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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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Understanding the War Against NAFTA

And you have to wonder why people are pissed?

Souring Chicago’s sweet treat: Corporate greed, American unions, and moving the Oreo to Mexico

Corporate executives saved $47 million by moving Oreo production to Mexico, but cost 600 in Chicago their jobs

For generations, kids from age 3 to 100 have loved munching on chocolaty Oreo cookies dipped in a glass of milk. But just over a year, ago, the tasty treat suddenly went sour.

In May 2015, bakery workers in Nabisco’s monumental 10-story plant in Chicago’s Marquette Park neighborhood had been expecting some sweet news from their corporate headquarters. Rumor had it that their renowned facility  after more than half a century and millions of Oreos — was about to receive a $130-million modernization investment to upgrade equipment and to add new production lines. So, the future looked bright and spirits were high on May 15 of last year when management convened members of Local 300 of the Bakery Workers Union to announce that the investment was indeed going to be made.

In Salinas, Mexico.

For decades, the Marquette Park community has been proud that the delectable smell of “milk’s favorite cookie” wafts through their neighborhood. But the noses of Nabisco’s corporate brass are clogged with greed, incapable of sniffing out anything but ever-fatter profits for themselves and other rich shareholders. Taking the NAFTA low road, they intend to move the iconic Oreo brand — and the jobs of 600 top-quality bakery workers — from Chicago to Mexico, where the minimum wage is a bit more than $4. Not per hour, but per day.

This is the tyranny of corporate globalization in action. In 2012 Kraft Foods split off its grocery business, which retained the Kraft name, and rebranded its remaining snack-food empire as Mondelez International, which includes Nabisco and its many brands including Triscuit, Planters nuts, Ritz crackers, Chips Ahoy and Oreos.

Such corporate empires now reign over millions of working families, arrogantly and even lawlessly making self-serving decisions from within the shrouded confines of faraway executive suites — wreaking havoc on workers, local economies, democratic values, and our sense of community. People affected are given no input or warning (much less any real say-so) in the profiteering that now routinely strikes us, like a lightning bolt from hell.

Worse, the so-called humans who’ve enthroned themselves with this autocratic power find it amusing to toy with those they rule over. Mondelez executives did exactly that after their sneak attack on Chicago’s bakery workers. In a crude ploy to shift blame for the loss of jobs to the union, the plutocratic powerhouse claimed it had made an offer to Local 300 to keep producing Oreos in Chicago, but that recalcitrant union officials refused.

Of course they did, for Mondelez essentially proposed that the workers commit mass financial suicide. Here’s the “offer”: Since the move to Mexico is expected to save $46 million a year, the conglomerate would graciously let the 600 ransom their jobs by paying that $46 million themselves. Just slash your annual pay and benefits (as well as your throats) by that amount, the executives told the union, and you can keep making Oreos for us.

This act was an astonishing, unprecedented insulting slap in the face of every middle-class worker in the U.S. Mondelez sapsuckers were effectively demanding that longtime, dedicated, productive employees subsidize the conglomerate and ransom their livelihoods by reducing their income to poverty. Note that Mondelez banked $7 billion in profit last year.

If its executives are so inept that they can’t find an honest way to fill a $46-million hole, they should dock the pay of their top three executives by that amount. They can damn sure afford it, for they totaled $37 million in compensation last year. CEO Irene Rosenfeld alone took a $20 million paycheck in 2015, bringing her eight-year total pay and benefits to almost $200 million.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2016 in American Greed

 

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John Oliver Eviscerates Credit Bureaus

In any other industry –

If 30% of the cars made by a car company were delivered to customers without wheels…

If 30% of the ladders sold to customers failed on the first use…

If 30% of the shirts or blouses fell apart on first wearing…

If 30% of the airplanes crashed…

If the construction company didn’t put covers on 30% of the manholes…

They would be on a real short trip to being out of business.

So why is it, Credit Bureaus get away with egregious errors which can ruin people’s lives, with at least 25-35% of the data they collect being false or fraudulent?

