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

Update 8/11/07 - As we head into the next depression, fueled by selfish corporate greed, and a corrupt, SOCIOPATHIC US government, MIKE WHITNEY has a solution that 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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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

What The Bible Says About The Poor

image: greedy executive

12 The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. 13 They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast.. 16 The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to hand over to the beast their royal authority, until Gods words are fulfilled.
- Revelation 17:12-13, 16-17

Translation: “The Lord will keep our top ten corporations here making them give their economic strength to America.  However, they in fact hate our government and will eventually take their economic base and related jobs overseas.  Thereby will they consume Americas pride, and destroy our financial reputation… Whereas He has put it in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree to give their economic strength to America, but only until His Prophecies are fulfilled.
- Vince Diehl 1990

Here’s what the Bible actually says about taxing the rich to help the poor

By Mathew Schmalz
The Conversation
December 10, 2017

The new tax reform bill has led to an intense debate over whether it would HELP OR HURT THE POOR. Tax reform in general raises critical issues about whether the government should redistribute income and promote equality in the first place.

Jews and Christians look to the Bible for guidance about these questions. And while the Bible is clear about aiding the poor, it does not provide easy answers about taxing the rich. But even so, over the centuries biblical principles have provided an understanding on how to help the needy.

The Hebrew Bible and the poor

The Hebrew Bible has extensive regulations that require the wealthy to set aside for the poor a portion of the crops that they grow.

The Bible’s Book of LEVITICUS states that the needy have a right to the “leftovers of the harvest.” Farmers are also prohibited from REAPING THE CORNERS OF THEIR FIELDS so that the poor can access and use for their own food the crops grown there.

In DEUTERONOMY, the fifth book of the Bible, there is the requirement that every three years, 10 percent of a person’s produce should be given to “foreigners, the fatherless and widows.”

Helping the poor is a way of paying “rent” to God, who is understood to actually own all property and who provides the rain and sun needed to grow crops. In fact, every seventh year, during the SABBATICAL year, all debts are forgiven and everything that grows in the land is made available freely to all people. Then, in the great JUBILEE, celebrated every 50 years, property returns to its original owner. This means that, in the biblical model, no one can permanently hold onto something that finally belongs to God.

Christians and taxes

In the GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, Jesus says, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Jesus thus joins respect for the poor with respect for God. In the Gospel of Mark, JESUS ALSO STATES “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s,” which is often interpreted as requiring Christians to pay taxes.

Throughout Christian history, taxation has been considered an essential government responsibility.

The Protestant reformers MARTIN LUTHER and JOHN CALVIN drew upon PSALM 72 to argue that a “righteous” government helps the poor.

In 16th-century England, ”POOR LAWS” were passed to aid the deserving poor and unemployed. The “deserving poor” were children, the old and the sick. By contrast, the “undeserving poor” were beggars and criminals and they were usually put in prison. These laws also shaped EARLY AMERICAN approaches to social welfare.

The common good

Over the last two centuries, new economic realities have raised new challenges in applying biblical principles to economic life. Approaches not foreseen in biblical times emerged in an attempt to respond to new situations.

In the 19th century, organizations like the SALVATION ARMY believed that Christians should go out of the churches and into the streets to care for the destitute. During this period, the United States also saw the rise of the SOCIAL GOSPEL MOVEMENT that emphasized biblical ideals of justice and equality. Poverty was considered a social problem that required a comprehensive - social - and governmental - response.

The idea that government has an important role to play in human flourishing was made by Pope Leo XIII in his 1891 encyclical RERUM ONOVARUM. In it, the pope argued that governments should promote THE COMMON GOOD. Catholicism DEFINES the common good as the"conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.”

While human fulfillment is not just about material comfort, the Catholic Church has always maintained that citizens should have access to food, housing and health care. As the Catholic Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church makes clear, taxation is necessary because government should HARMONIZE society in a just way.

And when it comes to taxes, no one should pay more or less than they are able. As POPE JOHN XXIII wrote IN 1961, taxation must “be proportioned to the capacity of the people contributing.”

In other words, believing that helping the poor is simply an individual or private responsibility ignores the scope and complexity of the world we live in.

Mercy, not the market

Human life has become more interconnected. In toda’’s globalized economy, decisions made in the heartland of China impact the American Midwest. But even with this deepening interdependence, by some measures, inequality has risen worldwide. In the United States alone, the top 1 percent possess an increasingly larger share of national income.

When it comes to helping the poor in these current times, some argue that cutting taxes on individuals and corporations will stimulate economic growth and create jobs called the “trickle-down effect,” in which money flows from those at the top of the social pyramid down to lower levels.

