That New Jobs Report

The figures are out.

Looks like all predictions were a bit off this time around.

The new unemployment report for April is out, and the takeaway number didn’t come close to meeting expectations. Details:

  • The number: Employers added 266,000 jobs in the month, even though analysts had expected roughly 1 million, reports CNBC. The outlet characterizes the figure as a “huge letdown.” What’s more, the March increase of 916,000 was revised downward to 770,000.
  • The rate: The unemployment rate rose from 6% to 6.1%. Though a disappointment, that’s down from a record-high 14.8% last April, notes the Wall Street Journal.
  • 2 reasons: The AP sees the disappointing hiring figure as a sign that employers are struggling to find people to fill openings. Supply-chain problems also may be limiting what businesses can do, per the Journal.
  • Bright spot: The leisure and hospitality industry saw the biggest gain with 331,000 new hires, though that still leaves the industry 2.9 million jobs short of pre-pandemic levels. Those gains were offset by losses in other sectors, including manufacturing, retail, and temping in general.
  • A blip? At MarketWatch, Jeffry Bartash suggests that the April figures will likely end up being a “temporary blip” in the recovery. “Falling coronavirus cases and massive federal stimulus have turbocharged the economy and job openings have surged,” he writes. The US remains poised “for a summer of strong growth.”

These figures are not good….but why is this?

Maybe it is because the unemployment benefits are too generous?  (This is a GOP talking point)……

The new monthly jobs report came in way below expectations on Friday, with employers hiring 266,000 people in April instead of the 1 million or so expected by analysts. The report has reignited a familiar political debate amid the pandemic, with those on the right arguing that President Biden’s relief package is so generous that it encourages people to stay home instead of getting a job. Defenders of the aid, however, say it’s not that simple. Coverage:

  • Chamber’s view: The US Chamber of Commerce on Friday came out firing after the unemployment report, reports CNBC. “The disappointing jobs report makes it clear that paying people not to work is dampening what should be a stronger jobs market,” it says. The chamber urged lawmakers to end “the weekly $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit,” asserting that 25% of those receiving it are making more money than they did when working.
  • Not so fast: The argument that extra benefits encourages people to stay home has been circulating for a while, and last month in the Los Angeles Times, business columnist Michael Hiltzik argued that it doesn’t hold water. “Economists have consistently debunked the idea that unemployment insurance benefits suppress job searching,” he writes. Those who say otherwise are citing anecdotes, not data, he adds.
  • Other factors: Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal dug into the issue of employers struggling to find workers, and the story cited a number of factors based on surveys. For one thing, people are afraid of getting COVID, especially in high-traffic places such as bars and restaurants; others cite child-care issues, because businesses are opening faster than schools.
  • One example: But the story notes that the extra unemployment benefits appear to be playing a role as well. The story quotes a concert promoter who wants to return to work in his own field and is avoiding taking other jobs because his $750 in weekly benefits makes that possible. “I really enjoyed what I did,” he says. “If the government is going to pay you to stay home, you’re going to do that unless that job you really want comes along.”
  • Biden vs. McCarthy: Expect the issue to intensify. Biden himself defended his rescue package on Friday in the wake of the jobs report, notes the Hill. “Help is here and more help is on the way and more help is needed,” he said. In contrast is this tweet from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “Today’s jobs report is a disappointment—just like President Biden’s plan to burden families with more taxes & more debt,” he wrote. “While Dems trap people in a cycle of fear & pay them NOT to work, it’s clear the best thing to do is end the crisis-era policies & get Americans back to work.”
  • Eye on the states: States may make their own moves. Montana, for example, plans to start offering bonuses to people who return to work, reports KRTV. It also plans to opt out early of the federal program that provides extra benefits—by the end of next month instead of September.

The arguments against the benefits are just outright BS…..has anyone tried living on $300 a week?

Personally I would listen to nothing the Chamber has to say….why?

They support all the voter suppression initiatives….for me that makes them the enemy…..and no one that I would consider reliable source.

