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Member since: Fri Dec 16, 2011, 10:30 PM
Number of posts: 8,994

About Me

I'm a liberal looking to make a difference in politics.

Journal Archives

There is no such thing as "Those jobs aren't coming back" in manufacturing.

A country with a population of hundreds of millions, and that doesn't manufacture anything, is doomed to collapse. Its currency will lose value and when that happens the jobs will come back because the goods coming from that country will be ultra-cheap on the global market. This is a certainty. The jobs will come back.

And for the sake of such a populace, like America, low-end manufacturing must come back. The low-end of the tech industry - the $20/hour QA and low-end programming jobs - must make a major comeback.

For populations of that size, nothing else creates the sheer number of good paying jobs that will support a middle class lifestyle. There will never be enough knowledge industry jobs or high-level manufacturing jobs combined, to supply a population that big with enough middle class jobs. The service industry that has grown to supplant manufacturing is, inherently, an industry of very low paying jobs, with a smattering of job types that pay a lot. The service industry cannot, inherently, create enough high-end jobs to make up for the middle class jobs that have been lost.

Furthermore, a resurgence of low-end manufacturing jobs also puts upward pressure on wages simply because of the increase in middle-class jobs. When low wage service employees can just up and leave for better-paying factory jobs, employers are forced to both raise wages and improve working conditions. Instead of a proliferation of Wal Mart work environments you'll see the reverse: things moving more in the direction of the fabled "Google campus" style of employee pampering. It's called an employee's labor market, and we have had that before. We can have it again. Everything I just said about manufacturing, also applies to low-end tech. We must have a major resurgence of both to bring back the employee's labor market.

We have 10 million unemployed Americans and ten million more who are underemployed, and we have an employer's market that suppresses wages and enables employers to treat their workers like crap. This is not temporary. It's structural, and if we don't put to shame the lie that "those jobs aren't coming back"... it will not only be a permanent situation, but it will get worse.

It is extremely unlikely that there will be any new industries that produce as many middle class jobs as manufacturing and low-end tech did. New industries are producing fewer jobs and only a sliver of those few jobs are well-paying. It's called bifurcation, and it is happening to a far worse degree than ever before.

When the horse and buggy cart industry went byebye, the auto industry replaced it with a massive wave of job creation. Nothing like that is emerging now, nor will it within even the distantly foreseeable future - distant, as in decades out. You can take that to the bank: we have at least one entire generation of Americans coming up to find that most jobs are low paying and not capable of sustaining the cost of living. The nightmare of age discrimination, unfair employment credit checks, fighting for job connections and getting one's low-paying service industry resume noticed among a pile of thousands, will all look tame compared to the stresses of job hunting a generation from now. Sure, you'll still have your Mark Zuckerbergs 1%ers, but unless we have a major low-end tech/manufacturing resurgence, America's 99% will have it a lot harder than the 99% have it today.

Paul Ryan: burned in the third degree by a nice big steaming cup of Joe.

That is all.

It's gotten effing cold here, so it's coffee time for me and the missus. Time for Fair Trade?

I've been studying the Fair Trade movement for a while and it's time to give them the better of the doubt and give it a try. It's REALLY cold today so we went out and got some coffee. We can't really figure out where our coffee is REALLY coming from so we went with a fair trade label. In case anyone wants details, we got Seattle's Best Fair Trade Cert to go with Alter Eco Dark Quinoa chocolate, which was also certified Fair Trade.

I just can't tell if "American made" coffee was the result of abused, underpaid farm workers, and that's assuming "from the United States" coffee even exists. I can reasonably expect that Fair Trade will be slavery-free and exploitation-free.

Is Fair Trade in general the right choice here? A lot of it is imported but on the flip side it appears that labor exploitation and child exploitation are filtered out by Fair Trade certification. It looks like it balances out as far as I'm concerned. Are there any scandals that inexperienced folks should beware of?

A few famous quotes you should know of that define the true face of Capitalism

"Everyone but an idiot knows that the lower classes must be kept poor or they will never be industrious." - Arthur Young, 1771

"I can hire one-half of the working class to kill the other half." - Jay Gould

"Poverty is therefore a most necessary and indispensable ingredient in society, without which nations and communities could not exist in a state of civilization. It is the lot of man. It is the source of wealth, since without poverty, there could be no labour; there could be no riches, no refinement, no comfort, and no benefit to those who may be possessed of wealth." - Patrick Colquhoun

Please add on if you know of other equally telling quotes.