Pope Francis, however, argues that “trickle-down economics” places a “crude and naive trust” in those wielding economic power. In the pope’s view, an ethics of mercy, not the market, should shape society.

But given the Jewish and Christian commitment to the poor, the question is perhaps a factual one: What social policy does the most good?

In the GOSPEL OF LUKE, Jesus taught:

“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full.”

The Conversation At the very least, this means that people should never be afraid to offer up what they have in order to help those in need.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 12/13/17 •
Section Spiritual Diversions
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Monday, December 11, 2017

A Poverty Of Understanding III

image: poor

Why the UN is investigating extreme poverty in America, the world’s richest nation

By Ed Pilkington
The Guardian
December 1, 2017

The United Nations monitor on extreme poverty and human rights has embarked on a coast-to-coast tour of the US to hold the worlds richest nation - and its president - to account for the hardships endured by America’s most vulnerable citizens.

The tour, which kicked off on Friday morning, will make stops in four states as well as Washington DC and the US territory of Puerto Rico. It will focus on several of the social and economic barriers that render the American dream merely a pipe dream to millions from homelessness in California, to racial discrimination in the Deep South, cumulative neglect in Puerto Rico and the decline of industrial jobs in West Virginia.

With 41 million Americans officially in poverty according to the US Census Bureau (other estimates put that figure much higher), one aim of the UN mission will be to demonstrate that no country, however wealthy, is immune from human suffering induced by growing inequality. Nor is any nation, however powerful, beyond the reach of human rights law - a message that the US government and Donald Trump might find hard to stomach given their tendency to regard internal affairs as sacrosanct.

The UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, is a feisty Australian and New York University law professor who has a fearsome track record of holding power to account. He tore a strip off the Saudi Arabian regime for its treatment of women months before the kingdom legalized their right to drive, denounced the Brazilian government for attacking the poor through austerity, and even excoriated the UN itself for importing cholera to Haiti.

The US is no stranger to Alston’s withering tongue, having come under heavy criticism from him for its program of drone strikes on terrorist targets abroad. In his previous role as UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Alston blamed the Obama administration and the CIA for killing many innocent civilians in attacks he said were of dubious international legality.

Now Alston has set off on his sixth, and arguably most sensitive, visit as UN monitor on extreme poverty since he took up the position in June 2014. At the heart of his fact-finding tour will be a question that is causing increasing anxiety at a troubled time: is it possible, in one of the world’s leading democracies, to enjoy fundamental human rights such as political participation or voting rights if you are unable to meet basic living standards, let alone engage, as Thomas Jefferson put it, in the pursuit of happiness?

Despite great wealth in the US, there also exists great poverty and inequality,” Alston said in remarks released before the start of the visit. The rapporteur said he intended to focus on the detrimental effects of poverty on the civil and political rights of Americans, given the United State’ consistent emphasis on the importance it attaches to these rights in its foreign policy, and given that it has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Poverty experts are watching the UN tour closely in the hope that it might draw public attention to a largely neglected but critical aspect of US society.

David Grusky, director of the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Stanford, said the visit had the potential to hold a mirror up to the country at a moment when globalization combined with a host of domestic policies have generated a vast gulf between rich and poor.

The US has an extraordinary ability to naturalize and accept the extreme poverty that exists even in the context of such extreme wealth,” he said.

Grusky added that the US reaction to Alston;s visit could go either way. It has the potential to open our eyes to what an outlier the US has become compared with the rest of the world, or it could precipitate an adverse reaction towards an outsider who has no legitimacy telling us what to do about internal US affairs.ғ

Alstons findings will be announced in preliminary form in Washington on 15 December, and then presented as a full report to the UN human rights council in Geneva next June. An especially unpredictable element of the fallout will be how Trump himself receives the final report, given the presidentԒs habit of lashing out at anyone perceived to criticize him or his administration.

Trump has also shown open disdain towards the world body. In the course of the 2016 presidential campaign he griped that we get nothing out of the United Nations other than good real-estate pricesғ.

On the other hand, observers have been surprised that the White House has honored the invitation to host Alston after the initial offer was extended by Barack Obama. US diplomats on more than one occasion since Trumps inauguration have said they welcomed the UN party.

Alston himself is reserving his comments until the end of the tour. But his published work suggests that he is likely to be a formidable critic of the new president. In a lecture he gave last year on the challenges posed by Trump and other modern populist leaders, he warned that their agenda was Ԓavowedly nationalistic, xenophobic, misogynistic, and explicitly antagonistic to all or much of the human rights agenda.

