OUTSOURCING vs. OFFSHORING

So the Romney team wants to debate the difference between “outsourcing and offshoring.”  Does it really matter?
 

“A distinction without a difference is a type of argument where one word or phrase is preferred to another, but results in no difference to the argument as a whole.” (Wikipedia)

One can argue the definitions and nuances of the words, but the meanings, in this particular context, are the same. So, also, are the outcomes. American’s are losing jobs and communities are losing revenue as a result of these job losses.

The loss of revenue results in the loss of services available to the communities. These communities are made up of real people.  Family’s.    Family’s that are left to fend for themselves, feed their children, pay their mortgages, plan for theirs, and their children’s, futures.

Without jobs the people are unable to support their local businesses and schools.  Unable to support their police and fire services.  Unable to support one another through their churches and charities.  Without these things the communities, and the people in them, will fail.

The automobile companies found out, the hard way in the early 70’s,that people without jobs do not buy cars. My hope is [that] our american industries, and politicians, don’t have to re-learn that lesson.



Working people pay their own way, pay their “fair share” of taxes, and build their lives and their communities together.


I know that I’ve posted this quote before, but, “Each time history repeats itself, the price goes up.” (Author Unknown)


As frustrating as it is, between now and the election, I will probably have to post it again, and again, and again……!  

OBAMA/BIDEN 2012
FORWARD

The Soundtrack of My Life – The 60’s

 

June is “Black Music Month,” so when my brother, Arthur, asked me to write a few words about its significance I struggled a bit. Black music is so far reaching and broad that to try to reduce it to a few simple paragraphs would, in my opinion, not do it justice. At least not the justice it deserves. So what I’m going to try and do is give you a look at Black Music as the soundtrack of my life. Now I’m sure each of us has a “soundtrack” or at the least, we have music that when we hear a particular song, we remember either where we were or what we were doing, when the song was popular. There were so many songs that were part of my soundtrack that what I’ve done was, go on my computer, put on my list of “soul classics,” and as they played, just sit back and reminisce.
 
 
WOW, the very first song that played was “Soldier Boy,” by the Shirelles. The year was 1962. I was starting my junior year in high school (Pershing High School/Detroit for all of my alumni friends). This was before Motown became a significant musical entity and there was not a lot of “black music” being played on the radio. American Bandstand was still in its adolescence and to hear the Shirelles sing that song on the radio was a real awakening. You’ve got to remember that the Vietnam War was going on at the time. I was in the R.O.T.C. and catching a lot of flak about my uniform and that song became some sort of validation for my cohorts and me. The teasing stopped as soon as the refrain “Soldier boy, oh my little soldier boy, I’ll be true to you” began. With that song and others like “This is Dedicated to the One I Love”, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” and “I Met Him on a Sunday” (remember “doo ronde ronde ronde pa pa doo”) the soundtrack began.
 
 
There were others then and later like the Chantels, the Jaynets (remember “Sally Goes Round The Roses?”), the Crystals (UptownHe’s a Rebel) who along with performers like Nat King ColeJackie WilsonClyde McPhatterRay CharlesBrook Benton, all of whom gave “pop music” some “soul” and helped elevate soul music performances to prominence.
 
 
This was also the time of talent shows and “street corner symphonies.” I was fortunate to go to school with some of the best of the local talents, like the fellows who would become The Dramatics. Here’s a shout out for Elbert Wilkins, my friend, who passed in 1992 (Ron Banks, “Wee Gee” HowardJohnny Mack BrownLenny Mayes, and Tony Hester who, also, are no longer with us). Gino Washington (“Gino Is a Coward”) and Demetrius Cates of the Fabulous Counts were schoolmates, as well.
 
 
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention two people who played a significant part in my soundtrack. Grady Pounds, perhaps the finest pure singer I’ve known (his renditions of “So Much in Love,” by the Tymes and “Farewell My Love” by the “Temptin” Temptations are two of my all time favorites) and Carl Holloway, definitely the finest drummer I’ve known. None of those elaborate drum sets for Carl. He could do it all with a snare, a tom, a bass drum, a cymbal and a high-hat. Hey, if you read this fellas, “holla back.”
 
