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How “Outsourcing” Has Killed the Middle Class

The twin demons destroying the American Middle Class are Offshoring, and “Outsourcing”. They call it the “Gig economy”, and to be honest it is pretty f’cked up for the employees.

Offshoring is responsible for the massive growth of the Chinese economy. Back during Clinton and Bushit American companies off shored all of the computer chip Foundries. This resulted in a massive growth in the Chinese economy, and left America without a foundry on American soil capable of producing the high density chips used in everything from TVs to our most advanced weapons systems. No wonder the Chinese Military has been able to upgrade their weapons systems and  launch Astronauts into space. We gave them the technology, all because of Wall Street greed and corporate avarice.

People work at SITEL, an outsourcing call center provider, in Managua, Nicaragua on July 3, 2012. [AFP]

A sweatshop call center in Nicaragua.

Worse was the loss of American jobs, manufacturing through the movement of factories off shore, and high tech through a combination of H1b Visas enabling companies to bring cheap workers over from India and other countries to displace American Graduates, and second “Outsourcing” where either American jobs were shipped overseas, or to sweat shops on American soil. This is the driver behind Trump, and Sanders, Unfortunately in Trump’s supporter’s case they would rather cling to their racism and blame minorities – than blame who is actually screwing them. Stupid is and Stupid does.

Surge in outsourcing wipes out middle-class jobs

For nearly 20 years Alfredo Molena made a middle-class living repairing bank ATMs in Los Angeles, despite being a high school dropout and immigrant from El Salvador.

By 2000 he was earning about $45,000 a year, enough to support his wife and two children in a spacious apartment and take periodic vacations to El Salvador and Hawaii. He had health insurance, a matching 401(k) plan, and a company-supplied cellphone and vehicle. But it all unraveled in 2005 after his employer, Bank of America, subcontracted the work to Diebold Inc., a firm specializing in servicing ATMs.

Today Molena drives a truck long-haul for about $30,000 a year, putting him in the bottom third of household incomes. He has no medical insurance. “I cannot afford it,” he snapped.

Globalization and the offshoring of U.S. manufacturing jobs to China and other cheap-labor countries are commonly blamed for driving down the wages and living standards of ordinary American workers, but there is another, less-known factor behind the shrinking middle class: domestic outsourcing.

Many jobs have been farmed out by employers over the years. No one knows their total numbers, but rough estimates based on the growth of temporary-help and other business and professional service payrolls suggest that one in six jobs today are subcontracted, or almost 20 million positions, said Lynn Reaser, economist at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.

Separate Labor Department data show that some of these occupations have seen a significant decline in inflation-adjusted, or real, wages over the last decade.

In 2005, there were 138,210 workers nationwide who repaired ATMs, computers and other office machines, earning a mean annual salary of $37,640.

Ten years later, the number of such jobs had shrunk to 106,100, with most of them subcontracted at annual pay of $38,990. But after accounting for inflation, that’s a drop of about 15 percent from 2005.

By contrast, real wages for all occupations rose 1.3 percent between 2005 and 2015 � itself a tiny gain over the last decade, but still significantly more than those hit by domestic outsourcing.

“If a firm wants to save labor costs, outsourcing is just a way of resetting wages and expectations,” said Susan Houseman, a senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Unlike the effect of offshoring, with its relocation of jobs and plants abroad, economists know relatively little about the extent and effects of decades of subcontracting production and services to third parties in the U.S. But what research has been done suggests the practice has played a significant role in the nation’s troubling trends of stagnating wages and rising inequality.

Rosemary Batt and other researchers at Cornell University found that large employers at subcontracted call centers, for instance, paid their workers about 40 percent less than comparable workers employed in-house at large firms, not including the value of health and retirement benefits…Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2016 in American Genocide, American Greed

 

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Hatband Too Tight?

There is something about big Cowboy Hats and gun oil that must cause an onset of early stupidity. I lived in West Texas for a bit, and met one of the last real Cowboys. They are variously called Range Riders or Tick Riders, and they are the real deal riding the harsh desert country along the US-Mexico Border, rounding up cattle to prevent the spread of a deadly insect across the border. Took a while to get him talking, as these guys are used to being out on the trail, alone, for long periods. But he told some spellbinding stories about being out on the desert, and the things he had seen. And yeah – they still carry their trusty six-shooters, because semi-autos tend to jam when exposed to the day to day dust and weather.