So far most of the ‘owners’ of business that have a personnel problem and those that notoriously pay lower wages.

Think about this…the jobs that no one wants are the lower paid jobs…..why return to work for $200 a week when you can stay home and make $300?

I think this is a prime example that the minimum wage needs raising and quickly.

People would return to work if they were paid a living wage.

So stop bitching and do something about it!

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May Day 2021

AS the weekend begins IST would like to look at the day workers get international recognition for the contributions to society.

Commemoration of the May Day

It is 01 May and the International Workers Day……and May Day has a long history and not all of it deals with the workers…..

The Celts of the British Isles believed May 1 to be the most important day of the year, when the festival of Beltane was held.

This May Day festival was thought to divide the year in half, between the light and the dark. Symbolic fire was one of the main rituals of the festival, helping to celebrate the return of life and fertility to the world.

When the Romans took over the British Isles, they brought with them their five-day celebration known as Floralia, devoted to the worship of the goddess of flowers, Flora. Taking place between April 20 and May 2, the rituals of this celebration were eventually combined with Beltane.

https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/history-of-may-day

But these days the mention of May Day conjures up  visions of the workers and unions and dare I say….socialism.

For me it conjures up memories of the historical event that has become known as the Haymarket Riot….

The Haymarket Riot (also known as the “Haymarket Incident” and “Haymarket Affair”) occurred on May 4, 1886, when a labor protest rally near Chicago’s Haymarket Square turned into a riot after someone threw a bomb at police. At least eight people died as a result of the violence that day. Despite a lack of evidence against them, eight radical labor activists were convicted in connection with the bombing. The Haymarket Riot was viewed as a setback for the organized labor movement in America, which was fighting for rights like the eight-hour workday. At the same time, many in the labor movement viewed the convicted men as martyrs.

https://www.history.com/topics/19th-century/haymarket-riot

This event is the beginning of the use of “Anarchy” as something derogatory and synonymous with chaos. (A post to follow soon…..watch for it)….

As typical the powers decided that labor was to blame and since those days they try to dismantle the labor movement….and have been successful to a point….

May Day in the 'city of joy', Kolkata

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A Jobs Guarantee Resolution

Jobs and income stability should be priority one.

With the backing of civil rights organizations, labor unions, and economic experts, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley on Thursday morning unveiled a jobs guarantee resolution demanding that “meaningful, dignified work” at a livable wage be made an enforceable legal right in the United States.

Presenting her resolution as an effort to build on the work of generations of civil rights leaders who have connected the cause of racial justice with the fight for full employment, Pressley said in a statement Thursday that “it’s long past time to pursue bold, intentional policies that affirm equity and recognize the dignity and humanity of all people”—an objective that requires sweeping legislative action, not mere tinkering by the Federal Reserve.

According to a summary (pdf) released by Pressley’s office, the resolution calls for a permanent jobs program that would be administered by the Department of Labor in partnership with the Treasury Secretary.

“The Secretary of Labor would direct Treasury funds to local Employment Offices to manage job guarantee projects and match job seekers to projects, as well as cover any related capital and administrative costs,” the summary states.

Jobs created under the new federal program, according to Pressley’s office, would be geared toward:

  • Ensuring the delivery of high-quality, professional care to children, seniors, and others in need of long-term support in family based, informal, and formal settings;
  • Augmenting the staffing of public education and early childhood learning, including Head Start and preschool;
  • Strengthening public afterschool programs, libraries, and recreational programs to provide lifelong learning and enrichment for people of all ages;
  • Implementing community infrastructure and improvement projects that revitalize neighborhoods and increase accessibility…;
  • Expanding emergency preparedness, and relief and recovery from natural and community disasters, including public health, natural disasters, and environmental emergencies;
  • Producing works of public art and documentation of American history akin to the WPA’s Federal Arts Project;
  • Implementing environmental conservation, remediation, and sustainability initiatives and increasing the energy efficiency of buildings and our housing stock to address climate change;
  • Rehabilitating and retrofitting our existing affordable housing stock to ensure safe, affordable, accessible, quality homes, and supporting the development of new affordable housing and social housing to address the nation’s housing crisis; and
  • Other projects that address public needs and can be implemented quickly.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/02/18/demanding-dignified-work-and-living-wage-legal-rights-ayanna-pressley-unveils-jobs

This is a good plan….it needs to be more than a resolution….this should be immediate policy.