 
It was around this time when I started connecting music to my personal experiences. Little Anthony and the Imperials’ “Going Out of My Head” just started playing. Music had just added a voice and words to my developing interest in love and falling in love. When I was walking around totally confused about what was happening to me, the words of the music became my screenplay. The words to the soundtrack of my life.
 
 
There were the Ronettes (“Do I Love YouBe My BabyWalkin’ in the Rain”), there was Gene “Duke of Earl” Chandler asking, “What Now?” and wanting us to “Just Be True,” there were the Impressions (“Little Young Lover, Gypsy Woman, Minstrel and Queen, I’m the One Who Loves You”). In fact, it was with the Impressions that I first heard Jerry “the Ice Man” Butler. Jerry Butler’s “Need to Belong, Make It Easy On Yourself” and “He Will Break Your Heart,” were stand-ins for all the words I thought at the time, but hadn’t the nerve to say.
 
 
Confused at the time about my relationship with “love”, I was encouraged by knowing that I could be both Mary Well’s “Two Lovers.” When Mary sang “My Guy,” “The One Who Really Loves You,” when she reminded me “What’s Easy for Two, Is Hard for One” (“Let’s get together and go for a walk in the park”), my oh my! Ooh, “You Beat Me to the Punch” just played from my song list! What I loved about Mary was that, through the daze and the haze, she would always be “Your (my) Old Stand By.”
 
As nervous a time as it was, though, there was The Intruders to help me transition from “Cowboy to Girls,” and Archie Bell and the Drells to show me how to “Tighten Up.”
 
 
During the summer “Heatwave” we were “Dancin’ in the Streets” to Martha and the Vandellas. My favorite songs by then were “Come and Get These Memories” and “Jimmy Mack.” And I remember skating to “My Baby Loves Me.”
 
 
There was Justine “Baby” Washington’s “I Can’t Wait Until I See My Baby’s Face” and “That’s How Heartaches Are Made.” Maxine Brown’s “Oh No, Not My Baby” and Jimmy Ruffin’s“What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?” Oh yeah, I can’t leave out Ms. Jackie Ross. The refrain of those French horns on “Selfish One” was a clarion call to the dance floor.
 
 
Before there was the Jackson 5, we had the Jackson 2. I’m talking about Chuck and Walter Jackson (related only by their talent). Chuck Jackson with “Any Day Now,” “Tell Him I’m Not Home,” and my favorite “I’m Your Man.” Walter Jackson with “It’s All Over” and “It’s an Uphill Climb from the Bottom.” This was music that not only set the scene, it told the story.
 
 
And then there were the Dells. Yes, the Dells. The soulful harmony’s, the tight interaction of melodies and backgrounds, made slow dancing one of the most pleasurable actions on the dance floor. I’m still amazed at how long Marvin Junior held that note in the song, “Stay in My Corner.”
 
 
And speaking of the dance floor, how about the time when “The Godfather of Soul” James Brown recorded “Live at the Apollo” with the long version of “There Was a Time” (Hey hey, I feel alright…One time, uh!).
 
 
The Friends of Distinction helped me with “Going in Circles,” and along about that time the Originals with “Baby, I’m For Real” helped me to explain what I didn’t have the words to say.
 
 
Other songs that might not be as well known, from that time were Jimmy Williams’ “The Half Man,” Tony Clark’s “The Entertainer,” Ruby and the Romantics “Hypnotized,” The Radients “It Ain’t No Big Thing,” and how about Sammy Turner’s “Lavender Blue (Dilly Dilly),” or “Elephant Walk” by Donald Jenkins. I know I am leaving some really important tunes out, my soundtrack and possibly yours as well, but maybe you’ll include them in your soundtrack and let me know about them.
 
 
With the emergence of black radio, we were blessed with great deejays…the people who became conductors and arrangers of my soundtrack. People like Ernie DurhamButterball the Jr.Leon Isaacs (out of Chicago but airing on WJLB weeknights at 9:00 or 9:30, somebody help me out here?) and a young Donnie Simpson, whose family lived just down the street from me.
 
 
There were so many others. The rest of the Motown groups (the aforementioned Temptationsthe Supremesthe Four Tops…), the Atlantic groups and singers (Aretha Franklinthe SpinnersBen E. Kingthe Drifters…). There was Stax-Watts with Isaac Hayesthe Bar-KeysRufus and Carla Thomas (father and daughter), Booker T & the MG’s. So many artists, so much music…I would need more space to mention them all.
 
