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This is Brad Miller. I'm a Democratic Member of Congress from North Carolina.

I've followed the debate here about how the Democratic Party should be defined. There is a debate on the House floor now that I think goes to the heart of what the Democratic Party is about. At least it does for me.

And there has been hardly a mention of the debate in the mainstream media--or here.

The House is now debating the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education appropriation bill.

There is a long list of programs that are eliminated or shortchanged--programs to close achievement gaps in public schools, education programs for disabled children, after school programs, Pell Grants, rural health care, medical research, low-income home energy assistance, and on and on.

But I want to talk about what it does to our economic future, especially for American workers who depend on manufacturing jobs.

America is in a tough economic transition, but in my state the transition is especially painful. The nation has lost almost three million manufacturing jobs in the last four years. North Carolina has lost almost 200,000 of those jobs. And the new jobs are not the equal of the jobs we've lost--they pay less, and provide few if any benefits.

Median family income in North Carolina fell by nine percent in the last three years, from $41,026 to $37,315. An additional 341,000 North Carolinians are without health insurance--now, almost one North Carolinian in five is uninsured. And almost 200,000 more North Carolinians are now living in poverty.

Congress will soon debate another trade deal, CAFTA. American workers lie awake at night wondering if CAFTA will cost even more jobs.

Everyone in North Carolina from the hourly-wage employee to the CEO knows that we cannot forever protect unskilled jobs in labor-intensive industries, and that cannot be our economic future. A century ago mill workers were called "hands," and that's what they were hired for, their hands.

The economic livelihood of North Carolina workers, and of American workers, depends on how much more they have to offer than their hands. We can only have the highest standard of living, the most prosperous economy, if we have the most skilled workforce. Many manufacturers now will not hire anyone to any job--any job--unless they're computer literate.

Our workers want to learn the skills they need to support themselves and their families. They're willing to work full-time and go to the community college at night. They don't want anyone to carry them. They just want a chance to learn the skills to support themselves and their families.

The bill now being debated lets those workers down. It denies our nation's workers the help they need to build a future for themselves and their families.

The best that can be said about the bill is that it is not nearly as bad as what the President proposed.

The President proposed eliminating or cutting drastically vocational education, adult literacy, and education and technology grants. The bill provides many of those programs the same funding as last year--better than the President's proposed budget, but well short of the needs.

Republicans in Congress don't pretend that the cuts and freezes are part of "reform", that they will make job training programs more efficient.  Instead, helping factory workers earn new job skills is just not their priority.

The Democratic Party was the party of factory workers a long time before it was the party of DKos. The Democratic Party has to be the party that cares about factory workers. If we are not, we have no future. And we don't deserve one.

Originally posted to Rep Brad Miller on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 01:26 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  thanks (3.92)
    for stopping by Congressman Miller. I agree. We need to embrace our tradition of supporting workers.
    •  Thank you Congressman! (4.00)
      A "big tent" needs many poles to keep it up.

      It's not sufficient to tell people to come into your tent, but leave them hidden under an unsupported corner by ignoring the issues that are important to them.

      Everyone in the tent needs to be able to stand together as equals, which can only happen if the issues important to each group are respected.

      Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.
      What is the White House Hiding?

      by mataliandy on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:44:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Proud in North Carolina (none)
      Thanks Brad. You are making us proud that you are representing the great State of North Carolina. Keep up the Good work!
      Jean from Raleigh
      •  Tarheel in Texas (none)
        Glad to hear from you. Welccome aboard. Gov. Dean covered almost the same list last night on The Daily Show. It is good to see that he and some of our Congressional members have the same priorities.

        Let's work on those priorities and reduce the snipping. My Father was a Teamster so I've always been accutely aware of labor issues.

        Congressman look forward to hearing from you again.

        If the children ask you why so many died, tell them, because their fathers lied." Rudyard Kipling

        by TexDem on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 04:09:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Tarheel on the Hudson (none)
          Rep. Miller, you make me proud to be a Tarheel.

          The Kossacks need to cooperate with a broad Democratic base, but all the perspectives of that broad base needs to share the DailyKos. Diaries and comments from you and your constituents can have a powerful effect on the DailyKos community.
          •  Hear, hear n/t (none)

            If the children ask you why so many died, tell them, because their fathers lied." Rudyard Kipling

            by TexDem on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 04:33:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Cheesehead on the Hudson (4.00)
            You Tarheels are well represented. Time was, we had a manufacturing base in the Upper Midwest. Time was, the Democratic Party had a lot of loyal constituents there, including my people, who built cars. No more. All those NAFTA/CAFTA-loving, Friedman-reading, free-trade-before-fair-trade so-called Dems turned them away with upturned noses and sneering condescension and backed 'pro-business' policies that helped turn us from an economy based on widgets to one based on Refi! and Whoppers.

            I know there are a lot of Democratic professionals on these boards who buy the free trade mantra and the blur the lines suburban strategy whole cloth and reckon the undeserving, unskilled lumpens will come around one of these days and realize their true calling as Democratic drones. I know they think this because they're fortunately insulated from the hourly wage and the minimum wage.

            Until those folks drop the New Economy bullshit and accept that the Democratic Party is the party of working people and the American Dream, it will be a party without a constituency.

            "Senators, you polish a turd/Here in the city we got a word for those who'd bed their beloved Big Bird and make a mockery of our freedoms/It's Hey, MF" -L Reed

            by Septic Tank on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 09:34:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Ditto from Chapel Hill n/t (none)

        If Gore is elected in 2008, will that count as his second term?

        by chuckles1 on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 05:33:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not enough, IMO (4.00)
      It isn't enough for "us" to "support workers".  "We" need to be workers.  Handing down favors from on high only opens up the Democratic party to charges of elitism and ivory towerhood, not to mention disconnecting the worker voices from the process.  Get these people deeply involved in the party proper, fully integrated and productive Democrats in their own right, not mere beneficiaries of the party.

      Conservatives protect corporations; Liberals protect people.

      by RequestedUsername on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 05:05:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bravo, Congressman Miller! (3.87)
    I've said it many times here, Kitchen Table issue -- jobs, health insurance, education -- are where Democrats should be winning elections.

    The war is important, but it's hard to care if the president is lying to us if you can't afford to take the baby to the doctor.

    There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right with America. -- Bill Clinton

    by ThirstyGator on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 01:33:56 PM PDT

  •  Who says Kossacks don't include factory workers? (3.96)
    And I would be very surprised if Kossacks didn't already support vocational education, adult literacy, and education and technology grants.  I imagine most oppose CAFTA.

    Frankly, this seems like a strange strawman argument.  Increased netroots influence in the Democratic party doesn't come at the expense of factory workers.  If anything, Kossacks seem exceptionally committed to fundamental Democratic values of egalitarianism and protecting the working class and those who find themselves on the edge of our "ownership" society.
    •  There is sometimes a disconnect. (4.00)
      While I wouldn't say there's an anti-worker vibe around here, I've definitely seen comments that express distaste for working class folks, especially those who have been voting Republican.

      I actually saw a comment the other day where the poster said he/she hoped that some of North Carolina's tobacco factory jobs got shipped overseas, since those workers probably voted for Bush and therefore sealed their own fate.  

      There's a lot of that kind of attitude on this site, and I find it disturbing.  These are the folks we need to be reaching out to, not alienating.
      •  Yep. Here's the diary (3.84)

        and the quote from a comment within:

        "I'll happily buy from communist China if it puts a NC textile worker out of a job. The communist Chinese aren't nearly as big a threat to me than right-wing nutjobs who vote for folks like Jesse Helms.

        Don't have healthcare? Boo hoo and fuck off. Maybe that Pentacostal preacher can lay on hands and cure your cancer. Let Jesus provide, my wallet is closed."

        Now, to be fair to the community, the commenter was hit with a zero or two (one from me), but yes, this disconnect DOES exist within the party and the DKos community.

        There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right with America. -- Bill Clinton

        by ThirstyGator on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:27:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for the link and correction (4.00)
          I remembered that you had railed against it, but I couldn't remember the original diary it was in.  It was one of those cases where I arrived too late to the party to contribute meaningfully, so I think I foured you and moved on.

          But yeah, sometimes that stuff can be insidious.  I doubt the poster would consider him/herself to be anti-worker, but the whole 'red-staters are morons' meme bleeds rather easily into rage against the working class.  It's something to watch out for.  Workers are the natural allies of the Democratic Party, and we ignore/condescend to/piss on them at our peril.
          •  I was writing (none)
            my entry downthread about this as a link to the comment in question appeared and you expanded a bit on it. So, disregard those portions of my comment that you dealt with here.

          •  Thanks Representative Miller (4.00)
            for speaking to the grass roots. I disagree a little with some in this thread. I think it's very rare for a comment to disparage folks for being working class.

            I think it is common to disparage those who vote for lower wages, outsourced jobs, no healthcare, and a greater share of the tax burden because they believe what they hear from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and Time Magazine.

            Some of these chickens who vote for Colonel Sanders parrot Limbaugh talking points, word for damn word, about the evils of unions.

            We need to have what Tom Harmann calls democracy in the workplace. Man, when Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is on every Friday, The Tom Hartmann show is a democracy-fest.

            My $0.02

            "The diesel engine can be fed with vegetable oils and would help considerably in the development of agriculture of the countries which use it." R. Diesel, 1911

            by nuttymango on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 03:53:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  It was an interesting response (4.00)
          to my mention of the Pillowtex close down and how Cabbarrus county still vote ~60% for Bush.

          We need to tell the average joe that Dems are oun their side and share their economic concerns.
        •  Why were they Zeroed? (4.00)
          The user was expressing their opinion.

          And I honestly, I don't cry for any of those guys who vote Republican on Tuesday and lose their jobs on Wednesday.

          I cannot and will not ever vote for a Republican for anything higher than dog-catcher, especially not to a federal or statewide office because simply the forces behind a party have more to do with an administration's/legislature's agenda than any one person.  And the forces behind the Republican Party are big business anti-worker and anti-consumer.  

          So if a voter believes and decides that losing their gun is more important than losing their job ... killing people in countries that pose no threat to them is more important than keeping people alive in their community ... that preventing the abortion their daughter won't have is more important than losing the job they do have ... that criminalizing the gay marriage they won't need is more important that increasing the worker protections they do need then they should be prepared to live with the consequences.  And no I'm not stereotyping.  I'm working off of information available to all of us gathered through polling and exit polls.

          Our job is to give the voters a choice, and I'll admit we haven't always been good at this.  But the information is out there for anyone willing to look.  So if a group of voters are too lazy to research the issues and didn't pay attention in their civics class to learn the difference between the two parties don't blame me for choosing to instead focus on helping those individuals in areas smart enough to vote progressive.

          ...and speaking of being zeroed, I seem to have lost my trusted user status out the blue and have no clue how to get it back.


          by DWCG on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 03:35:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's a question of tone, not facts (4.00)
            You're right.  Everybody does have to live with the consequences of their actions. And working class Republican voters certainly are.  They're losing their jobs and struggling to make ends meet.

            But calling them stupid isn't going to help convince them to make the change.  The Right Wing Noise Machine has done a great job of discrediting any media outlet that tells unsanctioned truths, so it is very easy for them to believe that the "information that is out there for anyone willing to look" is a pack of lies.  

            I'm just saying that we need to continue to pound away at the idea that they are better of with the Dems, and hope that the message gets through someday.
            •  You guys are such liberals (none)
              First of all, this isn't intended on being a strategy session on Democratic message intended to be packaged and sold to Congressional candidates.  I'm giving a blunt assessment of what I feel the mentality is of the people who have given us our current government.

              Quit making excuses for these people - THEY ARE STUPID AND/OR THEY ARE LAZY and that's why they vote Republican.  

              The responsibility of the Democratic Party is to offer a choice - to put up credible candidates.  Everything after that is money spent on getting a particular candidate in office, but that doesn't negate one's own responsibility to research the issues and vote in their economic interests ... in the interest of their parents, their kids, their job, their spouse, themselves.  And yes the information is out there and you really don't need to be a member of MENSA to find it.

              Not everyone here lives in a media market with an honest news outlet or comes from a family that instilled progressive values in them or went to a liberal Ivy League school, but we all have come to the realization that a working man voting for a Republican is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders.  

              So I say if you're a middle-aged citizen and don't realize how the government works then that's YOUR FAULT!  If you don't understand the difference between the two parties then that's YOUR FAULT!  So don't tell me to feel for these guys.  The dog keeps biting their hand and they keep trying to pet it.

              As David Hannum said, "A sucker is born every minute" and as fate would have it, to help the dumb bastards we need their votes.


              by DWCG on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 10:54:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  At the risk of getting trolled rated (3.50)
            The irony is, these are the folks who not only fail to vote in their own best interests, but do so in large part because the issues that appeal to them--gays, xenophobia, immigration, getting revenge on ragheads--are those that embody hatred and intolerance for others.

            And here we are, flagellating ourselves for being insensitive to them.  In their world, that makes us sissies.
            •  A little to pat of an explanation (4.00)
              Remember the New Deal coalition? Those hateful bigots did vote for Democrats for 50 some odd years back when 'educated' and 'smart' people voted for Dewey and the republicans.

              And lets PLEASE not group working class folks into one category shall we? I think most working class black people, and the millions of white males and union members who did vote for Kerry might take offense to that generalization.

              You think maybe one reason lots of people don't vote for Democrats anymore (against their own interests) is because the DLC, and yes, kind of got rid of a lot of reasons to vote Democratic when we passed NAFTA?

              It's also sad because Carter, Clinton, Johnson, and Truman couldn't get a national health care plan through Congress. I think that also goes into some of the thinking that you see in young and middle-aged people that "government doesn't really do anything." So if all you think government can accomplish is things having to do with abortion, wars, and gays, then your also more likely to vote based on those issues rather than issues like health care, jobs, the environment, etc. because you don't government can do anything about those issues. And this is a failure of the Democratic party as well as a success of the Republican Party in defining what government can do.

              I said this down-stream, but if you want working class folks to vote Democratic, then you need to work to organize unions. Just look at the exit polls. Unions provide a progressive political education to their members.

              Follow the signature, and we will win.
          •  Look (4.00)
            You want working class folks to vote Democratic again? Well first of all, let's be specific here, you want working class white males to vote Democratic again?

            Then you need to work in the labor movement to organize workers. That is the way to bring these folks back into the fold. Unions provide political education to their members.

            How many white males voted for Bush last time, what like 55%? Now what percentage of union white males voted for Bush? Less than 40%.

            Unions do more to bring people into progressive movements than 100,000 "netroots" activists and 100 million dollars in political ads could ever hope to do. At least at this point in time.

            The answer to Democrats winning and the working class to vote Democratic is to make the Democratic Party a working class party!

            If my signature happens, I guarantee we will have a lock on all three branches of government.
            •  Unfortunately, (4.00)
              Thanks to republican administrations, labor unions are nearly as extinct as wooley mamouths.  But those that still exist should be supported with money, time and rhetoric by us Dems, and we should be supporting workers in other ways, like harrassing the shit of Walmart, for a start, to provide health insurance for their workers and their families.  We need to creatively and effectively start speaking and acting for workers.  And as I've written in diaries and comments on Kos, we may need to change some of our own consumption habits in order to pay for the politics necessary to make their lives better.  And I've heard all y'all's comments about how you don't consume too much, etc, etc...but maybe if working folks see some real as opposed to merely rhetorical political support, they may start really listening to us.  They need some good, old-fashioned, genuine solidarity from us, which will probably mean some sacrifice on our parts.

              Ducking for cover now....

              I donated to ePluribus Media. Support citizen journalism!

              by dksbook on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 06:39:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Of course I completely & wholeheartedly agree (none)
              But the question is why did even 40% of union men vote for Bush?


              by DWCG on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 11:03:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Re: (none)
            Our job is to give the voters a choice, and I'll admit we haven't always been good at this.  But the information is out there for anyone willing to look.  So if a group of voters are too lazy to research the issues and didn't pay attention in their civics class to learn the difference between the two parties don't blame me for choosing to instead focus on helping those individuals in areas smart enough to vote progressive.

            You are assuming that Democrats give working class voters a choice. They often do not. How many Democrats in the House and Senate supported NAFTA, GATT and the WTO? How many of them know, or care if the promises made by proponents of these agreements have actually been kept, i.e., is Mexico's economy doing better because of NAFTA, and is that in turn spurning more demand for American products? According to the stats from the World Bank, the answer is a resounding no.

            What choice did John Kerry give a textile worker in the Carolinas? He admitted flat-out he would do nothing about outsourcing. He proposed inconsequetional modifications to the tax code that would incentivize firms to keep jobs stateside. These tax code modifications would have been the proverbial band-aid on a gunshot wound.  Democrats don't speak to these issues, even if some supporters of the party think they do. It's not at all clear to a textile worker in the Carolinas that the Democrat is better economically then the Republican, no matter how much "research" they would care to undertake. If Clinton is pushing the WTO and NAFTA, and deregulation of Wall Street and the electrical grid, and insulating CEOs from lawsuits, and allowing massive consolidation in the media and telecom sector resulting in hundreds of thousands of layoffs, how is the Democratic consensus different from the Republican one? Only in degree.  
          •  Engage not attack (none)
            group of voters are too lazy to research the issues and didn't pay attention in their civics class to learn the difference between the two parties don't blame me for choosing to instead focus on helping those individuals in areas smart enough to vote progressive.

            It's up to "smart" progressive such as yourself to have a message for that speaks to that "group" of voters. It's in your interest if you want to win elections.  I don't think calling people lazy helps your cause.
            •  Thank you for the advice (none)
              But I'm not trying to run for office or run a campaign for office.  I'm posting on a message board.  Thus, I see no reason not to say that these people are dumb and the entire electorate is lazy.

              Any working class citizen who votes Republican is dumb!  But you're especially dumb if you're a blue collar/factory worker in an industrial town down South.  While I agree these people aren't to be ignored and should be persuaded, it doesn't neglect the fact that they are dumb.

              And don't tell me about what I should be doing to deal with their laziness and stupidity so as to excuse it.  If just two names appeared on the ballot every four years, in one's own economic/self-interest, they should care enough to go to the nearest library to download the two candidates' policy papers regardless of whether either campaign reached out to them.  It's a process that could be completed in less than a couple of hours and it is an election for Christ-sake! ... for president of the United States!  

              Finally, I have spent plenty of time working on campaigns in the region and have more times than not been shut down before I could even begin my pitch.


              by DWCG on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 10:10:22 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Doesn't sound like a Dem to me (4.00)
          Kos is open to all people of all persuasions and as long as they don't completely alienate the membership (and get rated out of the galaxy) they can belong to any political persuasion they choose. Just because someone on this site posted such an opinion does not mean that Kossian Dems believe in such drivel. I could be wrong, but that didn't sound like a Democrat to me; if the poster was a Democrat, he/she is a very confused one.

          The discussion about working class Republicans supporting Bush's economic (and other) initiatives is a different animal though; these people have no idea how the support they give BushCo and the GOP undermines their (and their children's) very lives/lifestyles/opportunities/jobs/finances/etc... There is a major problem with that logic and they should be ridiculed (in my opinion) not because they are working class, not because of their monetary status, race or any statistical factors, but merely because they do not even understand that they are contributing to their own demise, and ours right along with them. They need to be jolted awake.
        •  In all respect... (none)
          That comment was very, very poorly received.  And the overwhelming sentiment on that thread -- which I just looked at -- was going the other way.

          So it proves the exact opposite.  That statement pointedly DOESN'T represent the overall view of  dKos community.
          •  And I agree... (4.00)
            That comment is not representative of the discussion here. I did not intend to suggest anything like that by my diary.
            •  I know. (none)
              Sorry, I kind of went off in a direction that has been bugging me lately.  I know you weren't implying there were any worker-haters here.  But when even a whiff of that is detectable, it just makes the Republican cry of "Elitist!" more credible.
            •  The party (none)
              I realize this may be a question more for the state party, but I was wondering if the party is doing anything locally in Raleigh or Greensboro to reach out to workers and let them know what Congress (and Howard Coble) and the administration are doing to these programs?
          •  From reading this thread (4.00)
            I don't think there is an "overall view." I, for one, think that if it takes some economic jarring to make voters realize that gay-bashing doesn't put food on the table (except for certain GOP elected officials) then so be it. We will never take back the House and the Hill unless something makes Kansas realize with whom its interests lie.
        •  Troll/idiot/freeper/gannon wanabee (none)
          trying to crap on our site.  That's what the
          zero was intended for.
      •  Toastman (4.00)
        I hear what you're saying and I read the comment you describe in this post. While I agree with you in spirit, I've got a bit of a bone to pick with you.

