Why Fight For Unions? So We Can Fight An Economy Rigged Against Us


via Why Fight For Unions? So We Can Fight An Economy Rigged Against Us | Crooks and Liars.

By Dave Johnson August 29, 2014

The rules set down in our democracy can’t be enforced unless We the People can organize to be powerful enough to overcome the great wealth and power of a few ultra-billionaires and their corporations.
Why Fight For Unions? So We Can Fight An Economy Rigged Against Us

The other day I wrote about how FedEx has been pretending that their employees are not employees, which gets around labor standards for things like overtime, family leave and the rest.

This misclassification game is just one way that big companies have been rigging the rules to give themselves an edge, getting around what We the People set down for our democracy.

The result, of course, is even more people paid even less with even worse working conditions. And the bad players get an advantage that drives out the good ones.

Like misclassification, this game-rigging, cheating, edge-seeking, rule-bypassing stuff is everywhere you look. (Rigged trade deals, corporate tax “deferral” and inversions, corporate campaign donations, too-big-to-fail banks, Congressional obstruction, etc. and etc…) This rigging of the game in favor of the ultra-wealthy gets worse and worse.

Why is this so? Because the rules set down by our democracy can’t be enforced unless We the People can organize to be powerful enough to overcome the great wealth and power of a few ultra-billionaires and their corporations. Without the ability to organize, we are on our own as individuals against great wealth and power.

This is where labor unions come in. Working people organizing into a group so they are not fighting this power alone as individuals gives them a chance to demand a slice of the pie.

Campaign for America’s Future has released a report, “Inequality: Rebuilding the Middle Class Requires Reviving Strong Unions.” The introduction explains that, “Government policy helped strengthen the hand of workers and build the middle class coming out of World War II, and today government must once more become an ally of working people. The effort to make that happen will meet fierce resistance, but the report shows that the first steps have begun.”

CAF’s Bob Borosage writes about this in, “Inequality: A Broad Middle Class Requires Empowering Workers“:

Working family incomes haven’t gone up in the 21st century. Inequality reaches new extremes. Corporate profits are reaping a record portion of the nation’s income, while worker wages wallow at record lows. Three-fourths of Americans fear their children will fare less well than they have.

This Labor Day, we should do more than celebrate workers – we should understand how vital reviving worker unions is to rebuilding a broad middle class.

The raging debate on inequality and its remedies often omits discussion of unions. Inequality is blamed on globalization and technology that have transformed our workforce. Remedies focus on better education and more training, with liberals supporting fair taxes to help pay the cost.

[. . .] The decline of unions is indisputably at the center of America’s growing inequality and hallowed-out middle class. But what is also clear is that reviving shared prosperity and rebuilding the middle class isn’t likely to occur without reviving the ability of workers to organize and bargain collectively.

Summary:

  • America’s broad middle class was built when unions were strong, representing over one-third of the private workforce. Strong unions helped workers win better wages and benefits at the workplace, and championed vital reforms in the political arena — raising the minimum wage, creating Medicare, raising Social Security benefits, workplace safety and more – that helped build the broad middle class.
  • During those years, workers shared in the increased productivity and profits that they helped to create. Incomes on the bottom actually grew faster than top-end incomes. America grew together.
  • Then furious corporate campaigns succeeded in weakening unions. Laws banned powerful union-organizing tactics. Multinationals wrote trade rules that facilitated moving jobs abroad, enabling companies to threaten workers seeking better wages. Corporations perfected anti-union strategies. And with the election of Ronald Reagan as president, all gloves were off.
  • Unions now represent less than 7 percent of the private workforce. As unions declined, wages no longer rose with productivity. CEOs and investors captured ever higher portions of corporate income. The minimum wage lost value. Corporations gutted pensions and health care plans. Incomes on the top soared, while those on the bottom sunk. America grew apart.

Please click through to Inequality: Rebuilding the Middle Class Requires Reviving Strong Unions.

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progress Breakfast.

 

Israel claims West Bank land for possible settlement use, draws U.S. rebuke


via Israel claims West Bank land for possible settlement use, draws U.S. rebuke.

