Doing Advance Work

News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

To Reps. Curbelo (R-Fla.) and Costello (R-Pa.): 50% of particles you breathe in Florida in summer are from Africa...Organisms in African dust infect coral reefs in Caribbean. Dust from Asia and Africa carries disease to US. A quarter of LA smog is from China-Washington Post, 2/6/2008...(Curbelo and Costello deny US climate 'action,' that $100 million+ US tax dollars daily are spent on alleged CO2 danger that's either nonexistent or exists only in China. Why? They have no conscience)

Death of Caribbean coral reefs caused by live organisms carried in African dust per USGS...In Florida in the summer, 50% of particles you breathe come from Africa....Hundreds of millions of tons of Asian dust regularly land in Northwestern US. African Sahara and Sahel dust carrying bacteria, fungus, and viruses reach southeast US in 3-5 days....One quarter of LA smog comes from China. Washington Post, 2/6/2008 

Feb. 6, 2008, "Dust Storms Overseas Carry Contaminants to U.S.," Washington Post, Doug Struck

Map, NASA, 6/2001, scroll down: "This TOMS [Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer] image shows a record-setting Asian dust cloud beginning its journey east across the Pacific. Click on the image to view a 440 kb animation of the dust cloud migrating to North America. Remember that as the dust disappears from the satellite's view, it's raining out of the air onto the ocean and the land. See a similar Asian dust cloud from 1998 in this animation,"
"Now, with NASA satellites and sampling by researchers around the world, scientists know that great billowing clouds of dust waft over the oceans in the upper atmosphere, arriving in North America from deserts in Africa and Asia.

Researchers have also found that the dust clouds contain not only harmful minerals and industrial pollutants, but also living organisms: bacteria, fungus and viruses that may transmit diseases to humans. Some say an alarming increase in asthma in children in the Caribbean is the consequence of dust blown from Africa, and predict they will find similar connections in the Southeast and Northwest United States.

Scientists are beginning to look at these dust clouds as possible suspects in transcontinental movement of diseases such as influenza and SARS in humans, or foot-and-mouth disease in livestock. Until recently, epidemiologists had looked at people, animals and products as carriers of the diseases. 

"We are just beginning to accumulate the evidence of airborne dust implications on human health," said William A. Sprigg, a climate expert at the University of Arizona. "Until now, it's been like the tree falling in the forest. Nobody heard, so nobody knew it was there." 

The World Meteorological Organization, a science arm of the United Nations, is alarmed enough to set up a global warning system to track the moving clouds of dust and to alert those in the path. Sprigg is heading the project.

He foresees a system soon in which forecasters can predict "down to the Zip code" the arrival of dust clouds. That forecast could prompt schools and nursing homes to keep their wards inside, and help public health doctors predict a surge of respiratory complaints.

Analysis of soil samples has long shown that minerals picked up from barren deserts reach distant shores, for good or bad. The Amazon rain forest in South America, for example, gets phosphate nutrients from dust blown in from northern Africa's Sahara Desert. 

Industrial development has added heavy metals and toxic chemicals to that airborne mix. Korea and Japan periodically chafe as storms of "Yellow Dust" wash over from China, bringing a caustic mix of sand and industrial pollutants. 

Map, Asia dust leaving April 6 reached Midwest US by April 13: "While much of the dust cloud remains over the Pacific Ocean, the leading edge has reached as far east as the American Midwest by April 13. Images such as this one are a principal tool for scientists who study aerosols.", 2001.

Even natural minerals can be harmful to humans, and dust-borne particles have been linked to annual meningitis outbreaks in Africa and silicosis lung disease in Kazakhstan and North Africa. The Dust Bowl storms of the 1930s in the United States brought graphic descriptions of choking sediment getting into the lungs of people and felling livestock.

But the advent of satellite images gave scientists a sobering look at how even faraway storms can reach us. 

Traveling for a week over the Pacific from the Gobi and Taklimakan deserts in Asia, clouds carrying hundreds of millions of tons of dust regularly reach the northwestern United States. From the Sahara and Sahel deserts in Africa and the East, they roll across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and reach the southeastern United States in three to five days.

Authorities in Los Angeles estimate that on some days, one-quarter of the city's smog comes from China. 

"There is plenty of evidence from space observations of the Northern Hemisphere that there is a persistent ring of industrial emission dust and other pollutants in the air. You can actually see this bathtub ring around the Northern Hemisphere," said Stanley A. Morain, who heads the Earth Data Analysis Center at the University of New Mexico and collaborates with Sprigg....

The dust swirls into the atmosphere containing plant pollens, fungal spores, dried animal feces, minerals, chemicals from fires and industry, and pesticide residues....Dust storms may be increasing as global warming and desertification expand arid areas....

Asthma in the Caribbean increased just as an African drought increased the amount of dust washing over the islands. Asthma has increased in Barbados 17 times since 1973, when the African drought began, according to a national study there, and researchers have documented an increase in pediatric hospital admissions when the dust storms are worst.

Scientists previously had thought bacteria and viruses picked up by the dust storms would die on long flights, when they are exposed to ultraviolet radiation and extreme temperatures. But three-inch African locusts have been found alive in the Caribbean after dust storms. 