Alston concluded the speech by saying: ӔThese are extraordinarily dangerous times, unprecedentedly so in my lifetime. The response is really up to us.

The UN poverty tour falls at a singularly tense moment for the US. In its 2016 state of the nation review, the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality placed the US rank at the bottom of the league table of 10 well-off countries, in terms of the extent of its income and wealth inequality.

It also found that the US hit rock bottom in terms of the SAFETY NET it offers struggling families, and is one of the worst offenders in terms of the ability of low-income families to lift themselves out of poverty - a stark contrast to the much-vaunted myth of the American dream.

To some extent, Trump’s focus on “making America great again” - a political jingo that in itself contains an element of criticism of the state of the nation - chimes with the UN’s concern about extreme poverty. His call for greater prosperity for white working Americans in declining manufacturing areas that proved so vital to his election victory will be echoed in Alstons visit to the depressed coal-producing state of West Virginia, which backed Trump in 2016 by a resounding 69%.

In many other ways, though, the Trump administration in its first year has taken a radically hostile approach towards communities in need. He has tried, so far unsuccessfully, to abolish Obamacare in a move that would deprive millions of low-income families of healthcare insurance, was widely criticized for his lackluster response to the hurricane disaster in Puerto Rico that has left thousands homeless and without power, and is currently pushing a tax reform that would benefit one group above all others: the super rich.

The US poses an especially challenging subject for the UN special rapporteur because unlike all other industrialized nations, it fails to recognize fundamental social and economic rights such as the right to healthcare, a roof over your head or food to keep hunger at bay. The federal government has consistently refused to sign up to the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights - arguing that these matters are best left to individual states.

Such an emphasis on states rights has spawned a patchwork of provision for low-income families across the country. Republican-controlled states in the Deep South provide relatively little help to those struggling from unemployment and lack of ready cash, while more assistance is likely to be forthcoming in bigger coastal cities.

By contrast, raging house prices and gentrification is fueling a homelessness crisis in liberal cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco Ӓ the first stop next week of the UN tour.

Martha Davis, a law professor specializing in US human rights at Northeastern University, said that such vast regional variations present the UN monitor with a huge opportunity. Unlike other international officials, he has the ability to move freely at both federal and state levels and be equally critical of both.

“There’s a lot that Philip Alston can say about basic inequality that goes to the heart of the rights that he is reviewing,” Davis said.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 12/11/17 •
Section Dying America
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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Boomers Burned By Recession Part 8

image: american dream is over

Broke baby boomers, its time to face reality

By Elizabeth White
PBS
Jan 19, 2017

Editor’s Note: “Friends wonder privately how someone so well educated could be in economic free fall.” Elizabeth White wrote in a column for PBS Next Avenue. “At fifty-five, she has learned how to fake cheeriness and to appear to be engaged, but her phone doesn’t ring with opportunities anymore.”

The article about the growing number of women facing retirement and struggling to make ends meet hit a nerve, receiving thousands of likes and comments on Facebook. People resonated with the reality White faced herself. She had had a comfortable upper-middle-class lifestyle and a good-paying job, but after a failed entrepreneurial endeavor and the Great Recession, she was facing a stark reality. She was broke.

In Fifty-Five, Unemployed, and Faking Normal,” White offers advice to those baby boomers who, instead of facing cushy retirements in Florida, are facing financial ruin and the shame that comes with it. The following is an excerpt from her book. For more on the topic, tune in to tonights Making Sen$e segment, which airs every Thursday on the PBS NewsHour.
- Kristen Doerer, Making Sen$e Editor

I have been fortunate. I have been poor for quite a long time now, so Im pretty good at it. The simple no-frills life is fine by me.
- Debie

Millions of us are trying to wrap our brains around futures that look nothing like the ones we imagined. How do we walk up that hill? Its about letting go of what used to be and figuring out what we need to do and to change now so that we can have a shot at a more satisfying life in our fourth quarter.

You may not like all of the things that I invite you to consider and take on in the chapters ahead. Adaptation is hard at any age, but it’s especially hard now, as all of the rules changed just as we baby boomers are planning our end games. It would be so much easier to just do what we’ve always done.

But we can’t. We’re anxious, uncertain about the future and just scraping by for the next 30 years is just not going to cut it. Nor is being mired in some old stuck story or feeling mad, bitter and crotchety. All of those “wouldas, couldas and shouldas” are just a waste of precious time at this point.

The bottom line is that we are where we are. And its from here that we start. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges were facing, there is much we can learn from our peers who are experimenting with unconventional approaches and innovative ways of relating to others, consuming goods and working to find security and happiness.

