Monday, February 27, 2017

A letter to Bob... Not That it Matters.

From Robert Reich, via Facebook posting.
“Let me state this as clearly as I can: The fight we are engaged in is not Democrats versus Republicans. It’s not big government versus small government. It’s not traditional Left versus traditional Right. The more this fight is viewed in partisan terms, the less power and legitimacy it has.
The fight we are engaged in is a fight for democracy against authoritarianism, for inclusion against exclusion, for tolerance against hate, for a fair economy against one rigged by and for those with great power and wealth. We must fight this and win this together -- Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. This is the only way we can reclaim our democracy, our economy, and our fundamental values.
What do you think?”

Well Bob, let me tell you what I think, not that you or anyone else cares, but I think you deserve an answer from someone other than the Berkley rioters you’ve indoctrinated with your hate and intolerance for dissenting opinions, and other far left friends who follow you as another Clinton loyalist, even if you will never see it.

I believe you, and the far left you speak for, are not engaged in a fight for democracy, the economy, or the fundamental values held by the average middle class American.  You are, and have always been, a partisan whose goal has been to convince enough voters, both legitimate and illegitimate, to place the progressives in charge of the Government so as to a) implement a socialist vision where all people are dependent on the state, and b) become rich on the largess of the taxpayer as the elite class of the state.  The fight you are engaged in is for the destruction of democracy and a return to the authoritarian state you were so happy with just a one month ago under the reign of President Barrack “I’ve got a pen” Obama.

Your playbook is right out of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals,” but we’ll get to that in a moment or two.

As a Rhodes scholar, I would be a fool to challenge your intellect, but it seems all your intellect is and has been focused on furthering the great divide that has become the form of politics in the nation.  You advance an approach where you are right, and anyone who disagrees is not only wrong but evil.  Before we go any further let's just take a brief look at how you did when you were in charge of one small part of the government.  For the record, let’s look at your track record as the Secretary for Labor.  Serving under President Clinton during his first term you cite as your four standout accomplishments[i]; an increase in the minimum wage, the elimination of sweat shops, a law requiring companies to fully fund pension obligations, and a school-to-work apprenticeship program.   

How have those accomplishments held up over the years?  Have they truly made a difference in the lives and livelihoods of the working men and woman you so passionately claim to fight for?

The minimum wage when you were confirmed was $4.25, when you departed the wage was $5.15 (except for youth under 20 during their first 90 consecutive days of employment).[ii]  Interestingly the increase in minimum wage did not occur when the Democrats controlled the House and Senate, but after the Republicans took over.  The minimum wage increase you take credit for was included as Title II of Public Law 104-188[iii], also known as The Small Business Protection Act.  Clearly this was an example of bi-partisan cooperation.  The Republican’s got the tax help for small businesses and the Democrats were able to gain a marginal increase in the minimum wage.  While the battle over what minimum wages actually accomplish rage on the studies I’ve read suggest there was negligible impact to either the quality of life for the lowest paid workers, or loss of employment due to cost offsets.  At the end of the day what was really gained through this passage? 

The elimination of Sweat Shops?  Really?  Here we are in 2017 and we still find examples of sweat shop labor being used by major manufacturers of clothing and electronics.   I realize on a human and humane level the exploitation of child labor and the often inhumane conditions the child and adult workers in a sweatshop are subjected to is abhorrent, but your claim in 1997 that you and the DOL eliminated them seems a bit far-fetched.  As far as I can tell all you really accomplished was the shaming of Kathy Lee Gifford.  The best article I’ve found on this issue was from CQ Press[iv] and I find nothing in this to suggest sweatshop labor was eliminated in the US, never mind the rest of the world, when you departed as Secretary of Labor.  To support this, I found your 2001 article with American Prospect[v],  where you say as Secretary of Labor you found 61% of garment cutting and sewing shops in LA (and 65% in NYC) don’t pay their employees the minimum wage.  The problem, as you note, is the number of inspectors the DOL has to enforce the laws that are on the books.  (This brings up a question regarding law enforcement I will save for a future discussion.)