 
I’ve really enjoyed this trip back in time and I hope your musical experience matches or exceeds mine. One thing though, it seems we are going to need more than one “Black Music Month” a year to cover them all.
 
 
I am looking forward to knowing, with your comments, about the soundtrack of your life.








WISCONSIN, WHY???

Tuesday as I sat, in disbelief, watching the results from the Wisconsin recall election I began to wonder.  I wondered why in the world, given what is known about Gov. Walker and his cohorts on the right, would anyone not in the 1%, ever vote to support this man and his policies.  I then remembered a post I came across in March of 2011, and I thought, maybe this will help explain it.


Author Al Stefanelli re-posted a comment that was referred to him and, well, I’ll just let you read it:

Al Stefanelli

About People Who Vote Against Their Own Interests.

 
The following is quoted from an internet forum post by a person with the screen name “yeahiknow5″. It was brought to my attention by one of my Facebook friends, Joe Markey. Neither Joe nor I wrote this. Except for paragraph formatting, it has not been changed, including the language.

 

“You should read “What’s the Matter with Kansas” & “Deer Hunting With Jesus”. Both are great takes on a working class, anti-intellectual, redneck culture that has been convinced to consistently vote against their own best interests. I listen to my own father, who has been the victim of layoffs from corporate merger after merger, who’s had his retirement fucked, who’s lost money on wall street – he’s done everything he was ‘supposed’ to do. He joined the military, went to college, had 2 kids, bought the house, invested & saved his money, worked his fucking ass off all his life & he still has squat to show for it. Now as a man well into his 60s he’s feeling the wrath of age discrimination, he’s finding his skills becoming outdated & his pay & benefits today (for the last 10 years) are lower than what they’ve been in the last 30 for him. Living the american life he finds his health failing as he’s a lifetime smoker with a growing waistline.


He’s the prototypical uncultured, red-blooded american male. He slathers his streak in ketchup, votes conservatives down the line, and wants the good old days before the women, blacks and fags took over. He’s a flag waver, supports his troops, and fends for himself. He’s always bitching about how much money corporations have to spend bc of regulation & about how the upper class need a tax cut. Nothing in the world makes him angrier than “socialism” & the so-called welfare state. Working people getting needed services bothers him tremendously because a few extreme token examples get painted as degenerate leeches by the likes of AM Radio & Fox News. ANd then he’ll turn right around & support corporate subsidy for just about anything from corn to oil – b/c it “stimulates jobs” and it “trickles down”.


He refuses to recognize that we as a nation spend more money at the beckoning of corporate America than we even begin to touch what we spend on our own citizenry through what he claims is “welfare” or infrastructure. He’s a working class guy who’s been fucked by the system all his life. He still puts his suit on with a kind of sad pride, every day, & goes to work downtown to phone-monkey job nowadays. He’s doing a job any body could do but he likes to pretend all his education & experience has gotten him somewhere. He’s deluded about what America’s exceptional way of life has brought him personally as he is deluded about what the world is like at large. So he denies global warming, blames the unions, blames teachers & other government workers, blames regulation, blames the EPA & the FDA, blames those struggling to make it in this world, blames the blacks, blames the immigrants, blames everyone & anyone but those at the top.


He’d rather blame fellow working people trying to grab a piece of the pie, rather than blame the crooks who deprive us all. Because somehow – be it by gender identity, racial identity, national identity, he thinks his class, his type belongs at the top. He’s the top dog! But he’s not. He’s a nigger, i’m a nigger, muslims are niggers and mexicans are niggers, teachers and steel workers, and farmers too. To people like the Koch Brothers, we’re all niggers and my dad can’t see that. This is an us vs them game and people like my father are fucking deluded as to what side they’re on or can be on one day. Somewhere deep down inside, he admires those at the top – he wants to be them & even though he knows he’ll never be one of them, he likes to pretend.


