

Like health care workers, federal contractors and federal workers arent given the option to test instead of getting vaccinated. In other businesses, employees could be given the option to test weekly and would be required to wear a mask in the workplace.

When asked whether the worker shortage was a factor in the decision, administration officials said the primary focus was on making compliance easier for workers and aligning deadlines across the private sector.

Once divided on how to address the pandemic, Republican governors have united against the plan, insisting it represents dangerous federal overreach and would cripple business owners already dealing with worker shortages.

“Rest assured, we will fight them to the gates of hell to protect the liberty and livelihood of every South Carolinian,” tweeted the South Carolina GOP Gov. Henry McMaster last September following Biden’s announcement.

Supporters counter that many large businesses have already embraced vaccine mandates to both entice employees who want a safe workplace and end a pandemic that has hobbled the economy. They argue too that whenever employers have enacted mandates, the vast majority of workers comply.

SOURCE

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 image: joe biden

“Man is born free but everywhere is in chains.”
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau

But as a simulation of the normalization of fascism - the pleasure of membership, the creeping thrill of exclusion, and the comfort of discipline and rules - the experiment was unquestionably a success. It vividly illustrated the chilling conclusion theorist Hannah Arendt came to at the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann: that “most members of the SS were neither perverted nor sadistic,” but rather, “terribly and terrifyingly normal.”
- This 1967 classroom experiment proved how easy it was for Americans to become Nazis

The Road to Fascism: Paved with Vaccine Mandates and Corporate Collusion

By John W. Whitehead and Nisha Whitehead
The Rutherford Institute
November 16, 2021

We are moving fast down the road to fascism.

This COVID-19 pandemic has shifted us into high gear.

The heavy-handed collusion between the Techno-Corporate State and the U.S. government over vaccine mandates is merely the latest manifestation of the extent to which fascist forces are working to overthrow our constitutional republic and nullify the rights of the individual.

In early November 2021, the Biden Administration DREW ITS LINE IN THE SANE FOR MORE THAN 100 MILLION AMERICAN WORKERS: get vaccinated against COVID-19 (by Nov. 22 for federal workers, and Jan. 4 for federal contractors and companies with more than 100 employees) or else.

Or else what?

For many individuals with sincere objections to the vaccine, either based on their religious beliefs or some other medical or philosophical concern, NON-COMPLIANCE WITH WORKPLACE VACCINE MANDATES WILL MEN LOOSING THEIR JOBS AND THE POSSIBILITY OF NO UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS.

One survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management estimated that 28% OF EMPLOYED AMERICANS WOULDN’T GET A COVID VACCINE EVEN IF IT MEANT LOOSING THEIR JOBS.

Although OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is requiring that employees be paid for the time it takes to get vaccinated and recover from any side effects, those who refuse to get vaccinated but keep their jobs will have to test negative for COVID weekly and COULD BE MADE TO SHOULDER THE COSTS OF THOSE WEEKLY TESTS. Healthcare workers are NOT BEING GIVEN AN OPTION FOR TESTING: its the vaccine or nothing.

To give the government’s arm-twisting some added strength, companies that violate the workplace mandate rules ”CAN FACE FINES OF UP TO $13,653 PER VIOLATION FOR SERIOUS VIOLATIONS and 10 times that for willful or repeated violations.”

In other words, as Katrina Trinko writes for USA Today, “the government is turning employers - who are not paid by, nor work for, the government - into ”AN ARMY OF VACCINE ENFORCERS.”

You know who won’t suffer any harm as a result of these vaccine mandates? The Corporate State (MANUFACTURERS, DISTRIBUTORS, AND HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS), which were given a blanket “get out of jail” card to insulate them from liability for any injuries or death caused by the vaccines.

While this vaccine mandate is being presented as a targetedӔ mandate as opposed to a national mandate that impacts the entire population, it effectively leaves those with sincere objections to the COVID vaccine with very little options beyond total compliance or unemployment.

This has long since ceased to be a debate over how best to protect the populace at large against an unknown pandemic. Rather, it has become a massively intrusive, coercive and authoritarian assault on the right of individual sovereignty over ones life, self and private property.

As such, these COVID-19 mandates have become the new battleground in the government’s tug-of-war over bodily autonomy and individual sovereignty.

Already, the legal challenges to these vaccine mandates are piling up before the courts. Before long, DIVIDED CIRCUIT COURT RULINGS will make their way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which will be asked to decide whether these mandates constitute government overreach or a natural extension of the governments so-called emergency powers.

With every new court ruling that empowers corporations and the government to use heavy-handed tactics to bring about vaccine compliance, with every new workplace mandate that forces employees to choose between their right to bodily autonomy and economic livelihood, and with every new piece of legislation that insulates corporations and the government from being HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR VACCINE INJURIES AND DEATHS, our property interest in our bodies is diminished.

At a minimum, our right to individual sovereignty over our lives and our bodies is being usurped by power-hungry authoritarians; greedy, self-serving corporations; egotistical Nanny Staters who think they know whats best for the rest of the populace; and a short-sighted but well-meaning populace which fails to understand the long-term ramifications of trading their essential freedoms for temporary promises of safety and security.

We are more vulnerable now than ever before.

This debate over bodily autonomy, which covers broad territory ranging from forced vaccinations, abortion and euthanasia to forced blood draws, biometric surveillance and basic healthcare, has far-reaching ramifications for who gets to decide what happens to our bodies during an encounter with government officials.

On a daily basis, Americans are already being made to relinquish the most intimate details of who we are - our biological makeup, our genetic blueprints, and our biometrics (facial characteristics and structure, fingerprints, iris scans, etc.) - in order to clear the nearly insurmountable hurdle that increasingly defines life in the United States: we are now guilty until proven innocent.

