Article 43

 

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Healthcare Parasites

image: uninsured

A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that Americans now have over $140 billion in unpaid medical bills owed to collection agencies. The figure is nearly twice as high as the most recent data from several years ago. But the country’s total medical debt is even higher, as the $140 billion does not include bills owed directly to health providers or credit card debt from medical expenses. Republican-run states that chose not to expand Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act had the highest debts.
- Americans Owe Over $140 Billion in Medical Debt, July 2021

Healthcare Parasites are Sucking Americans Dry

By Thom Hartmann
The Hartmann Report
July 22, 2021

The only way to deal with parasites is to remove them from their host. It’s time to expand Medicare to all Americans so we can dislodge these healthcare parasites from our body politic

PARASITES attach themselves to your body and suck your blood to feed themselves. Most, like ticks and mosquitos, while they may provide food for birds, bats and other animals, seem to provide no direct benefit at all to humans.

That “no benefit” equation goes double for the latest parasites who have attached themselves to the backs of Americans and are rapidly draining us of our economic blood: health insurance companies.

There is quite literally NO REASON FOR THESE CORPORATIONS TO EXIST, at least when it comes to providing for the health needs of 99 percent of Americans.

Virtually every other developed country in the world has a universal healthcare system to provide for the needs of all of their citizens. The one exception is Switzerland, where everyone is required to purchase health insurance, but all the primary health insurance companies must operate as nonprofits and the federal government pays the premiums for low income and poor people.

Other developed countries typically have a few health insurance companies around but mostly they serve the very wealthy, insuring that if they become sick or injured they get private suites in the hospital or have jet- and helicopter-based air ambulance service when out of country. In a few countries they fill in cracks, like for dental or eyeglasses.  But, other than Switzerland, that’s it.

Severe parasite infections can cripple a host’s ability to respond to disease, and that’s just what’s happening to America right now as we’ve faced and continue to face the Covid pandemic.  More than half of all Americans who’ve become INFECTED WITH COVID and survived are now “struggling with medical debt” as a result of their illness, according to a NEW STUDY BY THE COMMONWEALTH FUND.

Even people who didn’t get Covid are being wiped out by medical debt:

Think about the people who live around you, on your street or in your apartment building.  Imagine one out of every five of them, from the very old to newborns, having already had their medical debt turned over to another parasitic American industry, debt collectors.

ONE ON FIVE AMERICANS.  Today. Are in collection for medical debt.  Getting harassing phone calls day and night.  Having their checking accounts garnished, their credit and ability to get a new job ruined for years or decades.  One in every five people in America.  And every one of their lives has been turned upside-down because they or their child got sick.

We are the only developed country in the world that does this to its citizens, and the only reason we do it is so PEOPLE LIKE BILL McGUIRE, the former CEO of UnitedHealth, can walk away with, literally, a billion dollars.

Meanwhile, the UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO FINDS that 8 million Americans have started a crowdfunding page to raise money to cover their own medical bills, and an additional 12 million pages have been started by others trying to pay bills of friends, relatives, children or grandparents who aren’t computer literate.

One third of all GoFundMe and similar sites are people trying to raise money to pay for medical bills not covered by insurance companies. Families like GEORGE FUSHI’S are desperately turning to the contributions of friends and even strangers to simply avoid homelessness.

A CITY OF NEW YORK/HARVARD STUDY found that the number one cause of bankruptcy in America is medical debt; it averages over a half-million families wiped out this way every year.  The number of people in Canada, all of western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan who went bankrupt exclusively from medical debt last year: Zero.

As Michael Hiltzik WRITES for the Los Angeles Times: “It’s also virtually unique to the U.S. among developed countries; when experts from Japan and Europe were asked by the PBS program ‘Frontline’ about the prevalence of medical bankruptcy in their countries, some had trouble even comprehending the question.

Poll after poll shows that A SOLID MAJORITY - 60 to 80 percent, depending on how the question is phrased - want Americas legislators to put a national health care system in place or give people an easy and inexpensive option to buy into our biggest single payer system, Medicare.

And, indeed, we still have two single-payer systems left over from LBJ’s Great Society programs in the 1960s that were able to get passed just a decade before the US Supreme Court legalized political bribery and corruption: Medicare and Medicaid.

Medicare, of course, pays for healthcare for people over 65, and Medicaid covers healthcare costs for low-income working people, the profoundly poor and elderly folks in nursing homes.  The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid coverage to all low-income Americansuntil five “conservative” justices on the Supreme Court changed the law to let individual states decide if their citizens deserved it.

Twelve states today deny Medicaid to many or most of their low-income working citizens even though the federal government pays for almost all of it.  Every single one’s legislature is run entirely by REPUBLICANS: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

That’s no coincidence: the GOP has been the party of billionaires and predatory corporations ever since Warren Harding’s election in 1920, when it turned its back on Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft and purged the Party of its progressives. 

They then spent the past four decades stacking the federal court system and the Supreme Court with partisan hacks and prostitutes to big money and big business so they could continue their bloody business of extracting cash from working people and shoveling it into the money bins of the morbidly rich.

But it’s not just low-income people who are being sucked dry by our medical industry.  The study by Commonwealth Fund found that fully a third of insured Americans under 65 had difficulties paying off medical debt last year.  The same was true for half of uninsured Americans under 65 just in the past year.

In my new book THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AMERICAN HEALTHCARE: WHY SICKNESS BANKRUPTS YOU AND MAKES OTHERS INSANELY RICH, I lay out how the average American is paying around $3000 a year more for healthcare and health insurance than Canadians, Europeans, Japanese and South Koreans.

That money is lining of the pockets of the literally thousands of health industry executives who each “earn” over a million dollars a year (some “earning” tens or hundreds of millions a year). We pay 24 percent of our GDP for healthcare and healthcare insurance.

By comparison, Taiwan’s singly-payer healthcare system in its entirety, including doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, all care facilities, all billing and payment operations - everything - costs that country just a bit over 6 percent of GDP.  In most developed countries its 6 to 14 percent.

Insurance premiums make up 24 percent of gross US payroll, while a Canadian-style nonprofit Medicare-For-All system would cost between 10 and 14 percent depending on how it was implemented.

And every effort Democrats make to deal with the problem - including their most recent “infrastructure” bill that would cut drug prices and expand Medicaid to those 12 states that have refused to do so themselves - faces 100% rigid opposition from bought-and-paid-for elected Republicans.

Meanwhile, the healthcare industry has funded literally hundreds of websites and “advocacy” organizations that have flooded the internet with lies and misinformation about how healthcare is done around the world or the “horrors” of single-payer.  Just try googling the issue and you’ll find the majority of the top hits come from these sources: the industry is readying for war.

As Covid sweeps across America with a fourth wave, this time hitting the Red states and counties hardest because their unvaccinated citizens have been listening to Republican politicians and watching Fox News, MEDICAL BANKRUPTCIES ARE STARTING TO EXPLODE.

The only way to deal with parasites is to remove them from their host.  Its time to expand Medicare to full coverage in all regards for all Americans so we can dislodge these healthcare parasites from our body politic.

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Posted by Elvis on 07/22/21 •
Section Revelations • Section NWO • Section Dying America
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Thursday, July 15, 2021

NWO - Fascism, Facebook, Truth and Covid

image: shut up

In order to reclaim our birthright, we Americans must resolve to repair the systemic decay of the public forum and create new ways to engage in a genuine and not manipulative conversation about our future.

The greatest source of hope for reestablishing a vigorous and accessible marketplace for ideas is the Internet.

We must ensure that the Internet remains open and accessible to all citizens without any limitation on the ability of individuals to choose the content they wish regardless of the Internet service provider they use to connect to the Worldwide Web.

We must ensure by all means possible that this medium of democracy’s future develops in the mold of the open and free marketplace of ideas that our Founders knew was essential to the health and survival of freedom.

- Al Gore, 2005

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This is Fascism: White House and Facebook Merge to Censor “Problematic Posts”

My Matt Algorist
Free Thought Project
July 16, 2021

If we look back throughout history, all societies whose government attempted to, or actually succeeded in, controlling the speech of their citizens, have been totalitarian nightmares. It is for this reason that the founders crafted the first and most important Amendment to the Constitution, barring government from doing exactly that.

Aside from a few constitutionally illiterate politicians over the past couple of decades and the horrid atrocities throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, recently Americans have had the ability to express their protected speech in any manner they see fit. Over the last several years, however, tech giants and social media companies have brought down the hammer in the name of protecting society from “disinformation.”

