Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Immigration and 19th Century Robber-barons

I posted this 2 weeks ago, before the firestorm erupted and before some particularly silly things were written on progressive sites. I'll do a little updating and addressing of nonsense.

Like most of us, I'm a child of immigrants, a long while ago, pre-Revolution and pre-Civil War for the most part, but immigrants none the less. This country probably could not have survived without the inflow of immigrants through out the 19th and 20th centuries. There is, however, a difference between immigration and uncontrolled illegal entry.

There is the matter of just how dangerous some of the illegals are, whether simple criminality or terrorism makes little difference. Frankly, terrorists will figure out how to penetrate controlled borders. I am not making a case that all illegal entrents are dangerous, simply that an unacceptable portion are and we have enough of the home-grown variety. There certainly are unfortunate social program costs involved, a small slice of the pie becomes even smaller and student funding takes a hit.

Illegal hiring is another piece of the problem. We're not talking about grass cutting and stoop labor, but a whole range of blue collar jobs. Here's a concrete example from my own industry:
labor costs don't stop with wages, FICA takes 15.4% (half from employee-half from employer), Unemployment takes around 2-3%, Workman's Comp takes 22-30%, all totalling between 39-46% of wage. This means that a legal employee costs $1.39 to $1.49 per dollar of wage so a $10.00 per hour employee actually costs $14-15.00 per hour. An employer making an illegal hire has a $4-5.00 per hour per employee labor cost advantage. Try to make that work. If materials costs and time per job are equal where is the give? The employee's wage is where the hit occurs, cheats and thieves are cutting blue collar throats. It is not hard for the employer to verify for legal hiring. So maybe these cheats need to be penalized enough to make the practice very unattractive, like 1yr Prevailing Wage per incident as a fine. Or maybe some jail time to go along with it. The Federal govt virtually winks at this problem, there's some big money in illegal hiring...

If you're starting to think "code for racism" you can back that train up, one of three of my crew is Mexican-American, and I'd hire a green Martian who worked hard and did a good job and had legal paperwork. It's only a part of the reason blue collar wages are so seriously depressed, but it is significant and curable. Take a look at who's tolerating this and then take a look at money. Do I get angry about this? You bet, I work side by side with my guys and they do everything right, work hard and do a good job in all kinds of weather and it's a job that is statistically more dangerous than being a cop. The arguement that Americans won't take that kind of work falls apart in the face of my crew all being Americans.

Not one of my crew nor myself bear any responsibilty for the condition of any foreign country. Not one iota. But they will be made to bear the cost. Now if the stance of "bye-bye" seems hard hearted, maybe you need to consider how little we can afford sympathy until our plight is addressed. We are being "in-sourced" right out of work or wages. If I raise my per foot bid just enough to cover the cost of a motel room with 5 illegals in it, I'm done for. That would involve $1.50/hour raise for my crew. You can find a crew of 15 illegals on a job and call INS and their response is, " Ummmm, oh well..." Once they're past the entry point, nobody gives a rat's patoot.

Maybe you're a little conflicted on the illegality of the issue, so I'll make this point, if I take a little walk and come home, life is good, but if my little walk takes me into Mary Doe's house, uninvited, I'm going to face some rather ugly legal consequences. These folks have taken a little walk right into my house and are taking things, I don't like it. I don't have to like it and won't like it just to satisfy the "race" card. I don't care what language they say "hello" in or what color face is saying it, do it legally or get out. Americans go to jail for less serious offenses than invading a country and stealing services, how the heck is that condonable?

GWB and waldenbush are working real hard to take this country back to 19th Century robber barons conditions and the touchy-feely left is aiding and abetting the process on this issue. If you want to see how this crap works, take a real good look at Chicago at the turn of the Century, and look at a real history text. Well, I told you I wasn't politics as usual or just any Democrat, so if you feel mislead, not my fault.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Waldenbush VS ....

I've been quiet for awhile, four 10 hour days to get 40/week in crappy weather and many miles of driving have taken a toll on this blog. 1000 miles weekend of 3/18 and close to 600 mi weekend of 3/25.

I've been running some numbers through my head, the 75/25 and 70/30 losses to waldenbush in the last 2 elections. These results happened to 2 men I admire and respect who had good ideas. Along with those numbers are how things have to play for waldenbush to go home. A Democrat has to take all the Democratic vote, they can't "stay home" or have been insulted into voting against. In an ordinary election the Independents pretty much split, that's good enough for a serious thrashing, a Democrat has to get most of them. That still won't quite do it, some Republicans have to be split off from the herd. That's a tall order. The last 2 elections ought to make it pretty clear that being a nice person with good ideas won't do it. It must take more, GWB just wasn't THAT popular, his elections were near 50/50 splits, not 75/25.