This merely pushes us one step further down that road towards a total control society in which the government in collusion with Corporate America gets to decide who is worthyӔ of being allowed to take part in society.

Right now, COVID-19 vaccines are the magic ticket for gaining access to the privilegesӔ of communal life. Having already conditioned the population to the idea that being part of society is a privilege and not a right, such access could easily be predicated on social credit scores, the worthiness of ones political views, or the extent to which one is willing to comply with the governmentҒs dictates, no matter what they might be.

The government is litigating and legislating its way into a new framework where the dictates of petty bureaucrats carry greater weight than the inalienable rights of the citizenry.

When all that we own, all that we earn, all that we say and do - our very lives - depends on the benevolence of government agents and corporate shareholders for whom profit and power will always trump principle, we should all be leery and afraid.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, nothing good can come from totalitarian tactic - sno matter how benevolent they appear - that are used to make us cower, fear and comply with the governments dictates.

SOURCE

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Why There is a Civic and Moral Duty to Oppose Tyrannical Bureaucracies

By Barry Brownstein
American Institute for Economic Research
November 20, 2021

The searing Russian novel LIFE AND TE by Vasily Grossman is one of the greatest examinations of totalitarianism ever written. Based on his experiences under Stalin, Grossman depicts how humanity withers under tyranny. Grossman’s book is not a dystopian novel, yet few books better teach how force is used to control a population by not only restricting liberty but also exploiting weaknesses in human nature.

Along a flank of the Stalingrad front, two colonels talk about the terrible impact of bureaucrats and bureaucracy. One colonel tells this story:

There was an infantry detachment that had been surrounded. The men had nothing to eat. A squadron was ordered to drop them some food by parachute. And then the quartermaster refused to issue the food. He said he needed a signature on the delivery slip and how could the men down below sign for what had been dropped by parachute? And he wouldn’t budge. Finally he received an order from above.

The other colonel says, “Bureaucracy can be much more terrifying than that.” He then shares this story:

Remember the order: ‘Not one step back’? There was one place where the Germans were mowing our men down by the hundred. All we needed to do was withdraw over the brow of the hill. Strategically, it would have made no difference - and we’d have saved our men and equipment. But the orders were “Not one step back.” And so the men perished and their equipment was destroyed.

The conversation continues, and then Grossman has one colonel deliver the punchline: “What’s really terrifying is when you realize that bureaucracy isn’t simply a growth on the body of the State. If it were only that, it could be cut off. No, bureaucracy is the very essence of the State.”

The forces making bureaucracy arbitrary, capricious, and impervious to reason - “the very essence of the State+ - are the same in America as they were in Grossman’s Soviet Union. We all have OUR STORIES of bureaucratic indifference; and now during Covid, indifference has become cruel. Just ask the relatives of former Governor CUOMO’S NURSING HOME VICTIMS or the former “health angels” who gained natural immunity and now FACE TERMINATION for refusing the vaccine mandate.

In his book BUREAUCRACY, Ludwig von Mises explains, “The ultimate basis of an all-around bureaucratic system is violence.” As for the bureaucrats making the rules, Mises observes, “He who is unfit to serve his fellow citizens wants to rule them.”

Today, has Grossmans World War II “not one step back” become “if it saves one life?”

Egyppius is a pseudonymous critic of Covid policies. HE RECENTLY EXPLORED how the “not one step back” mindset has shaped Covid policy:

All containment policies, since March 2020, flow from two fundamental premises, that together form a Pandemic Doctrine: 1) All pandemic infections are regrettable and to be prevented. 2) It is possible to control pandemics via social or medical technology. Before 2020, nobody anywhere believed either of these things - not despite, but because of long experience with semi-regular pandemic influenza outbreaks.

Egyppius explores the motives of the “autonomous undirected actions of a million nameless, faceless bureaucrats, which nobody can any longer control:”

Everything since then, has been the autonomous force of the Pandemic Doctrine and its terrible demands. As containment policies have failed, one after the other, they have left a vortex of disconfirmed expectancy in their wake, turning early political and bureaucratic advocates of containment into truly deranged zealots. The policies themselves, though they are articles of faith, have little or no real-world effect, and this has had curious consequences. It became important for all countries to do as many useless things as possible, and more or less the same useless things as everyone else. Bureaucracies that rejected a specific measure risked being blamed for whatever happened next. And without controls, the failure of containment could be rewritten always and forever as success: Imagine how many more deaths we would have had, if we never locked down.

SAN FRANCISCO BUREAUCRATS DEMAND that 5-year-old children be vaccinated in order to be admitted to indoor places. Will parents of tall 4-year-old children have to carry birth certificates to prove that their child isn’t five? SCHOOL BUREAUCRATS DEMAND special needs children with breathing issues be placed in plexiglass cubicles.

On a Federal level, OSHA BUREAUCRATS ISSUE RULES that contain a new cadre of inspectors empowered to level $13,600 per worker fines for those firms violating vaccine mandates; mandates that DO NOTHING TO CONTROL THE SPREAD OF COVID.

As essential services continue to deteriorate and shelves continue to empty, will bureaucrats change their guidelines? Egyppius predicts the Covid totalitarian toothpaste “will never go back in the tube.”

Faced with this illiberal onslaught from politicians and bureaucrats, it seems there is little we can do but weep in despair. After all, you might reason, what can one person do? Mises is clear: such a defeatist mindset forfeits your civic duties.

Bureaucracy was written in 1944, and of course, Mises had nothing to say about the Covid bureaucracy. However, his advice on opposing the socialist bureaucracy is applicable today.

Lesson 1: Oppose bureaucrats with vigor but avoid name-calling.