Lot of the most vocal Rhinestone Cowboys, all dressed up in brocaded shirts with malappropriated Native American imagery, the requisite string tie, and giant hat – are pretenders.

Charlie Daniels, who otherwise is a great Country Music musician stars in this commercial. Things get amusing in the first 10 seconds with the claim that President Obama is a “flower child”. Why? President Obama has killed more terrorist than the last 4 Presidents…Combined. So I can’t see why any “ayatollahs” are afraid of a bunch of clowns with too big hats, with too small a brain, and 6 shooters…While they are busily scanning the sky for the next visible, and highly noisy manifestation of hell and damnation dropped on their behinds from a guy at a desk, 8,000 miles away.

About the only thing these clowns terrorize is America, with their ceaseless threats of violence and gun toting.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2016 in Domestic terrorism

 

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Reparations for “War on Drugs”?

The so called “War on Drugs” has devastated certain black communities i America. It has resulted in the highest incarceration rate in the world, and ruined the lives of millions of young people. When every statistical analysis in the last 30 years has shown that whites are 6 times more likely to use, carry, and smuggle drugs – the only way where you can get to a situation here black kids are 6-8 times more likely to be arrested and charged is intentional. And that isn’t even getting into the issue of different sentences for chemically identical “crack” cocaine and powder cocaine leading to significantly longer prison terms for crack, which happens to be predominately the form of cocaine used by the poor and black folks.

Reparations for the Drug War. Seriously.

While the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana are big steps in ending a serious racial injustice, what about those already punished by the inequitable system?

As marijuana legalization expands across the U.S., the war on drugs inches closer to its long-awaited end. Hanging in the balance: those arrested or incarcerated for the drug, casualties of a war that’s been overwhelmingly waged in communities of color.

It’s one that, despite marijuana being legal in more than half the nation, is far from over. According to a report from the Colorado Department of Public Safety and Health, there was a 58 percent increase in marijuana arrests among black adolescents from 2012-2014. Among white adolescents, during the same time frame, arrests dropped eight percent.

While the federal government works to stop lawmakers from impeding on the freedoms of citizens in states where pot is legal, Oakland, California is looking to fix the damage that’s already done.

This week the city—known for uprooting the status quo—introduced a groundbreaking measure that’s been deemed “drug war reparations.”

Known officially as the “Equity Permit Program” it’s an ordinance that allocates half of its dispensary permits to people who’ve served time for marijuana violations in the last ten years, or lived in one of several zones with the highest number of arrests for the drug.

Written by councilwoman Desley Brooks, the equity program—at its core—is shattering the notion that marijuana violators are criminals. Instead, it offers them a front row ticket to a billion dollar industry fueled by the drug that once put them behind bars.

Social justice activists, while enthused by the idea, say the ordinance has problems—some of which, like a lack of financial assistance, may hinder the applicant’s ability to succeed. But its issues aside, the ordinance is nothing short of revolutionary, a piece of legislation which suggests that those struck down by pot should be the first its legalization lifts up. Oakland’s unanimous vote of approval is, if nothing else, a sign that those who’ve suffered from prohibition may soon be getting a green payback…Read The Rest Here

 

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Poor in America Worse Off Than Some Poor in 3rd World Nations

Yeah…That is a shocking assertion. Unfortunately it is true. And while Donald Trump and the rest of the right jump around like syncopated baboons, the truth of the matter is that America’s decline started just about the moment Raygun took office, and modern conservatism gained political majority in the state and federal legislatures.

And unless there are some very fundamental changes in the sort of people who get elected in this country it is just going to get worse. And that needs to be a bipartisan change.

I mean as a recent example of the failure of conservatism, HTF do we get lead contaminated water killing and maiming the children of Flint, Michigan? I mean access to clean water is one of the measurements we use to gauge the progress of Third World countries. And we let a morally bankrupt political system based on the blathering of a neo-nazi sympathizer drive our state governments? Atlas “Shrugged” right after he took a shit all over you.

 

We’re No. 16! Why Donald Trump’s boorish American exceptionalism is so wrong

Here’s how we need to make America great again. In most every metric that counts, we are slipping against the world

As a resident of white suburban America, I grew up believing that, as Fox News host Sean Hannity once so eloquently put it, “The U.S. is the greatest, best country God has ever given man on the face of the earth.” This article of faith in the superiority of the U.S. was instilled deep within my brain as a child, right next to the belief that Jesus was born of a virgin and then visited by three Wise Men. But as I began to travel the world a few years ago — a globetrotting adventure that took me through Europe and Canada and inspired me to start a journal of international rankings of countries according to various metrics — it became increasingly clear that American exceptionalism is a baseless mythology of tribalistic self-aggrandizement perpetuated by people who (if I may generalize a bit) can’t locate Denmark on a map.