Is Windows 8 Microsoft's way of indoctrinating us into saying 'byebye' to the PC?

Let me guess, manufacturers are also trying to kill the PC, too?

SC voter ID law blocked... temporarily, but at least it'll be blocked for this election!


A federal court in Washington today blocked South Carolina’s Voter ID law from going into effect for the 2012 elections, but said it could go into effect for future elections.

Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, South Carolina — because it has a history of discrimination — had to get approval for the law from federal officials in Washington DC.

A three judge panel of federal judges unanimously said today that it couldn’t pre-clear the law “given the short time left before the 2012 elections,” but said that the law was not enacted for a “discriminatory purpose” and could go into effect “beginning with any elections in 2013.”

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said the ruling is a “major victory” for South Carolina. “It affirms our voter ID law is valid and constitutional under the Voting Rights Act,” Wilson said. He said that the law does not discriminate and he would “work diligently to implement this law for all future elections.”

Just like I warned: we're running out of jobs to export to the poor nations.

We've bled close to dry, and now the third world has got to find another way to prosper besides relying on Americans lowering their standards of living to send them jobs.

This is not xenophobia in action... it's a fact of nature in motion. The consequences of stealing jobs from America and the West have finally come home to roost. We're running out. Peak offshoring may have been passed.


This pessimism has many economists looking for new models of growth. Harvard economist Dani Rodrik, for example, says poorer countries may not be able to rely on industrialization as a path to prosperity, as much of Asia has. Modern factories are highly advanced, requiring fewer workers and more skills. They can be easily moved. Growth, he wrote last month, will rely instead on “sustained improvements in human capital, institutions, and governance.”

The World Bank, too, sees a need for many countries to avoid the model of export-led growth that has long relied heavily on wealthy consumers in Europe and the United States. A slowdown in richer nations means poorer nations must look more to their own markets or neighboring countries.

A similar story is found here:

There's no need to be stressed about how the election is going, except for one area.

I wasn't stressed about the debate. I knew there was no way Obama could have been CREDIBLY said to lose that. Then the Big Bird comment I knew would sink Romney, started coming back to bite him in the ass. Then there is cheatgate. Then Gish Gallop started getting around. I wasn't worried about the polls. Lo and behold it came down that Pew's polling tactics were extremely biased toward old white men of the South.

None of that shit is worth freaking out over, except for one thing: voter suppression, voter misdirection, and vote miscounting.

Got scared? Then spend an extra day to GOTV for the President or Democratic candidates down-ticket. When people panicked in 2008 over the rise of Palin, donations skyrocketed. Anyone who's panicked should take a lesson from that. Anyone who's not, should step it up just in case.

Obama's Monument to Cesar Chavez: can we talk about global worker unionization in honor of this?

(CNN) -- Describing it as a "day that has been a long time coming," President Barack Obama made modern history Monday by announcing the creation of a monument to honor the late labor and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez.

The Cesar E. Chavez National Monument becomes the 398th unit in the National Park Service system, and the first honoring a Latino born later than the 1700s, the Park Service told CNN.

It's no coincidence the move comes less than a month before Election Day, as the president maintains a strong lead among Latinos. A big turnout among Latino supporters in states where the race is close could help Obama win re-election against GOP challenger Mitt Romney.

For starters: What reason would we have, as a party, to oppose striking down the fraudulently-named "right to work" laws?

What reason would non-right wingers not have to join the Industrial Workers of the World and talk about them with other people?

We need to work this out so that workers around the world can beat the war of exploitation being waged on the working class.

It is a lie to say that immigrants only work in agriculture and don't work in factory jobs.

It is also a half-truth to say that Americans won't work in agriculture.

The reality is that
1) Immigrants work in factory jobs; and
2) immigrant labor is brought in to push American citizens OUT of vulnerable industries and
3) immigrant labor is brought in to lower wages and reduce an employer's burden to maintain a safe work environment.

A few examples.

The class-action lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Boston on behalf of 500 workers, follows a raid by federal immigration agents on March 6 that drew criticism of the Bush administration's immigration policy and brought national attention to the perils facing undocumented workers.

Dozens of children were stranded when 361 workers at Michael Bianco Inc., which makes equipment and apparel for the U.S. military, were arrested by federal agents in New Bedford, a port city about 55 miles south of Boston.

Many of the immigrants were initially held at a decommissioned Army base in Massachusetts before being flown to Texas.