Mises explored the propaganda trickӔ of those promoting socialism in Western countries. Promoters of socialism extol the blessings which socialism has in store for mankindӅ [but] they have never attempted to prove their fallacious dogmas or still less to refute the objections raised by the economists. Instead, they ԓcall their adversaries names and cast suspicion upon their motives.Ŕ

Today, politicians and bureaucrats use the same strategy to besmirch opponents of failed Covid policies. Has anything changed since Mises observed, The average citizen cannot see through these stratagems?Ӕ

If you are swayed by propaganda that encourages us vs them name-calling, you are being manipulated to turn towards the darkest corners of your mind.

Lesson 2: Encourage others to broaden their reading and listening beyond the orthodoxy.

To combat socialism, Mises recommended economic studies as a civic duty. One does not have to become an economist to see through propaganda. Mises explains,

Only a man conversant with the main problems of economics is in a position to form an independent opinion on the problems involved. All the others are merely repeating what they have picked up by the way. They are an easy prey to demagogic swindlers and idiotic quacks. Their gullibility is the most serious menace to the preservation of democracy and to Western civilization.

Mises clarified, The aim of the popularization of economic studies is not to make every man an economist. The idea is to equip the citizen for his civic functions in community life.Ӕ It is hopeless,Ӕ Mises warned, to stop the trend toward bureaucratization by the mere expression of indignation and by a nostalgic glorification of the good old times.Ӕ

Applying this lesson today, you dont have to be a physician or epidemiologist to become conversant with basic Covid issues. Official propaganda might claim this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated, that natural immunity doesnҒt exist, and your 5-year-old child urgently needs a Covid vaccination, but you can look at the evidence for yourself. 

Lesson 3: Oppose all censorship

“Propaganda,” Mises alerts us, “is one of the worst evils of bureaucracy.” Propaganda is full of lies, fallacies, and superstitions.” Mises adds these prescient words: “The liars must be afraid of truth and are therefore driven to suppress its pronouncement.” Lenin and Hitler knew very well why they abolished freedom of thought, speech, and the press, and why they closed the frontiers of their countries to any import of ideas from abroad.

No matter where you stand on a Covid issue, freedom and scientific progress depend on your opposition to the censorship of opposing views. Censors in America are not driven by better motivations than Stalin, Hitler, or Mao. Censors want to abolish critical thinking and pave the way for the imposition, without opposition, of any program they deem necessary.

Lesson 4: Oppose rule by elites

If Covid bureaucrats have run wild, “gullible citizenry” is to blame: “The plain citizens are mistaken in complaining that the bureaucrats have arrogated powers; they themselves and their mandatories have abandoned their sovereignty. Their ignorance of fundamental problems of economics has made the professional specialists supreme. Mises warned against rule by elite “experts:”

But democracy becomes impracticable if the eminent citizens, the intellectual leaders of the community, are not in a position to form their own opinion on the basic social, economic, and political principles of policies. If the citizens are under the intellectual hegemony of the bureaucratic professionals, society breaks up into two castes: the ruling professionals, the Brahmins, and the gullible citizenry. Then despotism emerges, whatever the wording of constitutions and laws may be.

Mises ends his book with this instruction:

How can people determine their own affairs if they are too indifferent to gain through their own thinking an independent judgment on fundamental political and economic problems? Democracy is not a good that people can enjoy without trouble. It is, on the contrary, a treasure that must be daily defended and conquered anew by strenuous effort.

Watching CNN or Fox and then repeating “They say” is not the strenuous effort Mises suggested. Mises would warn against dismissing brave voices diligently questioning the orthodoxy. ENTREPRENEUR STEVE KIRSCH is just one example of a courageous voice who some would dismiss as not being a trained health professional. You can come to a different conclusion. 

If we have a civic duty to learn about immunity, pandemics, and health, we also have an equally important moral duty.

Lesson 5: We have a moral duty to see the humanity in others

Recently I was speaking to a physician friend whose politics are progressive but who sees himself as holding liberal values. I mentioned how disturbed I was about the ongoing demonization by bureaucrats and politicians of those who have chosen not to be vaccinated. The physician said this is indeed regrettable, but he chastised me: “I must understand the context, those doing the demonization are trying to save lives.” Although this doctor himself had suffered a significant vaccine injury from the 2009 H1N1 VACCINE, he then recited the bureaucratic propaganda for current vaccine policies. To keep his standing in the medical community, he carefully weighs the dangers to his career of stepping too far away from the official narrative. He cares about patients, yet the ties of his medical tribe compromise his judgment.

If you say I must feed my family, I cannot oppose mandates; no one will fault you. If you say, I have no time to study the issue and make my own judgment, you can still take a moral stand against coercing and demonizing others. You can stand for the humanity in each person and eschew tribal hatreds. There is no need to harass others BY COOPERATING WITH PETTY BUREAUCRATS.

In his best-known work, I and Thou, the Vienna-born philosopher Martin Buber observed two fundamental ways of seeing the world: “I-Thou” or “I-It.” Through the “I-It” lens, others are seen as less than us, either as objects who help us or obstacles that get in our way. Tribalism, at its core, looks at the world through “I-It” eyes.

In the great Russian novel, THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, Dostoevsky tells of Fyodor Pavlovitch, who desires to “revenge himself on everyone for his own unseemliness.” Pavlovitch remembers being asked, “Why do you hate so and so, so much?” Pavlovitch had responded, “Ill tell you. He has done me no harm. But I played him a dirty trick, and ever since I have hated him.”

Today, those we once called angels, health care professionals, airline employees, first responders, grocery store cashiers who served us while others worked at home over Zoom are having dirty tricksӔ played against them. If they refuse mandates, they are fired.

