Category: Entrepreneurship


MoyersandCompany MoyersandCompany

Published on Aug 23, 2013

Bill Moyers says the parody and satire of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert pay Washington the disrespect it deserves, but in the end it’s the city’s predatory mercenaries who have the last laugh

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Tomgram: Bill Moyers, Covering Class War

If you’ve heard the phrase “class war” in twenty-first-century America, the odds are that it’s been a curse spat from the mouths of Republican warriors castigating Democrats for engaging in high crimes and misdemeanors like trying to tax the rich.  Back in 2011, for example, President Obama’s modest proposal of a “millionaire tax” was typically labeled “class warfare” and he was accused by Congressman Paul Ryan, among others, of heading down the “class warfare path.”  Similarly, in 2012, Mitt Romney and other Republican presidential hopefuls blasted the president for encouraging “class warfare” by attacking entrepreneurial success. In the face of such charges, Democrats invariably go on the defensive, denying that they are in any way inciters of class warfare.  In the meantime, unions and the poor are blasted by the same right-wing crew for having the devastatingly bad taste to act in a manner that supposedly might lead to such conflict.

In our own time, to adapt a classic line slightly, how the mighty have risen!  And that story could be told in terms of the fate of the phrase “class war,” which deserves its Stephen Colbert or Jon Stewart moment.  After all, for at least a century, it was a commonplace in an all-American lexicon in which “class struggle,” “working class,” and “plutocrat” were typical everyday words and it was used not to indict those on the bottom but the rich of whatever gilded age we were passing into or out of.  It was essentially purged from the national vocabulary in the economic good times (and rabidly anti-communist years) after World War II, only to resurface with the Republican resurgence of the 1980s as a way to dismiss anyone challenging those who controlled ever more of the wealth and power in America.

It was a phrase, that is, impounded by Republicans in the name of, and in the defense of, those who were already impounding so much else in American life.  All you have to do is take a look at recent figures on income and wealth inequality, on where the money’s really going in this society, to recognize the truth of Warren Buffet’s famed comment: “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

Recently, Bill Moyers (who needs no introduction) gave a speech at the Brennan Center in New York City in which he laid out what class warfare really means in this society.  The first appearance of the host of Moyers & Company at TomDispatch is a full-throated call to save what’s left of American democracy from — another of those banned words that should come back into use — the plutocrats.  Tom

The Great American Class War
Plutocracy Versus Democracy
By Bill Moyers

I met Supreme Court Justice William Brennan in 1987 when I was creating a series for public television called In Search of the Constitution, celebrating the bicentennial of our founding document.  By then, he had served on the court longer than any of his colleagues and had written close to 500 majority opinions, many of them addressing fundamental questions of equality, voting rights, school segregation, and — in New York Times v. Sullivan in particular — the defense of a free press.

Those decisions brought a storm of protest from across the country.  He claimed that he never took personally the resentment and anger directed at him.  He did, however, subsequently reveal that his own mother told him she had always liked his opinions when he was on the New Jersey court, but wondered now that he was on the Supreme Court, “Why can’t you do it the same way?” His answer: “We have to discharge our responsibility to enforce the rights in favor of minorities, whatever the majority reaction may be.”

Although a liberal, he worried about the looming size of government. When he mentioned that modern science might be creating “a Frankenstein,” I asked, “How so?”  He looked around his chambers and replied, “The very conversation we’re now having can be overheard. Science has done things that, as I understand it, makes it possible through these drapes and those windows to get something in here that takes down what we’re talking about.”

That was long before the era of cyberspace and the maximum surveillance state that grows topsy-turvy with every administration.  How I wish he were here now — and still on the Court!

My interview with him was one of 12 episodes in that series on the Constitution.  Another concerned a case he had heard back in 1967.  It involved a teacher named Harry Keyishian who had been fired because he would not sign a New York State loyalty oath.  Justice Brennan ruled that the loyalty oath and other anti-subversive state statutes of that era violated First Amendment protections of academic freedom.

I tracked Keyishian down and interviewed him.  Justice Brennan watched that program and was fascinated to see the actual person behind the name on his decision.  The journalist Nat Hentoff, who followed Brennan’s work closely, wrote, “He may have seen hardly any of the litigants before him, but he searched for a sense of them in the cases that reached him.”  Watching the interview with Keyishian, he said, “It was the first time I had seen him.  Until then, I had no idea that he and the other teachers would have lost everything if the case had gone the other way.”

