PPI: Republican Lite

In, Manufacturing Jobs Are Never Coming Back, FiveThirtyEight cites a report by the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI):

PPI is a centrist Democratic think tank that, while not formally affiliated with the Clinton campaign, is effectively an organ of the party establishment; it bills itself as “the original ‘idea mill’ for President Bill Clinton’s New Democrats.” Its new report was widely interpreted as a bid by centrists to show they could compete with Sanders on big economic ideas.

So what were those big ideas? In addition to free trade (including ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Sanders and now Clinton oppose), there was a grab bag of fairly familiar progressive policies: infrastructure spending, paid family leave, improved workforce training. …

But the PPI report, called Unleashing Innovation and Growth – A Progressive Alternative to Populism, also includes a lot of big ideas that would not be out of place in a Republican stump speech. Here are some snippets from their 72 page PDF:

In light of the economic and security benefits, Democrats can only lose credibility with the public by parroting green activists who exaggerate the dangers of fracking or demand that America’s shale windfall be kept “in the ground.”

So much for climate change. Drill, Baby, Drill.

more on my blog

Just Off The Top Of My Head, Here…

…You know what I don’t get?

Here in the U.S., we seem to applaud other countries when the people in other countries stand up for their rights, and fight back and get all angry and shit.  We sit back and mildly yell, “Right On!” from our sofas.

We love the underdogs.

We love to see Mister Smith going to Washington and Luke and Leia getting laid (but not with each other) and everyone fighting for their rights (but getting along and fighting the good fight, sister and brother, before learning that Darth Vader is their father and sort of killed their mother).  We love to see the kicked-in-the-sand guy standing up to the muscle man on the beach.  Archie beats Reggie and gets BOTH Veronica and Betty.  Shaggy and Scooby solve the mystery AND get a snack.

We LOVE this sort of thing.

But we continually throw up our hands when it comes to trying to change our government, no matter whether we stand by it or not.  Whether we vote Republican or Dem.  No matter if we’re happy or not.

We vote, yeah, and some of us are active in local politics or just pretend to be and talk loud.  But none of us tries to save our unions or pool our income and help one another and start small from the ground up and be one another’s brothers and sisters enough to care about each other to the point where we would boycott the Defense Industry or Dick Cheney’s house (one and the same, if you ask me, but that’s beside the point).

The point is…we should be thinking about union workers and stop loving WalMart and remember On the Waterfront and what it’s like to be new in this country and scared but proud and trying to carve out a living and maybe a home and a family one can be proud of.  The pursuit of life, liberty and happiness should not be tied down by our own fellow country-men forming judgments and trying to take away rights just to make this country seem safe and familiar and known.

We came here, from other countries that fought hard through centuries to see people treated fairly and to see that no one goes hungry, and we suddenly forget our roots and no longer care about sweatshops and hunger.  Now it’s, “Pull yourselves up by your boot straps, you lazy ‘git!”.

Hey, I have boots.  They may be ballet flats or sneakers, but they’re my working shoes.  I work.  I work hard.  I only work part time at the moment and I only make $8.25 but I work damn hard and I’m proud.  I am pulling myself up and I will pull myself up until I die.  I doubt I will see retirement.

And I’ll be damned if I let any person judge anyone who is trying to make ends meet, and taking a job that could have a future, by joining a union or any other society or club that might help them get ahead.

Our forefathers were a union of sorts, and they took the time to help form a bigger union, and to make carefully considered laws that would ensure we’d all have the freedom to continue to be a union and make carefully considered laws (or NOT to, as the case may be – which is an excellent point but not one I’m willing to go into at the moment)…

And, and…I’m giving up my soap box now because it’s after 11PM and I’ve been drinking beer and am getting sleepy and have two hard days of work ahead, so, I’ll shut up in a second, but….seems to me that killing off — or simply disliking  — unions is a weird thing, seeing as how America was built by unions.

But, maybe that’s just me.

So, from the top of my head, to the bottom of my tired feet, I remain,

Your hard working, hard drinking friend, who doesn’t understand the way some people think, but will continue to try anyway,




The Future Can’t Wait, No Place to Hide….

Future Shop B/W at the new Uptown mega mall in Victoria
Future Shop Uptown mega mall in Victoria BC – Flicker

While watching the tube as I ate breakfast the other day there was a commercial on from one of the large consumer electronics companies. Japanese, if I remember correctly – though I do not remember which one. It showed a large factory turning out various new gadgets using all these robotic arms and what not. The message being that their product was not touched by human hands or some such.

Continue reading “The Future Can’t Wait, No Place to Hide….”

On financial collapse, OWS, revolution, evolution and non-violence.

