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The New Tech Revolution – Politics

Seems a lot of time and energy was spent last election cycle on people who are not working. Not much about the 95% who are. A little known fact due to the antique ways the Government Economists draw up the numbers is the technology related services and non-manufacturing portion of America’s GDP is larger than Manufacturing. The Tech Industry employs over 6.7 million people. The U.S. tech industry is a major driving force in the overall economy, accounting for 7.1 percent of overall GDP and 11.6 percent of total private sector payroll. While roughly 12.3 million are involved in manufacturing, the oversize impact on the percentage of US payroll is driven by higher wages – A U.S. tech industry worker averages an annual wage of $105,400 compared to $51,600 for the average private sector wage. That isn’t readily apparent by looking at the Government numbers because the Tech Industry is split across hardware manufacturing and services.

The US has lost about 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2010, since the Great Recession that number is about 7 million.. The truth is that America has lost some 7 million manufacturing jobs and added some 53 million jobs in services. Further, of those 53 million new jobs some 62% of them were in higher paying occupations than those “high paying good jobs” in manufacturing we lost.

The canard that somehow “regulations”, as well a bringing manufacturing jobs back to America…Is total “Vaporware”. Robots have, and will continue to replace humans, especially in heavy manufacturing – meaning those new “factories” will be empty of people.What the impact of removing those regulations and seriously tilting the landscape in favor of the corporation over the workers will be has yet to be seen.

However, with 6.5 million tech works, and perhaps another 10-15 million jobs dependent on the tech industry. Tech workers are a powerful political force. Life is about to get really tough for those wanting to roll back worker protections, pursue antiquated social agendas, and operating to the benefit if the 1% …

“The Matrix” is organizing into a political leviathan to oppose Trump and his backward thinking political party. This is war.

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The Tech Industry Joins the Political Fray

Across the sector, employees are asking their companies and top executives to engage in policy battles in a way that departs from long-standing precedent.

However expansive its ambitions to change the world might be, the tech industry is not known as a hotbed of activism. Historically, tech employees went to work, got the job done, and didn’t talk much about politics.

But in the wake of Donald’s Trump’s election, political talk is nearly everywhere—at company-wide meetings, in discussions among coworkers in the cafeterias, and in employee resource-group meet-ups. For obvious reasons: Many of the policies and views of the Trump administration are anathema to most of the tech industry. In particular, the sector is heavily populated by immigrants—many founders and senior leaders are immigrants, and 60 percent of STEM employees in Silicon Valley are foreign-born (for comparison, only 17 percent of the overall American labor force is foreign-born)—and Trump’s immigration policies (both proposed and enacted) constitute a clear threat to both the industry’s profits and its meritocratic ideology. His brand of politics—“closed borders,” “alternative facts”—is at odds with the primacy the industry places on data, openness, and the free flow of talent around the globe.

Trump’s victory in November stunned many tech employees. Barrie Segal, a senior program manager at the database company MongoDB, said, “There was a lot of confusion and sadness. People were openly weeping in the office. I’ve never seen that before at work.” As one senior manager at a major tech company described it, “It was like a bomb dropped and people died.” (Despite the outpouring of anti-Trump sentiment in the industry, many people I spoke with and the companies they work for asked not to be identified on the record, citing sensitive political times. Such concerns indicate that there are limits to just how public and forthcoming the industry will be with its activism.)

In response, an uptick in activism is evident throughout the industry: Attendance at meetings of advocacy groups like the Tech Workers Coalition have spiked. New organizations like Tech Solidarity have emerged. Last week, at a rally held by a new group called Tech Stands Up, around 1,000 people showed up over the course of the afternoon in downtown Palo Alto to show their support.

Back in late January, in the days after Trump’s first executive order on immigration barring refugees and stopping all entry of citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries, more than 2,000 at eight Google offices walked out to protest the order. There was thunderous applause when Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, and its co-founder, Sergey Brin, spoke at the walkout. “It was a powerful moment,” said one senior manager at Google who attended. “I’ve never been to anything like that at work before. The walkout was definitely in support of what the leadership is doing. But not so subtly, it was also a challenge not to compromise.” Noting that the leadership team at Google would be exposing the company to risk by actively opposing Trump, the manager said that employees have been given assurances that executives are “using [their] influence behind the scenes” to stand up for what they believe is right. “But there was an unstated message at the walkout,” the manager said. “‘Don’t fuck this up.’”