As it happens, the champions of this unique brand of nationalism are largely concentrated on the political right, where one also finds the attitude of anti-intellectualism in toxic doses. I don’t think this is a coincidence. The fact is that when one looks at infrastructure, life expectancy, family paid leave, health care, social mobility, income inequality, political corruption, government efficiency, economic stability, childhood poverty, student debt, water quality, education, prosperity, happiness and even Internet speed, one finds the U.S. absent from the top 10 “best countries” in every single instance. While the U.S. continues to have the largest economy in the world and by far the biggest military budget, in most categories relating to prosperity, security, happiness and well-being, the great American empire falls somewhere between the developed and the developing world.

But don’t take my word for it. As the ancient philosopher Plato once observed, beliefs without justification aren’t knowledge, and justification requires evidence. So, let’s take a gander at some statistics from various sources, beginning with the World Economic Forum (WEF), a Swiss not-for-profit foundation that’s “independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests.” According to the WEF, the U.S. fares as follows relative to the rest of the world: 16th in quality of overall infrastructure, 22nd with respect to competition, 33rd in terms of public institutions, 34th in terms of ethics and corruption, 35th in terms of health, 58th in terms of primary education, 67th in terms of security and 73rd in terms of wasteful government spending.

In terms of the WEF’s overall “global competitiveness index,” Switzerland comes in first with a value of 5.7 (out of 7), followed by Singapore with 5.6, and then the U.S., Finland, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, and the Netherlands all tied with 5.5. So, not terrible overall — yet conservatives would cringe at the thought that we’re tied with multiple “socialist” countries for third place. As it happens, though, the U.S. is far behind such countries according to other international rankings. Forbes, for example, ranks the U.S. as the 22nd best place for business in the world, with countries like Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Finland above us. Eventhe Heritage Foundation’s 2015 Index of Economic Freedom leaves the U.S. out of the top 10, placing Hong Kong, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland and Denmark at the top.

In terms of “prosperity,” a concept that includes factors like governance, education, health, personal freedom and the economy, the London-based Legatum Instituteranks the U.S. 11th, with Norway, Switzerland, Canada and Sweden being the most prosperous. We’re also ranked 13th in the world with respect to social mobility, or the freedom for underprivileged individuals to climb the social ladder and become successful. The result is that, as Politifact confirmed in a “Mostly True” rating from 2013, it’s actually “easier to obtain the American dream in Europe” than it is in the U.S. Take a moment to let that sink in. According to the research that Politifact cites, “Of the 10 countries studied, the United States had the strongest link between parents’ education and a child’s economic, educational and socio-emotional outcomes … more pronounced than in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Nordic countries, as well as Canada and Australia.”

Social mobility is important in part because studies show that “a lack of wealth does make poor people sadder,” and social immobility prevents those without wealth from acquiring it. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the U.S. isn’t among the top 10 happiest countries. According to the most recent data, we’re the 15th happiest country in the world, behind Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway and our gentle neighbor to the north, Canada. Another factor relevant to happiness concerns the overall empowerment of women, who constitute 50.8 percent of the U.S. population. As the Global Gender Gap Index reports, countries like Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark score the best, while the U.S. ranks a shameful 20th. Yet another happiness factor relates to the prevalence of childhood poverty. Here the U.S. ranks 34th out of 35 countries considered by a recent study. Sadly, this is consistent with a 2014 report from Johns Hopkins that found that “teenagers in Baltimore face poorer health and more negative outlooks than those in urban centers of Nigeria, India and China.” Other studies have revealed that rates of PTSD among inner-city residents in America are “as high or higher than [rates among] Iraq, Afghanistan or Vietnam veterans.”

There’s also evidence to suggest that people “are happier in times when the gap between rich and poor is smaller.” In other words, if a country is rich but all its wealth is concentrated among a small class of elite billionaires, society as a whole might be miserable. So, how does the U.S. fare in this respect? To quote a Pew Research Center article on the issue, “the U.S. has one of the most unequal income distributions in the developed world … even after taxes and social-welfare policies are taken into account.” In fact, of the 10 richest people in the world, eight are American. And the situation of inequality is only getter worse globally: just six years ago, the 388 most affluent people owned the same wealth as the poorest 50 percent. Today, Oxfam reports that “The world’s 62 richest billionaires have as much wealth as the bottom half of the world’s population.” Yes, you read that correctly: 62.