In the late 1990s, Eugene Shinn, who was studying the widespread die-off of Caribbean coral reefs for the U.S. Geological Survey in Florida, began wondering if smaller living organisms came with the dust. He eventually linked live microbes brought from Africa to sea fan disease, which was infecting the coral. 

Shinn enlisted USGS microbiologist Dale Griffin. They and other colleagues devised a method of collecting air samples, using a contraption built with a vacuum pump from Home Depot drawing air through a two-inch round sterile filter.

In the first test, collected during a dusty day in 2000 over the Virgin Islands, Griffin said he thought they might find evidence of four or five different microorganisms growing colonies on the filter. Instead, he found 30 colonies, each with billions of cells.

"I did not expect that many," he said. "And we know that whatever grows on the filter represents only about 1 percent of what's really there. People just don't think about microorganisms moving around the atmosphere, at least that far."

Griffin said that "in Florida in the summer, when the dust storms are pulsing across, if you walk outside and breathe, 50 percent of the particles you breathe come from Africa," more than 4,000 miles away. They contain mold spores and bacteria that increase allergies and respiratory diseases. Shinn, who is now retired, said that there has not been enough response to these findings.

"No one in authority really wants to hear about this problem, even when it is known that African dust sporadically exceeds EPA air standards in places like Miami during the summer months," Shinn said in a letter recently. "No government agency wants to face this problem because no one knows what to do about it. 

"In my opinion, nothing will change regarding either African or Asian dust until we have a catastrophe such as a large-scale avian flu, West Nile virus, or some other deadly outbreak that cannot be explained away by the usual suspects," he said. "Meanwhile we will continue to employ agents to check for fruit in baggage and dirt on tourists' shoes while hundreds of millions of tons of soil dust carrying live microbes continue to be transported unchecked overhead."

Unchecked, perhaps, but not unwatched. The early warning system being devised by Sprigg will track those storms, integrating the data with weather forecasts, so that local authorities have notice of one to three days to take precautions. Parts of the system have already been set up in China and Europe.

In addition to medical precautions, police can be warned about deteriorating driving visibility and airports can plan to reroute planes, Sprigg said. He said he hopes the next step will be more aggressive medical research to determine the composition and human health threats of what is in those dust clouds.

"I really see some practical applications here," he said. "We are just getting started.""


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Saturday, January 20, 2018

"Glad all Over," Dave Clark Five, released in 1964

"You say that you love me (say you love me)
All of the time (all of the time)
You say that you need me (say you need me)
You'll always be mine (always be mine)
I'm feelin' glad all over
Yes I'm-a glad all over
Baby I'm glad all over
So glad you're mine

I'll make you happy (make you happy)
You'll never be blue (never be blue)
You'll have no sorrow (have no sorrow)
Cause I'll always be true (always be true)
And I'm feelin' glad all over
Yes I'm-a glad all over
Baby I'm-a glad all over
So glad you're mine

Other girls may try to take me away (take me away)
But you know, it's by your side I will stay
I'll stay
Our love will last now (our love will last)
Till the end of time (end of time)
Because this love now (because this love)
Is gonna be yours and mine (yours and mine)
And I'm feelin' glad all over
Yes I'm-a glad all over
Baby I'm glad all over
So glad you're mine

Other girls may try to take me away (take me away)
But you know, it's by your side I will stay
I'll stay
All of our lives now (all of our lives)
Till the end of time (end of time)
Because this love now (because this love)
Is only yours and mine (yours and mine)
And I'm feelin' glad all over
Yes I'm-a glad all over
Baby I'm-a glad all over
So glad you're mine
I'm so glad you're mine now
I'm so, I'm so glad you're mine
I'm-a so glad you're mine now

© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
For non-commercial use only.

You have only yourselves to blame. You chose to ignore longtime Democrat voters. 6.7-9.2 million Obama voters bypassed Mrs. Clinton and voted for Trump in 2016. It's unlikely you'll ever get these voters back-NY Times, Washington Post

12/7/2016, "Valerie Jarrett says Trump election felt 'like a punch in the stomach'," Chicago Tribune, Kim Janssen


That between 6.7 and 9.2 million Obama voters would bypass Mrs. Clinton and become Trump voters in 2016 should've surprised no one. 
The 6.7 to 9.2 million Obama to Trump voters were "far more than enough to provide Trump his electoral College victory."..."The biggest common denominator among Obama-Trump voters is a view that the political system is corrupt and doesn’t work for people like them."...

6/8/17, "The Democratic Party Is in Worse Shape Than You Thought," NY Times, Thomas B. Edsall, commentary 

Democrat Party exodus 2011-2017:

Dec. 2017, "Party Hoppers: Understanding Voters Who Switched Partisan Affiliation," Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, Author: Robert Griffin (formerly with Center for American Progress and others)

*While most Obama to Trump voters once identified as Democrats, a majority now identify as Republicans. Since 2011, there has been a 28 percent decline in Democratic identification and a 43 percent increase in Republican identification among these voters....

Partisan affiliation is one of the most stable features of the modern American electorate. While individuals’ feelings toward politicians or their attitudes about policy can change quickly, partisanship is a deep-seated identity resistant to change."...