If weҒre in denial, resistant to change or unwilling to consider anything new or outside of our comfort zones, we might as well close up shop now. How we start this exploration matters. Staying open and hanging loose are important.

The cavalry aint coming

Where we start is by recognizing that the cavalry is not coming to rescue us. There is no national bailout - no prince charming on a white horse.

In the short to medium term, were going to have to save ourselves and one another.

Why? Well, with few exceptions, our politicians are not offering comprehensive solutions to the retirement-income crisis. Most are focused on Social Security as though it were the answer and the magic bullet. But what if youҒre one of the millions of boomers under the full-retirement age, of between 65 or 67 depending on when you were born? Then for now, youre out. Receiving the full Social Security benefit isnҒt even an option.

And even when you are eligible for it, the full benefit will only replace about 40 percent of your preretirement income, if that. Most financial advisors say youll need 70 to 80 percent of it to maintain your standard of living. For tens of millions of Americans, that small Social Security check is the only money coming in. Our lawmakers can pretend all they want that that’s enough to live on. Give me a break.

And while we welcome the recent talk in Washington about increasing the Social Security benefit, we also know that the wheels of change turn slowly. Were living in the meantime.

And exhorting us to simply save more without telling us how to do it doesn’t help us either. I went with my sister to one of those financial-planning seminars and had to leave the room a few times because I was so upset by what I was hearing. It was just so sobering. I have no savings. The planner kept talking about putting 30 percent of your assets into this or that thing. Well, 30 percent of zero is zero.  Chris

The truth is that Americans are saving less, not more.

It will take years for our government and institutions to find and scale solutions to the myriad of problems that underlie the retirement-income crisis. And as those most affected by the crisis, part of our job is pressuring them to do more and to do it faster.

But in the meantime, with no big interventions in the works, our immediate focus should be on what we can do for ourselves.

Saying goodbye to magical thinking

So where do we start? We start by dismantling the belief that if we just tough it out, things will return to normal. The truth is that weҒre not going back. The normal we knew is gone.

In normal land,Ӕ we could zig and zag, move, change jobs or spouses, try new things and still recover from our mistakes. We had time. Now, in our late 50s, 60s and beyond, we dont have that time anymore.

ғNormal was when we had money and did not have to weigh our every decision against its affordability.

Normal was before we knew anyone trapped in their homes, unable to move because their mortgage was underwater.

It was before we were outsourced, merged downsized, rifted and surplused.

In normal land, the ԓsharing economy had mostly not been invented yet. Instead, there were good IRS W-2 jobs with pensions and benefits.

In normal land, we measured our worth by our incomes, props and credentials. For some of us, working hard assured a nice retirement ԓdessert of travel and kicked back living.

Normal was when we werenԒt worried about our childrens futures. As one friend put it, we figured weҒd done our jobs if our adult children were employed and could afford their own therapy.

Normal land had material perks too. There was stuff and more stuff. Back in those days, designer labels mattered more than the factory workers who made those labels.

Before marketers coined the term HENRY, or high earners not rich yet,Ӕ there were yuppies and buppies. A good life of achievement and acquisition was what most of us aspired to and sought.

Magical thinking is believing that the old normal is coming back.

The new normal of financial vulnerability

Right now, depending on your work situation or bank account, you may feel like a tourist in the land of the poor people. At this stage, your main goal is to avoid getting trapped and having to take up permanent residency there. It is a paralyzing thought. I know.

This happened to me in my 40s, and it took me a good 10 years to get back to a normal wage. It took periods of working three jobs at crummy wages and doing whatever I had to do to keep going. The truth is, your friends dont notice the struggle, because they fear it will happen to them. Decide who your genuine friends are, and come clean to them. If nothing else, it will help to talk about it and frees you up from pretending. This is more widespread than most people think. җ Linda

You see friends who used to be at or near the top of the food chain off ramped with no clear path back to normal. You see it in their faces. Its like they have dematerialized.

Most of the women (and men) I worked with who suffered a similar fate never seemed to quite get back to where they were even though they worked as hard as I did and even in the booming tech market. And I pretty much expect every day that this could happen to me again, no matter how hard I work or how many points I put on the board. The worst part is the isolation. This is the first time I have ever let on how bad it was (is), and it still feels extremely risky to do so in a valley rife with swagger. җ J

And you know that if it happened to others, it could happen to you. No longer in denial now, you actually begin to contemplate what would happen if the bottom totally fell out. What would you do? How would you survive?

And millions of us arent contemplating itҗwere living it.

I am at the 15-year mark of my uphill climb out of my hole. I am living tiny, but it is mine, and I am able to live within my means. җ Lesa</i

Many of us wont be making the money weҒre used to making. For the first time, we will be facing the prospect of significant downward mobility, with our accustomed earnings cut by 20, 30, 40 percentor more.

