Saturday, October 31, 2009

Chamber of Commerce is Chamber of Horrors this Holloween

While most Americans thought of the Chamber of Commerce as a social organization to which local merchants belong, it has evolved into a powerful Washington and state-level lobbying organization that opposes all things American. Those include labor rights, environmental protections, progressive industrialization and technological advancements.

The anti-workplace bullying movement and the Healthy Workplace Bill face the Chamber of Commerce as the most formidable opponent. Whenever this bill reaches legislative floor votes, it is the Chamber that is most verbal in calling this morally responsible bill "A Job Killer!"

Hiding behind its mask as "The Protector of Small Business," the Chamber is in fact the exact corporate giants who are putting small business out of business in this nation. Though they employ more Americans than any other sector, small businesses (those with 100 or fewer employees, by definition, depending on the industry) are the largest employers, even in this recession-era economy. To add insult to injury, banks recently bailed out by We the Taxpayers will not lend to small businesses. The TARP language included no such language when it was rushed through Congress by the out-going Bush administration.

The United States of America is being bullied by the US Chamber of Commerce!

The $300,000 spent daily by these same huge, largely global corporations to stop health care reform and to squelch the public option, comes from the same behemoths that commandeer the Chamber of Commerce. Local Chambers are crying for change in our health care system. They are going out of business from the high cost of supplying health insurance to employees.

And the Chamber is lying about their membership in the process.

The Wall Street Journal,, and Mother Jones have all reported that the national Chamber is boasting it has 3,000,000 member businesses when it only has about 200,000. That's only 6.666...% of their false claim. The Chamber is hiding behind the very people they are destroying in our deregulated, laissez-faire capitalistic economy. And Congress is buying their lies at our expense. Or should we say that the Chamber of Commerce is buying Congress?

1. "U.S. Chamber Spent a Record $34.7 Million on Lobbying in Past 3 Months," The Wall Street Journal, October 19, 2009
2. "The Chamber's Numbers Game," Mother Jones, October 13, 2009
3. "Chamber Rejects Use of Term '3 Million Members,'" Mother Jones, October 23, 2009
4. "U.S Chamber of Commerce: About Us," U.S. Chamber of Commerce website, accessed October 30, 2009
5. "Survey of Business Owners," U.S. Census Bureau, accessed October 30, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dr. Gary Namie explains workplace bullying

Workplace bullying is NOT simply tough management.

While workplace bullying takes several forms, it is always repeated, health-harming mistreatment that disrupts the productive flow of work. This interview of Dr. Gary Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute explains this hateful behavior.

While the WBI is located in Bellingham, Washington, the Drs. Ruth and Gary Namie, are psychologists with an international reputation. Thanks to their 15-year dedication to exposing this silent epidemic of abuse, they have helped to educate the United States and Canada to this key problem in the North American workforce.

While watching, keep in mind that status-blind (non-discriminatory) workplace bullying is presently legal! Most Americans believe that all harassment is against the law. Not so.

Which state will become the first state to pass this progressive, common-sense law? New York? Illinois? Wisconsin? They all have bills like California once had but lost when our present governor came into office. For interesting reasons, that bill suddenly went "poof"!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Workplace bullying brought down the world economy

If it sounds hyperbolic that workplace bullying could bring down an entire world economy, think about the communicative property of mathematics. If a = b and b = c, then a = c. Simple! Now, consider a journalistic analysis published over this October 17, 2009 weekend by news reporter Kevin G. Hall of McClatchy Company:

“As the housing market collapsed in late 2007, Moody’s Investors Service, whose investment ratings were widely trusted, responded by purging analysts and executives who warned of trouble and promoting those who helped Wall Street plunge the country [and therefore world investors] into its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.”