        My collar has always sported more blue than white. I've worked on hot docks and in cold boxes driving forklifts and pallet jacks like Porsches. I've hustled millions of pound of freight with my hands into the hungry bellies of cargo planes. I've spent the bulk of my working life pushing, pulling, lifting, driving or wrenching something into and out of place.

        I wake up every morning, still, with hands that feel like ground chuck and angry, arthritic joints that creak and pop for the privilege of not having to play dress-up at work and brown nose a bunch of overeducated middle management wannabe tyrant types. Nobody can tell me anything about living the life of a skilled or unskilled laborer that I haven't already acquainted myself with or glean from experience. Nobody.

        As I said, I also read the comment you're talking about here to bolster your case. I still think the reaction to it was too touchy in context. Misrepresenting that particular comment as though it were a genuine, thoughtful expression is, well, disingenuous. And I suspect you're aware of that.

        Now, I don't know if that writer harbors deep-seated feelings of superiority towards laborers or not. If he did, frankly, he wouldn't be at all unusual in the United States. What I do know is that the comment he wrote was a poor gauge to use for making that detemination.  You're using that comment to speak about the writer's regard for laborers when it was clearly written as a knee-jerk, exasperated comment on the blatant hypocrisy of people that vote in ways that are counter-productive to their prosperity and their very existence. The fact that he was writing about laborers was immaterial to the comment's salient truth.

        I don't need to be browbeaten into "sharing" my party with skilled and unskilled laborers any more than most Democrats do - including, I'd wager, the guy who wrote that comment. Been there, done that, got the scars, aches and pains to prove it.

        Back to this diary, then, the problem isn't that we're losing sight of labor's needs, as far as I can tell. The problem I see is that many laborers are losing sight of their need for this party.

        Look if Joe or Josephine laborer opts to vote for a candidate that promises to throw all gays and illegal aliens into gulags instead of voting for a candidate that promises to strengthen their hand at the bargaining table or ensure affordable healthcare options - they've made a choice. It's a shortsighted and disturbing choice but it's the choice they made, by God.

        We didn't screw those people, damn it. They screwed themselves. And as of the last time I checked, they have that right.

        So, hell yes, I'll gladly share this party with every single laborer voting to promote labor as a safe and prosperous employment option in this country. But, hell no, I won't encourage this party to go all wild-eyed and foamy lipped about  "evil" gays, liberals, illegal aliens, uppity broads, abortion or Arabs to bait them into doing the right thing by themselves at work.

        Know what I mean?
        •  Bone gladly picked (4.00)
          Kimberley, thank you for your thought-out response.  I think you and I agree on just about everything.  

          First, I readily admit that your blue-collar cred is far larger than mine.  I'm about three generations removed from true working-class folk, and grew up in a fairly cushy, middle-class, urban environment.  So, I know I have to tread catiously since this isn't my turf.

          Second, I recognize that this particular comment represents an extreme point of view not held by most of the people here.  Heck, it probably isn't even held by the poster most of the time.  However, I do think it belies an undercurrent of thought that exists here and throughout the progressive community.  Mainly, that truckdrivers and construction workers and day laborers and even cops and soldiers are almost always RED and therefore the enemy.  I see it in a hundred little subtle ways like red stater-bashing. I don't see it that way.  Even if you've voted Republican your entire life, and you're Southern Baptist, and you're not comfortable with gay mairrage, if you are poor and getting screwed by the system (and that includes a heck of a lot of Republican voters), you should be a Democratic voter.  You'll be better off with us.  And that's what I want our interaction with those folks to be.

          Don't get me wrong.  I'm most certainly not advocating jettisoning, or even softening, our positions on gay rights, abortion, or whatever.  I don't want us to change our platform to accomodate them, just to show them there's more than enough room for them in here.  They still have to come to us, but we need to keep focusing on what we have that they want.

          Does that make sense?

          And btw, is this thread considered hijacked yet?
          •  My apologies for a tardy response (4.00)
            to your own, Toastman.

            I completely agree that the political polarization today is starting to threaten the fabric of our society. Even I'm guilty of generalizing about the voting habits of people associated with certain professions. It isn't legitimate and that's a fact.

            So, yes, your comment makes a great deal of sense.

            We're not going anywhere, in terms of party members urging this party to take up the issues facing millions of laborers (bargaining for fair wages, healthcare availability, childcare availability, continuing education, and the like).

            I don't know... It's hard to see people slash away at their own Achilles tendons (metaphorically speaking). But I figure that if some of these people can't discern the difference between the empty rhetoric that today's Republican Party is throwing at them and the long-standing tradition of labor concerns that the Democratic Party continues to champion - they're bent on learning the hard way. And we're just going to have to develop the stomach to watch them do it.

            When they're tired of going hungry, listening to the sound of sizzle and want a stake in our society that they can really sink their teeth into, the Democratic Party will be here - mesquite chips and all - grilling up better days ahead.

            Hijacked? Pffft. No way. It's all part and parcel brother, part and parcel. ;)
        •  One thought..... (4.00)
          ...that I have to explain a lot of the counterintuitive voting patterns is that the GOP (and to a certain extent the DLC) have gotten a lot of people to believe that government can't do things to help you out. It's just a far away abstract thing with people yelling at each other (thus the, "they're all crooks" arguement).

          This applies not just to white working class males, but also to young people and many middle aged people. I think it's one of the political costs for Democrats of not being able to put through a universal health care plan and full funding for higher education. People don't see what government can do (even though there are still plenty of examples of what government does do) so they think that all government is about is abortion and gays, or nothing at all. Result: 62% white males voting for Bush and many many young people not voting at all.

          So how to fix this?
          1. Democrats need to unify behind one plan for universal health care. I don't care how they get there, but they need to have that plan so people have something to vote for in Novemeber. Something tangible that they can expect to receive that will improve their lives.

          2. Revive the labor movement. Look at the exit polls for how white males in unions voted. Now if that could be applied to the general public we'd have a Democratic president and Congress. Not to mention governorships and state legislatures.
      •  These are my people (4.00)
        I grew up in Concord NC and my mother lives in Kannapolis.  Kannapolis used to be one of the most vibrant cotton mill centers in the south. Today it's almost a ghost town.  The last owner of what used to be Cannon Mills filed for bankruptcy and closed the mill, putting thousands of out work.

        My mother is nearly 80 years old and she has lived in Kannapolis all her life.  She spent a lot of years in Cannon Mills as did most of her generation. She told me that in the 2004 election she knew not one person in her town other than herself who voted for John Kerry.  During the campaign, she could hardly even talk to some of her lifelong friends because of the political issue.

        My mother believes that the primary reason her friends and neighbors voted for George Bush was because the local ministers encouraged a Republican vote.  She said they only issue any of her friends and neighbors knew anything about was abortion and gay marriage -- this in a town that is basically dying from a loss of manufacturing jobs.  My mother refers to this as religious brainwashing.

        In NC and in other similar areas, Democrats have to start talking to people about issues that are more important to their personal lives than abortion and gay marriage.  

        The Congressman is absolutely right.  The Democratic Party has to somehow communicate to working people that we have good ideas about improving their economic prospects.  But if my mother is right, in places like Kannapolis that message is going to have to get through a massive religious filter.  
        •  The way to do that. (none)
          Bring back the labor movement. What better way to counteract "religious brainwashing" then to get people politically educated in a union. There's a reason that the male union voting patterns in 2004 were exactly the opposite of the rest of male voting patterns.

          And I'm not just talking about trying to unionize manufacting plants.

          It's all about my signature.
          •  People died to unionize in this country (4.00)
            and the corporations are steathily taking those rights away.

            Big business fought dirty to keep them out in the first place, and the working people shouldn't let them slip away like this. Unions can be a good thing because labor needs a voice.

            And working people aren't just people in the factories and on construction site and on the farms. They're all of us who collect a paycheck and report to a boss.

            Unions aren't communistic; they're common sense. Big business doesn't like them because they cut into the profits. I am flabbergasted at how rapidly the Bush Administration has acted, with the help of Congress, to return American business as close as possible to that of the Gilded Age in the 1890s - before the unions changed things for the better.

            40-hour work week. 8-hour days. Two breaks, mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Things we take for granted that we wouldn't have if it weren't for the labor movement. And that's just the beginning of a very long list.

            Texas is a "Right-to-Work' state. That's a euphonism for 'we aren't union-friendly.' It's part of the package, along with forgetting to collect corporate income taxes, that we offer to attract new businesses.

            Of course, as usual, the people may get work, but we suffer in the long run because we have no protections in the workplace other than what the business is willing to offer, while we carry the tax burden.

            We all should act, as Democrats, as working people, as Americans, to stop the erosion of workers' rights and the outsourcing of American jobs. Because what the corporations are doing is un-American as well as unpatriotic. They're undermining the heart and soul of this country.
          •  Another complex issue (none)
            I'm not sure what the general view in places like Kannapolis is today regarding collective bargaining, but I know that historically the textile union has had a very difficult time winning the hearts of workers in many of the textile mills.

            I know this because members of my family fought for over 30 years to convince their friends and co-workers to vote in the union.  And time after time, it was voted down.  Mill management, local politicians, Cannon flunkies and apologists (including some religious spokespeople) worked against the union, dividing people and convincing them that life would be worse with a union than without it.

            Maybe the environment has changed and the worsening economic picture now gives unions a better chance of success in places like Kannapolis.  I don't have a good read on that since all of my family who were union supporters are now dead.
        •  Religious Brainwashing (none)
          We need a whole other diary about this.
      •  That's just sick. They're Americans and we (none)
        should support them and support saving their jobs, regardless of party affiliation. They can't help it if they're being misled and lied to.

        Anyway, it's bad for the whole country if our jobs are outsourced. I refuse to buy Chinese goods, no matter what. That's the kind of act I consider traitorous.
    •  I worked in a factory 2 years (4.00)
      to put myself through the first half of college.

      I oppose CAFTA.  NAFTA was a big fucking mistake, if you ask me.

      This is the one area where I agree with Lou "I hate Mexicans" Dobbs.  China can take back their cheap flat-screen TV's and T-shirts.  I'd just like my hometown to have more job opportunities than being a janitor or begging for scarce farm subsidies.

      We are becoming a service-oriented economy.  This is hurting our friends and neighbors.
  •  i think you'll find (4.00)
    that kossacks are generally more economically populist than most elected democrats. i have yet to see anyone here defend CAFTA, and most tend to feel that the party is already way too compromised by corporate money and influence. just because the majority of us aren't factory workers (although we have our blue collar kossacks) doesn't mean we aren't strong supporters of both unionization and extremely upset with the gutting of american industry of late. i myself gained an appreciation of the importance of the right to organize after watching the graduate students' union fight and win decent healthcare benefits and tuition reduction for teaching assistants, and have never spoken ill of unions since.

    no need to harangue us; lead, and we'll follow. the people you need to work on are your fellow representatives in the blue dog coalition who are a bit overly fond of neoliberal free-marketism.

    crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

    by wu ming on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 01:35:17 PM PDT

    •  No, WE need to work on DLC (4.00)
      Democrats and Republicans on these sort of bread and butter issues.  I've seen the excitement here when a diary is demanding we contact our representatives about the war, or social issues, and these things are tremendously important, but I think Mr. Miller is suggesting we need to be equally vigilant about sticking up for the Democratic Party's original constituency.  

      We've all seen diaries about union stuff or OSHA or job training scroll into oblivion because, well, we're busy and it's not always as "sexy" as screaming at each other about the Pennsylvania senate race.  Hell, I'm as guilty as anyone of being distracted by that stuff even though I'm interested in labor issues.  

      I take Mr. Miller's diary as a welcome reminder that we need to fight on these issues too,  because it's right, and because that's where many, many votes are out here in the red states.  

      No one likes armed missionaries. -- Robespierre.

      by Gator Keyfitz on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:05:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Graduate Student union fight (none)
      Wu Ming...were you at NYU?  Or were you at one of those very lucky public universities where grad student unions are legal.

      We fought at Columbia U. for the right to have a graduate student union.  But unfortunately the whole endeavour seems to be on extremely shaky ground now that the NLRB has changed its ruling on the employee status of grad students at private universities.

      That union fight (with the help of the UAW) was where I first "cut my teeth" politically.  I then worked for Howard Dean, something I would likely never have done without that important experience.  

      There are many of us (vast majority?) who understand labor issues and the history of the Democratic party, and are ready to help fight for those issues.  
      •  i'm in the UC system (none)
        and the big battle to recognize the union was pretty much over by the time i came in. still, with every new contract negotiation and resultant strike season, i've watched them fight far harder for the welfare of students than any other graduate student organization ever did. the whole thing was a political eye-opener, esp. the solidarity shown by the other unions on campus.. i am astounded that organizing unions has been ruled illegal at private schools, given how dependent the entire system is on underpaid grad student labor to function. how have your profs been with it? i'm lucky to have several very sympathetic advisors. good luck with it all.

        crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

        by wu ming on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 05:25:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think you'll find (3.16)
      that kossacks are not generally well-grounded in the commonplaces of real life, and are often expressly contemptuous of it ... all the while imagining themselves as people "of the people".

      Coalition is an alien concept hereabouts, compromise is an alien concept, and hence democracy is an alien concept.

      On the plus side, it's a spirited debating society.

      Don't trust 'em no farther than you can throe 'em.

      by RonK Seattle on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 03:41:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Amen (4.00)
    I've said this before, if less elegantly.  Working folks are historically the heart of the party, and I hate it when we argue endlessly over how to frame social issues.  Let's put social justice back into the mix - front and center.  

    No one likes armed missionaries. -- Robespierre.

    by Gator Keyfitz on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 01:36:41 PM PDT

    •  And (none)
      And an amen to you Gator.

      How many people on this site even know that workers were trying to unionize a Wal-Mart in Colorado only to have it squashed (again)?

      How many posts get promoted or written regarding the minimum wage or nurses trying to organize?

      A truly progressive movement must be a social justice and workers movement.
  •  Thank you for raising this issue (4.00)
    The problem is that heated emotional arguments fuel discussion on the internets.  While Dkos is the best place that I've found to find thoughtful and stimulating diaries and comments, it is still as likely as any other forum to be full of threads for

    1)personality cultists (Dean, Clark partisans, et al) who evidently believe that every bowel movement or verbal aside from these folks deserves diary coverage;

    1. reaction/overreaction to the day's news/issues.

    2. cheerleading and pep rallies (not a bad thing).

    I think Dkos achieves a nice balance but it is good to remember that the Democratic Party includes Kossacks, it's not solely about Kossacks.  Add up all our votes and we still need another 60 some million to prevail.

    <stepping off soapbox>

    Where does the Senate stand currently on these issues.  It seems to me that we're more likely to influence the outcome on that side of the capital?

    "Shared risks, shared burdens, shared benefits" Wesley Clark

    by jmaier on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 01:37:07 PM PDT

  •  Amen (4.00)
    Trade policies are not holy writ.  We can open barriers and negotiate trade partnerships without selling out democracy and the working man to international corporations.

    Also, can we please can we stop referring to the working man as a "special interest group"?

    I am calling my congressmen.

    •  artifical separation (4.00)
      There is some sort of "lie" being perpetuated
      that if one gets a college degree or "advances
      your skills" one is exempt from corporate
      creed and the "Buy America" plan being implemented
      by Bush corporation and some "centrist" Democrats
      who are truly all members of the corporate party.

      But, right now, almost any job can be offshore
      outsourced and if not that, then "insourced"
      by abuse of the US VISA system (H-1B, L-1, etc.)
      It is well documented the abuses yet there is
      still an attitude that "it happened to just
      those workers or those factory workers" etc.
      It isn't "my problem" because I am a MD or an attorney or a professor.  

      Well, the thing is it is happening to the entire
      US middle class and American needs to wake up and show some solidarity.  Where is the social sense in America anymore?  People used the programs to their advantage, implemented by FDR administration yet show little gratitude
      or social responsibility that brought those programs into being.  Now every single one of those programs is under attack by the Grover Norquist agenda.

      Factory workers, blue collar workers and white
      collar workers are one and the same, LABOR.

      by Robert Oak on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 03:40:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  IF (4.00)
        the Chamber of Commerce or the National Assocition of Business are for something you can bank on the worker losing his job, healthcare, pension or a reduction in wages.

        If the children ask you why so many died, tell them, because their fathers lied." Rudyard Kipling

        by TexDem on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 04:49:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sat Jun 25, 1:18 AM ET (none)
        NEW YORK (AFP) - US tech giant IBM plans to increase its payroll in India this year by 14,000 workers as it cuts up to 13,000 jobs in Europe and the United States, a labor group said.

        The moves in India were indicated in what was claimed to be an internal company document posted on the website of the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, of Washtech, which seeks to unionize high-tech workers.

        It indicated IBM's Indian workforce would rise to 38,196 in 2005 from 24,150 in 2004.

        "IBM India has seen double-digit growth in the last five years," Barbini told AFP. "In 2004, IBM India recorded revenue growth of 45 percent. We ended December 31 with roughly 23,000 employees in India making IBM India's sixth largest IT employer."

        Barbini offered no specifics on increases in Indian hiring, but noted that the company has announced it would hire 1,000 programmers for a new software center in Hyderabad.
  •  Well, I don't agree that we don't debate (4.00)
    the perils facing all workers living under this regime.

    Let us know how we can help.  
  •  Thank You (4.00)
    Many times, those of us who are reasonably well educated (formally or self-taught) and are at least getting by with white collar skills forget how hard life can be when your only meaningful education is a high school diploma and your marketable skills are those of the blue collar factory worker, vocational and "hands on" in emphasis rather than intellectual and detached.  We also forget that the vast majority of United States citizens do not get to sit at desks and think/control all day but are instead literally living by their brow-sweat and what their hands can produce, whether in the factories, slaugterhouses or farms.  For most Americans, the availability of vocational education and the open enrollment of community colleges was the "hand up" is what allowed them to enter the middle class at all.  I hope that all this is kept front and center during the discussions of both the current appropriations bill and the upcoming debate on CAFTA.

    It's nice to see that one of our elected representatives remembers, too.  IMO, those of us on the left are too often willing to passionately expend our energy on the Karl Rove's of the world and what they say in a never-ending game of political "one-upmanship".  Yet those same liberal/progressive voices either capitulate early or go curiously silent in "practical" fights, such as the ones you are describing.  So, keep fighting the good fight.  And thank you again, for your efforts.

    My separate place for mental meanderings: Political Sapphire

    by shanikka on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 01:44:58 PM PDT

  •  Be careful what you wish for! (4.00)
    Thank you for posting here, Rep. Miller.  I happen to care about the factory workers.  I also care about the Information Systems workers.

    This week a leaked memo from IBM has been published in the press.  IBM has recently laid off a lot of workers in the US and Europe, and hired a curiously similar number in India. This action involves around 14k people.  They claim that this is NOT about paying people less money for the same jobs, but it's about SKILLS.  If this situation weren't so sad, it would be hilarious.  Skilled I/S workers have been on the chopping block here for years now, and jobs are increasingly hard to find.

    Training people to use computers is going to be of no help at all to them when big business is allowed to offshore our jobs without penalty.  In fact, the exact opposite is true -  only jobs which require "hands" will be kept in the US.  

    I am a big proponent of training the American workforce for the jobs of the future, but at the same time I remember the presidential debates.
    When George Bush was asked specifically WHAT kinds of jobs are being created here that people should train for, his answer was, "No Child Left Behind".

    What utter nonsense.

    _As I was going up the stair, I met a man who wasn't there. He wasn't there again today. I wish, I wish, he'd go away._

    by Clues on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 01:46:08 PM PDT

    •  An interesting segue... (4.00)
      I work in Operations for an investment company in Boston and was invited to a seminar Morgan Stanley was putting on, about "alternative sourcing".  I RSVP'd to the event after reading the agenda they emailed me, thinking it would be about licensing third-party vendor systems for use in trade instruction, corporate actions, pricing, etc.  I, and several other people there, unknowingly ended up in a seminar focused on the best way to fire people (skilled white-collar professionals) and send their jobs overseas.

      It was a miserable 3 hours and I spent most of my time during the roundtable discussions giving reasons why companies should NOT to offshore jobs.  I was vocal enough that I don't think Morgan Stanley is ever going to hire me.

      Most ridiculous was that in this roundtable discussion, people also pushed the issue that overseas workers were more skilled.  But when a representative from Morgan Stanley and another from Fidelity talked about the training they provided their workers, they said the people who currently held those jobs in the US actually trained their Indian counterparts themselves, while those new hires were moved to the US to learn the job.  Then, when the new hires had learned the skills from the people they were to replace, they moved the operations back to India.  And there those MS and Fidelity reps were, excited about cutting jobs and saving their companies money - money that will never pass thru in savings to people whose investments are managed by those companies.  Instead, the savings will probably go to shareholders and executives.  These are multi-billion dollar companies and they're still trying to offshore jobs.

