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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Thursday, May 23, 2019

America In Collapse 5

image: the end is near

We’re In The Final Years Of The American Empire

By Rainer Shea
Medium
May 19. 2019

The United States has reached a point where its entire claim to global hegemony is based on a series of largely fragile geopolitical alliances, and on a worldwide military presence that can’t be sustained for much longer. As the political writer Dmitry Orlov said in an interview last month: “I think that the AMERICAN EMPIRE is very much over already, but it hasn’t been put to any sort of serious stress test yet, and so nobody realizes that this is the case.”

The last few years military budget expansions, war campaigns against Iran and Venezuela, and attempts to strong-arm Russia and China are all part of the American empire’s reaction to this fragility on its part. So is the fact that the United States has been directly at war for the last eighteen years. Throughout this time, the American empire has been in a state similar to that of the British empire after it attacked Egypt in 1956, or to that of the Athenian empire during the Peloponnesian War of 431404 B.C. When these empires launched these great military adventures, they both experienced a rapid decline in their ability to hold together the power structures they֒d created, and soon they were no longer dominant. The same has been happening to the U.S. since the start if its disastrous invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Since that time, endless wars and military expansions have drained the U.S. economy while the Great Recession and increasing income inequality have further impeded the country’s ability to economically function. The U.S. has mostly lost its ability to persuade formerly loyal countries to serve its foreign policy goals; the Trump administration’s push for war with Iran is mainly getting support from Saudi Arabia and Israel, with the international community overwhelmingly rejecting Trumps Iran agenda. Overall, the hand that America plays during its regime change attempts is now decrepit and increasingly ineffectual; the U.S. has ended up isolating itself on the world stage by supporting GuaidoҒs illegal coup attempt in Venezuela, with 75% of the worlds countries backing Maduro. And in a world that’s become multipolar, Russia and China have lately been outmaneuvering the U.S. economically and militarily, such as with their preparations to protect Venezuela from an invasion.

The U.S. still can still do great damage through sanctions-as its doing right now in Syria-and its military remains the largest in the world. But without strong international support or an economy that works properly, the country is only retaining its power through endless violence and military buildup. The U.S. is an international outlaw whose government is widely hated and distrusted both at home and abroad, and mass revolt against it could easily break out in the coming years as lower class discontent reaches a boiling point.

None of this is hyperbole. In 2017, a Pentagon report stated that American power “is not merely fraying but may, in fact, be collapsing.” The report even recommended that the government try to maintain its control through propaganda, increased surveillance, and more military expansionism.

But reality will catch up with the empire’s attempts to stop its own unraveling. Americas great undoing will be the collapse of the dollar-an eventuality which the U.S. has been trying to stave off by intervening in Iran and Venezuela for their rejection of America’s currency. If the U.S. were to conquer both of these countries, it wouldnt be able to halt the transition away from American trade dominance that nations around the world are making. With Bush’s unilateral invasion of Iraq, the U.S. lost the respect of many nations around the world, and Trumps TRADE WARS and rejections of international agreements like the Paris agreement have accelerated this rupture between the U.S. and the rest of the world. America’s global dollar reserves are being replaced by other currencies. And as this process continues, its going to combine with the country’s internal financial mismanagement to create a 21st century Great Depression.

By the end of the 2020s, the U.S. may be so economically crippled that it will have to massively withdraw its global military forces. This will represent the death of the American empire, which the author Alfred McCoy has predicted will come around the year 2030. At that point, writes McCoy, the country will be experiencing soaring prices, ever-rising unemployment, and a continuing decline in real wages throughout the 2020s, [as] domestic divisions widen into violent clashes and divisive debates, often over symbolic, insubstantial issues.Ӕ

“The decline of the dollar, as well as potential wars with Iran, Russia, and China, are going to be the stress test” that Orlov anticipates will end America as we know it. This collapse cant be stopped. The question is what will happen after America goes under.

This question will be decided by those who make the choice between whether they’ll continue to support capitalism, or fight for a world that isn’t controlled by fascistic governments and powerful multinational corporations. After the U.S. loses its power, the corporatocracy will use the private armies of mercenary companies like Blackwater to carry out its regime change projects. Already, Blackwater is aiming to cash in on American desires for continued military involvement by becoming part of the wars in Afghanistan and Syria. This privatization of the empire will be an unprecedented corporate takeover, and it will be facilitated by a collection of world powers that have embraced ethno-nationalism and authoritarianism.

