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Neoliberalism war on labor

“Robots are coming for your job” may be more scare talk than reality,
but instilling that belief helps weaken labor bargaining power.

Outsourcing is the way to decimate union power

News Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Recommended Links The neoliberal myth of human capital Audacioues Oligarchy and Loss of Trust Neoliberal rationality Atomization and oppression of workforce
Scapegoating and victimization of poor and unemployed Destruction of the New Deal Glass-Steagall repeal Think Tanks as Enabler of Neoliberal Coup d'ιtat  Identity politics as diversion of attention from social inequality Identity politics as divide and conquer  Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite
Attack of Think Tanks Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite The Deep State Predator state Lewis Powell Memo The Essential Rules for Dominating Population
New American Militarism Neoconservatism Neo-fashism National Security State Propaganda  Inverted Totalitarism  Totalitarian Decisionism
Neoliberalism and Christianity Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism The Iron Law of Oligarchy Anglican Church on danger of neoliberalism Animal Farm Quite coup Neoconservatism as an attack dog of neoliberalism
  Crowd manipulation Agenda-setting theory Manufacturing Consent Jingoism of the US neoliberal elite Media-Military-Industrial Complex War is Racket
Small government smoke screen "Starving the beast" bait and switcht Bill Clinton, the man who sold Democratic Party to Wall Street and helped FIRE sector to convert the country into casino Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure Two Party System American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism The Grand Chessboard
Ethno-linguistic and "Cultural" Nationalism as a reaction to Neoliberalism induced decline of standards of living American Exceptionalism Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Machiavellism Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

Neoliberalism is based on unconditional domination of labor by capital ("socialism for rich, feudalism for labor"). American scholar and cultural critic Henry Giroux alleges neoliberalism holds that market forces should organize every facet of society, including economic and social life, and promotes a social darwinist ethic which elevates self-interest over social needs. A new class of workers, facing acute socio-economic insecurity, emerged under neoliberalism. It is called  'precariat'. 

The imposition of neoliberalism in the United States arose from a the political counterrevolution led by financial oligarchy in the 1970s. It was their reaction of two the falling rate of profitability in manufacturing industry and emergence of strong competitors both in Europe and Asia, competitors which no longer were hampered by WWII decimation of industrial potential and in some way even manage to benefit from reconstruction getting newer better factories then in the USA.

Neoliberalism doesn't shrink government but instead convert it into a national security state, which provides little governmental oversight over large business and multinationals, but toughly control the lower classes, the smacks -- including mass incarceration those at the bottom. With the inmates along with illegal immigrants slowly becoming an important  source of low-wage labor for some US corporations.

Neoliberal policies led to the situation in the US economy in which 30% of workers earn low wages (less than two-thirds the median wage for full-time workers), and 35% of the labor force is underemployed; only 40% of the working-age population in the U.S. is adequately employed. The Center for Economic Policy Research's (CEPR) Dean Baker (2006) argued that the driving force behind rising inequality in the U.S. has been a series of deliberate, neoliberal policy choices including anti-inflationary bias, anti-unionism, and profiteering in the health industry

It can not be hidden. Redistribution of wealth up is all the neoliberalism is about. Simplifying, neoliberalism can be defined as socialism for rich and feudalism for poor.

So forms of brutal exploitation when people work 12 hours a day (as contractors now, for whom  labor laws do not apply) or when even bathroom breaks are regulated now are more common.

Amazon, Uber and several other companies have shown that neoliberal model can be as brutal as plantation slavery.

In a way, we returned to the brutality of the beginning of XX century on a new level characterized by much higher level of instability of employment. This is not disputed  even for neoliberal stooges in economic departments of major universities ;-)

As interesting question arise: "What form the backlash might take, if any ?"

I think it is an observable fact that the US neoliberal elite is now is discredited: defeat of Hillary Clinton and ability to Trump to win nomination from Republican Party and then national elections signify the level of discreditation of the neoliberal elite. Success of Sunders in Democratic Party primaries and the fact that DNC needed to resort to dirty tricks to derail his candidacy signifies the same (even taking into account his betrayal of his voters).

If this does not suggest the crisis of neoliberal governance, I do not know what is. The crisis created conditions for increased social protest which at this stage used voters booth to say "f*ck you" to neoliberal elite.  In 2016 that led to election of Trump, but it was Sanders who captures social protest voters only to be derailed by machinations of DNC and Clinton clan.  At the same time, the efficiency with which Occupy Wall Street movement was neutered means that the national security state is still pretty effective in suppressing of dissent, so open violence probably will be suppressed brutally and efficiently.  "Color revolution" methods of social protest are not effective in  the USA sitution, as the key factor that allow "color revolutionaries" to challenge existing government. It is easy and not so risky to do when you understand that  the USA and its three letter agencies, embassies and NGOs stand behind and might allow you to emigrate, if you cause fail.  No so other significant power such as China or Russia can stand behind the protesters against neoliberalism in the USA. Neoliberals controls all braches of power. And internationally they are way too strong to allow Russia or China to interfere in the US election the way the USA interfered into Russian presidential election.   

Atomization of workforce and establishment of national security state after 9/11 so far prevented large organized collective actions (recent riots were not organized, and with the current technical capabilities of the three letter agencies any organization is difficult or impossible). I think that conversion of the state into national security state was the key factor that saved a couple of the most notorious neoliberals from being hanged on the electrical posts in 2008 although I remember slogan "Jump suckers" on the corner of Wall Street.

But neoliberal attacks on organized labor started much earlier with Ronald Reagan and then continued under all subsequent presidents with bill Clinton doing the bulk of this dirty job. his calculation in creating "New labor" (read neoliberal stooges of Wall Street masked as Democratic Party) was right and for a couple of elections voters allow Democrats to betray them after the elections. But eventually that changes. Vichy left, represented by "Clintonized" Democratic Party got a crushing defeat in 2016 Presidential elections. Does not mean that Trump is better or less neoliberal, but it does suggest that working class does not trust Democratic Party any longer. 

2008 was the time of the crush of neoliberal ideology, much like Prague string signified the crush of Communist ideology. but while there was some level of harassment, individual beatings of banksters in 2008 were non-existent. And in zombie stage (with discredited ideology) neoliberal managed to continue and even counterattack in some countries. Brazil and Argentina fall into neoliberal hands just recently.   Neoliberal actually managed to learn Trotskyites methods of subversion of government and playing on population disconnect in case of economic difficulties as well if not better as Trotskyites themselves.


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[Jan 17, 2019] The financial struggles of unplanned retirement

People who are kicked out of their IT jobs around 55 now has difficulties to find even full-time McJobs... Only part time jobs are available. With the current round of layoff and job freezes, neoliberalism in the USA is entering terminal phase, I think.
Jan 17, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

A survey by Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found on average Americans are retiring at age 63, with more than half indicating they retired sooner than they had planned. Among them, most retired for health or employment-related reasons.

... ... ...

On April 3, 2018, Linda LaBarbera received the phone call that changed her life forever. "We are outsourcing your work to India and your services are no longer needed, effective today," the voice on the other end of the phone line said.

... ... ...

"It's not like we are starving or don't have a home or anything like that," she says. "But we did have other plans for before we retired and setting ourselves up a little better while we both still had jobs."

... ... ...

Linda hasn't needed to dip into her 401(k) yet. She plans to start collecting Social Security when she turns 70, which will give her the maximum benefit. To earn money and keep busy, Linda has taken short-term contract editing jobs. She says she will only withdraw money from her savings if something catastrophic happens. Her husband's salary is their main source of income.

"I am used to going out and spending money on other people," she says. "We are very generous with our family and friends who are not as well off as we are. So we take care of a lot of people. We can't do that anymore. I can't go out and be frivolous anymore. I do have to look at what we spend - what I spend."

Vogelbacher says cutting costs is essential when living in retirement, especially for those on a fixed income. He suggests moving to a tax-friendly location if possible. Kiplinger ranks Alaska, Wyoming, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Florida as the top five tax-friendly states for retirees. If their health allows, Vogelbacher recommends getting a part-time job. For those who own a home, he says paying off the mortgage is a smart financial move.

... ... ...

Monica is one of the 44 percent of unmarried persons who rely on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income. At the beginning of 2019, Monica and more than 62 million Americans received a 2.8 percent cost of living adjustment from Social Security. The increase is the largest since 2012.

With the Social Security hike, Monica's monthly check climbed $33. Unfortunately, the new year also brought her a slight increase in what she pays for Medicare; along with a $500 property tax bill and the usual laundry list of monthly expenses.

"If you don't have much, the (Social Security) raise doesn't represent anything," she says with a dry laugh. "But it's good to get it."

[Jan 17, 2019] The function of the wall is not to block the access, but to slow it down and raise the cost of crossing for illegal immigrants. As such it has some value. Also those neoliberal Dems are eager to finance foreign wars and programs like F35 without any hesitation.

Jan 17, 2019 | angrybearblog.com

[Jan 17, 2019] I've grown very sceptical over the years about the whole issue of asylum. To me, the idea that an individual can cross a border illegally without a visa, or without even a passport, and then suddenly become quasi legal be declaring that they wish to seek asylum is a bit of a farce

Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

GBM1982 -> honeytree , 29 Nov 2018 10:25

I've grown very sceptical over the years about the whole issue of asylum. To me, the idea that an individual can cross a border illegally without a visa, or without even a passport, and then suddenly become quasi legal be declaring that they wish to seek asylum is a bit of a farce. The situation becomes even more farcical when failed asylum seekers still aren't deported. As for humanitarian and ethical obligations, I don't really buy into that either because the demographics of the world are such that the West is at risk of losing its very identity if it feels "obliged" to accept everyone seeking asylum and/or work from the world's more troubled regions. I see the admission of refugees as a generous gesture, not as an obligation.

[Jan 14, 2019] Tucker Carlson Leaves Cenk Ugyur SPEECHLESS On Immigration

Notable quotes:
"... Chunk Yogurt is unaware that breaking into our country is a crime. He's talking about a secondary crime being committed by the illegals ..."
Jan 14, 2019 | www.youtube.com

WesleyAPEX 1 month ago

Chunk Yogurt is unaware that breaking into our country is a crime. He's talking about a secondary crime being committed by the illegals

Fernando Amaro 1 month ago

While Tucker uses logic and facts to make his arguments, Cenk uses feelings to support his. If anyone is still a follower of Cenk after this video, then Tucker is right, the level of delusion in society is staggering.

Western Chauvinist 1 month ago

Chunk really is a disingenuous slime ball. He brings up food as evidence of our "multiculturalism", it's such a moronic example. The fundamentals of culture that Tucker was speaking of include our beliefs enshrined in the constitution, freedom of speech, our egalitarianism, capitalism, the English language, ingenuity, entrepreneurial spirit, all of the god-given rights we believe in, self defense, etc. It's very uniquely American and to have millions upon millions of Hondurans or Mexicans or whatever flood in, not assimilate, and change the language and the freedoms/god-given rights we believe in, that will displace OUR culture with theirs.... and clearly our culture is superior, if it wasn't then they'd be the one's with a rich country that we'd want to move to. Who gives a fuck if we like to eat tacos or pasta you greasy slime ball. Basically if Glob of Grease was right then there would be no such thing as assimilation.

CWC4 1 month ago

At the risk of sounding misogynistic I have to say listening to a liberal is like listening to a woman. No matter how wrong they are in their mind they're right. No matter how much logic & common sense you throw their way it's never enough for them to understand. That's what it be like watching these "debates". This is why a lot of the left when it comes to men are considered BETA. They have the skewed mind like that of a female, men appeal more to logic than emotional rhetoric like what Cenk was speaking from. This is why civilizations of the past have all gone the way of the dodo bird. Because they'll allow themselves to become so diverse to the point of collapse. It's funny too because all of the countries they beg us to allow in are some of the most segregated countries on the planet, such as Asia.

[Jan 14, 2019] Class Warfare

Jan 14, 2019 | www.versobooks.com

"Uses and Abuses of Class Separatism" [ Verso ]. "[T]here are at least two necessary and sufficient elements in a relation of production. There's a structural element and an individual element. The structural element is in the relation itself (externally-facing), like a ratio, for example, and the individual element is in how people experience and live the relation (internally-facing) .. The wage relation is a paradigm case of a relation of production. It's got structural elements, like the exploitative difference between amounts paid to workers compared to profits made by capitalists. It also has experiential elements, like how workers live their wage relations depending on their race, gender, nationality, sexuality, ability. Neither element is sufficient on its own for the relation of production. Neither is dependent on the other. Neither is a function of the other. Both are necessary and sufficient for the relation of production . Class separatists separate out the structural element of relations of production, name it "class", and then distinguish this element of relations of production from the individual elements, calling them "identity" . However, class separatists make a big mistake (maybe their biggest) when they think that structural elements cut across individual elements of relations of production. The way Black women live unequal housing relations is different than indigenous men, queer immigrants, or a straight white people. But class separatists go way too far and think that these individual elements of relations of production (which they tragically call "identity" just like liberals do) need not be foregrounded and given equal political weight in their thinking and organizing. Of course structural elements of relations of production, like rent prices or mold, cut across so many differences. But these elements don't cut across individual differences. The structural elements are lived through the individual elements. The individual differences are muscles to the structural bones in relations of production. If we try to cut across these muscles, we lose our movement power." • This article is part of an extremely heatlthy on-going polemic on the left, and well worth a read on that account (It's also written in English, and not dense jargon. (I do think that "separatists" has the wrong tone.)

"Labor exploitation also happens close to home" [ Supply Chain Dive ]. "Far too often, customers outsource their moral outrage, as well as their manufacturing, to their top tier suppliers. Turning a blind eye to these tragedies may be the easy choice, especially when the upstream supply chain is halfway around the world. But human trafficking and exploitation are not reserved to low cost countries. We need to acknowledge there are labor exploitations within our domestic supply chain. Knowingly or not, we use suppliers who take advantage of employees, provide poor working conditions and low wages, and purposefully violate laws and regulations. Where is the moral outrage of labor exploitation in the United States?" More:

I remember the employees at a printed circuit board facility with holes in their clothes and burns on their skin due to the acids they worked with. Employees in a small and crowded break room that was crawling with roaches eating their lunch. Workers jammed shoulder to shoulder on assembly benches without enough room to properly do their work. Machinists lacking eye and hearing protection. Barbed wire surrounding an outside break area. Exposed electrical wires and leaking pipes, and clean rooms that were far from clean.

Can't see this from the Acela windows, though!

[Jan 12, 2019] These US companies employ the most H-1B visa holders

Jan 12, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

One of the most sought-after visa programs in the U.S., the H-1B, could see some significant changes in 2019, according to President Trump , including a potential path to citizenship for recipients of the non-immigrant visa.

The H-1B visa program allows U.S. employers to hire graduate-level workers in specialty occupations, like IT, finance, accounting, architecture, engineering, science and medicine. Any job that requires workers to have at least a bachelor's degree falls under the H-1B for specialty occupations.

Each year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allots about 85,000 of the H-1B visas -- 65,000 for applicants with a bachelor's degree or equivalent, and 20,000 for those with a master's degree or higher.

As of April 2017, when Trump signed an executive order -- "Buy American and Hire American" -- it's become more difficult for U.S. companies to hire people via H-1B. It directs the Department of Homeland Security to only grant the visas to the "most-skilled or highest-paid beneficiaries."

Here's a look at the American companies (and industries) that benefited the most from the program in 2017.

Cognizant: The IT services business had a whopping 3,194 H-1B initial petitions approved in 2017, the most of any U.S. company by almost 600.

Amazon: In 2017, the e-commerce behemoth hired 2,515 employees via the H-1B visa program, according to data compiled by the National Foundation for American Policy . That was about a 78 percent increase from 2016, or 1,099 more employees.

Microsoft: Microsoft hired 1,479 workers through H-1B in 2017, the second most of U.S. companies -- an increase in 334 employees from the year prior, or close to 29 percent.

IBM: In 2017, IBM employed about 1,231 workers through the H-1B visa program.

Intel: The California-based company employed 1,230 workers through H-1B in 2017, 200 more workers -- or a 19 percent increase -- compared to 2016.

Google: The search engine giant had 1,213 H-1B initial petitions approved for fiscal year 2017, a 31 percent increase of about 289 from 2016.

[Jan 12, 2019] Protectionist Measure to Help U.S. Corporations at the Expense of U.S. Workers Tops Trump China Trade Agenda

Jan 12, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , January 07, 2019 at 02:35 PM

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/protectionist-measure-to-help-u-s-corporations-at-the-expense-of-u-s-workers-tops-trump-china-trade-agenda

January 2, 2019

Protectionist Measure to Help U.S. Corporations at the Expense of U.S. Workers Tops Trump China Trade Agenda
By Dean Baker

Readers of this New York Times piece * on Robert Lighthizer, United States trade representative, and his negotiations with China may have missed this point. The piece said that one of Lighthizer's main goals was to stop China's practice of requiring that companies like Boeing and GE, who set up operations in China, take Chinese companies as business partners.

This is an effective way of requiring technology transfers, since the partners will become familiar with the production techniques of the U.S. companies. This will enable them in future years to be competitors with these companies.

If the U.S. government prohibits contracts that require this sort of technology transfer it will make it more desirable to outsource some of their production to China. This will be good for the profits of Boeing, GE, and other large companies but bad for U.S. workers. It will also mean that we will be paying more for products in the future than would otherwise be the case, since if Chinese companies would have been able to out-compete U.S. companies, it presumably means that would be charging lower prices or selling a better product.

It is also worth noting that the basic concern expressed by Lighthizer and others assumes that major U.S. corporations are unable to look out for themselves. They are not being forced to enter in contracts with China. This problem arises because they decide to invest in China, even with conditions requiring technology transfer.

We have a great story here where the government, and many analysts, think our largest corporations lack the ability to look out for their best interest. By contrast, when it comes to individual workers who are forced to sign away their right to have class action suits, or individual investors who can be fleeced by the financial industry, the current position of the government is that they can look out for themselves.

The NYT piece also does some inappropriate mind reading when it tells readers:

"Mr. Trump is increasingly eager to reach a deal that will help calm the markets, which he views as a political electrocardiogram of his presidency."

The reporter/editor does not know that Trump is "increasingly eager" or that he "views" the markets as "a political electrocardiogram of his presidency."

Good reporting says what politicians do and say. It does not report as fact their alleged opinions.

* https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/01/us/politics/robert-lighthizer-president-trump.html

Mr. Bill -> anne... , January 09, 2019 at 04:53 PM
As a people, we should look to the masters of mercantilism, Germany, and learn the lessons. How are they dealing with the tendency of corporations to hire the gulag communists to produce goods for sale in the advanced Western economies, like Germany and America.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , January 09, 2019 at 05:03 PM
Obviously, the communist government of China, which owns all production, has decided to not buy from the capitalists, but prefers to sell to them, only. Whoops.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , January 09, 2019 at 05:04 PM
Something in the scientific trade model seems to have been in error. Duh !
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , January 09, 2019 at 05:08 PM
Everything is okay though, the top 1% of the capitalists are making their nut. The rest of us ? Who cares. That's capitalism.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , January 09, 2019 at 05:14 PM
Capitalists love Communism ! No need for all the mess of democracy. Last man standing is a risible philosophy.

[Jan 04, 2019] The University of Michigan Has At Least 82 Full-Time Diversity Officers at a Total Annual Payroll Cost of $10.6M.

Jan 04, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

ChiGal in Carolina , , January 4, 2019 at 6:01 pm

The University of Michigan Has At Least 82 Full-Time Diversity Officers at a Total Annual Payroll Cost of $10.6M.

so applying some crude arithmetic, 8 cost $1M meaning they are paid upward of 100k apiece? Or if it's differently apportioned the Chief Executive Officer of Diversity makes some unimaginably astronomical salary and the others are in the 60-80k range?

Maybe they are including a travel allowance as part of "payroll"? I know much of what they do is recruitment since back in the 90s my then-bf was one of only two -- count 'em, TWO -- Blacks in the entire graduate physical sciences division at the University of Chicago. He was in Computer Science (machine learning) and the other was in Chemistry. They would send him back to Atlanta where he gone to school at Morehouse and the University of GA.

a different chris , , January 4, 2019 at 6:18 pm

>they are paid upward of 100k apiece?

Don't forget that medical is a good 15K, prolly more like 18k, so "paid" is a fluid term here.

Not that there is anything wrong with your post, I just want to make sure our ridiculous medical costs get into every possible discussion :)

[Jan 04, 2019] Hard core neoliberals want no money paid to workers, but they demand government ensure consumers have lots of money to spend, far mote money than they earn by hard core neoliberals, which is a more correct term IMHO

Jan 04, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

mulp -> anne... , December 31, 2018 at 01:17 PM

Why can't Krugman, an economist, clearly explain the destruction of the nation by neoliberals destruction of economic theory, turning benefits into liabilities, and liabilities into benefit, but only asymetricaly???

Hard core neoliberals cleverly attacked Adam Smith and Keynes so stealthily that even Krugman rejects Adamm Smith and Keynes, and embraces free lunch economics.

No progressive today would support FDR or his advisors, including Eccles, who was much smarter than anyone running the Fed since about 1970.

Hard core neoliberals want no money paid to workers, but they demand government ensure consumers have lots of money to spend, far mote money than they earn. But, Hard core neoliberals do not want government giving consumers money to spend to generate high profits for Hard core neoliberals, but want the government to enable cHard core neoliberals get the free money to rent to consumers, and then government punish consumers for not being able to pay debt because they are not paid to work, because paying workers costs Hard core neoliberals too much.

Just read a editorial from the anti government control of economy Heritage demanding a branch of government, the Fed, control the economy, ie print more money, so businesses don't have to pay consumers to buy stuff, ie, pay higher wages.

Free lunch economics is a total failure, yet hard core neoliberals argue its working great, except [real] liberals keep pointing out its clear and obvious failures.

But hard core neoliberals should be thankful Krugman is not a liberal, but a free lunch progressive in near total agreement with free lunch Hard core neoliberals.

[Jan 03, 2019] May Day in a Neoliberal Society

Notable quotes:
"... "We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress. If you're a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn't talk to you. If you're a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you." ..."
"... "No single event has influenced the history of labor in Illinois, the United States, and even the world, more than the Chicago Haymarket Affair. It began with a rally on May 4, 1886, but the consequences are still being felt today. Although the rally is included in American history textbooks, very few present the event accurately or point out its significance." ..."
"... Chicago Haymarket Massacre ..."
"... Working for Inclusive, Just, and Equal Alternatives in Asia and Europe. AEPF11 tackled strategies on major themes or People's Visions, representing the hopes of citizens of the two regions. These are: ..."
"... Resource Justice, Land Rights, Equal Access to Water, and Participation – Going Beyond Extractivism ..."
"... Food Sovereignty/Food Security – Beyond zero hunger ..."
"... Climate Justice – Towards Sustainable Energy Production and Use, and Zero Waste ..."
"... Socially Just Trade, Production and Investment ..."
"... Social Justice – Social Protection for All, Decent Work and Sustainable Livelihoods, Tax Justice and other egalitarian Alternatives to Debt and Austerity ..."
"... Peace Building and Human Security – Responses to Migration, and Fundamentalism and Terrorism ..."
"... Participatory Democracy, Gender Equality and Minority Rights ..."
"... http://www.aseminfoboard.org/events/11th-asia-europe-peoples-forum-aepf11 ..."
"... "We are increasingly experiencing corporate capture", whereby multinational and national corporations structure and determine our lives and livelihoods," ..."
Jan 03, 2019 | countercurrents.org

It is indeed ironic that the US, where May Day has its origin, government has never celebrated this day, but instead has declared it 'law and order day' since Eisenhower. This is indicative of contempt for workers by a capitalist-controlled state and the resolve to prevent labor from demanding a voice in public policy as it did in the 19 th century when it confronted a violently hostile employer backed by the state. Today, many Republican and Democrats openly and unapologetically acknowledge capitalist monopoly over public policy. Mick Mulvaney, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, unashamedly invited 1,300 bank executives to help him convert the agency that he heads into a pro-banking institution, more so than it is currently, by contributing money to politicians favoring banking deregulation and curbing consumer protection safeguards. "We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress. If you're a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn't talk to you. If you're a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you."

An honest admission of the degree to which neoliberalism has triumphed, Mulvaney's speech was indicative of the degree to which capital is now in an open politically-normalized war against labor and society. This is no different than it was in the post-Civil War era when the nascent labor movement in America confronted the combined forces of both employers and the state in the struggle for living wages, safety, and varieties of employer abuses of workers, including children and women. An estimated 35,000 workers, mostly Italian and Irish immigrants, went on strike in Chicago on May 1, 1886 in what became known as the Haymarket Massacre. They demanded an 8-hour workday, fair wages, work safety, abolition of child labor, and the end to labor exploitation by management in the workplace. The response was the police striking workers and government adopting harsh measures against any worker trying to organize in the aftermath. William J Adelman, founder of the Illinois Labor History Society and Vice President, correctly stated: "No single event has influenced the history of labor in Illinois, the United States, and even the world, more than the Chicago Haymarket Affair. It began with a rally on May 4, 1886, but the consequences are still being felt today. Although the rally is included in American history textbooks, very few present the event accurately or point out its significance."

As Adelman pointed out, American society is more anti-labor than many other advanced capitalist countries, though anti-labor policies have spread globally under neoliberalism since the 1980s. While the police are not out killing workers as they were in the 19 th and early 20 th century, the contemporary neoliberal state has adopted policies intended to crush organized labor and silence any voice of dissent to the corporate welfare state. As a market-based institutional order impacting every aspect of society, including personal identity, neoliberal corporate welfarism has replaced social welfare capitalism. The neoliberal goal is to turn the clock back to the early stages of capitalist development when labor had no rights and the state's role was to act as a conduit for private capital accumulation. Although society's institutional evolution does not permit for a return to 19 th century social conditions, the trend is to erase as many of the vestiges of social welfare as possible in order to accelerate capital accumulation.

Whether neoliberalism operates under the pluralist model where vestiges of social welfare and diversity remain as part of the legal structure, or under the populist authoritarian model intended to erase pluralism and social welfare, the goal is capital accumulation through massive transfer of income from labor and the middle class to the richest tiny percentage in the world. Employers had no difficulty convincing the government to crush the labor movement in Chicago through violent means in the 1880s or to execute a number of labor leaders in the aftermath, thus sending a strong message to the world about the absence of workers' rights, civil rights, human rights and social justice. The infamous Chicago Haymarket Massacre left a legacy of the class struggle with reverberations around the world, exposing the myth of bourgeois democracy as representative of anyone outside the capitalist class. Anti-union and anti-labor policies were characteristic of the US government from Haymarket until the Great Depression when Roosevelt cleverly broadened the labor movement in order to co-opt if as part of the Democratic party, thus deradicalizing workers and subordinating the class struggle to capital, in return for a social welfare state.

Post-Vietnam War progressive opposition to the misanthropic neoliberal culture in most countries has been co-opted by pluralist neoliberal political parties claiming to represent all classes within the context of the existing social order. Every identity group, from minorities, women, elderly, alternative lifestyle, environmental groups, etc. is represented under the larger umbrella of a pluralist political party. Similarly, the conservative to rightwing identity groups, religious, nationalist, militarist, xenophobic, racist, misogynist, etc. are under the umbrella of the populist/authoritarian neoliberal political camp as in Trump's Republican Party. The left representing the working class – lower middle class included – has a very weak voice so marginalized a much in the historically anti-left America as in most of the Western World. Instead of joining the progressive leftist camp, the labor movement is itself co-opted by the neoliberal political parties of the pluralist or populist variety, thus society operates under a totalitarian canopy within which the choices are between the neoliberal pluralist or the populist pluralist parties, with variations in modalities, considering inherent conflicts among the political and financial elites choosing different camps. President Macron representing the pluralist neoliberal camp in France is just as militaristic and anti-labor as Trump representing the populist neoliberal camp in the US. Labor's representation in these governments is non-existent. Operating within the parliamentary system, France has an anti-capitalist non-revolutionary party, though it has not been put to the test and it has a very long way to go before it takes power.

In the neoliberal age that dominates life in all its aspects, the development of genuine socialism seems unattainable and people become fatalistic or apathetic. However, the contradictions of the neoliberal establishment, the countless of contradictions in the social order will produce the foundations of a new social order built on the ashes of the one decaying. The declarations of the Asia-Europe People's Forum in the last two decades point out some of the structural problems of the neoliberal status quo, as articulated by heads of state. However, these declarations remain mere rhetoric, as the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit of July 2016 illustrates.

Working for Inclusive, Just, and Equal Alternatives in Asia and Europe. AEPF11 tackled strategies on major themes or People's Visions, representing the hopes of citizens of the two regions. These are:

http://www.aseminfoboard.org/events/11th-asia-europe-peoples-forum-aepf11

ASEM11 touches on some of the problems without analyzing their root causes, namely, globalist neoliberal policies that the same heads of state as signatories are pursuing. While agreeing on the interlocking nature of the crises of capitalism, and acknowledging such crises are the cause of greater social polarization – poverty, inequality, joblessness, and insecurity – they are not willing to abandon the very system that gives rise to the crises. While they readily admit that "We are increasingly experiencing corporate capture", whereby multinational and national corporations structure and determine our lives and livelihoods," they are unwilling to do anything about it. No government is doing anything to encourage genuine grassroots progressive movements, labor and social movements that would become the foundation for a new social order rooted in social justice. On the contrary, the goal is to prevent labor mobilization, progressive social organizations, unless of course they are co-opted and subordinate to the goals of neoliberalism. That the US does not celebrate May Day to honor workers is a reflection of the dominant culture's contempt for labor. For those countries that officially celebrate May Day while pursuing neoliberal anti-labor policies, the holiday has been reduced to about the same level of hypocrisy as any national Independence Day – oppression remains a reality for workers, while equality and social justice are a distant dream.

Jon V. Kofas , Ph.D. – Retired university professor of history – author of ten academic books and two dozens scholarly articles. Specializing in International Political economy, Kofas has taught courses and written on US diplomatic history, and the roles of the World Bank and IMF in the world.

[Jan 03, 2019] This is what keeps us working for the man by Joe Jarvis

Notable quotes:
"... only 1 in 3 US citizen STEM graduates can actually find jobs these days. ..."
"... US citizen are left submitting their resumes into black holes because the tech firms have placed their HR function into bunkers with near zero accessibility to the professional community who wants to offer their services. ..."
"... many bright minds, in the prime of their lives, instead of contributing, are sitting around trying to figure out where they're going to get their next meal. ..."
Jan 03, 2019 | The Daily Bell

by Joe Jarvis via The Daily Bell

You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go,
I owe my soul to the company store.

Travis Merle wrote the song Sixteen Tons about working your life away in the coal mines and spending your whole paycheck–and then some–at the company store. You had no other options in the corporate mining villages of the early twentieth century.

The most famous version of the song came from Tennessee Ernie Ford. Sixteen Tons was covered by many others, including Johnny Cash, and even Elvis at some concerts though he never recorded it.

And South Park recently featured their own version in an episode called "Unfulfilled," about working for Amazon. Of course, South Park is a comedy cartoon series that parodies real-life events. They depicted Amazon fulfilment centers as the only available jobs in the small Colorado town. People worked in dangerous collaboration with machines, and went home to spend their entire paycheck on Amazon.

Jeff Bezos was depicted as a telepathic villain . He would tune in to various Alexa streams to gauge the mood of the town. And anyone who didn't do his bidding would have their Prime status revoked. Comparing Amazon to coal mines is funny because it exaggerates a fear in society. Everyone buys from Amazon, so the small businesses go under. And everyone working for the small businesses goes to work for Amazon.

South Park did the same thing with a Walmart episode about a decade back. Walmart possessed some unknown power which compelled people to shop there, they were powerless to resist. Even better if they could work there and get an employee discount despite the low pay.

And then Amazon came along to compete with Walmart .

... ... ...

Yes, deliver THE DAILY BELL to my inbox!

XXX 8 hours ago

Just when American workers were getting comfortable and were delivering productivity improvements, "corporate America" dropped the ball and started doing massive outsourcing and importation of H-1B workers. To such a severe extent that only 1 in 3 US citizen STEM graduates can actually find jobs these days.

Even top grads from top schools are ignored while the red carpet is rolled out to foreign national OPT and H-1B visa recipients. US citizen are left submitting their resumes into black holes because the tech firms have placed their HR function into bunkers with near zero accessibility to the professional community who wants to offer their services.

The loss to the economy due to such is enormous. So many bright minds, in the prime of their lives, instead of contributing, are sitting around trying to figure out where they're going to get their next meal.

XXX 10 hours ago remove link

Being your own boss sounds great, but in fact most people are not 'wired' for that. Which is a good thing, because any hierarchal organization requires that a few be leaders, with the majority being led. That's why tribes have one chief, nations have one King or President. It's why there is one judge who presides over a trial, why there is one teacher to a classroom, and why we have many times more soldiers than generals.

That is simply the reality. The folks who go on about how we should all become entrepreneurs and work for ourselves as a solution to the noxious employment situation we find ourselves in are ignoring that reality. A world of 'all chiefs and no Indians' just doesn't work, because most people are unable to function that way. That doesn't make them inferior, it doesn't make them suckers for working for 'the man'...that this is not currently working out too well is a function of the incompetent way we've been handling the whole employment-thing, not because too many are employed by others.

The ratio of leaders vs. followers is the way it is because that's what is needed for these systems to WORK. Furthermore, you find this in ALL of nature as well...the pack has ONE leader, the hive has ONE Queen, even among single-celled organisms, the mitochondria have assumed the leadership role and now control and direct all other cellular functions. We see this in the evolution of out own bodies, which consist of many different systems all operating under the leadership of organized neural cells in the brain. You will of course notice that these biological systems have something in common...they all work for the good of the WHOLE organism, not just a few parts. This is a missing piece in most human-run systems, and is likely a reason most people tend to mistrust them and want out.

There is nothing wrong with being a 'worker bee'! Not everyone in the church choir can sell a million albums...does that mean everyone else should just say the hell with it and disband their choirs? When company A makes one guy the CEO, should all the other employees quit in protest and go form their own companies? Then what is the CEO going to run? And who will work for all those new companies?

Anyone who thinks Americans have some kind of problem with 'work' needs to examine the MESSAGING our society is sending about work. I think the problem really lies there. Because competition without cooperation is just warfare. And boy, is THIS a society at war with itself or what?

XXX 12 hours ago

All large systems are hierarchical. Feudalism was hierarchical. So in that sense they are similar, although in corporations there are usually a lot more levels and a lot more people are 'not serfs', but something slightly higher up.

Hierarchies (as far as we know) are the only way to 'scale'. Look at any large system and you will see a hierarchy (roads, Internet, vascular system, government, military, and yes, corporations).

Hierarchical systems may have undesirable elements for some e.g. inequality, but until someone comes up with a different way to organize and run a large system, it is the only way. And, it was not 'designed', it is simply the natural outcome. As natural as the blood flowing in your veins. To 'blame' natural systems for perceived drawbacks is like blaming 'math'.

XXX 14 hours ago (Edited) remove link

This article indicates that we live within a system built and controlled by others and that our only choice is how we respond to that environment. Someone else writes the rules that favor them and the rest of us just have to live with it.

It's a political economy. Changing the rules changes the economy.

Metalredneck , 14 hours ago

I'm sure the resemblance to feudalism is a coincidence. /s

[Jan 03, 2019] Why France's Yellow Vest protests have been ignored by "The Resistance" in the U.S. by Max Parry

US "resistance" is as fake as it can be. It consists mainly of Clinton wing of DemoRats (in pocket of Wall Street) and neoliberal presstitutes in MSM.
Macron is seen as a former Rothschild banker who had the idea that he could 'modernise' France in the neoliberal Brussels way. According to the latest poll 61% of the French reject Macron's policies.
Jan 03, 2019 | www.unz.com

In less than two months, the yellow vests (" gilets jaunes " ) movement in France has reshaped the political landscape in Europe. For a seventh straight week, demonstrations continued across the country even after concessions from a cowed President Emmanuel Macron while inspiring a wave of similar gatherings in neighboring states like Belgium and the Netherlands. Just as el uture EU designer was fortunate enough to have friends in high places. Schuman's clemency was granted by none other than General Charles de Gaulle himself, the leader of the resistance during the war and future French President. Instantly, Schuman's turncoat reputation was rehabilitated and his wartime activity whitewashed. Even though he had knowingly voted full authority to Pétain, the retention of his post in the Vichy government was veneered to have occurred somehow without his knowledge or consent.

... ... ...

Max Parry is an independent journalist and geopolitical analyst. His work has appeared in Counterpunch, Global Research, Dissident Voice, Greanville Post, OffGuardian, and more. Max may be reached at maxrparry@live.com


JLK , says: January 2, 2019 at 5:20 am GMT

Thierry Meyssan is reporting that Macron is more of a stooge for Henry Kravis (of the KKR corporate raider firm) than for the Rothschilds. He also alleges that Kravis has been funding ISIS/Daesh.

http://www.voltairenet.org/article204303.html

Rothschild made a comment the other day about the Italian government debt problem. French banks have heavy exposure. France has troops in Syria; has the French army been leveraged into a mercenary force for wealthy Zionists?

OMG , says: January 2, 2019 at 8:44 am GMT

Not a bad article 'though I have read more profound philosophical discussions about the underlying historical underpinnings to this movement. [see eg. http://www.defenddemocracy.press/the-ghost-of-1789-looms-over-france-and-europe/ .

The article by Angela Nagle which is linked to is, however, absolutely excellent and I thoroughly recommend reading it as a very powerful argument against unfettered immigration.

Justsaying , says: January 2, 2019 at 10:54 am GMT

Very perceptive to place "Resistance" between quotes. Resistance is non-existent in the US. True resistance requires an educated working class; instead the US has a amassed one of the most stupefied and brainwashed workers on the planet.

Alfred Barnes , says: January 2, 2019 at 11:17 am GMT

The Yellow Jackets movement isn't lost in the US, nor among those who support DJT. In fact, until the Tea Party movement and the Occupy movement, both grass roots organized, recognize they have a common enemy in the status quo, they will continue to conquered by it.

The merge of fiscal and social responsibility is something the NWO wants to avoid at all costs while they implement their global currency and totalitarian rule. Globalists want to replace God with the state.

Paul C. , says: January 2, 2019 at 12:28 pm GMT
@Jeff Stryker

France and the US, like most nations, are controlled by the parasitical zionist central bankers and their deep state apparatchiks. They continue to squeeze the native populations into poverty and servitude, while destroying their culture with open borders, facilitating 3rd world immigration. The zionist controlled MSM won't cover the Yellow Vest movement in hopes to keep awareness low. Many would like to see it gain a foothold in the US. Unfortunately, Americans have been subject to fluoridation of their water supply, unlike France, and thus are docile. The pharmaceuticals and vaccines have rendered them zombies.

[Jan 02, 2019] Sic Semper Tyrannis 150 Central Americans tried by force this week to enter the US illegally en masse

Jan 02, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

150 Central Americans tried by force this week to enter the US illegally en masse Static.politico.com

"US agents have fired tear gas over the border into Mexico at migrants trying to enter the country illegally.

Around 150 Central Americans tried to make the crossing near the town of Tijuana to the south of California on New Year's Day.

One US official described the migrants as a "violent mob".

It comes as the US federal government remains shut down as President Donald Trump and Congress argue over funding for his proposed border wall." BBC

------------

The BBC does not seem to know that the US voluntarily admits over one million legal IMMIGRANTS per year. These people are automatically on a track to full citizenship after five years residence if they behave themselves, pay their taxes, do not commit criminal acts, etc. They can accelerate that process if they join the US armed forces and serve honorably.

The people now seeking to force their way across the border seem to think that they are justified in crashing across the US border with Mexico without regard to US law. To willingly cross the US border illegally is a misdemeanor crime. The US government has a duty under the constitution to defend the borders of the US against foreign invasion. How are foreign people trying to crash through the border not an invasion? Tear gas? Yes, it makes you cry and choke. The alternative is force escalating to deadly force.

The US listens to petitions for asylum from conditions that threaten life. The US does not recognize petitions for asylum based on poor conditions of local economy or crime in countries of origin. If the US did accept such petitions, most of the population of the planet would be eligible for asylum in the US.

The argument is raised that the US should make Central America an earthly paradise, a veritable Nebraska in which Hondurans, Guatemalans and Salvadorans would be content to abide. Well, pilgrims, as I have explained here several times, the US has been trying to do that in Latin America ever since the Kennedy Administration with minimal success. Do these little countries wish to surrender their sovereignty to the US so that we might perform our magic of enrichment and creation of actual democracy upon them? I think they do not. They approach our borders waving the various flags of their wretched countries even while asking for ASYLUM from those countries, countries that cannot run their own affairs well enough to make people want to stay home and live the good life Latino style.

Make no mistake. If these migrants, who think nothing of using little children as human shields, force surrender of control of immigration, there will be a tidal wave coming behind them. pl

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-46739126

[Dec 30, 2018] Soros 'person of the year' indeed -- In 2018 globalists pushed peoples' patience to the edge

Notable quotes:
"... stateless superpowers ..."
"... an old-school Christian democracy, rooted in European traditions ..."
"... Beggar-thy-neighbor migration policies, such as building border fences, will not only further fragment the union; they also seriously damage European economies and subvert global human rights standards. ..."
"... at least 300,000 refugees each year ..."
"... surge funding, ..."
"... raising a substantial amount of debt backed by the EU's relatively small budget. ..."
"... To finance it, new European taxes will have to be levied sooner or later, ..."
Dec 30, 2018 | www.rt.com

It is no secret that neoliberalism relentlessly pursues a globalized, borderless world where labor, products, and services obey the hidden hand of the free market. What is less often mentioned, however, is that this system is far more concerned with promoting the well-being of corporations and cowboy capitalists than assisting the average person on the street. Indeed, many of the world's most powerful companies today have mutated into " stateless superpowers ," while consumers are forced to endure crippling austerity measures amid plummeting standards of living. The year 2018 could be seen as the tipping point when the grass-roots movement against these dire conditions took off.

Since 2015, when German Chancellor Angela Merkel allowed hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants into Germany and the EU, a groundswell of animosity has been steadily building against the European Union, perhaps best exemplified by the Brexit movement. Quite simply, many people are growing weary of the globalist argument that Europe needs migrants and austerity measures to keep the wheels of the economy spinning. At the very least, luring migrants with cash incentives to move to Germany and elsewhere in the EU appears incredibly shortsighted.

Indeed, if the globalist George Soros wants to lend his Midas touch to ameliorating the migrant's plight, why does he think that relocating them to European countries is the solution? As is becoming increasingly apparent in places like Sweden and France, efforts to assimilate people from vastly different cultures, religions and backgrounds is an extremely tricky venture, the success of which is far from guaranteed.

Tear gas fired as Yellow Vests and police clash in French city of Rouen (VIDEOS)

One worrying consequence of Europe's season of open borders has been the rise of far-right political movements. In fact, some of the harshest criticism of the 'Merkel plan' originated in Hungary , where its gutsy president, Viktor Orban, hopes to build " an old-school Christian democracy, rooted in European traditions ." Orban is simply responding to the democratic will of his people, who are fiercely conservative, yet the EU parliament voted to punish him regardless. The move shows that Brussels, aside from being adverse to democratic principles, has very few tools for addressing the rise of far-right sentiment that its own misguided policies created.

Here it is necessary to mention once again that bugbear of the political right, Mr. Soros, who has received no political mandate from European voters, yet who campaigns relentlessly on behalf of globalist initiatives through his Open Society Foundations (OSF) (That campaign just got some serious clout after Soros injected $18bn dollars of his own money into OSF, making it one of the most influential NGOs in the world).

With no small amount of impudence, Soros has condemned EU countries – namely his native Hungary – for attempting to protect their territories by constructing border barriers and fences, which he believes violate the human rights of migrants (rarely if ever does the philanthropist speak about the "human rights" of the native population). In the words of the maestro of mayhem himself: " Beggar-thy-neighbor migration policies, such as building border fences, will not only further fragment the union; they also seriously damage European economies and subvert global human rights standards. "

Through a leaked network of compromised EU parliamentarians who do his bidding, Soros says the EU should spend $30 billion euros ($33bln) to accommodate " at least 300,000 refugees each year ." How will the EU pay for the resettling of migrants from the Middle East? Soros has an answer for that as well. He calls it " surge funding, " which entails " raising a substantial amount of debt backed by the EU's relatively small budget. "

Nigel Farage @Nigel_Farage

George Soros has spent billions in the EU to undermine the nation state. This is where the real international political collusion is.

28.8K 4:35 AM - Nov 14, 2017

Any guesses who will be forced to pay down the debt on this high-risk venture? If you guessed George Soros, guess again. The already heavily taxed people of Europe will be forced to shoulder that heavy burden. " To finance it, new European taxes will have to be levied sooner or later, " Soros admits. That comment is very interesting in light of the recent French protests, which were triggered by Emmanuel Macron's plan to impose a new fuel tax. Was the French leader, a former investment banker, attempting to get back some of the funds being used to support the influx of new arrivals into his country? The question seems like a valid one, and goes far at explaining the ongoing unrest.

Soros & the £400k Question: What constitutes 'foreign interference' in democracy?

At this point, it is worth remembering what triggered the exodus of migrants into Europe in the first place. A large part of the answer comes down to unlawful NATO operations on the ground of sovereign states. Since 2003, the 29-member military bloc, under the direct command of Washington, has conducted illicit military operations in various places around the globe, including in Iraq, Libya and Syria. These actions, which could be best described as globalism on steroids, have opened a Pandora's Box of global scourges, including famine, terrorism and grinding poverty. Is this what the Western states mean by 'humanitarian activism'? If the major EU countries really want to flout their humanitarian credentials, they could have started by demanding the cessation of regime-change operations throughout the Middle East and North Africa, which created such inhumane conditions for millions of innocent people.

This failure on the part of Western capitals to speak out against belligerent US foreign policy helps to explain why a number of other European governments are experiencing major shakeups. Sebastian Kurz, 32, won over the hearts of Austrian voters by promising to tackle unchecked immigration. In super-tolerant Sweden, which has accepted more migrants per capita than any other EU state, the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats party garnered 17.6 percent of the vote in September elections – up from 12.9 percent in the previous election. And even Angela Merkel, who is seen by many people as the de facto leader of the European Union, is watching her political star crash and burn mostly due to her bungling of the migrant crisis. In October, after her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) suffered a stinging setback in Bavaria elections, which saw CDU voters abandon ship for the anti-immigrant AfD and the Greens, Merkel announced she would resign in 2021 after her current term expires.

Meanwhile, back in the US, the government of President Donald Trump has been shut down as the Democrats refuse to grant the American leader the funds to build a wall on the Mexican border – despite the fact that he essentially made it to the White House on precisely that promise. Personally, I find it very hard to believe that any political party that does not support a strong and viable border can continue to be taken seriously at the polls for very long. Yet that is the very strategy that the Democrats have chosen. But I digress.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security. At some point the Democrats not wanting to make a deal will cost our Country more money than the Border Wall we are all talking about. Crazy!

181K 12:32 PM - Dec 24, 2018 Twitter Ads info and privacy

The lesson that Western governments should have learned over the last year from these developments is that there exists a definite red line that the globalists cross at risk not only to the social order, but to their own political fortunes. Eventually the people will demand solutions to their problems – many of which were caused by reckless neoliberal programs and austerity measures. This collective sense of desperation may open the door to any number of right-wing politicians only too happy to meet the demand.

Better to provide fair working conditions for the people while maintaining strong borders than have to face the wrath of the street or some political charlatan later. Whether or not Western leaders will change their neoliberal ways as a populist storm front approaches remains to be seen, but I for one am not betting on it.

[Dec 24, 2018] Income inequality happens by design. We cant fix it by tweaking capitalism

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Stocks have always been "a legal form of gambling". What is happening now however, is that a pair of treys can beat out your straight flush. Companies that have never turned a profit fetch huge prices on the stock market. ..."
"... The stock market suckered millions in before 2008 and then prices plummeted. Where did the money from grandpa's pension fund go? ..."
"... Abraham Lincoln said that the purpose of government is to do for people what they cannot do for themselves. Government also should serve to keep people from hurting themselves and to restrain man's greed, which otherwise cannot be self-controlled. Anyone who seeks to own productive power that they cannot or won't use for consumption are beggaring their neighbor––the equivalency of mass murder––the impact of concentrated capital ownership. ..."
"... family wealth" predicts outcomes for 10 to 15 generations. Those with extreme wealth owe it to events going back "300 to 450" years ago, according to research published by the New Republic – an era when it wasn't unusual for white Americans to benefit from an economy dependent upon widespread, unpaid black labor in the form of slavery. ..."
"... Correction: The average person in poverty in the U.S. does not live in the same abject, third world poverty as you might find in Honduras, Central African Republic, Cambodia, or the barrios of Sao Paulo. ..."
"... Since our poor don't live in abject poverty, I invite you to live as a family of four on less than $11,000 a year anywhere in the United States. If you qualify and can obtain subsidized housing you may have some of the accoutrements in your home that you seem to equate with living the high life. You know, running water, a fridge, a toilet, a stove. You would also likely have a phone (subsidized at that) so you might be able to participate (or attempt to participate) in the job market in an honest attempt to better your family's economic prospects and as is required to qualify for most assistance programs. ..."
"... So many dutiful neoliberals on here rushing to the defense of poor Capitalism. Clearly, these commentators are among those who are in the privileged position of reaping the true benefits of Capitalism - And, of course, there are many benefits to reap if you are lucky enough to be born into the right racial-socioeconomic context. ..."
"... Please walk us through how non-capitalist systems create wealth and allow their lowest class people propel themselves to the top in one generation. You will note that most socialist systems derive their technology and advancements from the more capitalistic systems. Pharmaceuticals, software, and robotics are a great example of this. I shutter to think of what the welfare of the average citizen of the world would be like without the advancements made via the capitalist countries. ..."
Dec 05, 2015 | The Guardian

The poorest Americans have no realistic hope of achieving anything that approaches income equality. They still struggle for access to the basics

... ... ...

The disparities in wealth that we term "income inequality" are no accident, and they can't be fixed by fiddling at the edges of our current economic system. These disparities happened by design, and the system structurally disadvantages those at the bottom. The poorest Americans have no realistic hope of achieving anything that approaches income equality; even their very chances for access to the most basic tools of life are almost nil.

... ... ...

Too often, the answer by those who have hoarded everything is they will choose to "give back" in a manner of their choosing – just look at Mark Zuckerberg and his much-derided plan to "give away" 99% of his Facebook stock. He is unlikely to help change inequality or poverty any more than "giving away" of $100m helped children in Newark schools.

Allowing any of the 100 richest Americans to choose how they fix "income inequality" will not make the country more equal or even guarantee more access to life. You can't take down the master's house with the master's tools, even when you're the master; but more to the point, who would tear down his own house to distribute the bricks among so very many others?

mkenney63 5 Dec 2015 20:37

Excellent article. The problems we face are structural and can only be solved by making fundamental changes. We must bring an end to "Citizens United", modern day "Jim Crow" and the military industrial complex in order to restore our democracy. Then maybe, just maybe, we can have an economic system that will treat all with fairness and respect. Crony capitalism has had its day, it has mutated into criminality.