      Point of story: It's not just manufacturing jobs that are being lost to cheap-labor markets abroad.    

      This isn't about competing in a new era of technology anymore.  Global markets mean global exploitation no matter whether you're a blue-collar worker or a white-collar worker.  And let's not call people who work with their hands "working class" to the exclusion of people who aren't in the manufacturing industry.  I work 10 hours a day and study for licensing exams on top of that.  I'm plenty "working class" thanks very much.

      Even with universal health care, companies who've offshored their manufacturing jobs aren't going to bring them back here.  We need to keep what's left and retrain those already displaced to take on new jobs.  If Republicans want to talk about values, great!  Here's one of my values: stable employment.  I value that A LOT.

      Flag burnings occur on average 8 times a year. Is the time/$ cost of a constitutional amendment really worth anyone's tax dollars - even if they support it?

      by deep6 on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:42:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  TRUE! (4.00)
        The company I worked from 1995-2000 laid off almost the entire group of software developers I used to work with, and sent all the jobs to India. A handful remain to supervise (long distance) their Indian workers.

        Some "information economy" workers that I know had smug smiles on their faces in the 1990s... saying that it's all about "get an education!" (painting union workers as lazy and an "inefficiency in the system") but the rapid and rabid nature of global capitalism is wiping those smiles away.

        Working class means you work (as opposed to living off investment income). That's almost everyone in America... and we are all being threatened by the growing split between the owners and the workers.
      •  Got your back on that (4.00)
        I'm in Michigan, which has suffered enormous job losses since Bush took office, many of which are union jobs.

        But I'm also in IT -- and now into my 3rd year of less-than-full time employment.  I listened back in the late 70's and early 80's to the sage advice given to blue collar workers whose jobs were being lost to overseas markets; I got a degree in a field that was supposed to be boundless with opportunity.    And now?  There are no guarantees for degreed people, either.  There are many white-collar folks who are well-educated, bring many talents to the table, but who are also being  pink-slipped every day.

        But here's the rub.

        The local party is OWNED by the unions; all the old-timers say, "we've always done it this way", that we must kow-tow to unions and their money and are terrified of the changes required to revitalize this party (including things as simple as setting up a website or launching membership drives outside of election years).  We won on the backs of labor retirees who vote Democratic by default -- but the gains made by Republicans in this state made it too close for comfort.  This state should have been a blow-out for Dems; this party must change.

        This has to be a party about EVERY American, period.  Not a party about labor, not a party about the educated, not a party that belongs to anyone group.

        It has to be a party that supports the downtrodden and protects those most at risk, seeks to raise the tide for all boats.  We have to check the employment badge at the door because any and all of us could be in the other's shoes at any given time.

        Blue collar, white collar, no collar, doesn't matter. We all bleed red.
        •  But take a look at what you wrote. (none)
          "We won on the backs of labor retirees who vote Democratic by default"

          "I'm in Michigan, which has suffered enormous job losses since Bush took office, many of which are union jobs."

          "There are many white-collar folks who are well-educated, bring many talents to the table, but who are also being  pink-slipped every day."

          It sounds like you should be argueing for more unions. I'm not saying that we shouldn't be vigilant in making sure unions aren't corrupt (every Democratic organization needs eternal vigilance). Just that if you get people into unions (and that includes white collar jobs and wal-mart jobs), then they WILL blow out the republicans. And they will turn into those labor retirees that vote Democratic by default. There's a reason they vote for Democrats by default.
          •  Not the same world (none)
            We don't live in a manufacturing-based economy any longer.  We live in a knowledge-based economy.

            And unlike manufacturing sites, knowledge is portable.  It moves.  It doesn't have barriers like logistics over distance.

            Unionizing knowledge workers will only be effective if every single knowledge worker around the world signs on.  

            Not going to happen any time soon.

            Manufacturing unions do have another option: they become owners of the firms that employ them, make management decisions for themselves.  No more of this lip-service "valued partner" happy talk between corporations separate from union workers.

            Manufacturing unions could also change their worldview and self-image; they can look at themselves as guilds, entities that provide intensive training, entities that provide the highest quality, most productive workers.  If union workers can produce more reliable, higher quality product at costs lower than overseas providers (including the cost of energy to transport), fewer jobs will be lost.  But it will take a lot of education and training and a willingness to see technology as a tool to this end, not as a threat.  It's going to take a sea-change among unions that are fighting amongst themselves and losing solidarity; it's going to take support of the community and political will to support this effort, including investing in innovation here in the U.S. and not abroad.

            In my case, I can and am changing my worldview and self-image.  I have small contracts from time to time doing consulting work for companies three time zones away, not here in Michigan, since my knowledge is portable.

            My passport is current.  I already speak a little French, Spanish, can be polite in half a dozen other languages.  

            And I'm learning Chinese - Mandarin and Cantonese first.

            •  postscript (none)
              The retirees who vote Dem by default lived in a time when manufacturing was king.  I've talked with these folks; they still think that unions are massive, possessing all the money and political power in this state.

              In Michigan, the 2004 elections saw 4.8 million voters at the polls.  The state did better for Kerry than Gore, but won for Kerry over Bush by a narrow margin.

              There were 4.3 union members in this state at the time of the election.

              What does that tell you?

              •  union membership (none)
                I think your numbers are a little high.

                There are only 966,000 union members in Michigan right now.

                Are you talking about current and past members?

                Whoops I saw where you got your numbers. You were looking at total number of people employed in Michigan, not the total number of union members.

                Which makes sense because if there were 4.3 million union members in Michigan then there would be 20 million workers in Michigan!

            •  I don't understand (none)
              Why knowledge moving doesn't mean that workers can't organize. That knowledge is still the product of a worker isn't it?

              Are you saying that it's easier to pick up and move a company because you're only investment is in the workers knowledge and not in fixed capital costs like buildings and machines?

              Well, that's still not so different from manufactoring companies picking up and moving to where they can find the lowest wages.

              If you're saying that it's harder to organize these workers because they can be placed anywhere over the globe I still don't quite buy it. I'm a "knowledge-based" employee, but I still work in a place. As do most all tech and knowledge workers. The airlines wouldn't be doing nearly so bad if everyone was a knowledge based worker traipsing all over the globe espousing knowledge in our fluid globalized neo-liberal world.

              Nor would morning commutes be so horrible if so many knowledge based workers were distributed so sparsley over the country or out of their homes.

              Railroad workers were pretty far flung across the country back in the late 1800s and they still managed to organize.

  •  As the child of a "mill hand" (4.00)
    I commend your efforts to protect the working class in America.
    I agree, we all realize that the American economy can not continue to support this "unskilled" (I'd like to see management at these mills run a loom) labor, but it is essential that as we move away from this type of labor in this country, we both protect the rights of workers over seas who will be filling these jobs, and make sure that training is available to the workers left here in the U.S., so that they may find other employment and not just remain on the unemployment rolls indefinatly (or untill benefits, sorry as they are, run out)
    •  As a child of a tech worker (4.00)
      I can tell you that North Carolina needs education but let's not kid ourselves. We've lost more than "hand" work.  North Carolina has and is still losing tech jobs.  The newly computer literate can not compete with those with years of experience for entry level and mid-level positions. There are too few jobs out there.

      I'm torn as to what kind of training will help as we continue to bleed jobs through outsourcing. The only outsource proof jobs are those tied to serving a local population, health care and services.

      Multiple generations of North Carolinians worked their entire lives building the furniture and textile industries. They are now facing growing competition for lower wage work from insourced labor.  These people deserve not only help with job training and education, they deserve a career that will not be yanked out from underneath them with the next round of tax breaks to oursourcers.  They also deserve a level playing field, competing for living wages, not suppressed wages.
      •  Then I'm pretty sure we agree (none)
        I never suggested retraining should consist of tech jobs. I think jobs like nursing, and the medical technology field are better place to start. I also think the individual worker should have ultimate controll over what training they hope to persue, and the government should be there to make sure they have the means to persue it.
        I also never intended to insinuate that this should be exclusive to those loosing their jobs in the factory industry, this type of worker retraining should be available to all people who's jobs are being outsourced.
        As far as lower wages for insourced work is concerned, I believe a more fair minimum wage and strictor enforcement of it along with enforcement of the laws regarding legal workers is essential.

        Prisoner of hope.

        by comeon on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 04:02:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What to do for NC workers (none)
        It's true that just about every job can be outsourced, including high paying tech jobs. But these jobs will only be outsourced as long as wages are inordinately cheaper in these countries. So how do we fix this? By encouraging strong labor movements all over the world. If we encourage unions (which this administration is most certainly not doing), in developing countries (they are illegal in China btw, except for the castrated state union), then wages will rise in these countries and it will not be quite so attractive to relocate there.

        The goal should be that the only things determining where a company locates are geographic factors and the quality of work produced.  
  •  Thank Congressman Miller (4.00)
    Agree with your points whole heartedly.  You should know that there are a number of labor organizers who frequent these pages.  One is called Juno.  Has been working on a project with Iraqi labor leaders.  The one thing that I actually don't believe is the notion that we CAN afford give up manufactiring in this country.  In fact, every manufacturing job produces a tax benefit to this country.  When you lose that tax benefit and add to that the benefits we must pay out to re-train so many people that is costly.  In addition, no everyone is capable of being a computer scientist and I think it is almost Utopian to think that they would be.  Making things here counts for something - for one thing it reduces shipping costs and somehow my gut tells me that this retail economy could get us into really deep trouble without balance from other sectors.  So I think it is two pronged I guess...

    Thanks for fighting for the people.  Not all people can dodge the draft and become president.  Most people have to live real hard-earned lives.
    •  I agree with you whole heartedly (4.00)
      which may seem a contradiction to my comment directly above,
      I agree that keeping skilled labor jobs in the U.S. benefits the U.S. economy, but only if we stop giving tax breaks to buisnesses that move these jobs overseas, and insentives for the importation of goods that could be made locally.

      Anyone remember when Wal-Mart used to brag "Look for the made in the U.S.A. label"? When was the last time you looked for the made in the U.S.A. label, how long did it take you to find it, if you were looking at Wal-Mart you must be reading this on your blackberry because you'll still be looking this time next year.

      Prisoner of hope.

      by comeon on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:04:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Welcome to Kos, Representative Miller! (4.00)
    We Democrats have to stand for everyone.  Factory workers, computer workers, home workers, taxi drivers.  We have to be the party of the workers.  Howard Dean recently got in a lot of trouble for saying that some Republicans have never worked, and that is true for some of the Republicans I know... but not the Democrats.

    We have to be the party which says "I care about your job", just as we have to be the party which says "I care about your health care" and "I care about your child care" and "I care about your civil rights" and "I care about our environment, our economy, our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines".

    I think these are winning propositions, and I think they're easy ones for us to assume, because we really do care about these things.

    So.  What will your stand on CAFTA be?

    What's so patriotic about waving an American flag that was made in China?

    by ultrageek on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 01:51:29 PM PDT

  •  Hey, Brad! (4.00)
    Gaines Townsend here, from your Y.D.N.C.days.

    I agree, we must do everything we can to make sure this potential over-the-cliff issue for workers is addressed. Having worked in community development for many years now, I've seen first-hand the need for caring about--and funding--programs like this.

    Instead, we've got an administration that doesn't give a damn about them--emphasizing No Child Left Behind's "Teach for the Test" strategy and its myriad of un-funded Federal mandates, while not funding the things it promised to deliver. We've got a Repub-dominated FCC that seems more  interested in promoting the Religious RIght's agenda than giving rural and working families access to broad-band internet service. And no, they don't care about funding community colleges because they want to keep workers un-educated and behind--even at the cost of jobs and health care to keep those workers working at jobs which benefit(ted) THEM, the plant and mill owners.

    They never figured out the equation of better education+better job opportunities=better business climate, or Elizabeth Dole wouldn't have voted for "free-trade" legislation putting people in her own home town at risk of unemployment. But we understand it, Brad.

    You, me, and most of us here at DKos understand it very well; we just need to talk about it more. And the more we talk about it--here, in LTTEs, and in public forums, the less those very people affected by those job losses are going to believe that Dub & Co. are great, and that America is stronger because of them. All of us here know that Dub lied and people died because of it in Iraq, but it's also important to mention that Dub lied, and continues to lie, about delivering on the promise of providing better jobs through greater educational opportunity, and better health care to rural areas through increased Federal funding of those programs--something he DID promise us in 2000, BTW.

    Thanks for keeping it where it needs to be, Brad--on the front burner of our national discussion about where this country, and the Democratic Party, needs to go--MUST go--in the next several years. We push it to the side at our own peril; may none of us ever catch ourselves doing that!

    "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it."--Miguel De Santa Anna

    by GainesT1958 on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 01:55:02 PM PDT

  •  I don't understand... (4.00)
    Honest question, I'm not trying to be a smartass here, but are you inferring that the democratic party has abandoned the manufacturing sectors of the country? if so can you please explain how?

    Just my own observations:

    1) The shortchanging of federal social programs is greatly tied to president bush's tax cuts.  Until the federal government can get more revenue, they will not increase spending in anything but military operations and faith based initiatives.  What are you going to do to get more money to pay for more programs?

    2)Considering what a bad idea NAFTA has been shown to be for the manufacturing sectors of the country, who exactly is trumpeting CAFTA as a good idea?  Is it the dems or the republicans?

    3) you ask what the democrats are doing to fight for the manufacturers of this country, I have to ask that with no majority status in any branch of the federal government, what CAN the democrats do to actually improve the condition of manufacturers?  I can think of several things right off the top of my head (closing tax loophole for corporations that ship jobs overseas, give tax cuts to companies that keep jobs in the U.S., etc.) but Dems have slim to no chance of getting something like that passed when both houses are controlled of the GOP and the GOP (and a few dems regrettably) put corporate interests before human interests.

    I agree manufacturing is VERY important in this country.  We have got to stop shipping so much of our wealth to other countries in the form of cheap imports and start making goods we can actually export to other countries, but until we can change the mindset from "cheap stuff = good (regardless of where it's made)" to  "Made in USA better even if it costs a little more" nothing's going to happen.  

    What alternatives do you propose for the democrats in congress?  and have you brought those alternatives up with them?

    Sorry, I have nothing else to add to this conversation.

    by DawnG on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 01:58:14 PM PDT

    •  You answer your own question (none)
      With your second point.  Clinton, A Daley brother, 102 Dems in the House and 27 in the Senate got NAFTA passed.

      Folks like Rep. Miller (and maybe even him) who asked what would happen to the factory/manufacturing workers who lost jobs were dismissively and patronizingly told it was simple: retrain or get educated.

      I would know.  I was one of those elitist, arrogant Dems who worked to pass NAFTA and said these obnoxious things.  I have completely full circle on this.

      Thanks for posting here Rep. Miller, from a UNCG Spartan and former Mel Watt staffer...  
  •  YESs, factory workers, and construction workers, (4.00)
    and janitors, and people in many other jobs that used to earn a decent wage, which has been undercut in large part by the wave of illegal immigration.  Sure, those of us who work in high-paying professions benefit from cheap labor, but it hurts those who try to make a living and raise a family. This is an issue that Congress must address under the larger issue of border security.  Sure we need immigrants, we're a nation of immigrants, but a good bit of America is drowing in immigrants these days.
  •  Former Greensboro resident... (4.00)
    I've got family in your district (and they're glad to be out of Howard Coble's district now!)  I'll be sure to let them know that you've gotten involved over here.  

    Thanks for fighting the good fight.  

    He's Mister Truth Twister; He's Mister Hate. He's Mister Coke Sniffer; He's Mister Torture-Is-Great. They call me Shit Miser, whatever I touch...

    by osterizer on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:02:44 PM PDT

  •  I never worked in a factory (4.00)
    but at one point I did day labor, often unloading trucks.  I've also tended bar, waited tables, been a bouncer, worked in a McDonald's...

    I've also sold door to door (books and cookware), and sold cars in a showroom...

    I've programmed computers, desigend programs as a systems analyst, consulted, managed people, trained people, done phone sales, run a bookstore..

    and now I am a teacher

    ALL WORK deserves respect.  All workers should be treated withy dignity, have basic rights.

    As a member of the NEA (and a former building rep) I am understand the role unions can play (although at times we linke to pretentd that we are a profssional organization and not a union)

    Forgive me Congressman, but I agee with those who think you posit na false dichotomy.  There are many of us who are teachers on this baoad, and most of us are union members.   We may have"white collar" jobs, but those of us in public schools are treated by many politicians -- including many of your compatriots in the House  --  with less respect thatn then average factory worker receives.  

    I do not begrudge better wages and working conditions for factory workers.  Nor do I for those who pick my fruits and vegetables.  I am very much for a rebuilding of the sense of commonality in our polity.  I no more seek divides of white versus blue versus pink collars than I do of Catholic versus Evengalical versus jew= versus agnostic versus Muslim or of white versus black versus mixed or of straight versus gay or married versus single or parents versus childless couples.

    We are all in this mess together.  All Americans suffer when our country is now held in less regard around the world than is the People's Republic of China. And all humans suffer when corporations are allowed to pollute air and water, whentaxing land at only its highest possible value leads to the destruction of the very trees that clean the air for us.  

    Our concern has to be for far more than economic values and determinations.

    Welcome to dailykos.  Recognize that here we do not all agree.  Thus to paint us with a broad brush is mistaken from the first step.  We are used to vigorous debate and disputation.  If you desire that, then we will certainly welcome your participation.  

    But remember:
    We can reach out to those who may seem different than us without having to bash others in the process.  We can find things on which we can work together without having to first denigrate someone else.

    And if we -- as Democrats, many of whom are still proud to described ourselves as liberals -- hope to again be entrusted with the leadership of this nation and its constituent parts, then we had best learn how to urge action without always having to first criticize someone who may in fact be supportive of our goals.

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

    by teacherken on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:02:46 PM PDT

    •  I think part of the point (4.00)
      is that while many white collar workers like  yourself are suffering under this administration, programs like CAFTA won't be shipping your job to bangladesh. Talk about bussing.

      Prisoner of hope.

      by comeon on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:10:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  don't be so sure (4.00)
        1. tutoring, which is one of the things for which Federal dollars will go under NCLB, is already being outsourced to the Indian subcontinent
        2. you are seeing an icnreasing number of "internet schools" -- some of which are serving for "homeschoolers"
        3. a loarge part of my job could in theory be done over the internet.  I seriously discussed an opportunity with the people at the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins where I would right now be teaching AP Government over the internet.  In this case it would have been to kids identified as very gifted in communities either too isolated or too small to provide such a course.   But in theory, if this can be done for them, think in how many cases such instruction, perhaps combined with video conferencing, could be done in this way.  It saves the costs of "plant" (the school buildings), and based on what they offered to pay me, the instructional costs would alsol ahve been significantly lower than what it takes to pay my slalary and benefits for an equivalent number of students in my own classroom.

        Please also note my background  -- I spent enough time (20+ years) in data processing to be very aware of the big lie that was offered to people about getting trained as programmers.  I saw that 15-20 years ago, when companies were bringing Indian programmers into this country, putting them in groups houses, and paying them 1/3 to 1/2 less than their local American counterparts.  Now the internet has enough bandwith that it is no longer necessary to bring them here -- you can send the work there.

        That's a very old thing.  When I worked in a small (2 person) consulting firm in NY, we were in a common office space, and the guy next to me ran a key-punching service -- this would be circa 1969.  He would get the documents in time to ship them down to Haiti on a flight leaving at around 5 PM.   He would have the completed cards for delivery to his customers in the metro area by  10 PM the next day, meaning from a business standpoint it was a two-day turn-around.  I do not remember what the minimum wage was in NY City then, although I remember that colelge graduates tended to start in management training programs at somewhere around 140/week.  He was paying his keypunchers someplace around .25/hour  -- with no benefits.   Even with his overhead and profit (which was substantial), he could deliver finished punch cards at about 1/3 the cost of companies doing work in-house, with at least as great an accuracy rate.  

        Outsourcing and its equivalents are vey much "old news" to me --  and quite frankly, at this point free trade agreements have little to do with it.  So long as the primary motivation is maximizing profits, and so long as current management does not have the wisdom Henry Ford displayed in deciding he would pay his workers enough that they could buy the products they made, the process will continue m(and except for this oen thing I cannot stand Henry Ford, but then I'm Jewish by background and his antisemitism was appalling).  

        OKAY, this comment is long enough.

        Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

        by teacherken on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:35:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps you missed my other comment (4.00)
          but as far as outsourcing being old news, I'm the child of a textile worker and believe me, it's old news to me too, unfortunatly it's old news and now news and never goes away news.