Inspired by those Google employees, workers at Comcast organized their own protest. To coordinate logistics and share information, an internal channel on Slack, an instant-messaging app, named “Walk Out” was set up. Within days, 1,700 people had joined the Slack channel and about a thousand Comcast employees at offices in several states walked out. After the walkout, employees wanted to keep up their political engagement and extend their reach beyond their company, so they created another Slack channel, a public one called “Innovation Activism,” for connecting with people across the tech industry in Philadelphia, where Comcast is headquartered. Internal company Slack channels have been created so that employees can keep each other updated with political information about things like which organizations to support and the phone numbers of congressional representatives.

“Workplace politicking of this kind is highly unusual,” says Sarah Soule, a professor of organizational behavior at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University (and a colleague of mine). “Typically, workplace activism is focused on issues internal to the firm. Workers go on strike because they are unhappy with pay or working conditions. They push companies to offer domestic-partner benefits or improve their environmental practices. The goal is to get the company itself to change its practices in some way.”

What is happening right now in tech is different: Rather than advocating for internal policies, employees are putting pressure on their companies to become vocal opponents of the Trump administration—by having CEOs make public statements, by turning down certain government contracts, by signing on to legal briefs contesting Trump’s policies. Of the 127 companies that signed onto the amicus brief filed in support of Washington state’s legal challenge to the immigration executive order, the majority are tech companies.

Coworker.org, a digital platform designed to give workers more of a voice at their companies through online petitions and internal social networks, has seen a substantial increase in engagement since election day. “For the past few years, most of the campaigns have been in the retail and service sectors among front-line workers like baristas and bank tellers,” says Michelle Miller, a co-founder of Coworker.org. “But since the election, a greater variety of industries are reaching out to us. We could double our staff and put one person just on tech and we still would not be able to meet the demand.”

Not only is this form of workplace activism rare, but this kind of rapid political mobilization is also rare. It usually takes place only under certain circumstances, like when people feel that their way of life is under threat. Such was the case after the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979. Prior to the accident, environmental activism in the surrounding area was minimal. But afterward, many of the middle-class residents living nearby, who had no previous history of political protest, came out en masse.

Called “suddenly imposed grievances” or “moral shocks” by researchers, events like Three Mile Island and the 2016 presidential election are galvanizing political forces because they generate intense concern, and people who become the most politicized are those most outraged and directly threatened by the grievance. Since tech is uniquely under threat both ideologically and economically, it is exactly the industry one might expect to take on a new activist vigor. This also sheds light on the lack of response in other industries. Notably, no old-school car companies, finance or insurance companies, food conglomerates, or large retailers signed onto the amicus brief or saw employees at corporate go off the job in protest—perhaps because under Trump they are less at risk.

For many in tech, this is the first time they’ve taken part in political activism in their lives. Aaron Martin-Colby, a Comcast engineer who helped to organize the walkout there, said, “I’ve never done something like this before. I’ve been reluctant to invest anything emotional into politics because of the gridlock. But Trump has the power to do a great deal of unjust harm. I’ve realized it’s important that I make noise.”

Taking their activism a step further, other companies are putting their own proprietary tools to work in opposing Trump. After the executive order on immigration, the social-gathering platform Meetup decided to hold a “resist-a-thon.” The company’s business operations stopped for two days and during that time employees launched over 1,000 “#Resist” Meetup groups in 1,000 cities. To lower the barrier to entry, they made joining these groups free and enabled anyone in the group to schedule an event. They promoted these groups to their 30 million members and partnered with organizations like Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union to distribute ideas for promoting activism, such as hosting an emergency meetup to talk about how to protect Planned Parenthood or meetups to provide training on how to organize. The “#Resist” Meetup groups launched on February 6. Within a week, they had 50,000 members. As of last week, they had over 120,000 members involved, 6,500 related events scheduled, and more than 45,000 people who had RSVP’d….Read the rest here

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Posted by on March 28, 2017 in Second American Revolution

 

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Uber No More – Nationwide Boycott of Chumph Supporting Companies is Growing Fast

Rage against the Chump is rising very fast. The next major March Against Trump is planned for April. Here is hoping they put at least 3 million people in DC. At the rate things are going, if there is a march in June, it may draw 10 million. Breaking down the doors of the White House and Capitol buildings and hauling the right-wing miscreants to hang from the light poles going down Constitution Avenue…

About the only thing that is certain is that if the Republican scum in Congress continues to bloc investigations in to the Chumph’s dirty dealings and Treason (as in Charge Him, Try Him, Convict Him, and Hang Him) – the shit is going to hit the fan. Consider it a re-education as to whom politicians really are supposed to  work for.

#DeleteUber’s Creator: Resist Trump or ‘Pay a Price’

Silicon Valley companies like Uber don’t want to take a stand on Trump, but users won’t let them stay neutral. Now, protesters and even some forward-looking CEOs are saying the same thing: Resist or face deletion.