<i>I never had to resort to food stamps but was headed that way and am still rattled to the core by that. ח Linda

And the truth is that if we lose our jobs in our 50s and 60s, were unlikely to be reemployed at the same salaries we had before. This is even true for those whose career choice privilege has, until now, firmly established them in the high five- or six-figure salary range.

Sure, a few of us will manage to find traditional W-2 jobs paying that long bread like before. But many more of us can expect months or even years of unemployment that deplete our savings and shake our confidence.

And when we do work again, weҒll likely do contract work in the gig economy or some part-time jobs in new professions.

I am single, 64, getting Social Security and working whatever jobs I can find that pay the bills. Im finally in a job I like now, but it has taken years to get to this place. During those years, I worked in factories, in retail and at a gas station, and I did home care. You name it, and IҒve done it. Im tired of job hopping to survive. җ Anita

I drive a school bus, have a class B CDL with a passenger/school-bus endorsement and feel lucky to have a job. I was a music-ed teacher. You gotta lose your pride and get out there and start somewhere. I am 57 and was married to a doctor for 20 years, and I got divorced 16 years ago. Pull up your big-girl pants, and take whatever job(s) you can find.  Mary

Some people start entrepreneurial ventures to try to make ends meet. Whatever we do, weגre looking at a lot less money to live on at least in the short termand maybe forever.

Thatגs why a big first step in securing our futures is adopting live-low-to-the-ground mind-set which means that we have to drastically cut our expenses to fit our new income realities.

I know, I know that sounds easy peasy. YouŒre thinking, how hard could it really be to live within your new means?

Its true that reality forces most people to make the needed changes eventually. But that click down from the standard of living that you assumed youҒd always have to one that is much more modest is well, itŒs an adjustment. And its a big adjustment if you were living large and are now scrambling just to cover the basic necessities.

The real question is can we cut way back and still have good quality of life, still find ways to be connected to who and what we love?

But a downgrade in lifestyle is not hard only for the people who were doing well; its hard for everybody. The truth is that most folks just donҒt have that much of a cushion. A recent Pew Charitable Trust Survey of American Family Finances found that the median household does not have enough in liquid savingsӗmoney held in checking and savings accounts, unused balances on prepaid cards, and cash saved at home to replace one month of income.ה

And the average family in the lowest income quintile is even worse off, with less than two weeks of financial reservesor, to be exact, enough to cover about nine daysג worth of expenses.

So as we look into the future, the key question will not be how to tighten our belts or live within our means in the conventional sense. In the new normal of financial insecurity, a lot of us are already doing that.

The real question is can we cut way back and still have good quality of life, still find ways to be connected to who and what we love?

I believe that the short answer is yes. But to have a shot at something other than being old and poor in America, we can’t just do what we’ve always done and be what we’ve always been. The world as we knew it has changed forever. And if we want better futures, we’re going to have to change too.

SOURCE

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Unemployed, 55, and Faking Normal
You may recognize these women, hiding in plain sight

By Elizabeth White
May 16, 2016

She is in your friendship circle, hidden in plain sight.

She is 55, broke and tired of trying to keep up appearances. Faking normal is wearing her out.

To look at her, you wouldn’t know that her electricity was cut off last week for non-payment or that she meets the eligibility requirements for food stamps. Her clothes are still impeccable, bought in the good times when she was still making money.

A Grace Note of Panic

But if you paid attention, you would see the sadness in her eyes, hear that grace note of panic in her otherwise commanding voice.

These days, she buys the $1.99 10-ounce “trial size” jug of Tide to make ends meet. You didn’t know laundry detergent came in that size.

You invite her to the same expensive restaurants the two of you have always enjoyed, but she orders mineral water with a twist of lemon, instead of the $12 glass of Chardonnay. She is frugal in her menu choices, meticulous, counting every penny in her head. She demurs dividing the table bill evenly to cover desserts, designer coffees and the second and third glasses of wine she didn’t drink.

Nest Egg: Gone Long Ago

She lives without cable, a gym membership and nail appointments. She’s discovered she can do her own hair.

There are no retirement savings, no nest egg; she exhausted that long ago. There is no expensive condo from which to draw equity and no husband to back her up.

Months of slow pay and no pay have decimated her credit. Bill collectors call constantly, reading verbatim from a script, expressing polite sympathy for her plight before demanding payment arrangements that she canגt possibly meet.