Unemployed for 6 or more months and having troubles paying bills? Well, the very same companies fix it so you can never get a job…So you CAN pay those bills. It is the electronic version of the Debtor’s Prison.

You want to save America, Ms Clinton, and Mr Trump, Cruz, and Sanders  – then the very first thing you can do to make things better for the middle class…

Is to clean up the Credit Bureaus and “Background check” Agencies and make it illegal to use credit information for hiring decisions except in very narrow circumstances.

Oliver’s Takedown –

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2016 in American Greed

 

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“Whitening” That Resume

First off…Kayaking will lead to your losing your black card?

Damn…Was in the process of buying one for my shallow salt water fishing forays! I mean – is it blacker if it has an electric motor?:)

Almost any minority in the private industry high-tech fields is familiar with employment racism. It is legion (along with age discrimination), especially in the software and Internet industries. Surrounded by like looking individuals an cushioned by homogeneity, most of the folks in the senior management of many of the big names companies aren’t even aware of it, and how decisions they make promulgate it.

At worst, the black or minority applicant, worker will run into outright racism. I speak with with a very non-identifiable “Midwestern dialect” with a slight southern inflection. In the business world, it is very important to communicate clearly, and that pretty much is the Gold Standard. I had an advantage of learning it growing up, living in an International community of American professionals who worked around the world. It is de rigueur when speaking before large crowds of several thousands in business, And a lot of white guys who speak it…Didn’t learn it at home either. Since it is neutral, few, if any of the folks I talk to on the phone know I am a black person – because it doesn’t fit their stereotype. This has led to some interesting conversations, including a Headhunter from a major Software Firm calling, and letting slip in the “get to know you” conversation – “The CEO doesn’t want any “nigs” in the company”.

So called “Diversity” efforts at many companies are nothing more than a smokescreen or farce, as there are no consequences to failure. Ergo – If I want something to happen in a business, I tie it to your next raise, or bonus. You achieve “x” revenue or goal in “y” months and you get paid “z” for success and/or get promoted, and quite possibly put on the slippery slope out the door if you fail. Management by Objectives. If you look closely at how companies implement those “Diversity” programs you will notice very quickly how, almost universally the “Objectives” part is missing.

So the process of changing the Takwanieshawanna name your ignorant Mom stuck you with, or even Asian or South Asian names which are difficult for Americans to pronounce…It probably is a good idea when sending out resumes. As a warning, any company requesting a picture …Isn’t interested in hiring you. Even filling out the requested EEO information in the application process more often is detrimental than not.

Along the way there are several other minefields for the Minority applicant. 

The process of whitewashing that resume also includes whitewashing that online presence. Major business networking sites like LinkedIn request a photo of the Member. For minority applicants and members that in itself can be the kiss of death, as prospective employers frequently check business network sites for profiles and presence.

 

When Resumes Are Made ‘Whiter’ to Please Potential Employers

The job prospects of minority applicants who alter their names or experiences reveal some discouraging truths about workplace diversity efforts.

For some time now, business-school professors and HR professionals have touted the virtues of diversity in the workplace, encouraging companies and their executives to take action. The typical rationales range from moral arguments—that it’s simply the right thing to do—to more practical motivations, such as covering companies’ blind spots by having a more diverse team of problem-solvers, improving bottom lines as a result.

For companies who hear those arguments and decide to put some effort into becoming more diverse, the next steps are less straightforward. Researchers from U.C. Santa Barbara recently wrote in Harvard Business Review that despite the fact that companies spend millions on diversity programs and policies, they rarely bring results. In fact, their data showed that diversity programs simply made white workers feel that their employer was now treating minorities fairly——whether that was true or not. An increasing number of diversity initiatives are looking like they’re all talk.

A new study done by researchers at the University of Toronto and Stanford University adds another dimension to this predicament. The findings suggest that the stated aspirations of companies to become more diverse haven’t changed how they go about hiring, and that minority candidates responding to job openings that welcome diverse backgrounds might find their prospects of being hired just as limited as before.