The U.S. also ranks 43rd in the world for life expectancy, 37th with respect to health care, 20th in terms of political stability and 26th with respect to cleanliness, according to the Environmental Performance Index, maintained by researchers at Yale and Columbia University. And while we’re often an early adopter of new technology, we rank 22nd with respect to our Internet speed. Regarding our moral behavior in the world, the Global Peace Index, which ranks 162 counties according to their “national peacefulness,” places the U.S. in 94th place — closer to the bottom of the list than the top. (In fact, a 2014 global survey found that the world as a whole sees the U.S. asthe number one threat to world peace.) Furthermore, unlike many other countries in the developed (and developing) world, college education isn’t free for Americans, we don’t have a universal health care system, and we’re the only “major country” in the world that fails to provide family paid leave, as Bernie Sanders is fond of pointing out. Even our tap water isn’t among the safest in the developed world, nor do we have any of the best airports.

The point is that, as should be clear by now, there’s an unequivocal pattern of American inferiority when our country’s performance is juxtaposed with the rest of the developed world’s. Indeed, in many categories — such as childhood poverty, income inequality and family paid leave — we’re just barely a developed country, if even that. The result of these failures is that our collective quality of life is not nearly as high as it ought to be. Here it’s worth turning to the Mercer Quality of Life Survey, since it attempts to quantify the livability of some 221 cities around the world. And guess what it finds? The U.S. has only a single city in the top 30 — and it happens to be the ultra-progressive den of liberal debauchery called San Francisco. At the pinnacle of Mercer’s list are cities like Vienna, Zurich, Auckland, Munich and Vancouver. In fact, of all the cities in the North American continent, the top four are all in Canada. Now that’s just embarrassing, eh?…Read The Rest Here

 

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Globetrotter Legend Meadowlark Lemon

The Harlem Globetrotter star, and favorite of millions of young fans has passed.

Meadowlark Lemon, Harlem Globetrotter Who Played Basketball and Pranks With Virtuosity, Dies at 83

Meadowlark Lemon, whose halfcourt hook shots, no-look behind-the-back passes and vivid clowning were marquee features of the feel-good traveling basketball show known as the Harlem Globetrotters for nearly a quarter-century, died on Sunday in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he lived. He was 83.

The death was confirmed by his wife, Cynthia Lemon.

A gifted athlete with an entertainer’s hunger for the spotlight, Lemon, who dreamed of playing for the Globetrotters as a boy in North Carolina, joined the team in 1954, not long after leaving the Army. Within a few years, he had assumed the central role of showman, taking over from Reece Tatum, whom everyone called Goose, the Trotters’ long-reigning clown prince. Tatum was a superb ballplayer whose on-court gags — or reams, as the players called them — had established the team’s reputation for laugh-inducing wizardry at a championship level.

This was a time, however, when the Trotters were known not merely for their comedy routines and basketball legerdemain; they were also a formidable competitive team. Their victory over the Minneapolis Lakers in 1948 was instrumental in integrating the National Basketball Association, and a decade later their owner, Abe Saperstein, signed a 7-footer out of the University of Kansas to a one-year contract before he was eligible for the N.B.A.: Wilt Chamberlain.

By then, Lemon, who was 6 feet 3 inches and slender, was the team’s leading light, such a star that he played center while Chamberlain played guard.

Lemon was a slick ballhandler and a virtuoso passer, and he specialized in the long-distance hook, a trick shot he made with remarkable regularity. But it was his charisma and comic bravado that made him perhaps the most famous Globetrotter. For 22 years, until he left the team in 1978, Lemon was the Trotters’ ringmaster, directing their basketball circus from the pivot. He imitated Tatum’s reams, like spying on the opposition’s huddle, and added his own.

He chased referees with a bucket and surprised them with a shower of confetti instead of water. He dribbled above his head and walked with exaggerated steps. He mimicked a hitter in the batter’s box and, with teammates, pantomimed a baseball game. And both to torment the opposing team — as time went on, it was often a hired squad of foils — and to amuse the appreciative spectators, he laughed and he teased and he chattered and he smiled; like Tatum, he talked most of the time he was on the court.