On Saturday night, as protesters swamped airports nationwide demanding foreigners be released from indefinite detention due to Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, Dan O’Sullivan inadvertently created a playbook for getting corporations to stop playing nice with Donald Trump.

O’Sullivan was the first to tweet the hashtag #DeleteUber, although he insists he didn’t invent the idea for an Uber boycott and doesn’t take credit for the phenomenon the hashtag became. His initial string of #DeleteUber tweets, all replies to Uber’s surge pricing announcement, have over 7,000 retweets.

“Let this be a warning: if you are a corporation who thinks you will ride out Trump, and quietly make money at his side, you will be made to pay a price,” O’Sullivan told The Daily Beast.

#DeleteUber wound up becoming the No. 1 trend in the country on Saturday night after the company turned off surge pricing to and from JFK International Airport, where thousands were protesting the Muslim ban. Earlier in the night, the New York City Taxi Workers Alliance announced its members would partially strike in solidarity with the refugees and affected immigrants by not offering services to or from the airport.

Protesters on Twitter alleged that Uber was promoting scab work, highlighting Uber’s stance that drivers aren’t considered employees to begin with, but only independent contractors. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick had also been announced as part of Trump’s business advisory board in December.

Kalanick and Uber released several statements attempting to quell the furor, repeatedly insisting they disagree with Trump’s executive order and that they would pay out to drivers stuck in other countries due to the hastily implemented order, but it was too late.

Thousands were already tweeting the hashtag #DeleteUber along with screenshots of the account deletion page.

Direct competitor Lyft capitalized, handing out a $1 million donation to the ACLU, whose lawsuit granted a temporary stay to visa holders held in unlawful detention by Customs and Border Patrol.

“Deleting an Uber account, or tweeting a bunch about it, is quite literally the least anyone can do to register how disgusted one is by Uber’s exploitative labor practices and collaboration with Trump,” said O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan wants Kalanick to resign from Trump’s board, and predicts this kind of boycott will keep happening to companies who don’t actively defy Trump’s policies that exploit and target their employees.

“The popularity of #deleteUber only exists because decent people around the country and world—including the unionized cab drivers Uber hates and targets—took to the streets, occupying airports in defense of refugees, immigrants, and Muslims,” said O’Sullivan.

“Trump is losing and is going to keep losing. Anyone who sticks with him will lose, too.”

Other tech CEOs had had enough, and finally used their apps to deliver calls to action. Dots CEO Paul Murphy was furiously texting with the co-creator of his big name mobile gaming company.

 Murphy had a user base of millions of people he could deploy to fund efforts to stop Trump’s discriminatory immigration ban, and he was a little fed up with leaders in his industry who refused to stand up for their employees—immigrant or otherwise.

“I’m still a little bit underwhelmed from the larger tech companies’ responses,” he told The Daily Beast. “I suggested we take over the game—to use that—since we have this big audience.”

So when users opened any of Dots’ mobile games on Saturday night or Sunday morning, they saw this message: “We believe America should be a welcoming place, particularly for those most in need, wherever they come from and whatever their religion.” It then linked out to an ACLU donation page.

When Murphy talked to The Daily Beast on Sunday, he said 4 million people had already seen the message.

“In my mind it’d be much more powerful for these platforms to be proactive—to interrupt people consuming services and remind them that these are products that are built from Americans, but also immigrants or people from outside the country,” said Murphy.

For some tech companies like Uber, however, being proactive in resisting the administration’s more racist and discriminatory policies isn’t just a “powerful” move. It’s a necessary move, if they don’t want a boycott that could directly impact their bottom line literally overnight.

 

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2017 in Second American Revolution

 

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Major Businesses Slam Georgia’s Anti-Gay “Religeous Freedom” Bill

Another conservative idea from the extremist right which is a stupid idea has put Georgia in the headlights of major corporations in the state, and has opened the door to exodus of at least one corporation.

The NFL has decided it really doesn’t want a Superbowl in a state where it’s paying customers can be discriminated against because someone’s “religion” tells them they don’t have to deal with gays, minorities, or other religions based on whatever whack-job interpretations some back-alley ignorant arsed so called preacher comes up with.

The bill’s Senate sponsor, Greg Kirk, a Republican

NFL Wants to Sack Anti-Gay Bill in Georgia

The NFL’s threat to re-evaluate Georgia’s Super Bowl dreams has the governor thinking twice about signing a controversial bill that would allow faith-based organizations to discriminate based on sexual orientation.

Roger Goodell, chairman of the National Football League is on the cusp of becoming America’s newest gay icon.

