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Michael Miller

Viewpoint

By Michael Miller
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Final Random Thoughts On The National Campaigns, Part 1 of 2

1. You don’t have to lecture Americans about how we still have the ability to solve our problems. We know that. That’s why the disappointment and bitterness in our leadership has been so great. Americans are festering to roll up their sleeves and begin fixing and solving. They are years ahead of their government.

2. This recurring theme brayed by national Democrats, “Things are Better, You’re Just Smart Enough to Perceive It,” will probably lose this election. We finally saw bits and pieces of something better and more interesting in the last two nights of the Democratic convention.

3. President Obama’s new emphasis on creating manufacturing jobs and doubling exports may be a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, every country is saying it wants to double exports. But exports to where? The PMI (Purchasing Managers Index), the Global Manufacturing Update and other indicators show contraction almost everywhere. Germany and France, the largest economies in the Euro-zone, are “in reverse gear” according to a Reuters analysis. Chinese ports because of falling low factory orders, and Australia is in trouble because exporting iron ore is their thing.

4. We all have consumer-driven economies now. That means consumers have to consume.

5. No, automobiles can’t do it alone for us. Wards Auto (“The Information Center For and About the Global Auto Industry”) says U.S. auto assemblies will fall 8 percent in August, the biggest decline since April 2011. 25.41 percent of all U.S. auto loans now go to subprime, less qualified borrowers who probably won’t complete the payments. Unless we figure out some lost Mayan science of levitation, gasoline prices are really going to matter. Especially here.

6. We should have used the government’s stock to put the Big Three on a better course for the future, emphasizing The Next Thing.

7. Yes, Long Islanders. Sooner or later, there will be trolleys. Will we be buying them from Canada or China? A century ago, many were built in New York.

8. Between 2007 and 2011, the typical American household lost 40 percent of its net wealth. Between 2009 and 2011, the overall net wealth of members of the U.S. Congress increased 11 percent.

9. In her moving Dem convention address, First Lady Michele Obama was enthusiastic that we were “creating jobs again – jobs you can raise a family on, good jobs right here in the United States of America.” Yes, the Administration’s efforts helped stabilize a burning economy. But 58 percent of those created jobs pay $7.69 to $13.83. You can’t raise a family on that in any one of the 50 states. And some of the people taking those jobs used to earn significantly more, with good benefits. Some of them have advanced degrees.

10. Neither party is offering America a game-changing strategy. The Democratic platform advocates “reforming the corporate tax code to lower tax rates,” but leaves out the Employee Free Choice Act, labor’s top priority of the last four years.

11. Never mentioned: Presidential Kill List; Whistleblower Prosecutions; Rendition; Warrantless Wiretapping; Habeas Corpus; Posse Comitatus; Indefinite Detention; Drone Strikes; PFC Brian Manning; Military Suicides.

12. We didn’t leave Iraq. We privatized it. 23,886 total contractors, including 8,995 “security” contractors (only 751 of whom are U.S. citizens). And some of them act like animals, on our dime, in our name.

13. The Yemen government is set to receive $112 million in U.S. special military aid and more than twice that in “nation building” aid. The Yemen government disappears and tortures protestors.

14. What a resident of Rada’a told Western reporters after 10 civilians were killed when a drone missed and hit a minibus: “You want us to stay quiet while our wives and brothers are being killed for no reason.”

15. During the Republican convention, 200 U.S. Marines were deployed to Guatemala, to fight in the war on drugs. It’s called Operation Martillo.

16. So millions of Americans are disappointed that the reality isn’t matching up with the rhetoric, and are more frustrated that we don’t even talk about any of it. Most Americans are ready to rise to the occasion.

17. Perhaps it sounds like I will sit this out, or vote to change administrations.

18. Not. So. Fast.

Michael Miller is a freelance writer, designer and strategic consultant who has worked in state and local government. Email: millercolumn@optimum.net