zaterdag 4 maart 2017

Barbara Ehrenreich

Divisions  .Of Labor

New kinds of work require new ideas — and new ways of organizing.

The working class, or at least the white part, has emerged as our great national mystery. Traditionally Democratic, they helped elect a flamboyantly ostentatious billionaire to the presidency. “What’s wrong with them?” the liberal pundits keep asking. Why do they believe Trump’s promises? Are they stupid or just deplorably racist? Why did the working class align itself against its own interests?
I was born into this elusive class and remain firmly connected to it through friendships and family. In the 1980s, for example, I personally anchored a working-class cultural hub in my own home on Long Island. The attraction was not me but my husband (then) and longtime friend Gary Stevenson, a former warehouse worker who had become an organizer for the Teamsters union. You may think of the Long Island suburbs as a bedroom community for Manhattan commuters or a portal to the Hamptons, but they were then also an industrial center, with more than 20,000 workers employed at Grumman alone. When my sister moved into our basement from Colorado, she quickly found a job in a factory within a mile of our house, as did thousands of other people, some of them bused in from the Bronx. Mostly we hosted local residents who passed through our house for evening meetings or weekend gatherings — truck drivers, factory workers, janitors and eventually nurses. My job was to make chili and keep room in the fridge for the baked ziti others would invariably bring. I once tried to explain the concept of “democratic socialism” to some machine-shop workers and went off on a brief peroration against the Soviet Union. They stared at me glumly across the kitchen counter until one growled, “At least they have health care over there.”
By the time my little crew was gathering in the ranch house, working-class aspirations were everywhere being trampled underfoot. In 1981, President Reagan busted the air traffic controllers’ union by firing more than 11,000 striking workers — a clear signal of what was to come. A few years later, we hosted a picnic for Jim Guyette, the leader of a militant meatpacking local in Minnesota that had undertaken a wildcat strike against Hormel (and of course no Hormel products were served at our picnic). But labor had entered into an age of givebacks and concessions. Grovel was the message, or go without a job. Even the “mighty mighty” unions of the old labor chant, the ones that our little group had struggled both to build and to democratize, were threatened with extinction. Within a year, the wildcat local was crushed by its own parent union, the United Food and Commercial Workers.
Steel mills went quiet, the mines where my father and grandfather had worked shut down, factories fled south of the border. Much more was lost in the process than just the jobs; an entire way of life, central to the American mythos, was coming to an end. The available jobs, in fields like retail sales and health care, were ill paid, making it harder for a man without a college education to support a family on his own. I could see this in my own extended family, where the grandsons of miners and railroad workers were taking jobs as delivery-truck drivers and fast-food restaurant managers or even competing with their wives to become retail workers or practical nurses. As Susan Faludi observed in her 1999 book “Stiffed,” the deindustrialization of America led to a profound masculinity crisis: What did it mean to be a man when a man could no longer support a family?It wasn’t just a way of life that was dying but also many of those who had lived it. Research in 2015 by Angus Deaton, a Nobel laureate in economics, with his wife, Anne Case, showed that the mortality gap between college-educated whites and non-college-educated whites had been widening rapidly since 1999. A couple of months later, economists at the Brookings Institution found that for men born in 1920, there was a six-year difference in life expectancy between the top 10 percent of earners and the bottom 10 percent. For men born in 1950, that difference more than doubled, to 14 years. Smoking, which is now mostly a working-class habit, could account for only a third of the excess deaths. The rest were apparently attributable to alcoholism, drug overdoses and suicide, usually by gunshot — what are often called “diseases of despair.”