Goodell, who has an openly gay brother, and the NFL, have emerged as staunch allies in gay rights advocates’ efforts to defeat HB 757, the controversial religious freedom bill that passed the Georgia legislature late last week.

HB 757 began the year as “the Pastor Protection Act,” a measure giving clergy the right to refuse to perform same-sex weddings. But after two trips through the Georgia state House and Senate, the bill now gives faith-based organizations the right to hire and fire people who violate their “sincerely held religious beliefs,” as well as the right to refuse to rent facilities for events they find “objectionable.”

The bill would also make it illegal to force an individual to attend a gay wedding.

With every expansion of the bill, Georgia legislators were warned by local business leaders not to do to Georgia what Indiana legislators did in 2015, when their own Religious Freedom Restoration Act led to an immediate nationwide backlash, including more than 400 million #BoycottIndiana tweets in the week the bill passed.

A year later, local tourism officials estimate the city lost at least 12 conventions and $60 million in direct business as a result.

Brandon Lorenz, communications director with the Human Rights Campaign, called Georgia’s HB 757 “an Indiana-style bill that blatantly promotes discrimination.”

“The Georgia legislature took a bad bill and made it worse.” Lorenz said. “This is a bill that has all kinds of avenues for harm and discrimination for Georgians.”

Along with LGBT advocates, major players in Georgia’s business community have ripped the legislation.

Coca-Cola, Home Depot, and Delta Airlines oppose it. Michael Dell, Richard Branson, and Jack Dorsey have all spoken out against it. SalesForce CEO Mark Benioff, who has 16,000 employees in Georgia, has warned he’ll pull as much of his business as possible out of the state, tweeting last week:

“Once again Georgia is trying to pass laws that make it legal to discriminate. When will this insanity end?”

But in a state where football is practiced like a religion, it has been the loud and unanimous objections of the sports community that has raised the greatest doubts about whether Gov. Nathan Deal will sign the bill.

In addition to the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Braves, who called the bill “detrimental to our community and bad for Georgia,” Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank warned the bill would have a “long-lasting negative impact on our state and the people of Georgia.”

“One of my bedrock values is ‘Include Everyone’ and it’s a principle we embrace and strive to live each and every day with my family and our associates, a vast majority of which live and work in Georgia,” he said.

Blank has taken the lead in the city’s efforts to bring the Super Bowl to the city, including with a new $1.7 billion Mercedes-Benz stadium already under construction in downtown Atlanta. But on Friday, Goodell and the NFL dropped a bomb on Atlanta’s hopes of hosting the 2019 or 2020 Super Bowls when it said the RFRA bill would endanger the city’s bids if Deal signs it into law.

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2016 in The Definition of Racism, The New Jim Crow

 

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Georgia Passes KKK Bill – First Company Declares Intention to Leave the State

Think it is time a lot of companies vote with their feet. These folks are trying to run a business – there is no room for this shit. You get and hire the best folks – and there isn’t any room for ignorant sanctimonious right wing so-called christian morons.

Kelvin Williams, co-founder of 375K

Telecom company abandoning Georgia after sweeping anti-gay bill passes: ‘We don’t tolerate that crap’

A Telecom company will be picking up and moving out of Georgia after state lawmakers passed sweeping anti-gay legislation, the New Civil Rights Movement reports.

Decatur-based 373K announced it would be leaving via Twitter. Its founders are outraged over the poorly-named First Amendment Defense Act, which extends legal cover state-wide to individuals and corporations to discriminate against LGBT people and same-sex couples.

Legal experts told the NCRM the law is likely unconstitutional. The heavily-criticized bill was slammed by State Senator Emanuel Jones, who pointed out it would protect the KKK.

“I’m gay, our CFO is gay, we have people from every walk of life working here,” co-founder Kelvin Williams told NCRM on Saturday. “I’ve got Muslims, Buddhists, atheists here. We’ve got great Christians working for us. They’ve never thought of not serving anyone – that’s not the message of Christ.”

“We don’t tolerate that crap,” he added definitively.

373K Client Relations Manager Brian Greene told NCRM the company no longer feels comfortable paying taxes in Georgia.

373K isn’t the only firm to pull business out of a state that passed anti-gay legislation. Last year, SalesForce CEO Marc Benioff announced the cancellation of “all programs that require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination.” Other companies, like Nike, Apple, Fortune 500 member Cummins, Eskenazi Health, Eli Lilly and Co., and NASCAR, also condemned the law, according to NCRM.

“If you’re not a white married Christian heterosexual, prepare to be persecuted,” Williams told NCRM, adding the lawmakers passing the bigoted legislation are “fake Christians.”