Kencathedrus -> Marcedward 5 Dec 2015 20:23

In the pre-capitalist system people learnt crafts to keep themselves afloat. The Industrial Revolution changed all that. Now we have the church of Education promising a better life if we get into debt to buy (sorry, earn) degrees.

The whole system is messed up and now we have millions of people on this planet who can't function even those with degrees. Barbarians are howling at the gates of Europe. The USA is rotting from within. As Marx predicted the Capitalists are merely paying their own grave diggers.

mkenney63 -> Bobishere 5 Dec 2015 20:17

I would suggest you read the economic and political history of the past 30 years. To help you in your study let me recommend a couple of recent books: "Winner Take all Politics" by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson and "The Age of Acquiescence" by Steve Fraser. It always amazes me that one can be so blind the facts of recent American history; it's not just "a statistical inequality", it's been a well thought-out strategy over time to rig the system, a strategy engaged in by politicians and capitalists. Shine some light on this issue by acquainting yourself with the facts.


Maharaja Brovinda -> Singh Jill Harrison 5 Dec 2015 19:42

We play out the prisoner's dilemma in life, in general, over and over in different circumstances, every day. And we always choose the dominant - rational - solution. But the best solution is not based on rationality, but rather on trust and faith in each other - rather ironically for our current, evidence based society!


Steven Palmer 5 Dec 2015 19:19

Like crack addicts the philanthropricks only seek to extend their individual glory, social image their primary goal, and yet given the context they will burn in history. Philanthroptits should at least offset the immeasurable damage they have done through their medieval wealth accumulation. Collaborative philanthropy for basic income is a good idea, but ye, masters tools.


BlairM -> Iconoclastick 5 Dec 2015 19:10

Well, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, capitalism is the worst possible economic system, except for all those other economic systems that have been tried from time to time.

I'd rather just have the freedom to earn money as I please, and if that means inequality, it's a small price to pay for not having some feudal lord or some party bureaucrat stomping on my humanity.

brusuz 5 Dec 2015 18:52

As long as wealth can be created by shuffling money from one place to another in the giant crap shoot we call our economy, nothing will change. Until something takes place to make it advantageous for the investor capitalists to put that money to work doing something that actually produces some benefit to the society as a whole, they will continue their extractive machinations. I see nothing on the horizon that is going to change any of that, and to cast this as some sort of a racial issue is quite superficial. We have all gotten the shaft, since there is no upward mobility available to anyone. Since the Bush crowd of neocons took power, we have all been shackled with "individual solutions to societal created problems."

Jimi Del Duca 5 Dec 2015 18:31

Friends, Capitalism is structural exploitation of ALL WORKERS. Thinking about it as solely a race issue is divisive. What we need is CLASS SOLIDARITY and ORGANIZATION. See iww.org We are the fighting union with no use for capitalists!

slightlynumb -> AmyInNH 5 Dec 2015 18:04

You'd be better off reading Marx if you want to understand capitalism. I think you are ascribing the word to what you think it should be rather than what it is.

It is essentially a class structure rather than any defined economic system. Neoliberal is essentially laissez faire capitalism. It is designed to suborn nation states to corporate benefit.

AmyInNH -> tommydog

They make $40 a month. Working 7 days a week. At least 12 hour days. Who's fed you that "we're doing them a favor" BS?

And I've news for you regarding "Those whose skills are less adaptable to doing so are seeing their earnings decline." We have many people who have 3 masters degrees making less than minimum wage. We have top notch STEM students shunned so corporations can hire captive/cheaper foreign labor, called H1-Bs, who then wait 10 years working for them waiting for their employment based green card. Or "visiting" students here on J1 visas, so the employers can get out of paying: social security, federal unemployment insurance, etc.

Wake up and smell the coffee tommydog. They've more than a thumb on the scale.

seamanbodine,
I am a socialist. I decided to read this piece to see if Mr. Thrasher could write about market savagery without propounding the fiction that whites are somehow exempt from the effects of it.

No, he could not. I clicked on the link accompanying his assertion that whites who are high school dropouts earn more than blacks with college degrees, and I read the linked piece in full. The linked piece does not in fact compare income (i.e., yearly earnings) of white high school dropouts with those of black college graduates, but it does compare family wealth across racial cohorts (though not educational ones), and the gap there is indeed stark, with average white family wealth in the six figures (full disclosure, I am white, and my personal wealth is below zero, as I owe more in student loans than I own, so perhaps I am not really white, or I do not fully partake of "whiteness," or whatever), and average black family wealth in the four figures.

The reason for this likely has a lot to do with home ownership disparities, which in turn are linked in significant part to racist redlining practices. So white dropouts often live in homes their parents or grandparents bought, while many black college graduates whose parents were locked out of home ownership by institutional racism and, possibly, the withering of manufacturing jobs just as the northward migration was beginning to bear some economic fruit for black families, are still struggling to become homeowners. Thus, the higher average wealth for the dropout who lives in a family owned home.

But this is not what Mr. Thrasher wrote. He specifically used the words "earn more," creating the impression that some white ignoramus is simply going to stumble his way into a higher salary than a cultivated, college educated black person. That is simply not the case, and the difference does matter.

Why does it matter? Because I regularly see middle aged whites who are broken and homeless on the streets of the town where I live, and I know they are simply the tip of a growing mountain of privation. Yeah, go ahead, call it white tears if you want, but if you cannot see that millions (including, of course, not simply folks who are out and out homeless, but folks who are struggling to get enough to eat and routinely go without needed medication and medical care) of people who have "white privilege" are indeed oppressed by global capitalism then I would say that you are, at the end of the day, NO BETTER THAN THE WHITES YOU DISDAIN.

If you have read this far, then you realize that I am in no way denying the reality of structural racism. But an account of economic savagery that entirely subsumes it into non-economic categories (race, gender, age), that refuses to acknowledge that blacks can be exploiters and whites can be exploited, is simply conservatism by other means. One gets the sense that if we have enough black millionaires and enough whites dying of things like a lack of medical care, then this might bring just a little bit of warmth to the hearts of people like Mr. Thrasher.

Call it what you want, but don't call it progressive. Maybe it is historical karma. Which is understandable, as there is no reason why globally privileged blacks in places like the U.S. or Great Britain should bear the burden of being any more selfless or humane than globally privileged whites are or have been. The Steven Thrashers of humanity are certainly no worse than many of the whites they cannot seem to recognize as fully human are.

But nor are they any better.
JohnLG 5 Dec 2015 17:23

I agree that the term "income inequality" is so vague that falls between useless and diversionary, but so too is most use of the word "capitalism", or so it seems to me. Typically missing is a penetrating analysis of where the problem lies, a comprehensibly supported remedy, or large-scale examples of anything except what's not working. "Income inequality" is pretty abstract until we look specifically at the consequences for individuals and society, and take a comprehensive look at all that is unequal. What does "capitalism" mean? Is capitalism the root of all this? Is capitalism any activity undertaken for profit, or substantial monopolization of markets and power?

Power tends to corrupt. Money is a form of power, but there are others. The use of power to essentially cheat, oppress or kill others is corrupt, whether that power is in the form of a weapon, wealth, the powers of the state, or all of the above. Power is seductive and addictive. Even those with good intensions can be corrupted by an excess of power and insufficient accountability, while predators are drawn to power like sharks to blood. Democracy involves dispersion of power, ideally throughout a whole society. A constitutional democracy may offer protection even to minorities against a "tyranny of the majority" so long as a love of justice prevails. Selective "liberty and justice" is not liberty and justice at all, but rather a tyranny of the many against the few, as in racism, or of the few against the many, as by despots. Both forms reinforce each other in the same society, both are corrupt, and any "ism" can be corrupted by narcissism. To what degree is any society a shining example of government of, for, and by the people, and to what degree can one discover empirical evidence of corruption? What do we do about it?

AmyInNH -> CaptainGrey 5 Dec 2015 17:15

You're too funny. It's not "lifting billions out of poverty". It's moving malicious manufacturing practices to the other side of the planet. To the lands of no labor laws. To hide it from consumers. To hide profits.

And it is dying. Legislatively they choke off their natural competition, which is an essential element of capitalism. Monopoly isn't capitalism. And when they bribe legislators, we don't have democracy any more either.

Jeremiah2000 -> Teresa Trujillo 5 Dec 2015 16:53

Stocks have always been "a legal form of gambling". What is happening now however, is that a pair of treys can beat out your straight flush. Companies that have never turned a profit fetch huge prices on the stock market.

The stock market suckered millions in before 2008 and then prices plummeted. Where did the money from grandpa's pension fund go?

Gary Reber 5 Dec 2015 16:45

Abraham Lincoln said that the purpose of government is to do for people what they cannot do for themselves. Government also should serve to keep people from hurting themselves and to restrain man's greed, which otherwise cannot be self-controlled. Anyone who seeks to own productive power that they cannot or won't use for consumption are beggaring their neighbor––the equivalency of mass murder––the impact of concentrated capital ownership.

The words "OWN" and "ASSETS" are the key descriptors of the definition of wealth. But these words are not well understood by the vast majority of Americans or for that matter, global citizens. They are limited to the vocabulary used by the wealthy ownership class and financial publications, which are not widely read, and not even taught in our colleges and universities.

The wealthy ownership class did not become wealthy because they are "three times as smart." Still there is a valid argument that the vast majority of Americans do not pay particular attention to the financial world and educate themselves on wealth building within the current system's limited past-savings paradigm. Significantly, the wealthy OWNERSHIP class use their political power (power always follows property OWNERSHIP) to write the system rules to benefit and enhance their wealth. As such they have benefited from forging trade policy agreements which further concentrate OWNERSHIP on a global scale, military-industrial complex subsidies and government contracts, tax code provisions and loopholes and collective-bargaining rules – policy changes they've used their wealth to champion.

Gary Reber 5 Dec 2015 16:44

Unfortunately, when it comes to recommendations for solutions to economic inequality, virtually every commentator, politician and economist is stuck in viewing the world in one factor terms – human labor, in spite of their implied understanding that the rich are rich because they OWN the non-human means of production – physical capital. The proposed variety of wealth-building programs, like "universal savings accounts that might be subsidized for low-income savers," are not practical solutions because they rely on savings (a denial of consumption which lessens demand in the economy), which the vast majority of Americans do not have, and for those who can save their savings are modest and insignificant. Though, millions of Americans own diluted stock value through the "stock market exchanges," purchased with their earnings as labor workers (savings), their stock holdings are relatively minuscule, as are their dividend payments compared to the top 10 percent of capital owners. Pew Research found that 53 percent of Americans own no stock at all, and out of the 47 percent who do, the richest 5 percent own two-thirds of that stock. And only 10 percent of Americans have pensions, so stock market gains or losses don't affect the incomes of most retirees.

As for taxpayer-supported saving subsidies or other wage-boosting measures, those who have only their labor power and its precarious value held up by coercive rigging and who desperately need capital ownership to enable them to be capital workers (their productive assets applied in the economy) as well as labor workers to have a way to earn more income, cannot satisfy their unsatisfied needs and wants and sufficiently provide for themselves and their families. With only access to labor wages, the 99 percenters will continue, in desperation, to demand more and more pay for the same or less work, as their input is exponentially replaced by productive capital.

As such, the vast majority of American consumers will continue to be strapped to mounting consumer debt bills, stagnant wages and inflationary price pressures. As their ONLY source of income is through wage employment, economic insecurity for the 99 percent majority of people means they cannot survive more than a week or two without a paycheck. Thus, the production side of the economy is under-nourished and hobbled as a result, because there are fewer and fewer "customers with money." We thus need to free economic growth from the slavery of past savings.

I mentioned that political power follows property OWNERSHIP because with concentrated capital asset OWNERSHIP our elected representatives are far too often bought with the expectation that they protect and enhance the interests of the wealthiest Americans, the OWNERSHIP class they too overwhelmingly belong to.

Many, including the author of this article, have concluded that with such a concentrated OWNERSHIP stronghold the wealthy have on our politics, "it's hard to see where this cycle ends." The ONLY way to reverse this cycle and broaden capital asset OWNERSHIP universally is a political revolution. (Bernie Sanders, are you listening?)

The political revolution must address the problem of lack of demand. To create demand, the FUTURE economy must be financed in ways that create new capital OWNERS, who will benefit from the full earnings of the FUTURE productive capability of the American economy, and without taking from those who already OWN. This means significantly slowing the further concentration of capital asset wealth among those who are already wealthy and ensuring that the system is reformed to promote inclusive prosperity, inclusive opportunity, and inclusive economic justice.

yamialwaysright 5 Dec 2015 16:13

I was interested and in agreement until I read about structured racism. Many black kidsin the US grow up without a father in the house. They turn to anti-social behaviour and crime. Once you are poor it is hard to get out of being poor but Journalists are not doing justice to a critique of US Society if they ignore the fact that some people behave in a self-destructive way. I would imagine that if some black men in the US and the UK stuck with one woman and played a positive role in the life of their kids, those kids would have a better chance at life. People of different racial and ethnic origin do this also but there does seem to be a disproportionate problem with some black US men and some black UK men. Poverty is one problem but growing up in poverty and without a father figure adds to the problem.

What the author writes applies to other countries not just the US in relation to the super wealthy being a small proportion of the population yet having the same wealth as a high percentage of the population. This in not a black or latino issue but a wealth distribution issue that affects everyone irrespective of race or ethnic origin. The top 1%, 5% or 10% having most of the wealth is well-known in many countries.

nuthermerican4u 5 Dec 2015 15:59

Capitalism, especially the current vulture capitalism, is dog eat dog. Always was, always will be. My advice is that if you are a capitalist that values your heirs, invest in getting off this soon-to-be slag heap and find other planets to pillage and rape. Either go all out for capitalism or reign in this beast before it kills all of us.

soundofthesuburbs 5 Dec 2015 15:32

Our antiquated class structure demonstrates the trickle up of Capitalism and the need to counterbalance it with progressive taxation.

In the 1960s/1970s we used high taxes on the wealthy to counter balance the trickle up of Capitalism and achieved much greater equality.

Today we have low taxes on the wealthy and Capitalism's trickle up is widening the inequality gap.

We are cutting benefits for the disabled, poor and elderly so inequality can get wider and the idle rich can remain idle.

They have issued enough propaganda to make people think it's those at the bottom that don't work.

Every society since the dawn of civilization has had a Leisure Class at the top, in the UK we call them the Aristocracy and they have been doing nothing for centuries.

The UK's aristocracy has seen social systems come and go, but they all provide a life of luxury and leisure and with someone else doing all the work.

Feudalism - exploit the masses through land ownership
Capitalism - exploit the masses through wealth (Capital)

Today this is done through the parasitic, rentier trickle up of Capitalism:

a) Those with excess capital invest it and collect interest, dividends and rent.
b) Those with insufficient capital borrow money and pay interest and rent.

The system itself provides for the idle rich and always has done from the first civilisations right up to the 21st Century.

The rich taking from the poor is always built into the system, taxes and benefits are the counterbalance that needs to be applied externally.

Iconoclastick 5 Dec 2015 15:31

I often chuckle when I read some of the right wing comments on articles such as this. Firstly, I question if readers actually read the article references I've highlighted, before rushing to comment.

Secondly, the comments are generated by cifers who probably haven't set the world alight, haven't made a difference in their local community, they'll have never created thousands of jobs in order to reward themselves with huge dividends having and as a consequence enjoy spectacular asset/investment growth, at best they'll be chugging along, just about keeping their shit together and yet they support a system that's broken, other than for the one percent, of the one percent.

A new report from the Institute for Policy Studies issued this week analyzed the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans and found that "the wealthiest 100 households now own about as much wealth as the entire African American population in the United States". That means that 100 families – most of whom are white – have as much wealth as the 41,000,000 black folks walking around the country (and the million or so locked up) combined.

Similarly, the report also stated that "the wealthiest 186 members of the Forbes 400 own as much wealth as the entire Latino population" of the nation. Here again, the breakdown in actual humans is broke down: 186 overwhelmingly white folks have more money than that an astounding 55,000,000 Latino people.

family wealth" predicts outcomes for 10 to 15 generations. Those with extreme wealth owe it to events going back "300 to 450" years ago, according to research published by the New Republic – an era when it wasn't unusual for white Americans to benefit from an economy dependent upon widespread, unpaid black labor in the form of slavery.

soundofthesuburbs -> soundofthesuburbs 5 Dec 2015 15:26

It is the 21st Century and most of the land in the UK is still owned by the descendants of feudal warlords that killed people and stole their land and wealth.

When there is no land to build houses for generation rent, land ownership becomes an issue.

David Cameron is married into the aristocracy and George Osborne is a member of the aristocracy, they must both be well acquainted with the Leisure Class.

I can't find any hard work going on looking at the Wikipedia page for David Cameron's father-in-law. His family have been on their estate since the sixteenth century and judging by today's thinking, expect to be on it until the end of time.

George Osborne's aristocratic pedigree goes back to the Tudor era:

"he is an aristocrat with a pedigree stretching back to early in the Tudor era. His father, Sir Peter Osborne, is the 17th holder of a hereditary baronetcy that has been passed from father to son for 10 generations, and of which George is next in line."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/george-osborne-a-silver-spoon-for-the-golden-boy-2004814.html

soundofthesuburbs 5 Dec 2015 15:24

The working and middle classes toil to keep the upper class in luxury and leisure.

In the UK nothing has changed.

We call our Leisure Class the Aristocracy.

For the first time in five millennia of human civilisation some people at the bottom of society aren't working.

We can't have that; idleness is only for the rich.

It's the way it's always been and the way it must be again.

Did you think the upper; leisure class, social calendar disappeared in the 19th Century?
No it's alive and kicking in the 21st Century ....

Peer into the lives of today's Leisure Class with Tatler. http://www.tatler.com/the-season

If we have people at the bottom who are not working the whole of civilisation will be turned on its head.

"The modern industrial society developed from the barbarian tribal society, which featured a leisure class supported by subordinated working classes employed in economically productive occupations. The leisure class is composed of people exempted from manual work and from practicing economically productive occupations, because they belong to the leisure class."

The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions, by Thorstein Veblen. It was written a long time ago but much of it is as true today as it was then. The Wikipedia entry gives a good insight.

DBChas 5 Dec 2015 15:13
"income inequality" is best viewed as structural capitalism. It's not as if, did black and brown people and female people somehow (miraculously) attain the economic status of the lower-paid, white, male person, the problem would be solved--simply by adjusting pay scales. The problem is inherent to capitalism, which doesn't mean certain "types" of people aren't more disadvantaged for their "type." No one is saying that. For capitalists, it's easier to rationalize the obscene unfairness (only rich people say, "life's not fair") when their "type" is regarded as superior to a different "type," whether that be with respect to color or gender or both.

Over time--a long time--the dominant party (white males since the Dark Ages, also the life-span of capitalism coincidentally enough) came to dominance by various means, too many to try to list, or even know of. Why white males? BTW, just because most in power and in money are white males does not mean ALL white males are in positions of power and wealth. Most are not, and these facts help to fog the issue.

Indeed, "income inequality," is not an accident, nor can it be fixed, as the author notes, by tweaking (presumably he means capitalism). And he's quite right too in saying, "You can't take down the master's house with the master's tools..." I take that ALSO to mean, the problem can't be fixed by way of what Hedges has called a collapsing liberal establishment with its various institutions, officially speaking. That is, it's not institutional racism that's collapsing, but that institution is not officially recognized as such.

HOWEVER, it IS possible, even when burdened with an economics that is capitalism, to redistribute wealth, and I don't just mean Mark Zuckerberg's. I mean all wealth in whatever form can be redistributed if/when government decides it can. And THIS TIME, unlike the 1950s-60s, not only would taxes on the wealthy be the same as then but the wealth redistributed would be redistributed to ALL, not just to white families, and perhaps in particular to red families, the oft forgotten ones.

This is a matter of political will. But, of course, if that means whites as the largest voting block insist on electing to office those without the political will, nothing will change. In that case, other means have to be considered, and just a reminder: If the government fails to serve the people, the Constitution gives to the people the right to depose that government. But again, if whites as the largest voting block AND as the largest sub-group in the nation (and women are the largest part of that block, often voting as their men vote--just the facts, please, however unpleasant) have little interest in seeing to making necessary changes at least in voting booths, then...what? Bolshevism or what? No one seems to know and it's practically taboo even to talk about possibilities. Americans did it once, but not inclusively and not even paid in many instances. When it happens again, it has to happen with and for the participation of ALL. And it's worth noting that it will have to happen again, because capitalism by its very nature cannot survive itself. That is, as Marx rightly noted, capitalism will eventually collapse by dint of its internal contradictions.


mbidding Jeremiah2000 5 Dec 2015 15:08

Correction: The average person in poverty in the U.S. does not live in the same abject, third world poverty as you might find in Honduras, Central African Republic, Cambodia, or the barrios of Sao Paulo.

Since our poor don't live in abject poverty, I invite you to live as a family of four on less than $11,000 a year anywhere in the United States. If you qualify and can obtain subsidized housing you may have some of the accoutrements in your home that you seem to equate with living the high life. You know, running water, a fridge, a toilet, a stove. You would also likely have a phone (subsidized at that) so you might be able to participate (or attempt to participate) in the job market in an honest attempt to better your family's economic prospects and as is required to qualify for most assistance programs.

Consider as well that you don't have transportation to get a job that would improve your circumstances. You earn too much to qualify for meaningful levels of food support programs and fall into the insurance gap for subsidies because you live in a state that for ideological reasons refuses to expand Medicaid coverage. Your local schools are a disgrace but you can't take advantage of so-called school choice programs (vouchers, charters, and the like) as you don't have transportation or the time (given your employer's refusal to set fixed working hours for minimum wage part time work) to get your kids to that fine choice school.

You may have a fridge and a stove, but you have no food to cook. You may have access to running water and electricity, but you can't afford to pay the bills for such on account of having to choose between putting food in that fridge or flushing that toilet. You can't be there reliably for your kids to help with school, etc, because you work constantly shifting hours for crap pay.

Get back to me after six months to a year after living in such circumstances and then tell me again how Americans don't really live in poverty simply because they have access to appliances.


Earl Shelton 5 Dec 2015 15:08

The Earned Income Tax Credit seems to me a good starting point for reform. It has been around since the 70s -- conceived by Nixon/Moynihan -- and signed by socialist (kidding) Gerald Ford -- it already *redistributes* income (don't choke on the term, O'Reilly) directly from tax revenue (which is still largely progressive) to the working poor, with kids.

That program should be massively expanded to tax the 1% -- and especially the top 1/10 of 1% (including a wealth tax) -- and distribute the money to the bottom half of society, mostly in the form of work training, child care and other things that help put them in and keep them in the middle class. It is a mechanism already in existence to correct the worst ravages of Capitalism. Use it to build shared prosperity.


oKWJNRo 5 Dec 2015 14:40

So many dutiful neoliberals on here rushing to the defense of poor Capitalism. Clearly, these commentators are among those who are in the privileged position of reaping the true benefits of Capitalism - And, of course, there are many benefits to reap if you are lucky enough to be born into the right racial-socioeconomic context.

We can probably all agree that Capitalism has brought about widespread improvements in healthcare, education, living conditions, for example, compared to the feudal system that preceded it... But it also disproportionately benefits the upper echelons of Capitalist societies and is wholly unequal by design.

Capitalism depends upon the existence of a large underclass that can be exploited. This is part of the process of how surplus value is created and wealth is extracted from labour. This much is indisputable. It is therefore obvious that capitalism isn't an ideal system for most of us living on this planet.

As for the improvements in healthcare, education, living conditions etc that Capitalism has fostered... Most of these were won through long struggles against the Capitalist hegemony by the masses. We would have certainly chosen to make these improvements to our landscape sooner if Capitalism hadn't made every effort to stop us. The problem today is that Capitalism and its powerful beneficiaries have successfully convinced us that there is no possible alternative. It won't give us the chance to try or even permit us to believe there could be another, better way.

Martin Joseph -> realdoge 5 Dec 2015 14:33

Please walk us through how non-capitalist systems create wealth and allow their lowest class people propel themselves to the top in one generation. You will note that most socialist systems derive their technology and advancements from the more capitalistic systems. Pharmaceuticals, software, and robotics are a great example of this.

I shutter to think of what the welfare of the average citizen of the world would be like without the advancements made via the capitalist countries.

VWFeature 5 Dec 2015 14:29

Markets, economies and tax systems are created by people, and based on rules they agree on. Those rules can favor general prosperity or concentration of wealth. Destruction and predation are easier than creation and cooperation, so our rules have to favor cooperation if we want to avoid predation and destructive conflicts.

In the 1930's the US changed many of those rules to favor general prosperity. Since then they've been gradually changed to favor wealth concentration and predation. They can be changed back.

The trick is creating a system that encourages innovation while putting a safety net under the population so failure doesn't end in starvation.

A large part of our current problems is the natural tendency for large companies to get larger and larger until their failure would adversely affect too many others, so they're not allowed to fail. Tax law, not antitrust law, has to work against this. If a company can reduce its tax rate by breaking into 20 smaller (still huge) companies, then competition is preserved and no one company can dominate and control markets.

Robert Goldschmidt -> Jake321 5 Dec 2015 14:27

Bernie Sanders has it right on -- we can only heal our system by first having millions rise up and demand an end to the corruption of the corporations controlling our elected representatives. Corporations are not people and money is not speech.

moonwrap02 5 Dec 2015 14:26

The effects of wealth distribution has far reaching consequences. It is not just about money, but creating a fair society - one that is co-operative and cohesive. The present system has allowed an ever divide between the rich and poor, creating a two tier society where neither the twain shall meet. The rich and poor are almost different species on the planet and no longer belong to the same community. Commonality of interest is lost and so it's difficult to form community and to have good, friendly relationships across class differences that are that large.

"If capitalism is to be seen to be fair, the same rules are to apply to the big guy as to the little guy,"

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/2-charts-that-show-what-the-world-really-thinks-about-capitalism-a6719851.html


Jeremiah2000 -> bifess 5 Dec 2015 14:17

Sorry. I get it now. You actually think that because the Washington elite has repealed Glass-Steagel that we live in a unregulated capitalistic system.

This is so far from the truth that I wasn't comprehending that anyone could think that. You can see the graph of pages published in the Federal Register here. Unregulated capitalism? Wow.

Dodd Frank was passed in 2010 (without a single Republican vote). Originally it was 2,300 pages. It is STILL being written by nameless bureaucrats and is over 20,000 pages. Unregulated capitalism? Really?

But the reality is that Goliath is conspiring with the government to regulate what size sling David can use and how many stones and how many ounces.

So we need more government regulations? They will disallow David from anything but spitwads and only two of those.


neuronmaker -> AmyInNH 5 Dec 2015 14:16

Do you understand the concept of corporations which are products of capitalism?

The legal institutions within each capitalist corporations and nations are just that, they are capitalist and all about making profits.

The law is made by the rich capitalists and for the rich capitalists. Each Legislation is a link in the chain of economic slavery by capitalists.

Capitalism and the concept of money is a construction of the human mind, as it does not exist in the natural world. This construction is all about using other human beings like blood suckers to sustain a cruel and evil life style - with blood and brutality as the core ideology.


Marcedward -> MarjaE 5 Dec 2015 14:12

I would agree that our system of help for the less-well-off could be more accessible and more generous, but that doesn't negate that point that there is a lot of help out there - the most important help being that totally free educational system. Think about it, a free education, and to get the most out of it a student merely has to show up, obey the rules, do the homework and study for tests. It's all laid out there for the kids like a helicopter mom laying out her kids clothes. How much easier can we make it? If people can't be bothered to show up and put in effort, how is their failure based on racism


tommydog -> martinusher 5 Dec 2015 14:12

As you are referring to Carlos Slim, interestingly while he is Mexican by birth his parents were both Lebanese.

slightlynumb -> AmyInNH 5 Dec 2015 14:12

Why isn't that capitalism? It's raw capitalism on steroids.

Zara Von Fritz -> Toughspike 5 Dec 2015 14:12

It's an equal opportunity plantation now.

Robert Goldschmidt 5 Dec 2015 14:11

The key to repairing the system is to identify the causes of our problems.

Here is my list:

The information technology revolution which continues to destroy wages by enabling automation and outsourcing.

The reformation of monopolies which price gouge and block innovation.

Hitting ecological limits such as climate change, water shortages, unsustainable farming.

Then we can make meaningful changes such as regulation of the portion of corporate profit that are pay, enforcement of national and regional antitrust laws and an escalating carbon tax.

Zara Von Fritz -> PostCorbyn 5 Dec 2015 14:11

If you can believe these quality of life or happiness indexes they put out so often, the winners tend to be places that have nice environments and a higher socialist mix in their economy. Of course there are examples of poor countries that practice the same but its not clear that their choice is causal rather than reactive.

We created this mess and we can fix it.

Zara Von Fritz -> dig4victory 5 Dec 2015 14:03

Yes Basic Income is possibly the mythical third way. It socialises wealth to a point but at the same time frees markets from their obligation to perpetually grow and create jobs for the sake of jobs and also hereford reduces the subsequent need for governments to attempt to control them beyond maintaining their health.

Zara Von Fritz 5 Dec 2015 13:48

As I understand it, you don't just fiddle with capitalism, you counteract it, or counterweight it. A level of capitalism, or credit accumulation, and a level of socialism has always existed, including democracy which is a manifestation of socialism (1 vote each). So the project of capital accumulation seems to be out of control because larger accumulations become more powerful and meanwhile the power of labour in the marketplace has become less so due to forces driving unemployment. The danger is that capital's power to control the democratic system reaches a point of no return.


Jeremiah2000 -> bifess 5 Dec 2015 13:42

"I do not have the economic freedom to grow my own food because i do not have access to enough land to grow it and i do not have the economic clout to buy a piece of land."

Economic freedom does NOT mean you get money for free. It means that means that if you grow food for personal use, the federal government doesn't trash the Constitution by using the insterstate commerce clause to say that it can regulate how much you grow on your own personal land.

Economic freedom means that if you have a widget, you can choose to set the price for $10 or $100 and that a buyer is free to buy it from you or not buy it from you. It does NOT mean that you are entitled to "free" widgets.

"If capitalism has not managed to eradicate poverty in rich first world countries then just what chance if there of capitalism eradicating poverty on a global scale?"

The average person in poverty in the U.S. doesn't live in poverty:

In fact, 80.9 percent of households below the poverty level have cell phones, and a healthy majority-58.2 percent-have computers.

Fully 96.1 percent of American households in "poverty" have a television to watch, and 83.2 percent of them have a video-recording device in case they cannot get home in time to watch the football game or their favorite television show and they want to record it for watching later.

Refrigerators (97.8 percent), gas or electric stoves (96.6 percent) and microwaves (93.2 percent) are standard equipment in the homes of Americans in "poverty."

More than 83 percent have air-conditioning.

Interestingly, the appliances surveyed by the Census Bureau that households in poverty are least likely to own are dish washers (44.9 percent) and food freezers (26.2 percent).

However, most Americans in "poverty" do not need to go to a laundromat. According to the Census Bureau, 68.7 percent of households in poverty have a clothes washer and 65.3 percent have a clothes dryer.

(Data from the U.S. census.)

[Dec 24, 2018] Phone in sick: its a small act of rebellion against wage slavery

Notable quotes:
"... By far the biggest act of wage slavery rebellion, don't buy shit. The less you buy, the less you need to earn. Holidays by far the minority of your life should not be a desperate escape from the majority of your life. Spend less, work less and actually really enjoy living more. ..."
"... How about don't shop at Walmart (they helped boost the Chinese economy while committing hari kari on the American Dream) and actually engaging in proper labour action? Calling in sick is just plain childish. ..."
"... I'm all for sticking it to "the man," but when you call into work for a stupid reason (and a hangover is a very stupid reason), it is selfish, and does more damage to the cause of worker's rights, not less. I don't know about where you work, but if I call in sick to my job, other people have to pick up my slack. I work for a public library, and we don't have a lot of funds, so we have the bear minimum of employees we can have and still work efficiently. As such, if anybody calls in, everyone else, up to and including the library director, have to take on more work. ..."
Oct 24, 2015 | The Guardian

"Phoning in sick is a revolutionary act." I loved that slogan. It came to me, as so many good things did, from Housmans, the radical bookshop in King's Cross. There you could rummage through all sorts of anarchist pamphlets and there I discovered, in the early 80s, the wondrous little magazine Processed World. It told you basically how to screw up your workplace. It was smart and full of small acts of random subversion. In many ways it was ahead of its time as it was coming out of San Francisco and prefiguring Silicon Valley. It saw the machines coming. Jobs were increasingly boring and innately meaningless. Workers were "data slaves" working for IBM ("Intensely Boring Machines").

What Processed World was doing was trying to disrupt the identification so many office workers were meant to feel with their management, not through old-style union organising, but through small acts of subversion. The modern office, it stressed, has nothing to do with human need. Its rebellion was about working as little as possible, disinformation and sabotage. It was making alienation fun. In 1981, it could not have known that a self-service till cannot ever phone in sick.

I was thinking of this today, as I wanted to do just that. I have made myself ill with a hangover. A hangover, I always feel, is nature's way of telling you to have a day off. One can be macho about it and eat your way back to sentience via the medium of bacon sandwiches and Maltesers. At work, one is dehydrated, irritable and only semi-present. Better, surely, though to let the day fall through you and dream away.

Having worked in America, though, I can say for sure that they brook no excuses whatsoever. When I was late for work and said things like, "My alarm clock did not go off", they would say that this was not a suitable explanation, which flummoxed me. I had to make up others. This was just to work in a shop.

This model of working – long hours, very few holidays, few breaks, two incomes needed to raise kids, crazed loyalty demanded by huge corporations, the American way – is where we're heading. Except now the model is even more punishing. It is China. We are expected to compete with an economy whose workers are often closer to indentured slaves than anything else.

This is what striving is, then: dangerous, demoralising, often dirty work. Buckle down. It's the only way forward, apparently, which is why our glorious leaders are sucking up to China, which is immoral, never mind ridiculously short-term thinking.

So again I must really speak up for the skivers. What we have to understand about austerity is its psychic effects. People must have less. So they must have less leisure, too. The fact is life is about more than work and work is rapidly changing. Skiving in China may get you killed but here it may be a small act of resistance, or it may just be that skivers remind us that there is meaning outside wage-slavery.

Work is too often discussed by middle-class people in ways that are simply unrecognisable to anyone who has done crappy jobs. Much work is not interesting and never has been. Now that we have a political and media elite who go from Oxbridge to working for a newspaper or a politician, a lot of nonsense is spouted. These people have not cleaned urinals on a nightshift. They don't sit lonely in petrol stations manning the till. They don't have to ask permission for a toilet break in a call centre. Instead, their work provides their own special identity. It is very important.

Low-status jobs, like caring, are for others. The bottom-wipers of this world do it for the glory, I suppose. But when we talk of the coming automation that will reduce employment, bottom-wiping will not be mechanised. Nor will it be romanticised, as old male manual labour is. The mad idea of reopening the coal mines was part of the left's strange notion of the nobility of labour. Have these people ever been down a coal mine? Would they want that life for their children?

Instead we need to talk about the dehumanising nature of work. Bertrand Russell and Keynes thought our goal should be less work, that technology would mean fewer hours.

Far from work giving meaning to life, in some surveys 40% of us say that our jobs are meaningless. Nonetheless, the art of skiving is verboten as we cram our children with ever longer hours of school and homework. All this striving is for what exactly? A soul-destroying job?

Just as education is decided by those who loved school, discussions about work are had by those to whom it is about more than income.

The parts of our lives that are not work – the places we dream or play or care, the space we may find creative – all these are deemed outside the economy. All this time is unproductive. But who decides that?

Skiving work is bad only to those who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

So go on: phone in sick. You know you want to.

friedad 23 Oct 2015 18:27

We now exist in a society in which the Fear Cloud is wrapped around each citizen. Our proud history of Union and Labor, fighting for decent wages and living conditions for all citizens, and mostly achieving these aims, a history, which should be taught to every child educated in every school in this country, now gradually but surely eroded by ruthless speculators in government, is the future generations are inheriting. The workforce in fear of taking a sick day, the young looking for work in fear of speaking out at diminishing rewards, definitely this 21st Century is the Century of Fear. And how is this fear denied, with mind blowing drugs, regardless if it is is alcohol, description drugs, illicit drugs, a society in denial. We do not require a heavenly object to destroy us, a few soulless monsters in our mist are masters of manipulators, getting closer and closer to accomplish their aim of having zombies doing their beckoning. Need a kidney, no worries, zombie dishwasher, is handy for one. Oh wait that time is already here.

Hemulen6 23 Oct 2015 15:06

Oh join the real world, Suzanne! Many companies now have a limit to how often you can be sick. In the case of the charity I work for it's 9 days a year. I overstepped it, I was genuinely sick, and was hauled up in front of Occupational Health. That will now go on my record and count against me. I work for a cancer care charity. Irony? Surely not.

AlexLeo -> rebel7 23 Oct 2015 13:34

Which is exactly my point. You compete on relevant job skills and quality of your product, not what school you have attended.

Yes, there are thousands, tens of thousands of folks here around San Jose who barely speak English, but are smart and hard working as hell and it takes them a few years to get to 150-200K per year, Many of them get to 300-400K, if they come from strong schools in their countries of origin, compared to the 10k or so where they came from, but probably more than the whining readership here.

This is really difficult to swallow for the Brits back in Britain, isn't it. Those who have moved over have experiences the type of social mobility unthinkable in Britain, but they have had to work hard and get to 300K-700K per year, much better than the 50-100K their parents used to make back in GB. These are averages based on personal interactions with say 50 Brits in the last 15 + years, all employed in the Silicon Valley in very different jobs and roles.

Todd Owens -> Scott W 23 Oct 2015 11:00

I get what you're saying and I agree with a lot of what you said. My only gripe is most employees do not see an operation from a business owner or managerial / financial perspective. They don't understand the costs associated with their performance or lack thereof. I've worked on a lot of projects that we're operating at a loss for a future payoff. When someone decides they don't want to do the work they're contracted to perform that can have a cascading effect on the entire company.

All in all what's being described is for the most part misguided because most people are not in the position or even care to evaluate the particulars. So saying you should do this to accomplish that is bullshit because it's rarely such a simple equation. If anything this type of tactic will leaf to MORE loss and less money for payroll.


weematt -> Barry1858 23 Oct 2015 09:04

Sorry you just can't have a 'nicer' capitalism.

War ( business by other means) and unemployment ( you can't buck the market), are inevitable concomitants of capitalist competition over markets, trade routes and spheres of interests. (Remember the war science of Nagasaki and Hiroshima from the 'good guys' ?)
"..capital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt". (Marx)

You can't have full employment, or even the 'Right to Work'.

There is always ,even in boom times a reserve army of unemployed, to drive down wages. (If necessary they will inject inflation into the economy)
Unemployment is currently 5.5 percent or 1,860,000 people. If their "equilibrium rate" of unemployment is 4% rather than 5% this would still mean 1,352,000 "need be unemployed". The government don't want these people to find jobs as it would strengthen workers' bargaining position over wages, but that doesn't stop them harassing them with useless and petty form-filling, reporting to the so-called "job centre" just for the sake of it, calling them scroungers and now saying they are mentally defective.
Government is 'over' you not 'for' you.

Governments do not exist to ensure 'fair do's' but to manage social expectations with the minimum of dissent, commensurate with the needs of capitalism in the interests of profit.

Worker participation amounts to self managing workers self exploitation for the maximum of profit for the capitalist class.

Exploitation takes place at the point of production.

" Instead of the conservative motto, 'A fair day's wage for a fair day's work!' they ought to inscribe on their banner the revolutionary watchword, 'Abolition of the wages system!'"

Karl Marx [Value, Price and Profit]

John Kellar 23 Oct 2015 07:19

Fortunately; as a retired veteran I don't have to worry about phoning in sick.However; during my Air Force days if you were sick, you had to get yourself to the Base Medical Section and prove to a medical officer that you were sick. If you convinced the medical officer of your sickness then you may have been luck to receive on or two days sick leave. For those who were very sick or incapable of getting themselves to Base Medical an ambulance would be sent - promptly.


Rchrd Hrrcks -> wumpysmum 23 Oct 2015 04:17

The function of civil disobedience is to cause problems for the government. Let's imagine that we could get 100,000 people to agree to phone in sick on a particular date in protest at austerity etc. Leaving aside the direct problems to the economy that this would cause. It would also demonstrate a willingness to take action. It would demonstrate a capability to organise mass direct action. It would demonstrate an ability to bring people together to fight injustice. In and of itself it might not have much impact, but as a precedent set it could be the beginning of something massive, including further acts of civil disobedience.


wumpysmum Rchrd Hrrcks 23 Oct 2015 03:51

There's already a form of civil disobedience called industrial action, which the govt are currently attacking by attempting to change statute. Random sickies as per my post above are certainly not the answer in the public sector at least, they make no coherent political point just cause problems for colleagues. Sadly too in many sectors and with the advent of zero hours contracts sickies put workers at risk of sanctions and lose them earnings.


Alyeska 22 Oct 2015 22:18

I'm American. I currently have two jobs and work about 70 hours a week, and I get no paid sick days. In fact, the last time I had a job with a paid sick day was 2001. If I could afford a day off, you think I'd be working 70 hours a week?

I barely make rent most months, and yes... I have two college degrees. When I try to organize my coworkers to unionize for decent pay and benefits, they all tell me not to bother.... they are too scared of getting on management's "bad side" and "getting in trouble" (yes, even though the law says management can't retaliate.)

Unions are different in the USA than in the UK. The workforce has to take a vote to unionize the company workers; you can't "just join" a union here. That's why our pay and working conditions have gotten worse, year after year.


rtb1961 22 Oct 2015 21:58

By far the biggest act of wage slavery rebellion, don't buy shit. The less you buy, the less you need to earn. Holidays by far the minority of your life should not be a desperate escape from the majority of your life. Spend less, work less and actually really enjoy living more.

Pay less attention to advertising and more attention to the enjoyable simplicity of life, of real direct human relationships, all of them, the ones in passing where you wish a stranger well, chats with service staff to make their life better as well as your own, exchange thoughts and ideas with others, be a human being and share humanity with other human beings.

Mkjaks 22 Oct 2015 20:35

How about don't shop at Walmart (they helped boost the Chinese economy while committing hari kari on the American Dream) and actually engaging in proper labour action? Calling in sick is just plain childish.

toffee1 22 Oct 2015 19:13

It is only considered productive if it feeds the beast, that is, contribute to the accumulation of capital so that the beast can have more power over us. The issue here is the wage labor. The 93 percent of the U.S. working population perform wage labor (see BLS site). It is the highest proportion in any society ever came into history. Under the wage labor (employment) contract, the worker gives up his/her decision making autonomy. The worker accepts the full command of his/her employer during the labor process. The employer directs and commands the labor process to achieve the goals set by himself. Compare this, for example, self-employed providing a service (for example, a plumber). In this case, the customer describes the problem to the service provider but the service provider makes all the decisions on how to organize and apply his labor to solve the problem. Or compare it to a democratically organized coop, where workers make all the decisions collectively, where, how and what to produce. Under the present economic system, a great majority of us are condemned to work in large corporations performing wage labor. The system of wage labor stripping us from autonomy on our own labor, creates all the misery in our present world through alienation. Men and women lose their humanity alienated from their own labor. Outside the world of wage labor, labor can be a source self-realization and true freedom. Labor can be the real fulfillment and love. Labor together our capacity to love make us human. Bourgeoisie dehumanized us steeling our humanity. Bourgeoisie, who sold her soul to the beast, attempting to turn us into ever consuming machines for the accumulation of capital.

patimac54 -> Zach Baker 22 Oct 2015 17:39

Well said. Most retail employers have cut staff to the minimum possible to keep the stores open so if anyone is off sick, it's the devil's own job trying to just get customers served. Making your colleagues work even harder than they normally do because you can't be bothered to act responsibly and show up is just plain selfish.
And sorry, Suzanne, skiving work is nothing more than an act of complete disrespect for those you work with. If you don't understand that, try getting a proper job for a few months and learn how to exercise some self control.

TettyBlaBla -> FranzWilde 22 Oct 2015 17:25

It's quite the opposite in government jobs where I am in the US. As the fiscal year comes to a close, managers look at their budgets and go on huge spending sprees, particularly for temp (zero hours in some countries) help and consultants. They fear if they don't spend everything or even a bit more, their spending will be cut in the next budget. This results in people coming in to do work on projects that have no point or usefulness, that will never be completed or even presented up the food chain of management, and ends up costing taxpayers a small fortune.

I did this one year at an Air Quality Agency's IT department while the paid employees sat at their desks watching portable televisions all day. It was truly demeaning.

oommph -> Michael John Jackson 22 Oct 2015 16:59

Thing is though, children - dependents to pay for - are the easiest way to keep yourself chained to work.

The homemaker model works as long as your spouse's employer retains them (and your spouse retains you in an era of 40% divorce).

You are just as dependent on an employer and "work" but far less in control of it now.


Zach Baker 22 Oct 2015 16:41

I'm all for sticking it to "the man," but when you call into work for a stupid reason (and a hangover is a very stupid reason), it is selfish, and does more damage to the cause of worker's rights, not less. I don't know about where you work, but if I call in sick to my job, other people have to pick up my slack. I work for a public library, and we don't have a lot of funds, so we have the bear minimum of employees we can have and still work efficiently. As such, if anybody calls in, everyone else, up to and including the library director, have to take on more work. If I found out one of my co-workers called in because of a hangover, I'd be pissed. You made the choice to get drunk, knowing that you had to work the following morning. Putting it into the same category of someone who is sick and may not have the luxury of taking off because of a bad employer is insulting.


[Dec 14, 2018] 10 of the best pieces of IT advice I ever heard

Dec 14, 2018 | www.techrepublic.com
  1. Learn to say "no"

    If you're new to the career, chances are you'll be saying "yes" to everything. However, as you gain experience and put in your time, the word "no" needs to creep into your vocabulary. Otherwise, you'll be exploited.

    Of course, you have to use this word with caution. Should the CTO approach and set a task before you, the "no" response might not be your best choice. But if you find end users-and friends-taking advantage of the word "yes," you'll wind up frustrated and exhausted at the end of the day.

  2. Be done at the end of the day

    I used to have a ritual at the end of every day. I would take off my watch and, at that point, I was done... no more work. That simple routine saved my sanity more often than not. I highly suggest you develop the means to inform yourself that, at some point, you are done for the day. Do not be that person who is willing to work through the evening and into the night... or you'll always be that person.

  3. Don't beat yourself up over mistakes made

    You are going to make mistakes. Sometimes will be simple and can be quickly repaired. Others may lean toward the catastrophic. But when you finally call your IT career done, you will have made plenty of mistakes. Beating yourself up over them will prevent you from moving forward. Instead of berating yourself, learn from the mistakes so you don't repeat them.

  4. Always have something nice to say

    You work with others on a daily basis. Too many times I've watched IT pros become bitter, jaded people who rarely have anything nice or positive to say. Don't be that person. If you focus on the positive, people will be more inclined to enjoy working with you, companies will want to hire you, and the daily grind will be less "grindy."

  5. Measure twice, cut once

    How many times have you issued a command or clicked OK before you were absolutely sure you should? The old woodworking adage fits perfectly here. Considering this simple sentence-before you click OK-can save you from quite a lot of headache. Rushing into a task is never the answer, even during an emergency. Always ask yourself: Is this the right solution?

  6. At every turn, be honest

    I've witnessed engineers lie to avoid the swift arm of justice. In the end, however, you must remember that log files don't lie. Too many times there is a trail that can lead to the truth. When the CTO or your department boss discovers this truth, one that points to you lying, the arm of justice will be that much more forceful. Even though you may feel like your job is in jeopardy, or the truth will cause you added hours of work, always opt for the truth. Always.

  7. Make sure you're passionate about what you're doing

    Ask yourself this question: Am I passionate about technology? If not, get out now; otherwise, that job will beat you down. A passion for technology, on the other hand, will continue to drive you forward. Just know this: The longer you are in the field, the more likely that passion is to falter. To prevent that from happening, learn something new.

  8. Don't stop learning

    Quick-how many operating systems have you gone through over the last decade? No career evolves faster than technology. The second you believe you have something perfected, it changes. If you decide you've learned enough, it's time to give up the keys to your kingdom. Not only will you find yourself behind the curve, all those servers and desktops you manage could quickly wind up vulnerable to every new attack in the wild. Don't fall behind.

  9. When you feel your back against a wall, take a breath and regroup

    This will happen to you. You'll be tasked to upgrade a server farm and one of the upgrades will go south. The sweat will collect, your breathing will reach panic level, and you'll lock up like Windows Me. When this happens... stop, take a breath, and reformulate your plan. Strangely enough, it's that breath taken in the moment of panic that will help you survive the nightmare. If a single, deep breath doesn't help, step outside and take in some fresh air so that you are in a better place to change course.

  10. Don't let clients see you Google a solution

    This should be a no-brainer... but I've watched it happen far too many times. If you're in the middle of something and aren't sure how to fix an issue, don't sit in front of a client and Google the solution. If you have to, step away, tell the client you need to use the restroom and, once in the safety of a stall, use your phone to Google the answer. Clients don't want to know you're learning on their dime.