Toward the end of his tenure, when he was writing an increasing number of dissents on the Rehnquist Court, Brennan was asked if he was getting discouraged. He smiled and said, “Look, pal, we’ve always known — the Framers knew — that liberty is a fragile thing.  You can’t give up.”  And he didn’t.

The Donor Class and Streams of Dark Money

The historian Plutarch warned us long ago of what happens when there is no brake on the power of great wealth to subvert the electorate.  “The abuse of buying and selling votes,” he wrote of Rome, “crept in and money began to play an important part in determining elections.  Later on, this process of corruption spread in the law courts and to the army, and finally, when even the sword became enslaved by the power of gold, the republic was subjected to the rule of emperors.”

We don’t have emperors yet, but we do have the Roberts Court that consistently privileges the donor class.

We don’t have emperors yet, but we do have a Senate in which, as a study by the political scientist Larry Bartels reveals, “Senators appear to be considerably more responsive to the opinions of affluent constituents than to the opinions of middle-class constituents, while the opinions of constituents in the bottom third of the income distribution have no apparent statistical effect on their senators’ roll call votes.”

We don’t have emperors yet, but we have a House of Representatives controlled by the far right that is now nourished by streams of “dark money” unleashed thanks to the gift bestowed on the rich by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case.

We don’t have emperors yet, but one of our two major parties is now dominated by radicals engaged in a crusade of voter suppression aimed at the elderly, the young, minorities, and the poor; while the other party, once the champion of everyday working people, has been so enfeebled by its own collaboration with the donor class that it offers only token resistance to the forces that have demoralized everyday Americans.

Writing in the Guardian recently, the social critic George Monbiot commented,

“So I don’t blame people for giving up on politics… When a state-corporate nexus of power has bypassed democracy and made a mockery of the voting process, when an unreformed political system ensures that parties can be bought and sold, when politicians [of the main parties] stand and watch as public services are divvied up by a grubby cabal of privateers, what is left of this system that inspires us to participate?”

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Nanette Lepore
Founder

Nanette Lepore Company

via  AmericanMade Heroes .com

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That ‘Made in U.S.A.’ Premium

Margaret Cheatham Williams/The New York Times

 

The designer Nanette Lepore is a cheerleader for New York City’s garment district. Most of her contemporary women’s clothing line, which sells at stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s, is made locally.

American Made

The Price Barrier

This series examines the challenges associated with manufacturing in the United States.

The Fessler USA factory in Pennsylvania was unable to keep running.

Her company occupies six floors in a building on West 35th Street and uses, among other businesses, six nearby sewing factories, a cutting room and even a maker of fabric flowers in the neighborhood. She organizes “Save the Fashion District” rallies, writes about the danger of losing local production and lobbies lawmakers in Washington to support the American fashion industry.

“If my only option as a young designer was to make my clothing overseas, I could not have started my business,” she said.

Yet Ms. Lepore says that when she signed a deal with J. C. Penney for a low-cost clothing line for teenagers — clothing that sells for about one-tenth the price of her higher-end lines — Penney could not afford production in New York.

Of the 150 or so items she now has featured on Penney’s website, none are made in this country. “That price point can’t be done here,” Ms. Lepore said of lower-end garments.

As textile and apparel companies begin shifting more production to the United States, taking advantage of automation and other cost savings, a hard economic truth is emerging:  Production of cheaper goods, for which consumers are looking for low prices, is by and large staying overseas, where manufacturers can find less expensive manufacturing. Even when consumers are confronted with the human costs of cheap production, like the factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,000 garment workers, garment makers say, they show little inclination to pay more for clothes.

Essentially, to buy American is to pay a premium — a reality that is acting as a drag on the nascent manufacturing resurgence in textiles and apparel, while also forcing United States companies to focus their American-made efforts on higher-quality goods that fetch higher prices.

Last year, Dillard’s, the midtier department store, wanted to promote American-made clothing, according to Fessler USA, an apparel maker in eastern Pennsylvania. It turned to Fessler to produce tops. Theirs was a brief relationship. “Almost overnight, they called and said, ‘Made in America just doesn’t sell better than made in Asia, and you can’t beat the price,’ ” said Walter Meck, Fessler’s chief executive and principal owner.