The researchers looked into the practice of “whitening” resumes, in which minority job seekers scrub away language that might reveal their race, for fear that can it lead to conscious or unconscious discrimination—for instance, altering a “foreign-sounding” first name to something that sounds “more American.” The motivation for doing this is cynically pragmatic: The game’s not fair, so why not even the playing field in the resume-screening stage to at least get an interview?

First, the researchers conducted in-depth interview with 59 black and Asian students who were seeking jobs and internships. They found that 36 percent of their interviewees reported whitening their resumes, and two-thirds of the respondents knew of friends or family who had done so in the past. “We had first started hearing about whitening within the last few years from our students,” explained Sonia Kang, an associate professor of management at the University of Toronto and the paper’s lead author. “Students who were applying for jobs were telling us that this is something that they were doing, and something their friends were doing, and something they had sometimes been told to do when they went to career counselors.”

In addition to altering names on resumes—something half of the students in the study who whitened their resumes reported doing—the researchers discovered other common strategies for whitening resumes. For instance, some students would omit or tweak experiences so employers couldn’t identify their race. Students reported toning down racial identifiers, such as omitting being part of black or asian professional associations. Also, job seekers would purposely add experiences they considered “white”—“outdoorsy stuff such as hiking, kayaking,” Kang says. “Those were the kinds of things that people thought were tied to more mainstream white American culture.”

The study then measured how a group of minority students responded to pro-diversity language, and established that minority job seekers both pick up and react to these cues: The participants were 1.5 times less likely to whiten resumes for employers who signal that they care about diversity.

Then, the researchers tested how the labor market responded to whitening, and whether companies that emphasized the importance of diversity in their job postings would evaluate whitened resumes. They created two sets of resumes, one whitened and the other not, and randomly sent them in response to 1,600 job postings in 16 U.S. cities. They found that whitened resumes were twice as likely to get callbacks—a pattern that held even for companies that emphasized diversity.

“The most troubling part is that we saw the same kind of rates for employers who said that they were pro-diversity [in job postings] and the ones that didn’t mention it,” said Kang. “Employers are sending signals, that students are picking up on, that this is a safe place where you can use your real name and real experiences. But [the students] are not being rewarded at all. … The statements the employers are putting out there aren’t really tied to any real change in the discriminatory practices.”…Read The Rest Here

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2016 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Silicon Valley Funds CBC Parties for “Diversity”

Perhaps I am a bit too cynical, but HTF does funding yet another cabaret make jobs for underemployed, and unemployed black tech workers?

And HTF is it that with 12% of the graduates in Computer Engineering being black, there is a “shortage in the school pipeline”?

Bullshit!

The way things are done in the tech business is you hire some competent recruiters (“headhunters”) to go and get what, and who you want to hire. There is no shortage of minority middle managers, tech staff, and senior tech staff – although you may have a hard time getting them to move to the West Coast whitopias anymore. That shouldn’t be an issue – because most of these companies have data centers and offices all over the east coast, and a lot of companies hire “virtual” workers…

I been in this business over 20 years, working in senior positions for startups, as well as big players and hold patents in the technology…I haven’t heard jack shidt from these people – although I do get calls from big eastern based companies.I know a couple of guys who read my blog are senior techies like myself…When exactly was the last time you got a recruiting call from Google or Amazon?

But I guess it is just easier to buy off the CBC with a couple of parties.

Under diversity pressure, tech courts minority groups in D.C.

Congressional Black Caucus chairman G.K. Butterfield warned that “talk is not enough,” in diversity in tech.

Some of Silicon Valley’s biggest tech companies are quietly funneling money to minority groups in Washington, including those affiliated with black and Hispanic lawmakers — a move that comes as the firms face growing criticism about the lack of diversity in their workforce.

The donations, known as “honorary expenses,” fund events like dinners and cocktail receptions where members of Congress and federal regulators are the guests of honor. The leader of the pack is Google, which spent a record of more than $490,000 on such expenses last year — devoting most of it to minority groups like the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, according to newly filed federal ethics reports.

Apple chipped in $1.2 million for an awards gala for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and Uber wrote a $10,000 check to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the disclosures show. It marked the first time either Apple or Uber reported any honorary expenses.