          As far as the point on outsourcing education, I doubt too many people would put up with the foreign accents as primary educators for children, then again, who knows. I think that's pretty far down the road, but if we keep walking, we may just get there eventually. You may just have a point.

          Prisoner of hope.

          by comeon on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:45:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Dear Rep. Miller (3.87)
      As grateful as I am to have a Democratic Congressman stop by, I'm going to risk disrespecting you -- and probably risk the anger of some here at dKos -- by saying:

      What a TERRIBLE way to introduce yourself.  Did you hope to get help in your fight for economic justice, or do you want to lecture us on what snobs we are?

      I agree with teacherken, above, when he says this (quite politely, considering):

      Recognize that here we do not all agree.  Thus to paint us with a broad brush is mistaken from the first step.  We are used to vigorous debate and disputation.  If you desire that, then we will certainly welcome your participation.  

      But remember: We can reach out to those who may seem different than us without having to bash others in the process.  We can find things on which we can work together without having to first denigrate someone else.

      I'm not sure what possessed you to come into this community and start telling US our priorities are screwed up, or that we're elitist -- which is what you seem to be saying.  But it's an odd way to enlist our help.

      I did work in a factory when I was younger, and I am pro-union all the way. I'm a MEMBER of a union.  I vote Democratic straight down the line, and give as much money as I can (and I don't have much) to Democratic candidates and the Democratic party, so that you can fight for economic justice.  And I join every battle I can to get Democrats elected to Congress

      So I don't appreciate the implication that I somehow don't care about factory workers.  Why would you come in here and claim that, when you don't seem to know me or anyone else or this site, or our individual backgrounds?

      Do you want our help, or do you want to lecture us?  Please choose.  I'm ready to fight with you, but I don't understand your shitty approach to potential allies.

      Also, it needs to be said: damn it, the people in your state have to START ELECTING DEMOCRATS if they want the kind of economic justice that you describe.  

      What are you and your colleagues doing to make that happen?  I know what we're doing here, and it's quite a lot.
      •  What is he doing to make that happen? (4.00)
        Also, it needs to be said: damn it, the people in your state have to START ELECTING DEMOCRATS if they want the kind of economic justice that you describe.

        Does getting elected count?  

        Prisoner of hope.

        by comeon on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:58:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Does getting elected count?" (3.00)
          It's a start.  But don't come in here and tell me I don't want to share the party with factory workers, when his own state is consistently a GOP stronghold.  

          I'm happy to work with him.  In fact, I HAVE been working with him.  

          But I'm not that impressed by a Congressman posting here that I'll eat up a big helping of generic shame.  Screw that.
          •  You may want to (4.00)
            click on his username and read his diaries. He has been around on dkos for a long time and has actively participated in discussions.
            •  I stand corrected (4.00)
              My mistake about this being his introduction.  I apologize.

              Though I must say, saying he's been here "a long time" is a stretch.  Unless I'm missing something from clicking his name, it seems he's been around since the beginning of LAST MONTH. He has two diares and four comments.  So you can understand that a person might miss him, especially when he introduces himself in the beginning of his statement.

              But yeah, I was wrong about that.

              NOT wrong about the substance of what I said, though.  I don't agree with the assumption that dKos is populated by people who don't want to "share the Democratic party" with factory workers.  That's silly, and insulting.

              I participate in local politics here in Minnesota, and we're desperately trying to keep the rightwingers from screwing further with worker's rights and wages.  So solidarity, yes.  Condescension, no.

              Thanks for the correction.
              •  No offense (none)
                But doesn't Minnesota have a republican governor, Norm Coleman, and a republican house? North Carolina has a Democratic trifecta and 6 dems and 7 repubs in the House.

                What's the top income tax braket in Minnesota? It's 8.25% at $200,000 in NC. I'm not trying to say that Minnesota ain't progressive. Lord knows it is. It's a great Democratic state. I'm just saying that although NC voted for Bush, it's not quite that black and white, cut and dry.

                It's much too easy to write off the entire south as "RED STATES".

                Also I'm sorry you took umbrage at Rep. Miller's comments about Dkos. I love Dkos. I read it way too much every single day. I am part of this community. But I still think Rep. Miller has a point. And it's not because the people he's talking about aren't progressive or don't care or whatever. I think a lot of it is just that people talk about what they know and what they feel directly affects them. It's just a natural tendency. And a lot of people on this site are generally not going to half to worry about attending community college at night because their textile factory closed down last week.

                So it's just his point of view. A gentle reminder to widen the gaze for some folks who may not normally take a look at labor issues.

                Once again I'm sorry you took offense at the remark. I consider myself a stalwart kossack and I think it's great that he brought it up. One more voice in the community.

                Now let's go out and whip some republican ass.  
                •  thanks for replying (none)
                  I'm very aware of the insidious rise of the Republicans in Minnesota over the last decade or so.  And wingnut Repubs, too -- not the old-fashioned moderate kind that used to be in MN. politics.  

                  So  that's why I've been fighting them here, tooth and nail.  And in the last election, we was pretty effective.  The statehouse -- which was hostage to the post-911 swing towards Republicans -- evened out, and we're on our way back to a Democratic majority.

                  I'm just saying that although NC voted for Bush, it's not quite that black and white, cut and dry.

                  I don't claim it is.  But I AM saying that we all have to fight our fights where we live, and I'm doing my bit here.  And I don't presume to tell North Carolinian Democrats -- Congressmen or otherwise -- that they must "share the Democratic party".  

                  Hell, I'd be DELIGHTED for more of Rep. Miller's constituents and fellow North Carolinians to share the party with us -- nothing would make me happier!  But it's not me that's stopping them.  And I think he knows that.  I hope so, anyway.

                  It's much too easy to write off the entire south as "RED STATES".

                  You're absolutely right.   Which is why I don't do that.  

                  It's also much too easy to write off people who post on a political website as elitists who know nothing of working people.  That's poor coalition building.  I'm from a blue collar background, and I worked in a factory for a while.  And I'm sure there are many, many other people here who weren't exactly born with a silver spoon in their mouths.  So I guess I just didn't get where the premise of this diary comes from.  


                  I've blown off enough steam about this, and I don't want to overstate the case.  We ARE all in this together, and I certainly want to protect workers and get some economic justice in this country.  And yes, to kick some Republican ass.  With you, and Rep. Miller.  

                  I sincerely appreciate your reply.
          •  Do you know anything about your state? (none)
            Anything at all? North Carolina is going blue. The metropolitan areas are already blue.

            His post by the way claimed nothing like you said. It was a call on Democrats to help working people. Working people btw in the common mind means non-degree work. Factory workers, construction workers.. you know.. the majority of americans.

            Yours and teacherkens posts seem pretty much like "SCREW the working class! I got mine! Now whats important is xxxxxx issue!!".

            Well if thats what you mean screw you guys. People with exactly that outlook: the Nafta supporters, the GATT and WTO cheerleaders, the DLCers got us where we are. They lost us both houses of congresss, the supreme court and the presidency. I'm worried about the working class. About the farmer, the mill worker, the carpenter. And if those people along with the poor  arent going to be the Democratic parties main concern you can sit back and watch as the party finishes disappearing.

            When  we were the party of the working class we were the party in power. We've become the party of corporatist quislings and social extremists and we dont even have a voice. We'll take the party back now. We let them destroy it for far too long.

            Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

            by cdreid on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 07:40:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If you think that THIS is what I mean... (none)
              Yours and teacherkens posts seem pretty much like "SCREW the working class! I got mine! Now whats important is xxxxxx issue!!".

              Then you either didn't read what I said, or you're playing games.  Because you're WAY off.
              •  You were backing up teacherken (none)
                in attacking the Democratic Congressman.

                Also, it needs to be said: damn it, the people in your state have to START ELECTING DEMOCRATS if they want the kind of economic justice that you describe

                Note the Democratic Congressman part. The part where he's a Congressman from the Democratic party devoting his life to serving Democrats and the american people.

                As teacherken said
                We are all in this mess together.  All Americans suffer when our country is now held in less regard around the world than is the People's Republic of China. And all humans suffer when corporations are allowed to pollute air and water, whentaxing land at only its highest possible value leads to the destruction of the very trees that clean the air for us.  

                Our concern has to be for far more than economic values and determinations.

                Translation "Hey im doing fine now and they'll just have to take a backseat again while we deal with issue x,y,z,a,b,c that my class is concerned with".

                I'm glad you and teacherken are doing good. I'm glad you're democrats. I dont appreciate your attacks on one of the FEW democratic politicians who dared bring up the class warfare going on in america.

                Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

                by cdreid on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 07:57:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  ridiculous (3.00)
                  "Attacking"?  Grow up.  He's an adult, and he can take some constructive criticism, just as well as dish it out.  I'm sure he's not stewing about it, if he even read it.  You're the one getting your shorts in a knot over it.

                  Translation "Hey im doing fine now and they'll just have to take a backseat again while we deal with issue x,y,z,a,b,c that my class is concerned with".

                  This translation is idiotic and hysterical.  "My class"?  You know NOTHING about my background, or what I've done in politics and social work. But you come out of the gate with self-righteous bullshit like that?  

                  As you so charmingly said above: screw you.  
                  •  Seems to me you're the one (none)
                    who cant take constructive criticism. Stop attacking people who are among the few voices who speak for the only reason i remain a democrat and you wont recieve criticism. Attack people who want to fight for the working class and it can get much, much, much worse.

                    You have a great day now.

                    Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

                    by cdreid on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 08:22:44 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  awww.... (none)
                      There you go, fretting about the "attacking" again.  

                      Attacking?  No, speaking my mind.  And I don't need lectures from sanctimonious twits like you as to what I can and can't say to a poster here, Congressman or not.  If you or he can't take the heat, don't post in public forums.  

                      I said I believe in this Congressman's politics, but I told him frankly that his coaltion-building skills were lousy in terms of his netroots approach.  And that's where YOU came in, accusing myself and teacherken of being some kind of DLC sellouts who don't care about working people.

                      Asshole, I AM a working person.  That's why the Congressman's approach was wrongheaded.  I don't protest because I'm a wealthy latte-drinker, but because he seems to arrogantly assume I need a lecture about working people.  And so do you.

                      You think that anyone who doesn't kiss this Congressman's ass for posting here is some kind of anti-working class rich yuppie.  That's bullshit.  Nothing could be further from the truth, in my case.  I'm a grassroots Dem, union member, and labor organizer.

                      Since you presume to lecture me, what are YOUR credentials?
                      •  Is this a problem? (none)
                        There you go, fretting about the "attacking" again.  

                        Attacking?  No, speaking my mind.  And I don't need lectures from sanctimonious twits like you as to what I can and can't say to a poster here, Congressman or not.  If you or he can't take the heat, don't post in public forums.  

                        I said I believe in this Congressman's politics, but I told him frankly that his coaltion-building skills were lousy in terms of his netroots approach.  And that's where YOU came in, accusing myself and teacherken of being some kind of DLC sellouts who don't care about working people.

                        Asshole, I AM a working person.  That's why the Congressman's approach was wrongheaded.  I don't protest because I'm a wealthy latte-drinker, but because he seems to arrogantly assume I need a lecture about working people.  And so do you.

                        You think that anyone who doesn't kiss this Congressman's ass for posting here is some kind of anti-working class rich yuppie.  That's bullshit.  Nothing could be further from the truth, in my case.  I'm a grassroots Dem, union member, and labor organizer.

                        Sorry, ignore this, I wanted to post an example of how the text on this website gets ridiculous with any exteded conversations... I'm showing a friend and this was the first long discussion we found.

                        " admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!"

                        King Lear

                        by Norwell on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 12:06:16 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Hmm (none)
                        You attack the congressman for daring to come out hard for Working Class families. Then you result to namecalling and personal attacks. I forgot i was one of "those people" who are supposed to shut up and do what we're told by our "betters" IE you. I'll try to keep that in mind next time.

                        Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

                        by cdreid on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 11:24:01 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

            •  I fail to see how you can say of my comment (none)
              that my attitude is "screw the working class"

              I have done working class jobs, as I make clear

              and some of the problems they confront are problems I ahve either confronted directly in my own work career, ro saw coming down the road

              My objection to his post was that it posited that all / most kossacks thought the same way, and that it represented a divide from the interests of factory workers and the like.  I think that is a very unfair assessment, and I said so.

              Apparently, based on his response to me, Congressman Miller did not misread my comment the same way you did.

              Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

              by teacherken on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 06:17:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Hey ManfromMiddeltown (none)
            Stop lurking and join in the discussion.  If you're downrating me, I assume you have an opinion?
          •  Heal Thyself (none)
            MN is rapidly turning red.  You guys haven't elected a Democrat as your governor since 1982, the MN State house is GOP, the presidential margins keep narrowing and you're probably going to elect Mark Kennedy as your next US Senator.

            NC has a Dem gov and 6 of the 9 other statewide offices are held by Dems.

            The state house and senate are controlled by Dems.

            If we could get the party to spend a little money in NC we could take 2 more US House seats joining the 6 other Dem reps NC sends to washington, including 2 of the most liberal, pro-worker Reps in Congress: Mel Watt and G. K. Butterfield.

            And the presidential margins are narrowed in our favor in '04.  That's with no significant party money being spent in NC.  How much did we dump in MN?

            All things said, you guys ain't that different  
    •  Actually, I've read this site enought to know... (4.00)
      that there are a variety of views here. Most are very thoughtful. And okay, I do find a few nutty. But that's why I posted here, to be part of that debate. And to provoke the debate that I appear to have provoked.
  •  Factory workers? (4.00)
    Are there any of those left in North America?  We've exported most of our manufacuring to the lowest bidder and given tax breaks to the corporations that eliminate American jobs in favor of Chinese, Mexican, Indian, and Southeast Asian jobs.

    And I, I, I, I - turn up the radio. Lies, lies and propaganda. I - gonna tell you what I need. Life, life without surrender

    by nightsweat on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:04:10 PM PDT

  •  Absolutely (4.00)
    Thanks for continuing to remind us.
  •  Solidarity Forever (4.00)
    We are with you Congressman.

    I am a lawyer, but I also am the daughter of a farmer and paper mill worker who grew up on a dairy farm in rural Wisconsin.  You can do hard work at a factory, on a farm, or at a desk (even as a Congressman).  

    I have worked in a canning factory, rented cars, cleaned toilets, milked cows, and reviewed pension plans.  The important thing is that you don't haul the ladder up once you have climbed to safety--that's what makes you a Democrat.

    America needs to have a strong industrial and agricultural base for its continued security.
  •  Don't be mislead by (4.00)
    the high-falutin' fancy talk that takes place around here, or the fact that our internal census-type polls show the Kossack community to be (on average) more highly paid and more highly educated than the the average American.

    Speaking for myself I can say that I know I am extremely fortunate to have a good job with a progressive employer and I remember every day that I have arrived here on the backs of women and men who fought and still fight for the rights and standard of living I take for granted.

    Those of us who enjoy this good fortune have a duty and a responsibility to ensure that similar opportunities continue to present themselves to more and more Americans, and that those Americans for whom opportunity does not knock in their lifetimes, or who are unable to take advantage of opportunity when it comes (through illness, disability, the need to be at home giving care to others, etc.), are properly supported to a standard that this great country can be proud of.

    The factory workers are certainly not forgotten here.  In fact I believe they may largely be the reason "here" exists.
  •  Greetings, Sir (4.00)
    Please, forgive me if I ramble, digress or just wander off. You should take notice I and Americans like me do not have a voice anymore.

    Your fine offer to participate in your endeavors is greatly appreciated.

    Sir, I'm 65 years old, been a democrat since 1958, served in the US Navy, joined the Carpenter's Union some 40 odd years ago, married, had two beautiful children and now have a pick up truck full of grand kids.

    I'm distressed to once again read the bad news about your fine State of North Carolinian. I freely agree that it's a disgraceful shame.

    I live in the GREAT STATE of OHIO. As you are no doubt aware we have a lot of problems here also.

    We've lost a lot of good jobs and now along with all the rest of the neglect we have coingate. A very sleazy thing.

    Now then, I read your posting two-three times. I would normally make comment re such matters and include negative info re the NCLB law.

    But today if you don't mind, I'd like to reply with other concerns.

    For example, you might check out the national debt at

    Take notice of the $3,227,431,017,194.39 which is listed under Intragovernmental Holdings.

    That's the amount owed to us, you, me, all the other sheeple living in America.

    What our leader calls worthless IOUs.

    In case you have a problem with that dollar amount, allow me to help .....

    Three trillion two hundred twenty seven billion four hundred thirty one million seventeen
    thousand one hundred ninety four dollars and thirty nine cents. That's American dollars.

    That's the paltry sum our wonderful (he has a nice smile and great hair) politicians have stolen
    from us. It represents the 150 trust accounts surpluses Congress has spent.

    Guess who gets to pay that debt back?

    Oh, before I forget, the $4,558,482,780,344.91 number that shows up under Current Debt Held
    by the Public listing, that's the sum our Congress has borrowed from China, Japan, banking industry, etc.

    Guess who gets to pay that debt back?

    Total on 06/22/2005 is $7,785,913,797,539.30

    Now what were you worrying about? Oh, yeah, the heart of the Democratic Party.

    In all fairness, it's also the heart of the Republican Party.

    You see, Sir, I think both political partys are currently doing their absolute best to seriously harm Mother America.

    My Mom and Dad were factory workers their whole lives, our neighbors worked in the factories. I refer to the years 1930 - 1980. They worked hard for very little without complaint or voice.

    Well, I wouldn't worry about it too much. From the corruption, the constant conflict of interest, the kick backs, the abuse of power, etc. I don't see where any American will have to worry too much longer.

    Hey, Rep Brad Miller, thank you for your time. I truly appreciate the opportunity to have a voice.
  •  Agree 100% (4.00)
    Dkos is awesome, but it is not the be all end all of the party.

    The Democratic party needs to be first and foremost about people.

    Policy debates are great, reality based analysys is great, but those things can sometimes get in the way of remembering that we are fighting for real humans with real problems.
  •  Why no media on this? (none)
    Rep. Miller,

    First of all, I am very glad to see you participating here.

    Second, I wonder if you could address the issue of getting messages (especially ones like this that might threaten the pro-corporate nature) out in today's corporate media.  How does a politician such as yourself get on a national "news" show?  Can you call up CNN or MSNBC or ABC and say "I'd like to come on and discuss the issue of retraining with regard to outsourcing" or do they have to decide to raise this issue on their own (fat chance, I know) and then call you for your viewpoint?

    I think that you will find that the vast majority of those here understand the pressing need for education and retraining in the face of the globalization policies of this administration (and in truth, the reality of today's world).  But we are often frustrated by the lack of press this issue gets.  I am firmly convinced that the corporate media would not like to discuss this issue, but I honestly don't know what keeps our elected officials from having a debate on this in the media.  Could you shine some light on this subject, and help me understand how it works?

    •  If I knew I would gladly tell. (4.00)
      One constant complaint on this site is the inattention of the mainstream media to important issues. I share the frustration, believe me.

      On the other hand, I would probably not be hovering over my computer on a Friday night if I could command the attention of all the major networks to the issues that I thought were important.
      •  so-called liberal media (4.00)
        pretty amazing the way the media consistently ignores workers' issues, isn't it?

        that fact alone i've found to be one of the best ways to shoot down the "liberal media" myth in conversations, BTW.  think about it:  every major newspaper has a business section.  and even a freshman economics student can tell you that there are two halves to business: capital and labor.  but how often does the reporting in the business section come from labor's point of view?  or even mention labor at all?  this is true even of the "liberal" new york times.

        some day i'd love to start a newspaper with a real liberal bias, and have the business section be all about the workers and their frustrations with management.

        l'homme est né libre, et partout il est dans les fers

        by zeke L on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 06:01:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks (none)
        Thanks for taking the time to reply.
  •  Thank you for coming by here Mr. Congressman, (4.00)
    and for standing up for educational and vocational funding. Does this mean you support an end to Asian currency manipulation as well? What about filing a case with the WTO against the Asian and European countries who still lavish their manufacturing sectors with massive subsidies and other largesse?

    "'Cause it's getting kind of quiet in my city's head / Takes a teen age riot to get me out of bed right now" Sonic Youth

    by spot on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:24:59 PM PDT

  •  Walmart ... the largest employer in US (4.00)
      We are the Walmart economy it seems.  The only way I see as the first step is to turn back the tax cuts for the wealthy.  Our debt is outrageous and many social programs need to be funded, including training for workers.  We are on the edge ... China owns over one-third of our debt.  Fifty percent of the children in Cleveland, OH live in poverty for God's sake.  We are killing the middle class and consumerism is two-thirds of our economy.  The only reason we have ever had the robust economy that we have had is because we had the largest middle class in the world.  We had good-paying jobs, union jobs and they were the middle class as well as white-collar workers.

