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In a May, 2011 post, Appealing To The "Center" Drives Away Voters I wrote that the traditional Democratic campaign strategy of taking positions perceived to be "between" the left and the right not only doesn't appear to work, it actually might be costing Democrats.

The traditional idea, driven by Democratic campaign consultants, is that "independent" voters "swing" between parties. SO you can get them to "swing" your way by taking positions that are not those of the base of your own party, but instead creep over towards those of the other party. I wrote in that May post,

The problem here is the effect the metaphor of a "center" has on our thinking. Thinking about independent voters as being a "block" that is "between" the parties is the problem. It forces the brain into a constraint because of the visual image that it evokes. What I mean is that the actual language of "centrist" changes how we think. The metaphor makes us think they are "between" something called left and right. And as a result it forces certain conclusions.

I said that Karl Rove figured this out, and used this to get Bush to instead "appeal to the base," which increased Republican turnout, while dispirited Dems, tired of their standard-bearers taking wishy-washy positions that give everything away, decided to just stay home. I wrote that Rove has "nailed it,"

Karl Rove believed that there were independents who were not registered Republican because the party was not far enough to the right for them, who would only turn out if the party gave them something to vote for. I think Karl Rove's model is more accurate, that the independent voters are a number of groups, and very large numbers of them are MORE to the left or right than the parties, and don't vote unless the parties appeal enough to them.

Rove decided this means the Republicans need to move ever more to the right, and this will cause those "independent" voters who had changed their affiliation out of disgust with the centrism of their party to now turn out and vote.

Now there is confirmation of this. On NPR's Talk of the Nation today, Clarence Page talked with host Neal Conan about the role of independent voters, saying that we might be surprised to learn that candidates who try to appeal to "independents" tend to lose, because they turn off the voters who closely follow and care about the issues.

Click the Play button below to hear this Talk of the Nation segment:

In fact, candidates that try to "appeal to the center" lose, because this idea of a :center" is a myth. From the transcript:

You know, there is a professor Alan Aramowitz of Emory University, who has been studying this using voting statistics, and he found that the - well, as he put it, in all three of the presidential elections since 1972 that were decided by a margin of less than five points, that the candidate backed by the independents lost.

This was - this surprised me. You know, he's citing here Jimmy Carter in '76, Gerald Ford - sorry, Gerald Ford beat - excuse me, Gerald Ford won the independent vote but lost the election. Put it that way, OK.

Most independents voted for George W. Bush in 2000, but Al Gore got the overall popular vote. As you recall, he got the popular vote but not the state vote.

CONAN: Yeah, but that's fudging your statistics a little bit. The guy who got the independent vote got the big prize.

PAGE: Yeah, but still, though, most of the - the one backed by the independent voters, though, did not get the majority of the popular vote. And in 2004, John Kerry, most independents voted for John Kerry, but he lost the overall election.

What does that mean? What it means is that Karl Rove and others, who have often advocated firing up the base rather than reaching out for independents, they've got a point. In some elections, that works. If you fire up your base, get your vote out, it can be big enough that it will overwhelm the opposition and the independents, because independents also tend to have the least turnout, and they also tend to be the least committed, not just to a party but also to - well, less engaged with the whole campaign.

They are joined by Daron Shaw, who was a campaign strategist for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.

SHAW: Well, I think the thing that Clarence pointed out that's worth reiterating is that the distinguishing characteristic of independent voters is they're not that interested, they're not that involved, they're not that engaged with politics. So if you're a political professional and you're dealing with finite resources, and you have to make decisions about where you're going to invest dollars, and where you're going to invest manpower, you know, the idea of reaching out to independents, who may or may not show up, and if they do show up may or may not vote for you, can give you pause.

So you know, it's interesting that there's been this movement in the last two or three election cycles, and as Clarence correctly pointed out, I think Karl Rove is kind of given credit for this, although I don't know if he's, you know, the architect or godfather of it; a lot of people who have moved in this direction.