The pattern repeats across retailers. Brooks Brothers’ American-made cashmere sport coats sell for $1,395; comparable imported ones go for $1,098. At Lands’ End, American-made sweatshirts cost $59, while the ones made in Vietnam cost $25. The label on an Abercrombie & Fitch American-made sweater, which sells for $150, screams about its American origins. But most of the sweaters for sale at Abercrombie are the cheaper ones priced at $68 and up, and made abroad.

Eric Schiffer, known as Ricky, and his business partner, Leonard Keff, last year opened Keff NYC, a knitting operation in New York’s garment district. Business has been good, with contracts from higher-price retailers like Abercrombie, Anthropologie and Ralph Lauren. One afternoon earlier this year, Mr. Schiffer watched as a table full of women knotted loose threads on Ralph Lauren gloves destined for the American team in the Winter Olympics next year in Sochi, Russia. (Ralph Lauren chose American manufacturing only under pressure from consumers and government officials up in arms after it supplied Olympics uniforms made in China for the 2012 Summer Games.)

Though labor costs about 40 percent more than in China, and retail prices end up 20 percent higher, Mr. Schiffer says Keff’s clients — and, more important, their customers — can afford it.

“We can’t work with the Targets and the J. C. Penneys of the world,” he said. “It’s not for everyone. It’s really just for the higher-end companies.”

Paying for Quality, or Not

Americans spend more than $340 billion a year on clothes and shoes, more than double what they spend on new cars, according to the American Apparel and Footwear Association. And they say they want to buy American, even if it hits them harder in the pocketbook.

Two-thirds of Americans say they check labels when shopping to see if they are buying American goods, according to a New York Times poll taken early this year. Given the example of a $50 garment made overseas, almost half of respondents — 46 percent — said they would be willing to pay from $5 to $20 more for a similar garment made in the United States.

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Previous Articles:

A Wave of Sewing Jobs as Orders Pile Up at U.S. Factories

U.S. Textile Plants Return, With Floors Largely Empty of People

Related Video

Matt Rourke/Associated Press

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Save the Garment Center

Blowback601

Uploaded on Nov 3, 2009

The Garment Industry used to be the number one employer in New York City. Today, a small core of businesses remains that are being pushed out by high rents and overseas competition. They have banded together to petition the city for policies that would Save the Garment Center.

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900,000 Reasons Obamacare Is Bad: Moving Americans from Work to Welfare

Medicaid Food Stamps Waiting Room

Newscom

 

A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research by professors from Columbia University, Northwestern University, and the University of Chicago argues that, as a result of Obamacare, between half a million and 900,000 Americans may leave the workforce and receive welfare. The bill grants free or heavily subsidized public health insurance to hundreds of thousands of working Americans who are not currently eligible.

Americans who currently remain employed in order to receive health insurance may decide to leave the workforce when insurance is provided to them by Obamacare. According to the report, this would cause a decline in the aggregate employment rate of 0.3–0.6 percentage points, posing significant harm to a still-recovering economy.

This growth in the welfare state would represent just another step the Administration has taken toward encouraging dependence. As Heritage experts Robert Rector and Katherine Bradley note, “Government should encourage constructive behaviors leading to self-reliance and prosperity rather than rewarding counterproductive behaviors leading to costly dependence and poverty.”

 

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business

Bernie Marcus, Home Depot Co-Founder: Obamacare Will ‘Kill Off Small Business’ (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 04/11/2013 7:40 pm EDT

 

Rather than serve as a cure-all for a broken health care system, Obamacare will be a harbinger of death, says Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus. The death of main street, that is.

Rising costs from providing expanded health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act will be too much to bear for mom and pop operations, Marcus told Newsmax TV Thursday at a summit for Job Creators Alliance, a group he established after retiring from and severing ties with Home Depot in 2002.

“Obamacare is going to kill off small business,” Marcus said, while simultanesouly criticizing other forms of government regulation, such as Dodd-Frank and the Environmental Protection Agency. Such programs, he argues, only stand in the way of small business growth.

 

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ReasonTV

Published on Sep 17, 2013

“Someone breaks in, they never show up. Yet still, they want to come and blackball you and close your business,” says Derek Little, owner of an auto shop along Detroit’s Livernois Avenue.

He’s one of many business owners in Detroit who’s faced what he says amounts to harassment from the city’s overzealous code enforcement. Amidst a bankruptcy and a fast-dwindling population and tax base, the city has prioritized the task of ensuring that all businesses are in compliance with its codes and permitting. To accomplish this, Mayor David Bing announced in January that he’d assembled a task force to execute Operation Compliance.