Politics as usual is good enough to get a butt kicking, if that's the case then change the rules and the game changes. For waldenbush imcumbency, Party, and empty symbolic gestures have been enough to do the trick. If he runs on his voting record he has to count on party and gestures, if some of his Party favors are removed (2nd Ammendment for one) it counts for less. If his Party is shown to be a tool of plutocrats and multi-national corporations it looks less admirable. Is that enough? Probably not quite, but what might tip the balance is a candidate that comes from a direction waldenbush can't deal with. He can't pretend to be a member of the "ordinary" 2nd CD voters, he can't pretend to understand or even comprehend actual labor and he's shown no particular ability to speak plainly and straightforwardly. That might have a lot to do with why I'm running and why I say I can beat him, even with all his money.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Russ Feingold and Censure

I've already made myself clear that the Bush warrentless wiretaps of American citizens are illegal for one and flat out wrong, for two. Russ Feingold thinks so strongly enough to make a Censure Motion against the President. Well, he sure needs corralled.

Here's how to email the Senator:
and tell him just how right this is.

Go ahead, tell him Chuck sent ya. That'll impress him.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

A Big Place

Oregon's 2nd Congressional District is rather large, in fact it's about 2/3 of Oregon's 98,000 sq mi. The Democratic Primary Race is going on the road in the 2nd CD, the candidates are going to visit pretty close to each county for Candidate Forums. I'll give you the current set-up courtesy of Pat Ackley, 2nd CD Caucus Chair:
3/18 Medford 3/19 Grants Pass
3/25 Hood River & The Dalles 3/26 Condon
4/1 LaGrande & Wallowa 4/2 Pendleton
4/7 Bend 4/8 Prineville 4/9 Redmond
4/22 Klamath Falls & Lakeview 4/23 Burns
4/29 Baker City & Ontario
Additions as they are scheduled

I look forward to getting around to the various counties and meeting the folks who live there. It's important to get my message out, but it's even more important to hear what the people who live in various areas think and what their problems are. I've traveled around the 2nd CD and worked various places, but my experience is limited as would be anyone's in such a vast area. I hope you'll come out to hear me and especially to talk to me about yourselves.

Now, of course, I have to make my boring pitch about campaign poverty and contributions:

Folks, this is a lot of miles to cover and gasoline isn't cheap, some folks have volunteered to open their homes and that sure helps and is gratefully received, but travel costs money. Getting a message out just isn't cheap. I think waldenbush's $800,000 is over-kill and ridiculous, but it is going to cost money. I know giving a contribution means going without something, but we've been going without something in DC for long enough and I think that's worth something as well. I'm not running to make some point, I'm not running just so there's a D against an R, I'm running because I can actually beat waldenbush and take something different to DC for you. I can be what I am, but you can make the difference.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Burnt Allies?

David Ignatius in "Burning Allies-and Ourselves" (Washington Post 3/10) tells us what good guys the UAE are and how a runaway Congress wrecked a deal good for us. This, he writes, is a consequence of our post 9/11 Arab/Muslim phobia that our fearless leader GWB opposed in this deal. Evidently the Republicans listened to their constituents and revolted against King George. This came as a dismaying shock to David.

David Ignatius and President Bush are shocked... Give me a break, our fake cowboy president is shocked to learn that the American public has taken his overheated rhetoric regarding Islamic "terriss" seriously? He and his cronies stomp mudholes in our civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism, they call any doubters unpatriotic or allies of terrorism and he's surprised when his crows come home to roost? When you run an election on scaring the pants off Americans and telling them you're the savior why be surprised when Americans don't like finding out that your oil buddies are buying control of our ports. If you've made that free with the truth it only makes some sense that somebody gets to pay for it, and as per usual it's the ones who put their faith in Dubya. The UAE just got a lesson in trusting GWB, at a 37% approval rating in the US it seems maybe the word is getting out.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Waldenbush and PACs

I find it informative that our Rep has raised $360,000 from PACs, I find it especially informative when the amount is broken down into contributors. www.opensecrets.org has the breakdown of individual $280,000 and the PACs and they can be broken down into individual donors. Individual donors run about 75% in state vs 25% out of state ($70,000) but a quick read of the individuals starts to show a real large percentage that's out of district. Evidently these folks like his voting record a lot and would like him to stay in DC voting the ways they like. (a lot) What's that come out to per voter?