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Good News For Some Americans

The pandemic has caused many pains but the most painful is the loss of income…..

The legacy of 2020 will endure in America’s collective memory for many reasons: a deadly pandemic, a vicious presidential election.

It also brought the most severe recession in almost a century, which hurtled millions into poverty and joblessness and created burgeoning inequality.

That financial pain has been concentrated among certain groups, like racial minorities, women, low earners, those without college degrees and workers in the service economy, like restaurant and retail jobs that require face-to-face contact. (These categories often overlap.)

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/01/the-covid-recession-brought-extreme-inequality-in-2020.html

But there is some good news…..at least for some……

A New Year starts and I wish the good news was that the pandemic was slowly winding down but since that is not the case…..irregardless there is some good news for some of our fellow citizens…..wage increases…..

2020 was a devastating year for underpaid frontline workers.

But even in the face of public health and economic crises triggered by Covid-19, the Fight for $15 movement persisted, and now 24 states and 50 municipalities throughout the U.S. are set to raise minimum wages in 2021.

On New Year’s Day, 20 states and 32 cities will increase their minimum wage, with the wage floor in 27 of those jurisdictions reaching or exceeding $15 per hour. The January 1 raises will be followed by another round of wage floor hikes later in 2021, when four additional states and 18 localities will increase their minimum wage, 13 of them to at least $15 per hour.

That’s according to a new report, Raises From Coast to Coast in 2021 (pdf), released Thursday by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), which monitors worker remuneration and advocates for higher minimum wages nationwide.

“Despite the pandemic, the Fight for $15 movement continues to gain strength, with more cities and states than ever before raising their wage floors, including dozens of local jurisdictions raising wages to $15 or more,” said Yannet Lathrop, senior researcher and policy analyst with NELP and author of the report.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/12/31/raises-coast-coast-2021-new-year-higher-minimum-wages-24-states-and-50

Too bad it is not ALL American wage earners…hopefully that will be future benefit…..

I hope this helps some of you to make a better life for your family….as they say…”every little bit helps”….

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The Clayton Anti-Trust Act 1914

Speaking of economic news……

Hold your breath it is time for the Old Professor’s history lesson…..first Mata Hari was executed in Paris on this date in 1917….and in 1966 the Black Panther Party is established……and in 1969 over 2 million people protested for the end of the Vietnam War…..

On this day. 15 October, in 1914 the US Congress passes the Clayton Anti-Trust Act…..

On this date, the 63rd Congress (1913-1915) passed the Clayton Antitrust Act (P.L. 63–212) in a bid to curb the power of trusts and monopolies and maintain market competition. By the turn of the 20th century, large corporations had cornered whole segments of America’s economy using predatory pricing, exclusive dealings, and anti-competitive mergers to drive local businesses to ruin. In Congress, Members decried the evils of monopolies, including Representative Robert Crosser of Ohio who warned that a “failure to check the growth of monopolies…will result in industrial slavery.” Representative Alben W. Barkley of Kentucky dubbed the trusts “offensive organizations.” Most agreed that government regulation of the trusts was too lenient and rallied around the Clayton Antitrust Bill when Representative Henry Clayton of Alabama introduced it in 1914. Representative John J. Casey of Pennsylvania remarked, “I realize and appreciate the importance of this bill, because I believe it is one of the most important that has or will come before this House for consideration.” The Act supplemented and strengthened the Sherman Act of 1890, an existing antitrust bill that had failed to effectively regulate the massive corporations. The newly created Federal Trade Commission enforced the Clayton Antitrust Act and prevented unfair methods of competition. Aside from banning the practices of price discrimination and anti-competitive mergers, the new law also declared strikes, boycotts, and labor unions legal under federal law. The bill passed the House with an overwhelming majority on June 5, 1914. President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law on October 15, 1914. 