The recent uptick in these donations coincides with growing political pressure on the tech industry over diversity, as companies struggle to address complaints that their employees are largely white and male. The debate has taken root in Washington, including with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, which sent a delegationto Silicon Valley in August to demand that the industry recruit more African-Americans.

The tech industry’s newest tactics don’t appear to have quelled the outcry from Capitol Hill, and they don’t sit well with some diversity advocates.

“We’ve had years now of campaigning and advocacy around the diversity problem … [but] the only thing that’s gotten better with these companies are their talking points,” said Rashad Robinson, the executive director of ColorofChange, a nonprofit that works on civil rights issues. The problem, he added, is “not going to be solved by throwing money at the CBC and other institutions.”

Asked about their spending, Apple and Uber declined to comment for this story. A Google spokeswoman said the company believes it’s important to “help policymakers understand our business and the work we do to keep the Internet open and encourage economic opportunity.”

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute serve as the educational and policy arms of their respective caucuses on Capitol Hill. While they’re technically separate organizations, many black and Hispanic lawmakers serve as board members for the nonprofit groups. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, meanwhile, is a nonprofit that provides scholarships and other support for African-American students at historically black colleges and universities.

The CBC Foundation, for one, stressed that the tech industry’s donations have gone to a good cause. They’ve allowed for “professional development briefings for our interns offering them real-world, first-hand exposure to careers” in key tech fields, Shrita Sterlin-Hernandez, a spokeswoman for the group, said in a statement. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund did not comment for this story.

But the checks can also double as powerful forms of leverage in Washington, where influence often is measured in dollar signs. “There are many ways companies and other organizations can establish a presence in Washington, and gain access to politicians. And one way to do that — that some people pay less attention to — is by giving money to a charitable cause that a politician is associated with,” said Viveca Novak, a spokeswoman for the Center for Responsive Politics.

Such contributions are a “well-trodden path,” in the words of Novak, for established industries in Washington, from big tobacco companies to telecom giants like AT&T and Comcast. The donations, in addition to supporting nonprofits, provide lobbyists with greater access to lawmakers and regulators.

And Silicon Valley certainly could use more allies in Washington when it comes to diversity issues.

Apple is almost 70 percent male globally and 54 percent white in the U.S., according to the company’s most recent diversity report, though the company emphasized that many of its new hires have been women, Asian, Hispanic and African-American. Google’s workforce is also 70 percent male globally and 60 percent white in the U.S., despite its own efforts to diversify. Uber, for its part, has not released a report detailing the composition of its employees.

Those poor report cards prompted the Congressional Black Caucus last May to launch an initiative dubbed Tech2020, hoping to pressure tech companies to add more African-Americans to their ranks. The CBC later dispatched top lawmakers to the Valley — including its chairman, Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) — to make that point directly to executives at Apple, Google, Intel and other firms.

Butterfield sounded the theme again in September at the CBC Foundation’s annual legislative conference, where he warned that “talk is not enough. And we need more than an amen from the choir. … We want to see results.”

Tech companies have pledged to fix the problem, but as they invest in hiring initiatives, they’re also pumping big money into Washington. Over the course of last year, Google covered $150,000 in honorary expenses for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and provided an additional $95,000 in multiple checks to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, according to an analysis of the ethics records.

Another roughly $150,000 in spending went to “various vendors” that aided events with women, black and Latino lawmakers, the records indicate. At the CBC Foundation’s annual legislative conference in September, Google played a key sponsorship role at a reception that featured FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, according to an invitation for the event.

Google has donated to the CBC Foundation before, but its “honorary expenses” for the group and other minority organizations have increased in recent years. Asked whether this amounts to a form of lobbying, the CBC Foundation stressed in a statement that the support benefits the organization’s mission: “Our sponsors and partners provide support to our organization because they share our goals of providing important opportunities for the communities we serve.”…More

 

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2016 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Leaving Jim Crow – The Great Migration and The Chicago Defender

Great article! It talks about the role of the black press in initiating and sustaining the black migration from the south between 1915 and 1930 – and how the South’s Jim Crow Laws and Lynching fueled that migration.