Many have argued - ALTHOUGH INCORRECTLY - that companies like Facebook and Twitter are private entities and therefore can censor whatever speech they want to on their own platforms. As TFTP has been reporting for years, however, this censorship was anything but private.

While there has been a grey area as to the relationship between social media and government, on Thursday, the White House made sure to clear up any doubt. During a press briefing, Jen Psaki removed any uncertainty that FACEBOOK is a wholly private entity by claiming that the United States government will now dictate to the social media behemoth, exactly what is and isnt allowed on their platform.

“We are in regular touch with the social media platforms,” said Psaki, adding, “we’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook.”

Government censorship has worked so well in the past. I am glad we are finally getting with the times and proudly proclaiming that it’s happening. After all, all free societies are based in the principle of government controlling what you can and can’t say. Bravo, USSA. Bravo.
- https://t.co/29NtW7vKah
- Matt Agorist (@MattAgorist) July 15, 2021

The implications of such a declaration are utterly mind boggling. For the last four years and justifiably, the left has been screaming from the roof tops, marching in the streets, and taking to protests outside the White House to demand an end to fascism. Now, we have the merger of corporate and state entities creating de facto fascism - and they are not only silent, but behind it!

This entire insidious move seems to be a push to either convince or otherwise trick the “vaccine hesitant” Americans into taking the jab. However, announcing that the government is merging with the state to silence critics of the vaccine on social media is hardly a way to build trust, which is why it must be the latter.

Instead of attempting to build trust through transparency, the state is attempting to silence anything information that doesnt wholly enforce their narrative in order to trick others into believing there is only a single consensus.

The government thinks that by creating an endless stream of completely unchallenged information and “news” which confirms their claims, then people will eventually be convinced as any contrary information will be deemed “problematic” and erased from memory. This is an incredibly slippery slope and it needs to be put to an end immediately.

Wondering if @ACLU plans on weighing in at some point soon about the fact that the Biden WH today boasted it is flagging posts it regards as “problematic” and telling FB to take them down immediately. Seems like a relevant issue for them.
- https://t.co/KBMZpFiSzL pic.twitter.com/qbzGIErlm
- Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 15, 2021

As stated above, this announcement is the definition of fascism - a move that would have made Benito Mussolini proud - but that is happening in the ostensible land of the free.

To those who have been paying attention, this merger between the state and social media was inevitable. It has been TAKING PLACE VIA PROXY SINCE 2018 and the results of such a move have been utterly disastrous. As the state and big tech attempt to control the narrative, they suppress the truth and aid in the spread of actual disinformation.

One example happened last year when anyone who shared information on social media about anything related to COVID-19 and the lab in Wuhan, China or that mentioned the possibility that COVID-19 was man-made, saw their post removed and may have even been banned. Facebook, Twitter, Google, the establishment media, and many in the government made it their primary mission to ғdispel misinformation over the origins of the COVID-19 virus.

The arbiters of truth in Big Tech claimed and vehemently pushed the idea - BASED ONLY ON THEORIES - that the COVID-19 virus originated in nature, and anyone who challenged or questioned this view was a dangerous conspiracy theorist.

It was established. The fact checkers were correct and anyone who challenged them was a danger to society. But the fact checkers who dismissed this information did not do so with ԓfacts at all. Instead, they simply promoted one theory over another.

As the world found out in May, the fact checkers, the government, big tech, and social media were all dead wrong.

Make no mistake, there are definitely some asinine and utterly stupid conspiracy theories out there on just about everything, including COVID-19. But does society need handlers to hide these things from them by censoring those who engage with it?

Stupid ideas didnԒt used to go extremely viral. Even in the furthest corners of the conspiracy theory realm, verifiably false facts were easily proven wrong and dismissed swiftly. But that no longer happens now thanks to the censors.

If the ideas of the censors are so grand, why not allow them to compete with other ideas? Censoring ideas doesnt stop them, it only allows very bad ideas to go unchallenged in the public arena, THEREBY GRANTING THEM CREDENCE. This is extremely dangerous.

This new merger of corporate and state cannot go unchecked. Free speech does not come with terms and conditions and those who claim it does will eventually be silenced by the very monster they helped to create.

SOURCE

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Down the Rabbit Hole with COVID Truth

By Gordon Duff
New Eastern Outlook
July 14, 2021

It is impossible to writeusefully and informatively about the pandemic without risk to reputation. One’s writings on COVID exist in context, not just media and accepted narrative but one’s own writings as well. Thus, it is vital that any information, even science, as that has of late been twisted out or recognizability as well, be judged based on the credibility and standing of the voice reporting it.

That said, we establish that as of this writing it is mid-July, the year is 2021 and collective world media has failed miserably, to serve, to report, to analyze and to investigate.

First, we examine COVID as a bioweapon. Was COVID, with its complexities, engineered as a chimera disease, either to use as a weapon or as part of a program intended to protect from the possibility unnamed others, who or whatever they might be, could engage in such an endeavor?

No media reporting in this arena can be relied upon. I can explain why, and the explanation will not please, it will only depress and upset, my apologies.

The West, such as it is, ostensibly under the umbrella of NATO and concumbent think tanks and hoax machines, is responsible for the breakdown in international legal standards. Without standards, conventions that allow unbiased investigations, banditry becomes the standard.

It doesn’t take a genius to see the West, with Israel and Saudi Arabia behind ISIS and al Qaeda (terrorist organizations, both banned in Russia). Israel was always perfectly safe, so was Saudi Arabia but Syria and Iraq were targeted and dozens of military officers from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and even Israel were arrested in both Syria and Iraq, I have seen the documentation, with repatriation only after million in reparations were paid secretly.

Moreover, the targeting of Iraq was clearly engineered to disrupt Sunni/Shia relations in the new government and to draw Iran into the conflict, and with Iran, push the US into war with that nation as well.

I discussed this hypothesis with Iraqi leaders in 2014 during a classified defense briefing.

Fake stories were fed the press who accepted them without question like this one from 2015:

Delta Force Commandos Kill Key ISIS Leader in Ground Raid in Syria

Officials: Terror groups oil and gas minister targeted in capture attempt.

Fighters of al-Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant carry their weapons during a par.

In a ground raid deep in Syrian territory, US special operations forces killed a top ISIS leader who they were attempting to capture and interrogate about American hostages and how the terror group finances its war machine, the Obama administration said today.

Officials told ABC News that the large-scale operation that killed ISIS oil and gas minister Abu Sayyaf was carried out by the Army’s elite counter-terror unit known as Delta Force under the direction of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).

One senior US official said there was a “pretty good fight on the ground.” The adversaries used women and children as human shields, but no innocents were killed. The battle got so close and intense that there was even some hand-to-hand combat, according to the official.

By the time the operation was over many of the aircraft were riddled with bullet holes, the US official said. The entire operation lasted several hours from the time Delta Force operators took off from inside Iraq and eventually returned with no injuries or loss of life.

So, what is true? A retired American general, working with ISIS, under the employ of a private security agency funded by Saudi Arabia, had been targeted for capture by commandos of the Syria Arab Army.

This former American general took credit for taking Mosul on behalf of ISIS and, according to statements he had made, had developed a campaign strategy for ISIS to take Baghdad as well.

The US Delta Force entered Syria to extract the American officer involved. He was extracted at orders of President Obama despite the fact this same officer, a former psychological warfare specialist, had, on may occasions on Fox News, pushed for the arrest of President Obama as a foreign national illegally serving as US president.

People who espoused this conspiracy theory were called “Birthers.” Donald Trump led this effort.

Around the same period, we have the issue of Colonel or Brigadier General, there is some confusion on this point, Yossi Elon Shahak from Israelis Golani Brigade, who was captured in Iraq by Shiite militias.

They photographed General Shahak and his IDF identification card and sent it to the press, CNN, Fox News and others.

The following is part of the press notification, translated from the Arabic:

Information Office of Foreign Affairs Commissioner in the USA Parliament (international) and European Department for Security and information Secretary General Ambassador Dr. Haitham Abu Said confirmed that the Israeli prisoner captured by the popular army in Iraq on Oct. 19, 2015 Colonel Yossi Elon Shahak, whose military NO is (AZ 231434) with sequence (RE34356578765) from the Golani Brigade.