This was suppose to cease the idea and exploitation of being a wage slave…….and how has that worked out?

This law has very little teeth anymore…..we have monopolies everywhere in our business societies….the US has a long history of trying to make the society more equitable……https://www.thoughtco.com/the-clayton-antitrust-act-4136271

How has all this legislation done at help this society become a more equitable society?

I do not see it….how about you?

(Watch this blog for more thoughts on monopolies….posts coming soon)

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Closing Thought–01Oct20

More bad news for the workers thanx to the Trump admin during the pandemic.

All those economic stim packages that were aimed at helping workers to live until the virus can be conquered…..most of the money….all the money….has made it into the hands of corporations….and to add one more failed program to save the workers from unemployment.

A new analysis out Wednesday reveals that the Federal Reserve bond purchasing program meant to prevent workers from losing their jobs amid the Covid-19 pandemic instead bolstered companies who laid off more than one million workers while paying massive dividends to shareholders—a finding escalating concerns that the central bank’s behavior is “contributing to an economic recovery that benefits wealthy executives and investors but leaves behind American workers.”

The report put forth by the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis —titled “Prioritizing Wall Street” (pdf)—examines individual corporate bonds purchased through the Fed’s Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility (SMCCF), a lending system supported by funds from the CARES Act but which lacks taxpayer and worker protections included in other programs backed by the legislation passed earlier this year. 

For corporations hoping to become eligible to issue bonds purchased by the Fed, the SMCCF “imposes no conditions requiring companies to save jobs or limit payments to executives or shareholders,” the report notes. 

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/09/23/fed-program-meant-help-workers-amid-pandemic-prioritized-wall-street-investors

“The primary beneficiaries of the program have been corporate executives and investors, not workers.”

This is no different than the rest of the stim plans……make the CEOs richer and the screw the people that make these corporations possible.

Not to worry though the whole BS about the shareholders saving the working people is a LIE….please let me repeat that for the mentally slow….IT IS A LIE!

When the Business Roundtable issued a statement on corporate purpose and promised to “deliver value to all of… our stakeholders” in 2019, some applauded the attention paid to social and environmental concerns by 181 CEOs as a significant improvement from neoliberal economist Milton Friedman’s 1970 dictate that “the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits,” which marked the beginning of an era of shareholder primacy. 

But a study (pdf) published Tuesday by the Test of Corporate Purpose (TCP) initiative showed that amid 2020’s disastrous public health, economic, social, and environmental challenges—the coronavirus pandemic, massive unemployment and worsening inequality, persistent police violence and racial injustice, and intensified climate crisis—”stakeholder capitalism” has failed to follow through on its promises to do more to benefit workers and communities, continuing to “put profits ahead of people” instead. 

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/09/22/study-shows-stakeholder-capitalism-failing-live-promises-corporations-continue

“The study enhances doubts that corporations can be depended upon to moderate their quest for profits to pursue solutions to challenges like climate change, racial injustice, and economic inequality.”

The more you learn the more you see what a biased system we live in….the workers mean NOTHING.

If you cannot see the inequality you are either ignorant or a Trump supporter….wait…that is basically the same thing.

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Labor Day–2020

Closing Thought–07Sep20

Labour Day 2020: History, Importance and Significance of May Day

As usual the Old Professor has a history lesson and a touch of sociology for you on this day that celebrates work…..

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. employment is dire. Economists estimate that 1 in 5 workers have lost their jobs. As a result, many people are finding it difficult to keep a roof overhead and put food on the table. Yet there can be more to work, and Labor Day provides an opportunity to see how through the writings of a woman who thought especially deeply about it, Simone Weil.

Weil looked at work as more than an exchange of money for labor. She argued that people need to work not only for income but also for the experience of labor itself. From her perspective, money does not solve the core problems of joblessness. Instead, work provides vital opportunities to live more fully by helping others.

https://theconversation.com/labor-day-celebrates-earning-a-living-but-remember-what-work-really-means-145360

Because it is a lazy day does not mean that something cannot be learned…..