In Ohio, thousands of Democrats were changing parties:

7/18/2016, "Outside Cleveland, thousands of Democrats are becoming Republicans," CNN, Mahoning County, Ohio 


Fat Cats simply say Ohio Democrat voters are "not modern enough, not educated enough, not willing to adjust" to a party that prioritizes unisex bathrooms above economic issues:

4/5/2017, "Democrats are still ignoring the people who could have helped them defeat Trump, Ohio Party leaders say," Washington Post, William Wan

Worst of all, they said, the party hadn't learned from what they saw as the biggest message from November's election: Democrats have fallen completely out of touch with America's blue-collar voters...."After everything that’s happened, if we as a party still aren’t speaking to them, then we are never getting them back.”...During the [2016] primaries, he learned that 18 of his own Democratic precinct captains had crossed party lines to vote for Trump. Some areas had to print extra Republican primary ballots just to keep up with the demand.

“That’s when I knew something was wrong,” he said.

He warned [Mrs.] Clinton that she had lost all credibility with working-class voters by waffling on trade and offering tepid solutions.
That geographic disconnect has translated into policies that alienate the heartland, [Ohio Democrat Rep. Marcy] Kaptur said, overlooking, for example, the devastation of globalized free trade on places such as Ohio. “They paid lip service to it, but the underlying attitude was, ‘You’re not modern enough, not educated enough, not willing to adjust,’ Kaptur said....Trump not only flipped the state [of Ohio] but also won by the largest margin of any presidential candidate since 1988."...  


Added: "Non-college voters" aren't exactly a fringe group:

Maps above from Dec. 2017, "Party Hoppers: Understanding Voters Who Switched Partisan Affiliation," Democracy Fund Voter Study Group 


11/9/2016, "Obama tried to stay upbeat about the elections. These pictures of grim White House aides tell another story." Washington Post, David Nakamura


Friday, January 19, 2018

Google suspends part of its fact checking operation after mistakes, blames algorithm. Critiqued article didn't claim all 17 Mueller attorneys were Hillary supporters, just that at least 9 of the 17 were-Poynter

"Disclosure: Both Poynter and the International Fact-Checking Network receive funding from Google."
1/19/18, "Google suspends fact-checking feature over quality concerns,", Daniel Funke 

"Google is suspending a search feature that displayed fact checks associated to publishers after receiving criticism from conservative news outlets. 

“We launched the reviewed claims feature in our Knowledge Panel at the end of last year as an experiment with the aim of helping people quickly learn more about news publications,” a Google spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Poynter. “We said previously that we encountered challenges in our systems that maps fact checks to publishers, and on further examination it’s clear that we are unable to deliver the quality we’d like for users.”

A spokesperson for Google further clarified to Poynter on Friday that the tech company isn’t ending its fact-checking efforts altogether — just the Reviewed Claims section of its Knowledge Panel feature. Fact checks from independent organizations will still appear alongside articles in search and Google News. (Disclosure: Both Poynter and the International Fact-Checking Network receive funding from Google.)

Google launched the Knowledge Panel feature in November [2017] on mobile and desktop in an effort to display information about specific publishers in search. Part of that feature included a Reviewed Claims column that matched outlets’ disputed claims with fact checks contributed by independent fact-checking organizations to the ClaimReview markup

That feature came under fire last week, as Poynter reported, when The Daily Caller published a story lambasting Google for wrongly appending a Washington Post Fact Checker debunk to one of its stories about Robert Mueller’s investigation team.

"Google's algorithm erroneously linked a Washington Post fact check to a Daily Caller article about Mueller's investigation team. The claim in question was never made in the piece. (Screenshot from Google)."

Several other right-wing outlets picked up the story, which also took issue with the publishers that Google was — and wasn’t — applying the Reviewed Claims feature to. Google told Poynter on Friday that the decision to suspend Reviewed Claims resulted in part because of The Daily Caller’s complaint, as well as feedback from other users. 

Going forward, Google’s spokesperson said that they’re working to figure out how to improve the Reviewed Claims feature before re-launching it, adding that the company conducts about 150,000 experiments like that a year. While the feature won’t be scrapped entirely, they could not provide a timeframe for its reinstatement."


Added: 1/19/18, "Google Suspends Fact Check Project, crediting TheDCNF Investigation With Decision," Daily Caller, Eric Lieberman 

"Perhaps most importantly, many of the fact-checks were wrong. One of the purported reviewed claims was for an article [excerpted below] that straightforwardly reported that yet another member of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team was a donor for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama.

Google attributed the fact-check to The Washington Post, something it’s vice president of communications took issue with....

Google removed that single purported fact-check at the time of TheDCNF’s initial inquiries, but there were several others that were also false, if not all of them."...


Excerpt from Daily Caller article linked above: 17th attorney, Freeny, hired for Mueller team as of 9/16/17 is a former Hillary donor as are at least 8 others on the team. Freeny also worked in the Obama White House for 7 months in 2011:

9/16/2017, "Mueller Picks Another Clinton/Obama Donor For Russia Probe Team," Daily Caller, Chuck Ross

"Freeny is the 17th attorney identified as a member of Mueller’s investigative team....

(RELATED: Mueller Hires Yet Another Democratic Donor [Aug. 2017])

Freeny, who joined DOJ in 2007, has something in common with at least eight of her Mueller team members.

According to documents maintained by the Federal Election Commission, Freeny has donated in each of the past three presidential elections to Democratic nominees, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

She donated $250 on three separate occasions, on Sept. 13, 2008, June 30, 2012 and Sept. 9, 2016.