Shahak has been removed from his detention few days ago and moved sequestered.  US International Parliament private sources say that a regional power which is coordinating with the Iraqi popular army in Iraq stood in on the details of Shahak’s case before being transferred and has listened to the statements that he made.

It is understood that General Shahak has been repatriated to Israel and is, we hope, in good health.

There are many more, perhaps countless more of these circumstances and events, all censored or not reported out of an unusual aspect of hyper-focused disinterest by each and every NATO press outlet.

Do we never need to go into the Beirut explosion, the Syria gas attacks, the crash of MH 17 and the disappearance of MH 370?

Our point is simple, since all investigations must be controlled, even to the point of the US government physically threatening judges from the International Criminal Court at The Hague or controlling other institutions through similar coercion, the mechanism for protecting the world from bioterrorism has been obliterated.

Thus, we as a planet stand vulnerable, devoid of credible institutions and their protections.

So then, how does this apply to COVID-19? We know labs funded by various organizations, DARPA and USAID for America, but many other nations as well, used gene spicing to create SARS based diseases under the guise, perhaps real, of evaluation potential threats.

We know labs have had leaks, like at the University of North Carolina, who reported their leaks. Other institutions may well not have reported leaks, such as the National Reference (Lugar) Laboratory in Tbilisi.

If diseases can escape labs accidentally, then how likely is it that terrorist groups, perhaps not the ones we read about in the “fake news” but others not so public, were able to infiltrate these facilities and steal samples of the horrific bioweapons manufactured to save us all from bioweapons?

How many different agendas might an international criminal/terrorist organization serve through releasing a pandemic? While some talk about fear of being magnetized, trillions (US dollar equivalent) have disappeared from the world economy into the hands of who? Nobody knows?

The world economy has been restructured but to who’s benefit?

Not only are there no credible investigations, there is no one left to begin asking the right questions, always based on cui bono, “who benefits?”

Ah, but here’s the rub; there is no one capable of investigating without being ordered at the outset to blame China, Russia or Iran.

Do remember, an American court recently found Iran guilty of the planning and execution of 9/11. If the concept seems insane to you, then there is hope.

From here, we move on to the issue of vaccines.

The US, under President Biden, has with much success ended COVID-19, but has it? The opposition political party has advised its members to avoid vaccination as a political statement and spreads bizarre stories of mass deaths, magnetized vaccines and mysterious computer chips that might be used to track people who already aren’t tracked by their own mobile phones.

This leaves areas of the US where denial of science is embedded in the local DNA vulnerable for COVID outbreaks. Currently over 99 percent of those hospitalized or dying of COVID-19 in the US are those who avoided vaccination due to willful ignorance.

In converse, most areas of the US are unlocked and unmasked and have infection rates that are microscopic, with empty hospitals, and life back to normal.

However, we are one variant away from disaster and the millions of willfully deny science and vaccination are a breeding ground for that next variant which may kill not simply 2 percent of those infected, and then mostly the elderly.

Could that next variant be purposefully engineered as an even deadlier bioweapon?

Could that next variant be engineered to take advantage of science denialism and willful ignorance?

Could those who could or would or have engineered such a variant also be part and parcel of the mechanism of science disinformation sweeping the world as well?

But then, those who might protect us from such a disaster, one that might well kill us all, no longer exist. Their efforts were long ago turned to blaming Syria and Iran if the wind blew from a wrong direction.

Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. Hes a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”

SOURCE

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The Responsibility of Medical Doctors: Warn the Public Worldwide of Serious State Criminality and Coverup Thereof

By Dr. C. Stephen Frost
Global Research
July 8, 2021

In my opinion, as an experienced medical doctor, there was never (and there still is not) any medical justification for the extreme measures taken worldwide in the name of a single unremarkable coronavirus (which was never novel as claimed).

The alleged present pandemic was always purportedly a medical problem. Medical doctors are trained (or should be) to solve medical problems.

It takes many years of intense training and experience to produce competent medical doctors. The fact that medical doctors were shunted out of the picture (and that shamefully they allowed themselves to be rendered redundant) in solving a medical problem tells you all you need to know as to what has ensued.

The proper practice of Medicine was deliberately corrupted by politicians and pseudo scientists and the resultant chaos, confusion and fear generated (with the malign assistance of behavioural psychologists) is a direct result of that.

Now, the public is incapable of distinguishing between good scientists and bad scientists.

They trust politicians they once distrusted!

The only people capable of leading (and trained to lead) the public out of their Stockholm Syndrome, cognitive dissonance, post-traumatic stress disorder, severe depression (take your pick) resulting from well over a year of severe psychological torture through fear “propaganda and arbitrariness” (the deliberate creation of confusion with mixed messages etc.) are honest medical doctors.

The public is desperate for a credible lead out of this obvious pseudo-medical chaos. The public will believe medical doctors whom they perceive to be honest and they will follow their lead.

Medical doctors have an ethical duty to provide that lead and most urgently medical doctors need to stop the vaccination programme by raising the alarm re. the huge number of deaths due to the vaccines and the fraud/cover-up which the absence of post-mortems so obviously constitutes.

A positive PCR test never equated with a “case” and “deaths” were fraudulently created by falsification of death certificates in order to terrify populations into taking a dangerous inadequately tested gene-based vaccine which was ineffective and which they did not need, during a purported emergency which was clearly not an emergency (Ioannidis).

And, always remember the WHO swine flu pandemic fraud of 2009. As I understand it, that particular episode of medical nonsense was stopped almost singlehandedly by a medical doctor, Dr Wolfgang Wodarg, who subsequently forced an official investigation at the Council of Europe which duly found the WHO to be guilty as charged of fraud. And, everybody forgot!!!

In the face of the glaring widespread absence of the usual safeguards and transparency and the extreme level of coercion, I think that doctors must infer (from the best figures we have at our disposal) that mass murder by the state and cover-up thereof is taking place worldwide and that it will continue.

In such fraught circumstances, we doctors have a professional and ethical duty to warn the public as a matter of urgency of ongoing extremely serious state criminality.

The onus of proof lies with the state to prove that we are wrong.

They will not be able to do that because they have with criminal intent covered up mass murder by systematically concealing and destroying evidence of mass murder.

There comes a point when the sheer volume of false exculpatory statements indicates intent to commit crime.

There is much more to be said, but these are my initial somewhat hurried thoughts.

Dr. Stephen Frost, prominent medical doctor human rights activist and anti-war whistleblower. North Wales. Founder of Doctors for Covid Ethics. Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

SOURCE

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White House Admits To Flagging Posts To Be Censored By Facebook

By Jonathan Turley
July 17, 2021

We have PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED the extensive censorship programs maintained by Big Tech, including companies like Twitter and Facebook taking sides in major controversies from gender identification to election fraud to Covid-19. The rise of corporate censors has combined with a heavily pro-Biden media to create the fear of a de facto state media that controls information due to a shared ideology rather than state coercion.  That concern has been magnified by demands from Democratic leaders for increased censorship, including censoring political speech, and now word that the Biden Administration has routinely been flagging material to be censored by Facebook.

White House press secretary JEN PSAKI DMITTED that the Biden administration is working with Facebook to flag “problematic” posts that spread “disinformation” on COVID-19. She explained that the Administration has created “aggressive” policing systems to spot “misinformation” to be “flagged” for the social media companies.

The concern is obvious that this allows for a direct role of the government in a massive censorship program run by private companies. There have been repeated examples of the censoring of stories that were embarrassing or problematic for the Biden Administration.  Even when Twitter expressed regret for the censoring of the Hunter Biden laptop story before the election, there was an immediate push back for greater censorship from Democrats.

The concern is that these companies are taking to heart calls from Democratic members for increased censorship on the platform. CEO Jack Dorsey previously apologized for censoring the Hunter Biden story before the election. However, rather than addressing the dangers of such censoring of news accounts, Senator Chris Coons pressed Dorsey to expand the categories of censored material to prevent people from sharing any views that he considers climate denialism.Ӕ Likewise, Senator Richard Blumenthal seemed to take the opposite meaning from Twitter, admitting that it was wrong to censor the Biden story. Blumenthal said that he was concerned that both of your companies are, in fact, backsliding or retrenching, that you are failing to take action against dangerous disinformation.Ӕ Accordingly, he demanded an answer to this question:

“Will you commit to the same kind of robust content modification playbook in this coming election, including fact checking, labeling, reducing the spread of misinformation, and other steps, even for politicians in the runoff elections ahead?”

