Nina Easton and WORK in 2014

In the current issue of FORTUNE, Nina was decrying the boondoggle of the people “abusing” government handouts, instead of just getting job.
Dear Nina,
The title of your story: Time to Get Creative About Helping the Unemployed Back Into the Job Market poses a valuable challange and discusses a part of a larger issue, which you do not address.
Perhaps it is time to reevaluate the “truism” you quote, that “Nonwork is the surest route to poverty.”
This is February 2014. 
You are reflecting on an American Culture now past.
It is easy to sit at a comfortable desk, probably earning more than minimum wage, and critique the masses of unemployed, as if they were sub-humans and did not have the same rights, feelings and needs as you.
The current reality is a new age of higher efficiency and productivity with technological advancements in computers and robotic systems. Fewer people are needed to run automated systems. Often highly skilled (and well paying) jobs  no longer exist. Many jobs, jobs that built a solid middle class, have been either eliminated or off-shored, for the financial wellbeing of corporate institutions, their managers and shareholders..
With your impressive history, I’m surprised that your comments neglect to factor in many things that you must be conscious of:
1. Employees are, in general, no longer considered a part of the business “family”… to respect and be responsible to. They are now, essentially, independent contractors… but paid reduced wages that have, in no way, kept up with the spiraling costs of living.
2. Crudely put, the working class is getting screwed. Where during the glorious era, post WWII, work was abundant; corporate managers earned perhaps as much as 30 times a worker’s income. Today the ratio may be 130 times as high. Managers — including your interviewees, associates and peers, take home enough to live and consume richly.
3. The cost of living has continually risen, while wages rarely have. For the most part the middle class has been destroyed. 
4. Unions that remain are virtually powerless. Workers accept minimal wages and can’t speak out in fear that one of the multitude of out-of-workers will get their job.
5. Ronald Reagan’s economist Arthur Laffer talked of “trickle down economics.” That is pure B.S. 
Money is a closed system, like water. It flows up like evaporation, through purchases. When it rains back down the economy functions. If the bulk of money remains captured, there is a drought; the system is unsustainable.
6. Your analysis also neglects the money manipulators, who add no service or benefit to the wellbeing of the country or the economy. Their greed both triggered a massive, near catastrophic global depression. It wiped out the finances, living spaces and quality of life for millions of Americans. No wonder so many are in need of food stamps. Go tell your two year old to get economically responsible.
7. We now have an upcoming generation with a significant percentage being undernourished and undereducated -and angry. This is our future. The American Dream, which once was the model for the world, is barely a reality for a significant part of our country. We are fast becoming equivalent to a third world nation.
One more thing. Just where are all these jobs you are offering people who might choose not to live in poverty?
Have you not heard of hundreds of people applying for one job?
Have you experienced the humiliation of standing for half an hour or more in a line of distressed people needing food stamps to feed their family?
The government aid programs, handouts if you will, are a bandaid to the real economic problem.
We need to design a new way for the masses of Americans (and the residents of other countries too) to live with a degree of comfort and self respect where there are not enough jobs to employ them. The basic parameters have changed. The rule-makers are too myopic to get it.
Global economist Jeremy Rifkin wrote a book in 1996, called: THE END OF WORK — The Decline of the Global Labor Force and the Dawn of the Post-Market Era. Obviously, not enough people read it or took it to heart.
What if, instead of being wage slaves, the masses of people were freed by technology to explore their freedom and creativity? If you choose to write, you are free to do so.
Working hours could be cut so that more people can work (if they choose) at a comfortable living wage.
Rifkin also suggests that the government funds nonprofits so that they can employ people to provide services that the government cannot do as well.
Shockingly, work and money, after all are not an end in themselves. They are the means to living a good, full, healthy life. (The visionary founders of our Constitution did not envision masses of wage slaves.)
Billions of government funding dollars can be re-allocated. 
I would propose that Trillions of dollars be shifted from our prodigious military budget. It would be better for our country and the entire planet if, instead of sending our young people to war, (or prison for infractions of outdated laws,)* that we send them to higher educational institutions.
Perhaps we can again become a beacon to the world.
*It is clearly understood that the military and prison establishments currently also wield prodigious power.
Marv Lyons



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An open letter to Brothers Koch.

You now have more money than more than the combined wealth of half the people on the planet.

Unfortunately, becoming more wealthy will not make you more happy.
Happiness comes by serving others; ask Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

By using a portion of your vast wealth to serve others, you will not only feel joy, but of course, some of that wealth will return back to you.
It is a win/win situation, and one more win for the planet.

Best Wishes,

Cajones! Right or Wrong…


This 29 year-old analyst just gave up his whole life — his girlfriend, his job, and his home — to blow the whistle on the US government’s shocking PRISM program — which has been reading and recording our emails, Skype messages, Facebook posts and phone calls for years.

When Bradley Manning passed this kind of data to Wikileaks, the US threw him naked into solitary confinement in conditions that the UN called “cruel, inhumane and degrading”.

The authorities and press are deciding right now how to handle this scandal. If millions of us stand with Edward in the next 48 hours, it will send a powerful statement that he should be treated like the brave whistleblower that he is, and it should be PRISM, and not Edward, that the US cracks down on:Image


PRISM is profoundly disturbing: it gives the US government unlimited access to all of our personal email and social media accounts on Google, Youtube, Facebook, Skype, Hotmail, Yahoo and much more. They’re recording billions of our messages every month and the CIA can now or in future use the information to prosecute, persecute, or blackmail us, our friends or our families!

Edward was horrified by this unprecedented violation of individual privacy. So he copied large amounts of files, escaped to Hong Kong and sent them to the Guardian newspaper for publication. Now he’s trapped in a hotel room, waiting to be arrested. A global outcry could save him from extradition to the US, and encourage other countries to grant him asylum.

We can’t let the US do to Edward what they did to Bradley Manning. Let’s urgently stand with him, and against PRISM:


Sometimes the things our governments do are simply breathtaking. When heroic individuals like Edward have risked their own freedoms to bring scandals of this scale into light, the Avaaz community has come together to demand fair treatment — and won. After more than half a million of us called on the US government to stop its cruel treatment of Bradley Manning, he was relocated to a medium-security prison and taken out of solitary confinement. If we act quickly, we might do better for Edward, and help him win the fight he’s bravely taken on, for all our sakes.

With hope and determination,

Emma, Oli, Dalia, Laura, Ricken, Rewan and the whole Avaaz team 

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