Israel announced on Sunday a land appropriation in the occupied West Bank that an anti-settlement group termed the biggest in 30 years, drawing Palestinian condemnation and a U.S. rebuke.Some 988 acres in the Etzion Jewish settlement bloc near Bethlehem were declared “state land, on the instructions of the political echelon” by the military-run Civil Administration.”We urge the government of Israel to reverse this decision,” a State Department official said in Washington, calling the move “counterproductive” to efforts to achieve a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israel Radio said the step was taken in response to the kidnapping and killing of three Jewish teens by Hamas militants in the area in June.Tensions stoked by the incident quickly spread to Israel’s border with Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, and the two sides engaged in a seven-week war that ended on Tuesday with an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.

“Draws US Rebuke”, yea like,”We won’t buy any Hamas for a week.  How you like them apples?”.

Source: yahoonews

 

Fermilab experiment will attempt to answer whether we actually live in “the Matrix”


via Fermilab experiment will attempt to answer whether we actually live in “the Matrix”.

By Colin Jeffrey

August 31, 2014

Scientists will attempt to discover if the universe is 'real' or a holographic 3-D illusio...

Scientists will attempt to discover if the universe is ‘real’ or a holographic 3-D illusion (Photo: Fermilab)

 

In what may be one of the most mind-bogglingly surreal experiments ever floated, scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) will attempt to discover if the universe is “real” or merely a holographic 3-D illusion that we just think is real. Using high-powered lasers, the scientists intend to determine if space-time is a quantum system made up of countless tiny bits of information.

In explaining their theory, the scientists involved make much of the analogy that, if you stand near enough to a TV screen, you will be able to see the individual pixels that, as you move away, image resolves into a whole image with the individual pixels no longer distinguishable as separate points of light.

So, the scientists propose that if the characters displayed on a TV screen don’t know that their apparent 3-D world exists only on a 2-D screen, we too could also be ignorant to the possibility that our 3-D space is also just an illusion. As such, the Fermilab scientists believe that the information about everything contained in our universe may somehow be embedded in tiny packets of information in two dimensions.

The scientists further premise that this information is contained in a “pixel size” container approximately 10 trillion, trillion times smaller than an atom, (a dimension of size that physicists call the Planck scale). At this sub-atomic scale, standard physics no longer holds much sway and quantum theory dictates the rules. As such, it is not possible – in accordance with Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle – to know both the precise location and the exact speed of subatomic particles at the same time.

As a result, his phenomenon ensures that matter continues to jitter as quantum waves even when cooled to absolute zero. If the digitized space proposed by the researchers continues to vibrate even in its lowest energy state, they believe that their theory may be proved correct.

To attempt to test this premise, the Fermilab researchers have designed and built what they call a “Holometer” – or holographic interferometer – to see if the characteristic quantum jitter that exists in matter is also found in empty space.

“We want to find out whether space-time is a quantum system just like matter is,” says Craig Hogan, developer of the holographic noise theory and a director at Fermilab. “If we see something, it will completely change ideas about space we’ve used for thousands of years.”

Recently commissioned and now operating at full power, the Holometer uses a pair of interferometers (devices that superimpose one laser beam over another to look for anomalies in intensity or phase to test an external influence) located next to each other. Each interferometer directs a one-kilowatt laser beam at a beam splitter and then down two 40-m (130-ft) arms located at right-angles to one another.

The laser beams are then reflected and returned to the beam splitter and the two beams are recombined; if there is any motion detected, fluctuations in the brightness of the combined beam will result. Researchers will then analyze these fluctuations to see if the beam is being influenced by the jitter of space itself.

One major difficulty in such a test will be noise – “Holographic noise”, the researchers call it – which they expect to be present at all frequencies. To mitigate this, the Holometer is testing at frequencies of many megahertz so that motions contained in normal matter are claimed not to be a problem. The dominant background noise of radio wave interference will be the most difficult to filter out, according to the team.

“If we find a noise we can’t get rid of, we might be detecting something fundamental about nature – a noise that is intrinsic to space-time,” said Fermilab physicist Aaron Chou. “It’s an exciting moment for physics. A positive result will open a whole new avenue of questioning about how space works.”

The Holometer team is made up of 21 scientists and students from Fermilab, MIT, the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan, with the experiment set to gather data over the coming year.

Source: Fermilab