In the new economic landscape of low-paid service jobs, some of the old nostrums of the left have stopped making sense. “Full employment,” for example, was the mantra of the unions for decades, but what did it mean when so many jobs no longer paid enough to live on? The idea had been that if everyone who wanted a job could get one, employers would have to raise wages to attract new workers. But when I went out as an undercover journalist in the late 1990s to test the viability of entry-level jobs, I found my co-workers — waitstaff, nursing-home workers, maids with a cleaning service, Walmart “associates” — living for the most part in poverty. As I reported in the resulting book, “Nickel and Dimed,” some were homeless and slept in their cars, while others skipped lunch because they couldn’t afford anything more than a snack-size bag of Doritos. They were full-time workers, and this was a time, like the present, of nearly full employment.
The other popular solution to the crisis of the working class was job retraining. If ours is a “knowledge economy” — which sounds so much better than a “low-wage economy” — unemployed workers would just have to get their game on and upgrade to more useful skills. President Obama promoted job retraining, as did Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate, along with many Republicans. The problem was that no one was sure what to train people in; computer skills were in vogue in the ’90s, welding has gone in and out of style and careers in the still-growing health sector are supposed to be the best bets now. Nor is there any clear measure of the effectiveness of existing retraining programs. In 2011, the Government Accountability Office found the federal government supporting 47 job-training projects as of 2009, of which only five had been evaluated in the previous five years. Paul Ryan has repeatedly praised a program in his hometown, Janesville, Wis., but a 2012 ProPublica study found that laid-off people who went through it were less likely to find jobs than those who did not.
No matter how good the retraining program, the idea that people should be endlessly malleable and ready to recreate themselves to accommodate every change in the job market is probably not realistic and certainly not respectful of existing skills. In the early ’90s, I had dinner at a Pizza Hut with a laid-off miner in Butte, Mont. (actually, there are no other kinds of miners in Butte). He was in his 50s, and he chuckled when he told me that he was being advised to get a degree in nursing. I couldn’t help laughing too — not at the gender incongruity but at the notion that a man whose tools had been a pickax and dynamite should now so radically change his relation to the world. No wonder that when blue-collar workers were given the choice between job retraining, as proffered by Clinton, and somehow, miraculously, bringing their old jobs back, as proposed by Trump, they went for the latter.


CreditPatches illustrated by Young Jerks. Photographs by Craig Cutler for The New York Times. 

Now when politicians invoke “the working class,” they are likely to gesture, anachronistically, to an abandoned factory. They might more accurately use a hospital or a fast-food restaurant as a prop. The new working class contains many of the traditional blue-collar occupations — truck driver, electrician, plumber — but by and large its members are more likely to wield mops than hammers, and bedpans rather than trowels. Demographically, too, the working class has evolved from the heavily white male grouping that used to assemble at my house in the 1980s; black and Hispanic people have long been a big, if unacknowledged, part of the working class, and now it’s more female and contains many more immigrants as well. If the stereotype of the old working class was a man in a hard hat, the new one is better represented as a woman chanting, “El pueblo unido jamás será vencido!” (The people united will never be defeated!)
The old jobs aren’t coming back, but there is another way to address the crisis brought about by deindustrialization: Pay all workers better. The big labor innovation of the 21st century has been campaigns seeking to raise local or state minimum wages. Activists have succeeded in passing living-wage laws in more than a hundred counties and municipalities since 1994 by appealing to a simple sense of justice: Why should someone work full time, year-round, and not make enough to pay for rent and other basics? Surveys found large majorities favoring an increase in the minimum wage; college students, church members and unions rallied to local campaigns. Unions started taking on formerly neglected constituencies like janitors, home health aides and day laborers. And where the unions have faltered, entirely new kinds of organizations sprang up: associations sometimes backed by unions and sometimes by philanthropic foundations — Our Walmart, the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.
Our old scene on Long Island is long gone: the house sold, the old friendships frayed by age and distance. I miss it. As a group, we had no particular ideology, but our vision, which was articulated through our parties rather than any manifesto, was utopian, especially in the context of Long Island, where if you wanted any help from the county, you had to be a registered Republican. If we had a single theme, it could be summed up in the old-fashioned word “solidarity”: If you join my picket line, I’ll join yours, and maybe we’ll all go protest together, along with the kids, at the chemical plant that was oozing toxins into our soil — followed by a barbecue in my backyard. We were not interested in small-P politics. We wanted a world in which everyone’s work was honored and every voice heard.
I never expected to be part of anything like that again until, in 2004, I discovered a similar, far-better-organized group in Fort Wayne, Ind. The Northeast Indiana Central Labor Council, as it was then called, brought together Mexican immigrant construction workers and the native-born building-trade union members they had been brought in to replace, laid-off foundry workers and Burmese factory workers, adjunct professors and janitors. Their goal, according to the president at the time, Tom Lewandowski, a former General Electric factory worker who served in the 1990s as the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s liaison to the Polish insurgent movement Solidarnosc, was to create a “culture of solidarity.” They were inspired by the realization that it’s not enough to organize people with jobs; you have to organize the unemployed as well as the “anxiously employed” — meaning potentially the entire community. Their not-so-secret tactic was parties and picnics, some of which I was lucky enough to attend.
The scene in Fort Wayne featured people of all colors and collar colors, legal and undocumented workers, liberals and political conservatives, some of whom supported Trump in the last election. It showed that a new kind of solidarity was in reach, even if the old unions may not be ready. In 2016, the ailing A.F.L.-C.I.O., which for more than six decades has struggled to hold the labor movement together, suddenly dissolved the Northeast Indiana Central Labor Council, citing obscure bureaucratic imperatives. But the labor council was undaunted. It promptly reinvented itself as the Workers’ Project and drew more than 6,000 people to the local Labor Day picnic, despite having lost its internet access and office equipment to the A.F.L.-C.I.O.
When I last talked to Tom Lewandowski, in early February, the Workers’ Project had just succeeded in organizing 20 Costco contract workers into a collective unit of their own and were planning to celebrate with, of course, a party. The human urge to make common cause — and have a good time doing it — is hard to suppress.