‘Bound for the Promised Land’

African Americans devised a mass exodus from the Jim Crow South,largely at the urging of The Chicago Defender

In the spring of 1916, incumbent President Woodrow Wilson began a difficult presidential campaign. Wilson was facing a reunified Republican Party and an electorate skeptical of his pledge to keep the United States out of World War I—he was also facing obstacles from the African American electorate, which though small could be decisive in several key states. During his first run for office in 1912, leaders from the African American community had supported Wilson even though he was the son of a Confederate chaplain who, as a historian, had helped manufacture revisionist histories of the post–Civil War years. But black voters now felt betrayed by Wilson’s conduct as president: He segregated the federal government for the first time ever, and he screened the racist film Birth of a Nation in the White House.

Jacob Lawrence

The Chicago Defender, the nation’s leading African American newspaper at the time, was all too happy to heap on the criticism, declaring Wilson a “colossal failure” and challenging his foreign policy—both over the invasion of Haiti the previous year and for sending troops into Mexico to pursue revolutionary leader Pancho Villa. “If President Woodrow Wilson is so anxious to teach the world good morals,” read one editorial on the subject, “let him begin by placing the U.S. Army in the South; institute a chase of the lynchers as earnestly as the one he is now carrying on in Mexico.”

By most measures, the total number of lynchings was, in fact, down from prior years; it was the severity of the incidents that had increased. In May, The Defender printed a letter from a white resident of Waco, Texas, a witness to the horrific murder of a 17-year-old named Jesse Washington. The letter writer was outraged by what he had seen: A mob of “fifteen to twenty-thousand men and women intermingled with children and babies in their arms” gathered to torture Washington and then burn him at the stake. Accused of the murder of a white woman several miles from his home, Washington was convicted by a jury despite scant evidence. Then, as happened all too often, Washington was dragged from the courtroom, hung from a tree, and burned on a funeral pyre. “The crowd was made up of some of the supposed best citizens of the South,” the letter writer noted. “Doctors, lawyers, business men and Christians (posing as such, however). After the fire subsided, the mob was not satisfied: They hacked with pen knives the fingers, the toes, and pieces of flesh from the body, carrying them as souvenirs to their automobiles.” The correspondent went on to conclude that it was absurd to send soldiers to Mexico “when the troops are needed right here in the South.”

This from a collection of letters from the University of Chicago about the Great Migration

See the UC Collection Here

For several years, The Defender had demanded federal intervention as the only meaningful solution to the brutality of Southern whites. But that summer, as hundreds of African Americans arrived at Chicago’s train stations every week,The Defender’s position on the migration northward evolved. In August, under the headline “Southerners Plan to Stop Exodus,” the newspaper reported that recruiters for one of the Pennsylvania-based railroad lines had convinced all of the workers on one steamship line in Jacksonville, Florida, to quit and move to the North en masse, leaving the steamship owners suddenly without a crew. The Jacksonville City Council responded by passing a law requiring labor agents from Northern companies to pay $1,000 for a license.

Incidents like this convinced The Defender’s publisher, Robert Abbott, that migration was at once an effective tactic for hurting the white South and a real opportunity for African Americans to live in freedom. Abbott had experienced discrimination from labor unions himself when he first arrived in Chicago from Georgia less than 20 years earlier, and he had been reluctant to invite his fellows to the city if there were no real job opportunities.  He became positively enthusiastic about migration, however, when he saw the mounting evidence that the departure of African Americans was negatively affecting the Southern economy.

In November, as Woodrow Wilson won a narrow reelection victory, The Defender’s editorial page published “Bound for the Promised Land,” by M. Ward, a then-unknown poet whose portrait photo shows a nattily dressed young man with a satin bow tie. The poem reflects the experiences of those who had already migrated north, found jobs, and sent for their wives, as well as of the Southerners’ efforts to ban the work of Northern labor agents:

From Florida’s stormy banks I’ll go, I’ll bid the South goodbye; No longer will they treat me so, And knock me in the eye,

Hasten on my dark brother, Duck the Jim Crow law.