See also

  • [Dec 14, 2018] Blatant neoliberal propagamda anout "booming US job market" by Danielle Paquette

    That's way too much hype even for WaPo pressitutes... The reality is that you can apply to 50 jobs and did not get a single responce.
    Dec 12, 2018 | www.latimes.com

    Economists report that workers are starting to act like millennials on Tinder: They're ditching jobs with nary a text. "A number of contacts said that they had been 'ghosted,' a situation in which a worker stops coming to work without notice and then is impossible to contact," the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago noted in December's Beige Book report, which tracks employment trends. Advertisement > National data on economic "ghosting" is lacking. The term, which normally applies to dating, first surfaced on Dictionary.com in 2016. But companies across the country say silent exits are on the rise. Analysts blame America's increasingly tight labor market. Job openings have surpassed the number of seekers for eight straight months, and the unemployment rate has clung to a 49-year low of 3.7% since September. Janitors, baristas, welders, accountants, engineers -- they're all in demand, said Michael Hicks, a labor economist at Ball State University in Indiana. More people may opt to skip tough conversations and slide right into the next thing. "Why hassle with a boss and a bunch of out-processing," he said, "when literally everyone has been hiring?" Recruiters at global staffing firm Robert Half have noticed a 10% to 20% increase in ghosting over the last year, D.C. district President Josh Howarth said. Applicants blow off interviews. New hires turn into no-shows. Workers leave one evening and never return. "You feel like someone has a high level of interest, only for them to just disappear," Howarth said. Over the summer, woes he heard from clients emerged in his own life. A job candidate for a recruiter role asked for a day to mull over an offer, saying she wanted to discuss the terms with her spouse. Then she halted communication. "In fairness," Howarth said, "there are some folks who might have so many opportunities they're considering, they honestly forget." Keith Station, director of business relations at Heartland Workforce Solutions, which connects job hunters with companies in Omaha, said workers in his area are most likely to skip out on low-paying service positions. "People just fall off the face of the Earth," he said of the area, which has an especially low unemployment rate of 2.8%. Some employers in Nebraska are trying to head off unfilled shifts by offering apprentice programs that guarantee raises and additional training over time. "Then you want to stay and watch your wage grow," Station said. Advertisement > Other recruitment businesses point to solutions from China, where ghosting took off during the last decade's explosive growth. "We generally make two offers for every job because somebody doesn't show up," said Rebecca Henderson, chief executive of Randstad Sourceright, a talent acquisition firm. And if both hires stick around, she said, her multinational clients are happy to deepen the bench. Though ghosting in the United States does not yet require that level of backup planning, consultants urge employers to build meaningful relationships at every stage of the hiring process. Someone who feels invested in an enterprise is less likely to bounce, said Melissa and Johnathan Nightingale, who have written about leadership and dysfunctional management. "Employees leave jobs that suck," they said in an email. "Jobs where they're abused. Jobs where they don't care about the work. And the less engaged they are, the less need they feel to give their bosses any warning." Some employees are simply young and restless, said James Cooper, former manager of the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park, where he said people ghosted regularly. A few of his staffers were college students who lived in park dormitories for the summer. "My favorite," he said, "was a kid who left a note on the floor in his dorm room that said, 'Sorry bros, had to ghost.' " Other ghosters describe an inner voice that just says: Nah. Zach Keel, a 26-year-old server in Austin, Texas, made the call last year to flee a combination bar and cinema after realizing he would have to clean the place until sunrise. More work, he calculated, was always around the corner. "I didn't call," Keel said. "I didn't show up. I figured: No point in feeling guilty about something that wasn't that big of an issue. Turnover is so high, anyway."

    [Dec 14, 2018] You apply for a job. You hear nothing. Here's what to do next

    Dec 14, 2018 | finance.yahoo.com

    But the more common situation is that applicants are ghosted by companies. They apply for a job and never hear anything in response, not even a rejection. In the U.S., companies are generally not legally obligated to deliver bad news to job candidates, so many don't.

    They also don't provide feedback, because it could open the company up to a legal risk if it shows that they decided against a candidate for discriminatory reasons protected by law such as race, gender or disability.

    Hiring can be a lengthy process, and rejecting 99 candidates is much more work than accepting one. But a consistently poor hiring process that leaves applicants hanging can cause companies to lose out on the best talent and even damage perception of their brand.

    Here's what companies can do differently to keep applicants in the loop, and how job seekers can know that it's time to cut their losses.


    What companies can do differently

    There are many ways that technology can make the hiring process easier for both HR professionals and applicants.

    Only about half of all companies get back to the candidates they're not planning to interview, Natalia Baryshnikova, director of product management on the enterprise product team at SmartRecruiters, tells CNBC Make It .

    "Technology has defaults, one change is in the default option," Baryshnikova says. She said that SmartRecruiters changed the default on its technology from "reject without a note" to "reject with a note," so that candidates will know they're no longer involved in the process.

    Companies can also use technology as a reminder to prioritize rejections. For the company, rejections are less urgent than hiring. But for a candidate, they are a top priority. "There are companies out there that get back to 100 percent of candidates, but they are not yet common," Baryshnikova says.

    How one company is trying to help

    WayUp was founded to make the process of applying for a job simpler.

    "The No. 1 complaint from candidates we've heard, from college students and recent grads especially, is that their application goes into a black hole," Liz Wessel, co-founder and CEO of WayUp, a platform that connects college students and recent graduates with employers, tells CNBC Make It .

    WayUp attempts to increase transparency in hiring by helping companies source and screen applicants, and by giving applicants feedback based on soft skills. They also let applicants know if they have advanced to the next round of interviewing within 24 hours.

    Wessel says that in addition to creating a better experience for applicants, WayUp's system helps companies address bias during the resume-screening processes. Resumes are assessed for hard skills up front, then each applicant participates in a phone screening before their application is passed to an employer. This ensures that no qualified candidate is passed over because their resume is different from the typical hire at an organization – something that can happen in a company that uses computers instead of people to scan resumes .

    "The companies we work with see twice as many minorities getting to offer letter," Wessel said.

    When you can safely assume that no news is bad news

    First, if you do feel that you're being ghosted by a company after sending in a job application, don't despair. No news could be good news, so don't assume right off the bat that silence means you didn't get the job.

    Hiring takes time, especially if you're applying for roles where multiple people could be hired, which is common in entry-level positions. It's possible that an HR team is working through hundreds or even thousands of resumes, and they might not have gotten to yours yet. It is not unheard of to hear back about next steps months after submitting an initial application.

    If you don't like waiting, you have a few options. Some companies have application tracking in their HR systems, so you can always check to see if the job you've applied for has that and if there's been an update to the status of your application.

    Otherwise, if you haven't heard anything, Wessel said that the only way to be sure that you aren't still in the running for the job is to determine if the position has started. Some companies will publish their calendar timelines for certain jobs and programs, so check that information to see if your resume could still be in review.

    "If that's the case and the deadline has passed," Wessel says, it's safe to say you didn't get the job.

    And finally, if you're still unclear on the status of your application, she says there's no problem with emailing a recruiter and asking outright.

    [Dec 09, 2018] Unintended consequences #MeToo movement causing 'gender segregation' on Wall Street

    Notable quotes:
    "... "It's creating a sense of walking on eggshells," ..."
    "... "gender segregation" ..."
    "... "unknown risk," ..."
    "... "If men avoid working or traveling with women alone, or stop mentoring women for fear of being accused of sexual harassment, those men are going to back out of a sexual harassment complaint and right into a sex discrimination complaint," ..."
    "... "Just try not to be an asshole," ..."
    "... "It's really not that hard." ..."
    "... Think your friends would be interested? Share this story! ..."
    Dec 09, 2018 | www.rt.com

    Two female reporters for Bloomberg interviewed 30 Wall Street executives and found that while it's true that women might be afraid to speak up for fear of losing their careers, men are also so afraid of being falsely accused that they won't even have dinner, or even one-to-one business meetings with a female colleague. They worry that a simple comment or gesture could be misinterpreted. "It's creating a sense of walking on eggshells," one Morgan Stanley executive said.

    Bloomberg dubbed the phenomenon the 'Pence Effect' after the US vice president who previously admitted that he would never dine alone with any woman other than his wife. British actor Taron Egerton recently also said he now avoided being alone with women for fear of finding himself in #MeToo's crosshairs.

    I remember when a woman I was friendly/kind with perceived me as someone who wanted "more." She wrote me a message about how she was uncomfortable. I'm gay. https://t.co/7z0X7Dwzkp

    -- Andy C. Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) December 4, 2018

    All these extreme strategies being adopted by men to avoid falling victim to an unjust #MeToo scandal are creating a kind of "gender segregation" on Wall Street, the reporters say.

    Hurting women's progress?

    The most ironic outcome of a movement that was supposed to be about women's empowerment is that now, even hiring a woman on Wall Street has become an "unknown risk," according to one wealth advisor, who said there is always a concern that a woman might take something said to her in the wrong way.

    Also on rt.com #MeToo's Alyssa Milano accused of hypocrisy over links to 'Sharia law-supporting' Muslim activist

    With men occupying the most senior positions on Wall Street, women need male mentors who can teach them the ropes and help them advance their careers, but what happens when men are afraid to play that role with their younger female colleagues? The unintended consequence of the #MeToo movement on Wall Street could be the stifling of women's progress and a sanitization of the workplace to the point of not even being able to have a private meeting with the door closed.

    Another irony is that while men may think they are avoiding one type of scandal, could find themselves facing another: Discrimination complaints.

    "A Wall Street rule for the #MeToo era: Avoid women at all cost." https://t.co/TCGk9UzT4R "Secular sharia" has arrived, as I predicted here: https://t.co/TTrWY6ML34 pic.twitter.com/YpEz78iamJ

    -- Niall Ferguson (@nfergus) December 3, 2018

    "If men avoid working or traveling with women alone, or stop mentoring women for fear of being accused of sexual harassment, those men are going to back out of a sexual harassment complaint and right into a sex discrimination complaint," Stephen Zweig, an employment attorney with FordHarrison told Bloomberg.

    Not all men are responding to the #MeToo movement by fearfully cutting themselves off from women, however. "Just try not to be an asshole," one said, while another added: "It's really not that hard."

    It might not be that simple, however. It seems there is no escape from the grip of the #MeToo movement. One of the movements most recent victims of the viral hashtag movement is not a man, but a song -- the time-honored classic 'Baby It's Cold Outside' -- which is being banished from American radio stations because it has a "rapey" vibe.

    Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

    [Dec 08, 2018] Internet as a perfect tool of inverted totalitarism: it stimulates atomizatin of individuals, creates authomatic 24x7 surveillance over population, suppresses solidarity by exceggerating non-essential differences and allow more insidious brainwashing of the population

    Highly recommended!
    Dec 08, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    Livius Drusus , December 8, 2018 at 7:20 am

    I think the Internet and the infotech revolution in general have been largely negative in their impact on the world. Ian Welsh has a blog post that largely sums up my views on the issue.

    https://www.ianwelsh.net/what-the-infotechtelecom-revolution-has-actually-done/

    Contrary to what many people say I think large organizations like governments and corporations have significantly more power now than before and ordinary people have less power. The Internet has made it easier to get information but you have to sift through tons of junk to get to anything decent. For every website like Naked Capitalism there are thousands pushing nonsense or trying to sell you stuff.

    And even if you are more knowledgeable, so what? If you cannot put that knowledge to use what good is it? At best it makes you more well-rounded, interesting and harder to fool but in political terms knowing a lot of stuff doesn't make you more effective. In the past people didn't have access to nearly as much information but they were more willing and able to organize and fight against the powerful because it was easier to avoid detection/punishment (that is where stuff like widespread surveillance tech comes in) and because they still had a vibrant civic life and culture.

    I actually think people are more atomized now than in the past and the Internet and other technologies have probably fueled this process. Despite rising populism, the Arab Spring, Occupy, the Yellow Jackets in France, Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the DSA this is all a drop in the bucket compared to just the massive social movements of the 1960s much less earlier periods. Robert Putnam argued that television, the Internet and other technologies likely helped to produce the collapse of civic life in the United States by "individualizing" people's leisure time and personally I think Putnam is right. Civic life today is very weak and I think the Internet is partially to blame.

    Mark , December 8, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    And even if you are more knowledgeable, so what? If you cannot put that knowledge to use what good is it?

    Agreed. If anything these more knowledgeable people had a greater audience prior to the internet. Whether you were a journalist, a great economist, a great author, or a great orator you need to persist and show intellect and talent to have your message heard wide and broad.
    (This is probably a little idealistic, but I think there is truth there.)

    Now you need very little of this. If your most famous asset is your attractive body you can attract a greater audience than great scholars and politicians.

    Rosario , December 8, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    I can't speak much on authoritarianism since whatever form it takes on today is wildly different from what it was in the past. Unfortunately, it is hard to convince many people living in western societies that they are living in an authoritarian system because their metal images are goose-stepping soldiers and Fraktur print posters.

    I suppose the way I can assure myself that we are living in an authoritarian society is by analyzing the endless propaganda spewed from countless, high-viewership media and entertainment outlets. It is quite simple, if the media and entertainment narratives are within a very narrow intellectual window (with lots of 600 lb. gorillas sitting in corners) than the culture and politics are being defined by powerful people with a narrow range of interests. This is not to say that forming public opinion or preferring particular political views is a new thing in Western media and entertainment, just that its application, IMO, is far more effective and subtle (and becoming more-so by the day) than it ever was in, say, NAZI Germany or the Soviet Union.

    I'd put my money down that most educated Germans during NAZI rule were well aware that propaganda was being utilized to "manufacture consent" but they participated and accepted this despite the content for pragmatic/selfish reasons. Much of the NAZI propaganda played on existing German/European cultural narratives and prejudices. Leaveraging existing ideology allowed the party to necessitate their existence by framing the German as juxtaposed against the impure and unworthy. Again, ideologies that existed independent of the party not within it. Goebbels and company were just good at utilizing the technology of the time to amplify these monstrosities.

    I question that being the case today. It is far more complicated. Technology is again the primary tool for manipulation, but it is possible that current technology is allowing for even greater leaps in reason and analysis. The windows for reflection and critical thought close as soon as they are opened. Seems more like the ideology is manufactured on the fly. For example, the anti-Russia narrative has some resonance with baby boomers, but how the hell is it effective with my generation (millennial) and younger? The offhand references to Putin and Russian operatives from my peers are completely from left field when considering our life experience. People in my age group had little to say about Russia three years ago. It says volumes on the subtle effectiveness of Western media machines if you can re-create the cold war within two years for an entire generation.

    In addition and related to above, the West's understanding of "Freedom of Speech" is dated by about 100 years. Governments are no longer the sole source of speech suppression (more like filtering and manipulation), and the supremacy of the free-market coupled with the erroneously perceived black-and-white division between public and private have convinced the public (with nearly religious conviction) that gigantic media and entertainment organizations do not have to protect the free speech of citizens because they are not government. Public/Private is now an enormous blob. With overlapping interests mixed in with any antagonisms. It is ultimately dictated by capital and its power within both government and business. Cracking this nut will be a nightmare.

    Yes, this is an authoritarian world, if measured by the distance between the populace and its governing powers, but it is an authoritarianism operating in ways that we have never seen before and using tools that are terribly effective.

    [Dec 07, 2018] Globalism is about moving capital to the benefit of the haves. Migrants/immigrants are a form of capital.

    Dec 07, 2018 | www.unz.com

    niceland , says: December 6, 2018 at 10:07 am GMT

    My right wing friends can't understand the biggest issue of our times is class war. This article mentions the "Panama papers" where great many corporations and wealthy individuals (even politicians) in my country were exposed. They run their profits through offshore tax havens while using public infrastructure (paid for by taxpayers) to make their money. It's estimated that wealth amounting to 1,5 times our GDP is stored in these accounts!

    There is absolutely no way to get it through my right wing friends thick skull that off-shore accounts are tax frauds. Resulting in they paying higher taxes off their wages because the big corporations and the rich don't pay anything. Nope. They simply hate taxes (even if they get plenty back in services) and therefore all taxes are bad. Ergo tax evasions by the 1% are fine – socialism or immigrants must be the root of our problems. MIGA!

    Come to think of it – few of them would survive the "law of the jungle" they so much desire. And none of them would survive the "law of the jungle" if the rules are stacked against them. Still, all their political energy is aimed against the ideas and people that struggle against such reality.

    I give up – I will never understand the right. No more than the pure bread communist. Hopeless ideas!

    Curmudgeon , says: December 6, 2018 at 4:35 pm GMT
    @niceland Your friends are not "right wing". The left/right paradigm is long dead. Your friends are globalists, whether they realize it or not. Globalism is about moving capital to the benefit of the haves. Migrants/immigrants are a form of capital. Investing in migration/immigration lowers the long term costs and increases long term profit. The profit (money capital) is then moved to a place where it best serves its owner.

    [Dec 07, 2018] An important point that you hint at is that the Brits were violently and manipulatively forced to accept mass immigration for many years.

    Dec 07, 2018 | www.unz.com

    Che Guava , says: December 6, 2018 at 3:16 pm GMT

    I agree Jilles, and with many other of the commenters.

    Read enough to see that the article has many errors of fact and perception. It is bad enough to suspect *propaganda* , but Brett is clearly not at that level.

    An important point that you hint at is that the Brits were violently and manipulatively forced to accept mass immigration for many years.

    Yet strangely, to say anything about it only became acceptable when some numbers of the immigrants were fellow Europeans from within the EU, and most having some compatibility with existing ethnicity and previous culture.

    Even people living far away notice such forced false consciousness.

    As for Corbyn, he is nothing like the old left of old Labour. He tries to convey that image, it is a lie.

    He may not be Blairite-Zio New Labour, and received some influence from the more heavily Marxist old Labour figures, but he is very much a creature of the post-worst-of-1968 and dirty hippy new left, Frankfurt School and all that crap, doubt that he has actually read much of it, but he has internalised it through his formal and political education.

    By the way, the best translation of the name of North Korea's ruling party is 'Labour Party'. While it is a true fact, I intend nothing from it but a small laugh.

    [Dec 05, 2018] Consequences of Routine Work Schedule Instability for Worker Health and Wellbeing by Daniel Schneider and Kristen Harknett

    Abstract:
    Dec 05, 2018 | equitablegrowth.org

    The American labor market is increasingly unequal, characterized by extraordinary returns to work at the top of the market but rising precarity and instability at the bottom of the market. Research on precarious work and its consequences has overwhelmingly focused on the economic dimension of precarity, epitomized by low and stagnant wages.

    But, the rise in precarious work has also involved a major shift in the temporal dimension of work such that many workers now experience routine instability in their work schedules. This temporal instability represents a fundamental and under-appreciated manifestation of the risk shift from firms to workers and their families.

    To date, a lack of suitable existing data has precluded empirical investigation of how such precarious scheduling practices affect the health and wellbeing of workers. We use an innovative approach to collect survey data from a large and strategically selected segment of the US workforce: hourly workers in the service sector. These data reveal relationships between exposure to routine instability in work schedules and psychological distress, poor sleep quality, and unhappiness.

    While low wages are also associated with these outcomes, unstable and un-predictable schedules are much more strongly associated. Further, while precarious schedules affect worker wellbeing in part through the mediating influence of household economic insecurity, a much larger proportion of the association is driven by work-life conflict. The temporal dimension of work is central to the experience of precarity and an important social determinant of worker wellbeing.

    [Dec 03, 2018] American Life Expectancy Continues to Fall Rise in Suicides, Overdose Deaths the Big Culprit naked capitalism

    Notable quotes:
    "... My dentist who I think is Republican told me when I brought up Medicare for all said "I don't think we can afford Medicare for all." ..."
    Dec 03, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    The evidence of social decay in America is becoming more visible. As other countries continue to show increases in life expectancy, the US continues its deterioration.

    Life expectancy in the US fell to 78.6 years in 2017, a o.1 year fall from 2016 and a 0.3 year decline from the peak.

    From CNN :

    Overdose deaths reached a new high in 2017, topping 70,000, while the suicide rate increased by 3.7%, the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics reports.

    Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC director, called the trend tragic and troubling. "Life expectancy gives us a snapshot of the Nation's overall health and these sobering statistics are a wakeup call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable," he wrote in a statement.

    While this assessment is technically correct, it is too superficial in seeing the rising rate of what Angus Deaton and Ann Case called "deaths of despair" as a health problem, rather than symptoms of much deeper societal ills. Americans take antidepressants at a higher rate than any country in the world. The average job tenure is a mere 4.4 years. In my youth, if you changed jobs in less than seven or eight years, you were seen as an opportunist or probably poor performer. The near impossibility of getting a new job if you are over 40 and the fact that outside hot fields, young people can also find it hard to get work commensurate with their education and experience, means that those who do have jobs can be and are exploited by their employers. Amazon is the most visible symbol of that, working warehouse workers at a deadly pace, and regularly reducing even white collar males regularly to tears.

    On top of that, nuclear families, weakened communities, plus the neoliberal expectation that individuals be willing to move to find work means that many Americans have shallow personal networks, and that means less support if one suffers career or financial setbacks.

    But the big driver, which the mainstream press is unwilling to acknowledge, is that highly unequal societies are unhealthy societies. We published this section from a Financial Times comment by Michael Prowse in 2007, and it can't be repeated often enough :

    Those who would deny a link between health and inequality must first grapple with the following paradox. There is a strong relationship between income and health within countries. In any nation you will find that people on high incomes tend to live longer and have fewer chronic illnesses than people on low incomes.

    Yet, if you look for differences between countries, the relationship between income and health largely disintegrates. Rich Americans, for instance, are healthier on average than poor Americans, as measured by life expectancy. But, although the US is a much richer country than, say, Greece, Americans on average have a lower life expectancy than Greeks. More income, it seems, gives you a health advantage with respect to your fellow citizens, but not with respect to people living in other countries .

    Once a floor standard of living is attained, people tend to be healthier when three conditions hold: they are valued and respected by others; they feel 'in control' in their work and home lives; and they enjoy a dense network of social contacts. Economically unequal societies tend to do poorly in all three respects: they tend to be characterised by big status differences, by big differences in people's sense of control and by low levels of civic participation .

    Unequal societies, in other words, will remain unhealthy societies – and also unhappy societies – no matter how wealthy they become. Their advocates – those who see no reason whatever to curb ever-widening income differentials – have a lot of explaining to do.

    And this extract comes from a 2013 article, Why Are Americans' Life Expectancies Shorter than Those of People in Other Advanced Economies?

    Let's talk life expectancy.

    The stats first. They tell a clear story: Americans now live shorter lives than men and women in most of the rest of the developed world. And that gap is growing.

    Back in 1990, shouts a new study published last week in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association, the United States ranked just 20th on life expectancy among the world's 34 industrial nations. The United States now ranks 27th -- despite spending much more on health care than any other nation.

    Americans, notes an editorial the journal ran to accompany the study, are losing ground globally "by every" health measure.

    Why such poor performance? Media reports on last week's new State of U.S. Health study hit all the usual suspects: poor diet, poor access to affordable health care, poor personal health habits, and just plain poverty.

    In the Wall Street Journal, for instance, a chief wellness officer in Ohio opined that if Americans exercised more and ate and smoked less, the United States would surely start moving up in the global health rankings.

    But many epidemiologists -- scientists who study health outcomes -- have their doubts. They point out that the United States ranked as one of the world's healthiest nations in the 1950s, a time when Americans smoked heavily, ate a diet that would horrify any 21st-century nutritionist, and hardly ever exercised.

    Poor Americans, then as now, had chronic problems accessing health care. But poverty, epidemiologists note, can't explain why fully insured middle-income Americans today have significantly worse health outcomes than middle-income people in other rich nations.

    The University of Washington's Dr. Stephen Bezruchka has been tracking these outcomes since the 1990s. The new research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Bezruchka told Too Much last week, should worry Americans at all income levels.

    "Even if we are rich, college-educated, white-skinned, and practice all the right health behaviors," he notes, "similar people in other rich nations will live longer."

    A dozen years ago, Bezruchka published in Newsweek the first mass-media commentary, at least in the United States, to challenge the conventional take on poor U.S. global health rankings.

    To really understand America's poor health standing globally, epidemiologists like Bezruchka posit, we need to look at "the social determinants of health," those social and economic realities that define our daily lives.

    None of these determinants matter more, these researchers contend, than the level of a society's economic inequality, the divide between the affluent and everyone else. Over 170 studies worldwide have so far linked income inequality to health outcomes. The more unequal a society, the studies show, the more unhealthy most everyone in it -- and not the poor alone.

    Just how does inequality translate into unhealthy outcomes? Growing numbers of researchers place the blame on stress. The more inequality in a society, the more stress on a daily level. Chronic stress, over time, wears down our immune systems and leaves us more vulnerable to disease.

    The Wall Street Journal has more detail on the breakdown of the further decline in US life expectancy , and also points out how other countries are continuing to show progress:

    Data the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Thursday show life expectancy fell by one-tenth of a year, to 78.6 years, pushed down by the sharpest annual increase in suicides in nearly a decade and a continued rise in deaths from powerful opioid drugs like fentanyl. Influenza, pneumonia and diabetes also factored into last year's increase.

    Economists and public-health experts consider life expectancy to be an important measure of a nation's prosperity. The 2017 data paint a dark picture of health and well-being in the U.S., reflecting the effects of addiction and despair, particularly among young and middle-aged adults, as well as diseases plaguing an aging population and people with lower access to health care

    Life expectancy is 84.1 years in Japan and 83.7 years in Switzerland, first and second in the most-recent ranking by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The U.S. ranks 29th..

    White men and women fared the worst, along with black men, all of whom experienced increases in death rates. Death rates rose in particular for adults ages 25 to 44, and suicide rates are highest among people in the nation's most rural areas. On the other hand, deaths declined for black and Hispanic women, and remained the same for Hispanic men .

    Earlier this century, the steady and robust decline in heart-disease deaths more than offset the rising number from drugs and suicide, Dr. Anderson said. Now, "those declines aren't there anymore," he said, and the drug and suicide deaths account for many years of life lost because they occur mostly in young to middle-aged adults.

    While progress against deaths from heart disease has stalled, cancer deaths -- the nation's No. 2 killer -- are continuing a steady decline that began in the 1990s, Dr. Anderson said. "That's kind of our saving grace," he said. "Without those declines, we'd see a much bigger drop in life expectancy."

    Suicides rose 3.7% in 2017, accelerating an increase in rates since 1999, the CDC said. The gap in deaths by suicide widened starkly between cities and the most rural areas between 1999 and 2017, the data show. The rate is now far higher in rural areas. "There's a much wider spread," Dr. Hedegaard said.

    "This is extremely discouraging," Christine Moutier, chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said of the suicide-rate increase. Studies show that traumas such as economic difficulties or natural disasters, along with access to lethal means including guns and opioid drugs, and lack of access to care can affect suicide rates, she said. More accurate recording of deaths may also have added to the numbers, she said.

    Japan leads the pack in life expectancy and pretty much every other measure of social well being. Yet when its financial bubbles were bigger than the ones in the US pre our crisis, and it's on its way to having a lost three decades of growth. On top of that, Japan has one of the worst demographic crunches in the world, in terms of the aging of its population. So how it is that Japan is coping well with decline, while the US is getting sicker in many ways (mental health, obesity, falling expectancy)?

    It's easy to hand-wave by saying "Japanese culture," but I see the causes as more specific. The Japanese have always given high employment top priority in their economic planning. Entrepreneurs are revered for creating jobs, not for getting rich. Similarly, Japan was long criticized by international economist types for having an inefficient retail sector (lots of small local shops), when they missed the point: that was one way of increasing employment, plus Japanese like having tight local communities.

    After their crisis, Japanese companies went to considerable lengths to preserve jobs, such as by having senior people taking pay cuts and longer term, lowering the already not that large gap between entry and top level compensation. The adoption of second-class workers (long-term temps called "freeters") was seen as less than ideal, since these workers would never become true members of the company community, but it was better than further reducing employment.

    Contrast that to our crisis response. We reported in 2013 that the top 1% got 121% of the income gains after the crisis. The very top echelon did better at the expense of everyone else. Longer term, lower-income earners have fallen behind. From a 2017 MarketWatch story, quoting a World Economic Forum report: "America has experienced 'a complete collapse of the bottom 50 percent income share in the U.S. between 1978 to 2015.'"

    There is a lot of other data that supports the same point: inequality continues to widen in America. The areas that are taking the worst hits are states like West Virginia and Ohio that have been hit hard by deindustrialization. But the elites are removed in their glamorous cities and manage not to notice the conditions when they transit through the rest of America. They should consider themselves lucky that America's downtrodden are taking out their misery more on themselves than on their betters.

    The Rev Kev , November 30, 2018 at 6:30 am

    God, this is so depressing to read. The worse aspect of it is that it never had to be this way but that these deaths were simply 'collateral damage' to the social and economic changes in America since the 1970s – changes by choice. This seems to be a slow motion move to replicate what Russia went through back in the 1990s which led to the unnecessary, premature deaths of millions of its people. Dmitry Orlov has a lot to say about the subject of collapse and there is a long page in which Orlov talks about how Russia got through these bad times while comparing it with America as he lives there now. For those interested, it is at-

    http://energyskeptic.com/2015/dmitry-orlov-how-russians-survived-collapse/

    What gets me most is how these deaths are basically anonymous and are not really remembered. When AIDS was ravishing the gay community decades ago, one way they got people to appreciate the numbers of deaths was the AIDS Memorial Quilt which ended up weighing over 50 tons. It is a shame that there can not be an equivalent project for all these deaths of despair.

    Yves Smith Post author , November 30, 2018 at 6:47 am

    There were pictures in the Wall Street Journal article I didn't pull over due to copyright issues, but it did show people commemorating these deaths Captions:

    People in Largo, Fla., hold candles at a vigil on Oct. 17 to remember the thousands who succumbed to opioid abuse in their community.

    More than 1,000 backpacks containing belongings of suicide victims and letters with information about them are scattered across a lawn during a demonstration at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on March 22.

    But to your point, these seem isolated and are not getting press coverage at anywhere near the level of the AIDS crisis.

    Carla , November 30, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Great post, Yves, thank you! One suggestion: might you consider putting the last word in quotes, as in "betters" ?

    Spanish reader , November 30, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    It focuses too much on peak oil. As if the social collapse of the United States (and the Soviet Union) was some kind of natural consequence of resources dryinf out instead of a premeditated looting.

    Eclair , November 30, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    Orlov's posts on how Russians survived the collapse is a small masterpiece. I read it a couple of years back and it affected me greatly. I just reread it, thanks, Rev Kev, and it seems even more relevant now.

    Small gems: Money becomes useless: items or services that can be swapped are paramount. Bottles of alcohol, fresh homegrown veggies (and pot), I re-fashion your old suit and you fix my broken window.

    Social networks keep you alive. Know and be on good terms with your neighbors. Communal gardens keep you fed.

    War-hardened men (and the women who love them), who thrive on violence abound. They will either be hired as security or rove about as free-lancers. A community is better able either to hire them, or defend against them.

    Our ancestors lived and thrived without: central heating, electric lights, hot and cold running water, flush toilets, garbage collection, the Internet. We can too; it just takes forethought and planning. Densely packed cities without these amenities are hell.

    Cultivate an attitude of disdain for the 'normal' things that society values, especially if you are a middle-aged male; career, large house and SUV, foreign vacations, a regular salary. Enjoy contemplating nature. When the former disappear, you have the latter to fall back upon. And consider a second career as a recycler of abandoned buildings, or a distiller of potatoes. (Think of all the Medieval structures built from crumbling Roman edifices.)

    Russians, in many ways, had more resilience built in to their system: housing was State-owned, so there was less homelessness. Private automobiles were relatively rare, but public transportation was wide-spread and remained in good-running order. Minimal universal health care existed.

    Cease from trying, futilely, to change the System. Ain't gonna happen. Instead, prepare to survive, if only just, the coming dismantling.

    Steve H. , November 30, 2018 at 7:24 am

    > Once a floor standard of living is attained, people tend to be healthier when three conditions hold: they are valued and respected by others; they feel 'in control' in their work and home lives; and they enjoy a dense network of social contacts.

    "Sapolsky: We belong to multiple hierarchies, and you may have the worst job in your corporation and no autonomy and control and predictability, but you're the captain of the company softball team that year and you'd better bet you are going to have all sorts of psychological means to decide it's just a job, nine to five, that's not what the world is about. What the world's about is softball. I'm the head of my team, people look up to me, and you come out of that deciding you are on top of the hierarchy that matters to you."

    iirc, there was a perspective of some economists that infinite groaf could be carried by the creative, emergent, and infinite wants of homo sapiens. But that creates compounding deprivations, never enough time, money, resources. With the 2:1 ratio of loss aversion, what is compounded are bad affects.

    That 'dense network of social contacts' means smaller groups with symmetric interactions. The multiple dominance heirarchies is the healthy version of creative emergence, but supplying needs, not creating wants.

    rd , November 30, 2018 at 9:02 am

    I think that one of the most valuable tools used by government in the Great Depression was the CCC, WPA, and TVA set of programs that provided jobs to people while they created valuable infrastructure and art. How many of those people could go back to the dams or state parks and tell their spouses and kids that "I helped build that." During a time of despair, it was a way of making people believe they had value.

    Today, it would be viewed as a waste of money that could be better spent on the military or another tax cut for the wealthy.

    Wukchumni , November 30, 2018 at 9:24 am

    I'd mentioned some wrongheaded policies of Sequoia NP of 90 years ago yesterday, and they seem ridiculous in retrospect, and we no longer treat natural places as ad hoc zoos, where everybody gets to see the dancing bears @ a given hour.

    Our methodology as far as our rapport with fire was just as stupid, but we've really done nothing to repair our relationship with trees and the forests they hang out in.

    There's an abundance of physical labor needed to clear out the duff, the deadfalls and assorted debris from huge swaths of guaranteed employment until the job is done, which could take awhile.

    There's really few graft possibilities though, we're talking chainsaws, Pulaskis, never ending burn pile action and lots of sweat equity. If KBR wanted to be in charge of backcountry camps housing crews, that'd be ok, they'd be doing something useful for a change.

    False Solace , November 30, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    Yes, why do you think video games appeal so much to young males? Because of the pixels? What these gamers are really after is the ability to excel in a niche hierarchy. It doesn't (usually) appeal to females as much as more traditional kinds of success but it serves a psychological need.

    divadab , November 30, 2018 at 8:13 am

    A traitorous ruling class that has sold out its workers in favor of foreign workers.

    And it's very lucrative – the Walton's fortune was made by being an agent of communist Chinese manufacturers. In direct competition with US manufacturers. Does this not seem like treason to you?

    Phillip Allen , November 30, 2018 at 9:10 am

    The word 'communist' in relation to the Chinese government and party is void of content. 'Communist' in the current Chinese context is legacy branding, nothing more. Its use in this comment is inflammatory, as is the too-loose bandying of 'treason'. The Waltons are loyal to their class (however fierce their disputes may be with rival oligarch factions), and since the state exists to serve the interests of their class, how can they be traitors to the state?

    divadab , November 30, 2018 at 10:34 am

    "Communist" is what they call themselves. They're totalitarians. Which is what most people think "communist" means – because all countries that called themselves communist used authoritarian rule. Methinks you might be a marxist idealist. Offended by the misuse of your ideal State word by totalitarians.

    Similarly, I used "treason" in the sense of acting against the interests of the citizens, not in the sense of a crime against the state. You clearly believe the state to be representative of only the ruling class. And I don't disagree wrt the USA and its imperial machine. Which would make the State treasonous, according to the sense of the word I used.

    NotTimothyGeithner , November 30, 2018 at 10:51 am

    One could always say communism is an end point developed through a process preceded by socialism and before that capitalism which replaces feudalism. The idea being Chinese Communists, the rich Chinese have bug out spots for a reason, believe Mao and the Soviets moved too quickly skipping a Marxist historical epoch.

    The Communist Party officially is always a vanguard for the future society not the Communist society. Phrases such as "under communism" aren't Soviet features as much as they are propaganda from the West.

    When the Reds were the only game in town, the greedy class joined the CCP, but since 1991, they skipped signing up, leaving believers in control. What the party congress believes is probably important.

    As far as branding goes, all Communists are branded because the are all vanguard parties, not parties of blocs or even current populations. Star Trek is the only communist society. The Soviet thinkers definitely wrote about what an Ideal society would look like, the nature of work, and self and societal improvement.

    Overthrowing a long established government shouldn't be done for light and transient reasons, and Xi has seemed to be concerned with the demands of the party congress. The party at large doesn't have a single voice to rally behind which makes it difficult to overthrow a government.

    rob , December 1, 2018 at 7:01 am

    the word is "communist". The gov't isn't anything of the sort these days. Isn't the chinese gov't of today "fascist". just like the national socialists of the german stripe? They are the state that may be lord over controller of private institutions, and ruler of other state institutions, all intermixed into what is "the chinese economy". They allow the private wealth creation in a controlled sense. that is state function serving private wealth. and if you are a party loyal, private wealth may come to you some day too.
    It is just another part of the world trend "everyone is turning into full fledged fascists"
    No wonder people in the states are dying earlier.. to get back on topic

    Polar Donkey , November 30, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Last night, my wife and I took our boys to meet Santa at my older son's school. Elementary school in Mississippi. The town is an outer suburb of Memphis. A mile east of the town you are in rural Mississippi. I noticed 2 or 3 parents with visible drug addiction issues. These folks were still people. Want their kids to see Santa and have a better life. The country doesn't care.

    Janie , November 30, 2018 at 9:49 am

    I'll guess that you're near Byhalia. Happy memories of visiting family there from late forties through sixties. Wonder what its like now – how the economic changes have affected it.

    Polar Donkey , November 30, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    Byhalia is a little further down highway 78. Kids from Byhalia drive up to Olive Branch to go to a McDonald's and other fast food. Things may be changing because they just completed an outer interstate loop that passes close by Byhalia. Byhalia was just in news a couple months ago because a kid died during a football game. People were up in arms about no doctor at game and a 30 to 40 minute drive to closest hospital. There aren't any doctors offices in Byhalia. Then toxicology report came back. Kid had cocaine in his system. Holly Springs and Byhalia area are big drug smuggling area. Close to Memphis and it's distribution network, but across state line in poor rural Mississippi. NBA players linked to this area and smuggling networks.

    Wukchumni , November 30, 2018 at 8:44 am

    I'm always amazed @ the suicide by gun numbers, as it strikes me as a not so fool proof way of checking out, exacerbated by perhaps dying slowly in a painful way?

    Oh, and bloody, very much so.

    Fentanyl seems an easier way out, you just drift into the ether and leave a presentable corpse for everybody you knew, who all wonder if they could have done something to stop it from happening, posthaste.

    NotTimothyGeithner , November 30, 2018 at 10:10 am

    It's cheap and fairly efficient, and the drug way out can be tricky. Silent film legend, Lupe Valez, is the famed example of suicide by drugs gone wrong. She still died but not on her own terms because the sleeping pills she took didn't react well with her last meal.

    How many people have tried to check out and had it not work is something to consider.

    Martin Finnucane , November 30, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Re Lupe Valdez: probably not true, at least according to the Wikipedia page . Not that it affects your point too much, I guess.

    timbers , November 30, 2018 at 8:44 am

    The level of denial people are capable of can be daunting.

    1). My dentist who I think is Republican told me when I brought up Medicare for all said "I don't think we can afford Medicare for all." This was not an immediate response to my raising the topic, but something he told me after several visits and having thought about what I had said and around the time Sanders got media coverage introducing a Medicare for all bill (I was getting a crown and required many visits). Talking to your dentist can be a one sided conversation for obvious reasons, but I thought "don't you mean we can't afford NOT to have Medicare for all?"

    2). A co-worker of mine who is African American. When I said U.S. life expectancy is falling, this is a sign of extreme policy failure and should affect how we rate the ACA (read that here, of course!) replied "You're assuming health has an impact on life expectancy." I was stunned and didn't know what to say for a second and finally said "yes, absolutely."

    TroyMcClure , November 30, 2018 at 9:47 am

    These are the types that are more than happy to hand the place over to the next Bolsonaro if only to protect the status gap between themselves and those beneath them.

    False Solace , November 30, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    They also "hand the place over" when the Bolsonaro types tell everyone they have the solution and the opposition party is tainted by austerity and corruption.

    Massinissa , November 30, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    "You're assuming health has an impact on life expectancy"

    I have absolutely no idea how I would respond to this either. Was this comment by this person some kind of built in knee-jerk response to criticism of the ACA/Obama?

    timbers , December 1, 2018 at 9:09 am

    Opps I meant to write "You're assuming health CARE has an impact on life expectancy."

    In response to your question, I think so, yes.

    jrs , November 30, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    actually you are assuming health coverage, even if it was real coverage for what one needed, has that much of an impact on life expectancy and from what I've read it probably doesn't compared to things like poverty *regardless* of health coverage. Because the greatest link to say heart attacks is with poverty (not diet etc.)

    At this point though it doesn't even make sense to talk about the ACA circa now and say it's Obama's ACA, it wasn't that great to begin with. But Trump has made it worse.

    Left in Wisconsin , November 30, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    My dentist who I think is Republican told me when I brought up Medicare for all said "I don't think we can afford Medicare for all."

    When I brought up Medicare for All to my dentist, after listening to him describe some of his ER work where he claims to routinely see people who have intentionally damaged their teeth in order to obtain painkillers (which he is not allowed to proscribe to them regardless), he said he would never want to have the kind of inferior health care they have "in Europe." He seemed genuinely surprised when I reported that my wife had done most of a pregnancy in Italy in the mid-90s and got pre-natal care that was better than anything she ever got in this country.

    My dentist is definitely a Repub. And he socializes with other medical professionals, which I presume gives him a very distorted image of the health care system. I often hear him railing against the idiotic dictates of insurance companies and he seems genuinely proud that, unlike the inscrutable and BS pricing of hospitals, dentists have to have straightforward pricing because many people do pay 100% out of pocket (so he says).

    This is a part of the 10% that is going to be very hard to reach. But I tell him socialists need dental care too and so he will always have work even after we take over.

    Tom Stone , November 30, 2018 at 9:27 am

    Suicide can be a rational and sensible choice.
    Bluntly, if the quality of your life is shitty and not going to improve why stick around?
    That the reason so many people's lives are bad enough that they decide death is preferable to life is societal doesn't change their circumstances.
    If you are old and sick, barely surviving financially or in poor health and unable to afford care suicide might look like your best alternative.
    The "Hemlock Society" has been around for quite a while, that its membership is growing in the short term says a great deal about America.

    In the Land of Farmers , November 30, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    Suicide is never rational. It is arrogance that one could weigh the pros and cons of suicide like they think the have all the pertinent information. The only truth is that we have no idea what happens when we die or if there is some kind of experience that continues in a form that might not be a personal consciousness. Also, why don't you see the decision to die is made under duress and therefor invalid like signing a contract with a gun pointed at your head? There were several times in my life that I determined "the quality of [my] life is shitty and not going to improve [so] why stick around", but yet, I became better off going through the struggle. As a result I have made others lives better with the understanding I have gained going through the Shaman's journey.

    By considering suicide you are considering trading a known (suffering) for an unknown (Death). In what way can that be considered rational?

    The sad fact is that we spend our whole lives avoiding suffering and never take the time to understand it. Opioids, all drugs, are a route to avoid suffering, to avoid looking at our trauma. Materialism is about avoiding our suffering. Suicide is materialistic because it supposes there is a mind that we can stop.

    But even in the Buddhist centers I visit it has turned away from the spiritual and people go there not to understand their suffering, but rather only to escape it.

    American society does not have an economic problem, it has a spiritual problem.

    Eclair , November 30, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    I respect your view that suicide is an arrogant act and that suffering is an unavoidable part of life. I totally agree with the latter philosophy. You suffer, and you wade through it and come out on the other side as a better person. Forged in fire, so to speak.

    Plus, I am, by nature, an optimist. There is always something to look forward to, every morning.

    But, a few years ago, I suffered a cascade of bodily failures, whose symptoms were at first ignored, then misdiagnosed, resulting in my taking medications that made me worse off. At one point, for two months, I had constant nerve pain (comparable to having teeny barbed wire wrapped around my torso and and being zapped by an electric charge every few seconds.) Plus back pain. I could not eat, and when I did, I vomited. I lost 20 pounds. I could not sleep for more than hour at a time, and that hour happened only once a day. I walked only with the aid of two walking sticks. I was totally constipated for a month (gross, but this condition just adds to one's misery.) There was no end in sight and my condition just kept worsening with each round of new medication.

    I did not seriously contemplate suicide. But I did give some thought to what I would do if I had to face life without sleep, without food, without the ability to walk, and death came up as one of the better solutions. Fortunately, I changed doctors.

    In the Land of Farmers , November 30, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    I empathize with your struggles, and I have contemplated suicide myself, but contemplating death is part of the shaman's journey. I do not think that suicide is arrogant, I think it is a misunderstanding.

    IMHO, medical doctors will disrupt this journey. They should be consulted but with the understanding that they know very little about the balance of the body and what is needed to heal.

    Truth is, we will die. The greater the suffering the easier to find out "who" that is suffering.

    sangweq , November 30, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    "Life teaches you how to live it, if you live long enough.".

    -Tony Bennett

    witters , November 30, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    "Suicide is never rational" is an arrogant assertion.

    Massinissa , November 30, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Even if it *is* a 'rational' choice, that is because the system is absolutely broken and must be changed.

    In the Land of Farmers , November 30, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    +1000

    I get in fights with my therapist all the time about this. She is always advocating for ME to change when I feel if she wants to help us all she should be helping us change the system.

    jrs , November 30, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    Well roles like therapist are part of what props up the system and they get paid for precisely that.

    I mean if we are just living our lives we see that things are both individual and systematic. And some things are strongly systematic (economic problems), and others probably have a significantly personal component (phobias etc.). And so we have to exist with both being true, but if we are drowning in economic problems the rest doesn't matter. But therapists have a specific role to individualize all problems. But if people are just doing therapy to get stuff off their chest, who can blame them. Enough people are, although it's not how therapists like to see their role.

    Ojia , November 30, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Lifespan dropping, mortality going up

    Are we tired of winning yet???

    Jason Boxman , November 30, 2018 at 9:58 am

    The only real visible sign of decay on the train to DC from Boston is Baltimore, which nearly appears bombed out.

    NotTimothyGeithner , November 30, 2018 at 11:34 am

    The train goes right by Chester, Pa, and you can see decay along the tracks all along BosWash. Except for Biden, a corrupt tool who hasn't figured out how to cash in, the elites don't take the train.

    Tomonthebeach , November 30, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    Remember the Kingsman movie where the president was going to let all the dopers die? Think Trump.

    Not only is the WH response to the opioid problem merely cosmetic, they (and NIH) refuse to link it to the economics of human obsolescence. How convenient. As jobs die, the workers do too – less welfare burden. That is fascist thinking, and it is evident today.

    Finally, let us recall that all public health leaders are Trump appointees – i.e., incompetent. CDC too refuses to link suicide to the economy. It's bad politics. They can do this because there are no national standards for reporting deaths as suicides or even drug overdoses. It is entirely up to the elected coroner. Thus 10s of thousands of suicides are reported as natural or accidental either intentionally to ease the grief of family members or because they lack the manpower to investigate suspicious deaths. Note the bump in accidental deaths. Driving your car into a concrete abutment or over a cliff might be an accident, but more often than not, the driver was pickled (Irish courage) and the death was intentional.

    So, until we do a better job of measuring the causes of death, the administration can continue to blame the deaths on moral weakness rather than its cruel economic policies.

    djrichard , November 30, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Well we might not be thriving, but our empire is thriving. And the empire has a simple message for us: embrace the suck.

    How is it legal , November 30, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Sadly, I believe if suicide attempts were taken into account, the picture would even look far bleaker, and likely include far more Metro areas. In those Metro areas there are likely far less gun/rifle owners (reportedly the most successful method), far quicker ambulance response times, and significant expenditures have been made, and actions taken, to thwart attempts on transit lines and bridges, along with committing suicidal persons to locked down psychiatric facilities (which then adds further financial burden, significant employment issues, and possibly ugly, forced medication side effects); while doing absolutely nothing whatsoever to address the causes.

    What a sickening blotch on the US , with such wealth and power – sovereign in its own currency – that it's citizens are increasingly attempting and committing suicide because they can no longer afford to live in any manner that's considered humane. That, while its Fourth Estate deliberately obscures the deadly problem – which cannot be cured by forcing Pharma™, Therapy™, and Psychiatric Confinement™ at it, when a predatory crippling of economic stability is the entire cause – and refuses to hold the Government and Elites accountable.

    Bobby Gladd , November 30, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    I would commend to all Beth Macy's riveting book " Dopesick : Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America ."

    Equal parts nicely written investigative reporting and painful personal stories. I'd thought that the "opioid epidemic" meme was hyperbolic. I was wrong.

    WorkerPleb , December 1, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    This happened in Russian and Eastern European countries too didn't it?

    [Nov 27, 2018] American capitalism could afford to make concessions assiciated with The New Deal because of its economic dominance. The past forty years have been characterized by the continued decline of American capitalism on a world stage relative to its major rivals. The ruling class has responded to this crisis with a neoliberal counterrevolution to claw back all gains won by workers. This policy has been carried out under both Democratic and Republican administrations and with the assistance of the trade unions.

    Highly recommended!
    Notable quotes:
    "... The original "New Deal," which included massive public works infrastructure projects, was introduced by Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s amid the Great Depression. Its purpose was to stave off a socialist revolution in America. It was a response to a militant upsurge of strikes and violent class battles, led by socialists who were inspired by the 1917 Russian Revolution ..."
    "... Since the 2008 crash, first under Bush and Obama, and now Trump, the ruling elites have pursued a single-minded policy of enriching the wealthy, through free credit, corporate bailouts and tax cuts, while slashing spending on social services. ..."
    "... To claim as does Ocasio-Cortez that American capitalism can provide a new "New Deal," of a green or any other variety, is to pfile:///F:/Private_html/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/Neoliberalism/Historyromote an obvious political fiction." ..."
    Nov 27, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

    Northern Star November 26, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    As the New deal unravels:

    "The original "New Deal," which included massive public works infrastructure projects, was introduced by Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s amid the Great Depression. Its purpose was to stave off a socialist revolution in America. It was a response to a militant upsurge of strikes and violent class battles, led by socialists who were inspired by the 1917 Russian Revolution that had occurred less than two decades before.

    American capitalism could afford to make such concessions because of its economic dominance. The past forty years have been characterized by the continued decline of American capitalism on a world stage relative to its major rivals. The ruling class has responded to this crisis with a social counterrevolution to claw back all gains won by workers. This has been carried out under both Democratic and Republican administrations and with the assistance of the trade unions.

    Since the 2008 crash, first under Bush and Obama, and now Trump, the ruling elites have pursued a single-minded policy of enriching the wealthy, through free credit, corporate bailouts and tax cuts, while slashing spending on social services.

    To claim as does Ocasio-Cortez that American capitalism can provide a new "New Deal," of a green or any other variety, is to pfile:///F:/Private_html/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/Neoliberalism/Historyromote an obvious political fiction."

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/11/23/cort-n23.html

    [Nov 25, 2018] Beside relevling Hillary as a sociopath, we came we saw, he dies was a bad idea. So now Hillary flop-flopped

    The rule is: if you can't handle refugees, dont destroy countries https://t.co/i5NVP2LIxj
    Notable quotes:
    "... populists on the right ..."
    "... hired members of Ukraine's two racist-fascist, or nazi, political parties ..."
    Nov 25, 2018 | caucus99percent.com

    span y snoopydawg on Fri, 11/23/2018 - 12:27am

    Maybe if Hillary and her NATO buddies hadn't overthrown Ghadaffi, they wouldn't have this migrant crisis.

    Before Libya, being the richest African country, provided refuge to huge number of refugees from sub-Saharan Africa.

    If you can't handle refugees,dont destroy countries https://t.co/i5NVP2LIxj

    -- Esha & (@eshaLegal) November 22, 2018

    Can she be any more tone deaf or say something more stupid than that?

    Hillary Clinton: Europe must curb immigration to stop rightwing populists

    "I think Europe needs to get a handle on migration because that is what lit the flame," Clinton said, speaking as part of a series of interviews with senior centrist political figures about the rise of populists, particularly on the right, in Europe and the Americas.

    "I admire the very generous and compassionate approaches that were taken particularly by leaders like Angela Merkel, but I think it is fair to say Europe has done its part, and must send a very clear message – 'we are not going to be able to continue provide refuge and support ' – because if we don't deal with the migration issue it will continue to roil the body politic."

    Hillary still can't admit to herself that she lost the election because she was a horrible candidate and people refused to vote for her.