Operation Compliance began with the stated goal of shutting down 20 businesses a week. Since its inception, Operation Compliance has resulted in the closure of 383 small businesses, with another 536 in the “process of compliance,” according to figures provided to Reason TV by city officials.

But business owners say that Operation Compliance unfairly targets small, struggling businesses in poor areas of town and that the city’s maze of regulations is nearly impossible to navigate, with permit fees that are excessive and damaging to businesses running on thin profit margins.

“It is hard to run a business in Detroit. It’s taken me three years to get approval for an outside patio,” says Larry Mongo, who runs Cafe D’Mongo’s Speakeasy a successful bar and restaurant in downtown Detroit.

While Cafe D’Mongo’s is now well-established and successful, Mongo says that the inscrutable regulations, frustrating bureaucracy, and rampant corruption among city officials discourages many would-be entrepreneurs from ever pursuing their business ideas in the city.

“What about the person starting out? The reputation that they give their relatives, their cousins, their friends… They say, ‘Hey, don’t [start a business]. They rob you,'” says Mongo.

Operation Compliance is but one manifestation of a larger problem in Detroit says Michael LaFaive, Director of the Mackinac Center in Michigan. That problem is a local government more focused on collecting revenue and maintaining municipal worker jobs than it is on creating a business-friendly environment.

“Accidentally, the city has created sort of an anarchistic culture in the city, where many entrepreneurs, where many of the smaller retailers and entrepreneurs simply forgo getting the required permits,” says LaFaive. “So entrepreneurs have said, ‘Look, let them catch me if they can.’ Right now, the city has decided, ‘We’re going to try to catch you, and we’re going to put together a special unit to do so.'”

Officials from the city of Detroit did not respond to requests to be interviewed for this story.

Approximately 5 minutes. Produced by Zach Weissmueller. Shot by Tracy Oppenheimer and Weissmueller.

Visit http://reason.com/reasontv for downloadable versions of this video, and don’t forget to subscribe to Reason TV’s Youtube channel for more content like this.

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By Thomas Hüetlin

Photo Gallery: Cars for Co-Consumers 
Maurice Weiss/ DER SPIEGEL

As collaborative consumption becomes increasingly mainstream, many young Germans are starting to see vehicle ownership as inconvenient and old-fashioned. Keen to keep up, the auto industry is turning to car-sharing.

Imagine a road trip that starts on a narrow backstreet in Rome, bathed in the rosy light of dawn. Visualize driving along roads lined with pine trees, past hill-top villages, motoring from the ocean to snow-capped mountains. Then on to Paris, London, and finally to the green hills of Scotland, stretched out before you like a giant golf course.

ANZEIGE

Own a car, and live the dream. Climb into a cozy interior, as familiar and comfortable as your own living room. Then head out into the great unknown in search of adventure, away from everyday life, all your senses thrilling at the grand vistas, the freedom and the speed.

Matthias Lorenz-Meyer freezes these images on his computer screen with a click of his mouse. His trip from Rome to Edinburgh lasted three weeks, and required two tanks of gas. But the vehicle didn’t belong to him. It belonged to Ford. He was paid handsomely for the journey — the film was a commercial. He sold his own car, a Renault Twingo, last year. “I’m glad I got rid of it,” he says. “It was a drag.”

Lorenz-Meyer is an advertising model and Internet entrepreneur, not a dropout or a fanatic. He is one of the many Germans under 40 living in cities who are both a puzzle and a worry to the auto industry. The reason? They no longer care about owning their own vehicles.

In Germany, the home of the automobile and where the auto industry is still a key sector of the economy, this is almost akin to a betrayal.

Around 46 percent of people living in the capital Berlin manage without their own vehicle. In New York, the figure is as high as 56 percent. Urban residents who still have vehicles don’t use them very often, either. In Munich, the average vehicle is in use for just 45 minutes a day. The rest of the time it’s just sitting there costing money in insurance, tax, depreciation and probably parking fees.

Many residents of larger cities see owning their own vehicle as something they can do without, as annoying excess baggage. Vehicle sales have dropped dramatically among the target customers of tomorrow. The purchasers of new vehicles are getting older. Since 1995, the average age has risen from 46 to 52.