It is human nature to experience dissonance when we behave poorly. Notice a moment when you catch yourself seeing the world through “I-It” eyes, when you have failed to see the humanity in another. In the next moment you may notice there is an itch you need to scratch. The itch is a felt need to justify your “I-It” thinking. You may relieve the itch by cheering at a propagandistic pronouncement portraying the unvaccinated as a threat to you. Phew, you may think, Im not really a bad person; I’m just defending myself against those who would harm me. In justifying “I-It” thinking, moral duty is abandoned.

We are now at a crossroads. How will we resolve our dissonance when we fail to see the humanity in others? One path is to scratch the need to feel innocent and virtuous. As Dostoevsky explained, we tend to become outraged at those we have harmed. 

The other path is to resolve our dissonance by looking at our actions without justifying our actions. In that space, clarity and moral courage arise. Our civic and moral duty requires us to resist all inhumane demonizers professing that there is only one true way and that they are the keepers of that way.

In his seminal work, HUMAN ACTION, Mises wrote, A man who chooses between drinking a glass of milk and a glass of a solution of potassium cyanide does not choose between two beverages; he chooses between life and death. A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society.Ӕ

In the spirit of Mises, I offer this: A society that embraces coerced medical choices has chosen a path away from social cooperation and towards the disintegration of society.

About the Author:

Barry Brownstein is professor emeritus of economics and leadership at the University of Baltimore.

He is the author of The Inner-Work of Leadership, and his essays have appeared in publications such as the Foundation for Economic Education and Intellectual Takeout.

To receive Barry’s essays in your inbox, visit MINDSHIFTS

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Posted by Elvis on 11/06/21 •
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Thursday, October 14, 2021

Where’s The Revolution?

image: american dream is over

Thoughtlessness has become something that now occupies a privileged, if not celebrated, place in the political landscape and the mainstream cultural apparatuses. The result is a social system overly invested in ethical ignorance and a public sphere, dumbed to the value of an enlightened and democratic body politic.
- Culture of Stupidity

In our social connections, we Americans are not doing much better. We cannot necessarily TURN TO A FRIEND in an emotional emergency, no less turn to them to BORROW MONEY. Families also can no longer necessarily help. They too live on the brink. Americans are increasingly ISOLATED. According to Robert Putnams book Bowling Alone (2009), there are fewer Americans connected to any group at all from PTAs to blood drives to political organizations than were in bowling leagues alone in 1970. Unfortunately, social and personal isolation is now worse.
- Awakening Part 12

Jenny Chan, Mark Selden, and Pun Ngai spent a decade conducting undercover research at Foxconn’s major manufacturing sites in the Chinese cities of Shenzhen, Shanghai, Kunshan, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Tianjin, Langfang, Taiyuan, and Wuhan for their book DYING FOR AN IPHONE: APPLE, FOXCONN, AND THE LIVES OF CHINESE WORKERS. What they describe is an Orwellian dystopia, one where global corporations have perfected the techniques for a disempowered work force.  These vast worker cities are little more than labor penal colonies. Yes, it is possible to leave, but to incur the ire of the bosses, especially by speaking out or attempting to organize, is to be blacklisted for life throughout China’s archipelago of industrial centers and cast to the margins of society or often prison.
- Moden Day Slavery

“People ask me all the time why we don’t have a revolution in America, or at least a major wave of reform similar to that of the Progressive Era or the New Deal or the Great Society - given that middle incomes are sinking, the ranks of the poor are swelling, and almost all the economic gains are going to the top. The answer is complex, but three reasons stand out: (1) The working class is paralyzed with fear it will lose the jobs and wages it already has, and its major vehicle for organizing itself - labor unions - have been decimated; (2) students (who have been in years past a force for social change) are laden with debt and face a lousy jobs market, and don’t want to rock the boat; and (3) the American public has become so cynical about government (in large part due to Republican tactics) that many no longer believe reform is possible.”
- Robert Reich, 2014

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If Everything Sucks, Where’s the Revolution?
How We Got Conditioned Into Accepting Dystopia

By Umair Haque
Eudaimonia
October 12, 2021

Here’s a tiny question. Why is it that the future of the human race, the planet, democracy, life itself is ON THE LINE RIGHT NOW - and there’s not a revolution anywhere in sight?

Take a glimpse at the headlines. Today they were so dystopian even I held my head in pain. A brief smattering? Trump’s back in action - and Biden’s sinking in the polls. The Democrats can’t get a thing done. China’s building more coal plants. Brits, thanks to the colossal stupidity of Brexit, still can’t get gas, food, milk, medicine - but nobody’s supposed to talk much about it. Billionaires got trillions richer, while millions are dead of a preventable plague. Shall I go on?

We’re hammered, you and I, with dystopia. It rains down on us daily like a deluge. FASCISM, climate change, BOUNTY HUNTERS CHASING WOMEN IN TEXAS, the Taliban back in power, nature being annihilated, the seasons changing into things we don’t have words for, whole regions of the globe becoming Fire and Flood and Plague Belts.

You’d think, given all that, that people would be fed up. That they’d be clamouring for transformation - not just “change,” whatever that even means, but profound, deep, lasting transformation. To institutions, constitutions, norms, values, these things we thoughtlessly call “lifestyles.”

You’d think, given the sheer scale of dystopia thundering down on us, that it’d be an Age of Revolution. But… it’s not. Instead, its an Age of indifference, of apathy, of resignation, fatalism, futility. It’s an Age of Paralysis, an age of Pacification, instead of a Revolution.

Something is very, VERY WRONG with that. That isn’t remotely normal. When people are pushed to the brink - like we are, and I mean everything from countries to generations - normally, they push back. But… we don’t. Throughout history, peasants have revolted when pushed too far. France, Russia, Britain. Ages of Revolutions have been a constant theme throughout history. WHY AREN’T we pushing back? Why are we just accepting dystopia fatalistically, instead of revolting against it?