But the idea of sinking your resources into mobilization, which primarily targets, you know, sort of identifiable partisans and appeals to them, that that's become kind of a staple and maybe even the dominant perspective. And I find it kind of interesting that word out of the White House - and you have to read all these things with a dose of caution - but suggests that they're kind of moving in that direction. That's sort of what their thinking is. And I just find that fascinating.

As I wrote in May:

The way to grow your voting base is NOT to try to "appeal" to some group that is not left or right, but is "between" something called left and right. To get more voters -- especially the "independent" ones who won't identify with a party -- is to take stands, be more committed to progressive positions, and to articulate them more clearly.

See also, Clarence Page: What it means to be an 'independent voter' might surprise you.


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Reading my local morning paper, I see that it is a typical day... Front page story about the exponential growth in the crow population since a 1981 measurement, Counting crows: Number of black birds on the rise in Bay Area ('Eden For Crows' in the print edition), can't find an explanation, but doesn't bring up that the climate here is changing. 

An article about the anniversary of the Gabby Giffords shooting, A year after the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, doesn't mention that conservatives put on a gun show to mark the anniversary, doesn't even mention the word 'gun.'
 
The anniversary was marked not only by the traditional rituals of speechmaking and prayers, but also by organized sessions and designated spots for yoga, meditation, hugging, dancing and steel drum playing. There were campaigns promoting civility and community -- people gathered at a park Saturday to sign a "Tucsonans Commit to Kindness" contract -- that were notable in how they avoided any explicit mention of the events of a year ago.
An editorial cartoon blasting "Government Motors" for having a "Fire Sale" of Chevy Volts, showing the entire dealership burnt out from a car fire, doesn't mention that there has not been a single car fire in a Volt, except after a special-circumstances crash test, and the cars are being recalled to fix the potential problem. Compare this with the following numbers for cars that run on ... gasoline:
 
In 2002-2005, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 306,800 vehicle fires per year. These fires caused an average of 520 civilian deaths, 1,640 civilian injuries, and $1.3 billion in direct property damage.
What's not in the paper? Anything that informs people of the benefits of belonging to a union. Anything that talks about how our government helps us. Anything that goes up against Big Oil and King Coal and informs the public of just how serious the problems of global warming are and the need for immediate solutions, or that informs the public of the need to move away from oil and coal as our energy source. 

To sum it up: anything that informs the public of the harm caused by plutocratic, corporatist-captured government and the benefits of democracy and good government. 

 In other words, you find very little in today's corporate-owned media that runs up against the agenda of the 1% and helps the 99%. 

 This is a fully-captured newspaper.

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It was an amazing thing to be part of, an entire city downtown occupied, then a huge march that shut down a major port. Oakland was #occupied! This was a game changer, a turning point. What happened in Oakland was a very big deal. On the same Wednesday there were big, big #occupy events in several other cities. But will Washington pay attention?

Occupy Oakland

I arrived at Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland yesterday about 11:30am. The streets were blocked off by police (a single police car keeping traffic out) a block or three out in all four directions, and a large crowd was gathered. The Plaza itself was surrounded by occupier tents, the surrounding street had several booths, and there was a bit of a festival atmosphere.

At the corner of 14th and Broadway there was a stage set up with speakers throughout the day. Hundreds of people milled about, many with signs saying everything from "We Are The 99%" to "Banks Got Bailed Out, We Got Sold Out," "Tax The Rich," "Stand With The 99%," "We Get Cut, They Get Rich," etc...

There was a harmonious energy with people of all ethnicities, ages, cultures and from all over the area. People were friendly, helpful, welcoming, and overall supportive of each other. It was a very pleasant event on a very pleasant day.

The main action of the day began at 4PM as the first of two marches left for the Port of Oakland. A number of buses filled up first, sending people to set up early picket lines. They would be joined and reinforced as marchers arrived. The picket lines and first marchers were effective as the workers honored the lines. Seeing the very large number of people heading for the port authorities decided to close operations and send workers home. But still thousands upon thousands of people marched, with many thousands more joining the 5pm march.

The scene at the port was just astonishing. People were just everywhere, as far as I could walk, passing more and more crowds of people, each time thinking this must be the "main mass." Then walk a bit further and there would be an even bigger mass of people. Drummers, dancers, people sitting on trucks. And of course lots of people wondering what was going on and what would happen next...