For seven months in 2011, Freeny worked as an attorney in the Obama White House on security clearance issues....

The nine lawyers who have given to Democrats have shelled out nearly $65,000 in donations altogether."...



Thursday, January 18, 2018

CNN speaks to 5 of the 7000 Mahoning County, Ohio Democrats who voted for Trump. CNN: How big is immigration issue to all of you? "Huge." "Huge." CNN: Really? "Absolutely." CNN: In Youngstown, Ohio? "Absolutely."-Jan. 16, 2018, CNN transcript, Real Clear Politics

CNN interviews 5 Democrats from Youngstown, Ohio who voted for Trump including a black woman, a white woman, a black male, and two white males. CNN was surprised when they all said immigration was a "huge" issue: One said, "I feel like when people come here illegally, that's just very disrespectful."
..."Trump not only flipped the state [of Ohio] but also won by the largest margin of any presidential candidate since 1988.

1/16/18, "CNN Focus Group Of Trump Supporters: "Better Than I Ever Would Have Dreamt"," Real Clear Politics, Ian Schwartz

"Trump supporters speak with CNN's Martin Savidge about their thoughts on the President's progress and performance a year into office. The panel included two white males, a black woman, a white woman and a black male from Youngstown, Ohio. They range from pastor to student to machine worker.

All panelists agreed that immigration was a huge issue to them. 

Transcript, via CNN [posted below this video]:


"MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Anywhere you look in Youngstown are reminders of what's been lost: factories, jobs, the city's been lost: factories, jobs, the city's population is down by almost two-thirds from the 1950s.

The economy wasn't just disappearing here. So was a way of life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I realized that the core foundation of our country is slipping away. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It got to a point where I did not like the direction that my country was going. 

SAVIDGE (voice-over): The answer for many was Donald Trump. In 2016, according to the Mahoning County Board of Elections, approximately 7,000 registered Democrats who switched parties to become Republicans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said he was going to make America first and he was going to bring jobs back. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump said these are lousy trade deals. We fix that and the jobs can come back. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Something that he said that really sticks with me is that he wants to give the power back to the American people, and that's something that I can certainly get behind. 

SAVIDGE (voice-over): I'm with a pastor and a stay-at-home mom, a student, a machine shop worker and a union member, Democrats who were raised in Democrat families, who crossed over to vote Trump.

SAVIDGE: We're one year, one year in. How is he doing? 



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Better than I ever would have dreamt. And I mean that sincerely. 

SAVIDGE: Really? 


SAVIDGE: Derek? 

DEREK: Yes, I agree. 


DEREK: Yes, he's doing wonderful. He's staying on task.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): We start with the hot-button topic of the moment.

SAVIDGE: How big an issue to all of you is immigration?



SAVIDGE: Really?


SAVIDGE: In Youngstown, Ohio?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. And as far as I'm concerned, they're stealing jobs of rightful citizens. 

SAVIDGE (voice-over): It is also about something else Trump voters say is important, rules and respect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like when people come here illegally, that's just very disrespectful. You don't respect our laws and you shouldn't be able to come here free-wheeling like that.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): A year later, they all still want the wall. As for the president's inflammatory tweets and speech, Gino says he used to cringe. Not anymore.

SAVIDGE: So you don't cringe anymore because you've grown numb to it or --

GINO: No, not numb at all but I know what he's done and I'm starting to get an inkling why he uses Twitter in the way he does because if all he had to rely on is what people say about him, oh, my God, I might not like the guy. And I love the guy. I love the job he's doing. 

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Justice met Trump at a rally and says he is not a racist.

JUSTICE: He was just the nicest person and honestly, he could have -- if he was a racist, as everyone paints him out to be, he could have just walked right past me and not even said a word. 

SAVIDGE (voice-over): What about the lies? ["The lies?" What lies?] 

SAVIDGE: Well, let me ask you this, do you think he is a liar? 

GINO: Do I think he's lied? No. Do I think he's fallen short in some of his goals? We all do. 

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Economically, they say things are getting better. The stock market and their home values are up. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Industries are booming everywhere I've seen. 

SAVIDGE: I look around here and I don't see a boom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, in this area, no, but I feel like there's small businesses that are starting to pick up. 

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Derek says Trump's tax reform will fuel the recovery.

DEREK: If you expand your business in the inner city, so then my community will benefit from this tax cut. 

SAVIDGE: Do you think the media gives the president a fair shake? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think so at all.


SAVIDGE (voice-over): One year later, these voters couldn't be happier. They see achievement, most of all, they see a president like them. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's like tenacious sometimes and says stuff off the cuff, like we do. Like real Americans do. We're not perfect. I'm tired of suave, I'm tired of polished, I'm tired of the teleprompter. I am, I want my country back.""