Robust content “modification” seems the new Orwellian rallying cry in our society.

The same problems have arisen on Covid stories. For a year, Big Tech has been censoring those who wanted to discuss the origins of pandemic.  It was not until Biden admitted that the virus may have originated in the Wuhan lab that social media suddenly changed its position. Facebook ONLY RECENTLY ANNOUNCED that people on its platform will be able to discuss the origins of Covid-19 after censoring any such discussion.

The back channel coordination with Facebook further supports the view that this is a de facto state-supporting censorship program. That is the basis for the recent lawsuit by former President Donald Trump. As I have previously noted, there is ample basis for objection to this arrangement but the legal avenue for challenges is far from clear. The lawsuit will face difficult if not insurmountable problems under existing law and precedent. There is no question companies like Twitter are engaging in raw censorship. It is also true that these companies have censored material with a blatantly biased agenda, taking sides on scientific and social controversies. A strong case can be made for stripping these companies of legal protections since they are no longer neutral platforms. However, private businesses are allowed to regulate speech as a general matter.  It will take considerable heavy lifting for a court to order this injunctive relief.

That is why we need legislative action. That includes removal immunity protections. However, the government should also consider the creation of an alternative to these companies which are now a threat to our political system. A few companies now control a huge amount of the political discourse in this country and have shown a clear bias in taking sides (even on issues later found to be wrong). Since litigation is likely to fail, legislation would seem an imperative. Congress has been spending hundreds of billions with utter abandon. Yet, there is little discussion over a government subsidized platform for social media or other measures to break up this unprecedented level of corporate control over our political discourse. I am no fan of government programs, particularly as it relates to media. However, Apple, Google, and these other companies are now operating like monopolies, including crushing competitors like Parlor. That is a direct and growing threat to our political process.

We need to consider a short-term investment in a social media platform that will focus any censorship on direct threats or criminal conduct. There is currently a lack of not only competition but any real opportunity for competition to challenge these companies. Either we have to redefine what we treat as monopolies or we need to invest in the establishment of competing platforms that are content neutral like telephone companies.

This is why I HAVE DESCRIBED myself as an Internet Originalist:

The alternative is “internet originalism” - no censorship. If social media companies returned to their original roles, there would be no slippery slope of political bias or opportunism; they would assume the same status as telephone companies. We do not need companies to protect us from harmful or “misleading” thoughts. The solution to bad speech is more speech, not approved speech.

If Pelosi demanded that Verizon or Sprint interrupt calls to stop people saying false or misleading things, the public would be outraged. Twitter serves the same communicative function between consenting parties; it simply allows thousands of people to participate in such digital exchanges. Those people do not sign up to exchange thoughts only to have Dorsey or some other internet overlord monitor their conversations and protectӔ them from errant or harmful thoughts.

The actions by Twitter and Facebook on Election Day were reprehensible and wrong. That should have been sufficient cause for action by Congress. It is now growing more precarious and chilling by the day.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 07/15/21 •
Section Revelations • Section NWO • Section Privacy And Rights • Section Dying America
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Wednesday, July 07, 2021

WestExec

westexec.jpg image: tweet about  westjets 15 biden cronies border=0

Meet the Consulting Firm That’s Staffing the Biden Administration
WestExec represented major corporations throughout the Trump years. Now it’s in the White House.

By Jonathan Guyer, Ryan Grim
The Prospect
July 6, 2021

From its headquarters just blocks from the White House, a small, high-powered team of former ambassadors, lawyers, and Obama appointees has spent the past few years solving problems for the world’s biggest companies.

Less than six months into the Biden administration, MORE THAN 15 CONSULTANTS from the firm WESTEXEC Advisors have fanned out across the White House, its foreign policy apparatus, and its law enforcement institutions. Five, some of whom already have jobs with the administration, have been nominated for high-ranking posts, and four others served on the Biden-Harris transition team. Even by Washington standards, it’s a remarkable march through the revolving door, especially for a firm that only launched in 2017. The pipeline has produced a dominance of WestExec alums throughout the administration, installed in senior roles as influential as director of national intelligence and secretary of state. WestExec clients, meanwhile, have controversial interests in tech and defense that intersect with the policies their former consultants are now in a position to set and execute.

The arrival of each new WestExec adviser at the administration has been met with varying degrees of press coverage - headlines for the secretary of state, blurbs in trade publications for the head of cybersecurity - but the creeping monopolization of foreign policymaking by a single boutique consulting firm has gone largely unnoticed. The insularity of this network of policymakers poses concerns about the potential for groupthink, conflicts of interest, and what can only be called, however oxymoronically, legalized corruption.

WestExec does not affirmatively share its clients, and public financial disclosure forms only offer broad outlines. Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, says that government ethics laws written decades ago arent equipped to handle a situation in which a single firm launches 15 senior officials. “Yes, they’re employed by the government, I’ll grant you that. But are they actually working for the American people or not? Where does their loyalty lie?” said Clark. “The private sector can in essence co-opt the public sector.”

“These White House officials are experienced government leaders whose prior private sector experience is part of a broad and diverse skill set they bring to government service,” said a White House spokesperson in a statement. WestExec did not reply to a detailed list of questions for this story.

The firm describes one of its chief selling points as its “unparalleled geopolitical risk analysis,” now confirmed by the saturation of its employees in positions of power. WestExec has also succeeded in getting tech startups into defense contracts and helped defense corporations modernize with tech; it worked to help multinational companies break into China. One of its collaborators is the defense-centered investment group Pine Island Capital Partners, which launched a SPAC, or ‘BLANK CHECK” COMPANY, last year. TONY BLINKEN advised Pine Island and was a part owner. (MICHELE FLOURNOY, another WestExec co-founder, had her nomination to be secretary of defense NIXED. President Joe Biden instead nominated Lloyd Austin, himself a former Pine Island partner but not a WestExec consultant.)

What makes WestExec “boutique” is the promise that its executives would have face time with its seasoned policymakers. “We felt other firms brought people in for big names and never got to see the big names,” said one WestExec co-founder in 2020. “Tony is on client calls.”

image: westek biden advisers
The WestExec to Biden administration pipeline, part one

BLINKEN, NOW SECRETARY OF STATE, advised household names like telecommunications giant AT&T, defense contractor Boeing, shipping magnate FedEx, and the media company Discovery as a WestExec founding partner. He worked for Big Tech pillars Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Uber. He helped niche companies like speakers bureau GLG, art seller Sotheb’s, and biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences. Blinken also lists clients that are global investment firms and asset managers, like Blackstone, Lazard, Royal Bank of Canada, and the multinational conglomerate SoftBank - which does extensive business with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He even advised the consulting group McKinsey & Company. Though Blinken left WestExec in July 2020 - after The American Prospect inquired about the relationship - each of these businesses has an international profile that may impact his calculations as he implements Biden’s foreign policy.

Blinken also brought several of his key staff members at the State Department with him from WestExec. His senior adviser JULIANNE SMITH, who listed Boeing and SoftBank as clients, earned $34,000 as a WestExec consultant while holding down a full-time role at the think tank German Marshall Fund. Smith has been nominated to be permanent representative to NATO. (Blinken also brought WestExec executive assistant SARAH MCCOOL to the State Department as his director of scheduling.) BARBARA LEAF, a former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, worked for the firm and advised the National Basketball Association. She went on to serve as Biden’s senior director for the Middle East at the National Security Council. Leaf awaits a vote to be the State Departments assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs. Meanwhile, consultant DANIEL B. SHAPIRO, Obama’s ambassador to Israel and a “very busy” early member of the firm, according to his colleague, is being floated as a Middle East envoy. the Prospect REVEALED last summer that one of WestExecs clients was Windward, an Israeli artificial intelligence company that specializes in ship tracking.

The firm also provided a comfortable place for Biden’s most powerful intelligence chiefs to wait out the Trump administration. Director of National Intelligence AVRIL HAINES had her name scrubbed from WestExec’s website early on, but she worked with the firm from October 2017 to July 2020, when she joined Biden’s transition team as foreign policy lead. According to a QUESTIONNAIRE completed before her confirmation hearing, she delivered “strategic advice” on cyber norms; national security threats; and testing, evaluation, validation and verification of machine learning systems by the “Department of Defense” to clients like Facebook, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, and Open Philanthropy. Deputy Director of the CIA DAVID S. COHEN was an early member of WestExecs “core team” alongside Haines and Blinken. But it’s impossible to know who his clients were, because an exemption for the spy agencies officials means that his disclosure is not publicly available.