Finally people started tricking out, heading back to the occupy center at Oscar Grant Plaza.

And, of course, later a number of anarchists started a bonfire and had to be cleared out with tear gas.

Josh Holland at AlterNet has a good writeup of the days events, in OWS Oakland Takes Over City, Shutting Down One of the Biggest Ports in the Country...But Nightfall Brings More Chaos and Teargas

As many as 15,000 people participated in actions across Oakland yesterday, with small marches peeling off to protest in front of banks or "occupy" foreclosed homes. There were probably eight to ten times the number of people in the streets of Oakland today as I'd seen during past OWS actions. Police maintained a minimal presence throughout the day.

... A day of scattered actions across the city culminated in a massive "occupation" that shut down the Port of Oakland, the fifth busiest container port in the country. When it was announced that operations had been suspended for the night, thousands of people partied around trucks halted in their tracks, celebrating a victory in their struggle with authorities that began with the violent eviction of Occupy Oakland last week. The Oakland police, and Mayor Jean Quan, stung by negative press stemming from the clashes, essentially gave the port to the movement.

No Police At All?

The role of police in communities in a democracy is to be part of the community and to protect the community from the troublemakers, predators, criminals, etc. That includes communities of people expressing their dissatisfaction with plutocracy, just like crowds at football games, etc.

At a football game you see the police mixing with the crowds, spotting trouble, etc. They aren't lined up in full combat gear to intimidate the crowd and make people think they are doing something that is prohibited. They aren't under orders to treat the crowd at a football game or rock concert as an enemy.

In a plutocracy the police are under orders to do just that. And that is what the police have been doing in cities like Oakland.

So because of previous trouble when police were ordered to attack peaceful protesters the police had to be simply absent in Oakland yesterday in the face of such a large crowd. A self-organized mass like Occupy, in its early stages (this was only the 7th week!) hasn't learned how to deal with these things on their own and they shouldn't have to. They shouldn't need to set up their own government, etc., they are part of the larger community. It is not illegal to protest, or to have a beard, etc. People should not be mocked, humiliated, attacked, or have the police set on them because they oppose the greed of the giant corporations and big banks and Wall Street speculators. They are citizens.

This is not the fault of the police force. They are people with families and mortgages and car payments just like most of us. They have to do what they are told to do when they show up for work. The problems start when they show up for work and are told to attack peaceful protesters.

They should have been there assisting the citizens, from the start, just like a crowd at a festival, concert, or sporting event. And that would have prevented the troublemakers from breaking windows, starting bonfires, etc.

Major Labor Presence

There was a very big labor presence at the events in Oakland. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) had a strong presence. Their workers are engaged in a battle with Verizon, a giant and highly profitable company that is trying nonetheless to cut worker pay, benefits, safety standards and generally fight to push them out of the middle class.


Representatives of any, many other labor organizations were present, supporting the goals of the Occupy movement.

Pics

Here is a slideshow of pics and videos taken with my phone: (in some browsers you need to hit refresh to see this)


I also reported quite a bit of moment-to-moment action and posted many more pics on my twitter feed.

Spreading And Growing

The Occupy movement is in its 7th week, and continues to spread and grow. It has spread to cities around the country and world, and the numbers at each location continue to grow.

A quick scan of the news shows events in cities across the country including but not in any way limited to Omaha, Nashville, Rochester, Asheville, Albuquerque, Milwaukee, Denver, Washington, Philadelphia, Tulsa, Detroit, Chicago, Fort Myers, Austin, Boise, Atlanta, Sacramento, Portland, and of course New York.

Washington Reaction

In Washington this week the reaction to the national #occupy protests has been immediate and unrestrained. Reacting to the national attention and concern about Wall Street and corporate greed and the effect on the 99% of Americans facing tremendous work and financial pressures, the House of Representatives debated a bill to affirm "In God We Trust" as the nation's motto. And in the Senate, Republicans filibustered another effort to provide jobs from maintaining the country's crumbling infrastructure.