The European Union will likely work as one of these authoritarian powers; the EU’s recent efforts to control information and exert police power over the populations of its member countries show that the EU could soon become an instrument for social control within its region. This will be paralleled by a plethora of countries which are already quickly shifting towards despotism and ethnic nationalism, with America having some of the greatest potential for falling into tyranny. As Chris Hedges has written about what America will look like if it continues on its current path:

The central government will be reduced to its most basic functions - internal and external security and collecting taxes. Severe poverty will cripple the lives of most citizens. Any essential service once provided by the state, from utilities to basic policing, will be privatized, expensive and inaccessible to those without resources - The mass media will become nakedly Orwellian, chatting endlessly about a bright future and pretending America remains a great superpower. It will substitute political gossip for news - a corruption already far advanced - while insisting that the country is in an economic recovery or about to enter one.

But the world DOESN’T HAVE TO end up like this. There are people who are fighting back against corporate power, fascism, and imperialism. They may be on the margins, but they have the advantage of being the ones who are fighting on behalf of a population which is outraged at declining living standards and widening inequality. We need to unite all of these freedom fighters around the goal of overthrowing capitalism and building a socialist workerŒs state, or the forces of empire will continue to subjugate us.

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Posted by Elvis on 05/23/19 •
Section Dying America • Section Next Recession, Next Depression
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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Message For 2019 Graduates

image: people applying for a job

“No matter who you are, no matter how strong you are, sooner or later, you’ll face circumstances beyond your control.”
- Cersei Lannister, Game of Thrones

How to Survive the Journey Ahead: A Graduation Message for a Terrifying Age
By John W. Whitehead
The Rutherford Institute
May 20, 2019

Those coming of age today will face some of the greatest obstacles ever ENCOUNTERED by young people.

They will find themselves overtaxed, burdened with excessive college debt, and STRUGGLING TO FIND worthwhile employment in a debt-ridden economy on the brink of implosion. Their privacy will be EVISCERATED by the surveillance state. They will be the subjects of a MILITARY EMPIRE constantly waging war against shadowy enemies and government agents armed to the teeth ready and able to lock down the country at a moments notice.

As such, they will find themselves forced to march in lockstep with a government that no longer exists to serve the people but which demands they be obedient slaves or suffer the consequences.

It’s a dismal prospect, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, we who should have known better failed to guard against such a future.

Worse, we neglected to maintain our freedoms or provide our young people with the tools necessary to survive, let alone succeed, in the impersonal jungle that is modern America.

We brought them into homes FRACTURED BY DIVORCE, distracted by MINDLESS ENTERTAINMENT, and OBSESSED WITH the PURSUIT OF MATERIALISM. We institutionalized them in daycares and afterschool programs, substituting time with teachers and childcare workers for parental involvement. We turned them into test-takers instead of thinkers and automatons instead of activists.

We allowed them to languish in SCHOOLS which not only look like prisons but function like prisons, as well - where conformity is the rule and freedom is the exception. We made them easy prey for our corporate overlords, while instilling in them the values of a celebrity-obsessed, technology-driven culture devoid of any true spirituality. And we taught them to believe that the pursuit of their own personal happiness trumped all other virtues, including any empathy whatsoever for their fellow human beings.

No, we haven’t done this generation any favors.

Based on the current political climate, things could very well get much worse before they ever take a turn for the better. Here are a few pieces of advice that will hopefully help those coming of age today survive the perils of the journey that awaits:

Be an individual. For all of its claims to champion the individual, American culture advocates a stark conformity which, as John F. Kennedy warned, is “the jailer of freedom, and the enemy of growth.” Worry less about fitting in with the rest of the world and instead, as Henry David Thoreau urged, become “Columbus” to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought.

Learn your rights. We’re losing our freedoms for one simple reason: most of us dont know anything about our freedoms. At a minimum, anyone who has graduated from high school, let alone college, should know the Bill of Rights backwards and forwards. However, the average young person, let alone citizen, has very little knowledge of their rights for the simple reason that the schools no longer teach them. So grab a copy of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and study them at home. And when the time comes, stand up for your rights before it’s too late.

