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This level of fraud is akin to steroids in sports: the faked races that workers are forced to tolerate in the call center amounts to an analogy called "corporate steroids." We see these reports about president Bush condemning athletes for using "performance enhancing drugs," and see senators complain to team owners about the example that these sports heroes are setting for kids. What hypocrites. The kids are going to grow up and enter workplaces like AT&T where this same government has passed laws to make legal the rigged competition, faked races, and stacked data that's used to harass and psychologically torture workers. Steroids in sports merely fits the pattern of so many rigged institutions of society.

The lingo used in these call centers is worthy of serious anthropological inquiry. As if to underscore the phony and faked competitions, management language conforms to sports metaphors: "Take charge" (of a rigged call). Workers are grouped into "competing teams" and get the daily "blow by blow" of "scores" (that are more fixed than baseball steroid games). But in the real sports world there's a near religious repulsion against cheats who fix the game. Athletes under steroid suspicion are ritualistically dragged before congressional committees to tearfully deny the charges. "What kind of example are we setting for our children?" demands an indignant congressman.

AT&T is the "example" kids have in store for them. Steroids in sports merely sets the expectations for kids who'll later experience call center reality as just another rigged system taking advantage of them, all very familiar.

Then I'd read about the dozens and dozens of gospels written after Jesus died and see how a mogul "Emperor" of Rome picked out the passages that would brain-train everyone to agree with Emperor-friendly terms. Rome then ordered that dozens of other gospels, the ones about equality, be destroyed, and the "heretics" who read them be burned at the stake. We get "rigged religion" too, indulgences and all…

The point is that the entire society is being manipulated by an affluent class to heighten "upper class" income and freedoms, while cutting down the income and freedom of 90 percent of us.

"The 'marketplace of ideas,' built during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, effectively disseminates the beliefs and ideas of the upper classes while subverting the ideological and cultural independence of the lower classes…The ability of the upper and upper-middle classes to dominate the marketplace of ideas has generally allowed these strata to shape the entire society's perception of political reality and the range of realistic political and social possibilities."

- Benjamin Ginsberg

Since these call center jobs are mostly throw-away positions with fast turnovers (we call them "McJobs" - fast food of the employment scene) a high percentage of unskilled inner-city residents populate these rigged-game boiler rooms. It's imperative for management to entice these workers and urge them to reach for a golden ring. So the managers take pains to arrange examples of "success" - they create their very own work place "stars." They'll select Mr. Ghetto-slang and strategize an "Extreme Makeover - Workplace Edition" to manufacture that lucky rep into Mr. Alpha Sales. Managers make sure Alpha takes home $3000 a month for (what everyone there is required to nervously agree is) his "natural talent." Word quickly spreads through the ghetto that Alpha is making the bucks at AT&T. "See, YOU can do this too!" The call center gets a steady stream of job applicants seeking to cash in. Most of the new workers have no idea that their talents on the phone mean nothing here. The reality is, in my opinion, either a manager decides he/she "likes" your looks or your work profile, etc. and arranges for you to get affluent customers, or the manager(s) decide to amuse themselves by harassing you out of the company with their fixed calling list.

AT&T gives these taskmaster managers an arsenal of "policies" with which to dismiss an employee. The most common it seems is email. Inside the cubicles on the floor, three or four workers often use the same computer during several shifts throughout the day. When anyone comes into work, there usually has been at least one other worker at "your" desk during a recent earlier shift, and frequently up to a dozen different people will use the same computer during the course of a week. And the job demands are so complicated that we have to type notes into Word documents on the computer to keep track of procedures that change daily. Often we'd arrive back at work and our notes would either by deleted from the system, or, if we email them to our work email address, we frequently find that the computer system has been "restored" to an earlier date and we find versions of our notes from weeks ago, instead of our recent, up-to-date notes.

The most common solution is to email our notes to web-based personal email accounts, like Hotmail or Yahoo, where we can keep our notes safely off the workplace computers and retrieve them when needed. That's the only way to keep the notes, which are critical to performing our jobs. But that "solution" is a set-up by AT&T, because buried in their employee "handbook" (which is kept on their intranet website) is a clause that says workers are forbidden to send "personal" emails. So, even though, in my opinion, most of the workers are sending notes to their personal email addresses, when the company wants to reduce staff, or fire a worker, they simply say "You sent a personal email, you're fired." And then New York State politicians have passed laws for the Dept. of Labor to say, "You have committed misconduct and are disqualified for unemployment benefits." These same politicians have gone so far as to pass laws that disqualify workers from eligibility for public assistance for 90 days after a company "supervisor" fires them for "misconduct."

And there you have it, a prescription for homelessness if manager(s) at these concentration camps "dislike" the way you wear your hair, or the way you pronounce your words, or the color of your socks, or maybe the shape of your nose isn't appealing to a supervisor so you start getting all the calls from Katrina flood zones…

I've collected about a half dozen studies about the discrimination against average-looking and unattractive people in the workplace. I also keep hidden-camera studies about how short people are routinely paid a fraction of the salaries that taller people are paid. We're in a culture of run-away, out of control, rampant discrimination and dead-end tragedies for people simply because of characteristics they are born with. In fact, the delusion of the United States is that the American Revolution even changed anything. In "1776" there was as a revolution to overthrow an aristocracy - to put an end to power and privilege based on family bloodline and descent. And then American men went on to replace an aristocracy with a meritocracy - which is equally unfair, just as random, just as luck-based, and just as violence-provoking as any aristocracy is! Instead of dominators threatening 90 percent of us because they were born into a family of "kings and queens" - we today have dominators threatening 90 percent of us because they were born with inherited wealth, or genetically-based capabilities to enrich themselves, or the luck of growing up in a good environment that supports their efforts.

To be blunt - the United States is still waiting to fight the American Revolution. Surely this insurgency will surface after the asteroid impact wipes out the "value" of money currency. We must publish lists of the names among us who've been complicit with this violence-provoking system of meritocracy. These people need to leave the planet with whatever assistance we can administer.

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