Below, Trump speaking in Youngstown, 3/14/16:


Image: On eve of 2016 Ohio GOP primary: "Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Winner Aviation in Youngstown, Ohio, March 14, 2016. Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein"

Added: More on Mahoning County Democrats voting for Trump, Washington Post, 4/5/2017, and CNN, 7/18/2016, "Outside Cleveland, thousands of Democrats are becoming Republicans," CNN, Mahoning County, Ohio 

18 Mahoning County, Ohio Democratic precinct captains crossed party lines to vote for Trump in the 2016 GOP primary (4 months before a single email had been released). GOP yard signs popped up in the Ohio Dem. stronghold. "Trump not only flipped the state [of Ohio] but also won by the largest margin of any presidential candidate since 1988." (4/5/17, Wash. Post)

4/5/2017, "Democrats are still ignoring the people who could have helped them defeat Trump, Ohio Party leaders say," Washington Post, William Wan

"The dinner was supposed to be a Democratic strategy session for an upcoming county election. But the mood grew darker as conversation turned toward the future of their party. 

One by one, members of the Mahoning County Democratic Party poured out their frustrations: Just months after the presidential election, they felt folks like them were being forgotten — again. The party’s comeback strategy was being steered by protesters, consultants and elitists from New York and California who have no idea what voters in middle America care about. 

Mahoning Cty, Ohio
But worst of all, they said, the party hadn't learned from what they saw as the biggest message from November's election: Democrats have fallen completely out of touch with America's blue-collar voters.

“It doesn’t matter how much we scream and holler about jobs and the economy at the local level. Our national leaders still don’t get it,” said David Betras, the county’s party chair. “While Trump is talking about trade and jobs, they’re still obsessing about which bathrooms people should be allowed to go into.

Others around the restaurant table nodded.

Since the election, Democrats have been swallowed up in an unending cycle of outrage and issues that have little to do with the nation’s working class, they said, such as women’s marches, fighting Trump’s refugee ban and advocating for transgender bathroom rights. 

The party’s national leaders have focused on decrying Trump, opposing his Supreme Court pick and tying his administration to Russia. That approach — trying to defeat Trump solely by attacking him and his policies — already has failed once, many at the dinner said.

Meanwhile, they think few are talking about issues that really matter to people in places such as Youngstown: Stagnant wages, vanishing jobs and sputtering economies. Even the Democrats’ recent success in blocking Trump’s attempt to repeal President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act matters little in the face of those core interests, local party leaders said. And unless the party begins addressing those blue-collar issues, they said, there will be real and dire consequences in states like theirs.

In more than a dozen interviews, party leaders across Ohio — from local precinct captains to the handful of Democrats who remain in Congress — said they are deeply worried.

“Every time Trump so much as sneezes, we as a party are setting our hair on fire and running around like it’s the end of the world,” Betras said as the dinner wound down. “Most people around here don’t care. They are living paycheck to paycheck, just trying to hold on. After everything that’s happened, if we as a party still aren’t speaking to them, then we are never getting them back. 

Since Trump’s election, the movement against him has injected newfound energy and purpose into the left. The argument that has emerged from key heartland states — where Democrats lost by narrow margins — is that the party’s new focal point needs to be economic issues. 

Ohio’s Democratic Party has launched kitchen-table conversations to reorganize its agenda around economic concerns. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown recently unveiled a 77-page proposal for populist, pro-worker initiatives that could serve as a blueprint for the national party.

But the most forceful move came in U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan’s failed attempt to wrest control of the House minority leadership from Nancy Pelosi. In his pitch to fellow Democrats, the Ohio lawmaker argued that there is something fundamentally broken in the party’s relationship with the workers who once made up its base.

Ryan said he believes the Democratic Party must move economic issues back to the fore and frame all its goals through that lens. Instead of talking about the environment, he said in a phone interview, Democrats should focus on creating green jobs. Instead of re-litigating old fights, he said, Democrats should propose new ideas and dare Republicans to shoot them down, such as a new project to lay broadband fiber nationwide to boost jobs and productivity.

During the recent fight over Obamacare, for example, he and other Ohio Democrats focused their arguments on not only who would lose coverage under the Republican plan, but also the health-care jobs that would be lost and the funding that would be cut for opioid treatment in working-class areas struggling with addiction.

“We have to be constantly pulling it back toward the hurt that working-class people are experiencing,” Ryan said.

Most acknowledge the need for a stronger economic message, but there has been pushback against the idea of chasing white working-class voters to the detriment of minorities and social issues. There is also disagreement over how important blue-collar voters were in November’s loss, with blame ranging from [alleged] Russian hacking, late-game interference by the FBI director, the flaws of Hillary Clinton and her campaign strategy.

Others take offense at the idea of ceding focus on causes such as gay rights, anti-Muslim discrimination, racial disparity, abortion and women’s rights for the sake of votes.

“It’s a false choice to say we have to decide between economic issues and civil rights. They’re all part of the larger problem of inequality that we should be fighting against,” said Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, which is bringing together party luminaries in May for an brainstorming conference. “There’s no easy answers, and we’re still at the very beginning of the ideas process.”"...

[Ed. note: Why can't you can't have both "economic issues" and "civil rights?"]

(continuing): "At a bar on the hollowed-out edges of Youngstown, Betras slid a memo dated May 12, 2016, across the table. It was then that he saw the wave of anger coming and tried to warn Clinton’s campaign.

“I know I am just a chairman but I am a chairman in the trenches,” Betras wrote in the three-page memo, begging Clinton to focus on jobs.

In Mahoning County — a Democratic stronghold decimated by the manufacturing industry’s decline — Betras was seeing GOP yard signs suddenly popping up. During the primaries, he learned that 18 of his own Democratic precinct captains had crossed party lines to vote for Trump. Some areas had to print extra Republican primary ballots just to keep up with the demand.
“That’s when I knew something was wrong,” he said.