Speak truth to power. Don’t be naive about those in positions of authority. As James Madison, who wrote our Bill of Rights, observed, “All men having power ought to be distrusted.” We must learn the lessons of history. People in power, more often than not, abuse that power. To maintain our freedoms, this will mean challenging government officials whenever they exceed the bounds of their office.

Resist all things that numb you. Don’t measure your worth by what you own or earn. Likewise, dont become mindless consumers unaware of the world around you. Resist all things that numb you, put you to sleep or help you “cope” with so-called reality. Those who establish the rules and laws that govern society’s actions desire compliant subjects. However, as George Orwell warned, Until they become conscious, they will never rebel, and until after they rebelled, they cannot become “conscious.” It is these conscious individuals who change the world for the better.

Don’t let technology turn you into zombies. Technology anesthetizes us to the all-too-real tragedies that surround us. Techno-gadgets are merely distractions from what’s really going on in America and around the world. As a result, weve begun mimicking the inhuman technology that surrounds us and have lost our humanity. We’ve become sleepwalkers. If youre going to make a difference in the world, youҒre going to have to pull the earbuds out, turn off the cell phones and spend much less time viewing screens.

Help others. We all have a calling in life. And I believe it boils down to one thing: You are here on this planet to help other people. In fact, none of us can exist very long without help from others. If were going to see any positive change for freedom, then we must change our view of what it means to be human and regain a sense of what it means to love and help one another. That will mean gaining the courage to stand up for the oppressed.

Give voice to moral outrage. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, ғOur lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter. There is no shortage of issues on which to take a stand. For instance, on any given night, over half a million people in the U.S. are homeless, and half of them are elderly. There are 46 million Americans living at or below the poverty line, and 16 million children living in households without adequate access to food. Congress creates, on average, more than 50 new criminal laws each year. With more than 2 million Americans in prison, and close to 7 million adults in correctional care, the United States has the largest prison population in the world. At least 2.7 million children in the United States have at least one parent in prison. At least 400 to 500 innocent people are killed by police officers every year. Americans are now eight times more likely to die in a police confrontation than they are to be killed by a terrorist. On an average day in America, over 100 Americans have their homes raided by SWAT teams. It costs the American taxpayer $52.6 billion every year to be spied on by the government intelligence agencies tasked with surveillance, data collection, counterintelligence and covert activities. All the while, since 9/11, the U.S. has spent more than $1.6 trillion to wage wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and police the rest of the world. This is an egregious affront to anyone who believes in freedom.

Cultivate spirituality, reject materialism and put people first. When the things that matter most have been subordinated to materialism, we have lost our moral compass. We must change our values to reflect something more meaningful than technology, materialism and politics. Standing at the pulpit of the Riverside Church in New York City in April 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. urged his listeners:

[W]e as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motive and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

Pitch in and do your part to make the world a better place. Don’t rely on someone else to do the heavy lifting for you. Don’t wait around for someone else to fix what ails you, your community or nation. As Gandhi urged:

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Say no to war. Addressing the graduates at Binghampton Central High School in 1968, at a time when the country was waging war ԓon different fields, on different levels, and with different weapons, Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling declared:

Too many wars are fought almost as if by rote. Too many wars are fought out of sloganry, out of battle hymns, out of aged, musty appeals to patriotism that went out with knighthood and moats. Love your country because it is eminently worthy of your affection. Respect it because it deserves your respect. Be loyal to it because it cannot survive without your loyalty. But do not accept the shedding of blood as a natural function or a prescribed way of history - even if history points this up by its repetition. That men die for causes does not necessarily sanctify that cause. And that men are maimed and torn to pieces every fifteen and twenty years does not immortalize or deify the act of war… find another means that does not come with the killing of your fellow-man.

