Uncommon Sense

October 27, 2021

New Name for Facebook? Suggestions Anyone?

Filed under: Business — Steve Ruis @ 11:38 am
Tags: , , , ,

How about:
Fuckface
Face the Music
AboutFace
AssholesAnonymous
Neverland
FuckZuck
Faceplant
Facepalm
WeAreSellingYou!
GWOT (for Giant Waste of Time)

And you?

October 22, 2021

You Have to Believe in Something

Filed under: Culture,Reason,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 10:22 am
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Religious people insist that atheists, like me, believe in something. This is true, but before addressing that point I must distinguish between ordinary beliefs and religious beliefs. Ordinary beliefs are based upon evidence and probabilities. For example, I believe the sun will come up tomorrow because, well, it has every day of human history and the probability of it doing so tomorrow is very, very high. Religious beliefs, however, lack evidence of that type and are not based upon probabilities. They are based upon teachings, scriptures, etc. Many Christian apologists deliberately conflate these two meanings.

The claim, everybody believes in something, therefore is true, but most people when they hear that are thinking of ordinary beliefs, while the apologist is trying to make that belief into a religious belief. The apologists insist that atheism is a religion, or that atheists believe in God, but . . . , etc.

I consider most religious beliefs to be childish beliefs, beliefs taught to children, using stories and other devices shaped to appeal to children (Noah’s Ark toys to teach a horrific story of genocide, for Pete’s sake). My hope is that these childish beliefs will fade away or be rejected as I have done.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 11

Many express fear about what will replace the hole left in their lives when religion falls out of it. Some mock these feelings (“If I forgo Jesus, whose slave will I be?”) but I do not. To fill that hole, claimed to be a desire for a connection to the sacred, we could also possibly be saving ourselves from self-destruction if we were to go back to worshipping Nature. It is Nature that is the source of all life, including us. If we debase Nature, we reduce our ability to survive. Sun worship has been common throughout human history. Many scholars think that Christian halos are the symbol of the Sun added to the characters who sport it. Basically a halo says “I am the Sun god and I approve this messenger.”

Now when I use the word “worship” it is just to hold Nature as a sacred trust, not to imbue it with supernatural powers. (Aren’t the “powers” of Nature amazing enough?) Without the Sun, we definitely do not survive. Without forests, likely the same. Without potable water, the same; without breathable air, the same. Nature grows forests without our help, purifies water without our help, purifies the air without our help but cannot continue to do so in the face of the massive pollution we create.

If we are going to hold something sacred, how about that which provides for us to live?

Every hunter-gatherer society left on this planet has been around for millennia and has survived, mostly upon this basis. They have made do without destructive industrialization and rapacious capitalism. Should not our goals be how to manage these societal institutions to do nature no lasting harm?

For example, cutting down trees to make lumber to build things seems an acceptable practice, until we clear cut all the trees on a continent or island. (Look at what happened to the Easter Islanders when they cut down all of their trees. The same goes for tearing up mountains to reap the coal beneath them. The same goes for pulling all of the fish out of the sea, leaving it barren of ecosystems needed for the health of all. Should not such criteria supersede the one we use now, which is “how much money can I make doing this?”

If the theists are correct and “we have to believe in something” how about we believe in and protect that which gives us life. Not some indefinable god nobody can find, but Nature, which we can all find and appreciate . . . and need to survive and thrive.

October 21, 2021

Why It Is Better to Be Pissed Off than Pissed On

We possess emotions that were designed to have short-term effects. Stretching them out over long periods of time can have very detrimental effects. This is why I think “happiness” is a bad goal. Happiness is a transitory emotion, not meant to be long-term.

Another emotion designed for the short-term is fear. When we are fearful, we get what is called the “fight or flight” response. We gear up to fight or to run away. But that was never meant to be a long-term effect. A lesson in this comes from human pre-history. When you compare human beings to other predators we come up short, way short. We do not possess speed, like cheetahs, or power like lions and wolves, or the vision and razor sharp talons of an eagle, etc. But we have a super power and that is stamina. We often hunted using this evolutionary advantage. We would, in a small group of hunters, spook our prey, which would run away, but just a short distance. Then we would follow that animal, spooking it again and again, until finally, the poor animal is nervously and physically exhausted from being in this fight or flight situation too long. Occasionally a hunter could walk up to the quivering animal and slit its throat or spears or arrows could easily bring the animal down.

