In the discussion of the rise of Trump the only thing the six figure explainers consider is the anger of those left behind by the great leap forward of globalism. They’re the factory workers displaced by offshoring and trade deals written to hand power to corporate leadership at the expense of everyone else. They, the angry, are the unskilled and uneducated. And white, of course.
But if you’ve paid attention the educated and over-educated have gotten a rum deal, too, depending on where you stand and if you’ve been able to read basic English and understand minus numbers most of your life.
So today’s post considers a note from a reader, one that keys in on the domestic information technology worker, citizens considered to be pretty far from uneducated and unskilled.
When a company decides to outsource IT jobs overseas, there is no protection for U.S. workers. Professional accomplishments are irrelevant. Degrees — whether in computer science, mathematics, or in some field that has allowed them to figure technology out — do not matter. The internal awards of merit, the five-star performance reviews are meaningless. The unpaid hours, at nights and on weekends, make no difference. The workplace turns cold, hostile, indifferent.
“The Democrats, having sold out to corporate America years ago, have no choice but to fall back on the retraining fallacy,” e-mails a blog reader. “Otherwise they’d have to point out that their donors are screwing us and doing that might stop the money train.”
It’s a common story. And one wonders why it hasn’t occured to the six-figure explainers that this very educated class of workers is also really angry about the alleged “meritorcracy” of America and the universal benefits of globalization.
Disney has canceled recent plans to replace employees in 30 technology positions with workers from an agency known for outsourcing jobs to immigrants on temporary work visas.
Employees of Disney/ABC Television in New York and Burbank first heard of the layoffs in late May. In recent weeks, before the company reversed course, some of the employees were asked to help train their successors, mostly via teleconference but also in person in some cases …
Keith Barrett, who had been a technology employee at Disney World for more than a decade until he was forced into retirement earlier this year, posted on his Google+ account that companies should address skills shortages by repositioning or training existing employees.
“In short; if you are laying off your good performing and long term staff, especially in bulk numbers, and replacing them with inexperienced, cheaper non-hires, you aren’t using the H-1B program to increase your staff by hiring rare skills,” Barrett wrote. “You are using it to cut costs.”
At the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Dean Baker is not particularly impressed by a LA Times article on how post-NAFTA, Mexico has boomed and this has been good for American workers.
[The] promotion of the post-NAFTA Mexican boom continues. The latest guilty party is the Los Angeles Times which devotes a lengthy piece to telling us how the boom is not just good for Mexico, but also the United States. Mexico’s per capita GDP growth since 2008 is less than 0.7 percent. This is a growth rate for a developing country that would more typically be described as “pathetic” than a boom.
The newspaper’s reporter and editors interpret graphs in a very unusual way. If you page down, you’ll see a graphic labelled “US factories slowly climb back …”
The climb back, for this year being a negative 0.2 percent in employment. That would be a loss, in arithmetic class.
And the values preceding it are not particularly impressive. From 2011 – 2015, alleged good gains in employment seem to hover around 1 percent or less, hardly anything to crow about. On the other hand, there are nice pictures of Mexican workers in automotive factories in Nuevo Leon and San Luis.
There is a great bit in the piece:
“In the process, workers like Zarate are being lifted into the middle class by the thousands … That sounds like an exported version of the American dream, circa 1965, in places such as Dearborn, Mich., or Marysville, Ohio.”
That’s some soaring description. And so don’t you think, if you’ve stumbled in here by accident and still have a well-paying job, that you, like, ought to selflessly sacrifice it right now so that somewhere else in the world a ca. 1965-like middle class American dream might bloom?
To reflect on this longest of American wars is to confront two questions. First, why has the world’s mightiest military achieved so little even while itself absorbing very considerable losses and inflicting even greater damage on the subjects of America’s supposed beneficence? Second, why in the face of such unsatisfactory outcomes has the United States refused to chart a different course? In short, why can’t we win? And since we haven’t won, why can’t we get out?
With regard to the first question, one explanation stands out above all others. In stark contrast to the Cold War, American purposes and U.S. military policy in the Islamic world have never aligned. Rather than keeping threats to U.S. interests at bay, a penchant for military activism, initially circumspect but becoming increasingly uninhibited over time, has helped to foster new threats. Time and again, from the 1980s to the present, U.S. military power, unleashed rather than held in abeyance, has met outright failure, produced results other than those intended, or proved to be largely irrelevant. The Greater Middle East remains defiantly resistant to shaping.