He warned [Mrs.] Clinton that she had lost all credibility with working-class voters by waffling on trade and offering tepid solutions. He urged in his memo that she talk about infrastructure instead.

“The workers we’re talking about don’t want to run computers, they want to run back hoes, dig ditches, sling concrete block,” he wrote. “They’re not embarrassed about the fact that they get their hands dirty. . . . They love it and they want to be respected and honored for it.”

He sent his memo to Clinton’s top campaign adviser in Ohio and other senior party officials. But Betras never heard back. 

Months later, he said he thinks his party leaders still haven’t gotten the message.

He exploded with vulgar language while describing what happened with the Carrier deal, when Trump announced he had persuaded the air-conditioning company to keep more than 1,100 jobs in Indiana, a claim that drew skepticism. 

“You had Democrats criticizing Trump about the exact number of jobs he saved,” said Betras, noting how backward it was for his party to be attacking the president for fighting for jobs. “Saving jobs used to be what our f---ing party was all about,” he said, pounding his fist into the bar.

He pointed to an empty plate nearby.

“What Trump slapped onto his plate last election was a big juicy steak. Real or not — that’s what it looked like to the hungry working voter,” Betras said. “What the elitists in our Democratic Party did with their side issues was say, ‘Look at all this broccoli we have for you. Sure, there’s some meat pieces mixed in, too, but look at the broccoli.’”

When Ohio leaders talk about their party, they often recall the old days when its core depended on the typical union worker. Now, those workers feel taken for granted or outright abandoned, said U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), 70, whose district sits on Ohio’s northernmost edge. 

“Just look at the leadership in both parties,” said Kaptur, whose mother was an auto union organizer. The GOP’s recent leaders — House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), former speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) and Vice President Pence (Ind.) — have largely hailed from middle America, but top Democrats have not. House and Senate minority leaders Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) come from the wealthy, urban coasts.

That geographic disconnect has translated into policies that alienate the heartland, Kaptur said, overlooking, for example, the devastation of globalized free trade on places such as Ohio. “They paid lip service to it, but the underlying attitude was, ‘You’re not modern enough, not educated enough, not willing to adjust,’ ” Kaptur said.

In recent decades, Democrats have relied on a new base, a diverse mix of minorities, millennials, women, LGBT and college-educated voters — who had turned out in droves for Obama but not for Clinton.

To Kaptur, the two sides — this new diverse coalition and the traditional working-class voters she knows — represent the party’s future and past. But neither can win in the present without the other.

“We are like a two-winged creature in flight,” she said. “We’ve got one wing that deals with labor and economics and another that deals with social issues and ethnicity. And we have to find a way to fuse these two wings or we’re going to keep falling from the sky.”

For now, the Democratic future in Ohio looks bleak.

Trump not only flipped the state but also won by the largest margin of any presidential candidate since 1988

Lou Gentile, 37, was among the Ohio casualties in November. A rising local Democratic star, he lost his state Senate seat in a district struggling with coal mining declines in the Ohio Valley.

“It’s tough getting caught in this thing you have no control over,” he said while driving home after lunch with his former legislative aide in Columbus, the state’s capital. “Every day, you rehash what you could have done differently.”

The party’s losses have made it difficult to cultivate a strong bench for future elections, he said. It also has allowed Republicans to redraw Ohio’s districts, making it even more difficult for Democrats to claw their way back to relevancy.

“I’m worried about the party,” Gentile said. “If anything good comes out of this last cycle, I hope it’s that our national leaders finally get the message about what’s going on in places like this. We have to go back to basics — jobs, wages, the things that actually make a difference to people out here.”"


Comment: Good luck to Ohio Democrat voters. We know what it's like. Those running the Republican Party have no interest in voters either.


Title of video posted at top of post: "Ohio Voters Praise Trump’s First Year: He Is Doing “Better Than I Ever Would Have Dreamed”"


Even in 1888 low wage immigrants were putting American men out of work: Illustration in Puck Magazine

"A cartoon in Puck from 1888 attacked businessmen for welcoming large numbers of low paid immigrants, leaving the American men unemployed. [309]"


"It wasn't easy being funny in America (or anywhere, for that matter) back in the early 20th century—however, Puck locked it down by being the first successful humor magazine in the U.S. with political satire, and full-color cartoons. 

Running from 1871 to 1918, Puck reinforced American constitutional ideals while poking fun at famous political figures like James Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, and Theodore Roosevelt."



After 20 years of NAFTA, 1994-2014, 1 million U.S. jobs lost, doubling of desperate immigration from Mexico to US, downward pressure on US wages, middle class pay cuts, $360 million tax dollars paid to winners in autonomous NAFTA courts-Lori Wallach, Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch

"Loss of 1 million net U.S. jobs under NAFTA, growing income inequality, displacement of more than one million Mexican campesino farmers and a doubling of desperate immigration from Mexico, and more than $360 million paid to corporations after “investor-state” tribunals."

Feb., 2014, "NAFTA at 20: One Million U.S. Jobs Lost, Higher Income Inequality," Lori Wallach, Huffington Post (Lori Wallach is Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch)

"My New Year’s celebrations this year were haunted by memories of January 1, 1994--the day that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect. I remember crying that day, thinking about the proud men and women in union halls across America, the Mexican campesinos and the inspiring Canadian activists I had met during the fight against NAFTA, and hoping desperately that our dire predictions would be proved wrong. They were not. In short order, the damage started. And, we started to document it. 