“That exempts them from public accountability,” said Clark, the ethics expert at Washington University, “and that’s a problem because we can’t necessarily rely on internal controls and external, public disclosure. A CIA spokesperson declined to share the companies Cohen worked for at WestExec.

Then there’s CHRIS INGLES, who the Senate recently approved as national cyber director. He EARNED $15,000 from the firm and worked for internet security outfit CrowdStrike and email encryption company Virtru.

Since its founding in 2017, WestExecs focus has been to enhance the capabilities of defense, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies. It partners with the Silicon Valley venture firm Ridgeline, which describes itself as “mission-driven” - meaning that unlike some tech investors, which avoid working with the military, Ridgeline seeks out military products. Both Cohen and Inglis appeared on Ridgelines website, and through that partnership, Blinken invested in the venture group’s many portfolio companies. The obscure startups have kooky names (Agolo, Doodle, Wallaroo, etc.) but are innovating advanced technologies like drones, artificial intelligence, and robots. The alumni of WestExec are deeply engaged in emerging tech, which could lead to conflicts of interest as they take on policymaking roles that affect the contracts the government greenlights.

One of the administrations most visible faces also worked at the firm.JEN PSAKI, now the White House press secretary, was a senior adviser to WestExec, where she did crisis communications for the Israeli facial recognition software company AnyVision and advised the nonprofit Spirit of America.

image: westek biden advisers
The WestExec to Biden administration pipeline, part two. Not pictured: senior adviser to the domestic policy adviser Erin Pelton; director of scheduling for the secretary of state Sarah McCool; nominee for assistant secretary of defense Celeste Wallander; Biden-Harris transition team advisers Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Cristina Killingsworth, Jay Shambaugh, and Puneet Talwar; deputy director for the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission John Costello; and vice chair of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence Robert O. Work.

As companies faced the Covid-19 pandemics massive challenges, LISA MONACO joined Blinken on client calls. As a WestExec adviser, she worked for Boeing and SoftBank. Now Monaco is the U.S. deputy attorney general. Before MATT OLSEN earned millions of dollars as a senior official at Uber, he worked early on as a principal for the firm. Biden hasNOMINATED Olsen to be assistant attorney general in the National Security Division.

ELY RATNER is developing China policy for the Defense Department as assistant secretary for Indo-Pacific security affairs. At WestExec, according to his Office of Government Ethics forms, “Billable hours were for background white papers without identified clients and most income was passive retainer.” Though he only earned $11,450 at WestExec, he did so while making more than $400,000 at the think tank Center for a New American Security.

GABRIELLE CHEFITZ, a senior associate of WestExec, joined the Pentagon as special assistant to the under secretary of defense for policy. In June,Biden nominated WestExec senior adviser CELESTE WALLANDER to be assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.

WestExec’s consultants are so connected and pedigreed that they often hold down multiple jobs, appointments, and titles. Thats how someone like ELIZABETH ROSENBERG, a former WestExec senior adviser, can join the Treasury Department as a senior official without much notice. At the end of May, Biden nominated Rosenberg to be Treasury’s assistant secretary for terrorism financing. In her LinkedIn profile, she says she has managed federal initiatives to “promote financial transparency.” Her role at WestExec fell off the bio that the White House released publicizing the nomination.

The U.S. Agency for International Development administrators office is also full of the firm’s consultants. COLIN THOMAS-JENSEN “advised WestExec and its clients on due diligence and navigating political risk in Sub-Saharan Africa,” and those clients included Boeing, SoftBank, and Delta Capital Management, a venture capital firm that specializes in financing litigation. In April, Thomas-Jensen JOINED USAID as national security director. That month, WestExecs Latin America expert MICHAEL CAMILLERI began serving as senior adviser to Administrator Samantha Power and as executive director of the agency’s Northern Triangle Task Force. As a WestExec consultant, he advised Blackstone, SoftBank, the Intel founders multibillion-dollar nonprofit Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the mineral extraction company Rio Tinto.

And it’s not just international policy that will be shaped by the firm. ERIN PELTON, who works in the White House as a senior adviser on domestic policy, provided advisory services to WestExec. And the nominee to be the Department of Commerce’s assistant secretary for industry and analysis, GRANT HARRIS, has a connection to the firm. His personal consulting firm Connect Frontier, which advises companies and organizations working in developing markets, hired WestExec.

Even Bidenworld’s backbenchers are entangled in the firm. The Biden-Harris transition team was advised by WestExec consultants ANDREA KENDALL-TAYLOR, PUNEET TALWAR, JAY SHAMBAUGH, and CHRISTINA KILLINGSWORTH. Further, the firms members oversee influential nonpartisan federal commissions: ROBERT O. WORK at the National Security Commission for Artificial Intelligence and John Costello at the Cyberspace Solarium Commission.

“West Execs advisors have worked together at the highest levels of government, navigating and anticipating the impact of international crises on decision making - we can provide the same insights and strategies to business leaders around the world,” Blinken said in an early pamphlet advertising the firm.

A half-year after Blinke’s return to government, the pamphlet is still featured on WestExec co-founder and managing partner Nitin Chaddas LinkedIn profile. It’s a reminder to potential clients about the firms enduring proximity to power.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 07/07/21 •
Section Dying America
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Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Nationality Bias

Why some Americans seem more “American” than others

By Katherine Kinzler, University of Chicago
The Conversation
July 6, 2021

In the United States and many other countries, NATIONALITY IS DEFINED by a set of legal parameters. It may involve birthplace, parental citizenship or a circumscribed set of procedures for naturalization.

Yet, in many Americans’ minds, these more objective notions of citizenship are a little fuzzy around the edges, as social and developmental psychologists LIKE ME have documented in our research. Psychologically, some people may just seem a little more American than others, based on unrelated factors like race, ethnicity or language.

Reinforced by IDENTITY POLITICS, this results in differences over who is welcome, who is tolerated and who is made to not feel welcome at all.

How race affects who belongs

Many people who EXPLICITELY ENDORE EGALITARIAN IDEALS, such as the notion that all Americans are equally deserving of the rights of citizenship regardless of race, still implicitly harbor prejudices over who’s “really” American.

In a CLASSIC STUDY by psychologists Thierry Devos and Mahzarin Banaji, American adults across racial groups were fastest to associate the concept of “American” with white people. In the study, white, Black and Asian American adults were asked whether they endorse equality for all citizens. They were then presented with an implicit association test in which participants matched different faces with the categories “American” or “foreign.” They were told that every face was a U.S. citizen.

White and Asian participants responded most quickly in matching the white faces with “American,” even when they initially expressed egalitarian values. African Americans implicitly saw Black and white faces as equally “American” - though they too implicitly viewed Asian faces as being less American.

In a separate study, Devos and psychologist Debbie S. Ma PUT A FACE IN BIAS. They found that a heterogeneous group of American adults implicitly considered British actress Kate Winslet to be more American than her U.S.-born peer Lucy Liu - even though they were told their actual nationalities.

The intuitions that lead to this bias toward whiteness reflect racist structures in society and attitudes people may not necessarily know they hold. And, as is apparent from how Asian Americans in these studies found white faces to be more American than Asian faces, prejudices can even include feelings that exclude one’s own group. A RELATED STUDY found that Hispanic participants were also more likely to associate whiteness with “Americanness.”

Language and nationality

These biased views of nationality begin at a very young age though at first language is a primary identifier, as I show in my new book ”HOW YOU SAY IT.”

Although the U.S. does not have a national language, MANY AMERICANS FEEL that English is critical for being a “true American.” And it is not hard to find examples of POLITICIANS ADVOCATING for the idea that Americans should speak English, and only English.

In a study conducted in my lab and led by the psychologist Jasmine DeJesus, we gave children a very simple task: After viewing a series of faces that varied in skin color and the language they spoke, children were asked to guess their nationality. The faces were either white- or Asian-looking and spoke either English or Korean. We simply asked, “Is this person American or Korean?”

We recruited three groups of children for the study: white American children who spoke only English, South Korean children who spoke only Korean and a group of Korean American children who spoke both languages. The ages of the children were either 5-6 or 9-10.

The vast majority of the younger monolingual children identified nationality with language, describing the English speakers - divided evenly between people who looked white or Asian - as American and Korean speakers - similarly split - as Korean.