When the Phone Stops Ringing

Friends wonder privately how someone so well-educated could be in economic free fall. After all, she is still as talented as ever and smart as a whip. But work is sketchy now, mostly on-and-off consulting gigs. You can’t remember when she had a real job. She has learned how to appear engaged, but her phone doesn’t ring with opportunities anymore.

She doesn’t remember exactly when it stopped.

But she has entered the uncertain world of formerly and used to be and isn’t sure anymore where she belongs.

What she does know is that dozens of online job applications shes filled out seem to have disappeared into a black hole. SheҒs convinced that employers have set their online job recruitment algorithms to reject anyone who graduated before 1995.

She wonders what is to become of her. So far, her health has held up, but her body aches. Or is it her spirit?

Homeless women use to be invisible to her, but she appraises them now, with curious eyes, wondering if their stories started like hers.

Time to Stop Faking Normal

Even if you are not poor, exactly, you may still be facing downward mobility and feeling ashamed and embarrased about it. If so, come on out. Stop faking normal. There are millions of women like us and there is strength in our numbers.

Women nearing retirement are particularly hard hit by Americas retirement income-security crisis. The gender wage disparity gap costs women $431,360 over the course of their lives, according to the Center for American Progress. Add to this shortfall another $304,000 that women forfeit for time off from paid work to tend to parents (according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP) and hundreds of thousands more to care for children and the consequences of spending a life of economic disadvantage becomes clear in lost wages, reduced pension and Social Security benefits.

The prospect is even worse if you are a woman of color: Today, three in 10 single black women over 65 and early 4 in 10 older single Hispanic women live in poverty, a rate more than twice that of white women, according to the WomenҒs Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER).

But if we are hiding or in denial about our financial insecurity, were not taking the active role we need to navigate this phase of our lives. One action I took that really helped me and gave me both perspective and peace of mind was picking a friend to talk to and totally come clean about my situation. Turns out, she was broke, too, and was as worried about her future as I was about mine. It was such a burden off me to just speak my truth.

For all of us, there are hard choices to make about where we are going to live and how. The good news is that the market is beginning to respond with many more innovative and affordable senior housing and co-housing options to help boomers stay engaged and lead meaningful lives. I expect manufacturers to follow suit with value-engineered products geared to retirees with lower incomes.

So while our new living quarters may be a rental and the size of a postage stamp, it beats being confined to a dim lit room in some drab building with a weird hospital smell and institutionalized food.

Welcome to the new normal.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 12/10/17 •
Section Dying America
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Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Bad Moon Rising Part 70 - The End Of Empire 2

image: dying america

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
- John Adams

American Calamity Get Ready for the Day of Reckoning

By Phil Butler
New Eastern Outlook
December 3, 2017

The America we once knew is gone forever. The 21st century has dawned just as the true light of liberty fades into shadow. The sooner the world recognizes this, the better off humankind will be. RussiaGate, Bill and Hillary Clinton revelations, Donald Trumps quasi-populist misdirect, and a great nation turned amoral, this and much more forewarn of a cataclysm.

Ill tell you about the instant I gave up on America ever being great again. When my oldest friend failed to reach me on Skype a few weeks back, a strange reconnect on his device put me in the position of a fly on the wall with he and two other high school friends. At first, I thought my old friend and I were connected as per usual, on a conference call. Then, when I realized I could hear them without the trio hearing me, the real American tragedy unfolded. The realization struck me hard, I’ll tell you. Listening to old pals discuss my new book that debunks many RussiaGate lies, Putin’s Praetorians met with nasty and harsh criticism without my chums having even read what is inside. Their obtuse and unfair criticism made me finally realized Vladimir Putin and the Russian people have no chance whatsoever - no chance of ever being friends with the United States of America. Three intelligence college graduates, professional men, demonstrated the utter ignorance of a people. Some of my closest friends shouted in my ears that day; the propaganda worked - CNN has already won.I know this is a harsh reality for many of you to accept. Losing hope is not something to take lightly. But get ready, the war will come eventually.

When Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election the hopeful among us considered his victory a successful populist revolt against the Washington swamp of globalists. Trump swore to us he would take on the technocrats and the elites in favor of the “forgotten of America” and the new president sold himself as a man of the people. However, billionaires are not ordinary people, and we should all have remembered this. Many of us voted Trump just to keep a certified psychopath from winning, but Trump and Clinton are nothing more than symptoms of a far more WIDESPREAD CONTAGION. Now let me describe the infectious host my country has become, and a bit on how Lady Liberty will finally succumb.