Also, in reaction to the national call for efforts to fight corporate greed and provide jobs the "super committee" debated how much money to take out of the economy, cutting Medicare and Social Security for the elderly, essential government services for the 99% of us who don't own big chunks of large corporations, all while seeking ways to further lower top and corporate tax rates. Never mind looking for ways to cut the overwhelming, bloated, huge, enormous, extravagant, inflated, out-of-control, budget-busting military budget!!!

At the same time others in Congress are discussing allowing giant multinational corporations to bring back the profits made from sending jobs and factories out of the country without having to pay taxes on that money.

A Warning Shot At Washington's Increasing Irrelevance

As I said, this public protest is spreading and growing. People have had enough and are taking to the streets in increasing numbers. But Washington continues to ignore the public, debating a national motto, as Repubicans block jobs and an elitist "super committee" debates cutting the things government does for the 99%.

Poll after poll shows the public overwhelmingly supports increasing taxes on the wealthy, bringing corporations under control, and reigning in trade agreements that suck our jobs, factories, companies and industries out of the country. People do not want Medicare, Social Security and other essential government programs cut, they want the rich and corporations and Wall Street to start paying their share.

The public wants something done about these problems. They want jobsm, they want something done about the incresing

If Congress continues to ignore the people of the country it will not be long before the situation is like Mubarak pretending he is still in charge of Egypt, while the people of the country are in the streets planning how they will run the country without him and his cronies.

Water On Gremlins

Lee Camp said that pepper spraying #occupiers is like throwing water on gremlins, you just get 10 times as many.

"Good God don't you get it, greed is no longer good."

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.


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Renew California

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Take a look at Renew California, our sister organization.

We have been blasted with conservative "market" propaganda for how many decades now? 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, we have to hear about how "markets" are the best way to allocate services to meet human needs, how corporations are better and more efficient than government.

Here's the thing. Markets are one-dollar-one-vote systems. Those with the dollars get the goods and services. And we are all seeing how that has been working out. Corporations are about a few people at the top making decisions and telling everyone else what to do. We're seeing how that is working out, too.

Democracy is about one-person-one-vote. We all get equal rights, equal access, equal opportunity. Extra money doesn't mean you get more votes. And democracy is about having open, transparent and accountable decision-making.

When We, the People are really the ones making the decisions we decide we want good jobs with good wages, food safety inspections, a clean environment, good schools and a modern infrastructure for our businesses -- and regulations that make sure our businesses are not squashed by the power and wealth of huge multinational corporations.

Someone has to go out and tell the public about the difference, and why democracy is a better choice.

From the Renew California website:

Standing Up - Moving Forward

Right now, conservative extremists are defining the discussion. How can that be, when voters in California gave progressives the largest margin of victory in any state and progressives hold 60% of the state's legislative seats and most of the seven state Constitutional offices?

It happens because the right-wing controls the message and the message is controlling the policy. It isn't supposed to be like that. Progressives should control the message. We are here to fill that need.

Renew California recognizes the importance of reaching out to communities of color and religious groups that share values of social and environmental justice, fairness and opportunity.


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Problem: Your right-wing brother-in-law is plugged into the FOX-Limbaugh lie machine, and keeps sending you emails about "Obama spending" and "Obama deficits" and how the "Stimulus" just made things worse. Solution: Here are three "reality-based" charts to send to him. These charts show what actually happened.

Spending

Bush-Obama Spending Chart

Government spending increased dramatically under Bush. It has not increased much under Obama. Note that this chart does not reflect any spending cuts resulting from deficit-cutting deals.

Deficits

Bush-Obama Deficit Chart

Notes, this chart includes Clinton's last budget year for comparison.

The numbers in these two charts come from Budget of the United States Government: Historical Tables Fiscal Year 2012. They are just the amounts that the government spent and borrowed, period, Anyone can go look then up. People who claim that Obama "tripled the deficit" are either misled or are trying to mislead.