Fear is a powerful emotion and so is anger, again one not intended for long-term use. Both of these emotions are “in the news” because they are playing a role in our politics. The elites running this country for their own personal gain are ruining any chance of us forming a more perfect union. They are very wealthy and have a great deal of power because of that wealth. They are few and we are many which makes them far easier to organize than us, so our power of numbers is muted.

To overcome this handicap, we need righteous anger . . . “I am mad as Hell and I won’t take it anymore!” . . . to get us off of our couches and into the streets. But the elites are prepared for this. They promote fear and anger as if they were daily specials at the supermarket. Fear of Critical Race Theory indoctrinating our students; anger over the stolen election; fear of Muslims, fear of immigrants (legal and otherwise); anger over losing job securities, heck losing jobs.

The result of all of these fears and angers is that we all are experiencing the fatigue of prolonged emotions along these lines. Because of that fatigue we can’t get it, righteous anger, up or if we can, it doesn’t last. And those damned wealthy elites are in the process of politically cutting our throats.

We must stop being riled at the latest “outrage,” (Outrage over Mr. Potato Head for Pete’s sake!) and stick to the agenda. The oligarchs running this country are trying to control you and our governmental process. Whether you are a liberal or conservative is irrelevant. Whether you dwell in the country or a city is irrelevant. Whether you are for or against gun control, abortion, or whatever, is irrelevant. You must learn to discern those fronting for the wealthy elites and oppose them and not be distracted by side issues. If we do not, well the next time we meet will be on the dinner table of the fucking elites.

October 20, 2021

How Do You Recognize that Something is Artificial?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steve Ruis @ 10:21 am

There is a fair amount of misunderstanding when it comes to the word “artificial.” It is considered a negative term by advertisers so they use it that way. The same is true for the word “chemicals.” In fact the word chemical is so toxic that one sunscreen producer declared their product to be “chemical free.”

The word chemical is short for chemical substance. Chemical substances are the elements and compounds. I suppose you have heard the phrase “all things are made of atoms,” well atoms make up the elements and compounds and, as such, everything is therefore made of chemicals. That sunscreen was made of chemicals, our food is made of chemicals, in fact we are made of chemicals . . . and nothing else. The only way for that bottle to be “chemical free” is to be completely empty, and by that I mean the air would have to be sucked out of it, too, because the air is made of chemicals.

I am sure George Carlin could do a better job of addressing bad words (for advertisements), but I will soldier on.

Back to the word artificial. If I were to hand you a common object, would you be able to tell whether it was “natural” or “artificial”? I am going to assume you would answer “yes” and indeed you’d be right. Most people make this distinction easily. So, were I to hand you a stopwatch, you would say artificial. If I were to hand you a rock, you would say natural. If I were to hand you a bonsai tree, you would say that this is a more complex object. The container is clearly artificial but the tree in it started as something natural but then was reshaped by human hands to be as it appears now, so it is a natural object, reshaped artificially.

The word “artificial” means created by artifice, or art, or craft, or skill of a human being. If I say natural, then it is something produced by nature. The line between these two terms has been blurred because we have used artifice to change nature. Artichokes started out as thistles. Corn ears were quite tiny before we started tinkering with them. And through the artifice of man, we have changed these natural things to make them as they are now. So, clearly butter is artificial as there are no butter trees in nature to pluck it from, and peanut butter, ditto. These things have had the word “natural” slapped upon them because for marketing purposes, that word always helps sell the product. The people who made margarine, an artificial butter, got in a crossfire because on one side the defenders to butter, real butter, made claims that butter was natural and margarine was not. Both are artificial as you can see now.

Now, where am I going with this, you ask?

There is an argument that the Christian god must exist, because otherwise who created all of this? A wooden stool, clearly artificial, has a creator. (Correct.) A saucepan has a creator. (Correct.) So the trees and rainbows and mountains must have had a creator also, no?

No.

One of the clear signs of something being crafted are tool marks. In old log cabins, you can still see where an axe was used to shape the logs so as to fit together to make walls and whatnot. In iron implements made on a forge, you can still see hammer marks.

Of course a stool, made of multiple wood parts, cleverly stuck together, one can see something that no tree could pull off on its own. If there were screws or nails in that stool, those would be indicators of a creator, an artificer who made that stool.