The Trotters played in mammoth arenas and on dirt courts in African villages. They played in Rome before the pope; they played in Moscow during the Cold War before the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. In the United States, they played in small towns and big cities, in Madison Square Garden, in high school gyms, in cleared-out auditoriums — even on the floor of a drained swimming pool. They performed their most entertaining ball-handling tricks, accompanied by their signature tune “Sweet Georgia Brown,” on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

Through it all, Lemon became “an American institution like the Washington Monument or the Statue of Liberty” whose “uniform will one day hang in the Smithsonian right next to Lindbergh’s airplane,” as the Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray once described him.

Significantly, Lemon’s time with the Globetrotters paralleled the rise of the N.B.A. When he joined the team, the Globetrotters were still better known than, and played for bigger crowds than, the Knicks and the Boston Celtics. When he left, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were about to enter the N.B.A. and propel it to worldwide popularity. In between, the league became thoroughly accommodating to black players, competing with the Globetrotters for their services and eventually usurping the Trotters as the most viable employer of top black basketball talent.

Partly as a result, the Globetrotters became less of a competitive basketball team and more of an entertainment troupe through the 1960s and ’70s. They became television stars, hosting variety specials and playing themselves on shows like “The White Shadow” and a made-for-TV “Gilligan’s Island” movie; they inspired a Saturday morning cartoon show…Read More Here

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2015 in Giant Negros

 

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Why America is No Longer #1

The following from NRA President Pepe Le Pee-U…Fearmonger

This is part of the Speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt declaring war on Japan after the Pearl Harbor attack.

Big difference between Great Men and cowards. America isn’t “exceptional” anymore. We have fallen from 1st to 17th in the world in terms of economic mobility and opportunity for our citizens. A large part of that has to do with the election of fear mongers and conservatives believing in the false siren call of neo-nazi Ayn Rand. And of course those paid and bought by the gun sellers.

More than 80% of the guns used in mass killings in America were bought “legally” – aided and abetted by the mechanizations of the NRA.

“The age of terror”: NRA’s new fearmongering ad campaign equates American exceptionalism to more guns

In the wake of the San Bernardino shooting on Wednesday, the second high-profile attack in less than a week, the usual cycle of debate over gun laws has included an increased scrutiny of the NRA’s political spending and now the gun lobbying group is using its moment back in the spotlight to tout America’s exceptionally horrid history of gun violence to promote the NRA. Shocker.

The ninth installment in the NRA’s “Freedom’s Safest Place” campaign features the group’s leader, Wayne LaPierre and is titled, “Demons At Our Door.” The ad was released just days after 56-year-old Robert Dear entered a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood and shot 12 people, killing three, and days before this latest shooting rampage in San Bernardino. In it, La Pierre makes specific reference to “the age of terror” and goes on to fear-monger over the threat of terror and violence to promote the NRA. The ad is currently running prominently on Fox News.

“Innocents like us,” LaPierre says, addressing his NRA members directly to camera, “will continue to be slaughtered in concert halls, sports stadiums, restaurants and airplanes.”

“They will come to where we worship,” LaPierre warns as ominous music waves over blurred images of American everyday life, “where we educate and where we live.”

“But when evil knocks on our doors, Americans have a power no other people on the planet share,” LaPierre proudly proclaims, touting the Second Amendment. “Let fate decide if mercy is offered to the demons at our door.”

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2015 in American Genocide, Domestic terrorism

 

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What a Slavery Museum Teaches…

History forgotten is history repeated. The Atlantic doesn’t quite get it right about the Whitney Museum being the first and “only”.

Why America Needs a Slavery Museum

The Whitney Plantation near Wallace, Louisiana, is the first and only U.S. museum and memorial to slavery. While other museums may include slavery in their exhibits, the Whitney Plantation is the first of its kind to focus primarily on the institution. John Cummings, a 78-year-old white southerner, has spent 16 years and more than $8 million of his own fortune to build the project, which opened in December of last year.

Cummings, a successful trial attorney, developed the museum with the help of his full-time director of research, Ibrahima Seck. The duo hope to educate people on the realities of slavery in its time and its impact in the United States today. “The history of this country is rooted in slavery,” says Seck. “If you don’t understand the source of the problem, how can you solve it?”

Slave Memorial at George Washington’s Mount Vernon marking the unmarked graves of slaves buried next to the Family Burial plot.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2015 in Black History

 

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