Not for want of American effort, of course … — Andrew Bacevich, America’s War for the Greater Middle East
A disenfranchised white working class vents its lust for fascism at Trump campaign rallies. Naive liberals, who think they can mount effective resistance within the embrace of the Democratic Party, rally around the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders, who knows that the military-industrial complex is sacrosanct. Both the working class and the liberals will be sold out. Our rights and opinions do not matter. We have surrendered to our own form of Wehrwirtschaft. We do not count within the political process. — Chris Hedges, The Illusion of Freedom
Wehrwirtschaft: “The principle or policy of directing a nation’s economic activity towards preparation for or support of a war effort, esp. (Hist.) as applied in Germany in the 1930s.”
The United States has the best military in the world today, by far. U.S. forces have few, if any, weaknesses, and in many areas—from naval warfare to precision-strike capabilities, to airpower, to intelligence and reconnaissance, to special operations—they play in a totally different league from the militaries of other countries. Nor is this situation likely to change anytime soon, as U.S. defense spending is almost three times as large as that of the United States’ closest competitor, China, and accounts for about one-third of all global military expenditures—with another third coming from U.S. allies and partners…
Precision-guided bombs accounted for about ten percent of the ordnance used in the Gulf War. In recent conflicts, they have accounted for about 90 percent, with a dramatic impact on the course of battle. As a result, Pentagon officials now talk of a “third offset”—the hope, championed by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, among others, that it will be possible to rely on modern-day ISR and precision assets to counter, say, larger Chinese missile, aircraft, ship, and submarine forces in the waters of the western Pacific.
For all this progress, however, there are limits to what standoff warfare and advanced technology can achieve by themselves. To make precision bombing effective, for example, targets need to be located accurately—something that can be difficult if those targets are in cities, forests, or jungles, or are concealed or underground … — David Petraeus & Michael O’Hanlon — America’s Awesome Military
Those who measure security solely in terms of offensive capacity distort its meaning and mislead those who pay them heed. No modern nation has ever equaled the crushing offensive power attained by the German war machine in 1939. No modern nation was broken and smashed as was Germany six years later. — Dwight Eisenhower, 1949, in St. Louis
In from the Snake Oil for What Ails You Desk: I’m a registered Dem and retraining is the swill the Party’s neoliberal leaders have peddled for the last 20 or so years. Back to school with you.
It’s the only answer the Democratic Party has had for people shed by de-industrialization and the conversion of the economy to financialization. It’s a theme that is one of the central planks in Thomas Frank’s book, Listen, Liberal, on how the Democrats abandoned populism and the working class for wealth and “meritocracy,” a buzzword better described by phrases like winner take all, root hog or die and fuck you if you didn’t go to the right school or have money.
“Job retraining has proven to be a failure over the last two decades …The record is pretty clear … We’re creating a lot of [false] hope where hope doesn’t exist.”
Peter Navarro, an economics and public policy professor at the University of California, Irvine, called job-retraining programs a “cruel joke” on American workers.
“The problem we have is there’s a fundamental mismatch of skills Americans have [and] opportunities,” he said. “You can retrain these people all you want. But if there are no jobs for them, what’s the point?”
[Retraining] reforms may quickly clear the way for the jobless to enroll in community college, making courses available to train them for a multiplicity of jobs.
Such jobs will include but not be limited to: test-tube cleaning, shelving and getting reagents, learning to use a Metler balance, mucous, surgical drain and breathing pipe maintenance, teeth scraping, gram-staining, changing oxygen tanks for those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, blood pressure-taking, temperature taking, enema giving, supervision of administration of Fleet’s Phospho-Soda, cleaning up messes in hospitals and clinics, airport security, turnstyle security, public transit security, frisking, pat downs and strip searching, simple detentions, immigration status checking, herding, temporary staffing, manning the metal detectors at court houses, X-ray smock fitting, checking dosimeters, wheelchair-bound patient moving, massage, bed pan emptying, restraining and strapping the old and mentally ill into chairs in various warehousing environments, bed sore monitoring, security work in privately administered prisons, embalming, corpse dressing, using word processor and accounting software, installing anti-virus software, transcribing, bank tellering, cafeteria work, how to wear a sterile smock, simple sterile procedures, transfers and transport of pees and poos in the clinical lab setting, refrigerated organ transport, transport of organs reclaimed from cadavers, preparing cadavers for organ reclamation, selling door to door, telemarketing, on-line promotion and astro-turfing, using Blogger, search engine optimization, building a network with Twitter, repeat calling debt collection, data entry and processing tax returns, using Adobe Acrobat or Photoshop and using Microsoft Powerpoint.