He goes to his Applebee’s, Red Lobster & Outback & bitches about all the blacks there. I think this is important to note – it’s indicative of his whole perspective. He is the same CLASS of people as these folks, he’s spending roughly the same amount on dinner as them, but thinks things are going to hell because they are there. He doesn’t get that he IS THEM. He’s the same fucking class, in the same fucking boat. He’s got relatively the same education level, roughly the same pay checks, living roughly the same way of life. But he’s been convinced to fight, to hate, to dislike his own class of people & to admire & defend the class that basically owns & controls his life & all our lives. He has been perfectly trained to rail against the ‘other’.


Against feminists, environmentalists, labor movements, racial minorities, immigrants, public sector workers, union members. These people aren’t HIS brothers & sisters – they are his enemy. He’s so busy hating “otherness” that he doesn’t realize he is them – and we’re all getting fucked by the same small group of people at the top. This is the same thing as him blaming unions & the welfare state. He has been indoctrinated through the years to fight amongst, to disagree with, to blame, & sometimes to outright hate people in the same boat as him. Not only kiss the ass of, but actively defend & fight on behalf of those who would take everything away from him, his wife & his family if they could make a buck on it – because he believes in an American dream & a way of life that simply doesn’t exist. He talks of freedom of those who have all the capital, but he doesn’t worry about his own freedom. He doesn’t worry about the freedom of his neighbors.


All he see’s as those liberal that take away rich people’s money are the same people telling him where he can & cannot smoke and that he should put his seatbelt on – so liberals must “hate freedom!”. Those damned reading elitist liberal communists! He has been convinced, as have many Americans – to hate their own & to defend their masters. To squabble over our petty & even cosmetic differences, rather than to unite on our common interests to fight for proper pay, benefits, rights as a consumer & as a worker, & for a clean environment. This is what happens when you have a class of people who were never taught to think for themselves, who act like reading is for fags, who are more willing to listen to hot heads like Beck & Limbaugh than to read any kind of political theorists, scientists, or economists.


This is what happens when you close your mind & you become one who’s always looking for that “other” to hate & to blame for your problems rather than to look at yourself or open your eyes to the bigger picture. People like my dad are willing to accept AM radio, Fox News talk shows, & even Fwd chain emails as official sources, & then single-handedly ignore any material the talking heads on these shows didn’t point him to. Because you can’t trust anyone but them! The ability to critically think, verify, discern the credibility of sources, to do the damned research yourself, is completely lost on these folks. That’s what these fucking Tea Party & GOP talking heads hope for. They hope to god that their lies they spew get echoed in the public sphere so often that it becomes reality. That people are too dumb or too lazy to verify what they spout.


This makes it so that people who are trying to get real shit done have to waste our time correcting mis-truths & disinformation just to garnish the slightest bit of public support to make progress anywhere. People don’t realize how dangerous this shit is. Right now the economy is & had been in the shitter. People are scared. People have lost their jobs & they’re angry. They have organized & mobilized into this populist “tea party”. They even think it’s a real grassroots org & dismissing the fact that they’re being led by billionaires & a corporate media. These are the angry masses that will eat up any scapegoat that their “leaders” feed them.


We’ve seen this in history before. I’m not trying to evoke Godwins Law or anything but i see a lot of correlations between the right-wing disenfranchised populist uprising here in America & a lot of what people experience in Wiemar Germany. There was a lot of angry people, scared about the loss of their jobs & an economy in bad shape. Those angry, uneducated people were looking for someone to blame. They didn’t care if they sided with a political party that would be responsible for fucking them over & destroying their democracy, not to mention the massive harm they would do to other groups. No, all that mattered was they found leaders who pretended to have answers. People like quick & simple answers & fixes, certainty & shared anger.


That’s what the Nazi Party gave them. That’s what the Tea Party/Fox News/AM Radio & portions of the GOP are giving this right wing uprising too. Anything intellectual is ignored or met with disinformation & a general air an superior anti-intellectualism. Everywhere I go: home to my parents, at work in the break room, flip on the tv, browse the internet – i see the same message: “My opinion is better than your facts”. This approach is rooted deeply in ignorance & anger most of the time. When the populace stops listening to those with brains & ignores factual information, & opts for those that shout opinions, we got a problem. The Tea Party would be an extremely powerful force if they had a politician that was worth a damn. Every time they have someone who is charismatic, they’re an obvious idiot or crook.