Maria Zakharova to CNN: ‘Stop Spreading Lies and Fake News’

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman to CNN: ‘Stop Spreading Lies and Fake News’

Russia’s outspoken foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, had some choice words for CNN — after being confronted by their reporters over the AG Sessions’ hysteria. In a prepared statement, she called the event ‘media vandalism’ and a ‘disgrace’ — suggesting the US media is down in the depths of depravity and deceit.
She stated the American media had “cross(ed) the line far beyond the professional ethics and their competence. They accuse and judge by simply fabricating false information.”
“I have a question: is it rock bottom, which the US media has reached, or is there an even greater depth for them to dive?” Zakharova said.
“The things that the US media affords itself to report are just an attempt at… a total disinformation of the public in America and worldwide,” Zakharova explained, adding the US audience is, of course, the main target.
During the exchange, which was caught on camera and posted below, she laid into CNN — asking them to ‘stop spreading lies and fake news.’

‘Stop spreading fake news’, cuckburgers.

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Paul Craig Roberts 261

What Is To Be Done?

By Paul Craig Roberts

March 03, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - The question in the title is V.I. Lenin’s question. His answer was to create a revolutionary “vanguard” to spread revolutionary ideas among the workers, the economic class that Karl Marx had declared to be the class rising to the ascendency of political power. Finally, democracy, frustrated by upper class interests in its earlier manifestations, would become reality. The workers would rule.
Given the presence of evil and human failing, it did not work out in that way. But Lenin’s question remains a valid one. Americans whose economic life and prospects for their children have been destroyed by the offshoring of American manufacturing and tradable professional skills jobs, such as software engineering, answered the question by electing Donald Trump.
The Americans, dispossessed by the offshoring corporations, elected Trump, because Trump was the only American running for a political office who called attention to the problem and declared his intention to fix it.
By standing up for Americans, Trump alienated the global corporations, their executives and shareholders, all of whom benefit from stealing the economic life of Americans and producing abroad where labor and regulatory costs are lower. Neoliberal junk economists describe this labor arbitrage, which reduces the real incomes of the American labor force, as the beneficial working of free trade.
These offshoring firms not only have destroyed the economic prospects of millions of Americans, but also have destroyed the payroll tax base of Social Security and Medicare, and the tax base of local and state governments, with the consequence that numerous pension systems are on the verge of failure. The New York Teamsters Road Carriers Local 707 Pension Fund has just failed. This failure, experts predict, is the beginning of a tsunami that will spread into municipal and state pension systems.
When you add up the external costs of jobs offshoring that are imposed on Americans, the costs far exceed the value of the profits that flow to the One Percent. Clearly, this is an intolerable situation.
Dispossessed Americans rose up. They ignored the presstitute media, or perhaps were driven to support Trump by the hostility of the media. Trump was elected by dispossessed America, by the working class. 
The working class is out of favor with the elite liberal/progressive/left which abhors the working class as racist, misogynist, homophobic, gun nuts who oppose transgendered toilet facilities. Thus, the working class, and their chosen representative, Donald Trump, are under full assault by the presstitutes. “Trump Must Go” is their slogan.
And well he might. Trump, in a fit of stupidity, dismissed his National Security Advisor, Gen. Flynn, because Flynn did what he should have done and spoke with the Russian ambassador in order to avoid a Russian response to Obama’s provocation of expelling Russian diplomats at Christmas. 
Russians have been demonized and ascribed demonic powers. If you speak to a Russian, you fall under suspicion and become a traitor to your country. This is the story according to the CIA, the Democratic Party, the military/security complex, and the presstitute media. 
Once Trump put Flynn’s blood in the water, he set the situation for the sacrifice of other of his appointees, ending with himself. At the present time, “the Russian connection” black mark is operating against Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. If Sessions falls, Trump is next.
Let’s be clear. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sessions met with the Russian ambassador, just as he met with a number of other countries’ ambassadors. There is nothing unusual or surprising about a US senator meeting with foreign diplomatic representatives.
Those who accuse Sessions of lying are misrepresenting the facts. Session met with ambassadors in his capacity as a US Senator, not in his capacity as a Trump representative. As a former US Senate staffer, I can attest that it is perfectly normal for US Senators to meet with diplomats. John McCain and Lindsey Graham even fly to the Middle East to meet with terrorists.
Despite the facts, the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN and all the rest of the CIA’s media whores are consciously and intentionally misrepresenting the facts. Amerians do not need any more evidence that the entirely of the American media is totally devoid of intergrity and respect for truth. The American media is a collection of whores who lie for a living. The presstitutes are despicable, the scum of the earth.
The real question is how has contact with Russian government officials become criminalized, grounds for removing a National Security Adviser, an Attorney General, and impeaching a President himself. President John F. Kennedy had ongoing contact with Khrushchev, the head of the Soviet government, in order to resolve the Cuban/Turkish missile crisis without nuclear war. President Nixon had ongoing contact with the Russians in order to achieve SALT I and the anti-ballistic missile treaty. President Carter had ongoing contact with Russians in order to achieve SALT II. President Reagan worked with the Russian leader in order to end the Cold War. I know. I was there.