      So, it seems to me that the dems in the house need a public relations unit;selling and marketing what these tax cuts have done to us and how the repugs just don't care.  And, the heart strings need to be played like they have never been played before.  And, given how things are going that should be rather easy.  I don't see indepth reporting on what IS happening to workers, children, the poor, the uninsured, the direction of America.  Start reporting, send out the news releases and do it over and over and over again until finally the message begins to surface in the MSM.

      Most people don't know how severely the repubs are manipulating the congress... tell them!!!!  Tell them what is happening.  We aren't even covering benefits for Veterans ... from the party that trotted us off to a war.  Tell the public.  Scream it.  Yell it.  We need to spend money educating the public.  

      Thanks for being in the Congress.  Thanks for caring for those who have no one else caring for them.  
  •  I agree wholeheartedly (4.00)
    While working on the effort to gain more signatures to Congressman Conyers letter to Bush, four members of and about 20 members of dKos organized an effort to reach the most people who had been neglected by the blogoshpere -- the working people.

    Over a three day period we contacted 158 unions and professional associations, representing about 58 million Americans.  The purpose of the project was to take the issue out of the 'blogoshpere' and into the real world where people work and talk with each other.

    Our idea was that if you give the people the truth and the facts they will make the right decision and take the right action.  Our idea was to bypass the Main Stream Media which is managed and take it to the people directly.

    When discussions came up about giving the American people the information about the Downing Street Minutes, I was told here at dKos that "the ordinary person doesn't know what minutes are."  This utter disdain for "the ordinary person" I find reprehensible.  This is the working class.  This is my home town.  

    It is wrong wrong wrong to ever forget labor.  It is wrong wrong wrong to ever forget the unions.  It is wrong wrong wrong to ever forget the working class and the working people.

    Thank you, and if you want to contact me, Rep. Miller I am at itsgrimm at hotmail dot com.  

    Who controls the media, controls the fates.

    by Apian on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:29:47 PM PDT

  •  Labor is eagerly welcomed. (none)
    The Democratic Party needs to get back to providing strong support for labor.  You can't neglect the base and keep it.  Labor shouldn't have to choose between hostility and indifference.
  •  I agree with you, Congressman (4.00)
    My home state of Michigan has the nation's highest unemployment rate and has lost as many industrial jobs as any other state.

    Our Democratic lawmakers are coming around. This week, several House members introduced legislation which would slap a surtax on companies that pay their employees so little that they qualify for Medicaid.
  •  If THIS is the case: (3.50)

    North Carolina has lost almost 200,000 of those jobs. And the new jobs are not the equal of the jobs we've lost--they pay less, and provide few if any benefits.

    Median family income in North Carolina fell by nine percent in the last three years, from $41,026 to $37,315. An additional 341,000 North Carolinians are without health insurance--now, almost one North Carolinian in five is uninsured. And almost 200,000 more North Carolinians are now living in poverty.

    Then why do North Carolinians overwhelmingly vote Republican in election after election?

    Personally, I stand to benefit greatly from free trade. But, more than that, the tariffs and quotas that are placed on imported textiles actually HURT poor Americans more than any other demographic group in this country. Far more of their income is spent on basic things like socks and underwear, meaning trade restrictions disproportionately hurt them the most. For every textile job I save in NC, I'm nickling and diming 100 poor single-mothers to death in Chicago.

    Similarly, the vast amount of subsidies literally pissed away on agriculture is nothing less than theft that benefits almost no one.

    I vote Democrat and I support national health care, public education, and workers rights AND civil liberties AND the separation of church and state -- but until the good people of NC start helping themselves by electing DEMOCRATS and not Right Wing Social Conservatives then I have absolutely no incentive to help anybody in NC.

    Sponge Bob, Mandrake, Cartoons. That's how your hard-core islamahomocommienazis work.

    by Benito on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:33:20 PM PDT

    •  Not for nothin (4.00)
      Then why do North Carolinians overwhelmingly vote Republican in election after election?

      But did you miss the part where it mentioned the diarist is

      This is Brad Miller. I'm a Democratic Member of Congress from North Carolina.

      Prisoner of hope.

      by comeon on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:49:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  NC may have voted Republican for president, but... (none)
        We have:
        • a Democratic governor - Mike Easley, who was re-elected in 2004.  He succeeded Jim Hunt, also a Democrat.
        • and a Democratically-controlled General Assembly (64 Dems and 57 Reps in the House and and 29 Dems and 21 Reps in the Senate)

        If you look at the various results for the elections held in this state in 2004, there were 562 contests.  Of those:
        • 154 Democrats were elected
        • 153 Republicans were elected
        • 40 Libertarians
        • 8 Unaffiliated candidates were elected
        • 206 contests were non-partisan

        You can probably assign most of the Libertarians under the Republican column, but still, this should remind people that North Carolina is NOT a lost cause when it comes to progressive politics!!  What it also should tell you is that we have a serious problem the way the national candidates are perceived, not necessarily how they are, here in NC and probably in the rest of the South too.  Please don't just write off the South.  If we can form a coherent message and figure out how to frame it, we can win elections here again.  (No small task, and I don't have a clue.)

        BTW, thanks, Rep. Miller, for participating.  You're not my rep (David Price has that honor) but for the second time in two weeks, I am proud of a member of my state's congressional delegation.  I may get the vapors! </southern belle>
    •  Well (4.00)
      Maybe if the Democrats started actually standing up for Labor like they used to, instead of letting things like NAFTA drain their jobs, working-class voters would feel it was in their interest to vote Democratic.

      Seriously, if you lost your job because of NAFTA, who would you blame?  Clinton, or the Republicans?  Democrats SHOULD be the party of the working class, but that's just a slogan unless we promise and deliver actual results.
      •  BINGO! (none)
        And who was president when the CPI was subjected to all the "fixes"  that keep it so laughably low?  Great for assets, awful for workers (and retirees).

        Reckless plunging into "free trade" (labor arbitrage really) and an addiction to asset inflation (which ultimately means being co-opted into the corporate interest fold) goes a long way towards making democratic claims of being the party for the workers look silly.

        Right now the democratic party is the "we will hurt you a lot less" party, but some of those working class red staters seem like they would rather get a "win" on cultural issues (even if an ultimately llusionary victory) than take less of a beating.

        I don't approve of that, and I think its suicidal, but I can at least understand the twisted impulse behind it.  
      •  Let's be the party that delivers results (none)
        God yes - I so want to be the party that delivers results for people. Let's be that party.

        A word after a word after a word is power. -- Margaret Atwood

        by tmo on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 08:10:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Ag Subsidies (none)
      Well shit, ag subsidies are such theft then lets just grow all our fucking food overseas!

      Or better yet let's take away all subsidies to farmers and then you won't have to worry about it because there won't be any farmers left. Problem solved!

      Well I guess those farmers would still be around that don't have to worry about buying a $100,000 piece of machinary have plenty of kids to help that quit going to school when they're 12.

      Who needs producers in this country anymore anyway. We're all glorious consumers! Hooray for overconsumption!

      What do farmers contribute anyway? They couldn't possibly offer anything else to the make-up of this country besides what they sell. No they couldn't possibly produce a work ethic, and a respect for the land that could be good for this country. They're just leeches.

      What do you say we just outsource all of our food production to day-laborers in other counties. How about slave labor? Shit would be even cheaper then!
  •  Would you consider sharing more with us? (4.00)
    In addition to the very valid point you make in your diary title, you make another point that should find a lot of sympathy here at Daily Kos, which considers itself a community of activists.

    We very often don't know, and don't look to find out, what's actually happening on the floor of the House during any given week.

    Would you consider sharing, or somehow facilitate the sharing of, the weekly "House Action Reports" with us?

    When I worked on the Hill, the DSG Reports were the bible, not only for knowing what was moving and when, but how Democrats were dealing with it. Now, it's been some time since I was up there, but if the House Action Reports that replaced the DSG Reports are anything like what they used to be, a simple run-down of the week's upcoming legislation and issues would be, I think, of enormous value to us.

    We'd be educated before the fact, mobilized, and perhaps most importantly, given a glimpse inside the nuts and bolts details of legislation that never make the front pages, but are in fact critical to understanding the issues before us.

    Do you think that's something that can be worked out? I assume there are copyright issues with simply reproducing the contents here, since the Reports are a publication of CQ. But if there's something that can be hammered out, I think it'd be a huge boost for our effectiveness here.
    •  And, uh, oh yeah... (4.00)
      What I meant, besides demanding that you give us more free stuff, was that the substance of your comments were reminiscent of the sort of detail we rarely discuss here. That is, that it really ought to be a topic of interest when a Labor-HHS appropriations bill moves, because it's always chock full of things -- usually cuts -- that we say we care about.

      So, what I neglected to say was, thanks for the update, and we'd like to have more.
  •  all five of my uncles are labor union members (4.00)
    and yet they are the most conservative people I have ever met.  They all voted Bush twice.  Trying to reach out to them is not easy.  You can talk to them all you want about economics, education, job skills, etc.  Typically, the response I get is "yeah, well, the Democrats wanna' let fags marry each other."

    So while I agree with many of the posts that there is sometimes an anti-working class bias on this site, I am forced to say that I understand it.  Blue collar folks in this country have some reaching out to do of their own if they want their problems solved.

    "Give the likes of Baldric the vote and we'll be back to cavorting Druids and dung for dinner."

    by Magnus Greel on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:39:42 PM PDT

    •  direct mail (none)
      So many really "nasty" messages were sent
      by Republican/Evangelicals through direct mail.

      The democrats need to strongly step up their
      program and spell out the reality that these people
      are being hoodwinked into voting for their own
      financial lives to be destroyed by a group preying
      on their fears and prejudges.

      by Robert Oak on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 03:44:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  'Hoodwinked" bravo (none)
        Cynically used and manipulated, and the first to suffer from the RW rape and pillage.  

        You gotta think there's an email out there, like the Abrams email about the stupid Indian tribes he was fleecing, or tapes like Nixon's,where he lets it all hang out, where Rove and Cheney are busting up laughing, slapping each other on the back, "damn! they fell for that shit! In the name of Jesus, no less!"
    •  Listen to what you just said (none)
      there is sometimes an anti-working class bias on this site, I am forced to say that I understand it.  Blue collar folks in this country have some reaching out to do of their own

      Translation in the mind of an independant who abandoned the party after it abandoned him :

      "working class people are just too stupid to know whats good for them. They better start asking us to tell them before its too late!"

      That isnt what you meant. But thats certainly how it translates. Thats where the "liberal elite" thing the rethugs picked up on and amplified came from. And how they took the working class.. and thus the entire government.

      Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

      by cdreid on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 07:48:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're right (none)
        that does sound elitist.  But hey, I'm sorry our Democratic leaders are too busy busting their asses fighting a Republican majority and trying to protect the rights of workers to sit down, swig beer with you and tell pussy jokes.

        "Give the likes of Baldric the vote and we'll be back to cavorting Druids and dung for dinner."

        by Magnus Greel on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 10:03:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Protecting them (none)
          by passing Nafta? Gatt? Signing us up to the WTO? Shipping american industry to communist china? Shipping the software , engineering and white collar industries to Pakistan and India?

          to sit down, swig beer with you and tell pussy jokes.

          If thats how you view americas working class, by the way the large majority of americans, then you are part of the problem.

          Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

          by cdreid on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 11:34:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Question (none)
      1. Which labor union were they in?

      2. Do you think they might change their mind if they  knew that Democrats would guarantee them health care that can never be taken away by their company, and their kids and grandkids would be guaranteed a free college education?
      •  let's see (none)
        four of them were steel mill workers until the mills closed, and I seem to remember they were members of United Steel Workers.  The fifth is a UAW member (and now that I think about it, once the mills closed two of my other uncles became auto plant workers and joined UAW).

        But I'll tell you the ultimate tragedy in this case: My grandfather was a Democratic Precinct Captain in Chicago for 38 years.  That man was a steel mill worker.  He went to the same bar after work all his life.  He told dirty, dirty jokes.  He frowned and shook his head whenever the issue of homosexuality came up.  Yet, the man was a Democrat to the core.  He'd be rolling in his grave if he could hear his five sons talking.

        "Give the likes of Baldric the vote and we'll be back to cavorting Druids and dung for dinner."

        by Magnus Greel on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 10:08:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  What's the difference? (4.00)
    I'm not sure I understand why you think there's a distinction between DKos and factory workers, Representative Miller. My grandfathers worked in factories and my grandmothers worked as domestics. My father was a machinist and labor union leader. My mother worked in a chemical plant. I worked in warehouses and low-paying jobs, spent two years of the Reagan recession unemployed, and never made more than $14,000/year until I was in my early thirties, just about the time Bill Clinton first ran for President. So while I think it's great that you're interested in participating here, I'm also a little perplexed as to why you think there is some sort of dividing line between working-class people and the people in this community. The Democratic Party is a mixture of people from a variety of backgrounds, and I don't think you can fairly say that there is a lack of people with working-class backgrounds here on DKos, even if some of us are now struggling to stay on top of the USS Middle Class, hoping that it doesn't sink beneath our feet.

    Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

    by darrelplant on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:40:08 PM PDT

  •  Glad to have another Congressperson at Daily Kos (4.00)
    This makes Conyers, Slaughter, and Miller in the House and Boxer (?) and Kennedy in the Senate. Would it make sense if I supported NAFTA but not CAFTA? Mr. Miller, is there any way possible to reward companies who provide jobs for Americans, or probably more possible, smack a fat tax on companies like Wal-Mart who do not support the United States economy by buying only products made by children in sweat shops for thirty cents an hour and have hundreds of cameras in their stores to prevent workers from unionizing? This may be considered an obstruction of free trade and capitalism, but it wouldn't force Wal-Mart and similar companies to abandon their heinous and selfish practices, it would just discourage them to. Besides, the average income of a Wal-Mart worker (excluding high-paid executives like Lee Scott) is below the poverty line, another reason to loathe and not support Wal-Mart.

    GOP stands for Grand Old Problem.

    by LennyLiberal on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:41:56 PM PDT

  •  Yes, Congressman (none)
    We need to remember Yanceyville, Eden, Roxboro, and a host of other American towns that have been savaged by this administration.

    Those of us not in manufacturing may seem a little high falutin' to some of those factory workers, but they need to know that the great high-tech industry has become the information plantation.

    The revolution starts now--in your own back yard, in your own home town

    by TarheelDem on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:48:19 PM PDT

    •  For the record (3.33)
      Many towns were savaged under the Clinton Administration.  Not pointing fingers, just observing a fact.  I saw my hometown area, a rural/industrial area, slide rapidly backwards during the big economic boom of the 90's.  I thought I was going insane until I saw a cover story on it in TIME magazine.  

      No wonder they voted for Bush in 2000.  There was a lot of reflection on the fact that life had not improved for them under Clinton.

      And, well, when the money ran out, religion caught on there like wildfire...  

      Not implying that Admin was as bad as this one, that would be a rather Herculean task.  Just saying reality isn't always as black and white as we'd wish it were.

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." -Voltaire

      by poemless on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 03:42:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thirty years of decline (none)
        Only the mild improvement during the high-tech go-go years of the 1990's broke thirty years of decline - Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush the Father, Clinton.  And only Carter and Clinton tried to do a little something about it.

        The revolution starts now--in your own back yard, in your own home town

        by TarheelDem on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 03:49:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Clinton (none)
          is and was a hardcore free trader. He lead the charge to sell out american workers. Remember the "retraining assistance" they promised to all the workers 'outsourced'? Remember the "high tech high paying jobs" that were going to be created? Where are those..

          Theyve released the studies they commisioned when they sold us out. The studies debunk the lies and disengenuous predictions. Shock of shocks.. sending americas' core industries to third world nations resulted in.. fewer high paying jobs, a higher poverty rate, and a smaller middle class. And clinton was head cheerleader.

          Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

          by cdreid on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 11:40:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Employee Free Choice Act (4.00)
    Thanks Congressman Miller!

    (This is why some of us bash the corporate friendly DLC)

    What are the odds of passing the Employee Free Choice Act? Are you going to become a co-sponsor? (Your name is NOT on the list at this web site:
  •  Congressman, (4.00)
    You are exactly right and I would note that both the grassroots and our elected representatives in Washington could do with a lot more focus on the issues that pertain to working people.

    Two months ago, I wrote a diary on CAFTA: Act Now or Lose the Working Class Forever.  I began by saying:

    This is the defining populist event of the year - and possibly the decade.

    Since the 90's, countless working-class voters have shifted to the Republicans - we think of them as the "moral values" voters.  What caused these people to lose faith in the Democratic Party as the party that protects their jobs and their well-being?

    Many of these people don't follow politics in the slightest, but there is one issue they recognize, and they blame Bill Clinton for - NAFTA.  When you say NAFTA, they hear LOST JOBS.  And now, the issue is back again, with a vengeance...

    Now, this diary didn't receive a ton of comments, which can happen for any number of reasons aside from a lack of interest in an issue.  But something else I noted in my diary is that there had previously been several passionate CAFTA diaries, all of which had been largely ignored.

    People just don't seem to get the political significance of this issue.  The constituency which Democrats have been bleeding most heavily in the last two decades is the regular, working-class guy - a guy who may be in a union, or probably would be in a union if we hadn't let our laws become so hostile to organized labor.  If we want to recapture these voters, we have to start offering them something TANGIBLE.  If we stand idly by as their jobs are shipped overseas, as they were under NAFTA, why should they support us?

    There's a decent-sized free trade movement here at dkos, and you know what?  Those people could even be right, for all I know.  But while the economists argue, real people are losing real jobs, and those real people cast real votes.  This is our natural constituency and we MUST make the argument on their behalf - in favor of fair trade and against "free trade" that moves their jobs to countries with weaker wage standards and worker protections.

    If we sell out our natural constituency because the economists tell us it's right to do so, then either we completely fail to understand politics, or we think that economists represent a larger voting bloc than working-class Americans.

    Thank you, Congressman, for bringing more attention to this issue.  As we try to stir up interest here in the netroots, I hope you will try to persuade your colleagues in Washington just how important this issue (and labor issues in general) are for both the country and for our political future as Democrats.  Some of them are more interested in attracting corporate donations than they are in attracting the votes of actual voters and it is killing us as a party.
  •  A lesson to America from Iraqi unionists (4.00)
    At a talk I attended in Berkeley, I was humbled by this reminder from our visiting Iraqi trade unionists:

    "Issues of working people are not issues of one country, but the concern of all people."
  •  Congressman Miller-- (4.00)
      Thank you for your post, and agree absolutely this is a vital issue.  Reading through the comments upthread, I am struck by a theme that your diary title also raised for me--just who has rejected who, and how has this happened?  There are many Democratic activists, liberals, progressives who feel, after many years of hard work against corporate interests, abandoned by the very factory workers they've been advocating for--who feel labeled by them as "elite," or "gay-loving," or "liberal," or whatever.  And there are many working class folks who, apparently, since they have been voting Republican, feel equally abandoned and dismissed by the Democrats, liberals, and progressives, the very people who, historically, fought for labor reform, living wages, safety laws, etc.--which seems very illogical to many of us progressives, whatever our class background, and so very difficult to address.  So, can this marriage be saved--and how?  

    ...the White House will be adorned by a downright moron...H.L. Mencken

    by bibble on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:52:19 PM PDT

  •  HIGHEST Importance (4.00)
    I'm so happy to see this!!  Not only is this so important for Americans, Unions are the key ingredient for war-torn Iraq. The unemployment there is rampant, and a large part of that is directly due to foreign companies with foreign workers (and foreign militias too) preventing the Iraqi citizens from being able to get work on any rebuilding.
    There's been some Iraqi Union members touring the US lately to talk to our Unions. Any plan of action by the Democrats on how to actually help Iraq get back on it's feet has to have the Iraqi worker included. (Please read Juno's diary on this)
    Global economies that don't have worker's Unions in each country that wants to trade globally won't work. Otherwise, it's world-wide exploitation and starvation wages.
  •  sell out to spec interests and calling it centrism (4.00)
    My housemate is political director for an SEIU local that organizes nursing home employees. I've got a sense of the struggles low wage workers face.

    I'm a little suspicious of DC Democrats preaching that the activists gotta respect the voiceless middle-class family and low-wage worker.

    I'm concerned that this is code for manipulation by the insiders. The insiders have their deals cut with the powerful interest groups, like credit card companies and the Israel lobby.

    When Beltway Dems sell-out on Middle East policy or the bankruptcy bill they claim they are being "centrists".

    But the people on the factory floor and wiping asses in nursing homes didn't want Dems to sell-out to MBNA or AIPAC.