    Clinton urged forces opposed to rightwing populism in Europe and the US not to neglect the concerns about race and i dentity issues that she says were behind her losing key votes in 2016. She accused Trump of exploiting the issue in the election contest – and in office.

    "The use of immigrants as a political device and as a symbol of government gone wrong, of attacks on one's heritage, one's identity, one's national unity has been very much exploited by the current administration here," she said.

    "There are solutions to migration that do not require clamping down on the press, on your political opponents and trying to suborn the judiciary, or seeking financial and political help from Russia to support your political parties and movements."

    Let's recap what Obama's coup in Ukraine has led to shall we? Maybe installing and blatantly backing Neo Nazis in Ukraine might have something to do with the rise of " populists on the right " that is spreading through Europe and this country, Hillary.

    America's criminal 'news' media never even reported the coup, nor that in 2011 the Obama regime began planning for a coup in Ukraine . And that by 1 March 2013 they started organizing it inside the U.S. Embassy there . And that they hired members of Ukraine's two racist-fascist, or nazi, political parties , Right Sector and Svoboda (which latter had been called the Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine until the CIA advised them to change it to Freedom Party, or "Svoboda" instead). And that in February 2014 they did it (and here's the 4 February 2014 phone call instructing the U.S. Ambassador whom to place in charge of the new regime when the coup will be completed), under the cover of authentic anti-corruption demonstrations that the Embassy organized on the Maidan Square in Kiev, demonstrations that the criminal U.S. 'news' media misrepresented as 'democracy demonstrations ,' though Ukraine already had democracy (but still lots of corruption, even more than today's U.S. does, and the pontificating Obama said he was trying to end Ukraine's corruption -- which instead actually soared after his coup there).

    [Nov 23, 2018] The recent collision between a Norwegian frigate and a tanker was immediately blamed on Russia, but there are suggestions the real cause may be linked to "Gender Issues" and the intersection of George-Soros-Delusion-Syndrome with mind-numbing incompetence:

    Notable quotes:
    "... Well, if the objective of having many women on board is to keep all the occupants occupied full-time on a one-to-one basis instead of letting them get busy at shooting at people, then I am all for that, they should adopt it for the whole of NATO, especially the US. ..."
    "... Sounds like a good Scandinavian way of addressing NATO policy deficiencies. But when through your distraction you end up crashing into oil tankers, just don't blame it on the Russians or the Chinese. ..."
    Nov 23, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

    BM , Nov 23, 2018 11:36:41 AM | 92 ">link

    Gender Politics and the Sinking of the KNM Helge Ingstad

    From the article this gem: "It is advantageous to have many women on board. It will be a natural thing and a completely different environment, which I look at as positive," Lieutenant Iselin Emilie Jakobsen Ophus said. She is a navigation officer at KNM Helge Ingstad, according to Defense Forum.

    Well, if the objective of having many women on board is to keep all the occupants occupied full-time on a one-to-one basis instead of letting them get busy at shooting at people, then I am all for that, they should adopt it for the whole of NATO, especially the US.

    Sounds like a good Scandinavian way of addressing NATO policy deficiencies. But when through your distraction you end up crashing into oil tankers, just don't blame it on the Russians or the Chinese.

    Also in the article a very nice picture of the frigate (not the one at the top, the one a little further down the page) which makes for an excellent picture of a George-Soros-frigate. It should be renamed KNM George Soros. Anyone for an HMS George Soros Aircraft carrier?

    [Nov 09, 2018] Publius Tacitus on Dr. Ford

    Notable quotes:
    "... With the benefit of hindsight, I suspect most Democrat leaders now realize that their attempt to take out Judge Brent Kavanaugh with false charges that he sexually assaulted someone in High School was a disaster. Their heavy handed, Bolshevik tactics backfired and galvanized a broad spectrum of Americans who were sickened by the spectacle of a verbal lynch mob being led by the decrepit Diane Feinstein. ..."
    "... that he dated Dr. Ford for six years. He said that she never mentioned being the victim of sexual assault or misconduct. He also stated that Dr. Ford did not mention any fear of close quarters or flying, and that the two traveled together, including on a small propeller plane. also said that he witnessed Dr. Ford, drawing from her background in psychology, help prepare her roommate, Ms. Monica McLean, for a potential polygraph examination when Ms. McLean wasinterviewing for jobs with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office. He stated that Dr. Ford helped Ms. McLean become familiar and less nervous about the exam. ..."
    "... No! Let's see her tried for perjury with full discovery I will be glad to be a pro bone consultant on that trial and i have a lot of experience. ..."
    "... The Dems COULD have made Kavanaugh's support for torture a principled reason for opposing him. ..."
    "... The Dems could've raised all kinds of principled objections to Kavanaugh; but tellingly, they chose not to. They chose to take the low road instead. ..."
    "... They are complicit. Especially Feinstein. SHe's AOK with torture and 24-7 surveillance. WHat do you expect from an ardent cannabis prohibitionist? ..."
    "... Indeed. That would have been a principle worth highlighting. And the question put forward - "Should a torture supporter serve on the Supreme Court?" But..Dianne Feinstein and Chuckie Schumer were never interested in that. All they were interested in was creating a media spectacle and that's exactly what they did by holding on to Ford's letter for 2 months and unleashing it the day before the vote. ..."
    "... Christine Ford, Monica McLean and the others should testify to a grand jury. Isn't perjury what they indicted & convicted Gen. Flynn & George Papadopolous for? ..."
    "... Why is it that Christine Ford can get away with blatantly and repeatedly lying to Congress about a federal judge but Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos were dragged through court (no doubt at great expense to them) for so-called minor lies to FBI interrogators? ..."
    "... Launching 18 USC 1001 prosecutions like so many torpedoes might look expeditious in the short term but in the long term, it will be bad for both the working agent on the street and for justice in the bigger picture. ..."
    "... Ford lied to the senate judiciary committee under oath. In your scheme of things people like Avenatti and his female tools can slander and libel at will in conformations even if they are interviewed by the FBI? OK, then the FBI should interview them under oath. ..."
    "... If at least one Democrat is going to be removed from the Senate Judiciary Committee as a result of the midterm election realignment, I nominate 'Spartacus' as the guy. ..."
    "... Kavanaugh's real crime was he went after Bill Clinton and now he paid the price for it. It's too bad in Yale they don't teach them how to watch their backs in Washington. ..."
    "... Brian Merrick has been revealed as the boyfriend. He is a realtor in Malibu. His letter states: " Despite trying to maintain a long distance relationship, I ended the relationship once I discovered that Dr. Ford was unfaithful while living in Hawaii. After the breakup, I took her off the credit card we shared. But nearly 1 year later, I noticed Dr. Ford had been charging the card and charged about $600 worth of merchandise. When confronted, Dr. Ford said she did not use the card but later admitted the use after I threatened to involve fraud prevention." 'Revealed: The Man Accusing Blasey Ford of Lying About Polygraphs.' The Daily Caller, October 3, 2018. https://dailycaller.com/201... ..."
    "... A woman who said that she attended UNC with Dr. Ford, identified a third woman, name blotted out, and stated that the three of them "used to purchase drugs" from a male whose name also has been blotted out. The three of them "regularly attended parties with members of his fraternity." The witness said "that she was present at --a blotted out name of an apartment--"one night in April 1987 when Dr. Ford and --someone again blotted out--"arrived to consume drugs." This witness "said that the Dr. Ford she knew had an active and robust social life in college." (Sept.25) ..."
    turcopolier.typepad.com

    Publius Tacitus on Dr. Ford - posted by PL

    With the benefit of hindsight, I suspect most Democrat leaders now realize that their attempt to take out Judge Brent Kavanaugh with false charges that he sexually assaulted someone in High School was a disaster. Their heavy handed, Bolshevik tactics backfired and galvanized a broad spectrum of Americans who were sickened by the spectacle of a verbal lynch mob being led by the decrepit Diane Feinstein. The truth about the sex-fraud, Dr. Chrissie Ford, is now exposed by the voluminous report issued by Senator Grassley's Judiciary Committee staff. Read it here . ( https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2018-11-02%20Kavanaugh%20Report.pdf ). Here are the highlights:

    that he dated Dr. Ford for six years. He said that she never mentioned being the victim of sexual assault or misconduct. He also stated that Dr. Ford did not mention any fear of close quarters or flying, and that the two traveled together, including on a small propeller plane. also said that he witnessed Dr. Ford, drawing from her background in psychology, help prepare her roommate, Ms. Monica McLean, for a potential polygraph examination when Ms. McLean wasinterviewing for jobs with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office. He stated that Dr. Ford helped Ms. McLean become familiar and less nervous about the exam. The Judiciary Committee report also details the allegations and findings from others who alleged sexual misconduct by the Judge. It was all a pack of lies. A contrived hit job intended to destroy the man's reputation and try to cow him into backing away from the nomination. That bullying tactic failed spectacularly. It ended up rallying a broad swath of the American public, especially women, who understand fairness and justice. The injustice on display by the Democrats ended up helping the Republicans nail down a bigger majority in the Senate. Look for fewer Democrat seats on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Pat Lang Mod , 21 hours ago

    IMO a criminal referral on Dr. Ford would be appropriate.
    Kelli K -> Pat Lang , 6 hours ago
    Absolutely agree. With Nadler now openly talking about impeaching Kavanaugh, there is no alternative. The truth must be brought out. The alternative is to leave him exposed permanently and keep this whole plan viable for use against future nominees. With RBG approaching retirement this is critical.
    Fred W -> Pat Lang , 19 hours ago
    Getting to the actual facts would be a great good. But we know that will not happen. The administration and the senate have already shown their attitude toward professional quality investigation. That appears to be the last thing they want. If they actually believed any of what they said, they would follow your advice. We will see.

    On second thought that is probably an unfair standard. Opening up discovery for a trial would have negative effects even for a very solid case.

    Fred -> Fred W , 18 hours ago
    "The administration and the senate have already shown their attitude toward professional quality investigation."

    You mean the Mueller "Russia" investigation? That is beyond a joke at this point. Dr. Ford should be charged. She's got $1 million or more from the go bribe fund me accounts. She should lawyer up. So should Ms. Mclean.

    Pat Lang Mod -> Fred W , 19 hours ago
    No! Let's see her tried for perjury with full discovery I will be glad to be a pro bone consultant on that trial and i have a lot of experience.
    Bill H -> Fred W , 3 hours ago
    I think the lesson to be learned is that getting all the facts simply cannot be done, which is why we have a statute of limitations, and why Dr. Ford's accusation should not ever have seen the light of day 30 years after the purported event.

    Most liberals seem to think the statute of limitations has to do with the purported offender "living with guilt," but the law does not acknowledge the "sensation of guilt." The statute is because after a period of time the offense cannot be fairly prosecuted because witnesses die or move away, memories fade, evidence degrades or disappears, and so forth, and this shoddy exhibition is proof of the validity of that principle.

    Pat Lang Mod -> Fred W , 4 hours ago
    I do not see how you can fault Grassley's efforts to get the facts. He bent over backward to accommodate the Democrats lies about Kavanaugh and the WH authorized the the additional FBI investigation.
    Karl Kolchak , 19 hours ago
    The Dems COULD have made Kavanaugh's support for torture a principled reason for opposing him. Then if they lost, which they were likely going to do anyway, it would have at least been considered fair politics and it would have placed the spotlight on a very ugly chapter in the country's recent history that needs to be addressed.
    RaisingMac -> Karl Kolchak , 7 hours ago
    The Dems could've raised all kinds of principled objections to Kavanaugh; but tellingly, they chose not to. They chose to take the low road instead.
    Divadab Newton -> RaisingMac , 4 hours ago
    They are complicit. Especially Feinstein. SHe's AOK with torture and 24-7 surveillance. WHat do you expect from an ardent cannabis prohibitionist?
    FarNorthSolitude -> Karl Kolchak , 3 hours ago
    Shaming, shunning, bullying, threats of violence, and violence are all now accepted as methods by the left. They are totally consumed in a political tribalism. Rather than raising the moral standards of the group they are using the most primitive instincts and you can see this in many of the tweets from the left that use gross sexual imagery to demean their "enemies".

    The more I read on group psychology such as Freud, Le Bon, etc. the more concerned I become whether the age of reason, principles, and science will survive group psychosis given the powerful tools like social media enabling it. Social media is one of the most dangerous technologies we have developed.

    "In order to make a correct judgment upon the morals of groups, one must take into consideration the fact that when individuals come together in a group all their individual inhibitions fall away and all the cruel, brutal and destructive instincts, which lie dormant in individuals as relics of a primitive epoch, are stirred up to find free gratification. But under the influence of suggestion groups are also capable of high achievements in the shape of abnegation, unselfishness, and devotion to an ideal.

    While with isolated individuals personal interest is almost the only motive force, with groups it is very rarely prominent.

    It is possible to speak of an individual having his moral standards raised by a group. Whereas the intellectual capacity of a group is always far below that of an individual, its ethical conduct may rise as high above his as it may sink deep below it." - Gustave Le Bon

    blue peacock -> Karl Kolchak , 17 hours ago
    Indeed. That would have been a principle worth highlighting. And the question put forward - "Should a torture supporter serve on the Supreme Court?" But..Dianne Feinstein and Chuckie Schumer were never interested in that. All they were interested in was creating a media spectacle and that's exactly what they did by holding on to Ford's letter for 2 months and unleashing it the day before the vote.

    Christine Ford, Monica McLean and the others should testify to a grand jury. Isn't perjury what they indicted & convicted Gen. Flynn & George Papadopolous for?

    william mcdonald , 5 hours ago
    Wily old Senator Charles(the Fox) Grassley gave the democrats sufficient rope to hang themselves with, an act they did with gusto.
    PRC90 , 10 hours ago
    Another amateurish mess. One effect may be that the Democrats will be more careful in their next attempt to discredit some opponent.
    DianaLC -> PRC90 , 2 hours ago
    The recent accident that RBG experienced has probably caused both Democrats and Republicans some concern that there may soon be another Supreme Court seat to fill under a Trump administration.
    akaPatience , 15 hours ago
    Why is it that Christine Ford can get away with blatantly and repeatedly lying to Congress about a federal judge but Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos were dragged through court (no doubt at great expense to them) for so-called minor lies to FBI interrogators?

    Off topic: I'd love to read PT's take on the mid-term election with attention paid to the boxes of suddenly-discovered ballots in AZ that have put (wouldn't you know!) Democratic Senate candidate Sinema in the lead. And in light of the FL recount, I'd also be interested in what he has to say about the flagrant disregard for chain of custody of [the infamous] Broward Co. boxes of ballots.

    Why is it that ballots discovered post-election day always seem to help Democrats? I don't recall ever reading or hearing about newly-discovered ballots that benefited Republican candidates.

    Mad_Max22 -> akaPatience , 2 hours ago
    In my experience lying to the FBI, 18 USC 1001, was used very, very infrequently. It was used as an add on charge in the prosecution of some of the Watergate subjects and they had been placed under oath. It was used to my knowledge to prosecute an individual who had made a false accusatory statement in the Ray Donavan investigation in the early 80's, another debacle instigated by Senate Democrats. Otherwise it was rarely used, and it shouldn't be used in my opinion unless the person has been given a separate warning and waiver, or placed under oath.

    Once Big Government has opened the floodgates on prosecuting people for lying to the FBI, especially when it becomes obvious that it is being used selectively, and in isolation in order to hang a charge on somebody in pursuit of manifestly political ends, cooperation with FBI Agents trying to do their job will, and should, dry up. Who needs to take a chance on some partisan operation, such as Bob Mueller, parsing their adverbs and adjectives for signs of deceit when the option is to take advantage of your right to silence.

    Launching 18 USC 1001 prosecutions like so many torpedoes might look expeditious in the short term but in the long term, it will be bad for both the working agent on the street and for justice in the bigger picture.

    Pat Lang Mod -> Mad_Max22 , an hour ago
    Ford lied to the senate judiciary committee under oath. In your scheme of things people like Avenatti and his female tools can slander and libel at will in conformations even if they are interviewed by the FBI? OK, then the FBI should interview them under oath.
    Bill H -> akaPatience , 3 hours ago
    Why isn't the Supreme Court stepping in to stop the unseemly Florida recount as it did in 2000?
    Pat Lang Mod -> Bill H , an hour ago
    we're not "there" yet.
    Ed Lindgren , 15 hours ago
    If at least one Democrat is going to be removed from the Senate Judiciary Committee as a result of the midterm election realignment, I nominate 'Spartacus' as the guy.
    Greco , 17 hours ago
    Now that there's a new AG in town--one who isn't either cowed, incompetent, or possibly blackmailed--Mrs.Ford may get her just deserts.

    Kavanaugh's real crime was he went after Bill Clinton and now he paid the price for it. It's too bad in Yale they don't teach them how to watch their backs in Washington.

    blue peacock , 17 hours ago
    "The injustice on display by the Democrats ended up helping the Republicans nail down a bigger majority in the Senate. Look for fewer Democrat seats on the Senate Judiciary Committee."

    While this may have held true for the Senate, it didn't in the House.

    Pat Lang Mod -> blue peacock , 4 hours ago
    IMO skillful Democrat candidate selection had a great deal to do with the result in the House.
    DianaLC -> Pat Lang , 2 hours ago
    I agree with you in the sense that many of the Democrat candidates did not take the ultra progressive (socialist?) path. Many seemed more centrist.

    That was the result of state and country Democratic parties.

    I think this because I definitely see a difference in the different county Republican parties in my state.

    Unfortunately in my state (CO) what happens in Boulder and Denver usually carries. And as we say in CO, Boulder is about 40 square miles surrounded by reality. Denver is becoming a similar alternate reality.

    Thus, I am ashamed to say, our current Governor is a person from a quite alternate reality from the one in which I live.

    MP98 -> Pat Lang , 4 hours ago
    And Never-Trumper RINOs who ran as Democrat-lites.
    Tidewater , 18 hours ago
    Brian Merrick has been revealed as the boyfriend. He is a realtor in Malibu. His letter states: " Despite trying to maintain a long distance relationship, I ended the relationship once I discovered that Dr. Ford was unfaithful while living in Hawaii. After the breakup, I took her off the credit card we shared. But nearly 1 year later, I noticed Dr. Ford had been charging the card and charged about $600 worth of merchandise. When confronted, Dr. Ford said she did not use the card but later admitted the use after I threatened to involve fraud prevention." 'Revealed: The Man Accusing Blasey Ford of Lying About Polygraphs.' The Daily Caller, October 3, 2018. https://dailycaller.com/201...

    A male witness "(Sept. 26): stated that when he was a 19-year-old college student, he visited D.C. over spring break and kissed a girl he believes was Dr. Ford. He said that the kiss happened in the bedroom of a house which was about a 15-to- 20 minute walk from the Van Ness Metro, that Dr. Ford was wearing a swimsuit under her clothing, and that the kissing ended when a friend jumped on them as a joke. The witness said that the woman initiated the kissing and that he did not force himself on her. "

    A woman who said that she attended UNC with Dr. Ford, identified a third woman, name blotted out, and stated that the three of them "used to purchase drugs" from a male whose name also has been blotted out. The three of them "regularly attended parties with members of his fraternity." The witness said "that she was present at --a blotted out name of an apartment--"one night in April 1987 when Dr. Ford and --someone again blotted out--"arrived to consume drugs." This witness "said that the Dr. Ford she knew had an active and robust social life in college." (Sept.25)

    Keith Harbaugh , 18 hours ago
    PT, thanks very much for posting this. I cannot find any mention of this Judiciary Committee report at the Washington Post web site. They had a ton of coverage of Ford's allegation before the vote, including a lengthy interview with her current husband.

    It says a lot about them that they have, unless I have missed something, ignored this report. Could the reason they are ignoring it be that they don't want to publicize anything which contradicts the line that "Women tell the truth"? A line that they have used to great political effect, in particular in the sinking of the Senate candidacy of Judge Roy Moore of Alabama.

    [Nov 07, 2018] Stuxnet 2.0? Iran claims Israel launched new cyber attacks

    Nov 07, 2018 | arstechnica.com

    President Rouhani's phone "bugged," attacks against network infrastructure claimed.

    Sean Gallagher - 11/5/2018, 5:10 PM

    reader comments

    Last week, Iran's chief of civil defense claimed that the Iranian government had fought off Israeli attempts to infect computer systems with what he described as a new version of Stuxnet -- the malware reportedly developed jointly by the US and Israel that targeted Iran's uranium-enrichment program. Gholamreza Jalali, chief of the National Passive Defense Organization (NPDO), told Iran's IRNA news service, "Recently, we discovered a new generation of Stuxnet which consisted of several parts... and was trying to enter our systems."

    On November 5, Iran Telecommunications Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi accused Israel of being behind the attack, and he said that the malware was intended to "harm the country's communication infrastructures." Jahromi praised "technical teams" for shutting down the attack, saying that the attackers "returned empty-handed." A report from Iran's Tasnim news agency quoted Deputy Telecommunications Minister Hamid Fattahi as stating that more details of the cyber attacks would be made public soon.

    Jahromi said that Iran would sue Israel over the attack through the International Court of Justice. The Iranian government has also said it would sue the US in the ICJ over the reinstatement of sanctions. Israel has remained silent regarding the accusations .

    The claims come a week after the NPDO's Jalali announced that President Hassan Rouhani's cell phone had been "tapped" and was being replaced with a new, more secure device. This led to a statement by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, exhorting Iran's security apparatus to "confront infiltration through scientific, accurate, and up-to-date action."

    While Iran protests the alleged attacks -- about which the Israeli government has been silent -- Iranian hackers have continued to conduct their own cyber attacks. A recent report from security tools company Carbon Black based on data from the company's incident-response partners found that Iran had been a significant source of attacks in the third quarter of this year, with one incident-response professional noting, "We've seen a lot of destructive actions from Iran and North Korea lately, where they've effectively wiped machines they suspect of being forensically analyzed."


    SymmetricChaos </> , 2018-11-05T17:16:46-05:00 I feel like governments still think of cyber warfare as something that doesn't really count and are willing to be dangerously provocative in their use of it. ihatewinter , 2018-11-05T17:27:06-05:00 Another day in international politics. Beats lobbing bombs at each other. +13 ( +16 / -3 ) fahrenheit_ak </> , 2018-11-05T17:46:44-05:00

    corey_1967 wrote:
    The twin pillars of Iran's foreign policy - America is evil and Wipe Israel off the map - do not appear to be serving the country very well.

    They serve Iran very well, America is an easy target to gather support against, and Israel is more than willing to play the bad guy (for a bunch of reasons including Israels' policy of nuclear hegemony in the region and historical antagonism against Arab states).
    revision0 , 2018-11-05T17:48:22-05:00 Israeli hackers?

    Go on!

    Quote:

    Israeli hackers offered Cambridge Analytica, the data collection firm that worked on U.S. President Donald Trump's election campaign, material on two politicians who are heads of state, the Guardian reported Wednesday, citing witnesses.

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/isr ... -1.5933977

    Quote:

    For $20M, These Israeli Hackers Will Spy On Any Phone On The Planet

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrew ... -ulin-ss7/

    Quote:

    While Israelis are not necessarily number one in technical skills -- that award goes to Russian hackers -- Israelis are probably the best at thinking on their feet and adjusting to changing situations on the fly, a trait essential for success in a wide range of areas, including cyber-security, said Forzieri. "In modern attacks, the human factor -- for example, getting someone to click on a link that will install malware -- constitutes as much as 85% of a successful attack," he said.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-ha ... ty-expert/

    +5 ( +9 / -4 )
    ihatewinter </> , 2018-11-05T17:52:15-05:00
    dramamoose wrote:
    thorpe wrote:
    The pro-Israel trolls out in front of this comment section...

    You don't have to be pro-Israel to be anti-Iran. Far from it. I think many of Israel's actions in Palestine are reprehensible, but I also know to (rightly) fear an Islamic dictatorship who is actively funding terrorism groups and is likely a few years away from having a working nuclear bomb, should they resume research (which the US actions seem likely to cause).

    The US created the Islamic Republic of Iran by holding a cruel dictator in power rather than risking a slide into communism. We should be engaging diplomatically, rather than trying sanctions which clearly don't work. But I don't think that the original Stuxnet was a bad idea, nor do I think that intense surveillance of what could be a potentially very dangerous country is a bad one either.

    If the Israelis (slash US) did in fact target civilian infrastructure, that's a problem. Unless, of course, they were bugging them for espionage purposes.

    Agree. While Israel is not about to win Humanitarian Nation of the year Award any time soon, I don't see it going to Iran in a close vote tally either.

    [Nov 06, 2018] Haves and Have nots under US neoliberalism by Rania Khalek

    Notable quotes:
    "... "As the heat of packed-together bodies fogged the windows, passengers beat on the walls and clawed at the doors in a scene from a real-life horror story," ..."
    Nov 06, 2018 | www.rt.com

    Spending time in Western Europe, as I have done the last several months, provides some serious perspective on America's decline. In most European countries, like Germany for example, public transportation works efficiently and there is a social safety net. While homelessness is a problem, it's nowhere near as rampant as in the US and usually seems to be associated with addiction. People in Europe are generally much healthier and happier, housing and food and higher education are affordable and people don't spend all their time working – they are able to take vacations and enjoy life in a way the vast majority of Americans are not. Europeans are typically entitled to lengthy paid maternity leave, whereas in the US working class women are forced to return to work in as little as two weeks . Read more © Christopher Furlong / Getty 130,000 homeless children, empty food banks predicted this Christmas

    Meanwhile, New York's Subway system is decaying due to disinvestment and corruption. Last summer a train stalled, leaving passengers in the dark with no air conditioning for an hour. "As the heat of packed-together bodies fogged the windows, passengers beat on the walls and clawed at the doors in a scene from a real-life horror story," reported the New York Times. In Washington DC, the nation's capital, the Metro is always late and totally unreliable, with train fires becoming a regular occurrence while Amtrak trains experience routine derailments . These are just some examples of infrastructure decay. The list goes on: bridges are crumbling, schools are shuttered. In Baltimore dozens of schools had no heat during record freezing temperatures this winter. The only thing America's leadership seems capable of investing in is prisons and war.

    In America, the old devour the young. Young Americans are struggling under the weight of $1.4 trillion in student loan debt. But don't let that confuse you about the state of America's elderly. They too aren't taken care of. In many European countries people are entitled to pensions and they can retire comfortably. In the US some have to work until they die as Social Security isn't enough to live on and Medicare doesn't quite cover all of their medical needs. As for healthcare, as many as 45,000 people a year die because they cannot access it.

    And then there is the issue of water. There are over 3,000 counties across America whose water supplies have lead levels higher than in Flint, Michigan, and nothing substantial is being done to address the problem.

    Haves and Have nots

    All this is taking place in a nation where inequality continues to climb. There are counties a few miles apart from one another where the life expectancy drops by 20 years.

    Researchers say the life expectancy gap, as high as 20.1 years between rich and poor counties, resembles the gap seen between low-income countries versus rich countries. In other words, there are pockets of the US that have the characteristics of third world countries. It seems that the US in many ways, after having destroyed other parts of the world, has turned inward on itself, sacrificing its most vulnerable citizens at the altar of capitalism.

    Bernie Sanders made an issue of this during his presidential bid, often noting in his stump speeches the dramatic difference in lifespan in McDowell County, West Virginia, where men live to about 64, and six hours away in Fairfax, Virginia, where the average lifespan shoots up to 82.

    [Nov 04, 2018] Erasing Economics and Economic Policy from Politics The Race and Xenophobia Sideshow naked capitalism

    Notable quotes:
    "... What will the postmortem statue of neoliberalism look like? ..."
    "... "You stupid Wap, you just scratched my car. That dirty Mick tripped me when I wasn't looking." ..."
    "... That [N-word] SOB is just like them other Jew-boy globalists who are sending our jobs to Chinamen and whatnot. Screw him and all the damned Democrat libtards. ..."
    Nov 04, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    LP: You've recently highlighted that this is a tricky time for historians and those who want to examine the past, like filmmakers. Well-intentioned people who want to confront the injustices of history may end up replacing one set of myths for another. You point out the distortion of history in films like "Selma" which offer uplifting narratives about black experiences but tend to leave out or alter meaningful facts, such as the ways in which blacks and whites have worked together. This is ostensibly done to avoid a "white savior" narrative but you indicate that it may serve to support other ideas that are also troubling.

    AR: Exactly, and in ways that are completely compatible with neoliberalism as a style of contemporary governance. It boils down to the extent to which the notion that group disparities have come to exhaust the ways that people think and talk about inequality and injustice in America now.

    It's entirely possible to resolve disparities without challenging the fundamental structures that reproduce inequalities more broadly. As my friend Walter Benn Michaels and I have been saying for at least a decade, by the standard of disparity as the norm or the ideal of social justice, a society in which 1% of the population controls more than 90% of the resources would be just, so long as the 1% is made up non-whites, non-straight people, women, and so on in proportions that roughly match their representation in the general population.

    It completely rationalizes neoliberalism. You see this in contemporary discussions about gentrification, for example. What ends up being called for is something like showing respect for the aboriginal habitus and practices and involving the community in the process. But what does it mean to involve the community in the process? It means opening up spaces for contractors, black and Latino in particular, in the gentrified areas who purport to represent the interests of the populations that are being displaced. But that has no impact on the logic of displacement. It just expands access to the trough, basically.

    I've gotten close to some young people who are nonetheless old school type leftists in the revitalized Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and I've been struck to see that the identitarian tendency in DSA has been actively opposing participation in the Medicare for All campaign that the national organization adopted. The argument is that it's bad because there are disparities that it doesn't address. In the first place, that's not as true as they think it might be, but there's also the fact that they can't or won't see how a struggle for universal health care could be the most effective context for trying to struggle against structural disparities. It's just mind-boggling.

    LP: If politicians continue to focus on issues like race, xenophobia, and homophobia without delivering practical solutions to the economic problems working people face, from health care costs to the retirement crisis to student debt, could we end up continuing to move in the direction of fascism? I don't use the word lightly.

    AR: I don't either. And I really agree with you. I was a kid in a basically red household in the McCarthy era. I have no illusions about what the right is capable of, what the bourgeoisie is capable of, and what the liberals are capable of. In the heyday of the New Left, when people were inclined to throw the fascist label around, I couldn't get into it. But for the first time in my life, I think it's not crazy to talk about it. You have to wonder if Obama, who never really offered us a thing in the way of a new politics except his race, after having done that twice, had set the stage for Trump and whatever else might be coming.

    hemeantwell , November 3, 2018 at 7:27 am

    Thanks, Yves. For decades now Reed has set the standard for integrating class-based politics with anti-racism. I only wish Barbara Fields, whom he mentions, could get as much air time.

    Doug , November 3, 2018 at 7:33 am

    Thank you for posting this outstanding interview.

    Those who argue for identity-based tests of fairness (e.g. all categories of folks are proportionately represented in the 1%) fail to think through means and ends. They advocate the ends of such proportionality. They don't get that broad measures to seriously reduce income and wealth inequality (that is, a class approach) are powerful means to the very end they wish for. If, e.g., the bottom 50% actually had half (heck, even 30 to 40%) of income and wealth, the proportionality of different groups in any socioeconomic tier would be much higher than it is today.

    There are other means as well. But the point is that identity-driven folks strip their own objective of it's most useful tools for it's own accomplishment.

    flora , November 3, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    +1.
    Thanks to NC for posting this interview.

    The Rev Kev , November 3, 2018 at 9:18 am

    In reading this, my mind was drawn back to an article that was in links recently about a Tea Party politician that ended up being sent to the slammer. He was outraged to learn that at the prison that he was at, the blacks and the whites were deliberately set against each other in order to make it easier for the guards to rule the prison.
    It is a bit like this in this article when you see people being unable to get past the black/white thing and realize that the real struggle is against the elite class that rules them all. I am willing to bet that if more than a few forgot the whole Trump-supporters-are-racists meme and saw the economic conditions that pushed them to vote the way that they did, then they would find common cause with people that others would write off as deplorable and therefore unsalvageable.

    Jim Thomson , November 3, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Howard Zinn, in " A Peoples' History of the United States" makes a similar argument about the origins of racism in southern colonial America. The plantation owners and slave owners promoted racism among the working class whites towards blacks to prevent them ( the working class blacks and whites) from making common cause against the aristocratic economic system that oppressed both whites and blacks who did not own property.
    The origin of militias was to organize lower class whites to protect the plantation owners from slave revolts.
    The entire book is an eye-opening story of class struggle throughout US history.

    JBird4049 , November 3, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    The origin of militias was to organize lower class whites to protect the plantation owners from slave revolts.

    The militias were the bulk of the military, if the not the military, for large periods of time for all of the British American Colonies for centuries. The colonists were in fairly isolated, often backwater, places for much of the time. Between the constant small scale warfare with the natives and the various threats from the French and Spanish military, there was a need for some form of local (semi) organized military. It was the British government's understandable belief that the colonists should pay at least some of the expensive costs of the soldiers and forts that were put in place to protect them during and after the Seven Years War that was the starting step to the revolution; the origins of modern American policing especially in the South has its genesis in the Slave Patrols although there was some form of police from the start throughout the Colonies form the very beginning even if it was just a local sheriff. The constant theme of the police's murderous brutality is a legacy of that. The Second Amendment is a result of both the colonists/revolutionarie's loathing, even hatred, of a potentially dictatorial standing army of any size and the slave holders' essential need to control the slaves and to a lesser degree the poor whites.

    jrs , November 3, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    people gang up (in racial groups – maybe that's just easiest though it seems to have systematic encouragement) in prison for protection I think. The protection is not purely from guards. There are riots in which one could get seriously injured (stabbed), one could get attacked otherwise etc.. Because basic physical safety of one's person is not something they provide in prison, maybe quite deliberately so.

    "I am willing to bet that if more than a few forgot the whole Trump-supporters-are-racists meme and saw the economic conditions that pushed them to vote the way that they did, then they would find common cause with people that others would write off as deplorable and therefore unsalvageable."

    In those for whom poverty caused them to vote for Trump. But some voted for Trump due to wealth. And whites overall have more wealth than blacks and so overall (not every individual) are the beneficiaries of unearned wealth and privilege and that too influences their view of the world (it causes them to side more with the status quo). Blacks are the most economically liberal group in America. The thing is can one really try simultaneously to understand even some of say the black experience in America and try hard to understand the Trump voter at the same time? Because if a minority perceives those who voted for Trump as a personal threat to them are they wrong? If they perceive Republican economic policies (and many have not changed under Trump such as cutting government) as a personal threat to them are they wrong? So some whites find it easier to sympathize with Trump voters, well they would wouldn't they, as the problems of poor whites more directly relate to problems they can understand. But so what?

    Todde , November 4, 2018 at 7:21 am

    Lol. He went to a minimum security federal prison, or daycare as we call it.

    Ots tax cheats and drug dealers, not a lot of racial activity goes on there.

    Livius Drusus , November 3, 2018 at 9:50 am

    I am glad that Reed mentioned the quasi-religious nature of identity politics, especially in its liberal form. Michael Lind made a similar observation:

    As a lapsed Methodist myself, I think there is also a strong undercurrent of Protestantism in American identity politics, particularly where questions of how to promote social justice in a post-racist society are concerned. Brazil and the United States are both former slave societies, with large black populations that have been frozen out of wealth and economic opportunity. In the United States, much of the discussion about how to repair the damage done by slavery and white supremacy involves calls on whites to examine themselves and confess their moral flaws -- a very Protestant approach, which assumes that the way to establish a good society is to ensure that everybody has the right moral attitude. It is my impression that the left in Brazil, lacking the Protestant puritan tradition, is concerned more with practical programs, like the bolsa familia -- a cash grant to poor families -- than with attitudinal reforms among the privileged.

    https://thesmartset.com/what-politics-isnt/

    Many white liberals are mainline Protestants or former Protestants and I think they bring their religious sensibilities to their particular brand of liberalism. You can see it in the way that many liberals claim that we cannot have economic justice until we eliminate racist attitudes as when Hillary Clinton stated that breaking up the big banks won't end racism. Of course, if we define racism as a sinful attitude it is almost impossible to know if we have eliminated it or if we can even eliminate it at all.

    Clinton and liberals like her make essentially the same argument that conservatives make when they say that we cannot have big economic reforms because the problem is really greed. Once you define the problem as one of sin then you can't really do anything to legislate against it. Framing political problems as attitudinal is a useful way to protect powerful interests. How do you regulate attitudes? How do you break up a sinful mind? How can you even know if a person has racism on the brain but not economic anxiety? Can you even separate the two? Politicians need to take voters as they are and not insist that they justify themselves before voting for them.

    Sparkling , November 3, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    As a former Catholic, this post is absolutely correct on every possible level. Salvation by works or salvation by faith alone?

    flora , November 3, 2018 at 9:54 pm

    I thought this reference to the Protestant way of self-justification or absolving oneself without talking about class in the US is true but was perhaps the weakest point. The financial elites justify their position and excuse current inequalities and injustices visiting on the 99% by whatever is the current dominate culturally approved steps in whatever country. In the US – Protestant heritage; in India – not Protestant heritage; in Italy – Catholic heritage, etc. Well, of course they do. This isn't surprising in the least. Each country's elites excuse themselves in a way that prevents change by whatever excuses are culturally accepted.
    I think talking about the Protestant heritage in the US is a culturing interesting artifact of this time and this place, but runs the danger of creating another "identity" issue in place of class and financial issues if the wider world's elite and similar self excuse by non-Protestant cultures aren't included in the example. Think of all the ways the various religions have been and are used to justify economic inequality. Without the wider scope the religious/cultural point risks becoming reduced to another "identity" argument; whereas, his overall argument is that "identity" is a distraction from class and economic inequality issues. my 2 cents.

    Left in Wisconsin , November 3, 2018 at 10:10 am

    The key point is that it is all about shutting down/shouting over class-based analysis. It is negative identity politics – "anti-intersectionality."

    J Sterling , November 3, 2018 at 11:15 am

    Yes. I'm convinced the reason for all the different flavors of privilege was to drown the original privilege–class privilege.

    Carey , November 3, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    Yes, as the dissemblings in the Paul Krugman column linked within this essay show so well.

    Norb , November 3, 2018 at 11:20 am

    Chris Hedges has been warning about the rise of American Fascism for years, and his warnings are coming to fruition- and still, the general population fails to recognize the danger. The evils and violence that are the hallmarks of fascist rule are for other people, not Americans. The terms America and Freedom are so ingrained in the minds of citizens that the terms are synonymous. Reality is understood and interpreted through this distorted lens. People want and need to believe this falsehood and resist any messenger trying to enlighten them to a different interpretation of reality- the true view is just to painful to contemplate.

    The horrors of racism offer a nugget of truth that can misdirect any effort to bring about systemic change. Like the flow of water finding the path of least resistance, racist explanations for current social problems creates a channel of thought that is difficult to alter. This simple single mindedness prevents a more holistic and complicated interpretation to take hold in the public mind. It is the easy solution for all sides- the tragedy is that violence, in the end, sorts out the "winners". The world becomes a place where competing cultures are constantly at each others throats.

    Falling in the racism/ identity politics trap offers the elite many avenues to leverage their power, not the least of which is that when all else fails, extreme violence can be resorted to. The left/progressives have become powerless because they fail to understand this use of ultimate force and have not prepared their followers to deal with it. Compromise has been the strategy for decades and as time has proven, only leads to more exploitation. Life becomes a personal choice between exploiting others, or being exploited. The whole system reeks of hypocrisy because the real class divisions are never discussed or understood for what they are. This seems to be a cyclical process, where the real leaders of revolutionary change are exterminated or compromised, then the dissatisfaction in the working classes is left to build until the next crisis point is reached.

    WWIII is already under way and the only thing left is to see if the imperialist ideology will survive or not. True class struggle should lead to world peace- not world domination. Fascists are those that seek war as a means of violent expansion and extermination to suit their own ends. Hope for humanity rests in the idea of a multipolar world- the end of imperialism.

    Agressive war is the problem, both on the small social scale and the larger stage between nations. The main question is if citizens will allow themselves to be swept up into the deceptions that make war possible, or defend themselves and whatever community they can form to ensure that mass destruction can be brought under control.

    The real crisis point for America will be brought about by the loss of foreign wars- which seem inevitable. The citizenry will be forced to accept a doubling down on the existing failures or will show the fortitude to accept failure and defeat and rebuild our country. Seeking a mythic greatness is not the answer- only a true and sober evaluation will suffice- it must be a broader accommodation that accepts responsibility for past wrongs but does not get caught up in narrow, petty solutions that racist recriminations are hallmark. What is needed is a framework for a truth and reconciliation process- but such a process is only possible by a free people, not a conquered one. It is only on this foundation that an American culture can survive.

    This will take a new enlightenment that seems questionable, at least in the heart of American Empire. It entails a reexamination of what freedom means and the will to dedicate oneself to building something worth defending with ones life. It has nothing to do with wanting to kill others or making others accept a particular view.

    It is finding ones place in the world, and defending it, and cultivating it. It is the opposite of conquest. It is the resistance to hostility. In a word, Peace.

    Jeremy Grimm , November 3, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    I don't disagree with many of your assertions and their warrants but I am growing disturbed by the many uses of the word 'Fascism'. What does the word mean exactly beyond its pejorative uses? Searching the web I am only confused by the proliferation of meanings. I believe it's time for some political or sociological analyst to cast off the words 'fascism' and 'totalitarianism' and further the work that Hannah Arendt started. We need a richer vocabulary and a deeper analysis of the political, social, philosophical, and human contents of the concepts of fascism and of totalitarianism. World War II was half-a-century ago. We have many more examples called fascism and totalitarianism to study and must study to further refine exactly what kinds of Evil we are discussing and hope to fight. What purpose is served sparring with the ghosts as new more virulent Evils proliferate.

    redleg , November 3, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    Fascism?
    Start with Umberto Eco and mull it over for a minute or two.

    Norb , November 4, 2018 at 9:52 am

    You have brought up a very important point. The meaning of words and their common usage. But I have to disagree that "new more virulent Evils" require a new terminology. To my mind, that plays right into the hand of Evil. The first step in the advancement of evil is the debasement of language- the spreading of lies and obfuscating true meaning. George Orwell's doublespeak.

    I don't think its a matter of casting off the usage of words, or the creative search to coin new ones, but to reclaim words. Now the argument can be made that once a word is debased, it looses its descriptive force- its moral force- and that is what I take as your concern, however, words are used by people to communicate meaning, and this is where the easy abandonment of words to their true meaning becomes a danger for the common good. You cannot let someone hijack your language. A communities strength depends on its common use and understanding of language.

    Where to find that common meaning? Without the perspective of class struggle taken into account- to orientate the view- this search will be fruitless. Without a true grounding, words can mean anything. I believe, in America, this is where the citizenry is currently, in a state of disorientation that has been building for decades. This disorientation is caused by DoubleSpeak undermining common understanding that is brought about by class consciousness/ solidarity/ community. In a consumerist society, citizens take for granted that they are lied to constantly- words and images have no real meaning- or multiple meanings playing on the persons sensibilities at any given moment- all communication becomes fundamentally marketing and advertising BS.

    This sloppiness is then transferred into the political realm of social communication which then transforms the social dialog into a meaningless exercise because there is really no communication going on- only posturing and manipulation. Public figures have both private and public views. They are illegitimate public servants not because they withhold certain information, but because they hold contradictory positions expressed in each realm. They are liars and deceivers in the true sense of the word, and don't deserve to be followed or believed- let alone given any elevated social standing or privilege.

    Your oppressor describes himself as your benefactor- or savior- and you believe them, only to realize later that you have been duped. Repeat the cycle down through the ages.

    DoubleSpeak and controlling the interpretation of History are the tools of exercising power. It allows this cycle to continue.

    Breaking this cycle will require an honesty and sense of empathy that directs action.

    Fighting evil directly is a loosing game. You more often than not become that which you fight against. Directly confronting evil requires a person to perform evil deeds. Perpetuation of War is the perfect example. It must be done indirectly by not performing evil actions or deeds. Your society takes on a defensive posture, not an aggressive one. Defense and preservation are the motivating principles.

    Speaking the truth, and working toward peace is the only way forward. A new language and modes of communication can build themselves up around those principles.

    Protecting oneself against evil seems to be the human condition. How evil is defined determines the class structure of any given society.

    So much energy is wasted on trying to convince evil people not to act maliciously, which will never happen. It is what makes them evil- it is who they are. And too much time is wasted listening to evil people trying to convince others that they are not evil- or their true intensions are beneficent- which is a lie.

    "Sparing with ghosts", is a good way of describing the reclaiming of historical fact. Of belief in the study of history as a means to improve society and all of humankind thru reflection and reevaluation. The exact opposite desire of an elite class- hell bent on self preservation as their key motivating factor in life. If you never spar with ghosts, you have no reference to evaluate the person standing before you- which can prove deadly- as must be constantly relearned by generations of people exploited by the strong and powerful.

    The breaking point of any society is how much falsehood is tolerated- and in the West today- that is an awful lot.

    Summer , November 3, 2018 at 11:22 am

    "I've gotten close to some young people who are nonetheless old school type leftists in the revitalized Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and I've been struck to see that the identitarian tendency in DSA has been actively opposing participation in the Medicare for All campaign that the national organization adopted "

    Check to see how their parents or other relatives made or make their money.

    Left in Wisconsin , November 3, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    This is quite the challenge. I know a large number of upper middle class young people who are amenable to the socialist message but don't really get (or don't get at all) what it means. (I'm convinced they make up a large portion of that percentage that identifies as socialist or has a positive image of socialism.) But it would be wrong to write them off.

    A related point that I make here from time to time: all these UMC kids have been inculcated with a hyper-competitive world view. We need a systemic re-education program to break them free.

    Louis Fyne , November 3, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    as a complementary anecdote, i know of economically bottom 50% people who are devout anti-socialists, because they deal with "micro-triggers" of free-riders, cheaters, petty theft in their everyday life.

    To them, the academic/ivory tower/abstract idea of equality in class, equality in income is an idealistic pipe dream versus the dog-eat-dog reality of the world.

    Stratos , November 3, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    Interesting that you mention "economically bottom 50% people who are devout anti-socialists, because they deal with "micro-triggers" of [low income?] free-riders, cheaters, petty theft in their everyday life."

    I read a lot of their snarling against alleged low income "moochers" in the local media. What I find disturbing is their near total blindness to the for-profit businesses, millionaires and billionaires who raid public treasuries and other resources on a regular basis.

    Just recently, I read a news story about the local baseball franchise that got $135 million dollars (they asked for $180 million) and the local tourism industry complaining about their reduction in public subsidies because money had to be diverted to homeless services.

    No one seems to ever question why profitable, private businesses are on the dole. The fact that these private entities complain about reductions in handouts shows how entitled they feel to feed from the public trough. Moreover, they do so at a time of a locally declared "homeless emergency".

    Yet, it is the middle class precariat that condemn those below them as 'moochers and cheaters', while ignoring the free-riders, cheaters and grand larceny above them.

    Norb , November 4, 2018 at 10:11 am

    There is no class consciousness. The working stiffs admire their owners so the only people left to blame for their difficult life conditions are the poor below them on the social hierarchy. Or they blame themselves, which is just as destructive. In the interim, they enjoy the camaraderie that sporting events provide, so give the owners a pass. Bread and Circuses.

    A capitalist critique is the only way to change this situation, but that would require learning Marxist arguments and discussing their validity.

    There is that, or Charity for the poor, which only aggravates the class conflict that plagues our society.

    The third way is actually building community that functions on a less abusive manner, which takes effort, time, and will power.

    Jeremy Grimm , November 3, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    I homed in on your phrase "they deal with 'micro-triggers' of free-riders, cheaters, petty theft in their everyday life" and it landed on fertile [I claim!] ground in my imagination. I have often argued with my sister about this. She used to handle claims for welfare, and now found more hospitable areas of civil service employment. I am gratified that her attitudes seem to have changed over time. Many of the people she worked with in social services shared the common attitudes of disparagement toward their suppliants -- and enjoyed the positions of power it offered them.

    I think the turning point came when my sister did the math and saw that the direct costs for placing a homeless person or family into appallingly substandard 'housing' in her area ran in the area of $90K per year. Someone not one of the "free-riders, cheaters, [or villains of] petty theft in their everyday life" was clearly benefiting. I am very lazy but I might try to find out who and advertise their 'excellence' in helping the poor.

    Jeremy Grimm , November 3, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    A "re-education" program? That usage resurrects some very most unhappy recollections from the past. Couldn't you coin a more happy phrase? Our young are not entirely without the ability to learn without what is called a "re-education" program.

    Jeremy Grimm , November 3, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    The comments in this post are all over the map. I'll focus on the comments regarding statues commemorating Confederate heroes.

    I recall the way the issue of Confederate statues created a schism in the NC commentarient. I still believe in retaining 'art' in whatever form it takes since there is so little art in our lives. BUT I also believe that rather than tear down the Confederate statues of Confederate 'heroes' it were far better to add a plaque comemorating just what sorts of heroism these 'heroes' performed for this country. That too serves Art.

    Tearing the statues down only serves forgetting something which should never be forgotten.

    This was intended as a separate comment to stand alone. I believe Art should not forget but should remember the horrors of our past lest we not forget.

    Jeremy Grimm , November 3, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    " which we should not forget." -- to replace the end of the closing sentence.

    Darius , November 3, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    It occurred to me that centrists demonize the left as unelectable based entirely on tokens of identity. Long haired hippies. The other. It works because the political debate in America is structured entirely around identity politics. Nancy Pelosi is a San Francisco liberal so of course white people in Mississippi will never vote for the Democrats. Someone like Bernie Sanders has a message that will appeal to them but he is presented as to the left of even Pelosi or alternately a traitor to the liberal identity siding with racists and sexists. Actually, all of these oppressions are rooted in working class oppression. But that is inconsistent with the framing of ascriptive identity.

    Susan the other , November 3, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    This was a great post. Didn't know about Adolph Reed. He gets straight to the point – we have only 2 options. Either change neoliberal capitalism structurally or modify its structure to achieve equality. Identity politics is a distraction. There will always be differences between us and so what? As long as society itself is equitable. As far as the fear of fascism goes, I think maybe fascism is in the goal of fascism. If it is oppressive then its bad. If it is in the service of democracy and equality the its good. If our bloated corporatism could see its clear, using AR's option #2, to adjusting their turbo neoliberal capitalism, then fine. More power to them. It isn't racism preventing them from doing this – it is the system. It is structural. Unfortunately we face far greater dangers, existential dangers, today than in 1940. We not only have an overpopulated planet of human inequality, but also environmental inequality. Big mess. And neither capitalism nor socialism has the answer – because the answer is eclectic. We need all hands on deck and every practical measure we can conjure. And FWIW I'd like to compare our present delusions to all the others – denial. The statue of Robert E. Lee, imo, is beautiful in its conveyance of defeat with deep regret. The acceptance is visible and powerful. What will the postmortem statue of neoliberalism look like?

    tegnost , November 3, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    What will the postmortem statue of neoliberalism look like?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gollum#/media/File:Gollum_s_journey_commences_by_Frederic_Bennett.jpg

    Smeagol ?