For NAFTA’s unhappy 20th anniversary, Public Citizen has published a report that details the wreckage. Not only did promises made by NAFTA’s proponents not materialize, but many results are exactly the opposite.

Such outcomes include a staggering $181 billion U.S. trade deficit with NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada and the related loss of 1 million net U.S. jobs under NAFTA, growing income inequality, displacement of more than one million Mexican campesino farmers and a doubling of desperate immigration from Mexico, and more than $360 million paid to corporations after “investor-state” tribunal attacks on, and rollbacks of, domestic public interest policies. 

The study makes for a blood-boiling read. For instance, we track the specific promises made by U.S. corporations like GE, Chrysler and Caterpillar to create specific numbers of American jobs if NAFTA was approved, and reveal government data showing that instead, they fired U.S. workers and moved operations to Mexico.

The data also show how post-NAFTA trade and investment trends have contributed to middle-class pay cuts, which in turn contributed to growing income inequality; how since NAFTA, U.S. trade deficit growth with Mexico and Canada has been 45 percent higher than with countries not party to a U.S. Free Trade Agreement, and how U.S. manufacturing exports to Canada and Mexico have grown at less than half the pre-NAFTA rate. 

NAFTA’s actual outcomes prove how damaging this type of agreement is for most people, demonstrating why NAFTA should be renegotiated or terminated. The evidence makes clear that we cannot have any more such deals that include job-offshoring incentives, requirements we import food that doesn’t meet our safety standards or new rights for firms to get taxpayer compensation before foreign tribunals for laws they don’t like. 

Given NAFTA’s record of damage, it is equal parts disgusting and infuriating that now President Barack Obama has joined the corporate Pinocchios who lied about NAFTA, recycling similar claims to try to sell the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is NAFTA on steroids.

As Americans have lived with NAFTA’s effects since its Jan. 1, 1994, start, public opinion has shifted dramatically, from a narrow divide during the 1993 NAFTA debate to overwhelming opposition today. A 2012 Angus Reid Public Opinion poll found that 53 percent of Americans believe the U.S. should “do whatever is necessary” to “renegotiate” or “leave” NAFTA, while only 15 percent believe the U.S. should “continue to be a member of NAFTA.” That opposition cuts across party lines, class divisions and education levels, perhaps explaining the growing controversy over the proposed deepening and expansion of the NAFTA model through the TPP. 

This transpartisan public opposition to NAFTA-style pacts is what underlies the growing transpartisan opposition in Congress to President Obama’s request that Congress delegate away its constitutional authorities through Fast Track trade authority."... 

[Ed. note: Re: "Fast Track trade authority," the entire political class loves it. See 4/21/2015 WSJ op-ed urging "Fast Track Authority" on global trade deals be given to Obama--co-authored by globalists Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan, duplicitously titled, "Putting Congress in Charge on Trade," "‘Fast track’ authority will give lawmakers more say over agreements that are vital for economic growth."] 

(continuing): "Were it not for Fast Track’s creation of a legislative luge run through Congress for NAFTA, the deal would not have been implemented. 

Fast Track was an extreme scheme cooked up by Richard Nixon that was only ever used 16 times, [as of Feb. 2014] including for NAFTA. It empowered a president to sign a trade agreement before Congress voted on it with a guarantee that the executive branch can write legislation not subject to committee markup that would implement the pact and alter wide swaths of existing U.S. law. Fast Track guaranteed House and Senate votes on this bill within 90 days, with all floor amendments forbidden and a maximum of 20 hours of debate. 

[Ed. note: Ms. Wallach, you say, "Fast Track was an extreme scheme cooked up by Richard Nixon." It's good to learn the history of Fast Track, but globalist Nixon is long gone. Many are unaware of "extreme schemes cooked up" by current Fast Track salesmen such as Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan.]

(continuing): "In the 19 years since NAFTA and the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization were passed under Fast Track, Congress has woken up to the fact that these pacts rewrite wide swaths of non-trade laws, and Democratic and GOP presidents have had a hard time convincing Congress to put on the Fast Track handcuffs."...

[Ed. note: Ms. Wallach, you give the political class too much credit. They care only about themselves and their globalist donors. The country doesn't exist to them. See 4/21/2015 WSJ op-ed urging "Fast Track Authority" on global trade deals be given to Obama--penned by so-called "Republicans" Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan, duplicitously entitled, "Putting Congress in Charge on Trade," "‘Fast track’ authority will give lawmakers more say over agreements that are vital for economic growth

(continuing): "Fast Track has only been in effect for five years (2002-2007) since then (1994). The same coalition of chronic U.S.-job-offshorers, agribusiness monopolists, Big Pharma, oil and gas giants and the think tanks they fund are gearing up a big push to revive Fast Track because they know that is the only way the TPP could get through Congress. 