Robert Titman, an expert on the economic impact of continuing education at the City College of Gobble-Wallah in Birmingham, Alabama, predicted that in the next two years the US would see a big economic boom from the new highly educated and skilled workforce. The country would leap to the forefront in retraining the unemployed, providing a leading example for the rest of the world, he said.
Economic recoveries and good outcomes always promised by retraining initiatives haven’t panned out, so to speak.
“Job retraining tends to be popular with politicians … it often amounts to little more than a public relations sop,” it reads.
Again, this is about contempt. Contempt for Americans seen in the implication that people aren’t fit to work and cannot read or do arithmetic.
The problem is not, as it appears when shopping Baja Ranch, that people don’t know how to read and do arithmetic. They do! They do fine with cash registers, counting out money, reading stocking lists, preparing foods behind the counter, reading labels, using scales and so on. The problem is being paid too little for a fair day’s work.
In fact, there was no shortage of Americans who tried to get jobs in the 2010 census. Almost all of them, as far as I could tell, had a basic grasp of reading and math.
However, there’s always room for another scam at the bottom. Now that Americans can afford even less, they can have a certification dangled in front them, one that promises a future job, if and when they take some courses and pay to take a test that proves they have reading comprehension and the basic ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide.
An organization called “Skills for America’s Future, a business and community-college partnership based at the Aspen Institute in Washington and Colorado,” it is said is working to retrain and place Americans.
“Companies it already works with to link students with 21st-century job skills range from Accenture to UPS to Gap Inc,” it continues. (Boldface mine.)
Twenty-first century job skills? To drive UPS delivery?! To be an “outsourcing service” consultant for Accenture? Working in retail [at] young people’s denim mall stores is a 21st century skill for which people need training?
Training on not to steal from the cash register and how to resort all the clothes properly and put them back where they belong after a day of customers rummaging through them?
This is repellent rubbish. It is the stench of rot, of cynically coming to the conclusion that there’s nothing to be done but sell people on the idea that they’re inferior and need even more vocational training for the low wage jobs of the future. Another way of putting it is to piss in a jar and tell people to drink up because it’s lemonade.
In Michigan domestic manufacturing, except for cars and tanks, has disappeared. Electrolux, in Greenville, closed its plant, destroying employment in the town. All the jobs went overseas.
So to re-training camp, Montcalm Community College, to get people ready for the jobs of the future! In this case, solar panel manufacturing.
Problem, the jobs of the future are too few. And American companies still ship the jobs out.
Reports the LA Times:
“Solar panel technology was invented in the United States. So was the key technology for advanced batteries for electric vehicles, for which Michigan is also developing a number of factories.
“But in each case, sales and production are tiny compared with European countries.
“Even if clean technologies were to bloom, it’s not clear that they would produce large numbers of new jobs.”
“[The] U.S. usually has left matters to the private sector, and its multinational companies have moved tens of thousands of jobs overseas,” it reads.
It’s not the training. That is a rationalization.
In fact, a company could train people to do its work as easily, or even more quickly, than a community college. The US guitar and amplifier manufacturing industry didn’t send all its jobs to China because that country has community college training its workers to make rock and roll consumer electronics.
It’s all bullshit. The Los Angeles Times doesn’t state this. However, the story makes clear that re-training camp has a pretty good failure rate.
In 2016 it has become part of the explosive political environment. That it has failed so utterly is also one of the driving forces that has led to the rise of Donald Trump.
A lot of people just don’t believe anything establishment politicians say about the economy, jobs and the future. Furthermore, rage results when you hear still more of it.
Some Generals der Flieger and Hauptmanner responsible for the American Wehrmacht’s proxy war via Saudi Arabia in Yemen have quietly being withdrawn. Don’t chalk it up to doing the right thing or aerial refueling, targeting services, intelligence gathering and replenishment for Saudi Arabia & Co’s US-armed military would have been stopped after a week or two, probably sometime last year.
The U.S. military has withdrawn from Saudi Arabia its personnel who were coordinating with the Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen, and sharply reduced the number of staff elsewhere who were assisting in that planning, U.S. officials told Reuters.
Fewer than five U.S. service people are now assigned full-time to the “Joint Combined Planning Cell,” which was established last year to coordinate U.S. support, including air-to-air refueling of coalition jets and limited intelligence-sharing, Lieutenant Ian McConnaughey, a U.S. Navy spokesman in Bahrain, told Reuters.