    You understand what I'm getting at, Congressman.

    Bloggin Blagojevich's Blunders: do you want to see Roddy B challenged in the Dem Primary?

    by Carl Nyberg on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 03:11:52 PM PDT

  •  Thank you! (none)
    -from your neighbor from the (immediate) North.

    A lot of food for thought, of the essential four-food-group variety.  :)

    i've lived all my life in red states, and it's made me blue.

    by br00mhiLdA on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 03:22:01 PM PDT

  •  Thank you Congressman Miller! (4.00)
    I agree that it is imperative that we support our workers.

    I am NOT in support of CAFTA. We must do everything we can to preserve our manufacturing jobs from being outsourced! The major percentage of the United States exports are raw materials and the major percentage of our imports are manufactured products. Isn't that the state of trade in third world countries?

    "If you don't know where you are going, you might not get there." --Yogi Berra

    by vlogger on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 03:27:11 PM PDT

  •  an honest question for you, sir (4.00)
    While I know that CAFTA would facilitate the movement of some jobs overseas, which I view as bad, aren't most jobs that are leaving going to the cheapest places....period....regardless of whether there is a treaty or not? I mean, if these treaties had much to do with it, wouldn't Nike have stayed in the U.S. until NAFTA, then gone to Mexico and stayed put until CAFTA? Instead they just went to Asia in the beginning and stayed there.

    Seems to me there's been a big exodus of jobs from Mexico, too, once that labor pool got more expensive.

    I'm not sure that CAFTA is bad, per se, but I think we should concentrate on making sure it lives up to environmental and worker protection standards.

    Yeah, yeah, I'm sure it won't happen, but that kind of thing does cause us many problems.

    When Jesus returns, religious wingnuttia will have him committed to an asylum. - anonymous

    by Doug in SF on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 03:28:53 PM PDT

    •  I'm not sure where I heard it but (none)
      I thought I heard the biggest losers in this (CAFTA) would be farmers.  Corporate farms could then even more so take over Cental America.  Labor is cheap and shipping/transporting perishables from El Salvador is not the same problem that shipping them from China.  America is already a net importer of food and it seems to me that CAFTA would only make the trade deficit bigger.  Why am I getting a Deja Vu?feeling

      NAFTA was a bad idea.
      CAFTA is a bad idea.

      Does the devil wear a suit and tie, Or does he work at the Dairy Queen- Martin Sexton

      by strengthof10kmen on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 06:12:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  AFL-CIO CAFTA newsletter (4.00)
    I repost this email so you all can write your reps and act.

    I just read that the stinker CAFTA, yet another outsourcing trade agreement, might pass. I'm reposting the AFL-CIO newsletter, which I think gives at least some things to think about but also an easy way to email your representatives to vote no.

    Dear Working Families e-Activist,

    Tell Congress: Stop CAFTA--
    Save Jobs

    Act now--send these 10 reasons on why CAFTA is bad for America's workers to Congress and urge them to
    stop CAFTA.

    Thanks for all that you do for working families.

    If we're going to save jobs and stop CAFTA--the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement--we've got to act now. President George W. Bush has moved CAFTA (also called "NAFTA's twin brother) to Congress, and our senators and representatives need to hear from us now.

    There probably are 1,000 good reasons to stop CAFTA. They all boil down to jobs. Let's look at 10 good ones.

    1. CAFTA would give new protections to U.S. multinational companies for operating outside the country. Like companies need more incentives to move jobs!
    2. At the same time, CAFTA would reduce protections for workers--here and in Central America.
    3. That one-two punch combines to make goods produced in other countries cheaper and less risky for the makers--and to make it impossible for U.S. manufacturers to compete.
    4. When we can't compete with foreign goods, we import more and our trade deficit soars. It happened with NAFTA. Our trade deficit with NAFTA countries is 12 times bigger than before NAFTA--it shot up from $9 billion in 1993 to $111 billion last year.
    5. When imports and our trade deficit grow, we lose jobs. We lost an estimated 900,000 net jobs to NAFTA.

    Heard enough? Click the following link to tell your members of Congress to stop CAFTA, or keep reading.

    1. You can't believe what the trade-at-all-costs folks are saying about CAFTA. When you hear claims that CAFTA will create U.S. jobs and improve living standards in Central America, remember this: That's what they said about NAFTA.
    2. CAFTA would hurt, not help, Central American and Dominican workers. Look at NAFTA's legacy: Displaced Mexican subsistence farmers were turned into unemployed masses, far, far outnumbering the few jobs created. Workers who find jobs manufacturing goods for export are out of luck. Overall, real wages for Mexican workers actually have fallen since NAFTA.
    3. CAFTA would hurt workers who don't lose jobs, too. It would make it easier for employers to fight workers struggling to form unions by threatening to close down. NAFTA did: By the late 1990s, employers threatened to shut down if workers formed a union in 51 percent of union representation election campaigns--and 71 percent in manufacturing. That's a whopping increase from the 29 percent in the mid-1980s.
    4. In addition--increased trade lowers wages for low-skilled U.S. workers. Real wages for most U.S. men actually have fallen since NAFTA.
    5. U.S. workers already are hurting from anti-worker trade policies. Now is the time to do trade the right way--by rewarding work and respecting workers here and in other countries.

    Please take a minute now to share this information with your members of Congress and urge them to stop CAFTA.

    Thank you for working for working families--and for good jobs.

    In solidarity,

    Working Families e-Activist Network, AFL-CIO
    June 23, 2005

    by Robert Oak on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 03:31:43 PM PDT

    •  I'll send this on (4.00)
      I'm in Bob Ney's district of Ohio, where we've lost thousands of jobs.  Everyone depends on factory workers here for every other kind of job.  

      War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus. - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

      by Margot on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 03:59:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If it gives you some reassurance (4.00)
    I was on a DFA conference call last night, and while Kos and DFA are sep. entities, there is a lot of membership overlap.  

    Anyway, most of the time on the call was spent discussing as Americans we need to start valuing labor, work and workers in America.  This was in the context of Walmart, but the implication remains the same.  The people who do an honest day's work in this country are being screwed left and right and being discarded on a whim.  There is no investment in their welfare, their families, their futures, their neighborhoods, ... their country.

    I don't know; I don't understand that line about The Democratic Party was the party of factory workers a long time before it was the party of DKos.

    Not only do I not see why it can't be both, but I think the Democractic Party has in fact not done all it could for the factory workers in this country.  Just a thought.  

    Anyway, big tent and all...  Kumbaya.  

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." -Voltaire

    by poemless on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 03:33:59 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for your words Congressman Miller. (4.00)
    My dad has a saying.  He uses this everytime someone blathers something about supporting Republicans for "2nd amendment", "gay marriage", "values", etc.

    My dad looks them in the eye and tells them:

    "I vote Democrat because I WORK for a living."

    And he leaves it at that.  He has been a union pipefitter for over 25 years, and has voted Democrat his entire life. It's his work ethic, and his Liberal Democratic ideals that have shaped who I am.  

    It's refreshing to see a voice in support of the working American.

    Don't forget "fly-over country", Kossaks.  Do you people in the cities even realize how offensive that seems to the rest of us in the midwest?  We're not all Republican, you know?
  •  We need to raise taxes ;) (4.00)

    It is time to tell the American people to suck it up. It is time to tell our multi-million and billion airs to sacrafice for the good of the country that has given them so much. Disaster is lurking on our country and the populous can feel it. It is time for the Democrats to call for a more responsible government. I know it hurts us, but if we frame the message right, it could help us as a party and as a country. Our economy, health care system, military, ect. is in crisis and needs money. China is raping us, it is time for our leaders to call for a tax hike.
  •  Thanks for Joining dKos (none)
    It is always good to hear from a Representative. I lived in North Carolina in the late 1988-89 and enjoyed my stay.

    I think the community here supports workers and worker rights.

    Kos himself tried to focus us on the idea that the Democrats were the Party that worked for working Americans.

    And as some others on this thread have noted, unless you make bank on capital you are a "worker" and these issues do affect you directly.

    Also we have a pretty strong community of support for education at every level.

    I think where someone such as yourself can be a powerful force is in organizing cross- pollenization between bloggers and posters at groups like dKos and groups that are threatened by job-loss. Many times on dKos someone will post an "action alert" to bring attention to a local issue. I would encourage you to contact various groups in your community to post to dKos when there is going to be a public issues debate or debate about laws concerning the people you represent. Sometimes all we can do is write letters to the editor or contact our Representative and ask them to work with you--sometimes we can be more of a force--depends on the issue.

    Do you plan to have a regular diary?  I hope so. It would be good for those outside your area to get your perspective on a regular basis. I am from California and we sometimes think we know what America is like. Of course when I went to North Carolina they were sad to discover I wasn't a surfing pot smoker with many gay friends...not that there is anything wrong with that.
    •  This is a lot of damn work. (4.00)
      And I do have a day job. How about if I just post every once in a while, when I want to bring attention to an issue I'm working on (like predatory lending), or when my frustration just bubbles over (like it did today with the appropriation bill).
      •  you're right (none)
        people here know it takes time and effort to write a diary and then follow up on the comments. It's not something a congressperson needs to feel obligated to do unless there's something he feels moved to communicate about.
      •  Fair Warning... (none)
        It's also addictive. The next thing you know...your cat will be sitting in front of you with her catfood bowl in her mouth.

        "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

        by kredwyn on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 06:09:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  that'd be great (none)
        even better would be giving us enough lead time on some bill you're trying to push through, or some atrocity you're trying to slow down, so that we can be of some help at getting the word out. one of the things the bankruptcy/debtor prison bill taught us is that we cannot wait until these things are upon us to push back. i remain convinced that with more grassroots organization and coordination with you guys on that one that we might have stopped it, or at very least extracted a political price from those who voted for it.

        crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

        by wu ming on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 06:44:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hey. We'll take what we can get. (none)
        Don't quit your day job. Again, thank you for your input to the community.
  •  Blue Collar Here (4.00)
    I'm an in-house craftsman now having been age-sized out of my high tech job, and I've also worked commercial construction, boatbuilding and carpentry.

    I've also been quite white-collar as programmer and tech support worker.

    My experience among high tech workers was that they were overwhelmingly agreed that manufacturing was the "old economy" that America needed to shed.

    While Kossacks strike me as much more sympathetic to the blue collar than my former technology co-workers, I think the community is easily spooked when it comes down to policies that would make a significant improvement.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 03:42:02 PM PDT

  •  Dear Lord!! (4.00)
    Are you seriously advocating retraining? Really?

    Because I know too many people who retrained themselves at their own expense who now have to retrain themselves, yet again!  Some are becoming nurses, some hairdressers.  And what other profession is safe from the curse called outsourcing?

    In order to protect our workers, we need tariffs. We need governmental protection!!   Retraining isn't going to do squat for the average worker.  You should know this already!!!
  •  Please Use Biodegradable Detergents (none)
    As we all eke out a living by taking in each other's washing.

    Training for non-existent jobs won't help.  Let's attack the problem at the root.

    _As I was going up the stair, I met a man who wasn't there. He wasn't there again today. I wish, I wish, he'd go away._

    by Clues on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 03:46:18 PM PDT

  •  An important issue that tracks other segments (4.00)
    As manufacturing goes, so goes the rest of the economy - thank you for reminding us of this fact.  The tech sector alone has lost 100's of thousands of jobs to outsourcing/ relocation (see IBM today!) in "cheaper" locals.  All of the highly skilled QA testing and validation engineers I used to work with at Compaq have watched their $70K jobs got to $15K engineers working for HP in India.

    There won't be anyone left to buy anything soon - I don't think everyone can survive by selling stuff on eBay...
    •  well yes, (none)

      But the congressman seems to think retraining is the answer.  It is not.  I know too many people who have retrained themselves in IT and computer design and such who are now looking for alternative careers.  
      •  I agree - retraining is not the answer... (none)
        until policymakers and corporate interests are held to true accountability for their decisions, nothing is going to help.  The "metrics" are just wrong - compensation for any given results is often out of sync with common-sense reality.  Worse, most proccesses (products / systems / et al) are evaluated in an artificial isolation - entirely due to limitations imposed by the maintenance of those same "metrics".  (My previous rant/diary on this - I don't do diaries well - I tend to do "books"...)

        This is a complex problem that involves ethics and acocuntability and is imbedded in the core of "how business is done" - which directly influences "how government is done".  I don't know what the solution is.  It's something I was constantly battling when I worked for a large company - and I see the same poison spreading up and down the "food chain".

        I honestly don't know what the solution for this trend will be; you cannot legislate business processes.  Manufacturing is never going to return and tech jobs are not going to "migrate" back because of new laws.  The downward cycle of mediocre products (GM, US Appliances, etc.) seems inevitable unless there is a seismic shift in the basic foundation of economics.

        Unfortunately, short of someone developing some grand "Unified Business Theory" that can satisfy all interested parties - this is our reality.  I have faith in our country's people, but I'm sometimes afraid things have been broken for too long ...
  •  Modern Times require Modern Techniques (none)
    In other words: "It's About Health Care, Stupid" (not referring to Rep. Miller).

    Extolling the glory of the factory floor doesn't go as far as it used to. The best way to improve the lot of blue collar workers is to find a way for families to afford medical care and prescription drugs. That seems to be the biggest impediment right now toward gaining career flexibility, since people are afraid to lose whatever coverage they have, at a time when benefits are shrinking every year. Therefore dead-end jobs with poor or non-existent benefits packages are becoming the norm.

    Solve the problem of the uninsured, and the problem of the strain of immigration on the health system, and average Joes and Janes would have a lot more energy to fight for their rights as working Americans. The pride of the blue collar worker in the old days didn't so much stem from some noble picture of sweating while applying rivets. It stemmed from the pride of being a provider, who's earnings were sufficient to maintain a decent quality of life for a family. That's what's been stripped away over time from the working class, and we need to find ways to make their dollars retain more of their value. Stop the hemorraghing and let's get our money back from the Insurance cabals, I say. It'd be a start.
  •  couldn't agree more (none)

    To his virtues be very kind, to his vices, very blind.

    by Descrates on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 04:00:10 PM PDT

  •  But Brad, we must support FREE Trade at all costs! (none) says Thomas the NY TIMES:

    Lordy, it is fun poking fun at France. But wait ...wait ... what is that noise I hear coming from the U.S. Congress? Is that ... is that members of the U.S. Congress - many of them Democrats - threatening to reject Cafta, the Central American Free Trade Agreement? Is that members of the U.S. Congress afraid to endorse a free-trade agreement, signed over a year ago, with El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic? Mon Dieu! I am afraid it is. And for many of the same reasons France has resisted more [EU] integration: a protectionist fear of competition in a world without walls.

    Don't you wish there were a bunch of low paid Central American polical hacks just waiting to take Friedman's job?  I wonder what he'd say about CAFTA then?
    •  Friedman corporate political hack (4.00)
      I watched a Senator actually quote this jerk
      while ignoring the Harvard Public Policy professor
      who really knew the answers on international trade and fiscal policy on C-SPAN today
      on the China trade relations hearing.

      That's really frightening when our representatives
      don't get the Friedman is a paid for corporate hack...
      he has NO BACKGROUND in economics, NO BACKGROUND
      in public policy, NO BACKGROUND in business, NO BACKGROUND in international trade.

      and it SHOWS!  The guy couldn't analyze his way
      out of a paperbag.

      I have no idea why is at the NYTimes...he certain
      diminishes their credibility.

      by Robert Oak on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 06:24:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you Brad Miller! (4.00)
    You put a big grin on my face by coming here and criticizing dKos! And for a good reason. I do think there is a disconnect here with working class issues.
  •  How the Democratic Party should be defined (4.00)
    Congressman, may I humbly suggest we define the Democratic party this way:  The Party That Works.

    Democrats have always sided with workers, whether those workers were in factories, on farms, or in classrooms.  White collar, blue collar -- if you depend on a paycheck, as most of us do, the Democrats are on your side.  Even if it's a pretty good sized paycheck.  

    Like overtime pay?  Thank a Democrat.  Enjoy weekends off?  Thank a Democrat.  Do you have a safe workplace?  Thank a Democrat.  Health care?  Pension?  A union that works for you?  Democrats helped make all those things possible.  The Democratic Party is the party of people that work.

    Moreover, the Democratic Party is the party of programs that work.  Medicare works.  Social Security works. FDIC, SEC, TVA, the GI Bill -- all programs that worked, courtesy of the Democratic  Party.

    In contrast, the Republicans won't claim that their ideas work.  The closest they can come is a hundred reasons why it's your own fault that factory you don't own or have any say in just closed.  

    People that work. Programs that work. A country that works.  THAT'S what the Democratic Party stands for.

    The Party That Works.

    "Unk, the big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart." -- Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan

    by Roddy McCorley on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 04:06:32 PM PDT

  •  don't forget (none)
    That this blog is a blog about the war (and a few other things, but mainly the war). The purpose of the front page will not change, because frankly that's what the author of the site wants it to be about. The diaries are a different story. Anything goes there, but I hope you aren't expecing Markos to start posting about jobs, the economy and workers' rights on a regular basis. That's not what his main interest is.
  •  Party of dKos? (4.00)
    Wow, I had no idea.

    Not to disparage the post, but since was the dKos community "hogging" the party?

    Antway, thanks for the info.  My head is spinning with all the way the republicans seems to be dismantling our country...and this yet another example of how much they hate americans.

    When all else fails...panic

    by David in Burbank on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 04:08:53 PM PDT

  •  A Polite Suggestion: Diary Title Deconstruction (4.00)
    Thank you for highlighting this issue! I'm in whole-hearted agreement that the issue of our economic future is under-emphasized in our national dialogue!

    Unfortunately, you lost me at hello.

    The potential for a strong message in your diary was lost by an unfortunate choice of diary title (and associated framing of the issues). The title itself contains at least three implicit assumptions that I find distasteful.

    (1) Kossacks must: My first reaction was, "Who are you to me what to do?" I wonder, do you consider yourself a Kossack? If so, then saying "we must" would work better. Otherwise, any sentence starting with "you must" sets up the reader to be defensive.

    (2) Kossacks ... factory workers: As several others have pointed out, do you assume that Kossacks do not include factory workers? Why wouldn't a factory worker be active in online forums? I've worked in a factory before and I'm here.

    (c) Kossacks...share with... factory workers: Is there one small pie that has to be divided up? To me, the most compelling lesson of the netroots movement and the 2004 election is that the Internet can mobilize people who were previously politically inactive (like me)!

    Let's move away from the politics of division. After all, it's about increasing the size of the pie for everyone. It's not about party in-fighting between special interests. It's about increasing the resources available to enact progressive policies.

    Okay, I've done more than enough deconstruction for a 9 word title! Please keep up the hard work of highlighting issues of economic justice!

    There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    by SLJ on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 04:12:54 PM PDT

  •  For me, it has never been (4.00)
    "The party of dKos."

    I must say I don't much like the tone of your diary.

    For me, the Democratic Party has been one of fighting for right, justice, civil rights, human rights, workers' rights, a social safety net, the rights of poor people.  I volunteered first for Gene McCarthy when I was 15.

    I worked in a hospital as a tech. No union. We are in a bad way in Ohio.  Why treat us as if we're all going on wine tours of Napa?  That's disrespectful.


    War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus. - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

    by Margot on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 04:14:03 PM PDT

    •  I first volunteered for Gene McCarthy when (none)
      I was 15 too. I actually think it was pretty respectful to raise the issue here, at this blog.
      •  Perhaps it is my view that is skewed (none)
        As I am not white collar, have never been. I live where other blue collar workers live, and that is how I perceive the Democratic party...the party I know and love.

        I wish you well and hope you are able to do better for your constituents in this terrible economy than Bob Ney is doing for us.  

        And I'm glad to meet another "Neat and Clean for Gene" volunteer.

        War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus. - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

        by Margot on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 06:33:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  While I absolutely agree with this sentiment... (none)
    ...and I also agree with the people compaining about offshoring of tech jobs, I do have a question:

    Why is the unemployment rate low, especially compared to the period of the mid 1970's to early 1990's?  Why is the standard of living (square feet available per person, number of vehicles per person, whatever) high?  Somebody is buying all those McMansions.  Somebody is buying all those shiny new SUVs I see on the roads.

    This is a problem with the Democratic party today.  Basically, as a greater majority of people move upwards in income and class, they start to think more like Republicans, and start to think more about the taxes they are paying than the good that social programs and laws have on society.

    We must be realistic.  If everybody is talking like the economy is like 1982-83 (horrible) or at least 1992 (bad), when it isn't, people are going to dismiss us as not living on planet earth-I thought it was the Republicans who didn't live in the real world.  Now, the economy isn't like 1969 or 2000 (amazingly great), but it is good.  We must act accordingly.
    •  Because (4.00)
      none of that is true Geopf?