Now a rock shows no such tool marks. But a large piece of stone can be reshaped into a statue of a human being, sanded smooth to perfection. The statue is, identical to the rock in composition, but if you look close you will find tool marks. Plus, no one has ever found a perfect statue of anything and claimed it had been made naturally, with no input from man.

So, why are theists still making the argument that the Earth and the rest of the universe must have been created, therefore there must be a creator? School children can distinguish between what is created and what is natural quite soon. They also are known for making rainbows in the back yard with a garden hose. Such do not require magical beings to make.

I understand that theists desperately want to convince us atheists that their god is real, that their god exists. But they are playing a game they are quite ill prepared to win. It might be different if their apologists (defenders) supplied them with somewhat valid arguments, but that hasn’t happened, which leads many of us to assume they have no better arguments, nor do they have any valid evidence. (Nicholas Everitt, a professional philosopher, wrote a book called The Nonexistence of God, in which he took all of the philosophical arguments offered for the existence of the Abrahamic god, unpacked them, and found that they failed.)

As to evidence, we still have theists making arguments like “See the Grand Canyon? God.” and we respond “See the Grand Canyon? No god.” They say how can you look at all of the beauty in nature and not see God’s handiwork? And we respond “How can you look at all of the pain and suffering and disease in Nature and see your god’s handiwork?

Such efforts on the part of theists are misguided as they cannot do what they wish. I often see questions from theists made to atheists about why we attack their beliefs. Possibly because they keep flaunting their beliefs and making “reasoned arguments” through which they claim their beliefs are true. If they would stop making reasoned arguments (The Kalam, the Kalam!) we would stop responding. Especially because every reasoned argument put forth over the past few millennia has not stood up to examination, so why are they still using them? I suspect it is so professional apologists can continue to collect speaker’s fees from church organizations. In front of a philosophically untrained audience of believers, those discredited arguments sound pretty good.

Most of us atheists are atheists because we finally realized, after all of the indoctrination and whatnot, that what we see is artificial, the work of man, not some god. And, unless I am mistaken worshiping man-made things is idolatry, no?

October 19, 2021

What is a Corporatist Society?

(Sorry this is so long. It seemed warranted. Steve)

If you live in the U.S., just look around, you are living in such a society right now.

This country was founded as a republic, not a democracy, a republic being a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president with powers limited by law rather than a monarch. We created a government in which each of us was no longer the subject of some monarch; we were citizens, not subjects.

That is all fine and well, but we lost all of that a while back. We are now back to being subjects again. While there is no monarch there is a ruling clique of corporatists, meaning that our governments are run for the benefit of those corporations and subject to their desires and whims, rather than our own.

Consider the fact that our national government only pays attention to the needs of what is called “the donor class,” which you and I know as the filthy rich. If you are a substantial donor to a political party, your needs are attended to. If you are middle class or poor, you have zero chance of getting any attention, even from those elected to represent you. And “zero chance” is not hyperbole, that’s what the research showed.

So, the very rich are running the federal government and most of the state governments in the same fashion. So who are these “very rich” people? We used to think of the very rich as those with inherited wealth, but those days are past. Sure, there are a few very wealthy people who inherited their money and they got inheritance taxes reduced to zero so they can pass it all onto their children, but they are a small minority now. The very rich are now typically corporation executives. And they have corporatist mindsets.

A corporatist mindset is believing that corporations are the best structures to govern human activities. Did not a corporation recognize their personal qualities and reward them mightily. How could they be anything but perfect? You will have heard from these people that “government should be run like a business (aka corporation)” and “schools should be run like businesses/corporations,” etc.

These people have gotten the courts they purchased to establish that corporations have the rights of citizens, making the transition from imaginary person for business purposes only to political person in one court ruling. The rights of “corporations” to donate unlimited funds to political campaigns was established recently. Oh, and if you thought that the employees or even the shareholders of a corporation got to determine where its “campaign donations” went, dream on. Those decisions are made by the executives of those corporation, aka the filthy rich.