Finally, prepare yourselves for what lies ahead. The demons of our age - some of whom disguise themselves as politicians - delight in fomenting violence, sowing distrust and prejudice, and persuading the public to support tyranny disguised as patriotism. Overcoming the evils of our age will require more than intellect and activism. It will require decency, morality, goodness, truth and toughness. As Serling concluded in his remarks to the graduating class of 1968:

Toughness is the singular quality most required of you… we have left you a world far more botched than the one that was left to us… Part of your challenge is to seek out truth, to come up with a point of view not dictated to you by anyone, be he a congressman, even a minister… Are you tough enough to take the divisiveness of this land of ours, the fact that everything is polarized, black and white, this or that, absolutely right or absolutely wrong. This is one of the challenges. Be prepared to seek out the middle ground ... that wondrous and very difficult-to-find Valhalla where man can look to both sides and see the errant truths that exist on both sides. If you must swing left or you must swing rightӗrespect the other side. Honor the motives that come from the other side. Argue, debate, rebutbut don’t close those wondrous minds of yours to opposition. In their eyes, you’re the opposition. And ultimately ... ultimately - you end divisiveness by compromise. And so long as men walk and breathe, there must be compromise…

Are you tough enough to face one of the uglier stains upon the fabric of our democracy - prejudice? It’s the basic root of most evil. It’s a part of the sickness of man. And it’s a part of man’s admission, his constant sick admission, that to exist he must find a scapegoat. To explain away his own deficiencies - he must try to find someone who he believes more deficient… Make your judgment of your fellow-man on what he says and what he believes and the way he acts. Be tough enough, please, to live with prejudice and give battle to it. It warps, it poisons, it distorts and it is self-destructive. It has fallout worse than a bomb ... and worst of all it cheapens and demeans anyone who permits himself the luxury of hating.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the only way well ever achieve change in this country is for the American people to finally say “enough is enough” and fight for the things that truly matter.

It doesn’t matter how old you are or what your political ideology is. If you have something to say, speak up. Get active, and if need be, pick up a picket sign and get in the streets. And when civil liberties are violated, don’t remain silent about it.

Wake up, stand up, and make your activism count for something more than politics.

SOURCE

MESSAGE FOR THE 2018 GRADUATES

Posted by Elvis on 05/21/19 •
Section Dying America
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Monday, May 20, 2019

Bad Moon Rising Part 77 - Huawei again

image: red phone ringing

Huawei and ZTE are becoming GLOBAL PLAYERS in telecommunications equipment and mobile handsets, and the U.S isn’t the only country uneasy over the security implications.

[T]he politics are palpable at a time when U.S. presidential candidates are busy sparring over China’s trading practices and invoking the “get tough” mantra.

It would be naive to think that cyber-surveillance isn’t happening, and that powerful governments wouldn’t exploit their knowledge of telecom networks to defend their interests around the world. A sobering thought, but not one that you’re likely to hear voiced in the U.S. election campaign.  It’s much easier to bash China.
- Bad Moon Rising Part 52 - Huawei

Gangster Economics Against Huawei & Nordstream 2

By Caleb Maupin
New Eastern Outlook
April 4, 2019

Many Americans base their entire view of the world, and their understanding of the relationship of the United States to other countries, on the contents of a college-level “Economics 101” course. They view the world market as a land of “free competition” in which different countries and international corporations “compete.” They then believe that consumers, communities and countries vote with their “dollars” rewarding the best products and services.

In this delusional fantasy, championed by figures like as George Soros and Anne-Marie Slaughter as an ideal “-Open International Market,” the United States and western countries occupy their dominant position, simply because they are the best. The products and services offered by western financial institutions and international corporations are simply superior to those found anywhere else. This delusional fantasy goes on to present the western financial elite as somehow mentoring and assisting the world, by helping it develop and perhaps someday be more like the superior west.

The Energy Dominance Scheme

Those who argue that this western narrative is false have no greater confirmation than the recent actions of the US government. The response to Nordstream 2 pipeline and the recent crackdown on Huawei technologies confirms that the US government has no interest in free competition among international corporations.

Nordstream 2 is a natural gas pipeline that is currently under construction, scheduled to be completed later this year. It will enable Russias state-run energy corporations to sell natural gas to countries inside the European Union. The people in various EU countries favor the construction of Nordstream 2, because it will expand and ad greater convenience to their access of Russian natural gas.

However, in the United States, the Trump administration is joined by Democratic Party resistance leaders in demanding that the people of Germany and other European nations not purchase gas from Russia. They foolishly demand that the European community purchase gas from the United States, and import it across the Atlantic Ocean.

It is simple common sense to know that importing natural gas from across the planet will be far more expensive for central Europe than simply pumping it over the border from Russia. However, in a shrill atmosphere of hysteria, invoking all kinds of unrelated issues and allegations against the Russian government, the US political establishment is talking of sanctions and other means of coercing the European public into buying their gas.