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is the modern and digitalized Rome. Just why we we’re not taught this in grade school, it escapes me. After all, we always believed our teachers and trusted them to tell us the truth. The unarguable fact that Americans have been the most privileged people on Earth since World War II. But we were told for decades that our privilege was due to our industriousness, our intelligence, and because God had blessed us. In the 1950s and early 1960֒s this may have really been true. For those who recall that we made stuff back then, and that we conformed more often to our religious convictions, my meaning here is clear to you. We Americans benefitted largely because of our hard work back then, and not sometimes because of brilliant industrialists too.  Then the two Kennedy brothers were shot and killed, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X were assassinated, and Lyndon Baines Johnson and his boys carried us into Vietnam. In the meantime, those of us too young (or chicken) to fight in southeast Asia, we got our fill of Woodstock, a popular anti-war movement and the hippie revolution, and decades of drug culture that nobody talks about much these days. But this component of the American metamorphosis is far too important and massively deep to discuss here. It should suffice those from that era to know, that Iғ know what you know. This was the moment the American people dipped themselves in the narcotic of too much self-love and when we began to exceed and excel in moral promiscuity. Today an entire nation is drowning in a sea of vanity that originated back then. We saw this moral lasciviousness when the last President, Barack Obama spat out our exceptionalismԓ right in the worlds face. Let’s now take a candid look at this how collectively extraordinary we Americans have been.

A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today. The Western world has lost its civic courage . . . . Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling and intellectual elite, causing an impression of a loss of courage by the entire society.” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

I’ll not even attempt to describe the rise of consumerism in America following WW II, nor can anyone explain in such limited space how the average American benefitted from our role in that war. As the only major nation untouched (literally) by the massive destructive force of the world war, the United States quickly became a nation blessed with a giant middle class. And with this burgeoning middle class came a youth culture that will absolutely melt down when the next big crisis comes. This foreboding moment can be understood if we look at American society’s rise to affluence in the 60s, 70’s, and even the 1980s, as compared to the disenfranchised in the country today. But I said I would not delve too deeply into this part of Americanism. What makes the United States even an unique country in modern times is how the world lost while America consumed. Make no mistake about it, the real American exceptionalism cost every man, woman, and child on Earth an incalculable price. Citizens of my country have used fully one-fourth of every resource utilized since World War II, and the ongoing wars and corporate shenanigans perpetuated the damage. Up until the 21st century, the curve of American gluttony rose sharply in between 1900 and 1995. A PAPER (PDF) entitled; “Consumption of Materials in the United States, 1900-9950”, from the USGS by Grecia Matos and Lorie Wagner discusses this in depth. Here is the short version from the paper on materials use:

“During this century, the quantity of materials consumed has grown, from 161 million metric tons in 1900 to 2.8 billion metric tons by 1995, an equivalent of 10 metric tons per person per year.”

The report details our consumption from many directions including environmental impacts, and so on. Nowhere is our exceptional appetite for world resources more prevalent than in our energy use. THIS REPORT from 2011 shows how America went stark raving mad using coal, natural gas, petroleum nd nuclear energy after WW II. For comparative purposes, Americans used about 10 quadrillion btus of petroleum in 1945, as compared to just over 40 quadrillion btuᒒs at the peak in 2005-2006. On energy, its fair to assert here that all those energy wars the so-called conspiracy theorists writeabout are real news stories, rather than fake concoctions. But let’s forget about American politicians opening up North America for a toxic fracking future for the moment. This Scientific American STORY points to Americans as the least sustainable society on Earth. From the article Sierra Clubs Dave Tilford tells us:

“The average American will drain as many resources as 35 natives of India and consume 53 times more goods and services than someone from China.”

The final take here is telling. The United States, with less than 5 % of the global population, uses more than 25% of the world’s fossil fuel resources, by burning up nearly 25 % of the coal, 26 % of the oil, and 27 % of the worlds natural gas. Another way of looking at our “exceptional self-destructiveness” is to think how many “worlds” it would take to support humanity, if everyone consumed like we do. But this my point is the fact that our addictive and suicidal behavior costs all of humanity. America’s unique exceptionalism will very soon lead to a horrific cataclysm for out sick culture. I’ll frame for you now:

Sick cultures show a complex of symptoms such as you have named - but a dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot. Robert A. Heinlein, Friday

Drugged on the self-aggrandizing drugs of excess, lude and lascivious lifestyles, and utter godlessness, the United States is all set for an apocalypse few in my country see. Before I describe how this cataclysm will likely play out, let me introduce an economic surety. Debt and constricted growth are about to cause a gigantic bubble to burst.