For young people, other things matter more. “Young people today want to be mobile, and a cell phone gives them completely different possibilities when it comes to a vehicle,” says Michael Kuhndt, head of the Wuppertal Institute Collaborating Center on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP).

In the old days, the automobile was something everyone had to have. It symbolized independence and adulthood. These days, young people are geographically and virtually mobile, for which they need a mobile phone. A vehicle doesn’t help them travel to Honduras, New Zealand or Vietnam.

“Mobile phones really open up the possibilities for living in various parts of the world,” says Kuhndt. “Young people think of automobiles as too heavy, too much of a burden.”

Fighting Back

The auto industry, unwilling to lose its young customers, is fighting back with car-sharing — hoping to restore interest in the automobile with an alternative payment system. Mercedes, through its subsidiary car2go, supplies Smarts in Munich, Hamburg, Cologne, Berlin and elsewhere. BMW supplies Mini Coopers, BMW 1 Series and X1s through its DriveNow program. Citroën offers the electric C-Zero through Multicity. And the German railway company Deutsche Bahn offers various models through its Flinkster system, from Fiat 500s to Volkswagen Golfs.

Usage is generally calculated on a time basis: 29 euro cents a minute with car2go, 28 cents with Multicity, 31 cents a minute with DriveNow. Customers register with one or more firms, pay a registration fee and receive an electronic chip by post. Via a smartphone app, they can find out where the closest vehicle is. When they finish their journey, they park, get out and go. The bill is then sent by email to their phone. It’s an uncomplicated service that clearly works: At the end of 2011, Germany had around 260,000 registered car-sharers; at the beginning of 2013, there were already more than 450,000.

According to figures published by the Fraunhofer Institute, the number of automobiles in Germany will halve by 2050. “The cities are green, pleasant places to live, pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly; there are ample car-sharing parking spots and cycle stations at every larger transport hub,” say the authors of the study “A sustainable transport vision for Germany.” Even in the United States — the No. 1 energy consumer among industrial nations — one shared car will replace at least eight private passenger vehicles in the future, according to calculations by the study’s authors.

Car-sharing is part of a social trend in which consumers prefer to share certain items with each other rather than own them. Smartphones make this possible, allowing individuals to move around the modern city and get whatever they need at different points during the day.

The trend reflects the flexibility of new lifestyles and careers. For Internet entrepreneur Matthias Lorenz-Meyer, the smartphone forms the center of his existence. For Constanze Siedenburg, graphic designer and spokesperson for the Green Party on school and sports policies in Berlin’s Pankow district, life revolves around her local area and family, but as a road user she has much in common with Lorenz-Meyer. She too has sold her car and now drives vehicles that don’t belong to her. The lifestyle choices of both the happily single Internet entrepreneur and the environmentally-aware mother of two illustrate what mobility in major Western cities could look like in the years to come.

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ReasonTV·

Published on Aug 18, 2013

“When you restrict someone like Hector from running his business, when you hit him with fines and prohibitions, and you give him all these restrictions” says Sean Malone, the Creative Media Director of the Charles Koch Institute, “you’re not killing some big business. What you’re doing, in this case, is harming immigrant guys.”

Malone sat down with Nick Gillespie of ReasonTV to discuss his new online documentary, “No Vans Land.” It tells the story of Hector Ricketts, a Jamaican immigrant who settled in New York City and started a commuter van service. Ricketts’ vans catered to a neglected market: healthcare workers in the outer boroughs, far from Manhattan, who were underserved by public transportation. He offered fares that were lower than city buses, while receiving no subsidies from taxpayers.

As Ricketts’ business grew, he came into conflict with the city. The metropolitan transit workers union perceived his vans as a threat to their livelihood. The politically powerful union pressured the city to crack down on the entire commuter van industry, imposing restrictions and fines that made it difficult to conduct business.

With time, tenacity, and the assistance of the Institute for Justice, a libertarian law firm, Ricketts was able to take on the city bureaucracy, and win the right to stay in business.

Malone continues to make documentaries about the struggles of small entrepreneurs. His next project champions entrepreneurs in the hair braiding profession, who’ve created jobs in Mississippi by eliminating arbitrary barriers to enter the field.

Go to http://reason.com/reasontv/2013/08/16… for downloadable versions and subscribe to ReasonTV’s YouTube Channel to receive notifications when new material goes live.

Runs about 6:50.