Now you may be thinking that this is all a bit much, but if you take a step back and look at the life experience of just any old citizen, you will see what is involved. For example, when a child is born, whether their mother got good medical care depended upon whether they had good insurance. Poor pre-natal medical care is part of a pattern that results in skimpy lives for the children. And good insurance is a fringe benefit associated with a shrinking number of jobs and are controlled by the employers (aka corporatists). So, you are born and grow up and then attend school. So, what are you taught in school? Increasingly, and all the way up and down the ladder, that education is focused on acquiring a “good job” when you become an adult. Recently education reformers wanted you to be asked to read more “informational texts” and less classic literature. My home state of California used to have a series of “readers” for each grade level. The works to be read were challenging and included extracts from Mark Twain, the Bible, James Fennimore Cooper, Nathanial Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Richard Henry Dana, Jr., and more of their ilk. Obviously those California State Readers tended be supporters of the status quo, patriotic, and so on but none of them, to my recall, involved a shop manual for a Ford pick-up truck or a treatise on writing contracts. But now that the corporatists are in charge they want to make sure you can fix the department’s printer when it jams. They have no need for humanist texts that allow us to see one another more clearly and see the virtues that make a society that makes for happier and safer citizens, no need at all.

The corporatists now in charge have a Taylorite view of humanity that makes each of us a cog in their mechanism. So, if our growing citizen goes to college they will find that more and more the programs there are tailored, pun intended, to jobs they might get. If you ask students what their goals are, the majority will respond with “to get a good job” or “a job that pays a lot of money.” They are not stupid, they got the message.

So, they graduate, or not, and they seek and acquire a job. Who in that job has the bulk of the power: the employer or the employee? Analyzed economically, there should be a 50:50 power balance there. This is what free markets create, or so say the corporatists. The corporatists absolute hate free markets. But they recognize the propaganda power of the word “free.” The markets they like are those they can manipulate and dominate, and dictate to. A “free market” is a level paying field and only chumps play on a level playing field.

The corporatists used their political power to not only expand their own power but to limit the powers of their opposition. Labor unions, for example, were quite powerful after WW2. Have you notice them lately? No? That is because the corporatists used the political power their money bought to crush them. While the private sector used to have about 33% of its jobs covered by a union contract, that is now about 6%. Crushed. The only remaining institutional power that can oppose the wills of the corporatists is government and the corporatists have bought enough politicians to make that source opposition neutered.

So, who has the power in the employee-employer relationship? The employers. And they use it. They arbitrary transform their employee’s pension plans into plans that cost them much less and pay their employees much less in the process. They change work rules as they see fit. They ship entire factories overseas and if they keep you on as an employee, it is only to train your less expensive replacement.

So, you work and you work, then you are fired so they can hire a cheaper replacement. Corporatists are so addicted to that power that they often fire people critical for their corporations or fire so many support staff that their critical people look for other employment because of that. Basically, if they meet their stock market goals and retire before it all falls apart, corporation executives are good with that. Golden parachutes make for soft landings.

So, you skimp along or are “comfortable” in your retirement and are no longer of interest to the corporatist, other than as a voter. Old people vote, so the corporatists have massive propaganda machines that use fear and other levers to get you to vote in alignment with their interests. They also trump up phony issues to keep you riled up and distracted.

Then you die, your whole life having been dominated by corporate interests. You served “your country” well, were a good provider for “your family,” and a pillar of “your community.” Now replace all of the parentheticals in that sentence with “your corporation(s)” and you will have it about right.

Please do not mistake my intent. I am not claiming there is a cabal of corporations or some Big Brother Corp. running the show. No, it is people with corporate mindsets, acting independently and occasionally in concert who are doing this.

And we let them and continue to let them by buying into the way they see the world.

The COVID pandemic is showing the corporatists what is in their future. People are not returning to the bullshit jobs the corporations created. People are figuring out different ways to live. People are starting their own businesses which are not part of the cabal.

It is a start but a lot more needs to be done.

If you are interested in this topic please read “The Unconscious Civilization” by John Ralston Saul. I dog-eared so many pages that I gave up on a book report. I will just weave what he saw into my writing more and more.

Dollars to Donuts

Filed under: Culture,Economics,language — Steve Ruis @ 7:32 am
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There is a phrase old people use . . . “I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that. . . .” Only old people use this phrase because it is a confidence statement, making a bet where on one one side you are putting up dollars and on the other they are putting up donuts. This was, of course, back in the day when a donut was 10¢ or less.

Now that donuts are close to a dollar a piece, this is not such a daring bet.

Who says inflation has no lasting effects?

October 18, 2021

At No Point In History . . .