While US leaders invoke human rights-based criticism of the Russian government, the hypocrisy is obvious. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a brutal autocracy that beheads and tortures, remains a top business partner of the United States in both the energy and weapons markets. The brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has not changed this relationship, which Trump openly defended on a purely financial basis.

The goal of making money for American energy corporations and weakening Russian energy corporations, their competitors, is not even carefully concealed. The White House openly speaks of “Energy Dominance” as the basis for its policy, and speaks of how protecting the profits US-based oil and gas firms is its blatant intention.

The Anti-China Smartphone War

Are the Germans, Belgians, and other European people’s not free to vote with their “dollars” and chose where to purchase their oil and gas? Apparently, the “open international system” is not so open when geopolitical rivals of Wall Street monopolists are involved.

The same rhetoric and methods are being used to try and strong arm countries around the world, and demand that they do not purchase Huawei telecommunications technology from China. Huawei is the largest telecommunications manufacturer in the world. It is an integral part of the market-socialist model developed by Deng Xiaoping and now adjusted and advanced by Xi Jinping.

HUAWEI phones have longer battery life, better cameras, and more durable, longer lasting hardware than American made phones. All across the world, in places like India, Latin America, and various African countries, the public has selected to buy these cheaper and higher quality phones. The profits of Apple have recently dropped as Huawei’s products have become THE CHOICE of more and more consumers around the globe and within China.

However, US leaders once are demanding that people around the world do not “vote” with their dollars and pick the superior phone. If the free market logic were to apply, US leaders would simply urge American manufacturers to be more competitive. Instead, US leaders continue to demand that countries like Poland and Bulgaria stop doing business with Huawei technologies.

Within the United States, Americans have been prevented from “voting” with their dollars and purchasing the P20, a cutting edge new phone released by the Chinese manufacturer. A whole list of Chinese smartphones are now banned as a supposed NATIONAL SECURITY RISK.

US leaders allege that smartphones manufactured by Chinese corporations are a threat to national security because these entities have ties to the Chinese military and government. This claim is rather hypocritical as Apple, AT&T, Verizon, and other American telecommunications companies have not even bothered to conceal their relationship with the US intelligence agencies.

US phones are no more a “military” or “intelligence” threat than Chinese phones are. To expect the Chinese Communist Party, which essentially created Huawei Technologies, to not maintain a relationship with this telecom giant is a ridicules demand.

Not Gentlemanly Business but Gangsterism

More than the “free competition” and “open” international system they advocate, American leaders, seem to be embracing the economic philosophy of Mafia gangsters. Much like criminals operating a protection racquet, US leaders claim that certain countries around the world are their “turf."They demand that their competitors be locked out, and scramble to impose consequences on those who would get in their way.

US leaders are themselves discrediting the very ideology they have spread across the world. They are revealing that in truth, “free competition” is a delusion and that governments tend to rig things in favor of their wealthy paymasters and do their bidding. The mantra of “free competition” has been utilized to restrain developing countries and potential competitors, but US leaders are happy to disregard it and protect the global “turf” of the Wall Street and Silicon Valley monopolies.

The truth is that the richest of the rich in the United States did not acquire their wealth by mere personal sacrifice and brilliance, and the western world did not acquire its place in the world through gentlemanly business practices.

In the 21st Century, countries across the world have rejected these free market delusions and utilized their own governments to construct state-controlled economies to eliminate poverty and raise living standards. Huawei, like Russia’s Gazprom and Rosneft, are the result of economic innovations, in which post-Cold War governments took action to control the economy on behalf of the population.

Unlike so many of the working class people in western countries, the populations of Russia and China have not been left behind in the process of building up these super-corporations. As the two Eurasian superpowers emerged in the 20th century, not due to free markets, but due to socialist central planning, millions were lifted from poverty.

Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially for the online magazine New Eastern OutlookӔ.

SOURCE

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Microsoft Pulls Huawei Server Products, Laptop Following US Ban

By Mehedi Hassan
a href="https://www.thurrott.com/" rel="nofollow">Thurrott<>
May 23, 2018

In the ongoing trade battle between China and the United States, Huawei was blacklisted by the US government, forcing US companies to stop doing business with the company. Although the US government gave Huawei and its partners some breathing room, companies like Google, Intel, and Qualcomm have already stopped working with Huawei.