The Stimulus and Jobs

Bush-Obama-Jobs-Chart

In this chart, the RED lines on the left side -- the ones that keep doing DOWN -- show what happened to jobs under the policies of Bush and the Republicans. We were losing lots and lots of jobs every month, and it was getting worse and worse. The BLUE lines -- the ones that just go UP -- show what happened to jobs when the stimulus was in effect. We stopped losing jobs and started gaining jobs, and it was getting better and better. The leveling off on the right side of the chart shows what happened as the stimulus started to wind down: job creation leveled off at too low a level.

It looks a lot like the stimulus reversed what was going on before the stimulus.

Conclusion: THE STIMULUS WORKED BUT WAS NOT ENOUGH!

More False Things

These are just three of the false things that everyone "knows." Some others are (click through): Obama bailed out the banks, businesses will hire if they get tax cuts, health care reform cost $1 trillion, Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme or is "going broke", government spending "takes money out of the economy."

Why This Matters

These things really matter. We all want to fix the terrible problems the country has. But it is so important to know just what the problems are before you decide how to fix them. Otherwise the things you do to try to solve those problems might just make them worse. If you get tricked into thinking that Obama has made things worse and that we should go back to what we were doing before Obama -- tax cuts for the rich, giving giant corporations and Wall Street everything they want -- when those are the things that caused the problems in the first place, then we will be in real trouble.


This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.


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Local Girl Makes Good

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From Santa Barbara's Noozhawk:

California Women Lawyers Selects Hannah-Beth Jackson for Fay Stender Award

Santa Barbara attorney and former Assemblywoman will be honored Sept. 15 during State Bar convention

California Women Lawyers will honor former Assemblywoman and Santa Barbara attorney Hannah-Beth Jackson with its prestigious Fay Stender Award on Sept. 15 at its annual dinner and membership meeting during the State Bar convention at the Westin Hotel in Long Beach.

The dinner keynote speaker will be California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who presides over a female majority court.

The annual award is given to a feminist attorney who, like Stender, is committed to the representation of women, disadvantaged groups and unpopular causes, and whose courage, zest for life and demonstrated ability to effect change as a single individual make her a role model for women attorneys.

Please click through to the article for more.


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Here is the video of last night's launch of Rebuild the Dream campaign, with Van Jones. ((If you want to skip the music parts, start at 9:15.)

The three big lies:

1) America is broke.
2) Asking the super rich to pay taxes hurts the economy.
3) Hating America's government and wrecking America's infrastructure is patriotic.

Watch live streaming video from rebuildthedream at livestream.com

Alternet has a great write-up of the event and its meaning, in Van Jones Kicks off American Dream Movement with Energetic Rally and Speech at NYC's Town Hall

And then you can watch this:



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Last night I moderated a "first of its kind" forum in Santa Barbara. It was an interactive, internet T.V. event hosted (for free) by a new company called, "California Streamin'" that brings high definition TV to the internet. (If you're interested, I've included their spiel at the bottom of this post). This is exciting technology that may very well be the great equalizer we'll need to combat the release of floodgates of big corporate money we're seeing and will see even more of as time goes by, thanks to right-wing Justice led by John Roberts and Anton Scalia and their outrageous ruling in Citizens United---Although that's not the point of this discussion, I just can't stop railing on it for all its anti-democratic implications.

O.K. so, the City of Santa Barbara is known as a very progressive city; we voted for gay marriage, against Prop 8, for a livable wage, early recycling goals, etc. etc. Up until a year ago we had a city council that was 5 Libs and 2 lib-moderates. We've had forward-thinking women mayors almost exclusively for the past 25 years..... and I've won my elections in the City of Santa Barbara, always proud of my progressive values, by about 65% of the vote every time.

One of our stalwart progressives, City Councilman Das Williams (my protege, successor and very progressive guy) was just elected to the California Assembly. With 11 months left, the City Council is trying to fill his unexpired term. Forty-six people have applied and are being considered for the position. Of that number, I would say thirty are serious candidates (meaning they care, aren't in this just to promote themselves or don't think they're Arnold Schwarzenneger).