A website calling itself “The Patriot Post” ran this meme recently “At no point in history have the people forcing others into compliance been the good guys.”

I assume they are protesting vaccination compliance efforts, but I couldn’t be bothered to go read all about it.

On the face of it, though . . . if they consider themselves patriots then I am guessing that in World War 2, they consider the U.S. the “good guys.” Apparently they have forgotten that there was a substantial draft of young men to serve as soldiers.

And not only did the U.S. confiscate their bodies but they vaccinated the shit out of them before training us to be lean, mean fighting machines, destined to go fight Hitler or Tojo in places we didn’t even know existed.

I don’t understand this lack of clear thinking or, really, thinking at all. Only the Dunning-Krueger Effect might explain it.

Are they not aware that parents force their children into complying with their wishes on almost a daily basis? Aren’t they aware that we have laws that compel us to drive on the right side of the road, otherwise we could be jailed and brought up on charges? Aren’t the police agents of forcing people into compliance?

How are these people self-labeled patriots? How are they patriots of any kind? They can’t even call themselves conservatives.

They sure aren’t meme creators.

Are We Animals or Spiritual Beings?

Filed under: Culture,History,Reason — Steve Ruis @ 12:36 pm
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Honestly, this was a question I encountered on the Medium.com site. The question seems to preclude being both an animal and a spiritual being, but let’s not quibble. Animals are clearly defined as having: a multicellular body, specialized sense organs, voluntary movement, responses to factors in the environment and the ability to acquire and digest food. The root of the word focuses on the motion aspect, animals are animated, that is they move voluntarily.

So, no confusion there.

Now, a spiritual being? Whoa, a whole lot of definitions here. One is: an incorporeal being believed to have powers to affect the course of human events.

So, incorporeal, not having a body. Well, question answered. Humans have bodies, so they cannot be spiritual beings.

But human beings have souls, no? So, we could be both an animal and a spiritual being.

Human beings have souls, no? Human beings have souls . . . no. The existence of a soul is a conjecture that lacks any kind of proof or even supporting evidence. Lots of speculation, no proof, so this is not a path to an answer to the question.

The evidence is clear that we are animals. Whether we are also anything else is open to question, but spirits and ghosts should not be high on anyone’s list of component parts of human beings.

It is clear where the idea of ghosts and spirits came from. When we were very primitive, we experienced the deaths of members of our family or tribe. We might have buried their dead bodies so they would not attract predators. But at night when we dreamed, those loved ones came back to us. And when we woke they were gone. So, somehow our loved ones were still with us. Over time, however, their nocturnal visits shrank and shrank as memories of them faded. When they stopped coming at all, the question became “where did they go?” Wishful thinking had us suggesting and then believing that they left “here” and went to some sort of happy place, one in which their aches and pains were no more, they didn’t have to work, food was plentiful and good, etc.

And we told stories to our tribe about what happened in our dreams. Sometimes those stories helped us either to remember old solutions to new problems or suggested new solutions to new problems, making the spirits of the ancestors helpful. As we continued to bury our dead we began to include “grave goods” special items identified with the deceased or helpful on their “journey” to the Happy Place.

When tribes congregated to trade, swapping stories would be a safe way to interact with those “others.” If their stories aligned with ours, the elders in our tribe would nod wisely stating that our beliefs were true, were even universal. The “others” were not automatically assumed to be wrong. When they were right, it reinforced one’s beliefs and made trade a little easier, made intermarriage a little easier, and had positive effects.

Spiritual beings are made of spiritual whole cloth. They existed to explain things that were not otherwise understandable by primitive beings. That we struggle to define such things today is a sign that they are invented, imaginary things, not real things. They were invented by people who asked the question “Is this all there is?” before they were capable of answering it. The people who continue this belief are either too lazy to actually investigate it or to invested in their answer to want to do so. Having “special knowledge” always has made one special in the eyes of others, which leads to people inventing their special knowledge, rather that earning it the old fashioned way.

Fixing Our Broken Society

The Great Experiment in Democracy that this country represents was focused upon its citizens living as citizens and not subjects. Unbeknownst to most of us, we have failed in that experiment. Currently the vast majority of us could be classified as subjects, subjects of corporations.