But if President Trump wants to defuse the extremely dangerous tensions that the reckless Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes have resurrected with a powerful thermo-nuclear state that only wants peace with the US, President Trump and any of his appointees who spoke to a Russian are unfit for office! This madness is the position of the idiot liberal/progressive/left, the CIA, the Democratic Party, the right-wing morons of the Republican Party such as Lindsey Graham and John McCain, and the two-bit whores that comprise the Westrern media.
Dear reader, ask yourself, how did communications with Russians in the interest of peace and the reduction of tensions become a criminal act? Have laws been passed that it is forbidden for US officials to speak with Russian officials? Are you so utterly stupid that a presstitute media that has never in your entire life told you anything that was truthful can convince you that those who seek to avoid a conflict between thermo-nuclear powers are “Russian agents”?
I have no doubt that the vast bulk of Western populations are insouciant. But if there is no intelligence and awareness left anywhere in the population, and most certainly there is none whatsoever in the governments of the West or in the Western media or the Identity Politics of the liberal/progressive/left, then don’t expect to be alive much longer.
The entirely of the world has been put on the knife edge of existence by the arrogance, stupidity, and hubris of the neoconservative pursuit of American world hegemony. The neoconservative ideology is perfect cover for the material interest of the military/security Deep State that is driving the world to destruction.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. 

Roberts' latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the WestHow America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

We should start an immediate investigation into and his ties to Russia and Putin. A total hypocrite!

Obama Wiretapped Trump Tower

The Donald Plays His Trump Card: Obama Wiretapped Trump Tower

It can only escalate from here
2 hours ago | 1,145 5

Trump is now the most dangerous whistleblower alive.
As usual, the president's tweets speak for themselves:
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!

We don't think Trump is exaggerating.
William Binney, a former top NSA official turned whistleblower, agrees:
Asked whether he believes the NSA is tapping Trump, Binney replied: “Absolutely. How did they get the phone call between the president and the president of Australia? Or the one that he made with Mexico? Those are not targeted foreigners.”
The President of the United States of America just accused his predecessor of tapping his phones before the election.
Pinch yourself. This is really happening.
Let the "draining" begin.


  S.L. Kanthan @Kanthan2030 Western politicians are absolute clowns, but they have no self-awareness. “Iran’s actions are reckless!” Surpr...