It was a very lively and interesting forum where members of the public were invited to sign in and chat while watching the forum live. We took questions from the chat participants, asked many of the questions to the candidate/applicants, (who were all physically present together as if there were a real audience). The candidates responded in real time while folks at home were watching on their computers. We were able to create a very interactive experience for many locals who would rather sit at home and do their politics....maybe with beer in hand (or since this is Santa Barbara, maybe with their favorite Chard or Syrah).

Anyway, the point of this post is that when I asked the 11 applicants for a show of hands describing their politics with the simple question of "How many of you would consider yourselves progressives, moderates or conservatives", NOT ONE of them identified him/herself as a progressive....NOT ONE! Ten said they were moderates and one said he was conservative. Perhaps a strategic decision, because the board is frozen at three/three at the moment but I can tell you from the answers these panelists gave that at least 70% of them were more progressive than anything else--wanting prevention and intervention over incarceration for our growing youth gang problem; providing treatment and housing for our ever-growing homeless population, etc, etc. Consider, too, that these were people who had sufficiently open minds that they were willing to participate in this unique event.

How far has our brand fallen, where a community that once prided itself in its strenuous opposition to oil drilling, commitment to environmental protection, renters rights, livable wage ordinances, voted for Obama by about 35 points, etc. etc. has scared away proudly progressive politicians????? As I said, many of them WERE progressives, as we define the concept, but not one would own up to it!

While California continues its blue tradition of the past 50 years, things haven't always---or even that recently been that blue. (We've had one Democratic Governor since Jerry Brown was first elected in the 70's). We're likely considered the Lefty Capital of the world these days, particularly after this last election, but we are no less vulnerable to right-wing lunacy. I fear that we are looking at the canary in the mine at the moment if this experience is any indication. If long-time proudly progressive Santa Barbara is ducking the progressive mantle, you aren't going to find it in too many places outside of San Francisco identifying with it.

The bottom line is pretty clear here: we're in deep trouble if we don't start to move quickly to rehabilitate our brand---or at least how we present it to the public. The next election isn't far away....

Those of us who pride ourselves on believing in the common good, the importance of our government as a partner in our collective and individual success and the importance of equal opportunity and dignity for all, we've got to get our groove back....and quickly. Let's start reminding people that progressive values are what has moved our state and nation forward. This is no time to retreat from our proud legacy and vision.


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This fall I was invited to cover the the Keep It Made In America Tour put on by the Alliance for American Manufacturing. I spent a week driving around Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, ejoying the fall colors and visiting small towns all along the way.

I live in Silicon Valley where in spite of the high unemployment -- still 10.6% -- it's still pretty nice here, so the extent and especially breadth of the decline of so many cities and towns was a shock. Everywhere you go you see America's infrastructure crumbling! Of course I know this has been going on, but when you actually come from somewhere that is still pretty nice and see it firsthand - and everywhere - you really see it.

As I drove around these states I saw pretty much the same thing in town after town. As you approach the town on the highway the first thing you encounter is what I will call the vulture circle that surrounds it. This is the circle of Wall Street-owned chains emulating the Wal-Mart model of sucking cash out of the area and sending it away to the wealthy elites who own ... almost everything now. These are the national chains that are all the same in every town, all selling the same stuff, all made in China, all putting the local small businesses out of business.

As you drive into town the next thing you encounter is the circle of home equity extraction, with newer houses that have taken on big first and second Wall Street mortgages. These houses mostly look OK -- except the foreclosures with the brown lawns and grass growing in the cracks in the driveway. This area has car dealers and strip malls that used to sell expensive cars or nice goods. These dealers and stores feasted on those "take money out of your house" refinancings or second mortgages. Now they have nail and hair salons or are just "for lease."

As you get closer to the center of town you come to the areas of older houses, more of them boarded up than you want to see, with old, boarded-up stores on a few of the corners of the larger streets. Where there are still-occupied houses they have bars on the windows.

Finally you come to the old, crumbling downtown where there are many empty storefronts, some boarded, the lost dreams of the local small business-owners. Here and there you see, between the vacant lots, a few government buildings.