      Why is the unemployment rate low, especially compared to the period of the mid 1970's to early 1990's?
      Long term discouraged workers and people moving from at least decent paying industrial jobs to walmart and burger king. (i happen to know you know this).

        Why is the standard of living (square feet available per person, number of vehicles per person, whatever) high?  Somebody is buying all those McMansions.  Somebody is buying all those shiny new SUVs I see on the roads.
      Television reality is a wonderful thing isnt it. Mass media advertising is for the most part devoted to the upper middle class myth. And more millionaires are indeed being created. Unfortunately for every millionaire created a large number of middle class people are shoved down the ladder. America for a short period had one of the only pyramidal class structures in the world. We're moving back to the upside down T faster and faster. I happen to know you know that too.

      This is a problem with the Democratic party today.  Basically, as a greater majority of people move upwards in income and class, they start to think more like Republicans, and start to think more about the taxes they are paying than the good that social programs and laws have on society.

      No.. the problem with the democratic party today is it abandoned the people who werent in the upper classes. So those abandoned people started voting republican.

      We must be realistic.  If everybody is talking like the economy is like 1982-83 (horrible) or at least 1992 (bad), when it isn't, people are going to dismiss us as not living on planet earth-I thought it was the Republicans who didn't live in the real world.  Now, the economy isn't like 1969 or 2000 (amazingly great), but it is good.  We must act accordingly.

      It seems you're very comfortable but if you'd like Geoptf i'll personally introduce you to some of the "beneficiaries" of your great economy. Factory and textile workers (im from NC). I can introduce you to some homeless people sent their during your "Amazingly great!!"  economy. I can introduce you to two single mothers (close friends) who barely survive, quite literally thanks to your "great and wonderful economy".

      OR.. next time you drive your SUV down to walmart thinking about how great american capitalism is.. you can ask one of the people there in their thirties, forties, fifties, sixties what they used to do. Why they arent a machinist, engineer, etc etc etc now.

      Take off the blinders. Stop getting your feel for america from television. Go outside your comfort zone and start talking to people.

      Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

      by cdreid on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 08:18:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  some answers... (none)
      Low unemployment has a lot to do with those being considered "in the workforce".  Knock people out of consideration for various reasons and you get a lower unemployment "rate".

      High standard of living really depends on who you are.  Did you miss all the stuff written on greater wealth disparity these days?  Also debt is key.  Americans are wildly in debt in order to maintain those living standards you see due to historically low interest rates allowing them to carry a greater debt burden.

      Clinton got his bubble in equities, Bush in housing.  Unless you got a great suggestion for the next bubble then you will see living standards decline noticably reasonably soon.

      And if you do have a next bubble suggestion then call Allen Greenspan and help him out of a jam!
  •  What is your point? (none)
    What do you propose to do about this?

    What do you want us to do about this?

    Is there a call to action in your last paragraph?

    I have been a factory worker, more than one factory, been a machinist and other blue collar jobs, so I'm not easily cowed on this issue. Thanks for any clarification.

    The antidote to "all the bad news that's fit to print":, free subscriptions.

    by AllisonInSeattle on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 04:20:21 PM PDT

  •  Rep Miller Is Saying (none)
    We cannot forget ther real root of the party, the working people.  We are sprung from their loins and we have the same DNA.  

    They aren't wandering as much as they aren't voting, or registering.  Something similiar to the Civil Rights voting drives in the south in the 60's is needed now to reorient those folks back to the party.

    Even though the Roosevelts and Kennedys were rich, and eastern, the common folks didn't see them as elitists.  Today, most working class people see the party as being led by out of touch elitists like Sen Kerry, mental patients like Joe Lieberman and dishwater democrats like Joe Biden, Harold Ford and such.  The average Democrat today probably has no idea of the labor movement, and, as evidenced by their recent votes, very prone to support business as an excuse to cut taxes and promote jobs.  Real Democrats only cut deals with business pimps as a last resort.

    We cannot forget these people, the working class, our roots and the foundation of where our beliefs of govt action come from.  It's our job to stand up for them, not bargain away their rights to the businessmen.  If we do that they have nothing.  When they have nothing from us, why bother to support us?

    Thanks Rep Miller, keep at it.
    •  We forget this root of our party (4.00)
      when we sat back idly and let Clinton foist NAFTA on a country that didn't want it.  To this day, very few Democracts are willing to condemn Clinton for that act, one that has almost singlehandedly decimated the labor situation in this country.  Ah well, it made Clinton's Wal-Mart backers happy.

      We're getting our asses kicked in Iraq.

      by Hot Ham and Cheese on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 04:38:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Alright, Rep. Miller... (4.00)
    ... if you want to make the factory workers happy, tell the DLC idiots to shut the hell up, and introduce legislation to completely withdraw from NAFTA, GATT, and the WTO.

    I wonder if you even know any factory workers, because if you did, you'd know that your party's fellating of corporations and globalization is why many of them no longer trust us.

    Put your money where your mouth is and do something about this.

    We're getting our asses kicked in Iraq.

    by Hot Ham and Cheese on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 04:35:56 PM PDT

    •  He's trying (none)
      You're attacking him for it. STFU.

      Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

      by cdreid on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 08:19:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I haven't heard (none)
        anyone from the Dem Party speaking about withdrawing from trade agreements like NAFTA.

        We're getting our asses kicked in Iraq.

        by Hot Ham and Cheese on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 09:18:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Kucinich (none)
          McCollum, Oberstar, Sabo, Perterson, Dayton. All of the Minnesota Dems in DC have. (Kucinich is from Ohio). And I bet most Modwestern to Wetern have too by now. But I aloss think the coasts have more representation in the party than the midwest does, so I'm not sure how much good it does us.

          If th' meek ever do inherit th' earth some one'll git it away from 'em before they have it an hour

          by NorthStarDemocrat on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 10:38:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  thanks for the info (none)
            The first Dem Prez candidate who comes out hard against NAFTA will win in a 15 point landslide.  Even among Republicans, the majority oppose unfettered free-trade.  Politically, agreements like that are farther out of the mainstream than gay marriage and 3rd trimester abortions.

            We're getting our asses kicked in Iraq.

            by Hot Ham and Cheese on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 10:41:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Dont feel alone (none)
              I hadnt heard of anyone with the courage to stand up to the corporatists either.

              Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

              by cdreid on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 11:30:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Only because (none)
        he has the gall to attack US for being corporate suits.
        •  He called on (none)
          the Democratic party to stand up for the working class. Its a strange world when doing that is considered an attack on democrats...

          Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

          by cdreid on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 11:31:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for posting on this. (none)
    In addition, under the same bill, the GOP was going to cut $100 million in funding from Public Radio and TV. They restored it, but then went to other parts of the budget and cut, as diaried here:

    23 million for the ready to learn grant from the Dept. of Education. This is the money that funds programs like the infamous Postcards from Buster and many other childrens programs on PBS.

    80 million in support for the required transition to digital broadcasting. This money will have to come out the 100 million dollars in restored cuts if this bill goes through.

    40 million in addition cuts which I can't find on the web tonight because no one is reporting on this (I originally found out about this on our local PBS station's news program in Raleigh).

    So in addition to all that you are presenting, the GOP is trying to gut Public Broadcasting when the fact is that studies show that PBS/NPR listeners are the most informed about the issues.
  •  Where were you? (none)
    "There is a debate on the House floor now that I think goes to the heart of what the Democratic Party is about. At least it does for me.

    And there has been hardly a mention of the debate in the mainstream media--or here.

    The House is now debating the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education appropriation bill."

    If you are debating it on the floor NOW where were you when these issues could have had a headstart? Why do the Dems (Not just you, Miller) always seem to be a dollar short and a day late on every issue?

    How is anyone supposed to help you drive forward on issues if you are just following them around?

    Be honest about this... You are bringing this up AFTER THE FACT... Where are the leaders on the left?
    •  Kinda good point there n/t (none)
      •  I am not knocking Miller personally... (none)
        But I am really tired of internet activists, bloggers, and "average people" taking a more proactive stance on being a driving force... And seemingly being better informed on more issues.

        Meanwhile elected officials are caught with their pants down on the floor during debate, and only informing us all of needed political action after the fact.

        Yes, we have to keep doing what we are doing, BUT some of these Dems are 2 steps behind us too often.
        •  I notice... (none)
          ... That he didndn't have the Kossack balls to respond to my original comment after howling at Kossacks for supposedly not standing up for last weeks cause...

          I have had office jobs... I have also been an Infantry soldier, a factory worker (at a few factories), Union jobs, non-Union Jobs.

          Now someone that is sitting on the top of the hill doesn't have the balls to respond to a factual statement on HIS SHOWING NEGLECT IN HIS GOVERNMENT JOB? Don't get too comfortable there Miller...

          Screaming about a cause that many of US fight on a daily basis, and blaming us, and than hiding... Especially when YOU are too late!


          Noticed, and noted...

          Independent World Television

          by m16eib on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 11:18:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I agree with you...however (4.00)
    DKos and the rest of the netroots community care more about the American workers than most Democratic politicians!  

    It wasn't the DKos community that voted for the Bankruptcy bill was it?

    Yes - we need to speak loudly about what we can do to create more jobs with living wages for American workers -- I mean -- we are American workers for God's sake!  I am an American worker!  I make about  $30,000 a year and I haven't had health insurance for going on 5 years now!

    I grew up in western Pennsylvania in the heart of the rust belt, I know very well what happens to people and communities when entire industries dry up.  My father was a steel worker as were most of the men in the town I grew up in.  Not any more.  Now they either work at Wal Mart or the local hospital.

    I hope in addition to telling the netroots that we need to consider American workers you will also do some serious talking to your fellow Democratic politicans.  We here have been saying for years that Democrats need stop taking money from corporations and sticking it to the workers.  We urge politicians every day to speak the populist language and vote for legislation that doesn't sell us "American workers" down the river.

    So, thank you for the reminder.  We'll do what we can but you guys need to get to work as well.  

    I did not like fascists when I fought them as a diplomat for 23 years and I don't like them now in my own country. - Ambassador Joseph Wilson

    by HootieMcBoob on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 04:47:56 PM PDT

  •  Actually, factory workers have to share the party (3.33)
    with us and stop acting like they own it and they can discriminate against us and gay people anytime they want to, because we are not going to support them if they don't.  Solidarity is a two way street and I've read what blue collar workers think about the rest of the party .  Want issues?:  Fine.  Stop using your clout to disenfranchise gay citizens.  Stop using your clout to force extortionate wage demands, you've already wrecked the manufacturing sector.  Stop using your clout to pollute our air with your coal.  Stop using your clout to insist on producing huge gas guzzling vehicles which require wars to fuel them.

    OK?  Frankly, mutuality and solidarity are all you've got left in the way of incentives to maintain support.  And you are fucking that up as fast as you can.


    by NorCalJim on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 04:59:03 PM PDT

  •  Yours Is a Moot Argument (4.00)
    No one is forced to belong to a political party (yet) in this country.  No one is told (other than from the bullies in pulpits) how they must vote in elections.  No one is formally excluded from parties when they have no membership requirements.  So, what's the beef?

    It's NOT that Democrats exclude factory workers.

    In fact, it's the opposite!  North Carolina's factory workers reject Democrats and embrace the opposition.

    Until North Carolina factory workers share the ideals of the Democratic party: pro labor; for a living wage; pro education; pro uniform health care; pro job creation from positive action rather than negative tax cuts, then they can continue to be the darlings of the Republican party on whose star they've hitched their wagons.

    Excuse me if I can't swallow the argument that they "want to learn the skills they need to support themselves and their families.  They're willing to work full-time and go to the community college at night. . .They just want a chance to learn the skills to support themselves and their families."

    If that were true, they would have voted to signify their willingness -- for Democrats who support "Labor," "Health," "Human Services," and "Education."  Now wouldn't they?

    They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

    by Limelite on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 05:17:55 PM PDT

    •  Who the hell says they don't (none)
      Remember, teh South is not the Solid South in the way it was meant when they voted Democrat -- when it consistently voted for the Dem 98% to 1%. It's still 40% Democrat, and you can see that it has been for the past 25 years.

      I'd say that those factory workers in NC probably are Democrats, and do support all of those things -- probably with much more impetousness than you, too, since it really really matters to them, and you have the time and energy left over after work to comment on a political blog, meaning you're fairly comfortable economically -- they just are more "conservative" because they're likely prolife, very openly religious, and maybe anti-gay marriage too. But I say we can deal, and keep a big tent.

      If th' meek ever do inherit th' earth some one'll git it away from 'em before they have it an hour

      by NorthStarDemocrat on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 10:34:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As a union man, (none)
    I say:  HELL YEAH.  
  •  Here's an Idea Representative Smith (none)
    Press for legislation that would allow for the creation of a major stem cell production line in NC.

    You could hire from your fine universities in bio chemistry, genetics, and computer sciences, train a large unemployed segment of the population how to produce the cells, preseve them, perhaps even rent out lab space and technicians to test lines, even other labs lines for quality.

    The market primarily exists in Europe and Singapore. Get your brightest thinkers and marketers to figure out how to out produce labs in southeast Asia, or niche yourwelf with a higher quality line.

    Either way, it seems like it is the next dotcom-like growth industry. Stem cell research is producing such good results in hospitals and labs across the world that the demand for high quality lines is enormous.

    Hope this helps
  •  Well... (4.00)
    I work in retail.

    Which means I'm looking up at a lot of those factory workers.

    I understand your point, Congressman, but the first thing we have to do is expand what we mean by 'workers'. I mean, there's one way to translate what you said, and that's this way: "We're losing manufacturing jobs and these poor people have to gasp work in horror RETAIL!!!"

    If retail is what's out there, then lets make it better. Instead of wringing our hands over the loss of textile jobs that ain't ever coming back--let's push to up the minimum wage, and put real teeth in labor legislation. You try to get a union in a non-unionized retail establishment. Because labor laws have no teeth, it'll never happen.

    Remember: Wal-Mart treats their employees like shit for two reasons: first, they're replaceable; and second, because they can get away with it. Only government action will fix the second.

    "Don't call yourself religious, not with that blood on your hands"--Little Steven Van Zandt

    by ChurchofBruce on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 05:40:59 PM PDT

    •   Bush legacy - a Banana Republic (none)
      First, I definitely support for a living wage for everyone.

      But what's at stake in America is the loss of jobs that produce products. Manufacturing is drying up. Information work (Tech, financials, anything done at an office desk) is moving off-shore or gets handed to H1-B visa holders. And we can't all go into Retail.

      Bush may indeed create a Banana Republic by the time he leaves office. Can you say "legacy"?

      America is now a Plutocracy - governance by the wealthy. Plutocracies have always ended badly.

      by CitizenOfEarth on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 07:43:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Catalyst? (none)
    I'm curious as to the catalyst for this diary, as I have been lurking in the shadows on dKos for about a month now, and have yet to find any anti-factory worker sentiment (perhaps I'm not looking hard enough, but I think I've gotten a good sense of the general tone around here.)

    I'm reminded of the posts Kos made about Democratic moral values - surely those included caring about the well-being of all workers, including those working in factories.

    I'm also confused about the separation of Kossacks and factory workers.  Do we not share the party with them now?

    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; it's the only thing that ever has.

    by KevinL75 on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 05:42:42 PM PDT

    •  Apparently (none)
      our failure to comment extensively about a pending bill that no one had heard of.  A bill admittedly not discussed in the MSM.

      I think one poster aptly pointed out that the Congressman might have brought it to our attention before it got so far in the legislative process, rather than berating us as if overlooked for lack of interest.
      •  "Berating"? (3.16)
        A little damn touchy, aren't you? And at a site where Democratic politicians who veer from the straight-and-narrow are often called "Vichy Democrats"?
        •  When Dems vote against the public interest... (none)
          they need to be criticized.   There has been so much of that, but now a lot more of us are aware of the tendency many have.  

          There have been so many votes that hurt us, the bankruptcy bill is only the latest.  

          The party should stand for our interests, not for the interests of the big corporations.  

          "I'm willing to say things that are not popular but ordinary people know are right." Howard Dean

          by floridagal on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 07:07:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  When I stated Where were you?" (none)
          I was not thinking that your message was berating Kossacks... A little bit controversial perhaps, but that is a good thing!

          Hey! I am an independant. I am looking in from the outside trying to improve political action "against bush" by the Dems for the countries sake. Let's face it, the last 5 years +++ prove you need improvement there.

          Personally, I had no problems with your message. I do have a problem with you bringing it up after the fact. A dollar short and a day too late when you are standing on the floor without any pre-laid path by activists.

          If Dems keep tackling issues in this manner, well, maybe you'll have a shot in 2012?
        •  touchy (4.00)
          A little damn touchy, aren't you?

          A little sensitive yourself too, eh Congressman?

          If you come here to tweak, expect to be tweaked back.  

          The thing is, politically I'm with you all the way.  I'm a hardcore grassroots Dem, and I've been pro-labor my whole life.  And I'm from a working class family.  And since my family is struggling with all sorts of economic issues, including health care, this is far from an academic issue with me.  (You seem to assume otherwise.)

          So when a Congressman comes on here -- with all the power of that office -- and decides to "tweak" me for not paying attention to economic justice, I don't have much patience for it.  

          If you want to come on here as a Congressman, and expect us to sit up and take notice -- then lead, don't tweak.  If there's an important bill coming up (your day job, after all), then please mobilize us with time to spare.  I'll help out in every way I can, I promise you that.  I've done that before, and i'll do it again.

          But if you just want to throw clever brickbats, then expect it to be a two-way street.  
        •  some of us (none)
          Some of us hate the use of the term "vichy democrat"....perhaps a diary by one of our Democrat elected officials on the harm such hateful slurs can do to us all might send the right message.
  •  AND Factory workers and kossacks must (none)
    share the democratic party with Deaniacs, who  can scarcely be ignored, at least not anymore than other facets.

    I voted for you Rep. Miller when I lived in your district...looked at the map on your in the HELL do these districts get formed...that is as disturbing to me as election corruption, especially those statistics showing blacks at polls for close to an hour on average and whites in repub districts for 10-15 minutes on average.

    Point is, factory worker representation, elistist Kossack representation (just kidding), Deaniac representation doesn't mean shit until democracy has any meaning anymore in America.

    Jesus: Destroy this temple - Gospel of John

    by The Gnostic on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 05:44:54 PM PDT

  •  On the local news tonight (none)
    U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson (D) CA District 1, says he does not support CAFTA as it is currently crafted.

    (Good news since he is a "blue dog" Democrat who voted for the recent "no creditor left behind" Bankruptcy Bill.)
    •  that's good news (none)
      i was pretty upset with mike for the debtor prison vote, but he's generally a stand-up guy, and one of the more rational of the blue doggers (mostly b/c he's a deficit hawk and a strong supporter of veterans, although neither seems like anything that would be out of place in the progressive caucus IMO).

      i guess now it's time to work on feinstein. ugh.

      crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

      by wu ming on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 06:52:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  exactly why I'm a big supporter of Bob Casey (none)
    Pennsylvania also has lost many jobs due to NAFTA, outsourcing, etc.

    Casey speaks to the concerns of working-class voters as do you, Congressman Miller.

    Santorum speaks to corporate interests.
    •  that doesn't distinguish him from chuck (4.00)
      penacchio holds similar positions on labor. the two are indistinguishable on that regard, despite casey jr.'s pedigree. santorum, on the other hand, is horrendous, and i look forward to seeing him go down in '06.

      crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

      by wu ming on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 06:53:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just one point in response... (4.00)
    Rep. Miller,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.  It is always good to be able to directly communicate with our representatives and open a meaningful dialogue on the issues.  With that in mind, I would like to respond by sharing a concern I had while reading your message.

    First of all, the DailyKos community is made of of activists, no doubt, but we are not as far from the mainstream as the tone of your message seemed to imply at points.  My grandfather was a pipefitter.  My father was a factory worker.  I put myself through college by working summers in a steel mill.  You see, Kossacks aren't just a narrow special interest group to be tapped for support.  We are increasingly the face of the new Democratic Party itself.  We haven't abandoned the factory workers... Often, we are those factory workers who have taken to the internet to share our thoughts with a like minded community and organize.  Certainly, those of us from tradtionally white collar occupations make up a good percentage of the Kos community, but traditional blue collar occupations are well represented as well, and they contribute just as much to the discussions as any other group.

    I am certainly glad that Democratic representatives are trying to embrace our community and I hope that you continue to look to us and come to know what DKos is all about.  We are not all that diffferent from your traditional constituencies.  The only difference is, we found a way to make our voices heard better.  Continue to treat us with respect and listen to our concerns and you can count on a fiercly loyal and effective base of support from us.

