Union Busters

Now it’s the libraries.

You know, the thing I despise the most about the current corporate theology is the idea that people should be working at 100%, every minute they’re at work. That’s crap, people don’t work that way. Energy levels ebb and flow, concentration wanders. You can’t just divide tasks by the number of hours in a day and come up with a formula — we’re human beings, not machines.

Law of physics: Anything used to its full potential will break.

8 thoughts on “Union Busters

  1. Librarians are not quiet and peaceful people. This jerk (saying that librarians go to work for 35 years and don’t do anything) deserves what he will get.

  2. The financial elites will only be satisfied when we are all serfs and the country is a feudal society.

  3. When I worked at Subway, my manager told me that if I had time to lean, I had time to clean. That was an exhausting job. If it wasn’t sufficiently exhausting and we’d all got to go home on time, we’d kept too many people on shift.

    The world would not be a better place if all jobs were that bad.

  4. The last part of the article is what really got me, when the Friends of the Library board member said they were volunteering as much as ever — I see their dilemma: do they come to the aid of their beloved library, which is clearly very vulnerable, or do they work for free (and raise money?) for a profit-making entity? The Friends are being extorted. If they don’t do everything they can, what will the owners do next?

    It’s more chipping away at democracy. When our local library system wanted to close a few of the smaller branches, there was a huge public outcry and several, albeit small, demonstrations, and the branches were spared. That worked because ultimately the libraries “belonged” to the voters and there was some indirect accountability. But what leverage do the people of this town have at this point?

    When you think of all the taxpayer and volunteer-raised money that went into building the library system in this article — the buildings, which have to be specially designed and built to hold the weight of the books, the furnishings and equipment, not to mention the books and other materials — I can’t begin to think how much that comes out to — and it was all given away. Such thievery.

    Finally, professional librarians spend a lot of thought on what to buy for their libraries. They have to balance many competing needs and pressures on limited budgets. They need to buy lots of copies of best-sellers, because that’s what a lot of their patrons want, but they also have to buy some esoteric reference books that maybe only a few people will use, because they are also responsible for providing a very wide range of information to the public. What calculus and guidelines is the corporation mentioned in the article going to use? What books and materials are they going to decline to acquire?

  5. Reading that article felt like a kick in the stomach.

    Right now, the private management company feels it can make money by doing away with the librarians’ defined pensions. When all the librarians are reduced to 401K’s, then what?

    Oh, yeah. That’s when the fees will begin appearing, and not just on some blockbuster brand new DVD. It will be on broadband usage, current periodicals, maybe daily newspapers, etc.

    Oh, and delivery of books for the housebound? Fuhgedaboudit. Unless you can pay for the “service.”

  6. Lambert at Corrente linked yesterday to a really good post and comments thread at Naked Capitalism: Why Is There No Political Outlet for Anger on the Left These Days?.

    The topic of common wealth, including the commonweal, came up and is fascinating. There are lots and lots of comments, some quite lengthy and meaty, well worth reading, but this comment by Max Keiser kicks things off about shared wealth by bringing up “private domain vs. public domain.”

    And net neutrality, he says, is of paramount importance.

    I agree wholly about net neutrality: If corporatists have their way, they will control and charge higher rents for any use of the internet, and free discussion, in both financial and philosophical terms, will be limited. Controlled, one might say.

    Interestingly, On the Media yesterday had a segment on the importance the Founding Fathers placed on shared access to ideas and information, which is why they did not permit copyrights into perpetuity, which, said the guest, author Lewis Hyde, with 99 years has now essentially been achieved in modern America.

    Excellent segment, well worth the 7 minutes of listening; but…there’s more! Transcripts will be available Monday afternoon at the same link!

    As will the segment on our legislators and this administration trying to lessen digital privacy (as in virtually none, babeeee!).

    On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee introduced the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, which aims to shut down websites “dedicated to infringing activities.” ThePirateBay.org and other overseas sites are known targets, having long welcomed customers from the U.S. CNET’s Greg Sandoval explains how this bill would change that.