That is down from a peak of about 45 staff members …
But wait, wait, wait, there’s no taking of responsibility. Quite the opposite.
“The U.S. officials said the reduced staffing is unrelated to the growing international concerns over civilian casualties in the 16-month civil war that has killed more than 6,500 people in Yemen, about half of them civilians,” reads Reuters.
“The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, stressed that as the strikes intensify again, the U.S. might decide to readjust its support.”
Sources deny the US aids in Saudi targeting, an unverifiable assertion.
Nothin’ makes America’s Wehrmacht stop doing what it does except, hmmm, orders from the Commander-in-Chief?
Presumably, this news story, or leak, was furnished because, finally, the pool of blood from fucking the dog on the global stage for the sake of counter-terrorism operations and “strategic alliances” has grown too big to totally ignore.
“U.S. corporations have by now stashed over $2.1 trillion in profits overseas (including Apple’s $181 billion), thereby starving the U.S. of revenue we could use to repair our collapsing infrastructure. What they want is for Americans to get so desperate that Congress is willing to deeply slash the corporate tax rate for “repatriated” money.
“This will deliver a one-time jolt of tax revenue, at the cost of sending the message that everyone who possibly can should use tax avoidance schemes like Apple’s in the future…Hillary Clinton has hinted that she’ll push for exactly this in her first 100 days in office, while Donald Trump has said explicitly that he wants to make it happen. Moreover, in the interview Cook also notes he’s gotten advice on how to handle this issue from both Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Bill Clinton.
“So get ready for a tsunami of fairness, headed your way next year.”
Apple feels the current corporate tax rate to be “unfair.” “It doesn’t go that the more you pay, the more patriotic you are,” said Apple’s Tim Cook to the WaPo (here by way of The Intercept).
The campaign of indiscriminate killing – though let’s call it what it is: a war crime – has now been going on for almost a year and a half. And the United States bears a large part of the responsibility.
This US-backed war is not just a case of the Obama administration sitting idly by while its close ally goes on a destructive spree of historic proportions. The government is actively selling the Saudis billions of dollars of weaponry. They’re re-supplying planes engaged in the bombing runs and providing “intelligence” for the targets that Saudi Arabia is hitting.
Put simply, the US is quite literally funding a humanitarian catastrophe …
“If you talk to Yemenis, they will tell you that inside Yemen this is not perceived to be a Saudi bombing campaign, this is a US bombing campaign,” [one Democratic Party politician] continued. “What’s happening is we are helping to radicalize the the Yemeni population against the United States.” This statement was also backed up by longtime Yemen reporter Iona Craig this week, who emphasized to NPR that Yemenis blame the US for the carnage just as much as the Saudis.
Perhaps one of the reasons America’s Wehrmacht is so hellbent on this is to showcase weaponry.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Saudi Arabia used American-made Patriot missile interceptors to shoot down rockets fired by Houthi rebels from Yemen last week, according to a top U.S. military commander …
“Only last week, the Houthis in Yemen fired missiles into southern Saudi Arabia, which was defended by Saudi Patriot,” Adm. Cecil Haney, head of U.S. Strategic Command, said at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium, an annual conference attended by thousands of military and industry missile defense experts.
We snarfed von Braun up on the end of WWII and he later went on to be very big in Huntsville at what was then known as the Redstone Arsenal. The arsenal was transferred to NASA upon its inception and von Braun went on to become of one of the father’s of the Saturn V space rocket.
Here’s another shot. It really shows off his good side.
Because of his role in the development of American rocketry, from intercontinental ballistic missiles to the moonshot, von Braun received a get-out-of-atrocity free card from the American government. And today most of us, if asked, wouldn’t even recognize his name.
However, lessers of the Third Reich were punished for war crimes, and von Braun ran an operation that employed slave labor from the conquered countries. Prisoners were treated as the Reich treated all its concentration and death camp captives.
He may not have liked using slave labor to increase V-2 production, but he did not protest. During the last years of the war, thousands of rag-clad prisoners from the Dora concentration camp unloaded parts for the gleaming rockets and then returned to underground tunnels to sleep, and be beaten, in conditions of almost unimaginable filth and contagion. The death rates were astonishing (five thousand in the first three months of 1944), and, whether or not von Braun saw any of the beatings or hangings to which his fellow S.S. officers subjected the prisoners, Neufeld makes it meticulously clear that “he saw a lot.”