Today will be a short day for me and I need to step away from the keyboard for awhile…..and what better day then Labor Day….

I hope all my regulars have a great day.

I will be grilling and drinking beer……a person has got to have some fun once in awhile…..

So until tomorrow…..I will return to my regularly scheduled posting….but until then…TTFN!

Labor Day (September) 2020 | When is Labor Day (September) 2020? - CalendarZ

Those Police Unions

Closing Thought–20Aug20

First of all I take exception to the term ‘Union’ when applying it to the police.

At best it is an association……to imply it is a union means that it is part of the larger labor force…they are NOT!

That is my short bitch…..what this post is about is the coming storm of reform that is hitting the police forces around the country.

But why are these “associations” so strong?

Police unions are at the center of questions about what will happen to Chauvin and the three officers who watched as Floyd was suffocated. And they are also key to understanding why officers across the country escape discipline time and again after beating or killing people. As other labor unions have shrunk in recent years, membership in police unions has remained high. While the Black Lives Matter movement encouraged people to document police brutality on camera and demand accountability, police unions, which now have hundreds of thousands of members, have pushed back in almost every way imaginable—by overturning firings, opposing the use of body cameras, and lobbying to keep their members’ disciplinary histories sealed.

All of which can make officers feel invincible when they commit acts of violence. A forthcoming research paper from the University of Victoria in Canada found that after police officers formed unions—generally between the 1950s and the 1980s—there was a “substantial” increase in police killings of Black and Brown people in the United States. Within a decade of gaining collective bargaining rights, officers killed an additional 60 to 70 civilians of all races per year collectively, compared with previous years, an increase that researchers say may be linked to officers’ belief that their unions would protect them from prosecution. A working paper from the University of Chicago found that complaints of violent misconduct by Florida sheriffs’ offices jumped 40 percent after deputies there won collective bargaining rights in 2003.

The Infuriating History of Why Police Unions Have So Much Power

Reform is sadly needed but it will be a hard row to hoe…..because these so-called unions will fight any reform that is sadly needed.

In May, just days after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, Lieutenant Bob Kroll, the bellicose leader of the city’s police union, described Floyd as a violent criminal, said that the protesters who had gathered to lament his death were terrorists, and complained that they weren’t being treated more roughly by police. Kroll, who has spoken unsentimentally about being involved in three shootings himself, said that he was fighting to get the accused officers reinstated. In the following days, the Kentucky police union rallied around officers who had fatally shot an E.M.T. worker named Breonna Taylor in her home. Atlanta police staged an organized sick-out after the officers who killed Rayshard Brooks were charged. Philadelphia police sold T-shirts celebrating a fellow-cop who was caught on video clubbing a student protester with a steel baton. The list goes on.

Along with everything else about American society that was thrown into appalling relief by Floyd’s killing, there has been the peculiar militancy of many police unions. Law enforcement kills more than a thousand Americans a year. Many are unarmed, and a disproportionate number are African-American. Very few of the officers involved face serious, if any, consequences, and much of that impunity is owed to the power of police unions.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/08/03/how-police-unions-fight-reform

Until those much needed reforms hit in your police department….there are a few things we all can do to try and keep the cops in-line with the rest of society…..

As a reporter covering law enforcement for the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, and now in partnership with ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network, I use investigative reporting techniques to strengthen police accountability. Other journalists do the same. But, in truth, any citizen can apply the same methods to ensure the law enforcement system they’re funding is serving them well.

Police culture can be insular and tough to penetrate. But I’ve been surprised by how often it’s possible, though time consuming, to expose important issues by requesting and examining records and data from police departments and other government agencies and engaging citizens and key leaders. So here are five techniques concerned citizens, journalists and policymakers can use to examine police conduct in their communities.

https://www.propublica.org/article/i-cover-cops-as-an-investigative-reporter-here-are-five-ways-you-can-start-holding-your-department-accountable

Read the list and try to help keep the PD on a thin line…..it is time for them to return to their prized motto…”To protect and serve”….instead of the one they live by these days…”to punish and enslave”…..