    OK, this legislation is supposed to fight streaming video free downloads if they’re illegal, but, per the guest, the law’s wording is rather loose. Hhhhmm…but or feature, feature or bug? Only the corporatists know….

    In the news today, I read the administration is trying to make every coummications services provider make it easy for the Feds to tap the internet. Skype, encrypted Blackberry, everything. It’s by Charlie Savage at the NYTimes — he’s one of the reporters I still tend to trust.

    Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.
    James X. Dempsey, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an Internet policy group, said the proposal had “huge implications” and challenged “fundamental elements of the Internet revolution” — including its decentralized design.

    “They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet,” he said. “They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.”

    But law enforcement officials contend that imposing such a mandate is reasonable and necessary to prevent the erosion of their investigative powers.

    “We’re talking about lawfully authorized intercepts,” said Valerie E. Caproni, general counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “We’re not talking expanding authority. We’re talking about preserving our ability to execute our existing authority in order to protect the public safety and national security.”

    Hey, it’s nothing more than the Saudis demand…. And they’re only “reasonable and necessary,” so it’s all good, right?

    All your thoughts and communications belong to US!

  7. Ha! I clicked over to Greenwald to see if he had anything more on Obama state secrets/assassinations of American citizens (and others) topic, also wondering if he would have seen Charlie Savage’s article, and, well, he’s on the Savage thing like a duck on a june bug. Snap, chomp, swallow — and another great Greenwald essay.

    And he begins with the comparison with Saudi Arabia and UAR:

    In early August, two dictatorial (and U.S.-allied) Gulf states — Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — announced a ban on the use of Blackberries because, as the BBC put it, “[b]oth nations are unhappy that they are unable to monitor such communications via the handsets.” Those two governments demand the power to intercept and monitor every single form of communication. No human interaction may take place beyond their prying ears. Since Blackberry communication data are sent directly to servers in Canada and the company which operates Blackberry — Research in Motion — refused to turn the data over to those governments, “authorities [] decided to ban Blackberry services rather than continue to allow an uncontrolled and unmonitored flow of electronic information within their borders.” That’s the core mindset of the Omnipotent Surveillance State: above all else, what is strictly prohibited is the ability of citizens to communicate in private; we can’t have any “uncontrolled and unmonitored flow of electronic information.” (My emphasis)

    Do read on for the delightful hypocrisy, or perhaps simple flip-flops, of the Obama administration. And others, of course.

    Greenwald picks up on another change Obama et al want: reporting of every single electronic bank transaction in and out of the country. Every single one. Every PayPal for pet meds on EBay. (I found a site in Australia which has my cat’s flea treatments cheaper than anywhere else, but that was awhile ago, so maybe the currency fluctuations have changed that.) Everything. Every little thing. Here comes…information overload!

    No evidence of criminality needed. Just collect, do not stop collecting…. Gee, next thing you know the states with sales and use taxes will be demanding access to all those transactions. Just in case we haven’t reported that flea treatment to pay the sales tax….

    Since Glenn’s posts are dense with links, please go there for the WaPo link. RL is being demanding…. States are pretty desperate for any possible revenue streams, eh?

    Now, why was it we wanted more and better Democrats??? Not for crushing civil liberties, privacy, and a DINO president.

    Anyone reminded of The Handmaid’s Tale the longer this executive power grab goes on?

  8. And there are more goodies available to non-governmental hackers from these proposed required backdoors to internet communications, like outsiders tapping government internet communications. As happened in Greece. From the Savage NYTimes article:

    Several privacy and technology advocates argued that requiring interception capabilities would create holes that would inevitably be exploited by hackers.

    Steven M. Bellovin, a Columbia University computer science professor, pointed to an episode in Greece: In 2005, it was discovered that hackers had taken advantage of a legally mandated wiretap function to spy on top officials’ phones, including the prime minister’s.

    “I think it’s a disaster waiting to happen,” he said. “If they start building in all these back doors, they will be exploited.”

    Susan Landau, a Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study fellow and former Sun Microsystems engineer, argued that the proposal would raise costly impediments to innovation by small startups.

    “Every engineer who is developing the wiretap system is an engineer who is not building in greater security, more features, or getting the product out faster,” she said.

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