The case, separate to a lawsuit filed in March by the arrested immigrants against the U.S. government, accuses Michael Bianco Inc. of setting up a fictional company, Front Line Defense, to pay employees who had worked overtime.

In the 1930s, unionization swept through the meatpacking industry, and for decades meat jobs were well paid, came with health insurance and led to stable communities. But that has all changed, according to Eric Schlosser, author of "Fast Food Nation," published by Houghton Mifflin.

The industry has consolidated and moved its factories from the city to the U.S. High Plains. In the late 1970s, the top four beef companies controlled about 20 percent of the market; now they control more than 80 percent, Schlosser said. A return to poor working conditions in this period is not only bad for laborers but ultimately dangerous to consumers, he added.

In 1995, Schlosser, an Atlantic Monthly correspondent, wrote a story about Latin American migrant strawberry laborers in California. Rolling Stone magazine editors read it and asked him to write about fast food in the United States, leading to his new book, which spent six week under review in Houghton Mifflin's legal department before publication.

On arriving in meatpacking towns, Schlosser would meet with migrant workers from Mexico and Guatemala. Many of them were illiterate in English or Spanish, which made it hard for them to work together or organize to make conditions better, he said.

Labor trafficking in manufacturing has been known to occur in the garment industry and in food processing plants in the United States. Victims, both men and women, have been forced to work 10-12 hour days, 6-7 days per week with little or no break time. People may be trafficked into garment industry jobs such as sewing, assembling, pressing, or packing apparel. Others may be forced to work in food processing operations that include slaughtering, preserving, canning and packing goods for distribution. Immigrant workers, both documented and undocumented, are often recruited into these industries. Some documented immigrants include H-2B visa holders who arrive in the U.S. to perform non-agricultural labor or temporary services.

Several workers paid large fees to labor recruiters who brought them to the U.S. with falsified documents. When the workers arrived in the U.S., they learned that their debts had increased and that they had to work at a canning plant in a small, rural town in Kansas to pay the debt. The recruiters required that the workers live in overcrowded conditions in housing that they provided. Because of its isolated location the workers had to rely on the recruiters for food and basic supplies. The recruiters took the majority of the workers’ paychecks, claiming that the money went to their debt, housing and food.


Immigration Status – Traffickers often use threats of deportation and document confiscation to maintain control over foreign national workers in the production industry. H-2B workers, (temporary immigrant workers) are particularly vulnerable because their legal status in the United States is tied to their employment, and because they often have extended families in their home countries who depend on their wages. Traffickers impose hefty debts to immigrant workers for job recruitment fees, transportation costs and visa processing. Additionally, traffickers prey on immigrant workers’ unfamiliarity with the language, laws and customs of the U.S. to further manipulate or exploit them.

Like many places across the United States, this factory town in eastern Tennessee has been transformed in the last decade by the arrival of Hispanic immigrants, many of whom are in this country illegally. Thousands of workers like Mr. López settled in Morristown, taking the lowest-paying elbow-grease jobs, some hazardous, in chicken plants and furniture factories.

Today, the overwhelming majority of garment workers in the U.S. are immigrant women. They typically toil 60 - 80 hours a week in front of their machines, often without minimum wage or overtime pay. In fact, the Department of Labor estimates that more than half of the country's 22,000 sewing shops violate minimum wage and overtime laws. Many of these workers labor in dangerous conditions including blocked fire exits, unsanitary bathrooms, and poor ventilation. Government surveys reveal that 75% of U.S. garment shops violate safety and health laws. In addition, workers commonly face verbal and physical abuse and are intimidated from speaking out, fearing job loss or deportation.

The pattern of importing immigrant labor leading to lower wages and unsafe workplaces is unmistakeable.

What is the solution? Get rid of immigration? No, I have an even more effective idea: the solution is to UNIONIZE immigrant workers. It is plainly obvious that farmers and factory workers and other employers are dependent upon cheap labor. They do not have a God-given right to treat their workers like crap, put their lives needlessly in danger, and pay them crap wages. Workers have a right to fight back and ask for help from the Government, and we should be clamoring to give them that.

The solution is to renegotiate abominations like NAFTA to include a guarantee that all participant nations institute a livable wage for its workers, and to ensure that they obey strict pollution controls and enforce effective workplace safety laws. If we're going to have trade agreements of any sort, then use them to improve conditions for workers in all participating nations.

If you really think you need immigrant labor, then you need to treat them as humanely and pay them as well as you'd pay Americans. Period. That's not how immigrant labor is being treated right now.
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