So there’s an almost full circle element to news of use of an American missile system in a campaign justly classified as a modern war crime, delivered in a symposium to sell more missile systems, at the center named in von Braun’s honor.
Nb: Americans have no more say in what their military in the great democracy does than citizens of the Third Reich had a say over WWII. That war in Yemen? No one home in the Culture of Lickspittle. Do whatever.
One of the toadies of America’s global Wehrmacht, Saudi Arabia, bombed a potato chip factory in Yemen last week. Today they bombed a hospital, This on top of bombing supermarkets, aid organizations, cement factories and civilians — with American support.
We provide the training, the bombers, the bombs, the targeting and refueling.
The bombing campaign is considered a war crime by various organizations, like Human Rights Watch and Doctors Without Borders.
The civil war, in which American weapons have cratered Yemen is all because the Houthi tribe kicked out the US and Saudi-backed government, forcing it to flee offshore. The Houthis occupy the capital, Sana, and the bombing hasn’t changed their minds, just created another humanitarian crisis, another rubble-ized Middle Eastern country and more atrocities. (The other big driver is Saudi Arabia’s hot war with anyone seen as proxies of Iran, in this case, the Houthis. Secondarily, we enable and support them in it.)
In any case, nothing can be allowed to escape the technological gaze of our military targeting systems, not even potato chip factories.
A hospital associated with Doctors Without Borders. A school. A potato chip factory. Under international law, those facilities in Yemen are not legitimate military targets. Yet all were bombed in recent days by warplanes belonging to a coalition led by Saudi Arabia, killing more than 40 civilians.
The United States is complicit in this carnage…
Given the civilian casualties, further American support for this war is indefensible. As [a Connecticut politican] told CNN on Tuesday: “There’s an American imprint on every civilian life lost in Yemen.”
Without the United States Air Force as a refueling linchpin for the Saudis, the bombing campaign in Yemen would collapse.
As of Aug. 8, “we’ve flown 1,144 aerial refueling sorties totaling approximately 9,793 flying hours and providing 40,535,200 pounds of fuel to 5,525 receiving aircraft,” Dougherty told Air Force Times in an email Monday. The latest statistics show sorties in support of the Saudi-led coalition against Yemeni rebels have increased roughly 61 percent since AFCENT last provided data in February …
Drily, the Air Force paper describes a vicious cycle of bombing.
The bombing campaign against the Houthis “dislodged” them from some areas, creating a “vacuum” in which alleged operations of al Qaeda were said to have increased. This has resulted in another bombing campaign over Yemen, one conducted directly by America’s Wehrmacht. In addition to the black bag operations conducted in a fractured country on the ground.
Technically, I should probably call it America’s Luftwaffe. But when you get down to it, globally the US military is a joint operation. The biggest arm of the Third Reich’s military was the army, the Heer. Operationally, at high tide, it reached from deep inside the old Soviet Union to the Atlantic, south to North Africa, to the islands of Greece and north to the Arctic Circle.
The Wehrmacht, while generally thought of in the US as the army of the Third Reich (entertainment, you see), encompassed all the service arms: the Kriegsmarine, the Luftwaffe, the regular army, and the Waffen SS. Because the German army was, by far, the dominant service, its command organization, OKH, or Oberkommando das Heer, was frequently in conflict with the joint command staff, OKW, the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht.
Therefore, in terms of understanding, America’s Wehrmacht is apt.
And I will continue to ram home the point. Americans, all of us, have no more say in the matters of their military than citizens of the Third Reich did. It’s a fact.
“The problem with all of this is that the Democrats went so far in the direction of advocacy for the global religion that they made something as idiotic as the rise of unabashed nativist Donald Trump possible … And maybe the next strongman those voters pick to lead them out of the wilderness won’t be quite as huge an idiot, or as suicidal a campaigner, as Trump…”
There are a lot of lacerating bits in Taibbi’s piece.
“We never really had a referendum on globalization in America,” he writes. “It just sort of happened. People had jobs one day, then the next morning they were fired, replaced by 14-year-olds in Indonesia …”
Macy’s announces it will close 100 stores. Wall Street boosts its stock 16 percent on the news. “Nearly all its stores are cash flow positive,” reads a business report.
“Although this is partly a reaction to being in a tough competitive position within the landscape, they are being more offensive than most, and this is the right move,” one of Wall Street’s vampires said. “It is not only good for Macy’s but also for the industry.”
“Good,” in this case, being shedding the employees.