Clear Creek Food Cooperative - Flicker

I have been reading and listening and watching a lot these last few months. From people like Glenn Greenwald and Chris Hedges to Carl Dix and Cornel West. About revolution and OWS and non-violent protest and the military’s response to civil unrest and dislocation caused by some next economic collapse, crash and/or catastrophe. The right, libertarians all convinced that THEY are the targets and the left convinced that THEY are the targets and Wall Street the same.

All the hubris aside, I think it’s time to take a few steps back and try to see the whole picture. Continue reading “On financial collapse, OWS, revolution, evolution and non-violence.”

OWS is asking. Whether Democray…Whether Capitalism.

After reading and viewing and talking to to the participants in the OWS movement it has become clear that nearly all understand the current situation and how we got to this point. That the system has become so unfair and so non-responsive to the people’s needs that the only thing they can do is to take to the streets to express their anger and disenchantment. Continue reading “OWS is asking. Whether Democray…Whether Capitalism.”

How Obama and His Friends Are Selling Everyone Down the River – An Interview With Michael Hudson

Obama and his Wall Street Friends

An excellent interview with Michael Hudson by Bonnie Faulkner. How Obama has boxed in the Democrats and sold his constituents to Wall Street at a bargain price. You can download the mp3 here.  But here are some of the high points. Continue reading “How Obama and His Friends Are Selling Everyone Down the River – An Interview With Michael Hudson”

A Fable For……Some Time

John Haddock had been with the company for almost 25 years and at 58 very close to retirement now. He was one of the most successful design engineers they had. Graduated from Columbia Engineering School with his Masters degree and went to work for a communications firm. When the opening in his current company for an assistant design position opened up, he jumped at it.  Marshal Control Systems was just the place he wanted to be.  Helping to design the necessary power and charge control systems needed for photovoltaic and wind turbine systems. This was the future. 
Continue reading “A Fable For……Some Time”

Pulling a Rabbit Out of a Hat

Things don’t happen magically. This has grown ever more true at this particular time.

Here we have a very nice rundown of U.S. worker productivity describing the myth of our repeatedly upping the productivity ante. Like so much else this is really a lie. Something from nothing has never truly happened and remains true in this case. LINK

Note particularly on the charts where it states that, “If the median household income had kept pace with the economy since 1970, it would now be nearly $92,000, not $50,000”. The idea of an equitable sharing of the fruits of the nations efforts is vastly overshadowed by the selfishness and greed that so signifies the last 30 or 40 years of our history. Even more though it has to be recognized that our successes haven’t come through the efforts of a few. It took the entire country to get where we are.

The reality is equality is baked into our being. Our Constitution pays homage to this reality. It’s become very evident, that much to our disadvantage, some of us have rejected this reality.

Coming into this 4th of July weekend we have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for. However, we also have a lot of stuff that needs some serious looking after.

Overworked America: The Great Speedup

By James

Created 2011-06-30 08:22
Overworked America: The Great Speedup

Thursday 30 June 2011

by: Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery, Mother Jones [3] | Report

A statue of a businessman with his head buried in wall, Los Angeles, California. Americans work 122 hours more than workers in the UK, and 378 hours more than those in Germany. (Photo: RobeRt Vega [4])

You: doing more with less. Corporate profits: Up 22 percent. The dirty secret of the jobless recovery.

On a bright spring day in a wisteria-bedecked courtyard full of earnest, if half-drunk, conference attendees, we were commiserating with a fellow journalist about all the jobs we knew of that were going unfilled, being absorbed or handled “on the side.” It was tough for all concerned, but necessary—you know, doing more with less.

“Ah,” he said, “the speedup.”

His old-school phrase gave form to something we’d been noticing with increasing apprehension—and it extended far beyond journalism. We’d hear from creative professionals in what seemed to be dream jobs who were crumbling under ever-expanding to-do lists; from bus drivers, hospital technicians, construction workers, doctors, and lawyers who shame-facedly whispered that no matter how hard they tried to keep up with the extra hours and extra tasks, they just couldn’t hold it together. (And don’t even ask about family time.)
Continue reading “Pulling a Rabbit Out of a Hat”

OVERDOSE – A Documentary on the Financial Crisis that is coming.

This is a really good documentary on the financial collapse, why it happened, what was done after, what was not and why the next one will be even worse. The moves made by the government – here and elsewhere – and those not made have set the world up for another financial disaster. The premise they give here is after the bust of the Housing Bubble, the solution has been to inflate a large number of other bubbles all about to burst. It’s fairly log but worth watching. It has Spanish sub-titles and was done by a Swede. Continue reading “OVERDOSE – A Documentary on the Financial Crisis that is coming.”