    Thank you again for stopping by.  I, and I am sure all of my fellow Kossacks, thank you for being willing to speak with us.

  •  One wing of the Democrats marginalized labor.. (4.00)
    It was in the late 80s when the DLC was formed.  According to their own words, they were not getting enough money.  They decided to bypass the traditional bases of the party, and one of those was labor unions.  I believe the name of the article was "How the DLC Did It."

    Many of us here became aware of the group in the party in 2003.  We have been fighting ever since.  I would venture to say that most here get mailings from many activist groups, and we take part constantly in phone campaigns and letter writing.  

    This effort to move the party to the right happened while most did not pay attention.  Now we are paying attention.  The DNC chair has met with at least 3 labor unions, though it never got much attention.  DFA has worked closely with several, one in particular.  

    I think you may have gotten the wrong impression from this site.  If there is something specific we need to do,  and a way to do will get done.  

    It was not us who failed to share the party with the union workers.  We did not realize it until a certain controversial candidate pointed it. Then we started our research.  And guess what, it was true.

    If you offer a plan, something specific that we can help will get your help.  

    "I'm willing to say things that are not popular but ordinary people know are right." Howard Dean

    by floridagal on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 06:58:23 PM PDT

  •  Support CAFTA? No fucking way, senor. (4.00)
    We ought to string up some of these fast-talking, do-nothing trade negotiators and use them as pinatas.

    I am a Democrat and Liberal because of my economic experiences, not because of my lifestyle choices. If the Democratic Party wants Labor to return to the fold, the Party had better start working for economic justice as its primary philosophy instead of a narrow grab-bag of  bourgeois special interests. I can not think of anything more basic than economic justice. It is the only thing that each of us working class stiffs have in common.

    A major problem with the Democratic Party has been the weakening of the labor movement in America. It has left the Democratic Party with fewer people with the ability to articulate  the experience of having battled the Corporate Right on economic issues.

    Hell, most of the leaders of the Party would be classified as members of management or the professional class with little to no experience of the labor struggle from labor's perspective.

    I can not tell you how sick it makes me to see the Democratic Party represented predominantly by well-heeled, college educated leaders and "consultants" who never were threatened with violence or intimidated by management goons, or walked a strike line, or worked a job that was physically exhausting over a long period of time. Yet these folk dare mention their fidelity to the problems of the "working man?"

    The Party is filled to the gills with blow-dried social climbers who infect the Democratic Party apparatus and are using it as a vehicle to advance their own careers as much or even more than any policy they advocate.  

    Who speaks for us blue collar laborers, then?

    I don't know.

    Ralph Nader, perhaps?

    He sure was talking about the class struggle more than any Democrat I have heard lately.

    What I and anyone else knows who has worked in a mill for any period of time is that it is an anathema to raise the retirement age past 65, yet some "alleged" Democratic Party politicians speak of raising the retirement age.

    I refer to these people as "soft-hand" Democrats, those who have only a theoretical understanding of the class struggle.

    it reminds me of what John Stuart Mill said.

    "There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home."

    Until Democratic Party leaders have walked the walk, I do not trust their talk.

    When profits gained on investments by wealthy folks are taxed at lower rates than the sweat off my brow, there is something seriously wrong. The percent of federal tax from individuals has risen and corporate taxes have fallen, while corporate earnings have increased 15% over the last several years and worker's wages have stagnated.

    I grew up with a dad who was a tool and die maker, 42 years as a UAW man. My first job was a third shift in a textile mill. In America both industries look like a bomb hit them. Had a foreign power done to American manufacturing what run-away globalization has done we would have declared war.

    I am with you Representative Miller. I have lived the mill life. It gives you your life, it takes it away, too.

    But, unless you can get those brilliant and oh-so-full-of-themselves pointy headed college grads that run your party to focus on the problems of the working person, you and the rest of us haven't a chance and I see no way that is  going to happen without massive economic turmoil first.

    Maybe Lenin was right. It will have to get a lot worse before it gets any better.
    •  Thank you (none)
      Screw the consultants.  Screw the lobbyist.  Screw the opportunistic lawyers.  We need to start running teachers, cops, nurses, factory workers, and union presidents for office.


      by DWCG on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 05:54:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Work vs. Wealth (4.00)
    This message resonates with Democratic workers and peoples of many stripes who are not wedded to passive income.  Why should a secretary pay a greater share of income in taxes then the CEO?  Or not be able to afford health insurance while the super rich collect dividends from inherited wealth?  

    Unfortunately, John Edwards' value driven message has fallen by the wayside.  It would have worked in 2004.  It is a challenge to us all to do better.  It should not be forgotten, but a clarion call of the Democratic Party.

    The message applies and can be extended across the spectrum of issues.  It goes to true values and offsets the fake values of the fudamentalist, Christian Rethugs.  

    Renew this call, Representative Miller, make it a mantra.  Learn how to communicate it in simple terms and pictures, and I believe there will be a growing unity among Democrats, Independents, and even some fair minded Republicans who see the cliff at the end of the road we are travelling under the present regime.  

  •  Thank You For Posting (none)
    In my view, the Democratic Party must continue to be vocal and insistent on an agenda that all working people can relate to and embrace.

    For example, these issues:

    • Revise overtime standards so no one is excluded by Bush Administration changes

    • Raise the minimum wage to $7.25

    • Pass the Employee Free Choice Act to revive and open up the pent-up demand for labor union organizing and representation

    • Keep the option of college open to poor and middle-class families by increasing Pell Grants to at least the level promised by President Bush during his 2000 campaign

    • Occupational safety and health must become a higher national priority.  OSHA must be funded at a level that provides clear protection on the job for all U.S. workers and not be the empty shell it is today.

    • Support a tax system that taxes capital gains and dividends and at the same rate as wages and tips, as a matter of simple fairness

    And, of course:

    - Keep Social Security secure!

    One more thing, and dare I say it, because no one in American politics will:

    - Start debating the possibilities for a shorter work week in the U.S.  If you ask most working people, the desire to have more time for themselves and their families is the overlooked time bomb in modern life.  The eight-hour day is now 70 years old.  It's time to move towards an improvement in the living standards, not just cost-of-living, for Americans.

    "I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it." -- Voltaire

    by WaitingForLefty on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 07:46:08 PM PDT

  •  For what it's worth... (none)
    Here's a garment manufacturer in North Carolina that's struggled along over the years.

    I know the original "Cheap Joe" very well, he created and owned the brand. He sold eventually sold it to another firm who has stuck with the garment business through thick and thin over the years. They maintained the copyright over the years Joe's now back and they're getting the jeans business back on line.

    If you visit the site you'll see they've now gotten, guess what? A contract for military uniforms. So the company has some breathing space for now.
  •  huh?????? (4.00)
    I'll gladly share the Party with people who WORK for a living.  I thought THAT'S WHAT WE'RE ALL ABOUT.

    Tell your Party colleagues in both houses of Congress who just collect lucre from lobbyists and then screw workers that we don't want to share the Party with THEM.

    You know who they are.

    Now GIT.  Take your goddam guilt trip and tell THEM to shape up or get the hell out.
  •  I appreciate the sentiment (none)
    And I appreciate your posting at Kos, Rep. Miller. I know NC's been hit hard by manufacturing job losses.

    But while dK is a big enough tent to include some globalization fans, they don't have anything like the influence that the well-heeled globalization fans in D.C. have on policy. So while you're whipping up the grass roots to root for the little guy, I hope you're also holding the industrialists at arm's length. I'd be surprised if more than a handful of the members here have ever moved production to, say, China.

    It might not hurt to start with the U.S. automakers, who are quick to wave flags around and blast jingoistic country songs to get us to buy cars that are less domestic than the average Toyota.
  •  Defintely (none)
    It should, in fact, be the party of factory workers before the party of kossacks, if that was ever a choice to make -- but I expect that we would never have to make that, as I don't think anyone here supports CAFTA. Or NAFTA. And hopefully, none of them ever did. That's one of the main reasons I dislike and distrust the Clintons. NAFTA. And that fact that he doubletalked about it, acting like he was going to put some qualifiers in it, while he was campaigning, and then dropped them without even a fight once he got in office. Just like he dropped everything else.

    I appreciate your being here, Congressman.

    I do have a question for other kossacks though -- are we sure it's legal for elected officials to be posting here? Does it violate any "political communication" laws, or is this what acbonin and kos an*d jerome are fighting about?

    If th' meek ever do inherit th' earth some one'll git it away from 'em before they have it an hour

    by NorthStarDemocrat on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 10:26:10 PM PDT

  •  I DON'T THINK SO. (none)
    I'm sorry. If you want to bring people together, you messed up.

    The Democratic Party was the party of factory workers a long time before it was the party of DKos.

    Excuse me? Have you been reading dKos? Statistically speaking, we have been infinitely more supportive of factory workers and blue collar workers of all kinds than the voters of your state have been of the diverse population of dKos and our country.

    Let me be absolutely clear. Read this site and see all the diaries RAILING against the abuse of working Americans by the repugnut elite.


    Your people there in North BY GOD Carolina have been voting their knee-jerk reactions against their econonic interests for a long time. That is, they have actively and repeatedly endorsed their evangelical, racist, homophibic, mysogynist "pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by" against FOOD ON THEIR TABLE and and a better life for their children.


    Don't you tell me that white working people in North Carolina didn't vote for Jesse bleeping Helms...


    Don't you tell me that NC people didn't vote for representatives (republican) that favored corporate interests in EVERY ELECTION!!!

    So who did all this?  You tell me.

    You want to blame someone who didn't look past the end of their noses, who wasn't taking care of them...Do.  Not.  Even.  Start with the Democrats.  Don't even go there.  Start with the Republicans.  Start with the fear-mongers.  Start with their pastors.  But don't you dare come into our house and blame us.

    We're on their side more than they are on ours.

    Yes, I'm glad you took the time to come here. But are you willing to listen as well as talk?

    "I love mankind; it's people I can't stand." --Linus/Peanuts

    by homogenius on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 10:31:12 PM PDT

    •  well... (none)
      Yes, I'm glad you took the time to come here. But are you willing to listen as well as talk?

      Doesn't seem like it.  Unlike say, John Conyers, who believes leading, and having a real dialogue, this Congressman has decided to "tweak" us.  (see his comment upthread) I find that presumptuous, and unproductive.

      Don't get me wrong.  I'm sure he's a real good guy. And I like a lot of what he says. Politically, and in terms of labor issues, I'm WAY in his camp.

      But I think the good Congressman just modeled absolutely inept coalition-building with this diary.

      I'm in the minority, obviously.  Gotta say, though -- I'm pretty surprised at the kneejerk ass-kissing that goes on of politicians who bless us by posting here sometimes.  Especially in this case.  

      In my opinion, you can't come on here as a Congressman and expect deference.  Respect, yes -- but only if given.  And if you give us a solid issue and a way to help you, we've got your back.  See:  Conyers, Boxer, Slaughter, et al.

      I'll support the Congressman every danged step of the way when he's willing to use this site constructively.   That would include things like -- oh, giving us notice about important House stuff coming up, like the legislation he mentions.  Instead he decided to assume we're all snotty rich yuppies who don't want to "share the party" with factory workers, because we didn't get on it ourselves, to his satisfaction.

      I call bullshit on that.  I'm sure you're a great guy, congressman, sir.  But this is a bad way of getting the job done.  
    •   As the screws tighten (none)
      I believe the RatPubs will fall from power by pushing the masses into soup/bread lines.

      When you can't feed your family, issues like tolerance for Gays, abortion, and your right to own assault weapons will become irrelavant.

      America is now a Plutocracy - governance by the wealthy. Plutocracies have always ended badly.

      by CitizenOfEarth on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 07:55:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bread & Butter Issues Are Class Warfare & (none)
    with class warfare we'll scare the middle and then we'll lose cuz the scared middle won't vote for class warfare.

    so sayeth the DLC Consultant-ocracy that brought us the resounding victories of '88, '94, ... , '00, '02, '04.

    "victories" you say? but we lost !!

    no, we won, well except for willie horton and harry and louise and wto turtle protestors and ralph nader in florida and ... and swift boat lies and men kissing men, AND threats of class warfare !!  

    (shhh, don't tell anyone about the dems who voted for bankruptcy "reform" and the patriot act ... )

    •  The Middle Class (none)
      make $40,000 per year per family.  If you make more than that you're not really middle class, you're doing well.  Today "middle class" doesn't really reflect what the mean average is for most Americans.  

      Most people are idiots... But don't tell them. It'll spoil all the fun for those of us who aren't.

      by d3n4l1 on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 11:43:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  THESE issues are our issues. (none)
    We keep wondering what we stand for.  The real world for most Americans, not us Rich net savvy elites, is in this realm.  If we want to win back America it starts with respect to this reality.  

    Most people are idiots... But don't tell them. It'll spoil all the fun for those of us who aren't.

    by d3n4l1 on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 11:41:55 PM PDT

  •  <p>Labor (etc.) Appropriation.</p> (none)

    The congressman is right. When I read the story in WashPost (they cover Congress; it's the local industry), it seemed to me that Bush planned to pay for his famous "medicare-drug" iniatitive by cutting other programs in the same pot.

  •  Early warnings on bills affecting Labor (none)
    Here's one for you -  currently in committee:

    HR 2831 IH

    109th CONGRESS

    1st Session

    H. R. 2831
    To amend title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of
    1974 and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make improvements in
    benefit accrual standards.


    June 9, 2005
    Mr. BOEHNER introduced the following bill; which was referred to the
    Committee on Education and the Workforce, and in addition to the
    Committee on Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently
    determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such
    provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

    A BILL
    To amend title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of
    1974 and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make improvements in
    benefit accrual standards.


    This Act may be cited as the `Pension Preservation and Portability
    Act of 2005'.

    Especially of note:

    (c) Effective Date- The amendments made by this section shall apply
    to plan years beginning before, on, or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

    This is retroactive

    Please let your representatives know that we will not stand for retroactive stealing of promised pensions from American workers.

    _As I was going up the stair, I met a man who wasn't there. He wasn't there again today. I wish, I wish, he'd go away._

    by Clues on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 04:43:45 AM PDT

    •  "Improvements" - oh how they spin (none)
      When a memo from corporate comes with the tag "Congratulations, you've been upgraded!", then bend over to recieve your new reward.

      This Congress is a mob of financial terrorists.

      America is now a Plutocracy - governance by the wealthy. Plutocracies have always ended badly.

      by CitizenOfEarth on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 07:22:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  factory worker put through school (none)
    I worked in plastics for four years, in a non-union factory.  I struggled to put myself through school, helped to make conditions for workers better, because we were non-union. I initiated a safety committee to analyze and troubleshoot safety issues, and come up with protocol that helped reduce accidents.  

    I helped raise money for simple breakroom "extras" like a coffee machine, microwave, and small comforts.  I often worked as a liason between operators and Administration to address concerns.

    I saw many people miscarry, and get injured.  I am first and foremost in favor of improving workers conditions, AND keep their jobs in the US.  My focus, in particular would be to suggest that lower energy and water costs would be of enourmous incentive to keep factories profitable.  I believe that energy efficiency is key to lowering costs.  

    Instead, companies rail about labor costs and insurance, which no doubt are issues that need to be addressed, but imagine if every small factory was hooked up to a fuel cell, or run by a clean and low cost energy source.  Our production capacity would improve immensely.  The Chinese have hydroelectric, which is very cheap, we cannot compete with that using oil.  

    Where there are factory closures, there needs to be retraining, either through community colleges, or through local initiatives to provide high quality training in targeted fields that are locally relevant, and would benefit local economies.
  •  Need advocates (none)
    Earlier diaries have observed that labor issues don't get as much attention as they deserve on dKos, and I agree with that assessment.

    Teacherken has a current diary. We would not see enough discussion of educational issues without his work. I am eager to read and recommend diaries from those in the middle of the labor movement. There have been occasional, valuable diaries on labor topics, but we could use some contributors who regularly highlight current labor topics.

    I've got blisters on my fingers!

    by Elwood Dowd on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 06:59:18 AM PDT

  •  Education President gutting education (none)
    What a surprise. It is interesting how the 'Man-Chimp' harped on his support for education in all the presidental debates. Education was his answer to virtually every question.

    Hell, if it costs rich people money, he'll stalk it, shot it and gut it -- then feast on the entrails.

    And where is the MSM on this subject. Silent accomplices as usual.

    America is now a Plutocracy - governance by the wealthy. Plutocracies have always ended badly.

    by CitizenOfEarth on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 07:05:56 AM PDT

  •  Proposals to address dislocation (none)
    Good article, Congressman.  I am from Georgia, originally (was run out a long time ago).

    I'd like to speak with you about some programs that address and attempt to avert economic dislocation.

    My agency, the Steel Valley Authority, has managed an industrial retention program for 15 years in W. Pa.  We are expanding it statewide with the support of Gov. Rendell.  I made a presentation recently on this approach to the Tennessee AFL-CIO and the employment programs of Tenn.

    I wrote a "Layoff Aversion Guidebook" for states, under a contract with the Clinton DOL, but the Bush admin. banned it (literally).  The book, nonetheless, has been distributed widely to states.  

    My web site is under the jobs section.   My email address is  Our accompanying capital strategies website is  The Network, with the leadership of the Steelworkers, has helped develop major new private equity funds capitalized by union pensions.

    keep up the good work.

    Tom Croft
    Executive Director
  •  The benefit of freer trade is cheaper imports (none)
    The benefits of freer trade are precisely the fact that we get:

    (a) cheaper imports for consumers,

    (b) cheaper imported inputs for our domestic firms and hence lower production costs, and

    (c) high-cost industries are put out of business in the face of international competition, and, therefore, resources like labor and capital are freed up and cheaper for domestic firms.  This is another reason why freer trade can cause domestic firms to have lower production costs.

    It is consumers and domestic firms that are not in import-competing industries that are net gainers from trade.  Of course, due to greater international competition, import-competing industries are usually net losers from freer trade.  Economic theory can easily show that the gains to the winners are greater than the losses to the losers from freer trade.

    The issue of whether trade leads to a greater or lower number of jobs is moot because it is the Federal Reserve through monetary policy that determines the number of jobs in the economy.  If the economy's unemployment rate is at the NAIRU, and greater trade barriers lower unemployment below the NAIRU, then the Fed will raise interest rates until unemployment returns to the NAIRU.  Let's say the economy is in a recession where unemployment is above the NAIRU, and trade barriers are imposed and they lower unemployment to some lower level above the NAIRU.  Then the Fed lowers interest rates and thereby gets the unemployment rate back to the NAIRU.  Even in this case, the presence of the trade barrier makes no difference in terms of fighting unemployment.  If the trade barrier had not been imposed, the Fed would have gotten unemployment back to the NAIRU simply by lowering interest rates by a greater amount.  In general, if the raising of trade barriers somehow caused greater employment, then the Fed would exactly offset that rise in employment by raising interest rates.

    Trade does, however, change the mix of jobs in society.  But empirical evidence shows that the effect historically has not been large, and technological change is the main driver of the change in the mix of jobs.

    Disaster 2004 is a case study in why Democrats must change media coverage of their candidates

    by bobbypelgrift on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 07:53:29 AM PDT

  •  The factory workers need to start (none)
    voting for their economic interests rather than for guns and abortion.  Unless they do what is the party supposed to do?  
    Start talking the truth to people in NC and elsewhere about what unites us.  Let's educate the voters on how the republican party gets them worked up over issues like abortion to convince them to vote against their own interests.  Unless democrats in red states are willing to do that I don't think the situation will ever change.
    When the democratic party becomes the other socially conservative party many people who have always been loyal to the party will simply leave.

    Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

    by TeresaInPa on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 08:01:33 AM PDT

  •  The major challenge that I see everyday! (none)
    The Democratic Party was the party of factory workers a long time before it was the party of DKos. The Democratic Party has to be the party that cares about factory workers. If we are not, we have no future. And we don't deserve one.

    This is a key paradox for me!  The Dem party probably is the party that most cares about workers' rights and workers' quality of life, but somehow in the last 20 years or so, the Repubs have been seen by these same workers as the party that most represents them!  We all know this is not true, but this myth seems to be srongly taking hold for reasons that I just am uncertain about. Maybe its any job is better than no job, and repubs supply ? more jobs, but do they??  Maybe its the other group protections, like civl rights and religious freedoms, that the Dems stand for that turn off many white working class people.  The bottom line, Representative, is how do we convince these factory workers what is likely true today, and that has been true for the last 20 years when all this slippage has taken place despite reality?

    Political censorship is the root of all evil! It is the antithesis to a functional democracy!!

    by truthbetold on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 08:40:16 AM PDT

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