Sorry, but I don’t just mean “voting for Joe Biden.” I mean actually revolting. For better structures and systems and institutions and values and norms. I mean disobeying the corrupt, corroded systems and structures which have failed us, ripping them down, and building better, fairer, truer ones. I mean really pushing back.

Here we are, at humanity’s most crucial juncture - the planet is dying, our polities are melting down, our societies do not function anymore - and there are no revolutions. Not even a hint or a trace of one. The next decade or two is going to decide the fate of us for centuries, probably millennia. Will we have a planet to live on? Societies to belong to? Or will we just plunge into a new Dark Age?

We are going down without a fight - and yet we live in one of history’s most critical moments.

That is profoundly, deeply weird. It says that somehow, something broke us. Right down in the mind, the spirit, the will to live, endure, grow. What is that something?

First, let me put a name to this weird phenomenon of living-in-one-of-history’s-most-dystopian-moment yet were going down without a fight, not a revolution anywhere in sight. Let’s call it the Great Paralysis. Somethings numbed us. Paralysed us. Pacified us.

A Chomskyite might call it “manufactured consent,” but I’d go further than that. Let me explain.

I think whats paralyzed us is the brutal combination of technology and capital.

Let me focus for a moment on young people. The last time the world went dystopian, young people responded fiercely. I’m thinking of the hippies of the 60s, the love children. Their intense focus on love and peace was a direct consequence of growing up in the ashes of world war.

Today, they’re derided. “Hippie” is a insult. But it shouldn’t be. Because young people back then believed in truly noble and earth-shaking goals. Like, yes, world peace and an end to war and violence and equality for all peoples and nations.

Did they make it happen? The answer that’s often given is that they didn’t. But that answer is wrong. The peace movements of the 60s had a massive impact. They were responsible, if not solely, than at least pretty critically, for everything from the passage of everything from civil rights to what would become, in the 1980s, the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Those flower children grew up - at least some of them - and really did begin to end war, violence, hunger, and poverty.

It’s a foolish myth to imagine that the massive growth in consciousness which happened in the 60s resulted in nothing, that all those hippies just grew up to become boomers. They didn’t. Many of them went on to do genuinely beautiful and world-changing things, whether at the United Nations, or as civil rights advocates, or as gay rights lawyers, and so forth.

Now let’s think about young people today. They have no goals whatsoever. I don’t mean personal goals. I mean generational ones. In the same way that we could have said that young people in the 60s believed - not all of them, just at the average - in the end of violence, war, hunger, and so forth, today, we can’t say young people believe in or aspire to anything as a generation.

Sure, Greta and Malala are trying to get them to. But by and large, you don’t see young people on the streets every day shouting that they still need a planet to live on, or societies that work, or just lives that don’t end in dystopian ruin. Yes, it happens once in a while, but it’s not a generational, feeling, norm, rule, sentiment. We don’t think of Zoomers and Millennials as revolutionaries - but just the opposite: as poor kids who are caught like deer in the headlights of an approaching freight train, except this is the express train to global collapse.

So why arent young people more revolutionary? Again, that’s not some kind of “kids today” jeremiad - its just a fact. The fascists protest more and harder than the youths - whether anti-vaxxers or the Jan 6thers. The reason, I think, is technology.

Let’s take the example of young women. What are they doing, if theyre not out there making a revolution happen? TheyҒre glued to Instagram. The statistics are horrific. Teens spend, on average, nine hours a day staring at screens - three of them on social media. The average TikTok user spends one and a half hours on the app.

What does Instagram do? It makes young women OBJECTIFY THEMSELVES. Their goal in life becomes to look like weird alien baby strippers. Sexualized objects made of filler and pout and plastic surgery. That is the only way to win the popularity game, because its what the algorithm - an algorithm controlled and reinforced by men twice, three, four times their age - rewards. The algorithm tells them what to eat, wear, say, think. They react obediently, because, well, you can’t fight an algorithm.

The result is that a generation of young women are being traumatised by a pedophilic, algorithmic male gaze. Of course they’re not out there revolting. They’re too busy being rewarded for sexualising themselves, and being punished when they don’t, with eating disorders and self-hate and loneliness and worthlessness.

What is tech teaching young women? That their real role models are “influencers” whose job in life is to look like baby strippers with alien demon plastic surgery faces. That is who they should aspire to be, and they should feel worthless if they can’t be that popular. This game is RIGGED by men for men, who “code” it, of course.

Young women are supposed to be baby strippers - not Malala and Greta.

See the problem here? Think of how many young women combined follow all those “infuencers,” whose only real job it is to degrade them into sexualization. Tens, hundreds of millions. Now think of why Malala and Greta can barely rouse a protest at the UN or Congress or wherever. You begin to see the problem. Way, way more young women are objectified by tech than are allowed, encouraged, incentivized, to care about the world they live in.

I want to make clear thats not a misogynistic insult. It is an observation about how the structures of patriarchy and capital control women. The “code: that teaches young women to be baby strippers, not Malala and Greta is literally owned by men. Written by men. Traded on “stock markets” by men. Patriarchy and capital batter young women with exploitation just as they always have - only this time, they use an algorithm, not a scarlet letter or a stone. Your place is virgin or whore. It’s to look pretty, but not too pretty. A woman’s job isn’t to think. And it’s certainly not to rebel.

Now lets think about young men. Why don’t they rebel, either? Well, TAKE A LOOK AT CULTURE TODAY. What passes for it is Marvel movies. A few generations ago, you had John Lennon singing about the end of war and violence and hunger forever to hundreds of millions and they believed in it. See the difference?