No Crackers North to slap your mother, or knock you on the jaw.

No Cracker there to seduce your sister, nor to hang you to a limb.

And you’re not obliged to call ’em “Mister,” nor skin ’em back at him.

The poem was so popular that the issue sold out, prompting The Defender to reprint it a few months later. “This poem caused more men to leave the Southland than any other effort,” the newspaper proudly noted….Read the Rest Here

Albert A. Smith “The Reason” Featured in The CRISIS in March 1920

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2016 in Black History

 

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Conservative Anti-Intellectualism Based In Job Gentrification

The low IQ and low knowledge level of Republican Conservatives going back to the Bushit is legend in this country. The anti-intellectualism of the right provided the fire to elect George W. Bush, and fueled the rise of noted idiots like Sarah Palin AKA The Sno Ho’. While many pundits would like to tie the rise of that to the deleterious effects of right wing media like Fox News, the politicization of stupid by a series of folks starting with Bush Jr along with the plethora of conservative wonks, or a political base of the “great unwashed”, AKA “white trash” fundamentalist christians, and Joe the plumber blue collar types…

I think the answer is something quite different, and a lot more pedestrian.

For years the US Government, the top tiers of he education establishment, and even corporate America have pushed the concept that a better educated (and by this we mean college educated) populace is required to operated the mechanics of first, the industrial, and then a post industrial and now, internet based world. As the country migrated from industrial to a service economy, a great many people were displaced. The former factory workers became the unemployed, as the Government, and then industry continually raised the entry qualification barrier to new jobs higher and higher. This reached the level of ridiculousness, wherein  companies, and some parts of the government required a college degree for someone whose job was to empty the wastebaskets, put paper in the copier, or work in the mail room. Discounting entirely the value that Joe, the proverbial plumber, had worked for 20 years, showed up every day, and done his work.

Downgrading the very core values of responsibility, hard, work, and reliability which built this country in the first place. While eliminating jobs.

Politicians tend to talk at this group of folks, very few take the time to really understand their issues and talk to them. It is far easier to demagogue.

This reached a peak when the Bushit and his minions tried to privatize the Government – shifting what had been half a million to a million Civil Service jobs into the private sector of “Beltway Bandits”. The old Civil Service System was broken into Grades from 2 – 16, with the lower levels supplying the workers doing maintenance, clerical, and blue collar facilities. To take a job above a certain level required a college degree, and to reach the highest managerial and professional levels required advanced degrees. These grade 2-12 jobs became the brick and mortar of the black middle class not only in Washington DC, but in every city where there are Federal Offices post WWII. Someone with a high-school education could enter the system, and could possibly advance to a managerial level position making very good money though their career.

What privatization did was to eliminate those low level entry jobs, and convert them to requiring a college degree. The result of which was to eliminate in large part minorities…as well as the working class whites. Let’s call its what it is…Job Gentrification.

When I started in the computer/telecommunications industry there were no colleges or universities offering degrees in computer science. The heavy hitters at the time consisted of folks with degrees in Mathematics or Electrical Engineering. Of course there probably were no more than 2,000 of us worldwide in the telecom side. In the late 80’s I taught a class at one of the local universities having to do with advanced computer systems architecture – which in those days was mostly the big mainframes and supercomputers with an honorable mention to the PC type systems. The first day I walk in, surveyed the class – and to my surprise I knew half of the students and had worked with them on the very same giant computer systems I was talking about. These were the guys who wrote the software, managed the systems, and even in several cases had been key players in inventing some of the technologies! They all had reached the top of the grade at which they could no longer progress in the Government without a degree.

Had a discussion with a Headhunter (recruiter) a few years ago, who informed me I wasn’t qualified for a job due to the lack of a industry (company) certification… When I pointed out to her, I was one of the guys who helped invent the technology in question in the first place, and held patents in the area – and that the guy who “invented the Internet”…

Had no industry certification.