There was an amendment, 364 to HR 3010 that would put $7 billion into college student's loans by closing a loop hole that was putting billions into the hands of a few lenders, waldenbush voted against. It passed with 40 R's joining the D's, but I guess 2nd CD students have plenty of money available for college and some banks just aren't doing well enough for waldenbush. He didn't get ignored by banks in contributions... Somehow I had gotten the idea that higher education was important, I guess that sort of depends...

Friday, March 03, 2006

GWB Coat-tails

Riding the coat-tails of a fellow politician can work wonders for a campaign, sometimes. Then you could have coat-tails like President Bush's to ride. I'd pass. Unfortunately for him, waldenbush can't. Sure, he has a record to run on, or run away from if the President's record looks rather "icky", the problem is, he's earned my little monicker. He hasn't seen a Bushism that he doesn't like, no matter if it drives a dagger into the heart of rural America, no matter if the beneficiaries live somewhere completely different. If you vote with somebody who keeps failing the way the President has, sooner or later folks will see that you're a failure.

Boy, that $800,000 campaign chest of his is going to have it's work cut out for it, it'll take a few dollars to get people to forget. Anybody real curious how the 2nd Congressional District could finance an $800,000 campaign chest, this early? I live out here in Republican country, I don't see it. You don't suppose all those votes of his were worth something to somebody from somewhere else? No, surely not, waldenbush wouldn't represent other interests, would he?

Wouldn't he just.

Stepping Up

A number of you have stepped up and spoken with your wallets, the Campaign to Elect Chuck now has enough money to pay for the Voter's Pamphlet, $1000 for Federal candidates. This is a very public "Thank You," to those who've helped out. This is a major step forward, but it's just a step, Candidate Forums are now being scheduled all over the 2nd Congressional District and that means a lot of miles to travel and people to meet. Meeting people is truly important, not just for vote getting, I need to know what's going on where they are. I've traveled the 2nd pretty extensively, but I don't know every corner or what needs to be addressed everywhere. You tell me and I listen. Maybe I won't be "on the same page" with everyone's concerns, but I sure need to know what the page is.

This campaign is going to subsist on the contributions of ordinary folks and this is my PROMISE, you are who I will represent, in the Primary, in the General, and in Washington, DC. I can't be bought, I can't be scared, and I can't be pushed around. I'm not impressed by power, wealth, or six syllable words, I am impressed by honesty and hard work - you know - my neighbors in 2nd CD.

Something that needs to be said: everytime I receive a contribution I get another lesson in humility. Folks without much are spending money on a hope, on my voice. That's powerful stuff, it means I have to earn trust that's been given. I don't get to feel sorry for myself when I get tired or things aren't working well, I get to get on with it, I have debts to repay. That's the only way I can say, "Thank you," properly.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

So what's Howard Dean Done?

The DNC Lightening Rod, Dr Dean has put into operation a 50 State Strategy. Run for everything, win everything, this time or next in all 50. Big ideas? You bet. Oregon just got 4 field operatives with DNC salary and DPO expences. These folks are mid 20s political professionals who will be boots on the ground for the next 3 years of Deans term. Yes, a 36 County Strategy with specialists for increasing Democratic registrations & retention, political strategies, and coordination. I spent a couple hours with 2 of the field reps, excellent folks, smart, articulate, down home, and serious pros. Taking the Oregon House ought to be much more possible with these people. Dean is owed some thanks by Oregon's Democrats and later the State, as a whole, will be glad of it.

Not to mention the Democratic Party of Oregon's officers deserve some real credit, Jim Edmondson, Merideth Wood-Smith, Neel Pender, Jenny Greenleaf, and oh yeah, Wayne Kinney, our Eastern Oregonian. Tell them.

American Grown

So you think American Beef comes from America? Well guess again. If it's born here, raised in Canada, and shipped back, it's called American. What??? you say. Well sure it is, if you happen to be 3 packing companies that control 80% of the market. You think that might not be real good for your rancher neighbor? The waldenbushes don't care, there's big money talking about what's American. Maybe you're thinking Americans are a little more careful about raising their beef, seems they are by the evidence. It also seemed to make a difference between profit and hand to mouth when the Canadian border was closed to beef, and that barely caused an uptick in grocery stores.