As this horrific tale of work abuse goes, Bullying Boss Brian Clarkson was made the draconian head CEO of this economically pivotal organization which ranks the credit worthiness of borrowers for commercial and government entities. Clarkson’s reign of terror at Moody’s right when the bottom was falling from the US housing market. He railroaded a narrow-minded notion he called “structured finance” down the throats of experts who knew better. Anyone who dared to speak up became a target for workplace bullying and was fired. Compliance with Securities and Exchange Commission regulations to safeguard the rest of us, “Be damned!” Bullies walk above the law.

Does this sound familiar to Healthy Workplace Advocates, or what? No doubt Clarkson was considered a heroically strong leader by the few who kissed up to keep their jobs, the cronies in power on Moody’s board, the investors whose pockets were bulging with faux money, and the stooges who were brought in by Clarkson. That’s the way it goes with workplace bullies. Yet, the emperor had no clothes. Now the rest of us are naked too.

Had there been an Abusive Work Environments Act, the targeted analysts and executives would have had legal recourse to act against this financial terrorist who destroyed the credibility of our economy. Checks and balances for civility and legal reporting are not yet existent in the American workplace. Anyone who thinks this country can tread longer in the denial of how workplace bullying ravages our nation or that it can be tamed without a hand from the law, is woefully ignorant.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

‘M’ in healthcare stands for “money,” not “medicine”

Critical care is badly needed for the United States’ ailing heathcare non-system. We as a nation are being bullied by the “medical industry” into paying a 50% markup for medical care that does not anywhere compete with other “First World” nations’ quality of care and medical delivery systems.

Film producer Alex Gibney (Enron, the Smartest Guys in the Room) offers a documentary film based on Maggie Mahar’s book, Money-Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs So Much. This informative film is about how US medical care comes through a free-market enterprise and not through a “health care system.” Most nations have medical systems, loosely designed to treat the patients like citizens instead of like profit centers. Bill Moyers’ Journal offers a shortened version of this truth-daring film.

Mahar clears up the mystery of the “medical industrial complex” that feeds off those it cultivates like farm products. “Informed consent is informed persuasion” speaks to the hard sell with missing and superfluous information directed slightly above the head of the investor or person who happens to own the body being treated. This hard sell for medical care is directed at patients, their families, employers, our state governments, and federal politicians.

We are not getting the bang for our bucks. The cost of service is grossly inflated. We are getting sicker and the health care industry loves it for they are making money on the backs of our sick.

“Show me the money” is being cried from both sides of our recent health reform debate. Maggie Mahar shows us where the money is hidden. Money mysteries of this cryptic social institution have highly specialized language. Few of us are expected to understand, let alone read in a thousand-page bill. That includes every lawmaker in Washington which is why they have research staff.

But all this artificial confusion can and will be resolved once this moment in our history becomes infused with humanity and civility. We need to apply the Golden Rule. We need to set our prioities for American assets. Do we want sick Americans and healthy warheads? If we are the "Best Country in the World," it's time we start to act that way by caring for the weakest among us.

Other countries have fixed this and so can the Unitied States. Other countries know better than to place their employers in the impossible position of providing both a decent workplace and healthcare. The world is watching us Americans while we push, prod, shove then rob the sick, the elderly, and our children. Now there’s some real bullying!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Congressman 'Bullies Up' at Town Hall Meeting

Congressman McClintock bullied up at town hall

Whenever a minority party in any government finds itself at the short end of a losing stick on important issues, they tend to ‘bully up.’ They rally their troops to fight dirty, to throw superfluous arguments at the majority, and to obstruct all reasonable argumentation. That is precisely what went on at town hall meetings across the US during this recent long, hot summer of Republican discontent.

Town halls on healthcare reform quickly depreciated into shouting rallies for the dissemination of disinformation spread by big money from the medical-industrial complex. The message read: “I’ve got mine. The rest of you can go [Fill in your own blank].” For this reason, reasonable people failed to attend the town halls in great numbers. Why would people go where they were not wanted to share their thoughts or knowledge, even if they knew the negative medical outcomes of our present dysfunctional, market-driven non-system?