Young men today exist in a cultural matrix poisoned by the stupidity and greed of capital. Whats a young man told to be? Elon Musk, maybe. Or maybe some dumb Marvel movie hero. Save the world with your super-muscles! Young men grow up in a weird, abusive cultural matrix, which is only getting weirder. The ones that can’t make it, cant fit in, can’t get girls, don’t even become punks or nerds much anymore - they become incels. And then incels taunt each other into self-castration or massacring women. It’s super, super bad.

The plight of young men is, of course, the mirror image of that of young women. If young women are taught to be submissive, giggling, hypersexualized baby strippers - all vocal fry and filler - than young men are taught to be the muscled, mindless, “alpha male” bros who abuse and exploit them, and if they cant be that, then they’re worthless. The average young dude today couldnt tell you what happens at two, three, four degrees of climate change - because, like a young woman, he’s glued to a screen.

But what do young men do on their screens? Well, if young women are hypersexualizing themselves for an algorithmic male gaze, then young men are addicted to porn, violence, and greed. I know that makes me sound like Joel Osteen or something, but - well, think about it. 70% of men who watch porn are under the age of 24. There’s evidence that the age group that’s most likely to develop a porn addiction is THIRTEEN TO SIXTEEN years old.

Then there’s video games. Hey, I like a good video game as much as the next dude. But you can’t just play video games and not know a damned thing about global warming. Then theres the omnipresent Marvel Movie. A new one every month - none of which have any redeeming value in terms of making young men think about the world they actually live in at all, versus promoting the dumb fantasy that Real Men Have Super-Powers.

Tech in this way has pacified an entire generation. They should be out there in the streets, revolting. Instead, they’re glued to screens. And what screens do to young people, were beginning to find out, is incredibly depressing. Screen time crushes the soul, breaks the mind, paralysed the spirit. It pacifies - instead of sparks, enlightens, illiuminates, edifies.

That pacification is itself often traumatic. Young women aren’t happily pacified by Instaculture which teaches them that if they’re not baby stripper influencers, all giggles and submission, theyre worthless. It makes them depressed. But that is pacification too - the eradication of the will to revolt.

Men’s will to revolt, meanwhile, is pacified in a different way. You kill some dumb imaginary alien in a video game. You watch some dumb Marvel hero take on a super villain. Hey, wow! You feel betterfor a day or two. You go onto some forum where you can hate women, immigrants, minorities, anyone in your way - and you feel better. YouҒre egged on and encouraged by those just like you, trapped in a vicious circle of masturbatory catharsis. The will to revolt? Male culture is onanistic at this point, meaning, if you’re a young dude, and you’ve got porn, violence, and hate on tapwell, what need is there to revolt? Your will to revolt is going to eradicated by all those forms of masturbation long before it ever reaches a crescendo.

I know a lot of you won’t like reading the above. You’ll say: “What the hell is this dude on about?” And yet the fact, the problem, remains. This should be an Age of Revolution. Instead, it’s an Age of Paralysis. People - especially young people - should not be going down without a fight. But they are. And so something, my friends, needs to explain: what broke our spirits, minds, our will to revolt against the systems and structure which are hammering us over the heads with dystopia, every single day? Why is it that the future of the human race, the planet, democracy, life itself is on the line right now - and there’s not a revolution anywhere in sight?

SOURCE

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Getting back to Robert Reich - the guy who believed fear was keeping the country from revolting for better jobs seven years ago....
:

The General Strike of 2021
By Robert Reich
October 13, 2021

On Tuesday, the Labor Department reported that some 4.3 million people had quit their jobs in August. That comes to about 2.9 percent of the workforce up from the previous record set in April, of about 4 million people quitting.

All told, about 4 million American workers have been leaving their jobs every month since last spring.

Add this to last Friday’s jobs report showing the number of job openings at a record high. The share of people working or actively looking for work (the labor force participation rate) has dropped to 61.6 percent. Participation for people in their prime working years, defined as 25 to 54 years old, is also down. Over the past year, job openings have increased 62 percent.

WHAT’S HAPPENING? You might say American workers have declared a national general strike until they get better pay and improved working conditions.

No one calls it a general strike. But in its own disorganized way it’s related to the organized strikes breaking out across the land, Hollywood TV and film crews, John Deere workers, Alabama coal miners, Nabisco workers, Kellogg workers, nurses in California, healthcare workers in Buffalo.

Disorganized or organized, American workers now have bargaining leverage to do better.

After a year and a half of the pandemic, consumers have pent-up demand for all sorts of goods and services. But employers are finding it hard to fill positions.

This general strike has nothing to do with the Republican bogeyman of extra unemployment benefits supposedly discouraging people from working. Reminder: The extra benefits ran out on Labor Day.

Renewed fears of the Delta variant of COVID may play some role. But it can’t be the major factor. With most adults now vaccinated, rates of hospitalizations and deaths are way down.

Childcare is a problem for many workers, to be sure. But lack of affordable childcare has been a problem for decades. It cant be the reason for the general strike.

I believe that the reluctance of workers to return to or remain in their old jobs is mostly because they’re fed up. Some have retired early. Others have found ways to make ends meet other than remain in jobs they abhor. Many just don’t want to return to backbreaking or boring low-wage shit jobs.

The media and most economists measure the economy’s success by the number of jobs it creates, while ignoring the *quality* of those jobs. That’s a huge oversight.

Years ago, when I was Secretary of Labor, I kept meeting working people all over the country who had full-time work but complained that their jobs paid too little and had few benefits, or were unsafe, or required lengthy or unpredictable hours. Many said their employers treated them badly, harassed them, and did not respect them.

Since then, these complaints have only grown louder, according to polls. For many, the pandemic was the last straw. Workers are burned out, fed up, fried. In the wake of so much hardship, illness and death during the past year, they’re not going to take it anymore.