Things were/are much, much worse for the unemployed factory worker – who didn’t have access (money) to education, and was locked out of they types of well paying jobs, doable by someone by taking a few classes at worst.

THAT, to my believe is the real base of the resentment against “intellectualism”. Do they have a right to be angry? Yes. Do they have the right to delve into racism, blaming minorities for their plight? No. They are being used as useful fools…Again.

Donald Trump talks at a fourth-grade level. Maybe that’s why the Fox News audience loves him

The culture of anti-intellectualism in America is fueling hateful, racist demagogues — in politics and on TV

It’s a cliché to say that democratic states can’t function properly without an informed electorate. But it’s absolutely true. And this is why, heading into the 2016 election year, I’m nervous about the future. With Donald Trump leading the Republican presidential contenders, even many Republican die-hards are shaking in their boots.

But Trump isn’t the cause, just the symptom. The deeper cause is a strain of anti-intellectualism that runs through the roots of American culture. And while this strain is found on both sides of the political spectrum (see some liberals on vaccines and chemtrails), it’s mostly concentrated among religious conservatives on the political right. For those who espouse anti-intellectualism, conspiracy theories have the same clout as legitimate science, the opinions of non-experts are just as credible as those of the experts, and ideology takes precedence over the cold hard facts.

The US has fostered a culture of anti-intellectualism more than “most other Western countries.” While traveling through Europe and the UK for extended periods of time, I’ve often been quite envious of how respectful other countries are toward those with knowledge in the fields of science and the humanities. In the UK, for example, it’s generally not seen as “uncool” to have a higher degree from a good university. Often, it confers the degree-holder a certain social respect and admiration. Many of the top comedians in the UK have attended institutions like Oxford and Cambridge, including Michael Palin, Eric Idol, John Cleese, David Mitchell, Richard Ayoade and Stephen Fry. And shows such as “QI,” which combines academic discussions with uproarious, irreverent humor, are popular hits.

Not only is the U.S. unique for its love affair with anti-intellectualism, but this romantic relationship appears to have grown stronger over the past few decades. A primary reason for this is no doubt the huge influence that conservative media have had on American culture, such as Fox News, which is currently the most trusted news network in the country. The problem is that “Fox News” is a misnomer. The network is, to quote Jon Stewart, more of a “relentlessly activist” organization for conservative causes than an intellectually honest conveyor of information. Indeed, there are to date at least seven academic studies that have found that Fox News’ viewership constitutes the most misinformed audience out there.

From climate change to healthcare, the Iraq War to the country of Obama’s birth (no, it’s not Kenya), denizens of Fox News are more confident about falsehoods than viewers of any other news network. Several studies even found a positive correlation between how often one watches Fox News and the degree to which one’s worldview is misinformed.

What’s most dangerous about Fox News, though, isn’t its cynical use of Orwellian doublespeak, as in “Fair and Balanced” and “No Spin Zone,” to conceal a conservative agenda. Nor is it the network’s repeated failure to accurately report the facts. Rather, the most dangerous consequence of Fox News is that it discourages that most important form of rigorous curiosity called critical thinking. If people want a single phenomenon to blame for the gradual decline of the American empire, direct your wagging finger at the devaluation of critical thinking skills.

It’s not an accident that Fox News wants an audience that isnt preoccupied with carefully dissecting complex social, political, economic and religious issues. Critical thinking is perhaps our very best strategy for apprehending the true nature of reality, and as the great comedian Stephen Colbert once declared, “reality has a well-known liberal bias.” In other words, critical thinking could lead to liberalism — or worse, to that most dreaded form of liberal fanaticism called secular progressivism.

Scientific studies actually back up this line of reasoning. Consider a 2012 studypublished in Science, one of the most prestigious journals in the world. This study found that when people are prompted to use their critical faculties, they become less likely to affirm religious statements. In other words, there’s a causal link between “analytical thinking” and religious disbelief. Perhaps this is why the Republican Party of Texas literally wrote into its 2012 platform that, “We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs [that] have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs.” God forbid children start questioning their “fixed beliefs” about religion — or politics…Read the rest Here

 

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