Faux town hall meetings in District 4 of Northern California displayed how truthful dialog could be grossly perverted. Congressman Tom McClintock, a freshman this term, presented several sham town halls this summer. Reports from progressive thinkers who have begged for health care reform for two generations described a horrendous display of McClintock’s political manipulations.

This career politician, who termed out of his state legislative seat after 27 years as California’s most obstructionist law-blocker in modern politics, promised equal participation for both sides of healthcare reform. Then he didn’t enforce the alternating of opinions as he promised, like a teacher who lets the jocks mow over the skaters in a classroom. The ‘nay’ crowd outnumbered the ’yea’ crowd, so the Good Congressman likely rationalized his false promise as he rationalized his pitiful bill-sponsoring record when he claimed to be a Southern California lawmaker.

The September 1, 2009 town hall meeting was attended by very confused people. McClintock did very little to explain the legislation. Perhaps the Congressman himself understands little about the extremely complex medical delivery non-system that is made up of complicated jargon which only medical industry employees and bureaucrats might clearly understand. At this meeting there were about 175 pro-reform people and about 350 anti-reform people. (Notice that pro-reformers stayed home, lest they be screamed at by hate-radio mongers.)

One progressive, who did catch an open microphone to speak, reminded McClintock that “…the tax credit he continued to tout was in fact for $2,000 a year and the average cost of a health care premium is $1,086 a month. He [McClintock] conceded the credit was not enough.” Did the opponents of reform bother to listen or begin to understand, if they even tried to hear this important point?

But when this same pro-reformer delivered to the Congressman the 3,000 signatures of supporters for Obama’s health care principals, she was ignored, “I got a bit flustered and didn't want to get into McClintock's personal space - so I dropped the bag on the floor near the front row... it was awkward... and then to compound it, McClintock later characterized this as "having a suitcase thrown at him."

Mr. McClintock needs to be reminded how he won his seat with a very narrow margin of a few more than 1500 votes. He perhaps missed the redistricting initiative for California while learning political ropes in DC. Many of the people who voted for McClintock have since lost their jobs and therefore their health care too. Ahh, oh!

Other of his voters are already on government-sponsored Medicare but have adult children in their 20’s. The 20’s is the decade when most young people haven’t secured healthcare-paying careers. Perhaps those lucky Medicare voters now have children in their 30’s with chronically ill children of their own. Maybe their kids are in their 40’s when daughters so often get divorced, losing a husband’s benefits. Maybe their sons are in their 50’s and suffer being bullied off the job so they won’t cost an employer should they become ill and therefore expensive.

All Americans, regardless of politics, get sick and start to die. We will all need doctor, hospital, pharmaceutical, and insurance corporations to make possibly bullying, investor-focused medical decisions. Then, those who voted for McClintock will join the rest of us who can only pray for an ever-fading Golden Rule with its universal ethic to do unto others as we would have done unto ourselves…or our children.

Workers Bullied off the Job for Being Sick -

Healthy Workplace Advocates are hearing from targets of work abuse who were indeed bullied off their jobs because they or their family members became seriously ill. In our present non-system of employer-sponsored health care, an employer’s “experience rating” is based on the number of claims the employees make through the insurance company that carries the policy. Like car insurance: If you make a claim, your rates go up! The same thing happens with medical insurance.

Employers, especially small business owners, can ill afford to keep ill employees on the job. For reasons involving the American with Disabilities Act, the employer is then better off to bully sick employees out the door (constructive discharge) than to honestly tell them that they are costing the company too much money. Because employees or theirs family member are sick and might make too many medical claims, they would drive up the medical insurance experience rating and the costs to the entire workforce employed. Small businesses have been known to shut down for this reason.

The United States’ market-driven, medical non-system is sick!

While Tom McClintock has helped his party bully up to the majority people, he needs to know the “law of reciprocity.” He needs to understand, “what goes around, comes around.” He is hurting real Americans, both liberal and conservative. What may be a Republican party game to him is a life-and-death game for the rest of us.