And now, Microsoft is also joining the bandwagon. Bloomberg is reporting that Microsoft has pulled Huaweis server products for its Azure Stack technology. MicrosoftҒs product catalog page that lists Azure Stack HCI solutions from companies like ASUS and others no longer includes Huaweis offerings. The publication tried to reach out to Microsoft to discuss what the company is planning to do with its business with Huawei, but couldnҒt get a comment.

Earlier on Tuesday, Microsoft stopped selling one of Huaweis flagship laptops, the MateBook X Pro. The companyҒs online store no longer has the product listing for the Huawei laptop. That could suggest Microsoft will eventually ban Huaweis Windows license as long as the company is blacklisted by the US government.

Microsoft remains tight-lipped about its actions with Huawei going forward, and it’s not clear whether the company will end its business with Huawei, including pulling Huaweis Windows license. Google has already pulled Huawei’s Android license, which is a much bigger threat to the company’s entire business since it relies heavily on its Android phones - and if companies like Microsoft follow through, Huawei could be in even more trouble.

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Posted by Elvis on 05/20/19 •
Section Bad Moon Rising
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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Healthcare That Makes Us Ill

Uninsured man

Deaths associated with lack of health insurance now exceed those caused by many common killers such as kidney disease. An increase in the number of uninsured and an eroding medical safety net for the disadvantaged likely explain the substantial increase in the number of deaths, as the uninsured are more likely to go without needed care. Another factor contributing to the widening gap in the risk of death between those who have insurance and those who do not is the improved quality of care for those who can get it.
- 45 Thousand Die Yearly from Lack Of Health Insurance

Obamacare, which should more correctly be called by its secret Corporate name, Baucus-care, makes 30 million people buy private health insurance, a near-worthless middleman racket that produces nothing, but is an exquisite parasite that does intrude to the max between doctor and patient for the sole purpose of extracting profit. And taxpayers have to pay for all those who cant.
- Obamacare Ripoff

Over the past few decades, we’ve enriched the labs, drug companies, medical device makers, hospital administrators and purveyors of CT scans, MRIs, canes and wheelchairs. Meanwhile, we’ve squeezed the doctors who don’t own their own clinics, don’t work as drug or device consultants or don’t otherwise game a system that is so gameable. And of course, we’ve squeezed everyone outside the system who gets stuck with the bills.
- Changing Our Choices - Time

This focus on money and power may do wonders in the marketplace, but it creates a tremendous crisis in our society. People who have spent all day learning how to sell themselves and to manipulate others are in no position to form lasting friendships or intimate relationships Many Americans hunger for a different kind of society - one based on principles of caring, ethical and spiritual sensitivity, and communal solidarity. Their need for meaning is just as intense as their need for economic security.
- Michael Lerner

To Be Sick and Not Rich Is the Nightmare of Medical Care in the US

By Beverly Gologorsky,
TomDispatch
May 9, 2019

On this extremely hot summer day, the ear-splitting siren screaming through New York’s streets is coming from the ambulance I’m in on a gurney on my way to the ER. That only makes the siren, loud as it is, all the more alarming.

I fell. The pain, its location and intensity, suggests I’ve probably broken my hip.

The kind face of the emergency medical technician hovering above me asks questions softly and I confess that Im in terrible pain. Other gentle hands are busy taking blood pressure and doing oxygen counts. These EMT workers, employees of the Fire Department, are good at what they do.

At the ER entrance, the gurneys lifted out of the vehicle, wheels are dropped, and it’s rolled inside. Under a ceiling of bright white lights, it passes and so I pass - one cubicle after another. I catch bits of voices, speaking in several languages.

My friend, who’se come with me to the ER, roots around in my purse for my insurance and then heads for the admissions office. Alone, I close my eyes to shut out the glare of the ceiling lights. I want one thing: relief from the pain. Oblivion would even be more appreciated.

My friend returns to my cubicle and asks, “Is this the only insurance you have?” I panic. Will they not accept me? But they have to! It’s the ER! That’s the reassurance I offer myself and then I tell her, “Yes, its all I have.”

She looks doubtful.

“What?” I ask desperately. “What?”