To lure workers back, employers are raising wages and offering other inducements. Average earnings rose 19 cents an hour in September and are up more than $1 an hour or 4.6 percent - over the last year.

Clearly, that’s not enough.

Corporate America wants to frame this as a “labor shortage.” Wrong. What’s really going on is more accurately described as a living-wage shortage, a hazard pay shortage, a childcare shortage, a paid sick leave shortage, and a health care shortage.Unless *these* shortages are rectified, many Americans wont return to work anytime soon. I say it’s about time.

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Posted by Elvis on 10/14/21 •
Section Revelations • Section NWO • Section Dying America • Section Workplace
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Sunday, October 10, 2021

NWO - Job Hunting 2021

image: job search

OBAMA’S BIGGEST BLEMISH remains the ongoing tragedy of mass unemployment. Not only does this have a human element - the countless lives harmed or destroyed by poverty and desperation - but it is a huge drag on our economy. Mass unemployment reduces spending - the engine of our economy - which in turn, reduces growth. And without meaningful growth, there’s no way to reduce long-term debt without inflicting a large dose of harmful austerity. That, in my view, is unacceptable.
Obama’s Biggest Blemish, January 3,2013

AFTER THE 2007-09 FINANCIAL CRISIS, the imbalances and risks pervading the global economy were exacerbated by policy mistakes. So, rather than address the structural problems that the financial collapse and ensuing recession revealed, governments mostly kicked the can down the road, creating major downside risks that made another crisis inevitable. And now that it has arrived, the risks are growing even more acute.

“The death of smaller businesses means that the big players in the stock market are anticipating a bumper year, full of bailouts and tax cuts and then austerity when convenient,” says Suresh Naidu, an economist at Columbia University who studies labor and inequality.

The coronavirus forced our entire economy onto life support from the federal government. Instead of choosing to support everyone during this temporary shutdown - guaranteeing the incomes of workers, instituting widespread debt relief, and pouring stimulus money directly into the base of the wealth pyramid, which supports everything else, the government has instead done what it is built to do: protect the biggest businesses and the accumulated wealth of the richest people, herding societys most powerful into an economic fortress, content in the knowledge that high unemployment and austerity for local governments will just create a population desperate to work for even lower wages than before. As the Trump administration pled helplessness over the fact that we have no good system for delivering money directly to individuals, it did not need to say that that, itself, is a policy choice that is now serving its intended purpose.
The Disconnect Between the Stock Market and the Real Economy Is Destroying Our Lives, may 5, 2020

[L]abour’s share of income is going to continue its downward trend after the current crisis ends. Aside from the profit incentive that has always existed to motivate automation, this crisis has highlighted the pandemic risks associated with relying on labour availability. Industries that employed millions of people pre-pandemic, such as accommodation and food service, as well as retailers, will take advantage of the technological advances in the coming years, suggesting that the so-called “jobless recovery” we saw after the Great Financial Crisis might end up proving to have been an absolute.
The ‘jobless recovery’ after the financial crisis is going to look like a labour bonanza compared with what’s coming next , February 2021

Confessions of job hunters: 5 people open up about their frustrations, from getting ghosted by recruiters to sending out 300 resumes with no response

By Jenny Powers
Business Insider
October 7, 2021

DESPITE REPORTS that there are more available jobs in America than people to fill them, people all over the country say actually getting hired is a different story.

Applicants say they’re being ghosted by recruiters, having their rsums eliminated by applicant tracking systems (ATS), and struggling to find remote work opportunities. At the same time, unemployment benefits have been cut off.

From graduate students to those looking for post-retirement work, Insider spoke with five people who are currently unemployed to learn what it’s like job-hunting during one of the worst times in economic history.

Here’s what they had to say:

Lauren Daly, 30, Henderson, Nevada

Due to a company restructure, I got laid off two weeks ago from my job as a sales rep in educational technology, and received two months severance.

The irony is in addition to that job, I teach an online course I created for a university focusing on career preparedness, covering everything from cover letters, rsums, interview tips, and how best to use LinkedIn to navigate the job search.

When I told my students I got laid off they asked, “How could you be out of work? You literally teach a class on getting jobs!” I resisted the impulse to say maybe I should create a class on how to keep jobs.

I assumed with my PhD and experience, I wouldn’t have a hard time breaking into the scrum master field I wanted to be in but right now, the market is insane. No one is ever really safe.

So far, five different recruiters have reached out claiming to have the ‘perfect fit’ for me, but I’ve been ghosted by all of them.

Bilal Waheed, 29, Astoria, New York

‘ve spent my life following an imaginary checklist based on societal and family expectations, but now that I’ve checked the required boxes, I’m in limbo.

My parents are Pakistani immigrants who always stressed the importance of higher education. I earned my Bachelor’s, worked for four years, then went to grad school for a Masters in applied statistics.

But since graduating in May and sending out nearly 70 applications for data science and analysis positions, I haven’t had a single interview and feel lost in a sea of other applicants. Dealing with so much rejection has been tough.

My savings ran out so I just applied for unemployment. I have $120,000 in student debt, so that’s another battle to face.

I wish I’d been better prepared to build up a network and leverage social capital like some of my classmates had been doing.

My dream is to work in data science for Spotify, but right now I don’t need to strive for the big-name jobs. I’m not ashamed to work my way up.

Donna Fields Brown, 70, Pearce, Arizona

I’m a retired RN looking for part-time work to supplement my social security income (SSI).

Working for over 30 years, I never truly found my niche and did a lot of job-hopping, but jobs were also plentiful back then.

In 2017, my husband and I retired, sold our house, and traveled across the country for two years in our 23-foot long travel trailer. We quickly discovered life on the road was more expensive than we thought.