    Jeremy Grimm , November 3, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    Smeagol is dead! Gollum lives!

    Just a moment let me adjust my palantír.

    Jeremy Grimm , November 3, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    Do you really want 'equality' however you might define it? We are not born equal. Each of us is different and I believe each of us is therefore very special. [I suppose I echo the retort of the French regarding the equality of the sexes: "Vive la Difference!".] I believe we should celebrate our inequalities -- while we maintain vigilance in maintaining the equal chance to try and succeed or fail. The problem isn't inequality but the extreme inequalities in life and sustenance our society has built -- here and more abroad. I don't mind being beaten in a fair race. An unfair race lightens my laurels when I win. But our societies run an unfair competition and the laurels far too heavily grace the brows of those who win. And worse still, 'inequality' -- the word I'll use for the completely disproportionate rewards to the winners to the undeserving in-excellent 'winners' is not a matter solved by a quest for 'equality'. The race for laurels has no meaning when the winners are chosen before the race and the 'laurels' cost the welfare and sustenance for the losers and their unrelated kin who never ran in the race. And 'laurels' were once but honors and there is too far little honor in this world.

    workingclasshero , November 3, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    Nothing denotes a naive idealistic "progressive" than the demand for near absolute equality in terms of money and status in their future society.all or nothing i guess.

    Jeremy Grimm , November 3, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    I have read and appreciated many comments by 'Susan the other'. I would not ever characterize her comments as those of a naive idealistic "progressive" demanding absolute equality I should and must apologize if that is how you read my comment. I intended to suggest equality is not something truly desirable in-itself. But re-reading her comment I find much greater depth than I commented to --

    'Susan the other' notes: "The statue of Robert E. Lee, imo, is beautiful in its conveyance of defeat with deep regret." In answer to her question: "What will the postmortem statue of neoliberalism look like?" I very much doubt that the post mortem statue of Neoliberalism will show regret for anything save that all the profits were not accrued before those holding the reins, the Elite of Neoliberalism, might gracefully die without care for any children they may have had.

    tegnost , November 3, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    STO is a real gem

    freedomny , November 3, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    Thanks for this post. I am really surprised these days by black "liberal" media folks who insist that racism be addressed before inequality/class issues. They are almost vehement in their discussions about this. Are they protecting neoliberalism because it benefits them .???

    JBird4049 , November 4, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    My previous admittedly overlong reply has yet to show. Darn.

    But this question is an important one.

    Yes, they do very much.

    One of the reasons the Civil Rights struggle died was the co-option of the Black elites, especially of the Civil Rights Movement, by the American elites. After Martin Luther King's assassination, his Poor People's Campaign slowly died. A quiet quid pro quo was offered. Ignore all the various social, economic, political and legal wrongs done to all Americans, and yes blacks in particular, and just focusing on black identity and social "equality" or at least the illusion of campaigning for it, and in you will be given a guaranteed, albeit constrained, place at the money trough. Thus the Black Misleadership Class was born.

    All the great movements in past hundred plus years have had their inclusivity removed. Suffragism/Feminism, the Union Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, even the Environmental Movement all had strong cross cultural, class, and racial membership and concerns. Every single of these movements had the usually white upper class strip out everyone else and focusing only on very narrow concerns. Aside from the Civil Rights Movement, black participation was removed, sometimes forcefully. They all dropped any focus on poor people of any race.

    A lot of money, time, and effort by the powerful went into doing this. Often just by financially supporting the appropriate leaders which gave them the ability to push aside the less financially secure ones.

    Jeremy Grimm , November 3, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    Reading this post in its entirety I feel the author must become more direct in critique. Old jargon of class or race or a "struggle against structural disparities" should be replaced by the languages of such assertions as: " the larger objective was to eliminate the threat that the insurgency had posed to planter-merchant class rule" or "It just expands access to the trough, basically". Why mince words when there are such horrors as are poised against the common humanity of all?

    witters , November 3, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    Jeremy, I think Adolf is doing just fine.

    Jeremy Grimm , November 3, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    Your comment is too brief and too enigmatic. If by Adolf you mean Adolf H. -- he is dead. New potentially more dangerous creatures roam the Earth these days beware.

    tegnost , November 3, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    Adolph Reed is a power unto himself

    https://thebaffler.com/salvos/the-trouble-with-uplift-reed

    I consider currently one of our great intellectuals in that he understands and can use language to make his case in a layman not necessarily friendly but accessible .

    and as a southern born white male I think maybe I should watch Glory I remember a '67 show and tell when a black classmate had a civil war sword come up in their sugar cane field, and when I and a friend found a (disinterred yuck) civil war grave just out in the woods in north florida. People seem to have forgotten that times were chaotic in our country's checkered past I was in massive race riots and massive anti war protests as a child of the '60s, but since I was in the single digits at the time no one payed me any mind as a for instance my dad somehow got the counselors apartment in a dorm at florida state in 68′ and I remember people in the the dorms throwing eggs at the protesters. It was nuts.

    Tomonthebeach , November 3, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    Ferguson's INET paper got me thinking about what triggers racism in us. As a kid, ethnic pejoratives were usually a reaction to some injury. "You stupid Wap, you just scratched my car. That dirty Mick tripped me when I wasn't looking." I tend to agree with the premise that bailing out Wall Street and letting Main Street lose out offers a powerful trigger for a racist reaction. People might have been softening on their lifelong covert racism when they succumbed to Obama's charm. But when you lose your job, then your house, and wind up earning a third of what you did before the GR, that is the sort of thing that triggers pejorative/racist reactions. That [N-word] SOB is just like them other Jew-boy globalists who are sending our jobs to Chinamen and whatnot. Screw him and all the damned Democrat libtards. Then, when a MAGA-hatted Trump echoes those sentiments over a PA system, the ghost of Goebbels is beaming.

    [Nov 03, 2018] Is Red Hat IBM's 'Hail Mary' pass

    Notable quotes:
    "... if those employees become unhappy, they can effectively go anywhere they want. ..."
    "... IBM's partner/reseller ecosystem is nowhere near what it was since it owned the PC and Server businesses that Lenovo now owns. And IBM's Softlayer/BlueMix cloud is largely tied to its legacy software business, which, again, is slowing. ..."
    "... I came to IBM from their SoftLayer acquisition. Their ability to stomp all over the things SoftLayer was almost doing right were astounding. I stood and listened to Ginni say things like, "We purchased SoftLayer because we need to learn from you," and, "We want you to teach us how to do Cloud the right way, since we spent all these years doing things the wrong way," and, "If you find yourself in a meeting with one of our old teams, you guys are gonna be the ones in charge. You are the ones who know how this is supposed to work - our culture has failed at it." Promises which were nothing more than hollow words. ..."
    "... Next, it's a little worrisome that the author, now over the whole IBM thing is recommending firing "older people," you know, the ones who helped the company retain its performance in years' past. The smartest article I've read about IBM worried about its cheap style of "acquiring" non-best-of-breed companies and firing oodles of its qualified R&D guys. THAT author was right. ..."
    "... Four years in GTS ... joined via being outsourced to IBM by my previous employer. Left GTS after 4 years. ..."
    "... The IBM way of life was throughout the Oughts and the Teens an utter and complete failure from the perspective of getting work done right and using people to their appropriate and full potential. ..."
    "... As a GTS employee, professional technical training was deemed unnecessary, hence I had no access to any unless I paid for it myself and used my personal time ... the only training available was cheesy presentations or other web based garbage from the intranet, or casual / OJT style meetings with other staff who were NOT professional or expert trainers. ..."
    "... As a GTS employee, I had NO access to the expert and professional tools that IBM fricking made and sold to the same damn customers I was supposed to be supporting. Did we have expert and professional workflow / document management / ITIL aligned incident and problem management tools? NO, we had fricking Lotus Notes and email. Instead of upgrading to the newest and best software solutions for data center / IT management & support, we degraded everything down the simplest and least complex single function tools that no "best practices" organization on Earth would ever consider using. ..."
    "... And the people management paradigm ... employees ranked annually not against a static or shared goal or metric, but in relation to each other, and there was ALWAYS a "top 10 percent" and a "bottom ten percent" required by upper management ... a system that was sociopathic in it's nature because it encourages employees to NOT work together ... by screwing over one's coworkers, perhaps by not giving necessary information, timely support, assistance as needed or requested, one could potentially hurt their performance and make oneself look relatively better. That's a self-defeating system and it was encouraged by the way IBM ran things. ..."
    Nov 03, 2018 | www.zdnet.com
    Brain drain is a real risk

    IBM has not had a particularly great track record when it comes to integrating the cultures of other companies into its own, and brain drain with a company like Red Hat is a real risk because if those employees become unhappy, they can effectively go anywhere they want. They have the skills to command very high salaries at any of the top companies in the industry.

    The other issue is that IBM hasn't figured out how to capture revenue from SMBs -- and that has always been elusive for them. Unless a deal is worth at least $1 million, and realistically $10 million, sales guys at IBM don't tend to get motivated.

    Also: Red Hat changes its open-source licensing rules

    The 5,000-seat and below market segment has traditionally been partner territory, and when it comes to reseller partners for its cloud, IBM is way, way behind AWS, Microsoft, Google, or even (gasp) Oracle, which is now offering serious margins to partners that land workloads on the Oracle cloud.

    IBM's partner/reseller ecosystem is nowhere near what it was since it owned the PC and Server businesses that Lenovo now owns. And IBM's Softlayer/BlueMix cloud is largely tied to its legacy software business, which, again, is slowing.

    ... ... ...

    But I think that it is very unlikely the IBM Cloud, even when juiced on Red Hat steroids, will become anything more ambitious than a boutique business for hybrid workloads when compared with AWS or Azure. Realistically, it has to be the kind of cloud platform that interoperates well with the others or nobody will want it.


    geek49203_z , Wednesday, April 26, 2017 10:27 AM

    Ex-IBM contractor here...

    1. IBM used to value long-term employees. Now they "value" short-term contractors -- but they still pull them out of production for lots of training that, quite frankly, isn't exactly needed for what they are doing. Personally, I think that IBM would do well to return to valuing employees instead of looking at them as expendable commodities, but either way, they need to get past the legacies of when they had long-term employees all watching a single main frame.

    2. As IBM moved to an army of contractors, they killed off the informal (but important!) web of tribal knowledge. You know, a friend of a friend who new the answer to some issue, or knew something about this customer? What has happened is that the transaction costs (as economists call it) have escalated until IBM can scarcely order IBM hardware for its own projects, or have SDM's work together.

    M Wagner geek49203_z , Wednesday, April 26, 2017 10:35 AM
    geek49203_z Number 2 is a problem everywhere. As long-time employees (mostly baby-boomers) retire, their replacements are usually straight out of college with various non-technical degrees. They come in with little history and few older-employees to which they can turn for "the tricks of the trade".
    Shmeg , Wednesday, April 26, 2017 10:41 AM
    I came to IBM from their SoftLayer acquisition. Their ability to stomp all over the things SoftLayer was almost doing right were astounding. I stood and listened to Ginni say things like, "We purchased SoftLayer because we need to learn from you," and, "We want you to teach us how to do Cloud the right way, since we spent all these years doing things the wrong way," and, "If you find yourself in a meeting with one of our old teams, you guys are gonna be the ones in charge. You are the ones who know how this is supposed to work - our culture has failed at it." Promises which were nothing more than hollow words.
    geek49203_z , Wednesday, April 26, 2017 10:27 AM
    Ex-IBM contractor here...

    1. IBM used to value long-term employees. Now they "value" short-term contractors -- but they still pull them out of production for lots of training that, quite frankly, isn't exactly needed for what they are doing. Personally, I think that IBM would do well to return to valuing employees instead of looking at them as expendable commodities, but either way, they need to get past the legacies of when they had long-term employees all watching a single main frame.

    2. As IBM moved to an army of contractors, they killed off the informal (but important!) web of tribal knowledge. You know, a friend of a friend who new the answer to some issue, or knew something about this customer? What has happened is that the transaction costs (as economists call it) have escalated until IBM can scarcely order IBM hardware for its own projects, or have SDM's work together.

    M Wagner geek49203_z , Wednesday, April 26, 2017 10:35 AM
    geek49203_z Number 2 is a problem everywhere. As long-time employees (mostly baby-boomers) retire, their replacements are usually straight out of college with various non-technical degrees. They come in with little history and few older-employees to which they can turn for "the tricks of the trade".
    Shmeg , Wednesday, April 26, 2017 10:41 AM
    I came to IBM from their SoftLayer acquisition. Their ability to stomp all over the things SoftLayer was almost doing right were astounding. I stood and listened to Ginni say things like, "We purchased SoftLayer because we need to learn from you," and, "We want you to teach us how to do Cloud the right way, since we spent all these years doing things the wrong way," and, "If you find yourself in a meeting with one of our old teams, you guys are gonna be the ones in charge. You are the ones who know how this is supposed to work - our culture has failed at it." Promises which were nothing more than hollow words.
    cavman , Wednesday, April 26, 2017 3:58 PM
    In the 1970's 80's and 90's I was working in tech support for a company called ROLM. We were doing communications , voice and data and did many systems for Fortune 500 companies along with 911 systems and the secure system at the White House. My job was to fly all over North America to solve problems with customers and integration of our equipment into their business model. I also did BETA trials and documented systems so others would understand what it took to make it run fine under all conditions.

    In 84 IBM bought a percentage of the company and the next year they bought out the company. When someone said to me "IBM just bought you out , you must thing you died and went to heaven." My response was "Think of them as being like the Federal Government but making a profit". They were so heavily structured and hide bound that it was a constant battle working with them. Their response to any comments was "We are IBM"

    I was working on an equipment project in Colorado Springs and IBM took control. I was immediately advised that I could only talk to the people in my assigned group and if I had a question outside of my group I had to put it in writing and give it to my manager and if he thought it was relevant it would be forwarded up the ladder of management until it reached a level of a manager that had control of both groups and at that time if he thought it was relevant it would be sent to that group who would send the answer back up the ladder.

    I'm a Vietnam Veteran and I used my military training to get things done just like I did out in the field. I went looking for the person I could get an answer from.

    At first others were nervous about doing that but within a month I had connections all over the facility and started introducing people at the cafeteria. Things moved quickly as people started working together as a unit. I finished my part of the work which was figuring all the spares technicians would need plus the costs for packaging and service contract estimates. I submitted it to all the people that needed it. I was then hauled into a meeting room by the IBM management and advised that I was a disruptive influence and would be removed. Just then the final contracts that vendors had to sign showed up and it used all my info. The IBM people were livid that they were not involved.

    By the way a couple months later the IBM THINK magazine came out with a new story about a radical concept they had tried. A cover would not fit on a component and under the old system both the component and the cover would be thrown out and they would start from scratch doing it over. They decided to have the two groups sit together and figure out why it would not fit and correct it on the spot.

    Another great example of IBM people is we had a sales contract to install a multi node voice mail system at WANG computers but we lost it because the IBM people insisted on bundling in AS0400 systems into the sale to WANG computer. Instead we lost a multi million dollar contract.

    Eventually Siemens bought 50% of the company and eventually full control. Now all we heard was "That is how we do it in Germany" Our response was "How did that WW II thing work out".

    Stockholder , Wednesday, April 26, 2017 7:20 PM
    The author may have more loyalty to Microsoft than he confides, is the first thing noticeable about this article. The second thing is that in terms of getting rid of those aged IBM workers, I think he may have completely missed the mark, in fairness, that may be the product of his IBM experience, The sheer hubris of tech-talking from the middle of the story and missing the global misstep that is today's IBM is noticeable. As a stockholder, the first question is, "Where is the investigation to the breach of fiduciary duty by a board that owes its loyalty to stockholders who are scratching their heads at the 'positive' spin the likes of Ginni Rometty is putting on 20 quarters of dead losses?" Got that, 20 quarters of losses.

    Next, it's a little worrisome that the author, now over the whole IBM thing is recommending firing "older people," you know, the ones who helped the company retain its performance in years' past. The smartest article I've read about IBM worried about its cheap style of "acquiring" non-best-of-breed companies and firing oodles of its qualified R&D guys. THAT author was right.

    IBM's been run into the ground by Ginni, I'll use her first name, since apparently my money is now used to prop up this sham of a leader, who from her uncomfortable public announcement with Tim Cook of Apple, which HAS gone up, by the way, has embraced every political trend, not cause but trend from hiring more women to marginalizing all those old-time white males...You know the ones who produced for the company based on merit, sweat, expertise, all those non-feeling based skills that ultimately are what a shareholder is interested in and replaced them with young, and apparently "social" experts who are pasting some phony "modernity" on a company that under Ginni's leadership has become more of a pet cause than a company.

    Finally, regarding ageism and the author's advocacy for the same, IBM's been there, done that as they lost an age discrimination lawsuit decades ago. IBM gave up on doing what it had the ability to do as an enormous business and instead under Rometty's leadership has tried to compete with the scrappy startups where any halfwit knows IBM cannot compete.

    The company has rendered itself ridiculous under Rometty, a board that collects paychecks and breaches any notion of fiduciary duty to shareholders, an attempt at partnering with a "mod" company like Apple that simply bolstered Apple and left IBM languishing and a rejection of what has a track record of working, excellence, rewarding effort of employees and the steady plod of performance. Dump the board and dump Rometty.

    jperlow Stockholder , Wednesday, April 26, 2017 8:36 PM
    Stockholder Your comments regarding any inclination towards age discrimination are duly noted, so I added a qualifier in the piece.
    Gravyboat McGee , Wednesday, April 26, 2017 9:00 PM
    Four years in GTS ... joined via being outsourced to IBM by my previous employer. Left GTS after 4 years.

    The IBM way of life was throughout the Oughts and the Teens an utter and complete failure from the perspective of getting work done right and using people to their appropriate and full potential. I went from a multi-disciplinary team of engineers working across technologies to support corporate needs in the IT environment to being siloed into a single-function organization.

    My first year of on-boarding with IBM was spent deconstructing application integration and cross-organizational structures of support and interwork that I had spent 6 years building and maintaining. Handing off different chunks of work (again, before the outsourcing, an Enterprise solution supported by one multi-disciplinary team) to different IBM GTS work silos that had no physical spacial relationship and no interworking history or habits. What we're talking about here is the notion of "left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing" ...

    THAT was the IBM way of doing things, and nothing I've read about them over the past decade or so tells me it has changed.

    As a GTS employee, professional technical training was deemed unnecessary, hence I had no access to any unless I paid for it myself and used my personal time ... the only training available was cheesy presentations or other web based garbage from the intranet, or casual / OJT style meetings with other staff who were NOT professional or expert trainers.

    As a GTS employee, I had NO access to the expert and professional tools that IBM fricking made and sold to the same damn customers I was supposed to be supporting. Did we have expert and professional workflow / document management / ITIL aligned incident and problem management tools? NO, we had fricking Lotus Notes and email. Instead of upgrading to the newest and best software solutions for data center / IT management & support, we degraded everything down the simplest and least complex single function tools that no "best practices" organization on Earth would ever consider using.

    And the people management paradigm ... employees ranked annually not against a static or shared goal or metric, but in relation to each other, and there was ALWAYS a "top 10 percent" and a "bottom ten percent" required by upper management ... a system that was sociopathic in it's nature because it encourages employees to NOT work together ... by screwing over one's coworkers, perhaps by not giving necessary information, timely support, assistance as needed or requested, one could potentially hurt their performance and make oneself look relatively better. That's a self-defeating system and it was encouraged by the way IBM ran things.

    The "not invented here" ideology was embedded deeply in the souls of all senior IBMers I ever met or worked with ... if you come on board with any outside knowledge or experience, you must not dare to say "this way works better" because you'd be shut down before you could blink. The phrase "best practices" to them means "the way we've always done it".

    IBM gave up on innovation long ago. Since the 90's the vast majority of their software has been bought, not built. Buy a small company, strip out the innovation, slap an IBM label on it, sell it as the next coming of Jesus even though they refuse to expend any R&D to push the product to the next level ... damn near everything IBM sold was gentrified, never cutting edge.

    And don't get me started on sales practices ... tell the customer how product XYZ is a guaranteed moonshot, they'll be living on lunar real estate in no time at all, and after all the contracts are signed hand the customer a box of nuts & bolts and a letter telling them where they can look up instructions on how to build their own moon rocket. Or for XX dollars more a year, hire a Professional Services IBMer to build it for them.

    I have no sympathy for IBM. They need a clean sweep throughout upper management, especially any of the old True Blue hard-core IBMers.

    billa201 , Thursday, April 27, 2017 11:24 AM
    You obviously have been gone from IBM as they do not treat their employees well anymore and get rid of good talent not keep it a sad state.
    ClearCreek , Tuesday, May 9, 2017 7:04 PM
    We tried our best to be SMB partners with IBM & Arrow in the early 2000s ... but could never get any traction. I personally needed a mentor, but never found one. I still have/wear some of their swag, and I write this right now on a re-purposed IBM 1U server that is 10 years old, but ... I can't see any way our small company can make $ with them.

    Watson is impressive, but you can't build a company on just Watson. This author has some great ideas, yet the phrase that keeps coming to me is internal politics. That corrosive reality has & will kill companies, and it will kill IBM unless it is dealt with.

    Turn-arounds are possible (look at MS), but they are hard and dangerous. Hope IBM can figure it out...

    [Nov 03, 2018] The evaluation system in which there was ALWAYS a "top 10 percent" and a "bottom ten percent" is sociopathic in it's nature

    Notable quotes:
    "... Four years in GTS ... joined via being outsourced to IBM by my previous employer. Left GTS after 4 years. ..."
    "... The IBM way of life was throughout the Oughts and the Teens an utter and complete failure from the perspective of getting work done right and using people to their appropriate and full potential. ..."
    "... As a GTS employee, professional technical training was deemed unnecessary, hence I had no access to any unless I paid for it myself and used my personal time ... the only training available was cheesy presentations or other web based garbage from the intranet, or casual / OJT style meetings with other staff who were NOT professional or expert trainers. ..."
    "... As a GTS employee, I had NO access to the expert and professional tools that IBM fricking made and sold to the same damn customers I was supposed to be supporting. Did we have expert and professional workflow / document management / ITIL aligned incident and problem management tools? NO, we had fricking Lotus Notes and email. Instead of upgrading to the newest and best software solutions for data center / IT management & support, we degraded everything down the simplest and least complex single function tools that no "best practices" organization on Earth would ever consider using. ..."
    "... And the people management paradigm ... employees ranked annually not against a static or shared goal or metric, but in relation to each other, and there was ALWAYS a "top 10 percent" and a "bottom ten percent" required by upper management ... a system that was sociopathic in it's nature because it encourages employees to NOT work together ... by screwing over one's coworkers, perhaps by not giving necessary information, timely support, assistance as needed or requested, one could potentially hurt their performance and make oneself look relatively better. That's a self-defeating system and it was encouraged by the way IBM ran things. ..."
    Nov 03, 2018 | www.zdnet.com

    Gravyboat McGee , Wednesday, April 26, 2017 9:00 PM

    Four years in GTS ... joined via being outsourced to IBM by my previous employer. Left GTS after 4 years.

    The IBM way of life was throughout the Oughts and the Teens an utter and complete failure from the perspective of getting work done right and using people to their appropriate and full potential. I went from a multi-disciplinary team of engineers working across technologies to support corporate needs in the IT environment to being siloed into a single-function organization.

    My first year of on-boarding with IBM was spent deconstructing application integration and cross-organizational structures of support and interwork that I had spent 6 years building and maintaining. Handing off different chunks of work (again, before the outsourcing, an Enterprise solution supported by one multi-disciplinary team) to different IBM GTS work silos that had no physical special relationship and no interworking history or habits. What we're talking about here is the notion of "left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing" ...

    THAT was the IBM way of doing things, and nothing I've read about them over the past decade or so tells me it has changed.

    As a GTS employee, professional technical training was deemed unnecessary, hence I had no access to any unless I paid for it myself and used my personal time ... the only training available was cheesy presentations or other web based garbage from the intranet, or casual / OJT style meetings with other staff who were NOT professional or expert trainers.

    As a GTS employee, I had NO access to the expert and professional tools that IBM fricking made and sold to the same damn customers I was supposed to be supporting. Did we have expert and professional workflow / document management / ITIL aligned incident and problem management tools? NO, we had fricking Lotus Notes and email. Instead of upgrading to the newest and best software solutions for data center / IT management & support, we degraded everything down the simplest and least complex single function tools that no "best practices" organization on Earth would ever consider using.

    And the people management paradigm ... employees ranked annually not against a static or shared goal or metric, but in relation to each other, and there was ALWAYS a "top 10 percent" and a "bottom ten percent" required by upper management ... a system that was sociopathic in it's nature because it encourages employees to NOT work together ... by screwing over one's coworkers, perhaps by not giving necessary information, timely support, assistance as needed or requested, one could potentially hurt their performance and make oneself look relatively better. That's a self-defeating system and it was encouraged by the way IBM ran things.

    The "not invented here" ideology was embedded deeply in the souls of all senior IBMers I ever met or worked with ... if you come on board with any outside knowledge or experience, you must not dare to say "this way works better" because you'd be shut down before you could blink. The phrase "best practices" to them means "the way we've always done it".

    IBM gave up on innovation long ago. Since the 90's the vast majority of their software has been bought, not built. Buy a small company, strip out the innovation, slap an IBM label on it, sell it as the next coming of Jesus even though they refuse to expend any R&D to push the product to the next level ... damn near everything IBM sold was gentrified, never cutting edge.

    And don't get me started on sales practices ... tell the customer how product XYZ is a guaranteed moonshot, they'll be living on lunar real estate in no time at all, and after all the contracts are signed hand the customer a box of nuts & bolts and a letter telling them where they can look up instructions on how to build their own moon rocket. Or for XX dollars more a year, hire a Professional Services IBMer to build it for them.

    I have no sympathy for IBM. They need a clean sweep throughout upper management, especially any of the old True Blue hard-core IBMers.

    [Nov 01, 2018] Angela Merkel Migrates Into Retirement The American Conservative

    Notable quotes:
    "... Her announcement on Monday that she will vacate the leadership of Germany's ruling center-right Christian Democrats marks the culmination of what has been a slow denouement of Merkelism. ..."
    "... Long the emblematic figure of "Europe," hailed by the neoliberal Economist as the continent's moral voice, long the dominant decider of its collective foreign and economic policies, Merkel will leave office with border fences being erected and disdain for European political institutions at their highest pitch ever. In this sense, she failed as dramatically as her most famous predecessors, Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, and Helmut Kohl, succeeded in their efforts to make Germany both important and normal in the postwar world. ..."
    "... "We can do this!" she famously declared. Europe, she said, must "show flexibility" over refugees. Then, a few days later, she said there was "no limit" to the number of migrants Germany could accept. At first, the burgeoning flood of mostly young male asylum claimants produced an orgy of self-congratulatory good feeling, celebrity posturing of welcome, Merkel greeting migrants at the train station, Merkel taking selfies with migrants, Merkel touted in The Economist as "Merkel the Bold." ..."
    "... The euphoria, of course, did not last. Several of the Merkel migrants carried out terror attacks in France that fall. (France's socialist prime minister Manuel Valls remarked pointedly after meeting with Merkel, "It was not us who said, 'Come!'") Reports of sexual assaults and murders by migrants proved impossible to suppress, though Merkel did ask Mark Zuckerberg to squelch European criticism of her migration policies on Facebook. Intelligent as she undoubtedly is (she was a research chemist before entering politics), she seemed to lack any intellectual foundation to comprehend why the integration of hundreds of thousands of people from the Muslim world might prove difficult. ..."
    "... Merkel reportedly telephoned Benjamin Netanyahu to ask how Israel had been so successful in integrating so many immigrants during its brief history. There is no record of what Netanyahu thought of the wisdom of the woman posing this question. ..."
    "... In any case, within a year, the Merkel initiative was acknowledged as a failure by most everyone except the chancellor herself. ..."
    Nov 01, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

    Her refugee blunder changed the European continent in irreversible ways for decades to come. By Scott McConnell • November 1, 2018

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    Drop of Light/Shutterstock Whatever her accomplishments as pathbreaking female politician and respected leader of Europe's dominant economic power, Angela Merkel will go down in history for her outburst of naivete over the issue of migration into Europe during the summer of 2015.

    Her announcement on Monday that she will vacate the leadership of Germany's ruling center-right Christian Democrats marks the culmination of what has been a slow denouement of Merkelism.

    She had seen the vote share of her long dominant party shrink in one regional election after another. The rebuke given to her last weekend in Hesse, containing the Frankfurt region with its booming economy, where she had campaigned extensively, was the final straw. Her CDU's vote had declined 10 points since the previous election, their voters moving toward the further right (Alternative fur Deutschland or AfD). Meanwhile, the further left Greens have made dramatic gains at the expense of Merkel's Social Democrat coalition partners.

    Long the emblematic figure of "Europe," hailed by the neoliberal Economist as the continent's moral voice, long the dominant decider of its collective foreign and economic policies, Merkel will leave office with border fences being erected and disdain for European political institutions at their highest pitch ever. In this sense, she failed as dramatically as her most famous predecessors, Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, and Helmut Kohl, succeeded in their efforts to make Germany both important and normal in the postwar world.

    One can acknowledge that while Merkel never admitted error for her multiculti summer fling (beyond wishing she had communicated her goals better), she did manage to adjust her policies. By 2016, Germany under her watch was paying a healthy ransom to Turkey to keep would-be migrants in camps and preventing them from sailing to Greece. Merkel's departure will make the battle to succeed her one of the most watched political contests in Europe. She has turned migration into a central and quite divisive issue within the CDU and Germany, and the party may decide that it has no choice but to accommodate, in one way or another, the voters who have left them for the AfD.

    Related to the issue of who should reside in Europe (objectively the current answer remains anyone who can get there) is the question of how are such questions decided. In July 2015, five years after asserting in a speech that multiculturalism has "utterly failed" in Germany (without addressing what policies should be pursued in an increasingly ethnically diverse society) and several weeks after reducing a young Arab girl to tears at a televised forum by telling her that those whose asylum claims were rejected would "have to go back" and that "politics is hard," Merkel changed course.

    For those interested in psychological studies of leadership and decision making, it would be hard to imagine a richer subject. Merkel's government first announced it would no longer enforce the rule (the Dublin agreement) that required asylum claimants to be processed in the first country they passed through. Then she doubled down. The migrants fleeing the Syrian civil war, along with those who pretended to be Syrian, and then basically just anyone, could come to Germany.

    "We can do this!" she famously declared. Europe, she said, must "show flexibility" over refugees. Then, a few days later, she said there was "no limit" to the number of migrants Germany could accept. At first, the burgeoning flood of mostly young male asylum claimants produced an orgy of self-congratulatory good feeling, celebrity posturing of welcome, Merkel greeting migrants at the train station, Merkel taking selfies with migrants, Merkel touted in The Economist as "Merkel the Bold."

    The Angela Merkel Era is Coming to an End The Subtle Return of Germany Hegemony

    Her words traveled far beyond those fleeing Syria. Within 48 hours of the "no limit" remark, The New York Times reported a sudden stirring of migrants from Nigeria. Naturally Merkel boasted in a quiet way about how her decision had revealed that Germany had put its Nazi past behind it. "The world sees Germany as a land of hope and chances," she said. "That wasn't always the case." In making this decision personally, Merkel was making it for all of Europe. It was one of the ironies of a European arrangement whose institutions were developed in part to transcend nationalism and constrain future German power that 70 years after the end of the war, the privately arrived-at decision of a German chancellor could instantly transform societies all over Europe.

    The euphoria, of course, did not last. Several of the Merkel migrants carried out terror attacks in France that fall. (France's socialist prime minister Manuel Valls remarked pointedly after meeting with Merkel, "It was not us who said, 'Come!'") Reports of sexual assaults and murders by migrants proved impossible to suppress, though Merkel did ask Mark Zuckerberg to squelch European criticism of her migration policies on Facebook. Intelligent as she undoubtedly is (she was a research chemist before entering politics), she seemed to lack any intellectual foundation to comprehend why the integration of hundreds of thousands of people from the Muslim world might prove difficult.

    Merkel reportedly telephoned Benjamin Netanyahu to ask how Israel had been so successful in integrating so many immigrants during its brief history. There is no record of what Netanyahu thought of the wisdom of the woman posing this question.

    In any case, within a year, the Merkel initiative was acknowledged as a failure by most everyone except the chancellor herself. Her public approval rating plunged from 75 percent in April 2015 to 47 percent the following summer. The first electoral rebuke came in September 2016, when the brand new anti-immigration party, the Alternative fur Deutschland, beat Merkel's CDU in Pomerania.

    In every election since, Merkel's party has lost further ground. Challenges to her authority from within her own party have become more pointed and powerful. But the mass migration accelerated by her decision continues, albeit at a slightly lower pace.

    Angela Merkel altered not only Germany but the entire European continent, in irreversible ways, for decades to come.

    Scott McConnell is a founding editor of and the author of Ex-Neocon: Dispatches From the Post-9/11 Ideological Wars .

    [Oct 30, 2018] I have worked at IBM 17 years and have worried about being layed off for about 11 of them. Moral is in the toilet. Bonuses for the rank and file are in the under 1% range while the CEO gets millions

    Notable quotes:
    "... Adjusting for inflation, I make $6K less than I did my first day. My group is a handful of people as at least 1/2 have quit or retired. To support our customers, we used to have several people, now we have one or two and if someone is sick or on vacation, our support structure is to hope nothing breaks. ..."
    Oct 30, 2018 | features.propublica.org

    Buzz , Friday, March 23, 2018 12:00 PM

    I've worked there 17 years and have worried about being layed off for about 11 of them. Moral is in the toilet. Bonuses for the rank and file are in the under 1% range while the CEO gets millions. Pay raises have been non existent or well under inflation for years.

    Adjusting for inflation, I make $6K less than I did my first day. My group is a handful of people as at least 1/2 have quit or retired. To support our customers, we used to have several people, now we have one or two and if someone is sick or on vacation, our support structure is to hope nothing breaks.

    We can't keep millennials because of pay, benefits and the expectation of being available 24/7 because we're shorthanded. As the unemployment rate drops, more leave to find a different job, leaving the old people as they are less willing to start over with pay, vacation, moving, selling a house, pulling kids from school, etc.

    The younger people are generally less likely to be willing to work as needed on off hours or to pull work from a busier colleague.

    I honestly have no idea what the plan is when the people who know what they are doing start to retire, we are way top heavy with 30-40 year guys who are on their way out, very few of the 10-20 year guys due to hiring freezes and we can't keep new people past 2-3 years. It's like our support business model is designed to fail.

    [Oct 30, 2018] Sam Palmisano now infamous Roadmap 2015 ran the company into the ground through its maniacal focus on increasing EPS at any and all costs. Literally.

    Oct 30, 2018 | features.propublica.org

    GoingGone , Friday, April 13, 2018 6:06 PM

    As a 25yr+ vet of IBM, I can confirm that this article is spot-on true. IBM used to be a proud and transparent company that clearly demonstrated that it valued its employees as much as it did its stock performance or dividend rate or EPS, simply because it is good for business. Those principles helped make and keep IBM atop the business world as the most trusted international brand and business icon of success for so many years. In 2000, all that changed when Sam Palmisano became the CEO. Palmisano's now infamous "Roadmap 2015" ran the company into the ground through its maniacal focus on increasing EPS at any and all costs. Literally.

    Like, its employees, employee compensation, benefits, skills, and education opportunities. Like, its products, product innovation, quality, and customer service.

    All of which resulted in the devastation of its technical capability and competitiveness, employee engagement, and customer loyalty. Executives seemed happy enough as their compensation grew nicely with greater financial efficiencies, and Palisano got a sweet $270M+ exit package in 2012 for a job well done.

    The new CEO, Ginni Rometty has since undergone a lot of scrutiny for her lack of business results, but she was screwed from day one. Of course, that doesn't leave her off the hook for the business practices outlined in the article, but what do you expect: she was hand picked by Palmisano and approved by the same board that thought Palmisano was golden.

    People (and companies) who have nothing to hide, hide nothing. People (and companies) who are proud of their actions, share it proudly. IBM believes it is being clever and outsmarting employment discrimination laws and saving the company money while retooling its workforce. That may end up being so (but probably won't), but it's irrelevant. Through its practices, IBM has lost the trust of its employees, customers, and ironically, stockholders (just ask Warren Buffett), who are the very(/only) audience IBM was trying to impress. It's just a huge shame.

    HiJinks , Sunday, March 25, 2018 3:07 AM
    I agree with many who state the report is well done. However, this crap started in the early 1990s. In the late 1980s, IBM offered decent packages to retirement eligible employees. For those close to retirement age, it was a great deal - 2 weeks pay for every year of service (capped at 26 years) plus being kept on to perform their old job for 6 months (while collecting retirement, until the government stepped in an put a halt to it). Nobody eligible was forced to take the package (at least not to general knowledge). The last decent package was in 1991 - similar, but not able to come back for 6 months. However, in 1991, those offered the package were basically told take it or else. Anyone with 30 years of service or 15 years and 55 was eligible and anyone within 5 years of eligibility could "bridge" the difference. They also had to sign a form stating they would not sue IBM in order to get up to a years pay - not taxable per IRS documents back then (but IBM took out the taxes anyway and the IRS refused to return - an employee group had hired lawyers to get the taxes back, a failed attempt which only enriched the lawyers). After that, things went downhill and accelerated when Gerstner took over. After 1991, there were still a some workers who could get 30 years or more, but that was more the exception. I suspect the way the company has been run the past 25 years or so has the Watsons spinning in their graves. Gone are the 3 core beliefs - "Respect for the individual", "Service to the customer" and "Excellence must be a way of life".
    ArnieTracey , Saturday, March 24, 2018 7:15 PM
    IBM's policy reminds me of the "If a citizen = 30 y.o., then mass execute such, else if they run then hunt and kill them one by one" social policy in the Michael York movie "Logan's Run."

    From Wiki, in case you don't know: "It depicts a utopian future society on the surface, revealed as a dystopia where the population and the consumption of resources are maintained in equilibrium by killing everyone who reaches the age of 30. The story follows the actions of Logan 5, a "Sandman" who has terminated others who have attempted to escape death, and is now faced with termination himself."

    Jr Jr , Saturday, March 24, 2018 4:37 PM
    Corporate loyalty has been gone for 25 years. This isnt surprising. But this age discrimination is blatantly illegal.

    [Oct 30, 2018] This might just be the deal that kills IBM because there's no way that they don't do a writedown of 90% of the value of this acquisition within 5 years.

    Oct 30, 2018 | arstechnica.com

    afidel, 2018-10-29T13:17:22-04:00

    tipoo wrote:
    Kilroy420 wrote:
    Perhaps someone can explain this... Red Hat's revenue and assets barely total about $5B. Even factoring in market share and capitalization, how the hey did IBM come up with $34B cash being a justifiable purchase price??

    Honestly, why would Red Hat have said no?

    You don't trade at your earnings, you trade at your share price, which for Red Hat and many other tech companies can be quite high on Price/Earnings. They were trading at 52 P/E. Investors factor in a bunch of things involving future growth, and particularly for any companies in the cloud can quite highly overvalue things.

    A 25 year old company trading at a P/E of 52 was already overpriced, buying at more than 2x that is insane. This might just be the deal that kills IBM because there's no way that they don't do a writedown of 90% of the value of this acquisition within 5 years.

    [Oct 30, 2018] The insttuinaliuzed stupidity of IBM brass is connected with the desire to get bonuses

    Oct 30, 2018 | arstechnica.com

    3 hours ago afidel wrote: show nested quotes Kilroy420 wrote: Perhaps someone can explain this... Red Hat's revenue and assets barely total about $5B. Even factoring in market share and capitalization, how the hey did IBM come up with $34B cash being a justifiable purchase price??

    Honestly, why would Red Hat have said no?

    You don't trade at your earnings, you trade at your share price, which for Red Hat and many other tech companies can be quite high on Price/Earnings. They were trading at 52 P/E. Investors factor in a bunch of things involving future growth, and particularly for any companies in the cloud can quite highly overvalue things.
    A 25 year old company trading at a P/E of 52 was already overpriced, buying at more than 2x that is insane. This might just be the deal that kills IBM because there's no way that they don't do a writedown of 90% of the value of this acquisition within 5 years.

    OK. I did 10 years at IBM Boulder..

    The problem isn't the purchase price or the probable write-down later.

    The problem is going to be with the executives above it. One thing I noticed at IBM is that the executives needed to put their own stamp on operations to justify their bonuses. We were on a 2 year cycle of execs coming in and saying "Whoa.. things are too centralized, we need to decentralize", then the next exec coming in and saying "things are too decentralized, we need to centralize".

    No IBM exec will get a bonus if they are over RedHat and exercise no authority over it. "We left it alone" generates nothing for the PBC. If they are in the middle of a re-org, then the specific metrics used to calculate their bonus can get waived. (Well, we took an unexpected hit this year on sales because we are re-orging to better optimize our resources). With that P/E, no IBM exec is going to get a bonus based on metrics. IBM execs do *not* care about what is good for IBM's business. They are all about gaming the bonuses. Customers aren't even on the list of things they care about.

    I am reminded of a coworker who quit in frustration back in the early 2000's due to just plain bad management. At the time, IBM was working on Project Monterey. This was supposed to be a Unix system across multiple architectures. My coworker sent his resignation out to all hands basically saying "This is stupid. we should just be porting Linux". He even broke down the relative costs. Billions for Project Monterey vs thousands for a Linux port. Six months later, we get an email from on-high announcing this great new idea that upper management had come up with. It would be far cheaper to just support Linux than write a new OS.. you'd think that would be a great thing, but the reality is that all it did was create the AIX 5L family, which was AIX 5 with an additional CD called Linux ToolBox, which was loaded with a few Linux programs ported to a specific version of AIX, but never kept current. IBM can make even great decisions into bad decisions.

    In May 2007, IBM announced the transition to LEAN. Sounds great, but this LEAN was not on the manufacturing side of the equation. It was in e-Business under Global Services. The new procedures were basically call center operations. Now, prior to this, IBM would have specific engineers for specific accounts. So, Major Bank would have that AIX admin, that Sun admin, that windows admin, etc. They knew who to call and those engineers would have docs and institutional knowledge of that account. During the LEAN announcement, Bob Moffat described the process. Accounts would now call an 800 number and the person calling would open a ticket. This would apply to *any* work request as all the engineers would be pooled and whoever had time would get the ticket. So, reset a password - ticket. So, load a tape - ticket. Install 20 servers - ticket.

    Now, the kicker to this was that the change was announced at 8AM and went live at noon. IBM gave their customers who represented over $12 Billion in contracts 4 *hours* notice that they were going to strip their support teams and treat them like a call center. (I will leave it as an exercise to the reader to determine if they would accept that kind of support after spending hundreds of millions on a support contract).

    (The pilot program for the LEAN process had its call center outsourced overseas, if that helps you try to figure out why IBM wanted to get rid of dedicated engineers and move to a call-center operation).

    [Oct 30, 2018] Arbitrators overwhelmingly favor employers

    Oct 30, 2018 | features.propublica.org

    When it comes to employment claims, studies have found that arbitrators overwhelmingly favor employers. Research by Cornell University law and labor relations specialist Alexander Colvin found that workers win only 19 percent of the time when their cases are arbitrated. By contrast, they win 36 percent of the time when they go to federal court, and 57 percent in state courts. Average payouts when an employee wins follow a similar pattern.

    Given those odds, and having signed away their rights to go to court, some laid-off IBM workers have chosen the one independent forum companies can't deny them: the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. That's where Moos, the Long Beach systems security specialist, and several of her colleagues, turned for help when they were laid off. In their complaints to the agency, they said they'd suffered age discrimination because of the company's effort to "drastically change the IBM employee age mix to be seen as a startup."

    In its formal reply to the EEOC, IBM said that age couldn't have been a factor in their dismissals. Among the reasons it cited: The managers who decided on the layoffs were in their 40s and therefore older too.

    [Oct 30, 2018] I see the Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) problem as its nearly impossible to take the fact that we know PIP is a scam to court. IBM will say its an issue with you, your performance nose dived and your manager tried to fix that. You have to not only fight those simple statements, but prove that PIP is actually systematic worker abuse.

    Notable quotes:
    "... It is in fact a modern corporate horror story; it's also life at a modern corporation, period. ..."
    Oct 30, 2018 | features.propublica.org

    Cindy Gallop , Thursday, March 22, 2018 10:24 AM

    This makes for absolutely horrifying, chills-down-your-spine reading. A modern corporate horror story - worthy of a 'Black Mirror' episode. Phenomenal reporting by Ariana Tobin and Peter Gosselin. Thank you for exposing this. I hope this puts an end to this at IBM and makes every other company and industry doing this in covert and illegal ways think twice about continuing.
    Daisy S Cindy Gallop , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •
    Agree..a well written expose'. I've been a victim of IBM's "PIP" (Performance Improvement Plan) strategy, not because of my real performance mind you, but rather, I wasn't billing hours between projects and it was hurting my unit's bottom line. The way IBM instructs management to structure the PIP, it's almost impossible to dig your way out, and it's intentional. If you have a PIP on your record, nobody in IBM wants to touch you, so in effect you're already gone.
    Paul Brinker Daisy S , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •
    I see the PIP problem as its nearly impossible to take the fact that we know PIP is a scam to court. IBM will say its an issue with you, your performance nose dived and your manager tried to fix that. You have to not only fight those simple statements, but prove that PIP is actually systematic worker abuse.
    dragonflap Cindy Gallop , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •
    Cindy, they've been doing this for at least 15-20 years, or even longer according to some of the previous comments. It is in fact a modern corporate horror story; it's also life at a modern corporation, period.
    Maria Stone dragonflap , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •
    This started happening in the 1990's when they added 5 years to your age and years of service and ASKED you to retire.
    Matt_Z , Thursday, March 22, 2018 6:01 PM
    After over 35 years working there, 19 of them as a manager sending out more of those notification letters than I care to remember, I can vouch for the accuracy of this investigative work. It's an incredibly toxic and hostile environment and has been for the last 5 or so years. One of the items I was appraised on annually was how many US jobs I moved offshore. It was a relief when I received my notification letter after a two minute phone call telling me it was on the way. Sleeping at night and looking myself in the mirror aren't as hard as they were when I worked there.
    IBM will never regain any semblance of their former glory (or profit) until they begin to treat employees well again.
    With all the offshoring and resource actions with no backfill over the last 10 years, so much is broken. Customers suffer almost as much as the employees.
    I don't know how in the world they ended up on that LinkedIn list. Based on my fairly recent experience there are a half dozen happy employees in the US, and most of them are C level.
    Jennifer , Thursday, March 22, 2018 9:42 AM
    Well done. It squares well with my 18 years at IBM, watching resource action after resource action and hearing what my (unusually honest) manager told me. Things got progressively worse from 2012 onward. I never realized how stressful it was to live under the shadow of impending layoffs until I finally found the courage to leave in 2015. Best decision I've made.

    IBM answers to its shareholders, period. Employees are an afterthought - simply a means to an end. It's shameful. (That's not to say that individual people managers feel that way. I'm speaking about IBM executives.)

    Herb Jennifer , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •
    Well, they almost answer to their shareholders, but that's after the IBM executives take their share. Ginni's compensation is tied to stock price (apparently not earnings) and buy backs maintain the stock price.
    Ribit , Thursday, March 22, 2018 8:17 AM
    If the criteria for layoff is being allegedly overpaid and allegedly a poor performer, then it follows that Grinnin' Jenny should have been let go long ago.
    Mr. Hand Ribit , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •
    Yes! After the 4th of those 22 consecutive quarters of declining revenues. And she's no spring chicken either. ;-)
    DDRLSGC Ribit ,
    Especially these CEOs who have ran their companies into the ground for the last 38 years.
    owswitch , Thursday, March 22, 2018 8:58 AM
    Just another fine example of how people become disposable.
    And, when it comes to cost containment and profit maximization, there is no place for ethics in American business.
    Businesses can lie just as well as politicians.

    Millennials are smart to avoid this kind of problem by remaining loyal only to themselves. Companies certainly define anyone as replaceable - even their over-paid CEO's.

    DDRLSGC owswitch

    The millennials saw what happen to their parents and grandparents getting screwed over after a life time of work and loyalty. You can't blame them for not caring about so called traditional American work ethics and then they are attacked for not having them when the business leaders threw away all those value decades ago.

    Some of these IBM people have themselves to blame for cutting their own economic throats for fighting against unions, putting in politicians who are pro-business and thinking that their education and high paying white collar STEM jobs will give them economic immunity.

    If America was more of a free market and free enterprise instead of being more of a close market of oligarchies and monopolies, and strong government regulations, companies would think twice about treating their workforce badly because they know their workforce would leave for other companies or start up their own companies without too much of a hassle.

    HiJinks DDRLSGC

    Under the old IBM you could not get a union as workers were treated with dignity and respect - see the 3 core beliefs. Back then a union would not have accomplished anything.

    DDRLSGC HiJinks
    Doesn't matter if it was the old IBM or new IBM, you wonder how many still actually voted against their economic interests in the political elections that in the long run undermine labor rights in this country.
    HiJinks DDRLSGC
    So one shouldn't vote? Neither party cares about the average voter except at election time. Both sell out to Big Business - after all, that's where the big campaign donations come from. If you believe only one party favors Big Business, then you have been watching to much "fake news". Even the unions know they have been sold out by both and are wising up. How many of those jobs were shipped overseas the past 25 years.
    DDRLSGC HiJinks ,
    No, they should have been more active in voting for politicians who would look after the workers' rights in this country for the last 38 years plus ensuring that Congressional people and the president would not be packing the court system with pro-business judges. Sorry, but it is the Big Business that have been favoring the Republican Party for a long, long time and the jobs have been shipped out for the last 38 years.

    [Oct 30, 2018] The women who run large US companies are as shallow and ruthless as the sociopathic men.

    Oct 30, 2018 | features.propublica.org

    Bob Gort , Saturday, March 31, 2018 9:49 PM

    Age discrimination has been standard operating procedure in IT for at least 30 years. And there are no significant consequences, if any consequences at all, for doing it in a blatant fashion. The companies just need to make sure the quota of H1B visas is increased when they are doing this on an IBM scale!
    900DeadWomen Bob Gort , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    Age discrimination and a myriad other forms of discrimination have been standard operating procedure in the US. Period. Full stop. No need to equivocate.
    Anon , Friday, March 30, 2018 12:49 PM
    Wait for a few years and we can see the same happening to "millenials".

    And the women who run these companies are as shallow and ruthless as the sociopathic men.

    [Oct 30, 2018] Soon after I started, the company fired hundreds of 50-something employees and put we "kids" in their jobs. Seeing that employee loyalty was a one way street at that place, I left after a couple of years. Best career move I ever made.

    Oct 30, 2018 | features.propublica.org

    Al Romig , Wednesday, April 18, 2018 5:20 AM

    As a new engineering graduate, I joined a similar-sized multinational US-based company in the early '70s. Their recruiting pitch was, "Come to work here, kid. Do your job, keep your nose clean, and you will enjoy great, secure work until you retire on easy street".