Don’t you have some kind of supplemental? And she begins to try to explain, but I can’t deal with this right now. All I want is relief from the pain. Any other moment, Id worry about the money, but not now. I can’t! Instead, simply to remain half-calm, I remind myself that I have insurance, that I have a Health Maintenance Organization, or HMO, a plan that offers a wide range of healthcare services through a network of providers who agree to work with members.

After vital signs are taken, I’m moved to a hospital room and given pain meds that don’t offer oblivion, but do help. There, I learn what the X-rays show: a hip fracture. Surgery necessary. Operating rooms all taken. It may be two days before they can operate, the orthopedic surgeon tells me. My friend whispers that every extra day in the hospital will cost a mint. She then appeals to the staff to expedite the surgery. They can’t.

At that moment, I don’t care if the hospital costs a million dollars a day, I just want to get better. However, I, too, want the surgery to happen, within the hour if possible, since my leg is now frozen in a distinctly awkward position, thanks to the way I fell, and I realize that it wont be straight until the operation’s over.

Two days later, after successful surgery, I develop an infection, pneumonia, and the days in the hospital begin multiplying into weeks. My doctors are so busy they can only visit once a day, if that, but the nurses, well they’re the healers, the angels, though they themselves are desperately overworked.

Everyone’s so busy here. Hospitals have GROWN LARGER than ever in recent years as they’ve swallowed smaller hospitals and medical treatment centers. Given the overworked nature of the staff, I hire a healthcare aide to be with me several hours a day. My friend tells me that insurance won’t pick up this expense either, but I can’t worry about that now. I simply need to heal.

Finally, I’m discharged to months of physical therapy, three times a week. Fortunately, the therapy practice takes my insurance (not always a given). But on that first visit (as on every visit thereafter), they run my Visa card through their machine and I get charged a $40 co-pay. There’s nothing I can do about it. After all, my goal is to get back on my feet, literally as well as metaphorically. Still, that’s $120 a week for 16 weeks and so my out-of-pocket patient expenses begin to add up.

Back at home to recuperate, I find a stack of unopened mail, including notices from my insurance company alerting me to the bills that are to follow. Soon enough, they begin to arrive. They include out-of-pocket patient costs for the ambulance, the hospital, doctors, tests of all sorts, drugs of all sorts, and sundry other services. Those bills list both what insurance has paid for each service and the amount of money that I still owe.

And here I experience what must be common to so many Americans. I’m surprised and distressed to learn how much of the cost my insurance doesn’t pick up. The surgery, for instance, was $72,000, but my insurance only covers $67,000 of it. The other $5,000 is my co-pay. Add in the co-pays for everything from that ambulance to other medical services and my costs come to almost $13,000.

An Insurance System of Out-of-Pocket Disasters

I’m sharing my recent journey as a cautionary tale. And, yet, what am I warning against? That we are all somewhat powerless when sickness strikes, but that those of us who arent wealthy suffer so much more. The thought of being without insurance is frightening indeed, yet in our present system we pay in so many ways for the existence of those insurance companies. We pay in co-pay; we pay in not getting treatment we need if insurance deems it unnecessary (no matter what your doctor says); we pay yearly out-of-pocket fees whether we’re 20 or 80 years old. (For Medicare patients, a monthly payment comes out of Social Security.) For most American families with insurance, whether workplace-based or individually purchased, premiums go up regularly, if not annually. At present, we have no alternative to the existing health insurance system, yet it is actually failing us all in so many ways.

What do you do when sickness occurs, if you aren’t rich? Suffer the illness, for sure, and then suffer the out-of-pocket costs afterward. And keep in mind that tens of millions of Americans under age 65 DON’T HAVE any health insurance at all. (In the age of Trump, in fact, those numbers are on the rise.) Moreover, the PERSISTENT GROWTH of income inequality to GILDED AGE levels has had a decided effect on the health of many Americans.For low-paid wage workers, the unemployed, and/or undocumented immigrants, getting sick or having any kind of medical mishap is a disaster of the first order. For them, paying out-of-pocket costs of any sort may simply be impossible, which means that they will often do without medical treatment or even medicine. To put this in perspective, 40% of Americans cant afford an extra $400 even in a medical emergency. Imagine what $5,000 or $10,000 in expenses means!