Most readers may not know that the worlds central banks are about to be decimated. The balance sheets of most of these banks have gone from an indebtedness of $6 trillion in 2007 to over $21 trillion today. To make matters worse, the rate of debt expansion exceeds a pace of $200 billion every month. In the UK, the Bank of England prints money on a pace to equal that of the European Central Bank (ECB) and even the Bank of Japan in a hopeless effort of Quantitative Easing (QE) that involves buying the bonds - or debts of governments and investment grade companies. Subsequently, bond prices have shot sky high, while yields are now at record lows. A further indication is contained in a rather innocent PRESS RELEASE about UBS Wealth Management’s UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index 2017. According to this news San Francisco and other real estate markets are ripe for a second devastating housing bubble catastrophe. Also included in the report are; Amsterdam, Stockholm, Munich, Vancouver, Sydney, Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles, and Boston. I could go on and on presenting indicators such as the massive $750 billion dollar trade deficit America runs. But pointing out the reality of Americas $20 trillion dollar national debt is useless for swaying even one typical consumption addict to pay attention. Like my pals who refused to even crack open a book before condemning a friend, most Americans are simply too ignorant and self-involved to give facts a glance. When the lie of CNN or Bloomberg will do, as long as the cheap gas flows, Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again (MAGA)” slogan is a fairytale. America has not been great in a very long time, and she never will be great again. Now let me show you who knows this.

Like Rome, the heyday of Americas empire was been based on expansion and growth. Propped up with militarism and the legendary military industrial complex, Washington has played Wall Street’s gambit for many decades. The recent villainizing of Russia and her president Vladimir Putin is not about the spread of democracy, it’s about Putin standing in the way of privatizing like that which occurred under Yeltsin. Putin is in a fight against the American supported liberal world order bent on gobbling up Russia’s massive resources to fuel further American (plus EU & British) addictions. Without new markets and resources America will very soon be out of gas literally. So, assuming I am correct here, what happens when a land of consumer zombies runs out of gas (or food)? This Fortune Magazine ARTICLE speaks of an education economics bubble about to destroy lives and dreams on a scale never witnessed. The foreboding article touches on but one facet of a fractured American society - the society presidents, senators, and congresspersons swore would benefit from high tech jobs and new age technologies. Now that I’ve painted a small portrait of dread, insert all the twenty-something and thirty-something smart phones you saw in use yesterday in town! You forty-something and fifty-something readers, can you sense the domino effect when the entitled youth cannot get cell service or buy a cappuccino? For further reading on this catastrophe, see Zero Hedge and read RON PAUL’S ASSESSMENT of the imminent doomsday. My conclusion here is pretty short and sweet:

“Of the twenty-two civilizations that have appeared in history, nineteen of them collapsed when they reached the moral state the United States is in now.” Arnold Joseph Toynbee

Vladimir Putin is the barometer everyone should watch. And Vladimir Putin has all but given up on reconciliation with the west. This report from World Socialist Web outlines reports that suggest Putin is ramping up in preparations for the coming war. At the recent Sochi meetup, the Russian president had this to offer on Russias economy being prepared:

“The ability of our economy to increase military production and services at a given time is one of the most important aspects of military security. To this end, all strategic and simply large-scale enterprise should be ready, regardless of ownership.”

Putin’s recent moves, his ongoing pragmatism during these new crises, and the “all or nothing” approaches of western governments toward Russia tell us all we need to know here. Putin is admittedly testing the capability of Russia’s economy to defend in an all-out war with the west. Read Alex Lantier’s article above, then correlate everything you can find on global defense in the last few months. Putin is only following suit after NATO recently discussed improving infrastructure for war-making. In Moscow the thinkers know once the petro-yuan replaces the dollar, that general chaos will rein in America. And the American globalists know this too. Now imagine a dollar being worth ten cents. Imagine store shelves empty and several million more foreclosures. Imagine Apple not selling iPhones for two months. Visualize what happens in America if another big recession hits now. The kid who was 12 when 2008 rolled around, is now 21 with a college degree and a mountain of student loan debt, working at McDonalds to pay for an $800 dollar smart phone. Fox News just reported on the 5 dead and 20 wounded in Chicago over the Thanksgiving weekend, and Trump’s policies have been a shot in the arm for Wall Street. If the big bubble bursts the disenfranchised will turn to cannibalism. Putin and the Washington swamp knows this too.

So, when America does finally succumb to the death throes we’ve seen happening the last thirty years or more They’ll push the button, you bet they will. Zombies could care less about Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Palestine, Syria and Yemen. You unplug the intravenous joy and it’s over. And this is the truth of an America since 1955. Find yourself a cave here on Crete, fort up and get ready. Its coming.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 12/05/17 •
Section Bad Moon Rising • Section Revelations • Section Dying America
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