Passage of a law requiring business to fully fund pension plans.  A great idea, but as I review all the legislation passed by the 104th Congress I don’t see any law that specifically calls out for the business to fully fund pension plans.  Was it a rider on some other leaving their employees holding the bag and without any of their promised funds.  How could that be if there was a law?  Heck we can’t even get the Post Office to run without stiffing their employees, how can we expect a IBM or GM to be different?

And finally, we have your student to apprentice training program.  You know since you’ve left all I hear from the Democrats is everyone should have free college.  But checking in with the DOL I find the apprentice program alive and well.  It appears to have about a 10% [vi]graduation/completion rate in 2016.  Yea you.

Now about your radical political agenda.

Since leaving the government you have, written a number of books vilifying the concepts of capitalism and condemning the wealthy, but not those wealthy who agree with you like the moguls of Silicon Valley.  You've also served as an advisor to progressive Democrats to keep your views alive.  These would be the same democrats that when in power ruled unilaterally, and when replace stonewalled all the opposition approaches.  You have also taken an academic position at Berkley where you can shape the minds of other radicals such that we now see violence as a protest for speech you find hateful.  It appears you believe yourself and your party to be judge and jury on what constitutes legitimate political speech and warrants public discourse.  This is spread by other like-minded individuals across the social structure of academia.  The fact it leaves the average family behind in the delusional economy you would establish is just an unfortunate by-product of social change, isn’t it?

Remember I said I'd get back to Alinsky’s play sheet.

Saul laid out thirteen rules[vii] on how to successfully engage in social change as a radical. I’ve highlighted those I think most germane to your latest campaign.

They are:

1.     “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood.

2.     “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone.

3.     “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty.

4.     “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.

5.     Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.

6.     “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones.

7.     “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news.

8.     Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new.

9.     “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist.

10.  "The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition." It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign.

11.  If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog.

12.  “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem.

13.  Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

Bob, it looks to me that you and the Democratic Party are pretty much in lock step with Saul.  I am sure he would be proud to see his work so thoroughly embraced by the mainstream party and its media arm in the mainstream broadcast and print news.
 Bob, it looks to me that you and the Democratic Party are pretty much in lock step with Saul.  I am sure he would be proud to see his work so thoroughly embraced by the mainstream party and its media arm in the broadcast and print news.  What saddens me is how the people who believe with all their heart that you are out for the common good are falling for the hate and fear you are creating.

So, how did we reach a point where you and the rest of the progressive/liberal population now think we have a fascist regime that must be destroyed for the sake of all humanity?  Well I'll tell you Bob, I think it is all your fault.  You and the people like you who would not accept that about half the nation thinks we did not build a utopian state under the Obama administration, that the political dialogue was closed by all the people who vilified any questioning of motivations or motives of the DNC and the leadership of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to shut down any possibility of bi-partisan lawmaking and force President Obama to work for a common good rather than make every stinking issue a political battleground.

Then we come to the election.  You and the mainstream media were so confident that you would win that you fielded the weaker of the two candidates because she was a Clinton and a woman and come hell or high water that was what you and the inner circle were bound and determined to have.  The fact your media buddies were so on-board with this and so locked into believing that everyone who voted for Barrack would turn out and vote for a flawed, self-absorbed Clinton showed in every poll they reported as if polling was actually factual data.  Polling is, and will always be just a step up from going to Madame Zelda and having her tell your fortune.  Depending on how the polling is done, and how honest the minuscule number of respondents want to be the poll might be fair, or it could be terrible.  As this election showed your polling was terrible.  Looking at Trumps turnouts versus having to pay people to see Ms. Clinton should have been a warning bell, but it wasn’t.

Oh, I would believe your arguments so much more if you were able to accept the premise if you want to avoid a true totalitarian US it has to start with not accepting your own parties moves in that direction. Only then can you make the logical argument that having an American Caesar is probably not a good idea, but you let that boat sail during the last regime when the President began the escalation of a race war that is now playing out to the chagrin of many. 
Post Script:  I saw this in the news and thought about how Bob had forced companies to fully fund pension plans.  Apparently, he didn't force the unions to keep their promises.   

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