After an illness, accident, or chronic disease hits, a startling number of those of us with health insurance find that we have to choose between paying for daily needs and PAYING OUR MEDICAL BILLS. Such expenses leave people even more impoverished and often in debt, which is tantamount to remaining unhealthy.

For the poor, Medicaid, the government program that helps those with limited or no incomes, can make a major difference, but many people don’t have Medicaid because their states don’t readily offer it. Even where it’s more easily available, many with incomes not much above the poverty line dont qualify for it. And as Elizabeth Yuko pointed out in the New York Times recently, “Even if you are fortunate enough to have health insurance, that doesn’t mean that all of the members of your medical team 0 which may include out-of-network specialists are covered by your plan.”

As I learned with my fractured hip, someone who is in great pain or out of it for any number of physical reasons cant be expected to focus on that future bill. And even if you could, who would want to cancel any of the services needed to heal?

Though Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, helped significantly, there are still far too many people who will have to agonize over how to manage both an illness and the co-pays that go with it. Meanwhile, of course, the Trump administration and congressional Republicans are working overtime to undermine Obamacare and deprive ever more Americans of any sense of a medical safety net.

What Medicare for All Would Mean

All the talk about making insurance affordable, under the present medical circumstances in this country, adds up to just so many wasted words. Unless something changes big time, insurance companies will continue to sell us their services at ever-higher prices because we cant do without them. Since we lack alternatives, they remain indispensable. The result: out-of-pocket costs will continue to rise, no matter what any politician promises. And if the Republicans in Congress were ever to succeed in doing away even with Obamacare, the services that insurance companies now provide would no longer be guaranteed. What then?

With a single payer system, whether called MEDICARE FOR ALL - or universal health care, everyone would be able to access health care; health would, that is, become a right. Most likely, such programs would be covered by a tax increase, yet they would cost each person so much less than what is now being paid out to insurance companies. With single payer or MEDICARE FOR ALL, there would be no more co-pays, no more premiums, no more refusals of non-doctors to pay for services recommended by medical specialists, no more bills arriving at a patient’s house.

Understandably, some might be reluctant to part with a familiar healthcare system, however flawed, in exchange for a new but untested universal program. Yet once implemented, any version of Medicare for All would be likely to cost less, be so much simpler to access, and ultimately save lives.

The present Medicare system is a good indicator of not only whats possible, but of the ways in which health care can serve people’s needs. However, Medicare is offered only to those who are OVER 65. Nevertheless, Medicare and Medicaid prove the positive. Those programs work well for the elderly and the poor. Even with Medicare, however, insurance companies continue to handle many aspects of your services, should you opt for a Medicare Advantage plan (an all-in-one alternative to original Medicare), in which co-pays and other costs are still the patients responsibility.

According to Open Secrets, insurance companies, Big Pharma, and hospitals spent a staggering $143 MILLION in 2018 alone in their lobbying efforts against any future Medicare for All plan. Nonetheless, as the National Nurses United Association has pointed out: “There has never been this much public support and momentum for Medicare for All.” Eighty-five percent of democratic voters and 70% of all voters support it. With significant administrative setups already in place, thanks to Medicare and Medicaid, the expansion of those health systems to include everyone seems doable; nor is it hard to imagine that many of the workers now employed by insurance companies would be able to shift to working for an expanding single-payer or Medicare for All program.

Truly decent health care is a necessity for a society in which people do more than just survive. Health is not a negotiable matter. You can decide not to buy a new coat and so shiver through another winter, but you really canԒt decide to ignore sickness, disease, broken bones, or chronic illness, all of which can put lives on the line. How can any society function properly without health care available to all? How can any society survive in a reasonably decent way when so many millions of people are left with the choice of either being impoverished by illness or living with an otherwise treatable one?

Health care should be as much of a right as public education the right to educate all children, that is - which was only won after its OWN SET of lengthy struggles. After all, who can now imagine making all Americans pay for the first 12 years of schooling? Yes, we know that there are people wealthy enough to pay for whatever kind of education and health care they want, but they are hardly the majority of Americans.

Good health care must not only be affordable, but also provide easy access to medical services to better nutrition, a healthier environment, and greater longevity. In this context, Medicare For All would be a literal lifesaver.

Finally, good health care is peace of mind, which, at present, our system does not deliver. In my case, the cost of recovery was far too high.

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Posted by Elvis on 05/16/19 •
Section Dying America
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