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A Call For All True Americans to Stand With Puerto Rico in Their Hour of Need

When I began writing this blog, it was in the hope that human beings would stand united to face the dire threat that is climate change. I also feared that events such as those that have recently occurred in the Atlantic would begin to rise to ferocious intensity.

Puerto Rico did not deserve the terrible blow she received on September 20th. A small island territory, she did very little to contribute to the warming oceans and atmosphere that made Maria worse. That considerably increased the devastation that was inflicted that engorged the risk to the now 3.4 million Americans who are, tonight, rendered refugees.

It does not have to be this way. Though we cannot control the force of a hurricane, we can determine the resolve of our response. We can aim our efforts at helping those who have been thrust into sweltering 100 degree heat indexes without power, air conditioning, water, and in many cases food. We can provide the leadership, as a country united in the face of adversity, that the person who presently and unjustly claims the office of President so glaringly lacks.

This is the time when we all need to pull together for the people of Puerto Rico who are also the people of this great country. To show, as Elon Musk did today, the true nature of our charity and compassion for one another. To show that we resolve ourselves to leave no American behind in the face of rising climate disasters. That we will respond with heart and justice — not with cynicism or an eye toward gaining personal power by dividing America. By responding for Texas and Florida — but not for Puerto Rico.

This is a general call to all who listen and hear these words to act in any way that you can. Though the storm is now over we risk the loss of thousands, a mass exodus of the destitute, and the surrender of a portion of America to the great and dark abyss. In the absence of Presidential leadership we must each now become a leader and take responsibility for our fellows. It is only in this way — together, indivisible — that we can successfully navigate the time of troubles ahead.

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Mitt Romney — If You Care About Americans, Then Why Are You Still Profiting From Shipping Jobs to China?

Remember all the hullabaloo earlier this year over the company Mitt Romney founded — Bain Capital? Remember all the news reports, blogs, and personal testimonials about people who lost their jobs after Bain bought out companies, drove them to bankruptcy by taking out debt and paying themselves via checks, and then shipped jobs overseas to places like China where workers were forced to work for less than a dollar an hour in sweat-shop conditions? Remember how Bain was exposed for pioneering the model for sending the jobs of US workers to places like China and profiting from it? Remember how many other companies in the US then duplicated this model, in essence, creating a massive industry entirely dedicated to devastating America’s middle class jobs?

Well, it’s still happening. Bain is still shipping US jobs to China and Romney is still making money from Bain’s actions. Money that will likely end up in Romney’s foreign tax shelter so he can avoid contributing to the very US government whose helm he is now exerting every effort to attain.

In Freeport Illinois today, over 170 employees of Sensata Technologies are now at imminent risk of losing their jobs. The reason? Bain capital recently gained a controlling stake in Sensata and is now planning to outsource the 170 middle class jobs at Sensata to China. Workers may now have only days before they lose their jobs.

Sensata is a high-tech industry. It produces sensors used in ships, aircraft, automobiles, appliances and other electronics. It supports the supply chain of Ford and GM, both vital US industries. It is an example of a high-value industry that supports well paying jobs and helps to build vital communities around the US. Hundreds of families rely on the wages generated via Sensata’s virtuous cycle of innovation and production. In essence, making things. Many more jobs are also supported via the indirect impacts of this vital industry operating in America.

In addition, Sensata is a corporation that provides a critical service to the US military. It designs sensors that are used on military platforms and, as such, provides a vital and sensitive national-security related service.

As you have probably already surmised, shipping Sensata’s jobs to China is not just a devastating blow to 170 American families. Not only is it a devastating blow to Freeport, who will lose one of its vital industries. It is a blow to US national security to ship a critical feed-in to the US military manufacturing chain to China. It, in essence, knocks a chink in America’s armor.