But, you say, you don’t work for a corporation, so how could that be. It be because of the corporations making all of the rules by which you exist in society. It is clear that the rich have captured our legislatures, our courts, the guts of our political structures. Nothing the rich do not like happens, period. Now, when you think of the rich, you make think of what is called “old money,” money handed down generation to generation. The Koch brothers, Donald Trump, the Kennedys, the Rockefellers, etc. While these people do exist, the vast majority of the rich now are corporation executives. By pooling their money, they have bought off politicians in sufficient numbers to control the actions of our federal government and state houses. Corporations control our news media, our social media, our commerce (Amazon delivers in Hell, don’t you know).

Want our government to make voting easier? Not going to happen. Want our government to enforce the gun laws on the books? Ain’t gonna happen. Want fewer wars? Ain’t gonna happen. (The Afghan War lasted twenty years with no discernable objective, either met or progress made toward. The objective was billions and billions of dollars of defense contracts.)

So, what is wrong?

Well, it would be nice if representatives of citizens were back in the driver’s seat, rather than corporatist representatives. And there are some things we can do to make that so. Right now the middle class is being ground under the heel of the corporatists, who like high unemployment as it keeps wages down and these same people have been transferring the tx burden of government off of their corporations and onto the general population. (The poor pay few taxes, and the rich are avoiding taxes, so guess who pays the bulk of the taxes?) It seems everyone is okay with the pay-as-you-go culture we have created, but collectively there are really only two ways you can fairly support such a system. Either every citizen is given minimally adequate shelter, food, utilities, healthcare, etc. as a right of citizenship (and then anything else needs to be worked for) or every job has to pay what is called a living wage, enough to pay for those things mentioned previously. If the minimum wage of the 1960’s had be adjusted for worker productivity since then it would be near $22-24 per hour which is near a living wage (what constitutes a living wage depends on local conditions, urban New York City and rural Oklahoma have different costs of living, for example).

Both of these structures address the current failure of our systems, the loss of anyone, anyone at all, representing the common good. Everyone now represents the interests of some group, but no one represents the interests of us all, usually referred to as the “common good.”

The idea of the common good, like the ideas of unearned income and many more terms, have been driven our of our discourse by the corporatists who are just looking to advantage themselves above everyone else. As a military example, think of a battlefield general who doesn’t make sure that his troops are well-fed, well-rested, and well-motivated. If all that general is interested in is promotions, those may happen by sucking up to those higher up the ladder, but if you want to win battles, troops need to be fed, trained, supplied with weapons and ammunition, etc. For the common good of that general’s army, the people “at the bottom of the influence range” must be taken care of by those at the top,

Currently the corporatists at the top do not give a rats ass about those at the bottom. These are seen as the great unwashed. Their pet economists see worker education and support as a cost undermining profits, rather than an investment in future capacity. Workers are things to be sold off, turned into robots, gotten rid off as soon as possible. Corporations do not see themselves as a functioning segment of society, providing good jobs and benefits to citizens in exchange for their productivity which allows the corporation to prosper. And by providing those jobs, they are doing what they should. Instead the corporations have been turned over to management types who have been sold the bogus idea that the corp’s only obligation is to the shareholders, not to their community, or society at large, nope, nada, zip, zilch.

This did not happen by accident. Corporations used to have goals of being a contributing member of their communities and society as a whole, recognized workers as stakeholders in the corporation, etc. A few corporations still do, but for each of those, there are dozens that only do such “do-gooder” things as PR ploys to maintain a good image.

And, not being able to get the last word in my own post . . .

From nakedcapitalism.com (10-15-21)

“ . . . Taken together with mass resignations, such worker strikes reveal a deep dissatisfaction with the nature of American work that has been decades in the making. Corporate America has enjoyed a stranglehold over policy, spending its profits on lobbying the government to ensure even greater profits at the expense of workers’ rights. At the same time, the power of unions has fallen—a trend directly linked to increased economic inequality.

But now, as workers are flexing their power, corporate America is worried.

In the wake of these strikes and resignations, lawmakers are actively trying to strengthen existing federal labor laws. Business groups are lobbying Democrats to weaken pro-labor measures included in the Build Back Better Act that is being debated in Congress.

Currently, corporate employers can violate labor laws with little consequence as the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) lacks the authority to fine offenders. But Democrats want to give the NLRB the authority to impose fines of $50,000 to $100,000 against companies who violate federal labor laws. Also included in the Build Back Better Act is an increase in fines against employers that violate Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.

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