Produced by Todd Krainin. Camera by Amanda Winkler and Krainin.

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Money is certainly useful, and getting it should matter to you, but merely having money is no measure of your dignity or your value as a producer. Actively improving the world, however – producing – is a proper measure of dignity. So, how were the beauty and dignity of work ruined?

 

By Paul Rosenberg, FreemansPerspective.com

Freeman's Perspective

At one time I lived very close to the Field Museum of Chicago; I had a membership and spent a good deal of time there. One evening, about ten minutes before closing, I noticed that workmen had begun preparing the first floor for an evening event. I had a panoramic view from where I stood at the second floor balcony, and what I saw has stuck with me ever since.

What I saw was a lone man setting up tables and chairs – simple work, the kind that any teenager could do. But what I watched this man do was every bit as beautiful as dance. He moved with integrity, with precision, and with intent. He carefully spaced the tables in a precise geometry, he moved every chair with efficiency. This was more than just work; it was also art. This man knew that he was doing his job well, and, perhaps most importantly, he enjoyed doing it well.

I was transfixed by it all, and I stood there until the guards asked me to leave. And even then, I moved very slowly until I lost sight of him.

There is real beauty in doing a job well, even a simple job. It is our great loss that this form of beauty is never mentioned in public these days – double-sad, because at one time, such beauty was acknowledged.

This brings us to an obvious question: What happened? How did we lose the beauty and dignity of work? I’ll answer that in a moment, but first I want to explain what I mean by “the productive class.”

What Is The Productive Class?

The productive class includes all those people who are engaged in improving life upon Earth: The people who build and repair our cars, our houses, and our computers. The people who provide us with air conditioning, electricity, plumbing, and food. The people who make, clean, and repair our clothing. The people who treat our sicknesses and wounds.

If you can drive around town and point out places where you repaired things, or delivered things, or fed people, or made human life better in any of a thousand ways, you are a producer.

If you survive and persist at the expense of others, on the other hand, you are not a producer.

But if you are a producer, there is an inherent dignity in what you do. You are actively making the world better. You are directly creating benefit for yourself and for other human beings. What you do every day is morally virtuous and worthy of respect. And you should never let anyone tell you otherwise.

And, it’s worth pointing out: Money is not a measure of your worth. In a perfect world, that might be true, but this isn’t a perfect world. In our time, morality and money don’t always travel together.

Money is certainly useful, and getting it should matter to you, but merely having money is no measure of your dignity or your value as a producer. Actively improving the world, however – producing – is a proper measure of dignity.

What Happened?

So, how were the beauty and dignity of work ruined?

The short answer: They were killed by hierarchy and status. I’ll explain briefly:

Humans have been carefully taught to accept, respect, and respond to hierarchy for thousands of years. As a result, we respond emotionally to images of kings, ‘great leaders,’ and so on. But it was the industrial era that finally did in the respect for work. After all, this was a time when millions of people accepted deathly boring jobs simply for better pay. The meaning of their work became a paycheck and nothing more.

And in the industrial setting, there was one clear marker of status: the position of ordering other people around.

The bosses got status and the workers got checks, and both lost meaning and satisfaction from their work. The assumption that was planted in us over the industrial era was this:

Only people who order others around matter. Everyone else should feel shame in their presence.

This, of course, played perfectly into the hands of politicians. This can be seen in the plague of “great leaders” and world wars that erupted at the height of the industrial era, in the first half of the 20th century.

In any event, status is gorilla-level garbage; what matters is what you are, not which position you hold within some kind of hierarchy. By believing in hierarchy and status, we lost the satisfaction of work.

What, Really, Is Work?

It’s important to look at things directly; to focus and see them for what they really are, not just by what other people say about them.

This is what I see when I focus on work itself:

Productive work is the insertion of creativity into the world. It is the birthing of benefit into the world. People who do this should be deeply satisfied by what they do.

Compared to productive work, status is merely ornamental puffery, a shiny coat with the word “Important” emblazoned upon it, and worn by a sad little man.

If you are a member of the productive class, you should re-arrange your mind and stop responding to the demands of hierarchy and status. Instead, pay attention to things that really improve human life in the world.

Creating things, improving things, or making it possible for other people to create… these are noble, beautiful, and important things. We should gain a deep and enduring satisfaction from doing them.

And, indeed, when we put our minds and efforts to it, that’s exactly what we will gain.