It is, therefore, somewhat ironic to note that Bain has required Sensata employees to train Chinese workers to produce the equipment and sensors that Sensata designed. This process can be seen as a transfer of intellectual property related to a national security interest directly to China. In addition, and perhaps more disturbing, is the fact that Bain has required the company to lower the American flag for as long as a week while Bain employees were operating on Sensata grounds. No explanation was made for this rather alarming and disturbing practice. And it begs the question — what does Bain have against the American flag and the American nationality itself?

After bearing insult after insult to livelihood, to prospects, to happiness, and to that vital link with the shining value of Americanism and of the hopes she represents — life, liberty, equality — the workers of Sensata broke. They decided to take action.

In a brave show of rebellion against the oppressive and unAmerican outsourcing practices of Bain Capital, Sensata workers have organized a rally against Bain’s heinous activities. They’ve established Bainport — an ongoing protest against Bain’s outsourcing activity. And they will stage a rally there at 3 PM tomorrow to draw attention to a company Mitt Romney founded and that is the very legacy of his career in business. Workers from such companies as French Sampsonite have joined with Sensata workers and will vent their outrage for Bain’s unjust practices tomorrow. Julian Bond, former chair of the NAACP has also joined with Sensata workers in solidarity.

According to reports from the Rock River Times, a local newspaper, the employees of Sensata have gathered over 35,000 signatures for a letter to Mitt Romney, pleading for intervention in a destructive process that threatens so much that is vital to Freeport. The paper noted:

In July, the Freeport City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling on Romney to meet the workers and use his influence at Bain to intervene on their behalf. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) echoed their call during a trip to Freeport later that month. The situation has even become an issue in the congressional race in Illinois’ 17th district.

So the question comes to Mitt Romney. Why? Why do you keep hurting the American people? Why do you risk American security by shipping vital technology jobs to China? Why have you sought and earned so much profit from so much harm? And why, if you care about Americans, if you really care as much as you have said on the campaign trail over the past two weeks, why are you allowing the destructive processes you pioneered to continue?

If you, Mitt Romney, really do disavow your heinous and disrespectful remarks about 47% of Americans, if you really do feel sorry, then why not use your clout to stop this harm? Though you are not currently the CEO of Bain, you are certainly a major share holder with rights to the company proper. If you so chose, you could use your clout as founder. You could stop the system of harm that you designed from continuing its awful work.

And what do you, Americans, think of someone running for President who has profitted so much from the liquidation of the American worker? Who continues to profit from their liquidation? Is this man patriot enough to be President? And could he be trusted to use that Presidential power in the interest of the people of America?

The real Americans his business practices have hurt so much.

Links:

http://rockrivertimes.com/2012/10/12/french-samsonite-employees-laid-off-by-bain-join-sensata-workers-at-%E2%80%98bainport%E2%80%99-oct-13/

http://www.sensata.com/

http://www.journalstandard.com/news/x887150434/Sensata-workers-go-Bainport-to-protest-Freeport-outsourcing

Romney, in Apology Tour of Lies, Seeks to Profit Politically From Harm to Americans

Ever since extremist-perpetrated attacks on US Embassies in the Middle East began, Romney has endlessly accused Obama of ‘apologizing for America.’ And despite every fact-checker across the political spectrum calling Romney a ‘liar, liar, pants on fire,’ he has continued to repeat this false statement over and over again.

The irresponsibility of Romney’s use of harm and danger to Americans as a political football is difficult to over-emphasize. Political adults, left and right, set aside partisan bickering to present a united front to America’s enemies at a time of national crisis, and especially during a time when war-like violence is being waged against America’s citizens abroad. The reason for presenting a unified front to our enemies is that it serves to deter further assault. It shows that we are resolved. That we will not back down. That we are not divided one against the other and, therefore, easy to take advantage of as a nation.

Romney has decidedly failed in this most basic act of patriotism. And in doing so, he empowers our enemies.