And then somewhere is what they always call "the old plant." This is one or more closed-up, fenced-off, rusting old factories or mills. They are fenced off, with lots of broken windows, and maybe part of a building is falling down. This is where the people used to work but the jobs moved to Mexico or China.

Much of the country is like this now. So many of the older small towns, crumbling, the money sucked out by the Wall Street elite. The factories sold off, closed. The people can't make a living, the towns can't make a living, the country can't make a living, the Wall Street elite making a killing.

You can see the process starting here in Silicon Valley, too. As you drive around this area you see that one of every four or five office or light-industrial buildings has an "Available" sign. The region has the same number of manufacturing jobs as it had when the "tech revolution" began. The rest have moved to China. We don't make cell phones here. We don't make flat-screen TVs here. We don't make computers here. We certainly don't make iPads here -- even though Jobs is his name!

Even exclusive Palo Alto has empty storefronts on the main drag. (You know the economy is bad when the rug stores on University Avenue are actually going out of business!) It is even happening here. It will get worse.

In July Intel's retired CEO and Chairman Andy Grove wrote an important opinion piece,
How to Make an American Job Before It's Too Late, in which he warned,

Clearly, the great Silicon Valley innovation machine hasn't been creating many jobs of late -- unless you are counting Asia, where American technology companies have been adding jobs like mad for years.

[. . .] As time passed, wages and health-care costs rose in the U.S., and China opened up. American companies discovered they could have their manufacturing and even their engineering done cheaper overseas. When they did so, margins improved. Management was happy, and so were stockholders. Growth continued, even more profitably. But the job machine began sputtering.

Please take the time to read Grove's entire piece.

The storm that created the rust belt is heading our way, and we need to pay attention. What will it take for American companies to create American jobs rather than jobs outside America?


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Have We, the American People, Lost our Heart and Compassion and appear as grave hypocrites at this particular time of year? Or is it just our political "leaders" who have reduced the President to a virtual afterthought in their quest to bankrupt government and give the wealthiest Americans even more? Heavens, the wealthiest among us have a difficult choice to make, as one bold U.S. Senator stated earlier this week. Their dilemma is in which house should they celebrate Christmas. For the unemployed, the question is whether they will have a home at all this Christmas. And yet, the debate goes on about continuing the tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans while those same "leaders" are refusing to agree to continue unemployment payments to those who have virtually nothing

I find myself offended and embarrassed by the rhetoric being espoused by the Republicans in Congress today. They are insisting that we continue billions of dollars of tax-breaks to the wealthiest of Americans at the same time expressing deep concern about the growing deficit, which such tax breaks helped create. Of course, the record is clear that these continued breaks for the wealthy do NOT significantly stimulate the economy. In fact, it is just the opposite. By providing money for those unemployed we are assured that they will put money back into the economy for food, for rent and necessities. They are in no position to SAVE; they will spend it for basic living expenses. The rich, with so much, put that money in the bank and do not spend it. So, there is not even any fiscal logic to their protestations, yet that doesn't (ever) stop them from making these false claims.

How did we become a nation like this? Or is it, perhaps, just the Republican leadership that is so heartless, so morally bankrupt that they are willing to sacrifice down-on-their-luck Americans, millions of them, in exchange for continued wealth and opulence for a small number of already well-fed and well-heeled supporters.

This is a moral outrage so where is the moral outrage from the Democrats? The President, supposedly the moral leader of this country, is apparently willing to make a deal, a Faustian deal at that, with the heartless politicians who are newly emboldened by their "victory" in November.

And not to be at all blinded by the irony, this is Holiday Season---when we Americans claim to be of good cheer, wishing Peace on Earth and Goodwill to all. Have we, as a nation, become so anesthetized, so paralyzed, so cold-hearted that we are unable or unwilling to DEMAND of our so-called "leaders" that they do the right thing, for once?

If our leaders need to know we have their backs on this issue, then let's tell them.
Let them know we are a moral, good and decent people and expect them to reflect our values. It's Christmas-time, dammit. Do something to show you care. Tell them to care, too.


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About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Progressivism category.

Progressive Infrastructure is the previous category.

Public Education is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.