As for the bilingual children, they all had parents whose first language was Korean, not English, and who lived in the United States. Yet, just like the monolingual children, they thought that the English speakers, and not the Korean speakers, were the Americans.

As they age, however, children increasingly view racial characteristics as an integral part of nationality. By the age of 9, we found that children were considering the white English speakers to be the most American, compared with Korean speakers who looked white or English speakers who looked Asian. Interestingly, this impact of race was more pronounced on the older children we recruited in South Korea.

Deep roots

So it seems that for children and adults alike, assessments of what it means to be American hinge on certain traits that have nothing to do with the actual legal requirements for citizenship. Neither whiteness nor fluency in English IS A REQUIREMENT TO BECOME AMERICAN.

And this bias has consequences. RESEARCH HAS FOUND that the degree to which people link “whiteness” with “Americanness” is related to their discriminatory behaviors in hiring contexts or questionin’ others’ loyalty.

That we find these biases in children does not mean they are in any way inherent. We know that CHILDREN BEGIN TO PICK UP THESE TYPES of biased cultural cues and values from their society at a very young age. It does mean, however, that these biases HAVE DEEP ROOTS IN OUR PSYCHOLOGY.

Understanding that they exist may make it easier to correct them. So Americans celebrating the Fourth of July perhaps should ponder what it means to be an American - and whether social biases distort your beliefs about who belongs.

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Posted by Elvis on 07/06/21 •
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NWO - Workers Fight Back

image: solidarity

What Quitters Understand About the Job Market
More Americans are telling their boss to shove it. Is the workplace undergoing a revolution- or just a post-pandemic spasm?

By Derek Thompson
The Atlantic
June 21, 2021

Quitting your job is hot this summer. More Americans quit in May than any other month on record going back to the beginning of the century, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For every 100 workers in hotels, restaurants, bars, and retailers, about five of them quit last month.

Low-wage workers arent the only ones eyeing the door. In May, more than 700,000 workers in the bureau’s mostly white-collar category of PROFESSIONAL AND BUSINESS SERVICES left their job - the highest monthly number ever. Across all sectors and occupations, FOUR IN 10 EMPLOYEES now say they’ve considered peacing out of their current place of work.

Why the sudden burst of quitting? One general theory is that were living through a fundamental shift in the relationship between employees and bosses that could have profound implications for the future of work. Up and down the income ladder, workers have new reasons to tell their boss to shove it. Lower-wage workers who benefited from enhanced unemployment benefits throughout the pandemic may have returned to the job and realized they’re not being paid enough. Now they’re putting their foot down, forcing restaurants and clothing stores to fork over a higher wage to keep people on staff.

Meanwhile, white-collar workers say they feel overworked or GENERALLY BURNED OUT after a grueling pandemic year, and they’re marching to the corner office with new demands. A recent BloombergMorning Consult survey FOUND that nearly half of workers under 40 said they might leave their job unless their employer let them continue to work from home at least part of the time. With white-collar quits at an all-time high, it seems many of them aren’t bluffing. Higher-income workers- whose corneas are seared from several million Zoom calls, and whose lower backs have been brutalized by months of using the couch as an office chairare flush with savings stored up during a year of existential tragedy; quitting is their way of commemorating the fragility of existence in face of cosmic dread. In short: YOLO.

Quitting gets a bad rap in life, as itגs associated with pessimism, laziness, and lack of confidence. In labor economics, however, quits signify the opposite: an optimism among workers about the future; an eagerness to do something new; and a confidence that if they jump ship, they wont drown but rather just land on a better, richer boat.

The summer of quitting could augur something bigger: a new golden age, not only of worker power, but also of tech adoption and productivity growth. Think about the last time you went to a restaurant (an industry where wages are rising fast). If your experience was anything like mine, you scanned a QR code to order rather than chatting with a server. The restaurant served you a typical meal, despite having a smaller staff than usual. Multiply that across the economy, and you have better-paid employees working in concert with software to more efficiently serve customers. This upbeat story may really be coming true: Labor productivity is currently rising at its FASTEST RATE IN MORE THAN 20 YEARS - and still accelerating.

As the economics writer Noah Smith EXPLAINS, many of us think of robots and workers as archnemeses. But worker power and tech-powered productivity growth might go hand in hand. In a virtuous cycle, higher wages could prompt employers to automate more expensive tasks. Worker power drives productivity growth, making the overall economy richer, so people spend more money, which creates work for other people, which keeps jobs plentiful. In this rosy vision, we are in the early stages of something quite wonderful: an era of rising wages, ascendant productivity, and rising living standards for all.

If this sequence represents a genuine and lasting revolution in workers rights, it wouldn’t be the first time that a catastrophe became the midwife to progress. As I wrote last year, a major crisis has a way of exposing what is broken and giving a new generation of leaders a chance to build something better” - often in surprising ways. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 contributed to the invention of the modern skyscraper; the East Coast blizzard of 1888 led to the first American subway system. The COVID-19 pandemic killed 600,000 people and led to a paradigm shift in workers power might not sound like a particularly obvious cause-and-effect. But our responses to disasters can change the world in ways that are hard to foresee when we stare into the maw of the original crisis.

On the other hand, maybe this isn’t a revolution. Maybe its an illusion.

The overall annual quits total plunged in 2020 by about 500,000, suggesting that a lot of people who would have quit without the pandemic instead clung to a job they didn’t like. That the number of people quitting a job is surging now isn’t necessarily proof of a paradigm shift. Its more like evidence of an unpinched-hose effect: The pandemic constrained all sorts of normal activities - getting a cocktail, renting a car, leaving a crappy job - that are suddenly unblocked.

The White House seems to see this dynamic clearly. A blog post from the Council of Economic Advisers RECENTLY CAUTIONED that economic data may look berserk this summer. A number of commentators are warning against drawing big conclusions about the future. “A whole lot of this is a mirage,” Adam Ozimek, the chief economist at Upwork, told me. “The White House, I think, is a lot more realistic than the median liberal pundit right now.”

Making predictions is hard, not only because the future is hard to see, but also because the present is hard to grasp. The data on quitting could be an early sign that worker power is ascendant after decades of stagnant pay and gutted labor law. But it could also be a brief statistical fluke amid this summers generally spasmodic economy.

How do we reconcile these two things - the awesome potential of the moment and the fact that its awesomeness might be predicated on a mirage? Maybe the answer is: Just keep doing what you’re doing. Policy makers should act as if the labor market has room to run, because it does. And employers, while seeking out complementary technology, should pay their workforce more, because they can.

About the author:

Derek Thompson is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, technology, and the media. He is the author of HIT MAKERS and the host of the podcast CRAZY/GENIUS.

Related:

Burrito Economics

Declining Unemployment in a Depression

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Minimum wage in America: How many people are earning $7.25 an hour?
President Biden proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour as a part of his $1.9 trillion stimulus plan.

USA Facts
September 18, 2019

Americans have debated where to set the federal minimum wage for decades. President Joe Biden’s proposed stimulus plan aims to increase the federal minimum to $15 an hour, more than doubling the current wage of $7.25. Currently, wages vary by state, with some cities mandating more than double the federal minimum and other states with requirements below $7.25. Employees covered by both state and federal minimum wage laws are entitled to the higher of the two minimums.

How many people earn the federal minimum wage?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 1.6 million workers, or 1.9% of all hourly paid, non-self-employed workers, earned wages at or below the federal minimum wage in 2019. That year, 82.3 million people were paid hourly rates, making up 58.1% of all wage and salary workers in the United States.

Fewer Americans today make the federal minimum wage or less.

In 1980, when the federal minimum wage was $3.10 ($9.86 in 2019 dollars), 13% of hourly workers earned the federal minimum wage or less. Today, only 1.9% of hourly workers do. The number of federal minimum wage workers has decreased from 7.7 million in 1980 to 1.6 million in 2019. This is partly due to states establishing higher minimum wages than the federal level.

What is the federal minimum wage? When does it apply?

The federal minimum wage was established as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938. Since then, congressional amendments have periodically increased it - most recently in July 2009, when Congress set the minimum wage at $7.25 per hour. But the minimum only applies in the absence of stricter state mandates. At present, 29 states and Washington, DC have minimum wages above $7.25, which take precedence over the federal requirement.

Adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum wage was at its highest in 1979, when it was $2.90 an hour at the time, but equivalent to $10.47 in 2019 dollars. If a worker earning the federal minimum wage in 2019 worked 40 hours per week, every week of the year, they would earn just over $15,000 annually. That’s less than half of the US median annual wage of about $39,810, but more than the individual federal poverty threshold of about $13,011. Meanwhile, a worker earning the 1979 federal minimum wage, with the same hours, would make just under $21,800 in 2019 dollars.

Federal minimum wage law doesn’t cover all workers.

Not everyone is required to receive the federal minimum wage, which partly explains why the BLS measures workers at or below minimum wage. Various exclusions and exemptions can mean some workers may earn less than $7.25 per hour. For example, the federal minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13 per hour so long as that amount plus tips received equals at least the federal minimum wage. Workers 20 years old or younger may earn $4.25 an hour for their first 90 consecutive days of employment. Plus, federal minimum wage law only applies to employees of enterprises with an annual gross volume of sales of at least $500,000 or certain types of smaller firms.

How does the minimum wage vary across states?

As of January 1, 2021, there were five states without minimum wage laws, two states with minimum wages below the federal minimum, 14 states with minimum wages at the federal level, and 29 states, plus Washington, DC, with minimum wages above the federal level, according to the Department of Labor. This is a significant change from 1980, when only two states, plus Washington, DC, had minimum wages above the federal level.

State minimum wages in 2021 range from $5.15 per hour in Georgia and Wyoming to $15 per hour in Washington, DC.

Some states have larger proportions of minimum wage workers than others.

Some states have more minimum wage earners than others. For example, in South Carolina, 5.4% of hourly workers, or 64,000 people, earn the federal minimum wage or less. In California, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, and Washington state, less than 1% of hourly workers earn the federal minimum wage or less.

Where is the minimum wage $15 an hour?

In addition to Washington, DC which introduced a $15 minimum wage in 2020 ח nine states have passed laws or referenda to set a $15 minimum wage.

Some cities also have minimum wages of $15 or more already in place. In 2014, Seattle was the first city to institute a $15 minimum wage, which fully went into effect this year. In San Francisco, a $15 minimum wage went into effect in 2018. In July 2019, the US House of Representatives passed a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) releasing a report the same month analyzing the potential impact. The CBO report estimates that changing the federal minimum wage to $15 would increase the wages of 17 million workers in 2025. However, the CBO estimates that 1.3 million individuals would become jobless (CBO estimates that this number could be anywhere between zero and 3.7 million). The report explains that this predicted decrease in employment is based in employers decreasing their workforce to compensate for increased wages.

Who earns the federal minimum wage?

Demographics of minimum wage workers

Young workers are more likely to earn the minimum wage compared to older workers. While 4.3% of hourly workers between 16 and 24 years old earn $7.25 per hour or less, 1.4% for hourly workers over the age of 25 are.

Younger workers are more likely to earn minimum wage or less.

Women hourly workers are also more likely to earn the minimum wage or less 2.6% of female hourly workers make the minimum wage or below, compared to 1.3% of male hourly workers.

About 2.4% of Black hourly workers earn the federal minimum wage or less, compared to about 2% among white, Asian, and Hispanic hourly workers.

Among hourly workers without a high school degree, 3.1% earn the minimum wage or less. Thatגs compared to 2% of high school graduates and 1.2% of workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

People who have lower educational attainment are more likely to earn minimum wage or less.

Occupation

Twelve percent of hourly food service workers make the minimum wage or less, the highest rate of any occupation type. Food service workers are also more likely to be paid an hourly rate compared to workers in other occupations, with more than half of food service employees (servers, cooks, cashiers, etc.) receiving hourly wages. After food service workers, personal care occupations, including manicurists, hairdressers, and cosmetologists, have the second highest rate of hourly workers at or below minimum wage, at 3.2%.

Nearly one in eight people paid hourly in food services earn minimum wage or less.

Weekly Hours

Part-time workers, or those who work between zero and 34 hours per week, are more likely to be minimum wage earners than those who work full-time. Roughly 4.3% of part-time hourly workers earn the minimum wage or less, compared to 1.1% of full-time hourly workers.

The minimum wage and the living wage are not the same thing.

The minimum wage is established by Congress and enforced by the Department of Labor. The living wage is a subjective concept calculated by policymakers and advocacy groups that works backward to calculate a wage to cover the basic needs and expenses of individuals in particular areas. In cases where the minimum wage is less than the estimated living wage, the suggestion is that earnings from a full-time minimum-wage job are not enough to support someone without additional income or aid.

For more information on jobs and income, check out USAFacts’ EMPLOYMENT DASHBOARD for detailed data on monthly employment numbers and our COVID-19 IMPACT AND RECOVERY HUB for real-time data on the nation’s economic recovery.

SOURCE

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The Weird Phenomena of “Labor Shortages” While 7.1 Million Fewer People Are Working

By Wolf Richter
Wolff Street
July 2, 2021

Amid reports of hiring bonuses even for jobs at the lower end of the wage scale, and amid reports of companies raising wages to attract workers, and amid widespread complaints about “labor shortages” and difficulties in hiring people, and amid reports of supply chain issues because essential jobs cannot be filled, and amid a historic spike in job openings, there’s the Department of Labor’s tidbit that 14.7 million people are still claiming state or federal unemployment benefits, including 11 million people on federal PUA or PEUC benefits - however marred by an epidemic of fraudulent claims and bad accounting this figure may be.

These benefits were topped off by the extra $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits, which are now being phased out in 26 states, but they were still mostly in effect when the data for today’s jobs report were collected in mid-June.

That’s the weird convoluted backdrop for today’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The #1 weird phenomenon as result of all this: The labor force

The labor force consists of people who were working during the survey period or who were actively looking for a job in the prior four weeks. Someone who eventually might want to work but wasn’t actively looking for a job during those four weeks isn’t considered to be in the labor force.

So in June, the labor force grew by 151,000 people, after having fallen in May, and was still down by 3.5 million people from December 2019, with little improvement since last August.

image: bls chart

In June, 6.4 million people wanted a job in general terms but didn’t actively look for a job over the past four weeks, or who were unavailable to take a job, according to the BLS. They were therefore not included in the labor force. This was up by 1.4 million from February 2020. They’re on the sidelines of the labor market.

There are numerous reasons why people aren’t going back to work, and are not looking for work, and are therefore not in the labor force. This includes having to take care of kids in areas where schools and daycare centers are not fully open; and it includes what is now called the “retirement boom,” where people have decided it wasn’t worth it anymore, and went for quality of life.

#2 weird phenomenon: Upward pressure on wages during an unemployment crisis.

It’s is rare that there’s upward pressures on wages during an unemployment crisis. But thats what we’ve got.

The wage pressures employers have been jabbering about, and the wage increases they have been implementing, are starting to show up in the numbers despite the fact that a lot of hiring took place at the low end of the wage scale in the hospitality industry, which pulls down the overall average.

The average hourly earnings for employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 10 cents per hour in June, from May, to $30.40, after having risen 13 cents in May and 20 cents in April, for a 43 cent per hour increase in three months, or 5.7% annualized.

In the chart below, note the spike in May 2020. There was no spike in pay. It was a result of many lower-paid workers getting laid off, especially in the hospitality business, while many higher-paid workers kept their jobs and switched to working from home. This caused the average to spike.

Now the opposite is taking place, with lower-paid employees being pulled back into jobs in large numbers, and this should push down average hourly wages. The fact that the average is rising despite the influx of lower-paid workers shows just how much pressure there is on wages.

image: bls chart

Employment in the leisure and hospitality industry - food services and drinking places, hotels, casinos, etc. - jumped by 343,000 jobs in June, after having jumped by 306,000 jobs in May, as restaurants, hotels, and casinos are desperately trying to hire workers. Total employment in the sector was sill down by about 2.18 million people, compared to the peak in February 2020, but its still a huge improvement of where it was a year ago.

image: bls chart

Amid reports of hiring bonuses even for jobs at the lower end of the wage scale, and amid reports of companies raising wages to attract workers, and amid widespread complaints about “labor shortages” and difficulties in hiring people, and amid reports of supply chain issues because essential jobs cannot be filled, and amid a historic spike in job openings, there’s the Department of Labor’s tidbit that 14.7 million people are still claiming state or federal unemployment benefits, including 11 million people on federal PUA or PEUC benefits however marred by an epidemic of fraudulent claims and bad accounting this figure may be.