So far, at least nine Americans have been killed in this rash of unconscionable violence. We will never know how many of the attackers felt empowered by the fact that a man who could be President stood apart from those condemning the violence and instead leveled a rhetorical assault against our Commander-in-Chief. We will never know how much the crisis has been enflamed by his verbal attacks. Nor will we know how much damage he has done to the institution of the President and of national defense in his failure to behave responsibly.

Had his political attacks been true, there could, at least, be a shred of excuse for Romney’s vicious assault on US foreign policy. But Romney, in a propagandist and vitriolic manner has endlessly repeated a lie. Only in Romney’s insane political conversation with an invisible Obama in an empty chair has Obama apologized for America. Only Romney’s imaginary straw-man Obama which is as unreal as Romney’s sense of how to employ political speech to defend American interests or to defuse dangerous situations abroad. Yet now, the image grows even darker. For the empty seat Romney hurls his insults at may well harbor the ghost of an American diplomat.

If Romney were a soldier he would be placed under arrest for insubordination and risking the safety of the unit during a time of war. Instead, Romney plays the part of a chicken-hawk politician who, in a far safer position than any of the brave diplomats at these Middle Eastern embassies, imagines himself to possess a knowledge of foreign policy as great as a whale compared to its ant actuality.

And so he blunders about in a fierce, horrible, Godzilla-like fashion, leaving in his wake a bizarre and grotesque wreckage. And so his loose-cannon antics do their damage without a shred of accountability or repercussion.

During the writing of this blog, two more Americans have died. Two more American lives lost amounting to nothing more than a political tool for Romney’s personal advancement. As Americans we should not allow such crass and heartless political profiteering to the detriment of national security. As Americans we should not stand by and let a person of such high position use the national narrative and the political process for such a hollow personal gain. As Americans we should not stand by as Romney turns the deaths of Americans into a bloody political football.

Please join me in signing this petition to Stop Romney’s Apology Tour of Lies.

Halt the nonsense. Stand aside. And give America’s foreign policy and national security professionals a chance to do their work.

Bill Clinton’s Stunning Truth Telling at Democratic Convention Unmasks ‘Republican Alternative Universe,’ Provides Overwhelming Case for Obama Re-Election

We all know that Bill Clinton had personal reasons to be upset about Obama’s defeat of his wife Hillary in 2008. That said, Bill’s own passion for America’s future has long out-weighed his personal concerns and he has been a stalwart supporter of Obama ever since his election.

Now, Bill adds passion and truth-telling of historical value in order to support an American revival and rejection of republican policies that only benefit the wealthy and which have caused so much harm over the last 12 years.

Clinton’s resolute ballad was not a speech of glittering generalities and platitudes. Clinton instead delivered with passion, verve, grace, and eloquence a number of stunning facts the likes of which should make even the fact-immune Paul Ryan stand up and pay attention.

Clinton began his speech by noting the stunning difference between jobs growth of Republican and Democratic administrations, showing that Democrats are twice as effective at jobs creation as Republicans over the last fifty years. Clinton continues by chiding Republicans for their obvious hatred of Democrats and stunning failure to work with Democrats over the past four years of devastating obstructionist policies.

Clinton noted “I’m working all the time with Republicans, Democrats and Independents. We focus on seizing opportunities and not fighting all the time… The politics of constant conflict… doesn’t work in the real world. What works in the real world is cooperation.”

Cooperation, not conflict and competition, was a running theme throughout Clinton’s speech.

“Los Angeles is getting Green… because Republicans and Democrats are working together.”

“Unfortunately the faction that now dominates the Republican party doesn’t see it that way. They think government is always the enemy they’re always right and that compromise is weakness… They beat a republican Congressman with almost a 100% voting record on every conservation score because he said he realized he didn’t have to hate the President to disagree with him. Boy that was a non-starter and they threw him out.”

“One of the main reasons we should re-elect Obama is that he is still committed to cooperation.”

Clinton gracefully connected the concept of cooperation to the highest aspirations of democracy. He appealed for a democracy that was “an honorable enterprise that advances the public interest.”