 

[Editor's Note: Paul Rosenberg is the outside-the-Matrix author of FreemansPerspective.com, a site dedicated to economic freedom, personal independence and privacy. He is also the author of The Great Calendar, a report that breaks down our complex world into an easy-to-understand model. Click here to get your free copy.]

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Jon Rappoport
Activist Post

“What is finished is the idea that this great country is dedicated to the freedom and flourishing of every individual in it. It’s the individual that’s finished. It’s the single, solitary human being that’s finished. It’s every single one of you out there that’s finished. Because this is no longer a nation of independent individuals. It’s a nation of some two hundred odd million transistorized, deodorized, whiter-than-white, steel-belted bodies, totally unnecessary as human beings and as replaceable as piston rods.” — Howard Beale, in Paddy Chayefsky’s 1976 film, Network

But that was only a movie. Who cares about that? You go into a theater, sit there in the dark for a couple of hours, walk out, and think about something else.

For several years now, I’ve been writing about the decline of the individual. The wipeout.

Every time I write an article on this subject, I receive suggestions. I should go back and re-read Marx. I need to understand the difference between “communal, communitarian, community, communist.” I should research worker-owned businesses. What about trans-substantial transpersonal sub-brain algorithmic psychology? How about the pygmies? Ego? Superego? Id?

I appreciate these and other remarks, but I’m talking about the individual, about Self, beyond any construct, beyond citizenship, beyond membership, beyond sociology or anthropology or archeology.

The individual is enshrined in various political documents, but his rights don’t originate there. Neither does courage nor imagination.

I’ve laid out the enormous psyop designed to submerge the individual in unconscious goo. This psyop depends on the repetition of words like: unity, love, caring, community, family. And phrases like “we’re all in this together.”

The individual is characterized as: lone, outsider, selfish, greedy, inhumane, petty. Turn him into an exile, excommunicated from the great body of humanity.

Here, in the usual prose, is a familiar formulation of the grand psyop: “We can no longer afford the luxury of thinking of ourselves as individuals. The stakes are too high. Finally, we must all come together and realize our presence on this planet is a shared experience. The decimation of our resources, through hatred and divisive behavior, the denial of love and community, the cold greed and excessive profit-making, the whole range of social and political injustices—all this can ultimately be laid at the door of the individual who refuses to join the rest of humanity…”

Is this manifesto valid? It’s a deception, BECAUSE it’s aimed at making the individual extinct.

And once that happens, the collective, managed by Globalist princes, will have a clear path to the control of Earth, at the expense of the rest of us. And the cruelties we now witness will pale in comparison to what is in store for us.

When hopes and dreams are loose in the streets, it is well for the timid to lock doors, shutter windows and lie low until the wrath has passed. For there is often a monstrous incongruity between the hopes, however noble and tender, and the action which follows them. It is as if ivied maidens and garlanded youths were to herald the four horsemen of the apocalypse…The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race, or his holy cause…Collective unity is not the result of the brotherly love of the faithful for each other. The loyalty of the true believer [who surrenders Self] is to the whole — the church, party, nation — and not to his fellow true believer. True loyalty between individuals is possible only in a loose and relatively free society. — Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, 1951

Wait. Isn’t that a bit harsh? Isn’t that too “critical and negative?” Where is the cosmic share-and-care we need to spread like butter over the whole universe? I mean, Eric Hoffer was a wonderful writer, and he was a working man, a longshoreman for his whole life, so we should admire him, but today’s prophets are wired directly into the Unity that will save us all automatically—like a toaster popping up with toast every time…right?

On some mid-west college campus, a wide-eyed kid of 19, full of hope and optimism, is studying political science. His professor is running down the catalog of stunning injustices that populate far-off regions of the planet.

The boy wants to help. His professor gives him the name of a humanitarian group that runs operations in Africa. The boy, in some sort of “personal crisis,” drops out of school and signs on with the group.

Little does he know that the charity he is now working with in Africa has ties to USAID, which in turn is a solid CIA front. The real mission of the charity, unknown to most or all of its members, is gathering information that can be used as intelligence.

Under the banner of justice, help, hope, and unity of all peoples, the charity is providing actionable intell to CIA-backed “rebel forces” who are carrying out assassinations and bombings in advance of a political coup.

The coup will pave the way for new deals with multinational scum, organized as corporations, to enter the scene and plunder natural resources and labor at more formidable levels.

