The oligarchs are moving very powerfully and relentlessly to dismantle democracy and the battleground is the Greatest Democracy on Earth (TM), the United States.
From disinformation services that spew outright falsehoods and propaganda to inculcate fear, confusion, targeted frustration and anger in an ignorant populace; to vote-rigging and the use of electronic voting technology tailor-made for manipulation; to voter ID laws that suppress minorities and the poor; to outright intimidation of working Americans by the rich and powerful, America remains a democracy in name only.
Michael Paarlberg, writing in The Guardian, reports that in America today, a "wrong" vote can cost you your job.
|Romney Stage Props Ordered to Take the Stage or Else|
Florida-based ASG Software CEO Arthur Allen informed his employees that he was contemplating a merger that would eliminate "60% of the salaries" of the company – should Romney lose. In Ohio, coal mine owner Robert Murray left employees in no doubt that they were expected to attend a Romney rally – off the clock and without pay. In Cuba, at least they pay workers for show demonstrations.
...News outlets, on the other hand, are merely confused.
"Can your boss really tell you who to vote for?" asked the Atlantic incredulously, before concluding the answer is "probably yes". Should this be a surprise? Seeing that your boss can legally tell you to do nearly anything else, down to what you may wear, when you may eat and how often you may go to the bathroom (and, if he wishes, demand samples when you do), the question comes across as a little naïve. So, too, is the corollary "Can you be fired for expressing political views at work?" Again, the answer is probably yes, which should only be a shock to anyone who has never held a job in an American private-sector workplace.
In truth, as an "at-will" (that is, non-union) employee, you can be fired for much less. In Arizona, you can be fired for using birth control. If you live in any one of 29 states, you can be fired for being gay. You can be fired for being a fan of the Green Bay Packers if your boss roots for the Bears
Lest you think employer authority ends when you clock out, only four states – California, Colorado, New York and North Dakota – protect workers from being fired for legal activity outside of work. For the rest, workers can and have been fired for anything from smoking to cross-dressing, all in the privacy of their homes. The growing practice of employers demanding job applicants to hand over their Facebook passwords underscores the blurring of the work-life divide in this information age.
...Brooklyn College political scientist Corey Robin sees a historical pattern:
"During the McCarthy years, the state outsourced the most significant forms of coercion and repression to the workplace. Fewer than 200 people went to jail for their political beliefs, but two out of every five American workers was investigated or subject to surveillance.Robin concluded:
"Today, we're seeing a similar process of outsourcing. Government can't tell you how to vote, but it allows CEOs to do so."
When workers are forced to go to rallies in communist countries, we call that Stalinism. Here, we call it the free market.This is a wake-up call for Canadians. When will we hear any of our political leaders denouncing America's malignant democracy and calling for the sort of safeguards essential to keep this contagion from sweeping across our borders?
We're bound to be smug about this just as Americans were for more than two decades. Yet we need to realize what is happening today is the inevitable result of corporatism, the merger of corporate and political power, the phenomenon Mussolini defined as "fascism."
The muscle employers are using against their employees amounts to much more than union busting.
It is tyranny -- plain and simple.
I wonder what goes through the minds of young people today, Owen. You and I are old enough to remember the heyday of the middle class in North America and the role it played in the flourishing of our societies, our institutions and our economy.
It seems we're now witnessing the first generation born into decline and gradually increasing powerlessness. Their parents did much too little to prevent economic and political power being sapped out of them and transferred, thanks to a cooperate "bought and paid for " government, directly into the hands and pockets of the few.
I hope we're not witnessing the first generation of serfs. It's a scary notion.
"Lest you think employer authority ends when you clock out, only four states – California, Colorado, New York and North Dakota – protect workers from being fired for legal activity outside of work. For the rest, workers can and have been fired for anything from smoking to cross-dressing, all in the privacy of their homes. The growing practice of employers demanding job applicants to hand over their Facebook passwords underscores the blurring of the work-life divide in this information age."
Cripes that's disgusting. I remember being schooled by my parents that even asking for your SIN identification on a job application form was against the law. How did we ever let ourselves get to this stage?
Hi, BY. I'm sure we only got to this stage by a complicated and somewhat engineered process.
My Dad brought me up to understand that we really didn't have a single right - political, civil, human - that we hadn't paid for, often in blood, often more than once. He also taught me that we don't have a single right that doesn't have real, often enormous value to those who would deprive us of it if they could and that the only thing standing between us and that fate was our own resolve to defend and nurture our rights.
He wasn't a highly educated man but his experience of the depression and WWII really opened his eyes on rights and responsibilities.
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