Do yourself a favor….READ THE DAMN POST!

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But Markets Are Booming!

We hear every day just how the markets are doing (that would be stock markets not the food markets…although they are doing well as well with the increase in prices….you know profits are far more important than the well being of the people)…..

But reality is a lot different than the Fantasy that if markets are up then the economy is in great shape……that is a stupid statement that keeps getting regurgitated day after day……

Ask the 47% workers that are unemployed.

According to newly released Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures, 47.2 percent of working-age Americans were without work in May, the highest level recorded since the end of World War II.

The numbers are based on the BLS employment-population ratio, which takes the total labor force and divides it by the number of those actually working. It is a more accurate measure of joblessness than the monthly unemployment report, which only counts those actively seeking work.

At the end of May the employment-population ratio stood at 52.8 percent; it stood at 61.2 percent at the start of the year. The employment-population ratio reached a postwar high of nearly 65 percent in 2000.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/07/01/jobs-j01.html

Poverty is expanding….regardless what some right wing dolts try to tell you…..I have written about this some 12 years ago…..https://lobotero.com/why-poverty/

Then there is the “inequality” thing……again many years ago a blog post…..https://lobotero.com/2010/03/09/the-creeping-cancer-known-as-inequality/

The virus has done little to change the slide of the workers into poverty….and it appears that the world economy will have a bad couple of years to come thanks to the pandemic…..

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has significantly increased its forecast for the contraction in global economy, warning that it will take a cumulative $12 trillion hit over 2020–2021. Updating its forecast yesterday, the IMF said the global contraction for 2020 would be -4.9 percent, some 1.9 percentage points below the forecast it issued in April.

It said the COVID-19 pandemic “has had a more negative impact on activity on the first half of 2020 than anticipated, and the recovery is expected to be more gradual than previously forecast.” Overall, this would leave 2021 gross domestic product (GDP) some 6.5 percentage points lower than the pre-pandemic projections of 2020.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/06/25/imfr-j25.html

We have an election approaching…you can help change the trajectory of the economy by voting……and it needs a change….

Trump’s nationalism is clear, but is U.S. capitalism turning nationalist too?

Broadly, U.S. employers neither think nor care much about racism. Some use it to divide employees, keep them from unifying around workplace issues, labor unions, unwanted political initiatives, etc. Most ignore it unless and until gross racism brings victims and anti-racists into the street in ways that threaten their commerce or the economic status quo. Then lip service against racism flows. Corporations make mostly cosmetic adjustments hyped by major public relations efforts. At best, a few genuine, usually marginal improvements are achieved in racial integration and the excruciatingly slow decline of institutional racism.

US global capitalist leadership of the last 50 years is now in decline

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Closing Thought–01Jul20

But first….the most useless info available…..

01Jul1963…..zip codes were used for the very first time.

We are told by so many that the workers in this country have it made compared to workers in other countries….but just how true is this claim?

Actually…it is a lame ass claim ……

The U.S. has the worst record among major developed countries when it comes to workers’ rights, according to a survey of labor unions.

The world’s largest economy (US) is ranked a 4 in a scale by the International Trade Union Congress, meaning there are “systematic violations of rights.” Every other Group of Seven country ranks 3 or better.

Globally, the ITUC said the situation has worsened for workers, with violations of rights at a seven-year high. The worst region is the Middle East and North Africa, and the organization noted a number of countries have impeded the registration of unions, as well as banned strikes and collective bargaining.

Excluding countries where there are no rights due to a breakdown of the rule of law, the 10 worst in the survey are Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Honduras, India, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Turkey, and Zimbabwe. All are rated 5, for “no guarantee of rights.”

Europe dominates the top-ranked countries for workers, with the list including Sweden, Italy, Netherlands, Ireland and Germany. Uruguay is the only non-European nation in the group.

(Bloomberg)

I have been working to give workers a better life for 40 years….and my work is never been more important than it is today.

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