When the pandemic hit, I took a part-time position as a Walmart cashier to supplement my SSI, but left after a month. Since then, I’ve applied for several jobs at Target, Safeway, and a nearby national park but I haven’t gotten any responses.

I don’t know what’s more daunting, filling out applications online or trying to find work in my ‘Golden Years.’ I’d have to say that both feel like full-time jobs.

Amanda Dexter, 35, Wathena, Kansas

I was an English teacher for seven years but left the field in April after experiencing complete burnout. I was offered a teaching contract this year but turned it down for the sake of my mental health.

I started applying for work two months prior to quitting my teaching job. I’d heard all these reports about how many jobs were opening up, so I thought I’d have no trouble finding one pretty quickly.

But it’s now seven months later and I’ve had no luck when it comes to jobs outside of classroom teaching. It seems like I can’t ever get my foot past the front door.

Personally, I think my resume is getting weeded out by applicant tracking systems before it can even be seen by a human. ATS software only scans for relevant keywords and job titles. When the system reviews my resume, all they see is ‘teaching’ and ‘education,’ not all of the transferable skills that an actual human would recognize as part of my work experience.

For example, I’m an experienced content writer and have applied to a variety of content writing jobs, but on the surface to an ATS, it looks like I have no applicable experience. A human would understand that an English teacher would be a strong writer or at least have some of the skills and potential for the job. Even applying to something like secretarial work seems hopeless because my rsum doesn’t include the types of keywords an ATS is scanning for.

I’ve tried LinkedIn Premium and even got a $29.99 a month subscription for a career coaching company called Work It Daily. I followed their r驩sum templates which focus on getting past the ATS and being easily navigable for recruiters and HR staff. I even had one of their coaches review my rsum驩 to make sure it all looked right. While I have noticed a slight uptick based on my revised format, it hasn’t yielded a full-time opportunity yet.

It’s been incredibly defeating receiving rejection after rejection or being ghosted altogether.

Caitlin Tolchin, 38, New York City

I was laid off from my role as an art director in April 2020, a week after finding out I was pregnant with our first child. Recruiters said no one would hire someone that needed maternity leave so soon after starting, so I temporarily paused my job search.

Our daughter is now 10 months old and my unemployment just ran out. Over the past four months, I’ve applied to approximately 300 positions and only received five or six callbacks, all of which were for in-person jobs which is too big of a COVID risk right now with a baby in the house.

I want to return to work in a remote, freelance or project-based position with the possibility of a hybrid schedule down the line.

For now, I’m going to continue my search and in the meantime, I plan on taking classes to build up my skills in the hopes of becoming more marketable.

---

A worker in Florida applied to 60 entry-level jobs in September and got one interview

By Dominick Reuter
Business Insider
October 19.2021

Joey Holz recalled first hearing complaints about a labor shortage last year when he called to donate convalescent plasma at a clinic near Fort Myers, Florida.

“The guy went on this rant about how he can’t find help and he can’t keep anybody in his medical facility because they all quit over the stimulus checks,” Holz told Insider. “And I’m like, ‘Your medical professionals quit over $1,200 checks? That’s weird.’”

Over the next several months, he watched as a growing chorus of businesses said they COULDN’T FIND ANYONE TO HIRE because of government stimulus money. It was so ubiquitous that he joined a “No one wants to work” Facebook group, where users made memes deriding frustrated employers.

He said he found it hard to believe that government money was keeping people out of the labor force, especially when the end of expanded federal unemployment benefits did not seem to trigger a surge in employment. The expanded benefits ended in September, but 26 states ended them early in June and July.

“If this extra money that everyone’s supposedly living off of stopped in June and it’s now September, obviously, that’s not what’s stopping them,” he said. Workers have said companies struggling to hire aren’t offering competitive pay and benefits.

So Holz, a former food-service worker and charter-boat crewman, decided to run an experiment.

On September 1, he sent job applications to a pair of restaurants that had been particularly public about their staffing challenges.

Then, he widened the test and spent the remainder of the month applying to jobs mostly at employers vocal about a “lack of workers” and tracking his journey in a spreadsheet.

Two weeks and 28 applications later, he had just nine email responses, one follow-up phone call, and one interview with a construction company that advertised a full-time job focused on site cleanup paying $10 an hour.

But Holz said the construction company instead tried to offer Florida’s minimum wage of $8.65 to start, even though the wage was scheduled to increase to $10 an hour on September 30. He added that it wanted full-time availability, while scheduling only part time until Holz gained seniority.

Holz said he wasn’t applying for any roles he didn’t qualify for.

Some jobs “wanted a high-school diploma,” he said. “Some wanted retail experience,” he added. “Most of them either said ‘willing to train’ or ‘minimum experience,’ and none of them were over $12 an hour.”

He said: “I didn’t apply for anything that required a degree. I didn’t apply for anything that said ‘must have six months experience in this thing.’”

Holz isn’t alone. Others have also spoken out about their troubles finding work, despite the seemingly tight labor market.

In a Facebook post on September 29, which went viral on Twitter and Reddit as well, Holz said, “58 applications says y’all aren’t desperate for workers, you just miss your slaves.”

“My opinion is that this is a familiar story to many,” he added.

By the end of September, Holz had sent out 60 applications, received 16 email responses, four follow-up phone calls, and the solitary interview. He shared a pie chart showing his results.

Holz acknowledged that his results may not be representative of the larger labor challenges in the country, since his search was local and targeted the most vocal critics of stimulus spending.

He added that despite the claims of some businesses struggling to hire, his boss had no staffing issues during the pandemic.

“Nobody leaves those positions because he takes care of his people,” Holz said, referring to his boss.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 10/10/21 •
Section Revelations • Section NWO • Section Job Hunt • Section Dying America • Section Next Recession, Next Depression
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