Clinton continued to reveal the stunning lack of cooperation of republicans, noting that they’d turned democracy into a blood sport when they claimed their #1 goal, two years before the election, was to make certain Obama didn’t get re-elected.

Clinton then turned to celebrate the massive number of successes achieved by President Obama. He noted his skillful halting of a recession that could have been as bad as the Great Depression. He noted the numerous months of jobs growth. He showed how Obamacare was already helping, how it had extended the life of Medicare.

“When President Obama took office the economy was in free fall, it had just shrunk 9 full percent of GDP, we were losing 750,000 jobs per month. Are we doing better than that. The answer is yes!”

Clinton relentlessly reapplied a job scoring set of facts that showed how damaging republican policies had been to US employment, showing that Republicans blocked a bill that would have resulted in a million extra jobs created just last year even as they opposed the rescue of the auto industry that saved 1.1 million jobs and created over 250,000 additional jobs since 2009.

But Clinton didn’t only criticize. From point to point he pivoted to supporting solutions. To providing a clear rationale and policy platform for continued recovery. He supported Obama’s student loan policies, he supported his recovery efforts, he supported Obama’s immigration reform policies, and he celebrated the principles of inclusion and equality in the American system.

Perhaps most eloquent was his defense of Obamacare:

“Let’s take a look at what’s actually happened so far. First, individuals and businesses have already gotten more than a billion dollars in refunds from insurance companies because of a little law that requires 80-85 percent of your premium to go to health care not profits or promotions. And the gains are even greater than that because a bunch of insurance companies have applied to lower their rates to comply with the requirement. Second, more than 3 million young people between 19 and 25 are insured for the first time because their parents policies can cover them. Third, millions of seniors are receiving preventive care all the way from breast cancer screenings to tests for heart problems and scores of other things and young people are getting them too. Fourth, soon insurance companies, not the government, the insurance companies will have millions of new customers many of them middle class people with preexisting conditions who never could get insurance before.

“Finally for the last two years… after going up at 3 times the rate of inflation for a decade, for the last two years healthcare costs have been under 4% in both years for the first time in fifty years. So, let me ask you something. Are we better off because President Obama fought for Health Care reform? You bet we are!!”

Clinton went on to gracefully deconstruct the Republican’s lies about cuts to Medicare by 716 billion dollars.

“That’s the same attack they leveled against Congress in 2010 and they got a lot of votes for it. But it’s not true. Here’s what really happened. You be the judge. There were no cuts to benefits at all. None. What the President did was, to save money by taking the recommendations of a commission of professionals. To cut unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies that were not making people healthier and were not necessary to get the providers to provide the service. And instead of raiding Medicare, he used the savings to close the donut hole in the Medicare drug program. And to add eight years to the Medicare trust fund so it is solvent until 2024.

“So President Obama and the Democrats didn’t weaken Medicare. They strengthened Medicare.”

Clinton continues by showing that Ryan’s plan keeps the same savings, but, more darkly, Romney’s does not. So, in the end, Romney makes Medicare insolvent, through his plan, by 2016.

Listening to Clinton’s speech it is impossible to continue to take seriously almost any of the Republican’s assertions during this election. They are revealed for what they are. Blatant falsehoods. But, more important, these falsehoods are destructive in so many ways it takes a 45 minute speech by Clinton to lightly, albeit gracefully, and with strength, touch on just how destructive.

Clinton showed pathos for all those who would lose their coverage. Who would lose their hopes for decent health care. Who would be unfairly taxed under republican policies. And his passion in this fight shows that he has transcended the role of political leader and taken a solid stand for economic justice in the United States.

The man who led the strongest economic expansion in United States history makes a very compelling case. If you haven’t yet seen his speech, I urge you to watch and to share with your friends. His speech is a matter of historic importance. For he clearly defines our paths — one that offers very real hope, and another that offers little more than decline.

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