Among the findings of the NAFTA at 20 study:
  • Rather than creating in any year the net 200,000 jobs per year promised by former President Bill Clinton on the basis of Peterson Institute for International Economics projections, job loss from NAFTA began rapidly:
American manufacturing jobs were lost as U.S. firms used NAFTA’s new foreign investor privileges to relocate production to Mexico to take advantage of that country’s lower wages and weaker environmental standards. U.S. job erosion worsened as a new flood of NAFTA imports swamped gains in exports, creating a massive new trade deficit that equated to an estimated net loss of one million U.S. jobs by 2004. 

A small pre-NAFTA U.S. trade surplus of 2.5 billion with Mexico turned into a huge new deficit, and a pre-NAFTA 29.1 billion deficit with Canada exploded. The NAFTA-spurred job loss has not abated during NAFTA’s second decade, as the burgeoning post-NAFTA U.S. trade deficit with Canada and Mexico has not declined.

More than 845,000 U.S. workers in the manufacturing sector have been certified for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) since NAFTA because they lost their jobs due to imports from Canada and Mexico or the relocation of factories to those countries. The TAA program is quite narrow, covering only a subset of jobs lost at manufacturing facilities, and is difficult to qualify for. Thus, the NAFTA TAA numbers significantly undercount NAFTA job loss.

NAFTA contributed to downward pressure on U.S. wages and growing income inequality. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, two out of every three displaced manufacturing workers who were rehired in 2012 experienced wage reductions, most of more than 20 percent. As increasing numbers of workers displaced from manufacturing jobs joined the glut of workers competing for non-offshorable, low-skill jobs in sectors such as hospitality and food service, real wages have also fallen in these sectors since NAFTA. The resulting downward pressure on wages has fueled recent growth in income inequality. 

Scores of NAFTA countries’ environmental and health laws have been challenged in foreign tribunals through the controversial “investor-state” dispute resolution system. Foreign corporations have extracted more than 360 million in compensation from NAFTA governments via investor-state tribunal challenges against toxics bans, land-use rules, water and forestry policies and more. More than 12.4 billion is currently pending in such claims, including challenges of medicine patent policies, a fracking moratorium and a renewable energy program.
  • The average annual U.S. agricultural trade deficit with Mexico and Canada under NAFTA stands at $800 million, more than twice the pre-NAFTA level. U.S. beef imports from Mexico and Canada, for example, have risen 130 percent since NAFTA. This stands in stark contrast to the promises made to U.S. farmers and ranchers that NAFTA would allow them to export their way to newfound wealth and farm income stability. Despite an overall 188 percent rise in food imports from Canada and Mexico under NAFTA, the average nominal price of food in the United States has jumped 65 percent since NAFTA went into effect. 
  • The reductions in consumer goods prices that have materialized have not been sufficient to offset the losses to wages under NAFTA. U.S. workers without college degrees (63 percent of the workforce) likely have lost a net amount equal to 12.2 percent of their wages under NAFTA-style trade even after accounting for gains from cheaper goods. This net loss means a loss of more than 3,300 per year for a worker earning the median annual wage of 27,500. 
  • The export of subsidized U.S. corn did increase under NAFTA, destroying the livelihoods of more than one million Mexican campesino farmers and about 1.4 million additional Mexican workers whose livelihoods depended on agriculture.
  • The desperate migration of those displaced from Mexico’s rural economy pushed down wages in Mexico’s border maquiladora factory zone and contributed to a doubling of Mexican immigration to the United States following NAFTA’s implementation. 
Though the price paid to Mexican farmers for corn plummeted after NAFTA, the deregulated retail price of tortillas - Mexico’s staple food - shot up 279 percent in the pact’s first 10 years. 

Facing displacement, rising prices and stagnant wages, more than half the Mexican population, and more than 60 percent of the rural population, still falls below the poverty line, despite the promises that NAFTA would bring broad prosperity to Mexicans. 

Real wages in Mexico have fallen significantly below pre-NAFTA levels as price increases for basic consumer goods have exceeded wage increases. A minimum wage earner in Mexico today can buy 38 percent fewer consumer goods than on the day that NAFTA took effect. Despite promises that NAFTA would benefit Mexican consumers by granting access to cheaper imported products, the cost of basic consumer goods in Mexico has risen to seven times the pre-NAFTA level, while the minimum wage stands at only four times the pre-NAFTA level. 

Despite the overwhelming evidence of NAFTA’s failure, the Obama administration has made it a priority for this year to sign the TPP, a sweeping pact with 11 Pacific Rim nations premised on expanding the NAFTA model. Past efforts to expand NAFTA throughout Latin America via a Free Trade Area of the Americas and to Asia via an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Free Trade Agreement failed as the major economies in each region sought to avoid the damage they observed NAFTA causing within the United States and Mexico. 

Given NAFTA’s devastating outcomes, few of the corporations or think tanks that sold it as a boon for all of us in the 1990s like to talk about it, but the reality is that their promises failed as millions of people were severely harmed. 

Now the same interests that dished out lies to sell NAFTA are at it again to push the TPP, but the difference is that 20 years of the NAFTA experience has turned Americans against these sorts of deals. 

If there is any upside to NAFTA, let it be that its 20 years of damage helps to build the activism outside, and the sense of political liability inside, Congress that are needed to ensure that Fast Track is permanently dust-binned and the NAFTA model is not expanded through TPP." 

Feb. 2014, "NAFTA's twenty year legacy and the fate of the Trans-Pacific Partnership,"  




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I'm the daughter of an Eagle Scout (fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Mets) and a Beauty Queen.