 

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2016 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Time to Occupy the Airports?

One of the things driving consumer and American anger about the current economy and corporate practices is that we have gone from a society where “the price on the sticker is the price” to adopting business practices which consistently and intentionally lie to the consumer about the price – incorporating numerous hidden charges.

Think about it. You walk into a store, pick up a bottle of dish soap – and the price on the sticker is $3.29. When you get to the register to pay, the price isn’t $3.29, or even $3.29 plus the local 5% sales tax – but the store has tacked on a $1.00 “shelf restocking fee” and a $0.50 “parking space fee”, and a $0.25 “cash register fee”…

Would you be a bit pissed off?

Yet that exactly is standard business practice at the big banks, in the cell phone and internet industry…and now the airlines.

The bait and switch really went mass scale in the telecom industry starting in the 90’s with the mass emergence of cell phones. Indeed, outside of banking fees levied on consumers, the telecom industry is probably the most dishonest business in America in terms of lying to the consumer, and covering up hidden charges. The only thing you can be certain of in dealing with a cell phone provider, is the advertised $99 a month subscription fee is a lie. You will always wind up paying, sometimes much, much, more.

The compact between the consumer and corporations in America isn’t broken just in terms of jobs – it’s a break down of basic honesty.

Flying anymore has become a hidden game of “gotcha”. This summer, when flights were shut down at Miami due to the fire at the fuel facility, I had a major go-round with the counter folks over paying a baggage fee. That airline did not charge baggage fees on international flights. It seems though, by having the misfortune of getting stuck in Miami Airport overnight, because flights couldn’t leave – the international portion of my flight was a day later than the domestic portion…

And thus I “owed” the Airline $150 in baggage fees to fly from my home airport in the US to Miami… And spend the night on the floor in my business suit.

This one is the horrifying story of a woman trapped in an airport for 8 days by hidden fees. Now – airports are specifically designed to be uncomfortable places to camp out in – to prevent the homeless from using them. The downside of that is if passengers are stranded, you are screwed in terms of finding any reasonable place to sleep or rest. Don’t even bother to ask the logical question of how the homeless could get through airport security with a shopping cart and no ticket…

It’s just one of those clues that haven’t occurred to airport managers and engineers yet.

Terri Weissinger Trapped In Airport For Eight Grueling Days Due To Hidden Fees

No matter how many 10-minute massage parlors and Wolfgang Puck vending machines they install to entertain weary travelers, getting stranded in an airport for even a few hours is rarely a pleasant experience.

For Terri Weissinger, who was trapped in San Francisco International Airport for over a week, it was nothing short of a nightmare.

With only $30 to her name, the Sonoma native was virtually broke and looking to start afresh in Idaho. She booked a ticket from San Francisco to the Gem State on the travel website Orbitz but, because she purchased her ticket before a new federal law went into effect requiring ticket brokers to disclose all hidden fees, Wessinger was unaware of the extra $60 U.S. Airways would charge at the airport to check her two bags.

Weissinger offered to pay the fee once she got to her destination or leave one of her bags behind; however, U.S. Airways personnel refused, citing airline policy for denying her former request and airport security regulations for denying the latter.

While attempting to resolve her situation, Weissinger missed her plane—thereby racking up another $150 in fees.

Weissinger ended up spending eight stressful days living in the terminal and sleeping in an out-of-the-way stairwell. She was treated for anxiety at the airport medical clinic. When she attempted to plead with airport authorities for help, she was threatened with arrest on vagrancy charges.

“[It’s] ridiculous,” said Wessinger to ABC 7. “I couldn’t believe it sometimes, you know, it’s just incredibly ridiculous situation to be in.”

Out of options, Weissinger saw a listing for the nearby Airport Church of Christ in a phone book and placed a call. Moved by her situation, the church quickly raised the necessary $210 to get Weissinger out of her predicament and on her way.

When ABC 7 asked U.S. Airways about Weiddinger’s situation, the airline responded: “We have apologized to Ms. Weissinger for her experience, but unfortunately are unable to offer a refund. When you purchase a non-refundable ticket, you accept the terms and conditions. If a passenger cannot travel with their bags, they need to make other arrangements.”

Airline fees have spiraled in recent years as sites like Orbitz and Travelocity have allowed customers to instantly compare ticket prices between competing airlines. The easy access to this information has pushed airlines to offer cheaper ticket prices up front, ensuring their results appear closer to the top of any given search. As a result, they are relying more heavily on additional fees popping up later in the ticketing process to make up a larger portion of their revenue.

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2011 in Domestic terrorism

 

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