Five years later, the boy leaves the charity and returns to the US. He is confused, looking for another group in which he can submerge himself. He’s hooked on groups…

The naïve have given up the ghost on their own independent existence. That is the key.

Think of some of the messages of recent pathetic presidents. Bush the Elder: “Kinder, gentler.” Clinton: “I feel your pain.” Bush 2: “No child left behind.” Obama: “We’re all in this together.”

Judging by these presidents’ murderous actions, it’s clear they were selling unity and caring and togetherness as cover stories for oppressive business as usual.

The op? Make the individual extinct, present him as a useless and dangerous and outmoded construct. Then, whatever real unity that might exist between individuals will vanish, because the population will take on the shape of a coagulated mass melted down into a cosmic glob of androidal harmony.

Artists have warned about all this. Their so-called supporters say, “Oh yes, he was a wonderful writer. Misunderstood, of course, but brave in the face of utter rejection.” The usual claptrap. Point is, these gushing advocates conveniently and easily forget what the artists actually wrote.

Here is another reminder from an Outsider who was glad to be outside. He was a hero to some. He was reviled by many.

A bureau operates on opposite principles of inventing needs to justify its existence. Bureaucracy is wrong as a cancer, a turning away from the human evolutionary direction of infinite potentials and differentiation and independent spontaneous action to the complete parasitism of a virus…Bureaus die when the structure of the state collapse. They are as helpless and unfit for independent existence as a displaced tapeworm, or a virus that has killed the host.

After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.

There is simply no room left for ‘freedom from the tyranny of government’ since city dwellers depend on it for food, power, water, transportation, protection, and welfare. Your right to live where you want, with companions of your choosing, under laws to which you agree, died in the eighteenth century with Captain Mission. Only a miracle or a disaster could restore it.

The author? William S. Burroughs. But not to worry, he was crazy. Of course he was. He didn’t profess utter loyalty to the mass of humanity. He didn’t prostrate himself before “the greater good.” He didn’t preach unity and togetherness.

He was an individual. Therefore, he is obsolete. A cherished memory of a time now wiped from the mind. Now we are all dancing and marching in the psyop.

Here’s another psyop and cultural theme: the distortion of money and the free market.

The psyop goes this way: The making of $ is a religious event comparable to the arrival of Jesus or the appearance of the Great Buddha. Indeed, isn’t Christmas the season measured by consumer sales?

A life justified is a life of the bottom-line cash register, a poem to make Shakespeare turn pale with envy.

It doesn’t matter what a product is. If it sells, it must be good. It must mean something profound.

Nail polish, a new plastic toy, a little robot that sings songs—they’re Walt Whitman and Michangelo and Bach because they jumped off store shelves.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are geniuses because they and their companies amassed billions. It has to be so.

The team that put together Goofy Bird III, the summer blockbuster hit, are the Chaucers of our time. The box office proved it.

EFForg EFForg

Published on May 22, 2013

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is being negotiated in secret between more than 12 countries around the Pacific region. Find out why it’s the biggest threat to the Internet you’ve probably never heard of.

Farmer Faces Over 2 Years Jail, $10K Fines for Feeding Community

Activist Post

Things are heating up in Baraboo, Wisconsin as a long awaited food rights trial approaches.

Raw milk drinkers are outraged that Wisconsin DATCP is bringing criminal charges against a farmer who serves a private buying club. Do citizens have a right to contract with a producer and grow food to their own standards? That is what is at stake in this case. – Kimberly Hartke, Publicist Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund

Customers and Other Supporters to Attend Court with Farmer

Food rights activists from around North America will meet at the Sauk County Courthouse in this tiny town on May 20 to support Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger and food sovereignty. Hershberger, whose trial begins that day, is charged with four criminal misdemeanors that could land this husband and father in county jail for up to 30 months with fines of over $10,000…

The Wisconsin Department of Agricultural Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) targeted Hershberger for supplying a private buying club with fresh milk and other farm products.

DATCP has charged Hershberger with, among other things, operating a retail food establishment without a license. Hershberger repeatedly rejects this, citing that he provides foods only to paid members in a private buying club and is not subject to state food regulations.

Hershberger says:

There is more at stake here than just a farmer and his few customers — this is about the fundamental right of farmers and consumers to engage in peaceful, private, mutually consenting agreements for food, without additional oversight.

Read Full Article and Watch Video Here

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