These benefits were topped off by the extra $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits, which are now being phased out in 26 states, but they were still mostly in effect when the data for today’s jobs report were collected in mid-June.

That’s the weird convoluted backdrop for today’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

image: bls chart

Employment in the leisure and hospitality industry - food services and drinking places, hotels, casinos, etc. ֖ jumped by 343,000 jobs in June, after having jumped by 306,000 jobs in May, as restaurants, hotels, and casinos are desperately trying to hire workers. Total employment in the sector was sill down by about 2.18 million people, compared to the peak in February 2020, but its still a huge improvement of where it was a year ago.

image: bls chart

Employment in manufacturing rose by only 15,000 jobs following the increase of 39,000 jobs in May, amid widespread complaints by manufactures that they’re having trouble filling orders because they’re having trouble “finding suitable candidates for current vacancies,” according to the IHS Markit Manufacturing PMI, and that growth was weighed down not only by tangled-up supply chains but also by “labor shortages.”

In June, the number of workers in manufacturing was still down 481,000 or down 3.9% from February 2020:

image: bls chart

But manufacturing production in May fully recovered compared to February 2020. During every downturn, manufacturers cut costs by investing in automation and by offshoring production. While employment in the sector peaked in the 1970s and has since fallen by about one third, production, boosted by automation, continued to rise until the end of 2007. During the Great Recession, manufacturers massively offshored production. Adjusted for inflation, production never recovered to the 2007 peak. Then in March 2020, it fell off a cliff.

But by May 2021, manufacturing production was back to February 2020 levels - despite 3.9% fewer jobs in the sector:

image: bls chart

Gig workers giving up gigs to become employees?

Employers - companies, governments, and nonprofits ֖ reported that they added 850,000 workers to their payrolls in June, according to the BLS today. This is a big gain in employment. The total number of jobs at these establishments rose to 145.8 million, but that was still down by 6.76 million from February 2020 (green line in the chart below).

Households, however, reported that the total number of people working, including gig work, fell by 18,000 in June to 151.6 million, still down by 7.1 million from February 2020 (red line). And this includes self-employed workers.

Even as employment has increased sharply, according to surveys of establishments, households have been reporting slower improvements since the end of 2020. And the gap between the two has fallen by 2 million workers in six months. This suggests that over the past six months, employers have hired many people that were self-employed.

image: bls chart

#3 weird phenomenon: “labor shortages” with so many people not working.

There are plenty of potential workers in the US to fill all those jobs, and there is no shortage of people. There may be a shortage of certain skill sets and that is always the case, and that’s where training, education, and on-the-job learning come in.

But more significantly, there appears to be a shortage of people willing to work under current wage levels, benefits, and working conditions. This is like a quiet strike.

And this time, over 14.7 million people are still claiming unemployment compensation, including the extra $300 a week from the federal government. In many cases, recipients make more by not working. OK, this 14.7-million figure is marred by an epidemic of fraudulent claims and dubious data. But even with those removed, there would still be a very large number of people receiving unemployment benefits. And in mid-June, employers still had to compete with those unemployment benefits, including that extra $300 a week.

But employers understand that the $300 a week is already being phased out in about half the states and will expire in the rest of the states on September 6, that this will make competition with unemployment benefits easier, and that hiring at the lower levels of the pay scales might become easier as well.

SOURCE

---

Is This Joe Biden’s PATCO Moment?
Will the Democratic president reverse the vicious anti-union trend sparked by Ronald Reagan 40 years ago?

By Mark Dudzic and Rand Wilson
Common Dreams
July 2, 2021

Speaking on the recent National Solidarity Call in support of striking nurses at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, Our Revolution leader Joseph Geevarghese characterized the situation as “Biden’s PATCO Moment.” The call was convened by the LABOR CAMPAIGN FOR SINGLE PAYER to help mobilize national support for the 800 nurses at the Tenet Healthcare-owned hospital who are now engaged in the longest nurses strike nationally in over a decade. Tenet has spent more than $75 million to date to prolong the strike. A fraction of those funds could have easily met the nurses demands for the staffing improvements that are the sole issue driving the strike.

Now Tenet is threatening to permanently replace the striking nurses who are represented by the MASSACHEUSETTS NURSES ASSOCIATION> (MNA). This action, by a notorious healthcare profiteer (Tenet leveraged federal bailout funds intended to provide urgent relief to employees and patients to TRIPLE IT’S PROFITS at the height of the pandemic last summer), has transformed a hard fought strike battle into a red line issue for the entire labor movement.

FOR THOSE OF US OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER, it evokes the rampage of union busting that followed the Reagan Administration’s mass firing of striking air traffic controllers in the notorious PATCO strike of 1981.

Busting the air traffic controllers’ union sent a signal to employers everywhere that it was acceptable for management to break strikes and bust unions. In quick order, striking workers from copper miners in Arizona to newspaper workers in Detroit found themselves permanently replaced. Even more significantly, it changed the balance of power in labor/management relations as labor’s most powerful weapon was neutralized. This ushered in a devastating period of concessionary bargaining whose consequences are still being felt today.

Reagan’s decision to fire the striking PATCO members was not some isolated act of pique by an outraged president. In fact, his administration jumped at the opportunity to give teeth to its explicit policy to weaken and undermine the considerable power of the U.S. labor movement. And it was very successful.

The U.S. labor movement was slow to respond to this provocation. Both of us can remember standing on the National Mall on Solidarity Day in 1981 with half a million other union workers. It had taken the AFL-CIO more than six weeks after the initial firings to call the rally and they chose to hold it on a Saturday when Washington was shut down tight for the weekend. As we dozed in the sun listening to endless speeches, we could see the planes taking off and landing unimpeded just across the Potomac at National Airport. What should have been a forceful exhibition of labor power had been turned into a demonstration of our impotence. Like many others who were there that day, we vowed to never let another PATCO moment go unchallenged.

Tenet is a key player in a major strategic sector of the economy. If it is able to make the threat of permanent replacement an acceptable management tool in healthcare bargaining, it will weaken the entire labor movement for decades to come.

That’s why the Labor Campaign for Single Payer and other labor groups are stepping up to support the nurses and their union. They will be joining the MNA at a rally on July 7 in front of Tenet Headquarters in Dallas. They are also circulating A PETITION urging members of Congress to join Reps. Katie Porter (D Calif.) and Rosa DeLaura (D Conn.) in requesting an investigation into the use of taxpayer-financed Covid-19 relief funds by Tenet and other large hospital systems.

This strike could be a watershed moment for the Medicare for All movement by exposing the corrupt and anti-worker underpinnings of our for-profit healthcare system. “The simple fact is that, if we had Medicare for All, we wouldn’t even be in this fight,” said LCSP National Coordinator Rhiannon Duryea. “Nurse-to-patient ratios would be set by law, ensuring safe and effective staffing ratios across the country that protect nurses, patients, and the community. Hospitals would not be able to exploit nurses and patients to line shareholder pockets.”

This strike could also be a watershed moment for the Biden administration. Ronald Reagan reversed a 40-year policy to promote the right of workers to organize and to bargain collectively. Before Reagan, corporations feared using the permanent replacement option because the federal government had made it clear that it would not tolerate such brutal behavior in the course of labor relations. After Reagan, it was open season on workers and their unions. Inequality skyrocketed as wealth was massively redistributed upward.

President Biden, to his credit, has vowed to reverse these trends.  He has made a number of statements explicitly supporting worker rights and has appointed a number of pro-union advocates to key policy positions.

This is his chance to send a message to Tenet and corporate America that there’s a new sheriff in town. We need to challenge the Biden administration to put its money where its mouth is and to intervene forcefully in this conflict. The president must make it clear that permanently replacing lawful strikers is contrary to the policy of the U.S. government.

Tenet is not alone in trying to pull the rug out from under an upsurge in labor militancy.  There are a number of current and pending labor battles where management is engaging in overt union busting, including months-long strikes by coal miners in Alabama and steelworkers employed by Allegheny Industries as well as a nasty lockout of refinery workers at a giant Exxon/Mobil facility in Beaumont, Texas.

You can be sure that employers everywhere are watching how the Biden Administration reacts to these crises.  As Our Revolution’s Geevarghese told the participants on the Solidarity Call, “This strike creates the opportunity for President Biden to undo what President Reagan did.” It’s an opportunity that should not be squandered.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 07/06/21 •
Section Revelations • Section NWO
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