    Soon after I started, the company fired hundreds of 50-something employees and put we "kids" in their jobs. Seeing that employee loyalty was a one way street at that place, I left after a couple of years. Best career move I ever made.

    GoingGone , Friday, April 13, 2018 6:06 PM
    As a 25yr+ vet of IBM, I can confirm that this article is spot-on true. IBM used to be a proud and transparent company that clearly demonstrated that it valued its employees as much as it did its stock performance or dividend rate or EPS, simply because it is good for business. Those principles helped make and keep IBM atop the business world as the most trusted international brand and business icon of success for so many years. In 2000, all that changed when Sam Palmisano became the CEO. Palmisano's now infamous "Roadmap 2015" ran the company into the ground through its maniacal focus on increasing EPS at any and all costs. Literally. Like, its employees, employee compensation, benefits, skills, and education opportunities. Like, its products, product innovation, quality, and customer service. All of which resulted in the devastation of its technical capability and competitiveness, employee engagement, and customer loyalty. Executives seemed happy enough as their compensation grew nicely with greater financial efficiencies, and Palisano got a sweet $270M+ exit package in 2012 for a job well done. The new CEO, Ginni Rometty has since undergone a lot of scrutiny for her lack of business results, but she was screwed from day one. Of course, that doesn't leave her off the hook for the business practices outlined in the article, but what do you expect: she was hand picked by Palmisano and approved by the same board that thought Palmisano was golden.
    Paul V Sutera , Tuesday, April 3, 2018 7:33 PM
    In 1994, I saved my job at IBM for the first time, and survived. But I was 36 years old. I sat down at the desk of a man in his 50s, and found a few odds and ends left for me in the desk. Almost 20 years later, it was my turn to go. My health and well-being is much better now. Less money but better health. The sins committed by management will always be: "I was just following orders".

    [Oct 30, 2018] Verizon is making similar moves, only sending them to third-party outsourcers instead of laying off.

    Oct 30, 2018 | arstechnica.com

    atomic.banjo , Smack-Fu Master, in training et Subscriptor 5 hours ago New Poster

    Legatum_of_Kain wrote:
    It is not a good thing towards employees that are getting fired before retirenment.

    https://features.propublica.org/ibm/ibm ... n-workers/

    Verizon is making similar moves, only sending them to third-party outsourcers instead of laying off.

    [Oct 30, 2018] IBM age discrimination

    Notable quotes:
    "... Correction, March 24, 2018: Eileen Maroney lives in Aiken, South Carolina. The name of her city was incorrect in the original version of this story. ..."
    Oct 30, 2018 | features.propublica.org

    Consider, for example, a planning presentation that former IBM executives said was drafted by heads of a business unit carved out of IBM's once-giant software group and charged with pursuing the "C," or cloud, portion of the company's CAMS strategy.

    The presentation laid out plans for substantially altering the unit's workforce. It was shown to company leaders including Diane Gherson, the senior vice president for human resources, and James Kavanaugh, recently elevated to chief financial officer. Its language was couched in the argot of "resources," IBM's term for employees, and "EP's," its shorthand for early professionals or recent college graduates.

    Among the goals: "Shift headcount mix towards greater % of Early Professional hires." Among the means: "[D]rive a more aggressive performance management approach to enable us to hire and replace where needed, and fund an influx of EPs to correct seniority mix." Among the expected results: "[A] significant reduction in our workforce of 2,500 resources."

    A slide from a similar presentation prepared last spring for the same leaders called for "re-profiling current talent" to "create room for new talent." Presentations for 2015 and 2016 for the 50,000-employee software group also included plans for "aggressive performance management" and emphasized the need to "maintain steady attrition to offset hiring."

    IBM declined to answer questions about whether either presentation was turned into company policy. The description of the planned moves matches what hundreds of older ex-employees told ProPublica they believe happened to them: They were ousted because of their age. The company used their exits to hire replacements, many of them young; to ship their work overseas; or to cut its overall headcount.

    Ed Alpern, now 65, of Austin, started his 39-year run with IBM as a Selectric typewriter repairman. He ended as a project manager in October of 2016 when, he said, his manager told him he could either leave with severance and other parting benefits or be given a bad job review -- something he said he'd never previously received -- and risk being fired without them.

    Albert Poggi, now 70, was a three-decade IBM veteran and ran the company's Palisades, New York, technical center where clients can test new products. When notified in November of 2016 he was losing his job to layoff, he asked his bosses why, given what he said was a history of high job ratings. "They told me," he said, "they needed to fill it with someone newer."

    The presentations from the software group, as well as the stories of ex-employees like Alpern and Poggi, square with internal documents from two other major IBM business units. The documents for all three cover some or all of the years from 2013 through the beginning of 2018 and deal with job assessments, hiring, firing and layoffs.

    The documents detail practices that appear at odds with how IBM says it treats its employees. In many instances, the practices in effect, if not intent, tilt against the company's older U.S. workers.

    For example, IBM spokespeople and lawyers have said the company never considers a worker's age in making decisions about layoffs or firings.

    But one 2014 document reviewed by ProPublica includes dates of birth. An ex-IBM employee familiar with the process said executives from one business unit used it to decide about layoffs or other job changes for nearly a thousand workers, almost two-thirds of them over 50.

    Documents from subsequent years show that young workers are protected from cuts for at least a limited period of time. A 2016 slide presentation prepared by the company's global technology services unit, titled "U.S. Resource Action Process" and used to guide managers in layoff procedures, includes bullets for categories considered "ineligible" for layoff. Among them: "early professional hires," meaning recent college graduates.

    In responding to age-discrimination complaints that ex-employees file with the EEOC, lawyers for IBM say that front-line managers make all decisions about who gets laid off, and that their decisions are based strictly on skills and job performance, not age.

    But ProPublica reviewed spreadsheets that indicate front-line managers hardly acted alone in making layoff calls. Former IBM managers said the spreadsheets were prepared for upper-level executives and kept continuously updated. They list hundreds of employees together with codes like "lift and shift," indicating that their jobs were to be lifted from them and shifted overseas, and details such as whether IBM's clients had approved the change.

    An examination of several of the spreadsheets suggests that, whatever the criteria for assembling them, the resulting list of those marked for layoff was skewed toward older workers. A 2016 spreadsheet listed more than 400 full-time U.S. employees under the heading "REBAL," which refers to "rebalancing," the process that can lead to laying off workers and either replacing them or shifting the jobs overseas. Using the job search site LinkedIn, ProPublica was able to locate about 100 of these employees and then obtain their ages through public records. Ninety percent of those found were 40 or older. Seventy percent were over 50.

    IBM frequently cites its history of encouraging diversity in its responses to EEOC complaints about age discrimination. "IBM has been a leader in taking positive actions to ensure its business opportunities are made available to individuals without regard to age, race, color, gender, sexual orientation and other categories," a lawyer for the company wrote in a May 2017 letter. "This policy of non-discrimination is reflected in all IBM business activities."

    But ProPublica found at least one company business unit using a point system that disadvantaged older workers. The system awarded points for attributes valued by the company. The more points a person garnered, according to the former employee, the more protected she or he was from layoff or other negative job change; the fewer points, the more vulnerable.

    The arrangement appears on its face to favor younger newcomers over older veterans. Employees were awarded points for being relatively new at a job level or in a particular role. Those who worked for IBM for fewer years got more points than those who'd been there a long time.

    The ex-employee familiar with the process said a 2014 spreadsheet from that business unit, labeled "IBM Confidential," was assembled to assess the job prospects of more than 600 high-level employees, two-thirds of them from the U.S. It included employees' years of service with IBM, which the former employee said was used internally as a proxy for age. Also listed was an assessment by their bosses of their career trajectories as measured by the highest job level they were likely to attain if they remained at the company, as well as their point scores.

    The tilt against older workers is evident when employees' years of service are compared with their point scores. Those with no points and therefore most vulnerable to layoff had worked at IBM an average of more than 30 years; those with a high number of points averaged half that.

    Perhaps even more striking is the comparison between employees' service years and point scores on the one hand and their superiors' assessments of their career trajectories on the other.

    Along with many American employers, IBM has argued it needs to shed older workers because they're no longer at the top of their games or lack "contemporary" skills.

    But among those sized up in the confidential spreadsheet, fully 80 percent of older employees -- those with the most years of service but no points and therefore most vulnerable to layoff -- were rated by superiors as good enough to stay at their current job levels or be promoted. By contrast, only a small percentage of younger employees with a high number of points were similarly rated.

    "No major company would use tools to conduct a layoff where a disproportionate share of those let go were African Americans or women," said Cathy Ventrell-Monsees, senior attorney adviser with the EEOC and former director of age litigation for the senior lobbying giant AARP. "There's no difference if the tools result in a disproportionate share being older workers."

    In addition to the point system that disadvantaged older workers in layoffs, other documents suggest that IBM has made increasingly aggressive use of its job-rating machinery to pave the way for straight-out firings, or what the company calls "management-initiated separations." Internal documents suggest that older workers were especially targets.

    Like in many companies, IBM employees sit down with their managers at the start of each year and set goals for themselves. IBM graded on a scale of 1 to 4, with 1 being top-ranked.

    Those rated as 3 or 4 were given formal short-term goals known as personal improvement plans, or PIPs. Historically many managers were lenient, especially toward those with 3s whose ratings had dropped because of forces beyond their control, such as a weakness in the overall economy, ex-employees said.

    But within the past couple of years, IBM appears to have decided the time for leniency was over. For example, a software group planning document for 2015 said that, over and above layoffs, the unit should seek to fire about 3,000 of the unit's 50,000-plus workers.

    To make such deep cuts, the document said, executives should strike an "aggressive performance management posture." They needed to double the share of employees given low 3 and 4 ratings to at least 6.6 percent of the division's workforce. And because layoffs cost the company more than outright dismissals or resignations, the document said, executives should make sure that more than 80 percent of those with low ratings get fired or forced to quit.

    Finally, the 2015 document said the division should work "to attract the best and brightest early professionals" to replace up to two-thirds of those sent packing. A more recent planning document -- the presentation to top executives Gherson and Kavanaugh for a business unit carved out of the software group -- recommended using similar techniques to free up money by cutting current employees to fund an "influx" of young workers.

    In a recent interview, Poggi said he was resigned to being laid off. "Everybody at IBM has a bullet with their name on it," he said. Alpern wasn't nearly as accepting of being threatened with a poor job rating and then fired.

    Alpern had a particular reason for wanting to stay on at IBM, at least until the end of last year. His younger son, Justin, then a high school senior, had been named a National Merit semifinalist. Alpern wanted him to be able to apply for one of the company's Watson scholarships. But IBM had recently narrowed eligibility so only the children of current employees could apply, not also retirees as it was until 2014.

    Alpern had to make it through December for his son to be eligible.

    But in August, he said, his manager ordered him to retire. He sought to buy time by appealing to superiors. But he said the manager's response was to threaten him with a bad job review that, he was told, would land him on a PIP, where his work would be scrutinized weekly. If he failed to hit his targets -- and his managers would be the judges of that -- he'd be fired and lose his benefits.

    Alpern couldn't risk it; he retired on Oct. 31. His son, now a freshman on the dean's list at Texas A&M University, didn't get to apply.

    "I can think of only a couple regrets or disappointments over my 39 years at IBM,"" he said, "and that's one of them."

    'Congratulations on Your Retirement!'

    Like any company in the U.S., IBM faces few legal constraints to reducing the size of its workforce. And with its no-disclosure strategy, it eliminated one of the last regular sources of information about its employment practices and the changing size of its American workforce.

    But there remained the question of whether recent cutbacks were big enough to trigger state and federal requirements for disclosure of layoffs. And internal documents, such as a slide in a 2016 presentation titled "Transforming to Next Generation Digital Talent," suggest executives worried that "winning the talent war" for new young workers required IBM to improve the "attractiveness of (its) culture and work environment," a tall order in the face of layoffs and firings.

    So the company apparently has sought to put a softer face on its cutbacks by recasting many as voluntary rather than the result of decisions by the firm. One way it has done this is by converting many layoffs to retirements.

    Some ex-employees told ProPublica that, faced with a layoff notice, they were just as happy to retire. Others said they felt forced to accept a retirement package and leave. Several actively objected to the company treating their ouster as a retirement. The company nevertheless processed their exits as such.

    Project manager Ed Alpern's departure was treated in company paperwork as a voluntary retirement. He didn't see it that way, because the alternative he said he was offered was being fired outright.

    Lorilynn King, a 55-year-old IT specialist who worked from her home in Loveland, Colorado, had been with IBM almost as long as Alpern by May 2016 when her manager called to tell her the company was conducting a layoff and her name was on the list.

    King said the manager told her to report to a meeting in Building 1 on IBM's Boulder campus the following day. There, she said, she found herself in a group of other older employees being told by an IBM human resources representative that they'd all be retiring. "I have NO intention of retiring," she remembers responding. "I'm being laid off."

    ProPublica has collected documents from 15 ex-IBM employees who got layoff notices followed by a retirement package and has talked with many others who said they received similar paperwork. Critics say the sequence doesn't square well with the law.

    "This country has banned mandatory retirement," said Seiner, the University of South Carolina law professor and former EEOC appellate lawyer. "The law says taking a retirement package has to be voluntary. If you tell somebody 'Retire or we'll lay you off or fire you,' that's not voluntary."

    Until recently, the company's retirement paperwork included a letter from Rometty, the CEO, that read, in part, "I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you well on your retirement While you may be retiring to embark on the next phase of your personal journey, you will always remain a valued and appreciated member of the IBM family." Ex-employees said IBM stopped sending the letter last year.

    IBM has also embraced another practice that leads workers, especially older ones, to quit on what appears to be a voluntary basis. It substantially reversed its pioneering support for telecommuting, telling people who've been working from home for years to begin reporting to certain, often distant, offices. Their other choice: Resign.

    David Harlan had worked as an IBM marketing strategist from his home in Moscow, Idaho, for 15 years when a manager told him last year of orders to reduce the performance ratings of everybody at his pay grade. Then in February last year, when he was 50, came an internal video from IBM's new senior vice president, Michelle Peluso, which announced plans to improve the work of marketing employees by ordering them to work "shoulder to shoulder." Those who wanted to stay on would need to "co-locate" to offices in one of six cities.

    Early last year, Harlan received an email congratulating him on "the opportunity to join your team in Raleigh, North Carolina." He had 30 days to decide on the 2,600-mile move. He resigned in June.

    David Harlan worked for IBM for 15 years from his home in Moscow, Idaho, where he also runs a drama company. Early last year, IBM offered him a choice: Move 2,600 miles to Raleigh-Durham to begin working at an office, or resign. He left in June. (Rajah Bose for ProPublica)

    After the Peluso video was leaked to the press, an IBM spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal that the " vast majority " of people ordered to change locations and begin reporting to offices did so. IBM Vice President Ed Barbini said in an initial email exchange with ProPublica in July that the new policy affected only about 2,000 U.S. employees and that "most" of those had agreed to move.

    But employees across a wide range of company operations, from the systems and technology group to analytics, told ProPublica they've also been ordered to co-locate in recent years. Many IBMers with long service said that they quit rather than sell their homes, pull children from school and desert aging parents. IBM declined to say how many older employees were swept up in the co-location initiative.

    "They basically knew older employees weren't going to do it," said Eileen Maroney, a 63-year-old IBM product manager from Aiken, South Carolina, who, like Harlan, was ordered to move to Raleigh or resign. "Older people aren't going to move. It just doesn't make any sense." Like Harlan, Maroney left IBM last June.

    Having people quit rather than being laid off may help IBM avoid disclosing how much it is shrinking its U.S. workforce and where the reductions are occurring.

    Under the federal WARN Act , adopted in the wake of huge job cuts and factory shutdowns during the 1980s, companies laying off 50 or more employees who constitute at least one-third of an employer's workforce at a site have to give advance notice of layoffs to the workers, public agencies and local elected officials.

    Similar laws in some states where IBM has a substantial presence are even stricter. California, for example, requires advanced notice for layoffs of 50 or more employees, no matter what the share of the workforce. New York requires notice for 25 employees who make up a third.

    Because the laws were drafted to deal with abrupt job cuts at individual plants, they can miss reductions that occur over long periods among a workforce like IBM's that was, at least until recently, widely dispersed because of the company's work-from-home policy.

    IBM's training sessions to prepare managers for layoffs suggest the company was aware of WARN thresholds, especially in states with strict notification laws such as California. A 2016 document entitled "Employee Separation Processing" and labeled "IBM Confidential" cautions managers about the "unique steps that must be taken when processing separations for California employees."

    A ProPublica review of five years of WARN disclosures for a dozen states where the company had large facilities that shed workers found no disclosures in nine. In the other three, the company alerted authorities of just under 1,000 job cuts -- 380 in California, 369 in New York and 200 in Minnesota. IBM's reported figures are well below the actual number of jobs the company eliminated in these states, where in recent years it has shuttered, sold off or leveled plants that once employed vast numbers.

    By contrast, other employers in the same 12 states reported layoffs last year alone totaling 215,000 people. They ranged from giant Walmart to Ostrom's Mushroom Farms in Washington state.

    Whether IBM operated within the rules of the WARN act, which are notoriously fungible, could not be determined because the company declined to provide ProPublica with details on its layoffs.

    A Second Act, But Poorer

    W ith 35 years at IBM under his belt, Ed Miyoshi had plenty of experience being pushed to take buyouts, or early retirement packages, and refusing them. But he hadn't expected to be pushed last fall.

    Miyoshi, of Hopewell Junction, New York, had some years earlier launched a pilot program to improve IBM's technical troubleshooting. With the blessing of an IBM vice president, he was busily interviewing applicants in India and Brazil to staff teams to roll the program out to clients worldwide.

    The interviews may have been why IBM mistakenly assumed Miyoshi was a manager, and so emailed him to eliminate the one U.S.-based employee still left in his group.

    "That was me," Miyoshi realized.

    In his sign-off email to colleagues shortly before Christmas 2016, Miyoshi, then 57, wrote: "I am too young and too poor to stop working yet, so while this is good-bye to my IBM career, I fully expect to cross paths with some of you very near in the future."

    He did, and perhaps sooner than his colleagues had expected; he started as a subcontractor to IBM about two weeks later, on Jan. 3.

    Miyoshi is an example of older workers who've lost their regular IBM jobs and been brought back as contractors. Some of them -- not Miyoshi -- became contract workers after IBM told them their skills were out of date and no longer needed.

    Employment law experts said that hiring ex-employees as contractors can be legally dicey. It raises the possibility that the layoff of the employee was not for the stated reason but perhaps because they were targeted for their age, race or gender.

    IBM appears to recognize the problem. Ex-employees say the company has repeatedly told managers -- most recently earlier this year -- not to contract with former employees or sign on with third-party contracting firms staffed by ex-IBMers. But ProPublica turned up dozens of instances where the company did just that.

    Only two weeks after IBM laid him off in December 2016, Ed Miyoshi of Hopewell Junction, New York, started work as a subcontractor to the company. But he took a $20,000-a-year pay cut. "I'm not a millionaire, so that's a lot of money to me," he says. (Demetrius Freeman for ProPublica)

    Responding to a question in a confidential questionnaire from ProPublica, one 35-year company veteran from New York said he knew exactly what happened to the job he left behind when he was laid off. "I'M STILL DOING IT. I got a new gig eight days after departure, working for a third-party company under contract to IBM doing the exact same thing."

    In many cases, of course, ex-employees are happy to have another job, even if it is connected with the company that laid them off.

    Henry, the Columbus-based sales and technical specialist who'd been with IBM's "resiliency services" unit, discovered that he'd lost his regular IBM job because the company had purchased an Indian firm that provided the same services. But after a year out of work, he wasn't going to turn down the offer of a temporary position as a subcontractor for IBM, relocating data centers. It got money flowing back into his household and got him back where he liked to be, on the road traveling for business.

    The compensation most ex-IBM employees make as contractors isn't comparable. While Henry said he collected the same dollar amount, it didn't include health insurance, which cost him $1,325 a month. Miyoshi said his paycheck is 20 percent less than what he made as an IBM regular.

    "I took an over $20,000 hit by becoming a contractor. I'm not a millionaire, so that's a lot of money to me," Miyoshi said.

    And lower pay isn't the only problem ex-IBM employees-now-subcontractors face. This year, Miyoshi's payable hours have been cut by an extra 10 "furlough days." Internal documents show that IBM repeatedly furloughs subcontractors without pay, often for two, three or more weeks a quarter. In some instances, the furloughs occur with little advance notice and at financially difficult moments. In one document, for example, it appears IBM managers, trying to cope with a cost overrun spotted in mid-November, planned to dump dozens of subcontractors through the end of the year, the middle of the holiday season.

    Former IBM employees now on contract said the company controls costs by notifying contractors in the midst of projects they have to take pay cuts or lose the work. Miyoshi said that he originally started working for his third-party contracting firm for 10 percent less than at IBM, but ended up with an additional 10 percent cut in the middle of 2017, when IBM notified the contractor it was slashing what it would pay.

    For many ex-employees, there are few ways out. Henry, for example, sought to improve his chances of landing a new full-time job by seeking assistance to finish a college degree through a federal program designed to retrain workers hurt by offshoring of jobs.

    But when he contacted the Ohio state agency that administers the Trade Adjustment Assistance, or TAA, program, which provides assistance to workers who lose their jobs for trade-related reasons, he was told IBM hadn't submitted necessary paperwork. State officials said Henry could apply if he could find other IBM employees who were laid off with him, information that the company doesn't provide.

    TAA is overseen by the Labor Department but is operated by states under individual agreements with Washington, so the rules can vary from state to state. But generally employers, unions, state agencies and groups of employers can petition for training help and cash assistance. Labor Department data compiled by the advocacy group Global Trade Watch shows that employers apply in about 40 percent of cases. Some groups of IBM workers have obtained retraining funds when they or their state have applied, but records dating back to the early 1990s show IBM itself has applied for and won taxpayer assistance only once, in 2008, for three Chicago-area workers whose jobs were being moved to India.

    Teasing New Jobs

    A s IBM eliminated thousands of jobs in 2016, David Carroll, a 52-year-old Austin software engineer, thought he was safe.

    His job was in mobile development, the "M" in the company's CAMS strategy. And if that didn't protect him, he figured he was only four months shy of qualifying for a program that gives employees who leave within a year of their three-decade mark access to retiree medical coverage and other benefits.

    But the layoff notice Carroll received March 2 gave him three months -- not four -- to come up with another job. Having been a manager, he said he knew the gantlet he'd have to run to land a new position inside IBM.

    Still, he went at it hard, applying for more than 50 IBM jobs, including one for a job he'd successfully done only a few years earlier. For his effort, he got one offer -- the week after he'd been forced to depart. He got severance pay but lost access to what would have been more generous benefits.

    Edward Kishkill, then 60, of Hillsdale, New Jersey, had made a similar calculation.

    A senior systems engineer, Kishkill recognized the danger of layoffs, but assumed he was immune because he was working in systems security, the "S" in CAMS and another hot area at the company.

    The precaution did him no more good than it had Carroll. Kishkill received a layoff notice the same day, along with 17 of the 22 people on his systems security team, including Diane Moos. The notice said that Kishkill could look for other jobs internally. But if he hadn't landed anything by the end of May, he was out.

    With a daughter who was a senior in high school headed to Boston University, he scrambled to apply, but came up dry. His last day was May 31, 2016.

    For many, the fruitless search for jobs within IBM is the last straw, a final break with the values the company still says it embraces. Combined with the company's increasingly frequent request that departing employees train their overseas replacements, it has left many people bitter. Scores of ex-employees interviewed by ProPublica said that managers with job openings told them they weren't allowed to hire from layoff lists without getting prior, high-level clearance, something that's almost never given.

    ProPublica reviewed documents that show that a substantial share of recent IBM layoffs have involved what the company calls "lift and shift," lifting the work of specific U.S. employees and shifting it to specific workers in countries such as India and Brazil. For example, a document summarizing U.S. employment in part of the company's global technology services division for 2015 lists nearly a thousand people as layoff candidates, with the jobs of almost half coded for lift and shift.

    Ex-employees interviewed by ProPublica said the lift-and-shift process required their extensive involvement. For example, shortly after being notified she'd be laid off, Kishkill's colleague, Moos, was told to help prepare a "knowledge transfer" document and begin a round of conference calls and email exchanges with two Indian IBM employees who'd be taking over her work. Moos said the interactions consumed much of her last three months at IBM.

    Next Chapters

    W hile IBM has managed to keep the scale and nature of its recent U.S. employment cuts largely under the public's radar, the company drew some unwanted attention during the 2016 presidential campaign, when then-candidate Donald Trump lambasted it for eliminating 500 jobs in Minnesota, where the company has had a presence for a half century, and shifting the work abroad.

    The company also has caught flak -- in places like Buffalo, New York ; Dubuque, Iowa ; Columbia, Missouri , and Baton Rouge, Louisiana -- for promising jobs in return for state and local incentives, then failing to deliver. In all, according to public officials in those and other places, IBM promised to bring on 3,400 workers in exchange for as much as $250 million in taxpayer financing but has hired only about half as many.

    After Trump's victory, Rometty, in a move at least partly aimed at courting the president-elect, pledged to hire 25,000 new U.S. employees by 2020. Spokesmen said the hiring would increase IBM's U.S. employment total, although, given its continuing job cuts, the addition is unlikely to approach the promised hiring total.

    When The New York Times ran a story last fall saying IBM now has more employees in India than the U.S., Barbini, the corporate spokesman, rushed to declare, "The U.S. has always been and remains IBM's center of gravity." But his stream of accompanying tweets and graphics focused as much on the company's record for racking up patents as hiring people.

    IBM has long been aware of the damage its job cuts can do to people. In a series of internal training documents to prepare managers for layoffs in recent years, the company has included this warning: "Loss of a job often triggers a grief reaction similar to what occurs after a death."

    Most, though not all, of the ex-IBM employees with whom ProPublica spoke have weathered the loss and re-invented themselves.

    Marjorie Madfis, the digital marketing strategist, couldn't land another tech job after her 2013 layoff, so she headed in a different direction. She started a nonprofit called Yes She Can Inc. that provides job skills development for young autistic women, including her 21-year-old daughter.

    After almost two years of looking and desperate for useful work, Brian Paulson, the widely traveled IBM senior manager, applied for and landed a position as a part-time rural letter carrier in Plano, Texas. He now works as a contract project manager for a Las Vegas gaming and lottery firm.

    Ed Alpern, who started at IBM as a Selectric typewriter repairman, watched his son go on to become a National Merit Scholar at Texas A&M University, but not a Watson scholarship recipient.

    Lori King, the IT specialist and 33-year IBM veteran who's now 56, got in a parting shot. She added an addendum to the retirement papers the firm gave her that read in part: "It was never my plan to retire earlier than at least age 60 and I am not committing to retire. I have been informed that I am impacted by a resource action effective on 2016-08-22, which is my last day at IBM, but I am NOT retiring."

    King has aced more than a year of government-funded coding boot camps and university computer courses, but has yet to land a new job.

    David Harlan still lives in Moscow, Idaho, after refusing IBM's "invitation" to move to North Carolina, and is artistic director of the Moscow Art Theatre (Too).

    Ed Miyoshi is still a technical troubleshooter working as a subcontractor for IBM.

    Ed Kishkill, the senior systems engineer, works part time at a local tech startup, but pays his bills as an associate at a suburban New Jersey Staples store.

    This year, Paul Henry was back on the road, working as an IBM subcontractor in Detroit, about 200 miles from where he lived in Columbus. On Jan. 8, he put in a 14-hour day and said he planned to call home before turning in. He died in his sleep.

    Correction, March 24, 2018: Eileen Maroney lives in Aiken, South Carolina. The name of her city was incorrect in the original version of this story.

    Do you have information about age discrimination at IBM?

    Let us know.

    Peter Gosselin joined ProPublica as a contributing reporter in January 2017 to cover aging. He has covered the U.S. and global economies for, among others, the Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe, focusing on the lived experiences of working people. He is the author of "High Wire: The Precarious Financial Lives of American Families."

    Ariana Tobin is an engagement reporter at ProPublica, where she works to cultivate communities to inform our coverage. She was previously at The Guardian and WNYC. Ariana has also worked as digital producer for APM's Marketplace and contributed to outlets including The New Republic , On Being , the St. Louis Beacon and Bustle .

    Production by Joanna Brenner and Hannah Birch . Art direction by David Sleight . Illustrations by Richard Borge .

    [Oct 30, 2018] Cutting 'Old Heads' at IBM

    Notable quotes:
    "... I took an early retirement package when IBM first started downsizing. I had 30 years with them, but I could see the writing on the wall so I got out. I landed an exec job with a biotech company some years later and inherited an IBM consulting team that were already engaged. I reviewed their work for 2 months then had the pleasure of terminating the contract and actually escorting the team off the premises because the work product was so awful. ..."
    "... Every former or prospective IBM employee is a potential future IBM customer or partner. How you treat them matters! ..."
    "... I advise IBM customers now. My biggest professional achievements can be measured in how much revenue IBM lost by my involvement - millions. Favorite is when IBM paid customer to stop the bleeding. ..."
    Oct 30, 2018 | features.propublica.org

    I took an early retirement package when IBM first started downsizing. I had 30 years with them, but I could see the writing on the wall so I got out. I landed an exec job with a biotech company some years later and inherited an IBM consulting team that were already engaged. I reviewed their work for 2 months then had the pleasure of terminating the contract and actually escorting the team off the premises because the work product was so awful.

    They actually did a presentation of their interim results - but it was a 52 slide package that they had presented to me in my previous job but with the names and numbers changed. see more

    DarthVaderMentor dauwkus , Thursday, April 5, 2018 4:43 PM

    Intellectual Capital Re-Use! LOL! Not many people realize in IBM that many, if not all of the original IBM Consulting Group materials were made under the Type 2 Materials clause of the IBM Contract, which means the customers actually owned the IP rights of the documents. Can you imagine the mess if just one customer demands to get paid for every re-use of the IP that was developed for them and then re-used over and over again?
    NoGattaca dauwkus , Monday, May 7, 2018 5:37 PM
    Beautiful! Yea, these companies so fast to push experienced people who have dedicated their lives to the firm - how can you not...all the hours and commitment it takes - way underestimate the power of the network of those left for dead and their influence in that next career gig. Memories are long...very long when it comes to experiences like this.
    davosil North_40 , Sunday, March 25, 2018 5:19 PM
    True dat! Every former or prospective IBM employee is a potential future IBM customer or partner. How you treat them matters!
    Playing Defense North_40 , Tuesday, April 3, 2018 4:41 PM
    I advise IBM customers now. My biggest professional achievements can be measured in how much revenue IBM lost by my involvement - millions. Favorite is when IBM paid customer to stop the bleeding.

    [Oct 30, 2018] It s all about making the numbers so the management can present a Potemkin Village of profits and ever-increasing growth sufficient to get bonuses. There is no relation to any sort of quality or technological advancement, just HR 3-card monte

    Notable quotes:
    "... It's no coincidence whatsoever that Diane Gherson, mentioned prominently in the article, blasted out an all-employees email crowing about IBM being a great place to work according to (ahem) LinkedIn. I desperately want to post a link to this piece in the corporate Slack, but that would get me fired immediately instead of in a few months at the next "resource action." It's been a whole 11 months since our division had one, so I know one is coming soon. ..."
    "... I used to say when I was there that: "After every defeat, they pin medals on the generals and shoot the soldiers". ..."
    "... 1990 is also when H-1B visa rules were changed so that companies no longer had to even attempt to hire an American worker as long as the job paid $60,000, which hasn't changed since. This article doesn't even mention how our work visa system facilitated and even rewarded this abuse of Americans. ..."
    "... Well, starting in the 1980s, the American management was allowed by Reagan to get rid of its workforce. ..."
    "... It's all about making the numbers so the management can present a Potemkin Village of profits and ever-increasing growth sufficient to get bonuses. There is no relation to any sort of quality or technological advancement, just HR 3-card monte. They have installed air bearing in Old Man Watson's coffin as it has been spinning ever faster ..."
    "... Corporate America executive management is all about stock price management. Their bonus's in the millions of dollars are based on stock performance. With IBM's poor revenue performance since Ginny took over, profits can only be maintained by cost reduction. Look at the IBM executive's bonus's throughout the last 20 years and you can see that all resource actions have been driven by Palmisano's and Rominetty's greed for extravagant bonus's. ..."
    "... Also worth noting is that IBM drastically cut the cap on it's severance pay calculation. Almost enough to make me regret not having retired before that changed. ..."
    "... Yeah, severance started out at 2 yrs pay, went to 1 yr, then to 6 mos. and is now 1 month. ..."
    "... You need to investigate AT&T as well, as they did the same thing. I was 'sold' by IBM to AT&T as part of he Network Services operation. AT&T got rid of 4000 of the 8000 US employees sent to AT&T within 3 years. Nearly everyone of us was a 'senior' employee. ..."
    Oct 30, 2018 | disqus.com

    dragonflap• 7 months ago I'm a 49-year-old SW engineer who started at IBM as part of an acquisition in 2000. I got laid off in 2002 when IBM started sending reqs to Bangalore in batches of thousands. After various adventures, I rejoined IBM in 2015 as part of the "C" organization referenced in the article.

    It's no coincidence whatsoever that Diane Gherson, mentioned prominently in the article, blasted out an all-employees email crowing about IBM being a great place to work according to (ahem) LinkedIn. I desperately want to post a link to this piece in the corporate Slack, but that would get me fired immediately instead of in a few months at the next "resource action." It's been a whole 11 months since our division had one, so I know one is coming soon.

    Stewart Dean • 7 months ago ,

    The lead-in to this piece makes it sound like IBM was forced into these practices by inescapable forces. I'd say not, rather that it pursued them because a) the management was clueless about how to lead IBM in the new environment and new challenges so b) it started to play with numbers to keep the (apparent) profits up....to keep the bonuses coming. I used to say when I was there that: "After every defeat, they pin medals on the generals and shoot the soldiers".

    And then there's the Pig with the Wooden Leg shaggy dog story that ends with the punch line, "A pig like that you don't eat all at once", which has a lot of the flavor of how many of us saw our jobs as IBM die a slow death.

    IBM is about to fall out of the sky, much as General Motors did. How could that happen? By endlessly beating the cow to get more milk.

    IBM was hiring right through the Great Depression such that It Did Not Pay Unemployment Insurance. Because it never laid people off, Because until about 1990, your manager was responsible for making sure you had everything you needed to excel and grow....and you would find people that had started on the loading dock and had become Senior Programmers. But then about 1990, IBM starting paying unemployment insurance....just out of the goodness of its heart. Right.

    CRAW Stewart Dean • 7 months ago ,

    1990 is also when H-1B visa rules were changed so that companies no longer had to even attempt to hire an American worker as long as the job paid $60,000, which hasn't changed since. This article doesn't even mention how our work visa system facilitated and even rewarded this abuse of Americans.

    DDRLSGC Stewart Dean • 7 months ago ,

    Well, starting in the 1980s, the American management was allowed by Reagan to get rid of its workforce.

    Georgann Putintsev Stewart Dean • 7 months ago ,

    I found that other Ex-IBMer's respect other Ex-IBMer's work ethics, knowledge and initiative.

    Other companies are happy to get them as a valueable resource. In '89 when our Palo Alto Datacenter moved, we were given two options: 1.) to become a Programmer (w/training) 2.) move to Boulder or 3.) to leave.

    I got my training with programming experience and left IBM in '92, when for 4 yrs IBM offerred really good incentives for leaving the company. The Executives thought that the IBM Mainframe/MVS z/OS+ was on the way out and the Laptop (Small but Increasing Capacity) Computer would take over everything.

    It didn't. It did allow many skilled IBMers to succeed outside of IBM and help built up our customer skill sets. And like many, when the opportunity arose to return I did. In '91 I was accidentally given a male co-workers paycheck and that was one of the reasons for leaving. During my various Contract work outside, I bumped into other male IBMer's that had left too, some I had trained, and when they disclosed that it was their salary (which was 20-40%) higher than mine was the reason they left, I knew I had made the right decision.

    Women tend to under-value themselves and their capabilities. Contracting also taught me that companies that had 70% employees and 30% contractors, meant that contractors would be let go if they exceeded their quarterly expenditures.

    I first contracted with IBM in '98 and when I decided to re-join IBM '01, I had (3) job offers and I took the most lucrative exciting one to focus on fixing & improving DB2z Qry Parallelism. I developed a targeted L3 Technical Change Team to help L2 Support reduce Customer problems reported and improve our product. The instability within IBM remained and I saw IBM try to eliminate aging, salaried, benefited employees. The 1.) find a job within IBM ... to 2.) to leave ... was now standard.

    While my salary had more than doubled since I left IBM the first time, it still wasn't near other male counterparts. The continual rating competition based on salary ranged titles and timing a title raise after a round of layoffs, not before. I had another advantage going and that was that my changed reduced retirement benefits helped me stay there. It all comes down to the numbers that Mgmt is told to cut & save IBM. While much of this article implies others were hired, at our Silicon Valley Location and other locations, they had no intent to backfill. So the already burdened employees were laden with more workloads & stress.

    In the early to mid 2000's IBM setup a counter lab in China where they were paying 1/4th U.S. salaries and many SVL IBMers went to CSDL to train our new world 24x7 support employees. But many were not IBM loyal and their attrition rates were very high, so it fell to a wave of new-hires at SVL to help address it.

    Stewart Dean Georgann Putintsev • 7 months ago ,

    It's all about making the numbers so the management can present a Potemkin Village of profits and ever-increasing growth sufficient to get bonuses. There is no relation to any sort of quality or technological advancement, just HR 3-card monte. They have installed air bearing in Old Man Watson's coffin as it has been spinning ever faster

    IBM32_retiree • 7 months ago ,

    Corporate America executive management is all about stock price management. Their bonus's in the millions of dollars are based on stock performance. With IBM's poor revenue performance since Ginny took over, profits can only be maintained by cost reduction. Look at the IBM executive's bonus's throughout the last 20 years and you can see that all resource actions have been driven by Palmisano's and Rominetty's greed for extravagant bonus's.

    Dan Yurman • 7 months ago ,

    Bravo ProPublica for another "sock it to them" article - journalism in honor of the spirit of great newspapers everywhere that the refuge of justice in hard times is with the press.

    Felix Domestica • 7 months ago ,

    Also worth noting is that IBM drastically cut the cap on it's severance pay calculation. Almost enough to make me regret not having retired before that changed.

    RonF Felix Domestica • 7 months ago ,

    Yeah, severance started out at 2 yrs pay, went to 1 yr, then to 6 mos. and is now 1 month.

    mjmadfis RonF • 7 months ago ,

    When I was let go in June 2013 it was 6 months severance.

    Terry Taylor • 7 months ago ,

    You need to investigate AT&T as well, as they did the same thing. I was 'sold' by IBM to AT&T as part of he Network Services operation. AT&T got rid of 4000 of the 8000 US employees sent to AT&T within 3 years. Nearly everyone of us was a 'senior' employee.

    weelittlepeople Terry Taylor • 7 months ago ,

    Good Ol Ma Bell is following the IBM playbook to a Tee

    emnyc • 7 months ago ,

    ProPublica deserves a Pulitzer for this article and all the extensive research that went into this investigation.

    Incredible job! Congrats.

    On a separate note, IBM should be ashamed of themselves and the executive team that enabled all of this should be fired.

    WmBlake • 7 months ago ,

    As a permanent old contractor and free-enterprise defender myself, I don't blame IBM a bit for wanting to cut the fat. But for the outright *lies, deception and fraud* that they use to break laws, weasel out of obligations... really just makes me want to shoot them... and I never even worked for them.

    Michael Woiwood • 7 months ago ,

    Great Article.

    Where I worked, In Rochester,MN, people have known what is happening for years. My last years with IBM were the most depressing time in my life.

    I hear a rumor that IBM would love to close plants they no longer use but they are so environmentally polluted that it is cheaper to maintain than to clean up and sell.

    scorcher14 • 7 months ago ,

    One of the biggest driving factors in age discrimination is health insurance costs, not salary. It can cost 4-5x as much to insure and older employee vs. a younger one, and employers know this. THE #1 THING WE CAN DO TO STOP AGE DISCRIMINATION IS TO MOVE AWAY FROM OUR EMPLOYER-PROVIDED INSURANCE SYSTEM. It could be single-payer, but it could also be a robust individual market with enough pool diversification to make it viable. Freeing employers from this cost burden would allow them to pick the right talent regardless of age.

    DDRLSGC scorcher14 • 7 months ago ,

    The American business have constantly fought against single payer since the end of World War II and why should I feel sorry for them when all of a sudden, they are complaining about health care costs? It is outrageous that workers have to face age discrimination; however, the CEOs don't have to deal with that issue since they belong to a tiny group of people who can land a job anywhere else.

    pieinthesky scorcher14 • 7 months ago ,

    Single payer won't help. We have single payer in Canada and just as much age discrimination in employment. Society in general does not like older people so unless you're a doctor, judge or pharmacist you will face age bias. It's even worse in popular culture never mind in employment.

    OrangeGina scorcher14 • 7 months ago ,

    I agree. Yet, a determined company will find other methods, explanations and excuses.

    JohnCordCutter • 7 months ago ,

    Thanks for the great article. I left IBM last year. USA based. 49. Product Manager in one of IBMs strategic initiatives, however got told to relocate or leave. I found another job and left. I came to IBM from an acquisition. My only regret is, I wish I had left this toxic environment earlier. It truely is a dreadful place to work.

    60 Soon • 7 months ago ,

    The methodology has trickled down to smaller companies pursuing the same net results for headcount reduction. The similarities to my experience were painful to read. The grief I felt after my job was "eliminated" 10 years ago while the Recession was at its worst and shortly after my 50th birthday was coming back. I never have recovered financially but have started writing a murder mystery. The first victim? The CEO who let me go. It's true. Revenge is best served cold.

    donttreadonme9 • 7 months ago ,

    Well written . people like me have experienced exactly what you wrote. IBM is a shadow of it's former greatness and I have advised my children to stay away from IBM and companies like it as they start their careers. IBM is a corrupt company. Shame on them !

    annapurna • 7 months ago ,

    I hope they find some way to bring a class action lawsuit against these assholes.

    Mark annapurna • 7 months ago ,

    I suspect someone will end up hunt them down with an axe at some point. That's the only way they'll probably learn. I don't know about IBM specifically, but when Carly Fiorina ran HP, she travelled with and even went into engineering labs with an armed security detail.

    OrangeGina Mark • 7 months ago ,

    all the bigwig CEOs have these black SUV security details now.

    Sarahw • 7 months ago ,

    IBM has been using these tactics at least since the 1980s, when my father was let go for similar 'reasons.'

    Vin • 7 months ago ,

    Was let go after 34 years of service. Mine Resource Action latter had additional lines after '...unless you are offered ... position within IBM before that date.' , implying don't even try to look for a position. They lines were ' Additional business controls are in effect to manage the business objectives of this resource action, therefore, job offers within (the name of division) will be highly unlikely.'.

    Mark Vin • 7 months ago ,

    Absolutely and utterly disgusting.

    Greybeard • 7 months ago ,

    I've worked for a series of vendors for over thirty years. A job at IBM used to be the brass ring; nowadays, not so much.

    I've heard persistent rumors from IBMers that U.S. headcount is below 25,000 nowadays. Given events like the recent downtime of the internal systems used to order parts (5 or so days--website down because staff who maintained it were let go without replacements), it's hard not to see the spiral continue down the drain.

    What I can't figure out is whether Rometty and cronies know what they're doing or are just clueless. Either way, the result is the same: destruction of a once-great company and brand. Tragic.

    ManOnTheHill Greybeard • 7 months ago ,

    Well, none of these layoffs/ageist RIFs affect the execs, so they don't see the effects, or they see the effects but attribute them to some other cause.

    (I'm surprised the article doesn't address this part of the story; how many affected by layoffs are exec/senior management? My bet is very few.)

    ExIBMExec ManOnTheHill • 7 months ago ,

    I was a D-banded exec (Director-level) who was impacted and I know even some VPs who were affected as well, so they do spread the pain, even in the exec ranks.

    ManOnTheHill ExIBMExec • 7 months ago ,

    That's different than I have seen in companies I have worked for (like HP). There RIFs (Reduction In Force, their acronym for layoff) went to the director level and no further up.

    [Oct 30, 2018] Anyone working at IBM after 1993 should have had no expectation of a lifetime career

    Under neoliberlaism the idea of loyalty between a corporation and an employee makes no more sense than loyalty between a motel and its guests.
    Notable quotes:
    "... Any expectation of "loyalty", that two-way relationship of employee/company from an earlier time, was wishful thinking ..."
    "... With all the automation going on around the world, these business leaders better worry about people not having money to buy their goods and services plus what are they going to do with the surplus of labor ..."
    "... This is the nail in the coffin. As an IT manager responsible for selecting and purchasing software, I will never again recommend IBM products ..."
    "... The way I saw it, every time I received a paycheck from IBM in exchange for two weeks' work, we were (almost) even. I did not owe them anything else and they did not owe me anything. The way I saw it, every time I received a paycheck from IBM in exchange for two weeks' work, we were (almost) even. I did not owe them anything else and they did not owe me anything. The idea of loyalty between a corporation and an at-will employee makes no more sense than loyalty between a motel and its guests. ..."
    "... The annual unemployment rate topped 8% in 1975 and would reach nearly 10% in 1982. The economy seemed trapped in the new nightmare of stagflation," so called because it combined low economic growth and high unemployment ("stagnation") with high rates of inflation. And the prime rate hit 20% by 1980. ..."
    Oct 30, 2018 | features.propublica.org
    Jeff Russell , Thursday, March 22, 2018 4:31 PM
    I started at IBM 3 days out of college in 1979 and retired in 2017. I was satisfied with my choice and never felt mistreated because I had no expectation of lifetime employment, especially after the pivotal period in the 1990's when IBM almost went out of business. The company survived that period by dramatically restructuring both manufacturing costs and sales expense including the firing of tens of thousands of employees. These actions were well documented in the business news of the time, the obvious alternative was bankruptcy.

    I told the authors that anyone working at IBM after 1993 should have had no expectation of a lifetime career. Downsizing, outsourcing, movement of work around the globe was already commonplace at all such international companies. Any expectation of "loyalty", that two-way relationship of employee/company from an earlier time, was wishful thinking .

    I was always prepared to be sent packing, without cause, at any time and always had my resume up-to-date. I stayed because of interesting work, respectful supervisors, and adequate compensation.

    The "resource action" that forced my decision to retire was no surprise, the company that hired me had been gone for decades.

    DDRLSGC Jeff Russell , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •
    With all the automation going on around the world, these business leaders better worry about people not having money to buy their goods and services plus what are they going to do with the surplus of labor
    John Kauai Jeff Russell , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •
    I had, more or less, the same experience at Cisco. They paid me to quit. Luckily, I was ready for it.

    The article mentions IBMs 3 failures. So who was it that was responsible for not anticipating the transitions? It is hard enough doing what you already know. Perhaps companies should be spending more on figuring out "what's next" and not continually playing catch-up by dumping the older workers for the new.

    MichiganRefugee , Friday, March 23, 2018 9:52 AM
    I was laid off by IBM after 29 years and 4 months. I had received a division award in previous year, and my last PBC appraisal was 2+ (high performer.) The company I left was not the company I started with. Top management--starting with Gerstner--has steadily made IBM a less desirable place to work. They now treat employees as interchangeable assets and nothing more. I cannot/would not recommend IBM as an employer to any young programmer.
    George Purcell , Friday, March 23, 2018 7:41 AM
    Truly awesome work. I do want to add one thing, however--the entire rhetoric about "too many old white guys" that has become so common absolutely contributes to the notion that this sort of behavior is not just acceptable but in some twisted way admirable as well.
    Bob Fritz , Thursday, March 22, 2018 7:35 PM
    I read the article and all the comments.

    Is anyone surprised that so many young people don't think capitalism is a good system any more?

    I ran a high technology electronic systems company for years. We ran it "the old way." If you worked hard, and tried, we would bend over backwards to keep you. If technology or business conditions eliminated your job, we would try to train you for a new one. Our people were loyal, not like IBMers today. I honestly think that's the best way to be profitable.

    People afraid of being unjustly RIFFed will always lack vitality.

    petervonstackelberg , Thursday, March 22, 2018 2:00 PM
    I'm glad someone is finally paying attention to age discrimination. IBM apparently is just one of many organizations that discriminate.

    I'm in the middle of my own fight with the State University of New York (SUNY) over age discrimination. I was terminated by a one of the technical colleges in the SUNY System. The EEOC/New York State Division of Human Rights (NYDHR) found that "PROBABLE CAUSE (NYDHR's emphasis) exists to believe that the Respondent (Alfred State College - SUNY) has engaged in or is engaging in the unlawful discriminatory practice complained of." Investigators for NYDHR interviewed several witnesses, who testified that representatives of the college made statements such as "we need new faces", "three old men" attending a meeting, an older faculty member described as an "albatross", and "we ought to get rid of the old white guys". Witnesses said these statements were made by the Vice President of Academic Affairs and a dean at the college.

    davosil , Sunday, March 25, 2018 5:00 PM
    This saga at IBM is simply a microcosm of our overall economy. Older workers get ousted in favor of younger, cheaper workers; way too many jobs get outsourced; and so many workers today [young and old] can barely land a full-time job.
    This is the behavior that our system incentivises (and gets away with) in this post Reagan Revolution era where deregulation is lauded and unions have been undermined & demonized. We need to seriously re-work 'work', and in order to do this we need to purge Republicans at every level, as they CLEARLY only serve corporate bottom-lines - not workers - by championing tax codes that reward outsourcing, fight a livable minimum wage, eliminate pensions, bust unions, fight pay equity for women & family leave, stack the Supreme Court with radical ideologues who blatantly rule for corporations over people all the time, etc. etc. ~35 years of basically uninterrupted Conservative economic policy & ideology has proven disastrous for workers and our quality of life. As goes your middle class, so goes your country.
    ThinkingAloud , Friday, March 23, 2018 7:18 AM
    The last five words are chilling... This is an award-winning piece....
    RetiredIBM.manager , Thursday, March 22, 2018 7:39 PM
    I am a retired IBM manager having had to execute many of these resource reduction programs.. too many.. as a matter of fact. ProPUBLICA....You nailed it!
    David , Thursday, March 22, 2018 3:22 PM
    IBM has always treated its customer-facing roles like Disney -- as cast members who need to match a part in a play. In the 60s and 70s, it was the white-shirt, blue-suit white men whom IBM leaders thought looked like mainframe salesmen. Now, rather than actually build a credible cloud to compete with Amazon and Microsoft, IBM changes the cast to look like cloud salespeople. (I work for Microsoft. Commenting for myself alone.)
    CRAW David ,

    Now IBM still treats their employees like Disney - by replacing them with H-1B workers.