If somebody comes along who is charismatic & honest the US is in trouble bc of the frustration, disillusionment, justified anger & the absence of any coherent response from liberals. What are people supposed to think if someone says ‘I have got an answer, we have an enemy’? There it was the Jews. Here it will be the illegal immigrants from Mexico, the Muslims, teachers, unions, Planned Parenthood, NPR, & blacks (you can toss in atheists, homosexuals & liberals too). We will be told that WASPy private sector males are a persecuted minority. We will be told we have to defend ourselves & the honor of the nation. instead of fixing problems that truly affect the all of the working class, the nation will be convinced to support legislation that will further protect & consolidate power for the corporate elite.


All those privacy rights, the voice we have in our government, & due process checks & balances that protect us all? Those things just get in the way of security & stability. The right-wing that supports these parties & leaders get hurt too, just in a more subtle way – they give away their rights & are too stupid to realize what they’ve done to themselves.”

You can find this post and the comments (must read) at this site:


http://alstefanelli.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/about-people-who-vote-against-their-own-interests/

Unity vs. Divide and Conquer

Chutzpah, Gall, Nerve, Audacity

Well it’s for sure that Gov. Scott Walker, of Wisconsin, doesn’t suffer from a lack of any of these. It takes “chutzpah” to announce that you’re going to destroy peoples lives and then do it.

 
This is from an article in the Huffington Post, written by Todd Richmond:
“MADISON, Wis. — Newly released documentary film footage shows embattled Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker shortly after his election describing a “divide and conquer” strategy for taking on unions by first going after public employees’ collective bargaining rights.  
Walker, who faces a recall election in three days largely because of anger over the collective bargaining law, made the documentary remarks in January 2011 in response to a question from Beloit billionaire Diane Hendricks, who subsequently gave his campaign $510,000 – more than any other person. She asked Walker if he could make Wisconsin a “completely red state, and work on these unions, and become a right-to-work” state.”
 
His actions should come as no surprise to anyone, in fact, Walker co-sponsored right-to-work legislation in 1993 as a freshman in the state Assembly.

When he ran for governor his campaign promised “jobs, jobs, jobs.” Yet when elected he, and other 1st term republican governors had the “gall” to launch an all-out assault on labor unions, state jobs and social programs. Finding out about his divide and conquer strategy does not surprise me, his “nerve” in talking about it, well, that’s borderline amazing.

The “audacity” of his retaining Ciara Matthews, as spokesperson, is a significant tell, as well.

“Her claim to fame, thus far, is being the spokeswoman for Sharron Angle, the Nevadan Tea Party candidate” “Matthews has been caught [out] telling lies, standing up with racist and hypocritical candidates, and hates people who challenges her version of reality.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/11/scott-walker-divide-and-conquer-unions-collective-bargaining_n_1509284.html

 
This election on, June 5th, could be the most important of this election cycle, thus far.  Perhaps even more so than the Ohio election when Senate Bill 5 was voted on, in November, 2011.  Ohio Senate bill 5 (or Issue 2 as it was displayed on the ballot) was the “Collective Bargaining Limit Repeal” referendum that restored bargaining rights to Ohio public employees.  
 
That was significant because that vote was the first major push back against what has become an all out assault on Unions nationwide by people like the Koch brothers, and groups like ALEC.  We’ve seen this assault broadened to attack voting rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, all these being civil rights.  They’ve gone after the elderly (Social Security/Medicare), the poor (Human Services/Medicare), the young (Public Education, SCHIP).  They’ve gone after immigrant and minority interests.  Their tactics are sinister, but obvious. By limiting public access to public assets, by not expanding the “social pie,” their intent is to set these areas of interest against one another, thus divide and conquer.
 
Tuesday, June 5, is the date where all those under attack must realize that, while they have different concerns, they have a common opponent.
 
Tuesday, June 5, is Wisconsin’s War.  Defeating Scott Walker will send a message, to the neocons, that Ohio was not a fluke.  That this is the peoples state, the peoples country, the peoples government. That the will of the people is not to be ignored.
 
Rev. Martin Luther King once said:  “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as ‘right-to-work.’ It provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘works.’ Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining… We demand this fraud be stopped.”
 
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