    MHV IBMer , Friday, March 23, 2018 10:35 PM
    I am a survivor, the rare employee who has been at IBM for over 35 years. I have seen many, many layoff programs over 20 years now. I have seen tens of thousands people let go from the Hudson Valley of N.Y. Those of us who have survived, know and lived through what this article so accurately described. I currently work with 3 laid off/retired and rehired contractors. I have seen age discrimination daily for over 15 years. It is not only limited to layoffs, it is rampant throughout the company. Promotions, bonuses, transfers for opportunities, good reviews, etc... are gone if you are over 45. I have seen people under 30 given promotions to levels that many people worked 25 years for. IBM knows that these younger employees see how they treat us so they think they can buy them off. Come to think of it, I guess they actually are! They are ageist, there is no doubt, it is about time everyone knew. Excellent article.
    Goldie Romero , Friday, March 23, 2018 2:31 PM
    Nice article, but seriously this is old news. IBM has been at this for ...oh twenty years or more.
    I don't really have a problem with it in terms of a corporation trying to make money. But I do have a problem with how IBM also likes to avoid layoffs by giving folks over 40 intentionally poor reviews, essentially trying to drive people out. Just have the guts to tell people, we don't need you anymore, bye. But to string people along as the overseas workers come in...c'mon just be honest with your workers.
    High tech over 40 is not easy...I suggest folks prep for a career change before 50. Then you can have the last laugh on a company like IBM.
    jblog , Friday, March 23, 2018 10:37 AM
    From pages 190-191 of my novel, Ordinary Man (Amazon):

    Throughout it all, layoffs became common, impacting mostly older employees with many years of service. These job cuts were dribbled out in small numbers to conceal them from the outside world, but employees could plainly see what was going on.

    The laid off employees were supplanted by offshoring work to low-costs countries and hiring younger employees, often only on temporary contracts that offered low pay and no benefits – a process pejoratively referred to by veteran employees as "downsourcing." The recruitment of these younger workers was done under the guise of bringing in fresh skills, but while many of the new hires brought new abilities and vitality, they lacked the knowledge and perspective that comes with experience.

    Frequently, an older more experienced worker would be asked to help educate newer employees, only to be terminated shortly after completing the task. And the new hires weren't fooled by what they witnessed and experienced at OpenSwitch, perceiving very quickly that the company had no real interest in investing in them for the long term. To the contrary, the objective was clearly to grind as much work out of them as possible, without offering any hope of increased reward or opportunity.

    Most of the young recruits left after only a year or two – which, again, was part of the true agenda at the company. Senior management viewed employees not as talent, but simply as cost, and didn't want anyone sticking around long enough to move up the pay scale.

    turquoisewaters , Thursday, March 22, 2018 10:19 PM
    This is why you need unions.
    Aaron Stackpole , Thursday, March 22, 2018 5:23 PM
    This is the nail in the coffin. As an IT manager responsible for selecting and purchasing software, I will never again recommend IBM products. I love AIX and have worked with a lot if IBM products but not anymore. Good luck with the millennials though...
    awb22 , Thursday, March 22, 2018 12:14 PM
    The same thing has been going on at other companies, since the end of WWII. It's unethical, whether the illegality can be proven or not.

    In the RTP area, where I live, I know many, many current and former employees. Times have changed, but the distinction between right and wrong hasn't.

    Dave Allen , Thursday, March 22, 2018 1:07 PM
    I worked for four major corporations (HP, Intel, Control Data Corporation, and Micron Semiconductor) before I was hired by IBM as a rare (at that time) experienced new hire.

    Even though I ended up working for IBM for 21 years, and retired in 2013, because of my experiences at those other companies, I never considered IBM my "family."

    The way I saw it, every time I received a paycheck from IBM in exchange for two weeks' work, we were (almost) even. I did not owe them anything else and they did not owe me anything. The way I saw it, every time I received a paycheck from IBM in exchange for two weeks' work, we were (almost) even. I did not owe them anything else and they did not owe me anything. The idea of loyalty between a corporation and an at-will employee makes no more sense than loyalty between a motel and its guests.

    It is a business arrangement, not a love affair. Every individual needs to continually assess their skills and their value to their employer. If they are not commensurate, it is the employee's responsibility to either acquire new skills or seek a new employer.

    Your employer will not hesitate to lay you off if your skills are no longer needed, or if they can hire someone who can do your job just as well for less pay. That is free enterprise, and it works for people willing to take advantage of it.

    sometimestheyaresomewhatright Dave Allen , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •
    I basically agree. But why should it be OK for a company to fire you just to replace you with a younger you? If all that they accomplish is lowering their health care costs (which is what this is really about). If the company is paying about the same for the same work, why is firing older workers for being older OK?
    Dave Allen sometimestheyaresomewhatright , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •
    Good question. The point I was trying to make is that people need to watch out for themselves and not expect their employer to do what is "best" for the employee. I think that is true whatever age the employee happens to be.

    Whether employers should be able to discriminate against (treat differently) their employees based on age, gender, race, religion, etc. is a political question. Morally, I don't think they should discriminate. Politically, I think it is a slippery slope when the government starts imposing regulations on free enterprise. Government almost always creates more problems than they fix.

    DDRLSGC Dave Allen , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •
    Sorry, but when you deregulate the free enterprise, it created more problems than it fixes and that is a fact that has been proven for the last 38 years.
    Danllo DDRLSGC , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •
    That's just plain false. Deregulation creates competiiton. Competition for talented and skilled workers creates opportunities for those that wish to be employed and for those that wish to start new ventures. For example, when Ma Bell was regulated and had a monopoly on telecommunications there was no innovation in the telecom inudstry. However, when it was deregulated, cell phones, internet, etc exploded ... creating billionaires and millionaires while also improving the quality of life.
    DDRLSGC Danllo , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •
    No, it happens to be true. When Reagan deregulate the economy, a lot of those corporate raiders just took over the companies, sold off the assets, and pocketed the money. What quality of life? Half of American lived near the poverty level and the wages for the workers have been stagnant for the last 38 years compared to a well-regulated economy in places like Germany and the Scandinavian countries where the workers have good wages and a far better standard of living than in the USA. Why do you think the Norwegians told Trump that they will not be immigrating to the USA anytime soon?
    NotSure DDRLSGC , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •
    What were the economic conditions before Regan? It was a nightmare before Regan.

    The annual unemployment rate topped 8% in 1975 and would reach nearly 10% in 1982. The economy seemed trapped in the new nightmare of stagflation," so called because it combined low economic growth and high unemployment ("stagnation") with high rates of inflation. And the prime rate hit 20% by 1980.
    DDRLSGC NotSure , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •
    At least we had a manufacturing base in the USA, strong regulations of corporations, corporate scandals were far and few, businesses did not go under so quickly, prices of goods and services did not go through the roof, people had pensions and could reasonably live off them, and recessions did not last so long or go so deep until Reagan came into office. In Under Reagan, the jobs were allowed to be send overseas, unions were busted up, pensions were reduced or eliminated, wages except those of the CEOs were staganent, and the economic conditions under Bush, Senior and Bush, Jr. were no better except that Bush, Jr, was the first president to have a net minus below zero growth, so every time we get a Republican Administration, the economy really turns into a nightmare. That is a fact.

    You have the Republicans in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin using Reaganomics and they are economic disaster areas.

    DDRLSGC NotSure , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •
    You had an industrial base in the USA, lots of banks and savings and loans to choose from, lots of mom and pop stores, strong government regulation of the economy, able to live off your pensions, strong unions and employment laws along with the court system to back you up against corporate malfeasance. All that was gone when Reagan and the two Bushes came into office.
    james Foster , Thursday, March 29, 2018 8:37 PM
    Amazingly accurate article. The once great IBM now a dishonest and unscrupulous corporation concerned more about earnings per share than employees, customers, or social responsibility. In Global Services most likely 75% or more jobs are no longer in the US - can't believe a word coming out of Armonk.
    Philip Meyer james Foster , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •
    I'm not sure there was ever a paradise in employment. Yeah, you can say there was more job stability 50 or 60 years ago, but that applied to a much smaller workforce than today (mostly white men). It is a drag, but there are also lot more of us old farts than there used to be and we live a lot longer in retirement as well. I don't see any magic bullet fix either.
    George A , Tuesday, March 27, 2018 6:12 PM
    Warning to Google/Facebook/Apple etc. All you young people will get old. It's inevitable. Do you think those companies will take care of you?
    econdataus , Sunday, March 25, 2018 3:01 PM
    Great article. What's especially infuriating is that the industry continues to claim that there is a shortage of STEM workers. For example, google "claim of 1.4 million computer science jobs with only 400,000 computer science graduates to fill them". If companies would openly say, "we have plenty of young STEM workers and prefer them to most older STEM workers", we could at least start addressing the problem. But they continue to promote the lie of there being a STEM shortage. They just want as big a labor pool as possible, unemployed workers be damned.
    Buzz , Friday, March 23, 2018 12:00 PM
    I've worked there 17 years and have worried about being layed off for about 11 of them. Moral is in the toilet. Bonuses for the rank and file are in the under 1% range while the CEO gets millions. Pay raises have been non existent or well under inflation for years. Adjusting for inflation, I make $6K less than I did my first day. My group is a handful of people as at least 1/2 have quit or retired. To support our customers, we used to have several people, now we have one or two and if someone is sick or on vacation, our support structure is to hope nothing breaks. We can't keep millennials because of pay, benefits and the expectation of being available 24/7 because we're shorthanded. As the unemployment rate drops, more leave to find a different job, leaving the old people as they are less willing to start over with pay, vacation, moving, selling a house, pulling kids from school, etc. The younger people are generally less likely to be willing to work as needed on off hours or to pull work from a busier colleague. I honestly have no idea what the plan is when the people who know what they are doing start to retire, we are way top heavy with 30-40 year guys who are on their way out, very few of the 10-20 year guys due to hiring freezes and we can't keep new people past 2-3 years. It's like our support business model is designed to fail.
    OrangeGina , Friday, March 23, 2018 11:41 AM
    Make no mistake. The three and four letter acronyms and other mushy corporate speak may differ from firm to firm, but this is going on in every large tech company old enough to have a large population of workers over 50. I hope others will now be exposed.
    JeffMo , Friday, March 23, 2018 10:23 AM
    This article hits the nail right on the head, as I come up on my 1 year anniversary from being....ahem....'retired' from 23 years at IBM....and I'll be damned if I give them the satisfaction of thinking this was like a 'death' to me. It was the greatest thing that could have ever happened. Ginny and the board should be ashamed of themselves, but they won't be.
    Frankie , Friday, March 23, 2018 1:00 AM
    Starting around age 40 you start to see age discrimination. I think this is largely due to economics, like increased vacation times, higher wages, but most of all the perception that older workers will run up the medical costs. You can pass all the age related discrimination laws you want, but look how ineffective that has been.

    If you contrast this with the German workforce, you see that they have more older workers with the skills and younger workers without are having a difficult time getting in. So what's the difference? There are laws about how many vacation weeks that are given and there is a national medical system that everyone pays, so discrimination isn't seen in the same light.

    The US is the only hold out maybe with South Africa that doesn't have a good national medical insurance program for everyone. Not only do we pay more than the rest of the world, but we also have discrimination because of it.

    Rick Gundlach , Thursday, March 22, 2018 11:38 PM
    This is very good, and this is IBM. I know. I was plaintiff in Gundlach v. IBM Japan, 983 F.Supp.2d 389, which involved their violating Japanese labor law when I worked in Japan. The New York federal judge purposely ignored key points of Japanese labor law, and also refused to apply Title VII and Age Discrimination in Employment to the parent company in Westchester County. It is a huge, self-described "global" company with little demonstrated loyalty to America and Americans. Pennsylvania is suing them for $170 million on a botched upgrade of the state's unemployment system.
    Jeff , Thursday, March 22, 2018 2:05 PM
    In early 2013 I was given a 3 PBC rating for my 2012 performance, the main reason cited by my manager being that my team lead thought I "seemed distracted". Five months later I was included in a "resource action", and was gone by July. I was 20 months shy of 55. Younger coworkers were retained. That was about two years after the product I worked on for over a decade was off-shored.

    Through a fluke of someone from the old, disbanded team remembering me, I was rehired two years later - ironically in a customer support position for the very product I helped develop.

    While I appreciated my years of service, previous salary, and previous benefits being reinstated, a couple years into it I realized I just wasn't cut out for the demands of the job - especially the significant 24x7 pager duty. Last June I received email describing a "Transition to Retirement" plan I was eligible for, took it, and my last day will be June 30. I still dislike the job, but that plan reclassified me as part time, thus ending pager duty for me. The job still sucks, but at least I no longer have to despair over numerous week long 24x7 stints throughout the year.

    A significant disappointment occurred a couple weeks ago. I was discussing healthcare options with another person leaving the company who hadn't been resource-actioned as I had, and learned the hard way I lost over $30,000 in some sort of future medical benefit account the company had established and funded at some point. I'm not sure I was ever even aware of it. That would have funded several years of healthcare insurance during the 8 years until I'm eligible for Medicare. I wouldn't be surprised if their not having to give me that had something to do with my seeming "distracted" to them. <rolls eyes="">

    What's really painful is the history of that former account can still be viewed at Fidelity, where it associates my departure date in 2013 with my having "forfeited" that money. Um, no. I did not forfeit that money, nor would I have. I had absolutely no choice in the matter. I find the use of the word 'forfeited' to describe what happened as both disingenuous and offensive. That said, I don't know whether's that's IBM's or Fidelity's terminology, though.

    Herb Jeff , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to"> •
    Jeff, You should call Fidelity. I recently received a letter from the US Department of Labor that they discovered that IBM was "holding" funds that belonged to me that I was never told about. This might be similar or same story .

    [Oct 30, 2018] There are plenty of examples of people who were doing their jobs, IN SPADES, putting in tons of unpaid overtime, and generally doing whatever was humanly possible to make sure that whatever was promised to the customer was delivered within their span of control. As they grew older corporations threw them out like an empty can

    Notable quotes:
    "... The other alternative is a market-based life that, for many, will be cruel, brutish, and short. ..."
    Oct 30, 2018 | features.propublica.org

    Lorilynn King

    Step back and think about this for a minute. There are plenty of examples of people who were doing their jobs, IN SPADES, putting in tons of unpaid overtime, and generally doing whatever was humanly possible to make sure that whatever was promised to the customer was delivered (within their span of control... I'm not going to get into a discussion of how IBM pulls the rug out from underneath contracts after they've been signed).

    These people were, and still are, high performers, they are committed to the job and the purpose that has been communicated to them by their peers, management, and customers; and they take the time (their OWN time) to pick up new skills and make sure that they are still current and marketable. They do this because they are committed to doing the job to the best of their ability.... it's what makes them who they are.

    IBM (and other companies) are firing these very people ***for one reason and one reason ONLY***: their AGE. They have the skills and they're doing their jobs. If the same person was 30 you can bet that they'd still be there. Most of the time it has NOTHING to do with performance or lack of concurrency. Once the employee is fired, the job is done by someone else. The work is still there, but it's being done by someone younger and/or of a different nationality.

    The money that is being saved by these companies has to come from somewhere. People that are having to withdraw their retirement savings 20 or so years earlier than planned are going to run out of funds.... and when they're in nursing homes, guess who is going to be supporting them? Social security will be long gone, their kids have their own monetary challenges.... so it will be government programs.... maybe.

    This is not just a problem that impacts the 40 and over crowd. This is going to impact our entire society for generations to come.

    NoPolitician
    The business reality you speak of can be tempered via government actions. A few things:

    The other alternative is a market-based life that, for many, will be cruel, brutish, and short.

    [Oct 30, 2018] Elimination of loyalty: what corporations cloak as weeding out the low performers tranparantly reveals catching the older workers in the net as well.

    Oct 30, 2018 | features.propublica.org

    Great White North, Thursday, March 22, 2018 11:29 PM

    There's not a word of truth quoted in this article. That is, quoted from IBM spokespeople. It's the culture there now. They don't even realize that most of their customers have become deaf to the same crap from their Sales and Marketing BS, which is even worse than their HR speak.

    The sad truth is that IBM became incapable of taking its innovation (IBM is indeed a world beating, patent generating machine) to market a long time ago. It has also lost the ability (if it ever really had it) to acquire other companies and foster their innovation either - they ran most into the ground. As a result, for nearly a decade revenues have declined and resource actions grown. The resource actions may seem to be the ugly problem, but they're only the symptom of a fat greedy and pompous bureaucracy that's lost its ability to grow and stay relevant in a very competitive and changing industry. What they have been able to perfect and grow is their ability to downsize and return savings as dividends (Big Sam Palmisano's "innovation"). Oh, and for senior management to line their pockets.

    Nothing IBM is currently doing is sustainable.

    If you're still employed there, listen to the pain in the words of your fallen comrades and don't knock yourself out trying to stay afloat. Perhaps learn some BS of your own and milk your job (career? not...) until you find freedom and better pastures.

    If you own stock, do like Warren Buffett, and sell it while it still has some value.

    Danllo , Thursday, March 22, 2018 10:43 PM
    This is NOTHING NEW! All major corporations have and will do this at some point in their existence. Another industry that does this regularly every 3 to 5 years is the pharamaceutical industry. They'll decimate their sales forces in order to, as they like to put it, "right size" the company.

    They'll cloak it as weeding out the low performers, but they'll try to catch the "older" workers in the net as well.

    [Oct 30, 2018] American companies pay health insurance premiums based on their specific employee profiles

    Notable quotes:
    "... As long as companies pay for their employees' health insurance they will have an incentive to fire older employees. ..."
    "... The answer is to separate health insurance from employment. Companies can't be trusted. Not only health care, but retirement is also sorely abused by corporations. All the money should be in protected employee based accounts. ..."
    Oct 30, 2018 | features.propublica.org

    sometimestheyaresomewhatright , Thursday, March 22, 2018 4:13 PM

    American companies pay health insurance premiums based on their specific employee profiles. Insurance companies compete with each other for the business, but costs are actual. And based on the profile of the pool of employees. So American companies fire older workers just to lower the average age of their employees. Statistically this is going to lower their health care costs.

    As long as companies pay for their employees' health insurance they will have an incentive to fire older employees. They have an incentive to fire sick employees and employees with genetic risks. Those are harder to implement as ways to lower costs. Firing older employees is simple to do, just look up their ages.

    The answer is to separate health insurance from employment. Companies can't be trusted. Not only health care, but retirement is also sorely abused by corporations. All the money should be in protected employee based accounts.

    By the way, most tech companies are actually run by older people. The goal is to broom out mid-level people based on age. Nobody is going to suggest to a sixty year old president that they should self fire, for the good of the company.

    [Oct 30, 2018] If I were a Red Hat employee over 40, I'd be sweating right now.

    Oct 30, 2018 | arstechnica.com

    Morley Dotes , Ars Centurion et Subscriptor 4 hours ago

    jandrese wrote:
    IMHO this is perilous for RHEL. It would be very easy for IBM to fire most of the developers and just latch on to the enterprise services stuff to milk it till its dry.

    Why would you say that? IBM is renowned for their wonderful employee relations. </s>

    If I were a Red Hat employee over 40, I'd be sweating right now.

    Unless I had equity.

    NeghVar1 , Wise, Aged Ars Veteran 4 hours ago
    Reminds me of when Oracle bought Sun
    sviola , Ars Scholae Palatinae 4 hours ago
    Peevester wrote:
    Muon wrote:
    blockquote> We run just about everything on CentOS around here, downstream of RHEL. Should we be worried?

    I don't think so, at least no more than you should have already been. IBM has adopted RHEL as their standard platform for a lot of things, all the way up to big-iron mainframes. Not to mention, over the two decades, they've done a hell of a lot of enhancements to Linux that are a big part of why it scales so well (Darl Mcbride just felt like someone walked over his grave. Hey, let's jump on it a bit too!).

    Say what you like about IBM (like they've turned into a super-shitty place to work for or be a customer of), but they've been a damn good friend to Linux. If I actually worked for Red Hat though, I would be really unhappy because you can bet that "independence" will last a few quarters before everyone gets outsourced to Brazil.

    Brazil is too expensive. Last time I heard, they were outsourcing from Brazil to chapear LA countries...

    informationsuperhighway , Wise, Aged Ars Veteran et Subscriptor 2 hours ago
    CousinSven wrote:
    IBM are paying around 12x annual revenue for Red Hat which is a significant multiple so they will have to squeeze more money out of the business somehow. Either they grow customers or they increase margins or both.

    IBM had little choice but to do something like this. They are in a terminal spiral thanks to years of bad leadership. The confused billing of the purchase smacks of rush, so far I have seen Red Hat described as a cloud company, an info sec company, an open source company...

    So IBM are buying Red Hat as a last chance bid to avoid being put through the PE threshing machine. Red Hat get a ludicrous premium so will take the money.

    And RH customers will want to check their contracts...

    They will lay off Redhat staff to cut costs and replace them with remote programmers living in Calcutta. To big corporations a programmer is a fungible item, if you can swap programmer A woth programmer B at 1/4 the cost its a big win and you beat earnings estimate by a penny.

    Rotoars , Ars Centurion 2 hours ago
    bolomkxxviii wrote:
    No good will come from this. IBM's corporate environment and financial near-sightedness will kill Red Hat. Time to start looking for a new standard bearer in Linux for business.

    This will kill both companies. Red has trouble making money and IBM has trouble not messing up what good their is and trouble making money. They both die, but a slow, possibly accelerating, death.

    [Oct 30, 2018] Cutting Old Heads at IBM by Peter Gosselin and Ariana Tobin

    Mar 22, 2018 | features.propublica.org

    This story was co-published with Mother Jones.

    F or nearly a half century, IBM came as close as any company to bearing the torch for the American Dream.

    As the world's dominant technology firm, payrolls at International Business Machines Corp. swelled to nearly a quarter-million U.S. white-collar workers in the 1980s. Its profits helped underwrite a broad agenda of racial equality, equal pay for women and an unbeatable offer of great wages and something close to lifetime employment, all in return for unswerving loyalty.

    How the Crowd Led Us to Investigate IBM

    Our project started with a digital community of ex-employees. Read more about how we got this story.

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    Do you have information about age discrimination at IBM?

    Let us know.

    But when high tech suddenly started shifting and companies went global, IBM faced the changing landscape with a distinction most of its fiercest competitors didn't have: a large number of experienced and aging U.S. employees.

    The company reacted with a strategy that, in the words of one confidential planning document, would "correct seniority mix." It slashed IBM's U.S. workforce by as much as three-quarters from its 1980s peak, replacing a substantial share with younger, less-experienced and lower-paid workers and sending many positions overseas. ProPublica estimates that in the past five years alone, IBM has eliminated more than 20,000 American employees ages 40 and over, about 60 percent of its estimated total U.S. job cuts during those years.

    In making these cuts, IBM has flouted or outflanked U.S. laws and regulations intended to protect later-career workers from age discrimination, according to a ProPublica review of internal company documents, legal filings and public records, as well as information provided via interviews and questionnaires filled out by more than 1,000 former IBM employees.

    Among ProPublica's findings, IBM:

    Denied older workers information the law says they need in order to decide whether they've been victims of age bias, and required them to sign away the right to go to court or join with others to seek redress. Targeted people for layoffs and firings with techniques that tilted against older workers, even when the company rated them high performers. In some instances, the money saved from the departures went toward hiring young replacements. Converted job cuts into retirements and took steps to boost resignations and firings. The moves reduced the number of employees counted as layoffs, where high numbers can trigger public disclosure requirements. Encouraged employees targeted for layoff to apply for other IBM positions, while quietly advising managers not to hire them and requiring many of the workers to train their replacements. Told some older employees being laid off that their skills were out of date, but then brought them back as contract workers, often for the same work at lower pay and fewer benefits.

    IBM declined requests for the numbers or age breakdown of its job cuts. ProPublica provided the company with a 10-page summary of its findings and the evidence on which they were based. IBM spokesman Edward Barbini said that to respond the company needed to see copies of all documents cited in the story, a request ProPublica could not fulfill without breaking faith with its sources. Instead, ProPublica provided IBM with detailed descriptions of the paperwork. Barbini declined to address the documents or answer specific questions about the firm's policies and practices, and instead issued the following statement:

    "We are proud of our company and our employees' ability to reinvent themselves era after era, while always complying with the law. Our ability to do this is why we are the only tech company that has not only survived but thrived for more than 100 years."

    With nearly 400,000 people worldwide, and tens of thousands still in the U.S., IBM remains a corporate giant. How it handles the shift from its veteran baby-boom workforce to younger generations will likely influence what other employers do. And the way it treats its experienced workers will eventually affect younger IBM employees as they too age.

    Fifty years ago, Congress made it illegal with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act , or ADEA, to treat older workers differently than younger ones with only a few exceptions, such as jobs that require special physical qualifications. And for years, judges and policymakers treated the law as essentially on a par with prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation and other categories.

    In recent decades, however, the courts have responded to corporate pleas for greater leeway to meet global competition and satisfy investor demands for rising profits by expanding the exceptions and shrinking the protections against age bias .

    "Age discrimination is an open secret like sexual harassment was until recently," said Victoria Lipnic, the acting chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, the independent federal agency that administers the nation's workplace anti-discrimination laws.

    "Everybody knows it's happening, but often these cases are difficult to prove" because courts have weakened the law, Lipnic said. "The fact remains it's an unfair and illegal way to treat people that can be economically devastating."

    Many companies have sought to take advantage of the court rulings. But the story of IBM's downsizing provides an unusually detailed portrait of how a major American corporation systematically identified employees to coax or force out of work in their 40s, 50s and 60s, a time when many are still productive and need a paycheck, but face huge hurdles finding anything like comparable jobs.

    The dislocation caused by IBM's cuts has been especially great because until recently the company encouraged its employees to think of themselves as "IBMers" and many operated under the assumption that they had career-long employment.

    When the ax suddenly fell, IBM provided almost no information about why an employee was cut or who else was departing, leaving people to piece together what had happened through websites, listservs and Facebook groups such as "Watching IBM" or "Geographically Undesirable IBM Marketers," as well as informal support groups.

    Marjorie Madfis, at the time 57, was a New York-based digital marketing strategist and 17-year IBM employee when she and six other members of her nine-person team -- all women in their 40s and 50s -- were laid off in July 2013. The two who remained were younger men.

    Since her specialty was one that IBM had said it was expanding, she asked for a written explanation of why she was let go. The company declined to provide it.

    "They got rid of a group of highly skilled, highly effective, highly respected women, including me, for a reason nobody knows," Madfis said in an interview. "The only explanation is our age."

    Brian Paulson, also 57, a senior manager with 18 years at IBM, had been on the road for more than a year overseeing hundreds of workers across two continents as well as hitting his sales targets for new services, when he got a phone call in October 2015 telling him he was out. He said the caller, an executive who was not among his immediate managers, cited "performance" as the reason, but refused to explain what specific aspects of his work might have fallen short.

    It took Paulson two years to land another job, even though he was equipped with an advanced degree, continuously employed at high-level technical jobs for more than three decades and ready to move anywhere from his Fairview, Texas, home.

    "It's tough when you've worked your whole life," he said. "The company doesn't tell you anything. And once you get to a certain age, you don't hear a word from the places you apply."

    Paul Henry, a 61-year-old IBM sales and technical specialist who loved being on the road, had just returned to his Columbus home from a business trip in August 2016 when he learned he'd been let go. When he asked why, he said an executive told him to "keep your mouth shut and go quietly."

    Henry was jobless more than a year, ran through much of his savings to cover the mortgage and health insurance and applied for more than 150 jobs before he found a temporary slot.

    "If you're over 55, forget about preparing for retirement," he said in an interview. "You have to prepare for losing your job and burning through every cent you've saved just to get to retirement."

    IBM's latest actions aren't anything like what most ex-employees with whom ProPublica talked expected from their years of service, or what today's young workers think awaits them -- or are prepared to deal with -- later in their careers.

    "In a fast-moving economy, employers are always going to be tempted to replace older workers with younger ones, more expensive workers with cheaper ones, those who've performed steadily with ones who seem to be up on the latest thing," said Joseph Seiner, an employment law professor at the University of South Carolina and former appellate attorney for the EEOC.

    "But it's not good for society," he added. "We have rules to try to maintain some fairness in our lives, our age-discrimination laws among them. You can't just disregard them."

    [Oct 30, 2018] The Watson family held integrity, equality, and knowledge share as a formidable synthesis of company ethics. With them gone old IBM was gone...

    It not Watson family gone it is New Deal Capitalism was replaced with the neoliberalism
    Notable quotes:
    "... Except when your employer is the one preaching associate loyalty and "we are family" your entire career. Then they decide you've been too loyal and no longer want to pay your salary and start fabricating reasons to get rid of you. ADP is guilty of these same practices and eliminating their tenured associates. Meanwhile, the millennials hired play ping pong and text all day, rather than actually working. ..."
    Oct 30, 2018 | features.propublica.org

    Zytor-LordoftheSkies , Thursday, March 22, 2018 11:55 AM

    A quick search of the article doesn't find the word "buy backs" but this is a big part of the story. IBM spent over $110 BILLION on stock buy backs between 2000 and 2016. That's the number I found, but it hasn't stopped since. If anything it has escalated.

    This is very common among large corporations. Rather than spend on their people, they funnel billions into stock buy backs which raises or at least maintains the stock value so execs can keep cashing in. It's really pretty disgraceful. This was only legalized in 1982, which not-so-coincidentally is not long after real wages stalled, and have stalled ever since.

    Suzan Zytor-LordoftheSkies ,
    Thanks for this bit of insanely true reporting. When laid off from Westinghouse after 14 years of stellar performance evaluations I was flummoxed by the execs getting million-dollar bonuses as we were told the company wasn't profitable enough to maintain its senior engineering staff. It sold off every division eventually as the execs (many of them newly hired) reaped even more bonuses.
    Georgann Putintsev Suzan ,
    Thank you ... very insightful of you. As an IBMer and lover of Spreadsheets / Statistics / Data Specalist ... I like reading Annual Reports. Researching these Top Execs, BOD and compare them to other Companies across-the-board and industry sectors. You'll find a Large Umbrella there.
    There is a direct tie and inter-changeable pieces of these elites over the past 55 yrs. Whenever some Corp/ Political/ Government shill (wannbe) needs a payoff, they get placed into high ranking top positions for a orchestrating a predescribed dark nwo agenda. Some may come up the ranks like Ginny, but ALL belong to Council for Foreign Relations and other such high level private clubs or organizations. When IBM sells off their Mainframe Manufacturing (Poughkeepsie) to an elite Saudi, under an American Co. sounding name of course, ... and the U.S. Government ... doesn't balk ... that has me worried for our 1984 future.
    Carol Van Linda Suzan ,
    Sears is doing this also
    Suzan Carol Van Linda ,
    Details? Thanks!
    vibert Zytor-LordoftheSkies ,
    True in every large corporation. They use almost free money from the US Government to do it. (Taxpayer's money)
    DDRLSGC vibert ,
    Yeah, it is amazing how they stated that they don't need help from the government when in reality they do need government to pass laws that favor them, pack the court system where judges rule in their favor and use their private police and the public sector police to keep the workers down.
    Johnny Player DDRLSGC ,
    Why do you put disqus in your name? . Is that so you can see if they sell your info and you know where it originated from?
    Theo Geauxvan Zytor-LordoftheSkies ,
    I wonder how many billions (trillions?) have been funneled from corporate workers pockets this way? It seems all corporations are doing it these days. Large-scale transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy.
    Stevie Ponders Theo Geauxvan ,
    It's called asset stripping. Basically corporate raiding (as in pillage) from the inside.
    R. J. Smith , Thursday, March 22, 2018 9:06 AM
    "Member of the IBM family" -- BS. Your employer is not your family.
    Randall Smith R. J. Smith
    Not anymore. With most large companies, you've never been able to say they are "family." Loyalty used to be a thing though. I worked at a company where I saw loyalty vanish over a 10 year period.
    marsto R. J. Smith
    Except when your employer is the one preaching associate loyalty and "we are family" your entire career. Then they decide you've been too loyal and no longer want to pay your salary and start fabricating reasons to get rid of you. ADP is guilty of these same practices and eliminating their tenured associates. Meanwhile, the millennials hired play ping pong and text all day, rather than actually working.
    DDRLSGC marsto
    Yeah, and how many CEOs actually work to make their companies great instead of running them into the ground, thinking about their next job move, and playing golf
    Mary Malley R. J. Smith ,
    I have to disagree with you. I started with IBM on their rise up in those earlier days, and we WERE valued and shown that we were valued over and over through those glorious years. It did feel like we were in a family, our families mattered to them, our well-being. They gave me a month to find a perfect babysitter when they hired me before I had to go to work!

    They helped me find a house in a good school district for my children. They bought my house when I was moving to a new job/location when it didn't sell within 30 days.

    They paid the difference in the interest rate of my loan for my new house from the old one. I can't even begin to list all the myriad of things that made us love IBM and the people we worked with and for, and made us feel a part of that big IBM family.

    Did they change, yes, but the dedication we gave was freely given and we mutually respected each other. I was lucky to work for them for decades before that shift when they changed to be just like every other large corporation.

    Georgann Putintsev Mary Malley ,
    The Watson family held integrity, equality, and knowledge share as a formidable synthesis of company ethics moving a Quality based business forward in the 20th to 21st century. They also promoted an (volunteer) IBM Club to help promote employee and family activities inside/outside of work which they by-en-large paid for. This allowed employees to meet and see other employees/families as 'Real' & "Common-Interest" human beings. I participated, created, and organized events and documented how-to-do-events for other volunteers. These brought IBMers together inside or outside of their 'working' environment to have fun, to associate, to realize those innate qualities that are in all of us. I believe it allowed for better communication and cooperation in the work place.

    To me it was family. Some old IBMers might remember when Music, Song, Skits were part of IBM Branch Office meetings. As President of the IBM Clubs Palo Alto branch (7 yrs.), I used our Volunteer Club Votes to spend ALL that IBM donated money, because they <administratively> gave it back to IBM if we didn't.

    Without a strong IBM Club presence, it gets whittled down to 2-3 events a year. For a time WE WERE a FAMILY.

    bookmama3 Georgann Putintsev , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    Absolutely! Back when white shirts/black suits were a requirement. There was a country club in Poughkeepsie, softball teams, Sunday brunch, Halloween parties in the fall, Christmas parties in December where thousands of age appropriate Fisher Price toys were given out to employee's kids. Today "IBMer" is used by execs as a term of derision. Employees are overworked and under appreciated and shortsighted, overpaid executives rule the roost. The real irony is that talented, vital employees are being retired for "costing too much" while dysfunctional top level folk are rewarded with bonuses and stock when they are let go. And it's all legal. It's disgraceful.
    OrangeGina R. J. Smith , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    very true, however for many of us, our co-workers of a very long time ARE family. Corporations are NOT people, but they are comprised of them.
    HiJinks R. J. Smith , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    It was true at one time, but no more.
    Herb Tarlick R. J. Smith , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    This one was until the mid eighties.

    [Oct 30, 2018] Eventually all the people who I worked with that were outsourced to IBM were packaged off and all of our jobs were sent offshore.

    Oct 30, 2018 | features.propublica.org

    Joe Harkins , Saturday, March 24, 2018 12:12 PM

    I recall, back in the mid-1960s, encountering employees of major major corporations like IBM, US Steel, the Big Three in Detroit, etc, There was a certain smugness there. I recall hearing bragging about the awesome retirement incomes. Yes, I was jealous. But I also had a clear eye as to the nature of the beast they were working for, and I kept thinking of the famous limerick:

    There was a young lady of Niger
    Who smiled as she rode on a Tiger;
    They came back from the ride
    With the lady inside,
    And the smile on the face of the Tiger.

    JoeJoe , Friday, March 23, 2018 10:25 AM
    As an ex-IBM employee, I was given a package ( 6 months pay and a "transition" course) because I was getting paid too much or so I was told. I was part of a company (oil industry) that outsourced it's IT infrastructure support personnel and on several occasions was told by my IBM management that they just don't know what to do with employees who make the kind of money I do when we can do it much cheaper somewhere else (meaning offshore).

    Eventually all the people who I worked with that were outsourced to IBM were packaged off and all of our jobs were sent offshore. I just turned 40 and found work back in the oil industry. In the short time I was with IBM I found their benefits very restricted, their work policies very bureaucratic and the office culture very old boys club.

    If you weren't part of IBM and were an outsourced employee, you didn't fit in. At the time I thought IBM was the glory company in IT to work for, but quickly found out they are just a dinosaur. It's just a matter of time for them.

    [Oct 30, 2018] To a bean counter a developer in a RH office in North America or Europe who s been coding for RH for 10 years is valued same as a developer in Calcutta who just graduated from college

    Notable quotes:
    "... There's not an intrinsic advantage to being of a certain nationality, American included. Sure, there are a lot of bad companies and bad programmers coming from India, but there are plenty of incompetent developers right here too. ..."
    "... A huge problem with the good developers over there is the lack of English proficiency and soft skills. However, being born or graduated in Calcutta (or anywhere else for that matter) is not a determination of one's skill. ..."
    "... I get what the intention of the first comment was intended to be, but it still has that smugness that is dangerous to the American future. As the world becomes more interconnected, and access to learning improves, when people ask you why are you better than that other guy, the answer better be something more than "well, I'm American and he is from Calcutta" because no one is going to buy that. The comment could've said that to a bean counter a solid developer with 10 years of experience is worth the same as a junior dev who just came out of school and make the same point. What exactly was the objective of throwing in Calcutta over there? ..."
    "... I have dealt with this far too much these VPs rarely do much work and simply are hit on bottom line ( you are talking about 250k+), but management in US doesn't want to sit off hours and work with India office so they basically turn a blind eye on them. ..."
    Oct 30, 2018 | arstechnica.com

    dmoan, 2018-10-30T07:32:29-04:00

    Drizzt321 wrote: show nested quotes

    A.Felix wrote:

    Drizzt321 wrote:

    Dilbert wrote:

    motytrah wrote:

    bolomkxxviii wrote:

    No good will come from this. IBM's corporate environment and financial near-sightedness will kill Red Hat. Time to start looking for a new standard bearer in Linux for business.

    I agree. Redhat has dev offices all over. A lot of them in higher cost areas of the US and Europe. There's no way IBM doesn't consolidate and offshore a bunch of that work.

    This. To a bean counter a developer in a RH office in North America or Europe who's been coding for RH for 10 years is valued same as a developer in Calcutta who just graduated from college. For various definitions of word 'graduated'.

    I'm just waiting until some major company decides that some of the nicer parts of middle America/Appalachia can be a LOT cheaper, still nice, and let them pay less in total while keeping some highly skilled employees.

    I don't know about that. Cities can be expensive but part of the reason is that a lot of people want to live there, and supply/demand laws start acting. You'll be able to get some talent no doubt, but a lot of people who live nearby big cities wouldn't like to leave all the quality of life elements you have there, like entertainment, cultural events, shopping, culinary variety, social events, bigger dating scene, assorted array of bars and night clubs, theatre, opera, symphonies, international airports... you get the drift.

    I understand everyone is different, but you would actually need to pay me more to move to a smaller town in middle America. I also work with people who would take the offer without hesitation, but in my admittedly anecdotal experience, more tech people prefer the cities than small towns. Finally, if you do manage to get some traction in getting the people and providing the comforts, then you're just going to get the same increase in cost of living wherever you are because now you're just in one more big city.

    Costs of life are a problem, but we need to figure out how to properly manage them, instead of just saying "lets move them somewhere else". Also we shouldn't discount the capability of others, because going by that cost argument outsourcing becomes attractive. The comment you're replying to tries to diminish Indian engineers, but the reverse can still be true. A developer in India who has been working for 10 years costs even less than an American who just graduated, for various definitions of graduated. There's over a billion people over there, and the Indian Institutes of Technology are nothing to scoff at.

    There's not an intrinsic advantage to being of a certain nationality, American included. Sure, there are a lot of bad companies and bad programmers coming from India, but there are plenty of incompetent developers right here too. It's just that there are a lot more in general over there and they would come for cheap, so in raw numbers it seems overwhelming, but that sword cuts both ways, the raw number of competent ones is also a lot.

    About 5% of the American workforce are scientists and engineers, which make a bit over 7 million people. The same calculation in India brings you to almost 44 million people.

    A huge problem with the good developers over there is the lack of English proficiency and soft skills. However, being born or graduated in Calcutta (or anywhere else for that matter) is not a determination of one's skill.

    I get what the intention of the first comment was intended to be, but it still has that smugness that is dangerous to the American future. As the world becomes more interconnected, and access to learning improves, when people ask you why are you better than that other guy, the answer better be something more than "well, I'm American and he is from Calcutta" because no one is going to buy that. The comment could've said that to a bean counter a solid developer with 10 years of experience is worth the same as a junior dev who just came out of school and make the same point. What exactly was the objective of throwing in Calcutta over there? Especially when we then move to a discussion about how costly it is to pay salaries in America. Sounds a bit counterproductive if you ask me.

    I think a lot of the dislike for Indian developers is that they usually are the outsourced to cheap as possible code monkey developers. Which can be a problem anywhere, for sure, but at least seem exacerbated by US companies outsourcing there. In my limited experience, they're either intelligent and can work up to working reasonably independently and expanding on a ticket intelligently. Or they're copy a pasta code monkey and need pretty good supervision of the code that's produced. Add in the problem if timezones and folks who may not understand English that great, or us not understanding their English, and it all gives them a bad name. Yet I agree, I know some quite good developers. Ones that didn't go to a US college.

    My impression, totally anecdotal, is that unless you can hire or move a very good architect/lead + project/product manager over there so you can interact in real-time instead of with a day delay, it's just a huge PITA and slows things down. Personally I'd rather hire a couple of seemingly competent 3 years out of college on their 2nd job (because they rarely stay very long at their first one, right?) and pay from there.

    Companies/management offshore because it keep revenue per employee and allows them to be promoted by inflating their direct report allowing them to build another "cheap" pyramid hierarchy. A manager in US can become a director or VP easily by having few managers report to him from India. Even better this person can go to India ( they are most often Indian) and claim to lead the India office and improve outsourcing while getting paid US salary.

    I have dealt with this far too much these VPs rarely do much work and simply are hit on bottom line ( you are talking about 250k+), but management in US doesn't want to sit off hours and work with India office so they basically turn a blind eye on them.

    [Oct 30, 2018] IBM is bad, but it s just the tip of the iceberg. I worked for a major international company that dumped almost the entire IT workforce and replaced them with managed services , almost exclusively H-1B workers from almost exclusively India.

    Oct 30, 2018 | features.propublica.org
    netmouse , Saturday, March 24, 2018 10:49 AM
    Outstanding. I had to train people in IBM India to do my job when (early) "retired". I actually found a new internal job in IBM, the hiring manager wrote/chat that I was a fit. I was denied the job because my current group said I had to transfer and the receiving group said I had to be on a contract, stalemate! I appealed and group HR said sorry, can't do and gave me one reason after another, that I could easily refute, then they finally said the job was to be moved overseas. Note most open jobs posted were categorized for global resources. I appealed to Randy (former HR SVP) and no change. At least I foced them to finally tell the truth. I had also found another job locally near home and received an email from the HR IBM person responsible for the account saying no, they were considering foreigners first, if they found no one suitable they would then consider Americans. I appealed to my IBM manager who basically said sorry, that is how things are now. All in writing, so no more pretending it is a skill issue. People, it is and always has been about cheap labor. I recall when a new IBM technology began, Websphere, and I was sent for a month's training. Then in mid-2000's training and raises pretty much stopped and that was when resource actions were stepped up.
    TVGizmo , Friday, March 23, 2018 10:36 PM
    IBM started downhill as a result of many factors.

    But the single most cause was when.....Respect for the Individual (the first Basic Belief) was ignored. Everything else was collateral damage.

    Former 'Manager of the Year' in the old Field Engineering Division.

    CRAW , Friday, March 23, 2018 9:51 AM
    IBM is bad, but it's just the tip of the iceberg. I worked for a major international company that dumped almost the entire IT workforce and replaced them with "managed services", almost exclusively H-1B workers from almost exclusively India. This has been occurring for decades in many, MANY businesses around the country large and small. Even this article seems to make a special effort to assure us that "some" workers laid off in America were replaced with "younger, less experienced, lower-paid American workers and moving many other jobs overseas." How many were replaced with H-1B, H-4 EAD, OPT, L-1, etc? It's by abusing these work visa programs that companies facilitate moving the work overseas in the first place. I appreciate this article, but I think it's disingenuous for ProPublica to ignore the elephant in the room - work visa abuse. Why not add a question or two to your polls about that? It wouldn't be hard. For example, "Do you feel that America's work visa programs had an impact on your employment at IBM? Do you feel it has had an impact on your ability to regain employment after leaving IBM?" I'd like to see the answer to THOSE questions.

    [Oct 30, 2018] Neoliberal way of screwing up people is via HR

    Notable quotes:
    "... I too was a victim of IBM's underhanded trickery to get rid of people...39 years with IBM, a top performer. ..."
    Oct 30, 2018 | features.propublica.org
    xn0 , Monday, April 2, 2018 1:44 PM
    These practices are "interesting". And people still wonder why there are so many deadly amok runs at US companies? What do they expect when they replace old and experienced workers with inexperienced millenials, who often lack basic knowledge about their job? Better performance?

    This will run US tech companies into the ground. This sort of "American" HR management is gaining ground here in Germany as well, its troubling. And on top they have to compete against foreign tech immigrants from middle eastern and asian companies. Sure fire recipe for social unrest and people voting for right-wing parties.

    nottigerwoods , Friday, March 30, 2018 1:39 PM
    I too was a victim of IBM's underhanded trickery to get rid of people...39 years with IBM, a top performer. I never got a letter telling me to move to Raleigh. All i got was a phone call asking me if i wanted to take the 6 month exception to consider it. Yet, after taking the 6 month exception, I was told I could no longer move, the colocation was closed. Either I find another job, not in Marketing support (not even Marketing) or leave the company. I received no letter from Ginni, nothing. I was under the impression I could show up in Raleigh after the exception period. Not so. It was never explained....After 3 months I will begin contracting with IBM. Not because I like them, because I need the money...thanks for the article.
    doncanard , Friday, March 30, 2018 1:33 PM
    dropped in 2013 after 22 years. IBM stopped leading in the late 1980's, afterwards it implemented "market driven quality" which meant listen for the latest trends, see what other people were doing, and then buy the competition or drive them out of business. "Innovation that matters": it's only interesting if an IBM manager can see a way to monetize it.

    That's a low standard. It's OK, there are other places that are doing better. In fact, the best of the old experienced people went to work there. Newsflash: quality doesn't change with generations, you either create it or you don't.

    Sounds like IBM is building its product portfolio to match its desired workforce. And of course, on every round of layoffs, the clear criterion was people who were compliant and pliable - who's ready to follow orders ? Best of luck.

    [Oct 30, 2018] In the late 1980s, IBM offered decent packages to retirement eligible employees. For those close to retirement age, it was a great deal - 2 weeks pay for every year of service (capped at 26 years) plus being kept on to perform their old job for 6 months (while collecting retirement, until the government stepped in an put a halt to it).

    Oct 30, 2018 | features.propublica.org

    HiJinks , Sunday, March 25, 2018 3:07 AM

    I agree with many who state the report is well done. However, this crap started in the early 1990s. In the late 1980s, IBM offered decent packages to retirement eligible employees. For those close to retirement age, it was a great deal - 2 weeks pay for every year of service (capped at 26 years) plus being kept on to perform their old job for 6 months (while collecting retirement, until the government stepped in an put a halt to it). Nobody eligible was forced to take the package (at least not to general knowledge). The last decent package was in 1991 - similar, but not able to come back for 6 months.

    However, in 1991, those offered the package were basically told take it or else. Anyone with 30 years of service or 15 years and 55 was eligible and anyone within 5 years of eligibility could "bridge" the difference.

    They also had to sign a form stating they would not sue IBM in order to get up to a years pay - not taxable per IRS documents back then (but IBM took out the taxes anyway and the IRS refused to return - an employee group had hired lawyers to get the taxes back, a failed attempt which only enriched the lawyers).

    After that, things went downhill and accelerated when Gerstner took over. After 1991, there were still a some workers who could get 30 years or more, but that was more the exception. I suspect the way the company has been run the past 25 years or so has the Watsons spinning in their graves. Gone are the 3 core beliefs - "Respect for the individual", "Service to the customer" and "Excellence must be a way of life".

    Chris S. HiJinks

    could be true... but i thought Watson was the IBM data analytics computer thingy... beat two human players at Jeopardy on live tv a year or two or so back.. featured on 60 Minutes just around last year.... :

    ArnieTracey , Saturday, March 24, 2018 7:15 PM
    IBM's policy reminds me of the "If a citizen = 30 y.o., then mass execute such, else if they run then hunt and kill them one by one" social policy in the Michael York movie "Logan's Run."

    From Wiki, in case you don't know: "It depicts a utopian future society on the surface, revealed as a dystopia where the population and the consumption of resources are maintained in equilibrium by killing everyone who reaches the age of 30. The story follows the actions of Logan 5, a "Sandman" who has terminated others who have attempted to escape death, and is now faced with termination himself."

    Jr Jr , Saturday, March 24, 2018 4:37 PM
    Corporate loyalty has been gone for 25 years. This isnt surprising. But this age discrimination is blatantly illegal.

    [Oct 30, 2018] Neoliberal IT working place is really a minefield for older workers

    Notable quotes:
    "... The annual unemployment rate topped 8% in 1975 and would reach nearly 10% in 1982. The economy seemed trapped in the new nightmare of stagflation," so called because it combined low economic growth and high unemployment ("stagnation") with high rates of inflation. And the prime rate hit 20% by 1980. ..."
    Oct 30, 2018 | features.propublica.org

    disqus_qN55ZbK3Ce , Friday, March 23, 2018 3:09 PM

    If anything, IBM is behind the curve. I was terminated along with my entire department from a major IBM subcontractor, with all affected employees "coincidentally" being over 50. By "eliminating the department" and forcing me to sign a waiver to receive my meager severance, they avoided any legal repercussions. 18 months later on the dot (the minimum legal time period), my workload was assigned to three new hires, all young. Interestingly, their combined salaries are more than mine, and I could have picked up all their work for about $200 in training (in social media posting, something I picked up on my own last year and am doing quite well, thank you).

    And my former colleagues are not alone. A lot of friends of mine have had similar outcomes, and as the article states, no one will hire people my age willingly in my old capacity. Luckily again, I've pivoted into copywriting--a discipline where age is still associated with quality ("dang kids can't spell anymore!"). But I'm doing it freelance, with the commensurate loss of security, benefits, and predictability of income.

    So if IBM is doing this now, they are laggards. But because they're so big, there's a much more obvious paper trail.

    Stephen McConnell , Friday, March 23, 2018 10:44 AM
    One of the most in-depth, thoughtful and enlightening pieces of journalism I've seen. Having worked on Capitol Hill during the early 1980's for the House and Senate Aging Committees, we worked hard to abolish the remnants of mandatory retirement and to strengthen the protections under the ADEA. Sadly, the EEOC has become a toothless bureaucracy when it comes to age discrimination cases and the employers, as evidenced by the IBM case, have become sophisticated in hiding what they're doing to older workers. Peter's incredibly well researched article lays the case out for all to see. Now the question is whether the government will step up to its responsibilities and protect older workers from this kind of discrimination in the future. Peter has done a great service in any case.
    Mark , Friday, March 23, 2018 1:05 AM
    The US tech sector has mostly ignored US citizen applicants, of all ages, since the early 2000s. Instead, preferring to hire foreign nationals. The applications of top US citizen grads are literally thrown in the garbage (or its electronic equivalent) while companies like IBM have their hiring processes dominated by Indian nationals. IBM is absolutely a poster-child for H-1B, L-1, and OPT visa abuse.
    CRAW Mark , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    EXACTLY. Work visas are the enabler of this discrimination. We are overrun.
    Warren Stiles , Thursday, March 22, 2018 7:17 PM
    Bottom line is we have entered an era when there are only two classes who are protected in our economy; the Investor Class and the Executive Class. With Wall Street's constant demand for higher profits and increased shareholder value over all other business imperatives, rank and file workers have been relegated to the class of expendable resource. I propose that all of us over fifty who have been riffed out of Corporate America band together for the specific purpose of beating the pants off them in the marketplace. The best revenge is whooping their youngster butts at the customer negotiating table. By demonstrating we are still flexible and nimble, yet with the experience to avoid the missteps of misspent youth, we prove we can deliver value well beyond what narrow-minded bean counters can achieve.
    DDRLSGC Warren Stiles , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    or whipping the butts of the older managers who thought that their older workers were over the hill.
    Warren Stiles DDRLSGC , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    Just like they are...
    Jeff Russell , Thursday, March 22, 2018 4:31 PM
    I started at IBM 3 days out of college in 1979 and retired in 2017. I was satisfied with my choice and never felt mistreated because I had no expectation of lifetime employment, especially after the pivotal period in the 1990's when IBM almost went out of business. The company survived that period by dramatically restructuring both manufacturing costs and sales expense including the firing of tens of thousands of employees. These actions were well documented in the business news of the time, the obvious alternative was bankruptcy.

    I told the authors that anyone working at IBM after 1993 should have had no expectation of a lifetime career. Downsizing, outsourcing, movement of work around the globe was already commonplace at all such international companies. Any expectation of "loyalty", that two-way relationship of employee/company from an earlier time, was wishful thinking. I was always prepared to be sent packing, without cause, at any time and always had my resume up-to-date. I stayed because of interesting work, respectful supervisors, and adequate compensation. The "resource action" that forced my decision to retire was no surprise, the company that hired me had been gone for decades.

    DDRLSGC Jeff Russell , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    With all the automation going on around the world, these business leaders better worry about people not having money to buy their goods and services plus what are they going to do with the surplus of labor
    John Kauai Jeff Russell , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    I had, more or less, the same experience at Cisco. They paid me to quit. Luckily, I was ready for it.

    The article mentions IBMs 3 failures. So who was it that was responsible for not anticipating the transitions? It is hard enough doing what you already know. Perhaps companies should be spending more on figuring out "what's next" and not continually playing catch-up by dumping the older workers for the new.

    MichiganRefugee , Friday, March 23, 2018 9:52 AM
    I was laid off by IBM after 29 years and 4 months. I had received a division award in previous year, and my last PBC appraisal was 2+ (high performer.) The company I left was not the company I started with. Top management--starting with Gerstner--has steadily made IBM a less desirable place to work. They now treat employees as interchangeable assets and nothing more. I cannot/would not recommend IBM as an employer to any young programmer.
    George Purcell , Friday, March 23, 2018 7:41 AM
    Truly awesome work. I do want to add one thing, however--the entire rhetoric about "too many old white guys" that has become so common absolutely contributes to the notion that this sort of behavior is not just acceptable but in some twisted way admirable as well.
    Bob Fritz , Thursday, March 22, 2018 7:35 PM
    I read the article and all the comments.

    Is anyone surprised that so many young people don't think capitalism is a good system any more?

    I ran a high technology electronic systems company for years. We ran it "the old way." If you worked hard, and tried, we would bend over backwards to keep you. If technology or business conditions eliminated your job, we would try to train you for a new one. Our people were loyal, not like IBMers today. I honestly think that's the best way to be profitable.

    People afraid of being unjustly RIFFed will always lack vitality.

    petervonstackelberg , Thursday, March 22, 2018 2:00 PM
    I'm glad someone is finally paying attention to age discrimination. IBM apparently is just one of many organizations that discriminate.

    I'm in the middle of my own fight with the State University of New York (SUNY) over age discrimination. I was terminated by a one of the technical colleges in the SUNY System. The EEOC/New York State Division of Human Rights (NYDHR) found that "PROBABLE CAUSE (NYDHR's emphasis) exists to believe that the Respondent (Alfred State College - SUNY) has engaged in or is engaging in the unlawful discriminatory practice complained of." Investigators for NYDHR interviewed several witnesses, who testified that representatives of the college made statements such as "we need new faces", "three old men" attending a meeting, an older faculty member described as an "albatross", and "we ought to get rid of the old white guys". Witnesses said these statements were made by the Vice President of Academic Affairs and a dean at the college.

    davosil , Sunday, March 25, 2018 5:00 PM
    This saga at IBM is simply a microcosm of our overall economy. Older workers get ousted in favor of younger, cheaper workers; way too many jobs get outsourced; and so many workers today [young and old] can barely land a full-time job.
    This is the behavior that our system incentivises (and gets away with) in this post Reagan Revolution era where deregulation is lauded and unions have been undermined & demonized. We need to seriously re-work 'work', and in order to do this we need to purge Republicans at every level, as they CLEARLY only serve corporate bottom-lines - not workers - by championing tax codes that reward outsourcing, fight a livable minimum wage, eliminate pensions, bust unions, fight pay equity for women & family leave, stack the Supreme Court with radical ideologues who blatantly rule for corporations over people all the time, etc. etc. ~35 years of basically uninterrupted Conservative economic policy & ideology has proven disastrous for workers and our quality of life. As goes your middle class, so goes your country.
    ThinkingAloud , Friday, March 23, 2018 7:18 AM
    The last five words are chilling... This is an award-winning piece....
    RetiredIBM.manager , Thursday, March 22, 2018 7:39 PM
    I am a retired IBM manager having had to execute many of these resource reduction programs.. too many.. as a matter of fact. ProPUBLICA....You nailed it!
    David , Thursday, March 22, 2018 3:22 PM
    IBM has always treated its customer-facing roles like Disney -- as cast members who need to match a part in a play. In the 60s and 70s, it was the white-shirt, blue-suit white men whom IBM leaders thought looked like mainframe salesmen. Now, rather than actually build a credible cloud to compete with Amazon and Microsoft, IBM changes the cast to look like cloud salespeople. (I work for Microsoft. Commenting for myself alone.)
    CRAW David , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    Now IBM still treats their employees like Disney - by replacing them with H-1B workers.
    MHV IBMer , Friday, March 23, 2018 10:35 PM
    I am a survivor, the rare employee who has been at IBM for over 35 years. I have seen many, many layoff programs over 20 years now. I have seen tens of thousands people let go from the Hudson Valley of N.Y. Those of us who have survived, know and lived through what this article so accurately described. I currently work with 3 laid off/retired and rehired contractors. I have seen age discrimination daily for over 15 years. It is not only limited to layoffs, it is rampant throughout the company. Promotions, bonuses, transfers for opportunities, good reviews, etc... are gone if you are over 45. I have seen people under 30 given promotions to levels that many people worked 25 years for. IBM knows that these younger employees see how they treat us so they think they can buy them off. Come to think of it, I guess they actually are! They are ageist, there is no doubt, it is about time everyone knew. Excellent article.
    Goldie Romero , Friday, March 23, 2018 2:31 PM
    Nice article, but seriously this is old news. IBM has been at this for ...oh twenty years or more.
    I don't really have a problem with it in terms of a corporation trying to make money. But I do have a problem with how IBM also likes to avoid layoffs by giving folks over 40 intentionally poor reviews, essentially trying to drive people out. Just have the guts to tell people, we don't need you anymore, bye. But to string people along as the overseas workers come in...c'mon just be honest with your workers.
    High tech over 40 is not easy...I suggest folks prep for a career change before 50. Then you can have the last laugh on a company like IBM.
    jblog , Friday, March 23, 2018 10:37 AM
    From pages 190-191 of my novel, Ordinary Man (Amazon):

    Throughout
    it all, layoffs became common, impacting mostly older employees with many years
    of service. These job cuts were dribbled out in small numbers to conceal them
    from the outside world, but employees could plainly see what was going on.

    The laid off
    employees were supplanted by offshoring work to low-costs countries and hiring
    younger employees, often only on temporary contracts that offered low pay and
    no benefits – a process pejoratively referred to by veteran employees as
    "downsourcing." The recruitment of these younger workers was done under the
    guise of bringing in fresh skills, but while many of the new hires brought new
    abilities and vitality, they lacked the knowledge and perspective that comes
    with experience.

    Frequently,
    an older more experienced worker would be asked to help educate newer
    employees, only to be terminated shortly after completing the task. And the new
    hires weren't fooled by what they witnessed and experienced at OpenSwitch,
    perceiving very quickly that the company had no real interest in investing in
    them for the long term. To the contrary, the objective was clearly to grind as
    much work out of them as possible, without offering any hope of increased
    reward or opportunity.

    Most of the
    young recruits left after only a year or two – which, again, was part of the
    true agenda at the company. Senior management viewed employees not as talent,
    but simply as cost, and didn't want anyone sticking around long enough to move
    up the pay scale.

    turquoisewaters , Thursday, March 22, 2018 10:19 PM
    This is why you need unions.
    Aaron Stackpole , Thursday, March 22, 2018 5:23 PM
    This is the nail in the coffin. As an IT manager responsible for selecting and purchasing software, I will never again recommend IBM products. I love AIX and have worked with a lot if IBM products but not anymore. Good luck with the millennials though...
    awb22 , Thursday, March 22, 2018 12:14 PM
    The same thing has been going on at other companies, since the end of WWII. It's unethical, whether the illegality can be proven or not.

    In the RTP area, where I live, I know many, many current and former employees. Times have changed, but the distinction between right and wrong hasn't.

    Suzan awb22 , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    I was hired by one of the government agencies in RTP last year and then never given a start date after I submitted my SS number & birth certificate.

    Anyone familiar with this situation?

    Dave Allen , Thursday, March 22, 2018 1:07 PM
    I worked for four major corporations (HP, Intel, Control Data Corporation, and Micron Semiconductor) before I was hired by IBM as a rare (at that time) experienced new hire. Even though I ended up working for IBM for 21 years, and retired in 2013, because of my experiences at those other companies, I never considered IBM my "family." The way I saw it, every time I received a paycheck from IBM in exchange for two weeks' work, we were (almost) even. I did not owe them anything else and they did not owe me anything. The idea of loyalty between a corporation and an at-will employee makes no more sense than loyalty between a motel and its guests. It is a business arrangement, not a love affair. Every individual needs to continually assess their skills and their value to their employer. If they are not commensurate, it is the employee's responsibility to either acquire new skills or seek a new employer. Your employer will not hesitate to lay you off if your skills are no longer needed, or if they can hire someone who can do your job just as well for less pay. That is free enterprise, and it works for people willing to take advantage of it.
    sometimestheyaresomewhatright Dave Allen , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    I basically agree. But why should it be OK for a company to fire you just to replace you with a younger you? If all that they accomplish is lowering their health care costs (which is what this is really about). If the company is paying about the same for the same work, why is firing older workers for being older OK?
    Dave Allen sometimestheyaresomewhatright , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    Good question. The point I was trying to make is that people need to watch out for themselves and not expect their employer to do what is "best" for the employee. I think that is true whatever age the employee happens to be.

    Whether employers should be able to discriminate against (treat differently) their employees based on age, gender, race, religion, etc. is a political question. Morally, I don't think they should discriminate. Politically, I think it is a slippery slope when the government starts imposing regulations on free enterprise. Government almost always creates more problems than they fix.

    DDRLSGC Dave Allen , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    Sorry, but when you deregulate the free enterprise, it created more problems than it fixes and that is a fact that has been proven for the last 38 years.
    Danllo DDRLSGC , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    That's just plain false. Deregulation creates competiiton. Competition for talented and skilled workers creates opportunities for those that wish to be employed and for those that wish to start new ventures. For example, when Ma Bell was regulated and had a monopoly on telecommunications there was no innovation in the telecom inudstry. However, when it was deregulated, cell phones, internet, etc exploded ... creating billionaires and millionaires while also improving the quality of life.
    DDRLSGC Danllo , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    No, it happens to be true. When Reagan deregulate the economy, a lot of those corporate raiders just took over the companies, sold off the assets, and pocketed the money. What quality of life? Half of American lived near the poverty level and the wages for the workers have been stagnant for the last 38 years compared to a well-regulated economy in places like Germany and the Scandinavian countries where the workers have good wages and a far better standard of living than in the USA. Why do you think the Norwegians told Trump that they will not be immigrating to the USA anytime soon?
    NotSure DDRLSGC , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    What were the economic conditions before Regan? It was a nightmare before Regan.

    The annual unemployment rate topped 8% in 1975 and would reach nearly 10% in 1982. The economy seemed trapped in the new nightmare of stagflation," so called because it combined low economic growth and high unemployment ("stagnation") with high rates of inflation. And the prime rate hit 20% by 1980.
    DDRLSGC NotSure , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    At least we had a manufacturing base in the USA, strong regulations of corporations, corporate scandals were far and few, businesses did not go under so quickly, prices of goods and services did not go through the roof, people had pensions and could reasonably live off them, and recessions did not last so long or go so deep until Reagan came into office. In Under Reagan, the jobs were allowed to be send overseas, unions were busted up, pensions were reduced or eliminated, wages except those of the CEOs were staganent, and the economic conditions under Bush, Senior and Bush, Jr. were no better except that Bush, Jr, was the first president to have a net minus below zero growth, so every time we get a Republican Administration, the economy really turns into a nightmare. That is a fact.

    You have the Republicans in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin using Reaganomics and they are economic disaster areas.

    DDRLSGC NotSure , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    You had an industrial base in the USA, lots of banks and savings and loans to choose from, lots of mom and pop stores, strong government regulation of the economy, able to live off your pensions, strong unions and employment laws along with the court system to back you up against corporate malfeasance. All that was gone when Reagan and the two Bushes came into office.
    james Foster , Thursday, March 29, 2018 8:37 PM
    Amazingly accurate article. The once great IBM now a dishonest and unscrupulous corporation concerned more about earnings per share than employees, customers, or social responsibility. In Global Services most likely 75% or more jobs are no longer in the US - can't believe a word coming out of Armonk.
    Philip Meyer james Foster , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    I'm not sure there was ever a paradise in employment. Yeah, you can say there was more job stability 50 or 60 years ago, but that applied to a much smaller workforce than today (mostly white men). It is a drag, but there are also lot more of us old farts than there used to be and we live a lot longer in retirement as well. I don't see any magic bullet fix either.
    George A , Tuesday, March 27, 2018 6:12 PM
    Warning to Google/Facebook/Apple etc. All you young people will get old. It's inevitable. Do you think those companies will take care of you?
    econdataus , Sunday, March 25, 2018 3:01 PM
    Great article. What's especially infuriating is that the industry continues to claim that there is a shortage of STEM workers. For example, google "claim of 1.4 million computer science jobs with only 400,000 computer science graduates to fill them". If companies would openly say, "we have plenty of young STEM workers and prefer them to most older STEM workers", we could at least start addressing the problem. But they continue to promote the lie of there being a STEM shortage. They just want as big a labor pool as possible, unemployed workers be damned.
    Buzz , Friday, March 23, 2018 12:00 PM
    I've worked there 17 years and have worried about being layed off for about 11 of them. Moral is in the toilet. Bonuses for the rank and file are in the under 1% range while the CEO gets millions. Pay raises have been non existent or well under inflation for years. Adjusting for inflation, I make $6K less than I did my first day. My group is a handful of people as at least 1/2 have quit or retired. To support our customers, we used to have several people, now we have one or two and if someone is sick or on vacation, our support structure is to hope nothing breaks. We can't keep millennials because of pay, benefits and the expectation of being available 24/7 because we're shorthanded. As the unemployment rate drops, more leave to find a different job, leaving the old people as they are less willing to start over with pay, vacation, moving, selling a house, pulling kids from school, etc. The younger people are generally less likely to be willing to work as needed on off hours or to pull work from a busier colleague. I honestly have no idea what the plan is when the people who know what they are doing start to retire, we are way top heavy with 30-40 year guys who are on their way out, very few of the 10-20 year guys due to hiring freezes and we can't keep new people past 2-3 years. It's like our support business model is designed to fail.
    OrangeGina , Friday, March 23, 2018 11:41 AM
    Make no mistake. The three and four letter acronyms and other mushy corporate speak may differ from firm to firm, but this is going on in every large tech company old enough to have a large population of workers over 50. I hope others will now be exposed.
    JeffMo , Friday, March 23, 2018 10:23 AM
    This article hits the nail right on the head, as I come up on my 1 year anniversary from being....ahem....'retired' from 23 years at IBM....and I'll be damned if I give them the satisfaction of thinking this was like a 'death' to me. It was the greatest thing that could have ever happened. Ginny and the board should be ashamed of themselves, but they won't be.
    Frankie , Friday, March 23, 2018 1:00 AM
    Starting around age 40 you start to see age discrimination. I think this is largely due to economics, like increased vacation times, higher wages, but most of all the perception that older workers will run up the medical costs. You can pass all the age related discrimination laws you want, but look how ineffective that has been.

    If you contrast this with the German workforce, you see that they have more older workers with the skills and younger workers without are having a difficult time getting in. So what's the difference? There are laws about how many vacation weeks that are given and there is a national medical system that everyone pays, so discrimination isn't seen in the same light.

    The US is the only hold out maybe with South Africa that doesn't have a good national medical insurance program for everyone. Not only do we pay more than the rest of the world, but we also have discrimination because of it.

    Rick Gundlach , Thursday, March 22, 2018 11:38 PM
    This is very good, and this is IBM. I know. I was plaintiff in Gundlach v. IBM Japan, 983 F.Supp.2d 389, which involved their violating Japanese labor law when I worked in Japan. The New York federal judge purposely ignored key points of Japanese labor law, and also refused to apply Title VII and Age Discrimination in Employment to the parent company in Westchester County. It is a huge, self-described "global" company with little demonstrated loyalty to America and Americans. Pennsylvania is suing them for $170 million on a botched upgrade of the state's unemployment system.
    Jeff , Thursday, March 22, 2018 2:05 PM
    In early 2013 I was given a 3 PBC rating for my 2012 performance, the main reason cited by my manager being that my team lead thought I "seemed distracted". Five months later I was included in a "resource action", and was gone by July. I was 20 months shy of 55. Younger coworkers were retained. That was about two years after the product I worked on for over a decade was off-shored.

    Through a fluke of someone from the old, disbanded team remembering me, I was rehired two years later - ironically in a customer support position for the very product I helped develop.

    While I appreciated my years of service, previous salary, and previous benefits being reinstated, a couple years into it I realized I just wasn't cut out for the demands of the job - especially the significant 24x7 pager duty. Last June I received email describing a "Transition to Retirement" plan I was eligible for, took it, and my last day will be June 30. I still dislike the job, but that plan reclassified me as part time, thus ending pager duty for me. The job still sucks, but at least I no longer have to despair over numerous week long 24x7 stints throughout the year.

    A significant disappointment occurred a couple weeks ago. I was discussing healthcare options with another person leaving the company who hadn't been resource-actioned as I had, and learned the hard way I lost over $30,000 in some sort of future medical benefit account the company had established and funded at some point. I'm not sure I was ever even aware of it. That would have funded several years of healthcare insurance during the 8 years until I'm eligible for Medicare. I wouldn't be surprised if their not having to give me that had something to do with my seeming "distracted" to them. <rolls eyes="">

    What's really painful is the history of that former account can still be viewed at Fidelity, where it associates my departure date in 2013 with my having "forfeited" that money. Um, no. I did not forfeit that money, nor would I have. I had absolutely no choice in the matter. I find the use of the word 'forfeited' to describe what happened as both disingenuous and offensive. That said, I don't know whether's that's IBM's or Fidelity's terminology, though.

    Herb Jeff , in reply to" aria-label="in reply to">
    Jeff, You should call Fidelity. I recently received a letter from the US Department of Labor that they discovered that IBM was "holding" funds that belonged to me that I was never told about. This might be similar or same story.
    AlmostNative , Sunday, April 1, 2018 4:27 PM
    Great article. And so so close to home. I worked at IBM for 23 years until I became yet another statistic -- caught up in one of their many "RA's" -- Resource Actions. I also can identify with the point about being encouraged to find a job internally yet hiring managers told to not hire. We were encouraged to apply for jobs outside the US -- Europe mainly -- as long as we were willing to move and work at the prevailing local wage rate. I was totally fine with that as my wife had been itching for some time for a chance to live abroad. I applied for several jobs across Europe using an internal system IBM set up just for that purpose. Never heard a word. Phone calls and internal e-mails to managers posting jobs in the internal system went unanswered. It turned out to be a total sham as far as I was concerned.

    IBM has laid off hundreds of thousands in the last few decades. Think of the MILLIONS of children, spouses, brothers/sisters, aunts/uncles, and other family members of laid-off people that were affected. Those people are or will be business owners and in positions to make technology decisions. How many of them will think "Yeah, right, hire IBM. They're the company that screwed daddy/mommy". I fully expect -- and I fully hope -- that I live to see IBM go out of business. Which they will, sooner or later, as they are living off of past laurels -- billions in the bank, a big fat patent portfolio, and real estate that they continue to sell off or rent out. If you do hire IBM, you should fully expect that they'll send some 20-something out to your company a few weeks after you hire them, that person will be reading "XYZ for Dummys" on the plane on the way to your offices and will show up as your IBM 'expert'.

    [Oct 29, 2018] A nasty but subtle practice of diminishing employee status and compensation that encourages the employee to prematurely consider retirement or employment elsewhere

    Oct 29, 2018 | features.propublica.org

    John Mamuscia , Monday, March 26, 2018 3:08 PM

    > I was given the choice, retire or get a bad review and get fired, no severance. I retired and have not been employed since because of my age. Got news for these business people, experience trumps inexperience. Recently, I have developed several commercial Web sites using cloud technology. In your face IBM.
    Stimpy , Friday, March 23, 2018 11:17 PM
    > This could well have been written about Honeywell. Same tactics exactly. I laid myself off and called it retirement after years of shoddy treatment and phonied up employee evaluations. I took it personally until I realized that this is just American Management in action. I don't know how they look themselves in the mirror in the morning.
    sukibarnstorm , Thursday, March 22, 2018 6:38 PM
    > As an HR professional, I get sick when I hear of these tactics. Although this is not the first company to use this strategy to make a "paradigm shift". Where are the geniuses at Harvard, Yale, or the Wharton school of business (where our genius POTUS attended)? Can't they come up with a better model of how to make these changes in an organization without setting up the corp for a major lawsuit or God forbid ......they treat their employees with dignity and respect.
    DDRLSGC , in reply to">
    > They are not trained at our business schools to think long-term or look for solutions to problems or turn to the workforce for solutions. They are trained to maximizes the profits and let society subsidies their losses and costs.
    John Kauai , in reply to">
    > Isn't it interesting that you are the first one (here or anywhere else that I've seen) to talk about the complicity of Harvard and Yale in the rise of the Oligarchs.

    Perhaps we should consider reevaluation of their lofty perch in American Education. Now if we could only think of a way to expose the fraud.

    [Oct 29, 2018] In the early 1980's President Regan fired the striking air traffic controllers. This sent the message to management around the USA that it was OK to abuse employees in the workplace.

    Notable quotes:
    "... In the early 1980's President Regan fired the striking air traffic controllers. This sent the message to management around the USA that it was OK to abuse employees in the workplace. By the end of the 1980's unions were totally emasculated and you had workers "going postal" in an abusive workplace. When unions were at their peak of power, they could appeal to the courts and actually stop a factory from moving out of the country by enforcing a labor contact. ..."
    "... The American workplace is a nuthouse. Each and every individual workplace environment is like a cult. ..."
    "... The American workplace is just a byproduct of the militarization of everyday life. ..."
    "... Silicon Valley and Wall Street handed billions of dollars to this arrogant, ignorant Millennial Elizabeth Holmes. She abused any employee that questioned her. This should sound familiar to any employee who has had an overbearing know-it-all, bully boss in the workplace. Hopefully she will go to jail and a message will be sent that any young agist bully will not be given the power of god in the workplace. ..."
    Oct 29, 2018 | features.propublica.org

    Stauffenberg , Thursday, March 22, 2018 6:21 PM

    In the early 1980's President Regan fired the striking air traffic controllers. This sent the message to management around the USA that it was OK to abuse employees in the workplace. By the end of the 1980's unions were totally emasculated and you had workers "going postal" in an abusive workplace. When unions were at their peak of power, they could appeal to the courts and actually stop a factory from moving out of the country by enforcing a labor contact.

    Today we have a President in the White House who was elected on a platform of "YOU'RE FIRED." Not surprisingly, Trump was elected by the vast majority of selfish lowlives in this country. The American workplace is a nuthouse. Each and every individual workplace environment is like a cult.

    That is not good for someone like me who hates taking orders from people. But I have seen it all. Ten years ago a Manhattan law firm fired every lawyer in a litigation unit except an ex-playboy playmate. Look it up it was in the papers. I was fired from a job where many of my bosses went to federal prison and then I was invited to the Christmas Party.

    What are the salaries of these IBM employees and how much are their replacements making? The workplace becomes a surrogate family. Who knows why some people get along and others don't. My theory on agism in the workplace is that younger employees don't want to be around their surrogate mother or father in the workplace after just leaving the real home under the rules of their real parents.

    The American workplace is just a byproduct of the militarization of everyday life. In the 1800's, Herman Melville wrote in his beautiful book "White Jacket" that one of the most humiliating aspects of the military is taking orders from a younger military officer. I read that book when I was 20. I didn't feel the sting of that wisdom until I was 40 and had a 30 year old appointed as my supervisor who had 10 years less experience than me.

    By the way, the executive that made her my supervisor was one of the sleaziest bosses I have ever had in my career. Look at the tech giant Theranos. Silicon Valley and Wall Street handed billions of dollars to this arrogant, ignorant Millennial Elizabeth Holmes. She abused any employee that questioned her. This should sound familiar to any employee who has had an overbearing know-it-all, bully boss in the workplace. Hopefully she will go to jail and a message will be sent that any young agist bully will not be given the power of god in the workplace.

    [Oct 29, 2018] If I understood correctly his attack was against the Jewish organisation that brings immigrants. Because he sees that as the enemy action

    Oct 29, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

    donkeytale , Oct 28, 2018 3:22:09 PM | link

    NemesisCalling - LMAO. Srsly? Ok, I'll bite.

    Trump represents himself and expects the little people (IE, everyone except him and his children) to exist only for him, the spoiled daddy-created globalist so-called billionaire who doesn't have a clue WTF he's doing as POTUS besides infotaining and enflaming his racist base, plus giving into the GOP party line on all substantive issues with the result being more of the same as Barry-O, only worse.

    Personally, I enjoy him from an infotainment perspective. We are all only infotaining ourselves to death anyway, so Trump's just added comedic grist to enliven our time in hospice care.

    Did you expect or hope for another in the globalist class, maybe as slick as Barry-O, who appealed to the edumacated coastal elites in his incredibly pompous and phony addresses?

    I expected a globalist (either Trump or Hillary) but hoped for Bernie.

    Trump is not antithesis. This is where you are most mistaken. If he were the truth (as you state), there would be stronger social security, Medicare and Medicaid for his base, no tax cuts favouring corporations, LLCs and the very rich.

    There would be newly created infrastructure and improved healthcare.

    The trade war would already be won and the wealth equality gap would be well on the road to closure.


    Yonatan , Oct 28, 2018 4:04:53 PM | link

    The Pittsburgh attack was conveniently timed to distract US media from another murderous onslaught by Israel on Gaza. The IDF targets included a Gaza hospital.

    Pittsburgh - qui bono?

    Vitaliy , Oct 28, 2018 6:08:07 PM | link
    There are mass shooters and there are mass bombers...
    There are just babies compare with our old friend Mr. Kissinger.
    Jay , Oct 28, 2018 6:18:11 PM | link
    @john wilson:

    "The Jews are murdering unarmed Palestinians with abandon,"

    That's an ugly conflation of Jews and Israel.

    Pft , Oct 28, 2018 6:36:52 PM | link
    Assuming this was not another psyops it seems amazing to me that people cant distinguish between the Israeli government and their lobby which influences policy and elections in the US and the average Jew attending a synagogue.

    As with any event I always look at who benefits. Certainly the anti-gun lobby. Zionists have always benefitted from such acts as they use them to get more protection against criticism of their policies (eg legislation to define antisemitism as hate speech which would include criticism of Israel). Remember the NY bombing threats a couple of years ago were coming from an individual said to be working alone in Israel)

    Be interesting to learn more about this Bowers. I am skeptical its a psyops at this point because he was taken alive, but who knows.

    hopehely , Oct 28, 2018 6:53:30 PM | link
    Posted by: Pft | Oct 28, 2018 6:36:52 PM | 39
    Assuming this was not another psyops it seems amazing to me that people cant distinguish between the Israeli government and their lobby which influences policy and elections in the US and the average Jew attending a synagogue.

    If I understood correctly his attack was against the Jewish organisation that brings immigrants. Because he sees that as the enemy action.

    [Oct 25, 2018] The chamber of commerce likes the fact that workers will take more crap, and work for less, if they know their family will lose access to heathcare if they dont. It creates a servile, frightened workforce. Just the way the oligarchs like it.

    Oct 25, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    edmondo , October 23, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    the next Trump, a Trump with the rough edges sanded off, is going to seize that issue and run with it, and lock in Republican power for another generation (as soon as they can figure out how to package Medicare for All as supporting the free market. Don't laugh).

    The Republicans will sell this to America as making American business more competitive oin world commerce by lowering costs. Healthcare costs have to be eat up a huge portion of American companies employee costs. By dumping these costs onto the government, American business becomes more cost competitive around the world. (Not believing most of this myself, but it's the argument the GOP will make.)

    I never understood why Bernie never made this appeal to the US Chamber of Commerce.

    Monty , October 23, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    Because the chamber of commerce likes the fact that workers will take more crap, and work for less, if they know their family will lose access to heathcare if they dont. It creates a servile, frightened workforce. Just the way the oligarchs like it.

    Mo's Bike Shop , October 23, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    There's efficiency, and then there's efficiency .

    Summer , October 24, 2018 at 3:00 am

    Kind of like holding the family hostage.
    Only thing missing is a clandestine drop every other Friday to pick up your paycheck no police, come alone.

    MikeW_CA , October 23, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    You could "package Medicare for All as supporting the free market" by pointing out that it would allow small businesses to compete with big ones by eliminating their need to arrange for health insurance for their employees -- something that is much easier and more cost effective for big businesses.

    ChiGal in Carolina , October 23, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    This case has been made by many. Watch the free movie Fix It online made by an American businessman re what providing even crappy insurance to his employees affects his bottom line.

    ambrit , October 23, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    Also frame it as equalizing the cost of doing business internationally. Any kind of National Health scheme is a subsidy for that nations business class. How much of the "lower labour costs" touted in support of 'outsourcing' American jobs is paid for by the other countries government's assumption of their domestic medical funding?
    This brings up the question of which business group has more 'influence' on the political parties and thus government, international trade or domestic production?

    ChiGal in Carolina , October 23, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    Done properly (HR 676), it allows patients to choose whatever provider they want. It does not artificially constrain them with narrow networks.

    That is free market. OTOH, Medicare Advantage plans use networks.

    Lynne , October 23, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    And Medicare for All is single payer, not single provider, right? Which means that there will be competition among hospital conglomerates and less room for under-the-table deals like the one here where the biggest hospital company bought the biggest insurance company in the state, and nobody could do anything about the fact that the insurance company suddenly would not pay for any doctor other than their own because the ACA had an antitrust waiver for medical insurance companies.

    [Oct 25, 2018] "Inappropriate behavior," is not a category of conduct known to the criminal law. Nor, for that matter, is making a person feel uncomfortable. Awkward advances without a guilty mind is also not a criminal offense.

    Notable quotes:
    "... An article IIRC in the Nation by a restaurant worker specifically discussed how #MeToo had ignored waitresses and there was no change in behavior. ..."
    "... Hundreds of McDonald's employees, emboldened by the #MeToo movement, demonstrated outside company headquarters in Chicago on Tuesday to draw attention to alleged sexual harassment at work ..."
    "... McDonald's employees only. No show of solidarity by other women. As a result, look how small the protest was. I rest my case. ..."
    "... I think the movement, for both ethical and pragmatic reasons, should and must center working class women. I'm not seeing that. I would be very happy indeed to see it. ..."
    "... Caliban and the Witch ..."
    "... Fundamental to all civilised systems of criminal law is the doctrine nulla poena sine lege ..."
    "... "Inappropriate behavior," is not a category of conduct known to the criminal law. Nor, for that matter, is making a person feel uncomfortable. Awkward advances without a guilty mind is also not a criminal offense. ..."
    "... Due process rights were hard won over many centuries. If we are to abandon, even with the best of intentions, nulla poena sine lege ..."
    "... I loathe party culture, exactly because it encourages assault. ..."
    "... a Jobs Guarantee would make it easier for a woman to leave an abusive workplace. A Post Office Bank, by giving every woman her own checking account as a matter of right, would make it easier for women to leave abusive relationships. Sometimes it's more effective to be indirect. ..."
    "... Wages for restaurant workers such that they don't have to depend on potentially abusive customers for tips. A third way also does not appear: Encouraging cooperatives . So the question of whose ..."
    Oct 25, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

    BDBlue , October 23, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    Sorry, but this is going to be a long one. Because I've become increasingly frustrated by the little asides in Water Cooler related to MeToo. So buckle up, buttercup.

    Justice for Emmett Till and #Believewomen are only in conflict if you want to pit groups of victims against each other. I'm not surprised to see a GOPer do it, but I'm disappointed it's going on here. What Emmett Till and women of sexual assault (and men and children of sexual assault) have in common is that there is no justice for them. This idea that we need "due process" for the MeToo stuff is all well and good, but where exactly is it supposed to come from? What #Believewomen and #MeToo (which includes men and boys, see, e.g. Terry Crews for a famous example) are really about are holding the powerful accountable and telling the world that the current system does not work for women (or anyone else who has been sexually assaulted). How is that a bad thing? Unless you want to read #Believewomen as meaning that you should literally never doubt a woman, regardless of any other facts. That's like saying Black Lives Matter doesn't care about non-black lives, when everyone knows that's right-wing crap. BLM focuses on a failing of the system. MeToo focuses on a failing system. As for due process -- Larry Nassar, the largest known pedophile in sports history (that we know of) -- was repeatedly reported to the authorities. At one point, a police department made a victim sit down with him so he could explain how she had "misinterpreted" his treatment for abuse. It literally took a victim of his growing up, becoming a lawyer and studying how to prove sexual assault cases, then building evidence and turning it over to the Indianapolis Star to get anyone to do anything. And in the meantime, hundreds of women and girls were assaulted, including most of the last two women's Olympic teams. That's not due process, it is a system that protects the powerful at the expense of the powerless. Not exactly an unknown or rare phenomenon limited to women.

    So if people really care about "due process"* for MeToo, then it would be nice to see as much time spent on discussing what that process might look like than just taking potshots at people, many of whom are sexual assault victims, who are demanding society listen to them and believe them instead of naturally lining up to defend the person in power. And that's what #Believewomen really means – the word of the powerless should have as much credibility as the powerful. Nothing about that would not deny justice to Emmett Till. A movement is not defined by its twitter hashtag.

    * Spoiler alert, they don't. Or, rather, I think lambert does, but most do not. It's just another way to avoid accountability. After all, most of the more notable MeToo allegations are employment or similar situations, where due process does not apply in any other context, but now suddenly bosses want to invoke it for themselves. Please don't try to invoke it when they fire you because you won't work a last-minute Saturday shift. Because you can't. But report the boss for sexual harassment and be prepared for a lot of process. So much process, you may never get through it all. Which is the other joke, companies have tons of process re sexual harassment complaints, almost all of which is designed to protect the harasser.

    Which brings me to class. I've seen a lot of picking at #MeToo for being focused on women ("identity") instead of class. This confuses me since, while any woman can be a victim, poor and working class women (and men) have even fewer options of redress (I won't even get into incarcerated men and women). See the recent McDonalds' strike over sexual harassment, a labor action which shouldn't be surprising since as many as 40% of women in the fast food industry experience sexual harassment . Moreover, institutional sexism -- like racism -- has roots in capital accumulation and labor exploitation. For an interesting read on this, see The Caliban and the Witch . Which is not to say it's all about class, it isn't. Racism and sexism exist, they exist for everyone regardless of class, but the effects of them are greatly exacerbated by poor and working class people's material conditions and they are tied directly to the system that creates those conditions. To the extent people want to discuss due process, it should be about creating systems that hold the powerful accountable for their abuse of power, a challenge that extends across society.

    Oregoncharles , October 24, 2018 at 2:10 am

    "And that's what #Believewomen really means – the word of the powerless should have as much credibility as the powerful."

    It is wise, when starting a movement, to say what you "really mean." As it stands, #Believewomen MEANS convicting defendants on the sole word of one person – the victim. If we really start doing that, women will be among the victims, along with other powerless people.

    " only in conflict if you want to pit groups of victims against each other." What do you mean, "want"? That's a classic straw man. The slogan you're defending pits them against each other – that's Lambert's point.

    You also say that enforcement against either assault or sexual harassment is nightmarish and often ineffective. That I'll believe, and it's a necessary point. Actually, law enforcement and "justice" generally are pretty nightmarish. Tangle sex up in that and it only gets worse. The point of #Metoo was to convince us that we have a problem, and it accomplished that. Slogans that mean what you don't mean only detract from the accomplishment.

    Yves Smith , October 24, 2018 at 2:42 am

    It is simply disingenuous to say that #MeToo has taken up the cause of lower class women. The restaurant industry is one of the biggest employers in America and harassment of women is pervasive. How many #MeToo luminaries have talked up the problems they face? An article IIRC in the Nation by a restaurant worker specifically discussed how #MeToo had ignored waitresses and there was no change in behavior.

    And that protest was NOT promoted by the loose #MeToo movement. See this from USA Today:

    Hundreds of McDonald's employees, emboldened by the #MeToo movement, demonstrated outside company headquarters in Chicago on Tuesday to draw attention to alleged sexual harassment at work

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/food/2018/09/18/mcdonalds-employees-metoo-strike-sexual-harassment/1349981002/

    McDonald's employees only. No show of solidarity by other women. As a result, look how small the protest was. I rest my case.

    Lambert Strether Post author , October 24, 2018 at 3:32 am

    Most of my thoughts (which are evolving) on #MeToo are summed up in this post on the McDonalds strikers : I think the movement, for both ethical and pragmatic reasons, should and must center working class women. I'm not seeing that. I would be very happy indeed to see it.

    My 2015 post on the wonderful Caliban and the Witch is here . I concluded:

    However, if one takes the view that "Now is the time" -- however defined -- in the present day, it also behooves one to do the math; it has always seemed to me that a bare majority, 50% plus one, as sought by the legacy parties, is insufficient to do much but perpetuate, among other things, the legacy parties. It also seems to me that sintering together demographics based on identity politics -- Christian, Black, White, Hispanic, Young, Old, Male, Female, Rural, Urban -- can only produce these bare majorities. It also seems to me that a focus on "economic class" can't give an account of the sort of events that Federici describes here. Hence, to bend history's arc, some sort of grand unified field theory that goes beyond 50%, to 80%, is needed (along with the proposed provision of concrete material benefits[1]). Work like Federici's is a step toward such a theory, and so I applaud it.

    Setting aside the lack of a unified field theory, it seems to me that without centering working class women, #MeToo remains very much in 50% plus one territory.

    Let me address your conclusion:

    To the extent people want to discuss due process, it should be about creating systems that hold the powerful accountable for their abuse of power, a challenge that extends across society.

    I think that's exactly what due process is for, or at least should be for :

    Fundamental to all civilised systems of criminal law is the doctrine nulla poena sine lege -- no punishment without a law. There are hundreds of offenses on the criminal statute books. Assault, sexual assault and indecent assault are serious criminal offenses, attracting heavy sentences upon a conviction.

    "Inappropriate behavior," is not a category of conduct known to the criminal law. Nor, for that matter, is making a person feel uncomfortable. Awkward advances without a guilty mind is also not a criminal offense.

    Due process rights were hard won over many centuries. If we are to abandon, even with the best of intentions, nulla poena sine lege for one set of behaviors, we'd best believe it will be abandoned for other behaviors, and for purposes less benevolent. Have we thought that through?

    That said, if we think back to the Dred Scott case and its fate, it's clear that movements can change law; we will have to see what happens with #MeToo. Feminist legal scholar Catherine MacKinnon urges[2]:

    Sexual harassment law can grow with #MeToo. Taking #MeToo's changing norms into the law could -- and predictably will -- transform the law as well. Some practical steps could help capture this moment. Institutional or statutory changes could include prohibitions or limits on various forms of secrecy and nontransparency that hide the extent of sexual abuse and enforce survivor isolation, such as forced arbitration, silencing nondisclosure agreements even in cases of physical attacks and multiple perpetration, and confidential settlements. A realistic statute of limitations for all forms of discrimination, including sexual harassment, is essential. Being able to sue individual perpetrators and their enablers, jointly with institutions, could shift perceived incentives for this behavior.

    However, it's clear that the criminal justice system in which due process rights are embedded isn't a justice system at all for this category of offenses. I wrote : " [W]e as a society have no way of adjudicating sexual assault claims that treats the assaulted with a level of dignity sufficient for them to come forward at the time " (The backlog of unprocessed rape kits pointed to by Tarana Burke shows this clearly, even if nothing else did.) I'm personally acquainted both with someone who was sexually assaulted, and someone who was falsely accused of "inappropriate behavior," and I've wracked my brains trying to imagine a system of adjudication under which either could have received justice -- the first never did, the second was ultimately cleared -- but without success. I can't see how MacKinnon's fixes would have helped either one.

    I'd certainly welcome different and parallel forms of adjudication that would have achieved justice for my friends; nobody said "due process" had to be achieved only through the court sytem, after all. For example, although this is a limited solution that applies to neither of my friends, an alternative adjudication system that puts the burden of proof on the male if the other party is female and both are drunk would probably brake a lot of bad behavior on campus; this of course speaks to my priors, since I loathe party culture, exactly because it encourages assault.

    NOTE

    [1] For example, a Jobs Guarantee would make it easier for a woman to leave an abusive workplace. A Post Office Bank, by giving every woman her own checking account as a matter of right, would make it easier for women to leave abusive relationships. Sometimes it's more effective to be indirect.

    [2] One way to redress power imbalances in the workplace -- building union power, say through card check -- does not appear on MacKinnon's list of legal transformations. A second way also does not appear: Wages for restaurant workers such that they don't have to depend on potentially abusive customers for tips. A third way also does not appear: Encouraging cooperatives . So the question of whose and which norms are to be transformed remains salient.

    UPDATE You write:

    And that's what #Believewomen really means – the word of the powerless should have as much credibility as the powerful. Nothing about that would not deny justice to Emmett Till. A movement is not defined by its twitter hashtag.

    If that's what it really means, that's not what it really says. The hash tag isn't #BelieveThePowerless, after all. I think it's simpler to take the movement at its word. If the organizers wish to change the slogan because it's sending the wrong message, then they will. If they don't, then the hash tag is sending the message they want.

    I agree that movements don't totally define themselves by the choices they make with their slogans. But those choices matter. The Bolsheviks won the day under the slogan "Peace, Land, Bread." "Less War, Gentler Serfdom, Access to Bread" just wouldn't have had the same impact.

    [Oct 23, 2018] Middle Class Destroyed 50% Of All American Workers Make Less Than $30,533 A Year by Michael Snyder

    Oct 22, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

    Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

    The middle class in America has been declining for decades, and we continue to get even more evidence of the catastrophic damage that has already been done.

    According to the Social Security Administration, the median yearly wage in the United States is just $30,533 at this point. That means 50 percent of all American workers make at least that much per year, but that also means that 50 percent of all American workers make that much or less per year. When you divide $30,533 by 12, you get a median monthly wage of just over $2,500. But of course nobody can provide a middle class standard of living for a family of four for just $2,500 a month, and we will discuss this further below. So in most households at least two people are working, and in many cases multiple jobs are being taken on by a single individual in a desperate attempt to make ends meet. The American people are working harder than ever, and yet the middle class just continues to erode .

    The deeper we dig into the numbers provided by the Social Security Administration, the more depressing they become. Here are just a few examples from their official website

    At this moment, the federal poverty level for a family of five is $29,420 , and yet about half the workers in the entire country don't even make that much on a yearly basis.

    So can someone please explain to me again why people are saying that the economy is "doing well"?

    Many will point to how well the stock market has been doing, but the stock market has not been an accurate barometer for the overall economy in a very, very long time.

    And the stock market has already fallen nearly 1,500 points since the beginning of the month. The bull market appears to be over and the bears are licking their chops.

    No matter who has been in the White House, and no matter which political party has controlled Congress, the U.S. middle class has been systematically eviscerated year after year. Many that used to be thriving may still even call themselves "middle class", but that doesn't make it true.

    You would think that someone making "the median income" in a country as wealthy as the United States would be doing quite well. But the truth is that $2,500 a month won't get you very far these days.

    First of all, your family is going to need somewhere to live. Especially on the east and west coasts, it is really hard to find something habitable for under $1,000 a month in 2018. If you live in the middle of the country or in a rural area, housing prices are significantly cheaper. But for the vast majority of us, let's assume a minimum of $1,000 a month for housing costs.

    Secondly, you will also need to pay your utility bills and other home-related expenses. These costs include power, water, phone, television, Internet, etc. I will be extremely conservative and estimate that this total will be about $300 a month.

    Thirdly, each income earner will need a vehicle in order to get to work. In this example we will assume one income earner and a car payment of just $200 a month.

    So now we are already up to $1,500 a month. The money is running out fast.

    Next, insurance bills will have to be paid. Health insurance premiums have gotten ridiculously expensive in recent years, and many family plans are now well over $1,000 a month. But for this example let's assume a health insurance payment of just $450 a month and a car insurance payment of just $50 a month.

    Of course your family will have to eat, and I don't know anyone that can feed a family of four for just $500 a month, but let's go with that number.

    So now we have already spent the entire $2,500, and we don't have a single penny left over for anything else.

    But wait, we didn't even account for taxes yet. When you deduct taxes, our fictional family of four is well into the red every month and will need plenty of government assistance.

    This is life in America today, and it isn't pretty.

    In his most recent article, Charles Hugh Smith estimated that an income of at least $106,000 is required to maintain a middle class lifestyle in America today. That estimate may be a bit high, but not by too much.

    Yes, there is a very limited sliver of the population that has been doing well in recent years, but most of the country continues to barely scrape by from month to month. Out in California, Silicon Valley has generated quite a few millionaires, but the state also has the highest poverty in the entire nation. For every Silicon Valley millionaire, there are thousands upon thousands of poor people living in towns such as Huron, California

    Nearly 40 percent of Huron residents -- and almost half of all children -- live below the poverty line, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That's more than double the statewide rate of 19 percent reported last month, which is the highest in the U.S. The national average is 12.3 percent.

    "We're in the Appalachians of the West," Mayor Rey Leon said. "I don't think enough urgency is being taken to resolve a problem that has existed for way too long."

    Multiple families and boarders pack rundown homes, only about a quarter of residents have high school diplomas and most lack adequate health care in an area plagued with diabetes and high asthma rates in one the nation's most polluted air basins.

    One recent study found that the gap between the wealthy and the poor is the largest that it has been since the 1920s , and America's once thriving middle class is evaporating right in front of our eyes.

    We could have made much different choices as a society, but we didn't, and now we are going to have a great price to pay for our foolishness...

    [Oct 16, 2018] Social Justice Warriors Aren't Funny

    Notable quotes:
    "... The Green Room with Paul Provenza ..."
    Oct 16, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

    There's an older episode of The Green Room with Paul Provenza when the late Patrice O'Neal, arguably one of the best stand-up comics in recent history, gets serious for a moment, saying: "I love being able to say anything I want. I had to learn how to stop caring about people not laughing. Because the idea of comedy, really, is not everybody should be laughing. It should be about 50 people laughing and 50 people horrified. There should be people who get it and people who don't get it."

    O'Neal gets right to the chaotic, trickster heart of comedy with that statement. Comedy at its best balances humor against shock–not necessarily vulgarity, mind you, but a sort of unsettling surprise. It's a topsy-turvy glimpse at an uncanny, upside-down world, which, if the joke lands, provides a bulwark against torpor and complacency. Great comedy inhabits the absurdity of the world. It makes itself into a vantage point from which everything seems delightfully ridiculous, including (often especially) the comedians themselves. We wouldn't need comedy in a world that wasn't absurd. Perhaps that's why Dante only included humor in his Inferno . There is no absurdity in paradise.

    Unfortunately, Hannah Gadsby's Nanette , a comedy special recently released on Netflix, only embraces the non-laughter half of O'Neal's dictum. It's the very epitome of self-serious, brittle, didactic, SJW "comedy." It's not funny. And worse, it's not meant to be.

    Gadsby, a queer Australian comedian, uses her "stand-up special" as a way to destroy the very medium she pretends to be professionally engaged in. Her basic argument is that, since comedy is by its very nature self-deprecating (true), people who define themselves as members of an oppressed minority shouldn't engage in comedy because they're only participating in the violence already being done to them by society at large.


    Arthur Sido October 16, 2018 at 8:21 am

    We have allowed "social justice" types, a tiny fringe minority of unhappy and often unstable people, rewrite the rules of our entire civilization and culture.
    David J. White , says: October 16, 2018 at 10:19 am
    All the way back to Aristophanes comedy has often included a political component or an effort to "educate" audiences or at least make them think about things. But the actual comedy part is essential. Otherwise it's just a lecture.
    JimDandy , says: October 16, 2018 at 2:23 pm
    We might just be witnessing the death of Art. As the SJW furies brutally and effectively enforce The Narrative in literary fiction, film, TV, comedy, etc. they destroy the potential for creative genius in these mediums and kill off most of the audience. It was already hard enough for those arts to compete with new media forms. The SJW's hostile takeover of Art just makes the triumph of Real Life As Entertainment all the more complete.

    Whereas twenty years ago I might be spending my free time reading a novel and attempting to write a short story, today I'm reading articles on The American Conservative and posting this comment.