Apple, Steve Jobs, China, Conservatives and The Race to The Bottom For The American Worker

This is probably getting too much attention – Steve Jobs Biography Reveals He Told Obama, ‘You’re Headed For A One-Term Presidency’

“You’re headed for a one-term presidency,” he told Obama at the start of their meeting, insisting that the administration needed to be more business-friendly. As an example, Jobs described the ease with which companies can build factories in China compared to the United States, where “regulations and unnecessary costs” make it difficult for them.

Jobs also criticized America’s education system, saying it was “crippled by union work rules,” noted Isaacson. “Until the teachers’ unions were broken, there was almost no hope for education reform.” Jobs proposed allowing principals to hire and fire teachers based on merit, that schools stay open until 6 p.m. and that they be open 11 months a year.

With all due respect to Jobs, while he was marketing phenomenon, perhaps a brilliant showman when it came to marketing. That doesn’t mean he was some oracle whose very spoken word is  pure gold. On the manufacturing, unions and regulations – total BS. The iPhone labor cost from its Chinese outsourcing amounted to less than $7.00 of the total cost. With labor and parts the total cost was/is about $178.96 per unit. Without a contract the iPhone retails for around $600, but AT&t kicks back some money to Apple with a contract for service that brings down the price to around $200.00. That iPhone depending on the model and contract, which Apple kicks it’s share can actually cost $1300.00 to $4k per year. Apple makes a 60% profit.  No other major computer maker gets those kinds of margins – Not Dell, not Sony or HP. Where do the iPhone parts come from: Germany, Switzerland and South Korea. All of those countries have unions, regulatory and environmental regulations -and health care plans. You have to have had half your brain blown away to believe that finding a place – a factory – to manufacture electronic in America is difficult. The country is littered with old and under used factories. Making the iPhone or any other Apple product here in the U.S. might add a few dollars to the retail price. According to a 2007 Gallup  poll a slight majority of Americans are willing to pay a little more for an American made product. Lets say they got very specific and asked people if they would pay $10 more for heir iPad or iPhone I think most Americans would if it meant the creation of a few thousand jobs. Jobs was a lifelong Democrat, that just makes it all that much more fun to use Jobs as a convenient cudgel to once again beat unions and American workers. Jobs was wrong. If Apple just moved half their manufacturing to the U.S. that might mean what – they would have a 58% margin. With the new jobs created and the jobs those jobs would create you would have a lot more people who might be able to buy Apple products. The Right, as they have been for fifty years is infatuated with a race to the bottom. It’s the so what if workers work 12 hour days for $2.00 an hour syndrome. They’re all like Rep. Sean Duffy complaining about how they can’t get by on $174,000.00 a year. They’re completely detached from the lives of working class Americans.

I’ll give Jobs partial credit for the dig at teachers, but he way oversimplified that issue as well – Steve Jobs talks teachers unions and education reform

In a hotly anticipated biography about enigmatic Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, the brain behind the iPad and iPhone is shown to have a pessimistic view of the state of education in the United States.

The author of the biography, Walter Isaacson, wrote Jobs thought teachers unions are crippling schools. Here is the snippet, courtesy The Huffington Post:

Jobs also criticized America’s education system, saying it was “crippled by union work rules,” noted Isaacson. “Until the teachers’ unions were broken, there was almost no hope for education reform.” Jobs proposed allowing principals to hire and fire teachers based on merit, that schools stay open until 6 p.m. and that they be open 11 months a year.

Jobs’ attitude towards unions is in line with other lukewarm supporters of president Obama who feel labor groups protect teachers regardless of their performance.

Several marquee Democrats, including former head of Washington D.C. public schools Michelle Rhee, have vilified teacher groups like American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association.

An argument can be made that those criticisms are unfair in light of labor union support for the reforms Jobs is reported to have supported.

AFT head Randi Weingarten has endorsed a teacher evaluation method that is partly dependent on how students perform on standardized tests. Labor groups in general do not oppose merit-based evaluations, and principal reviews are a major part of the review process of teachers already.

Labor groups have also backed extending the number of hours students spend in the classroom. A largely successful initiative in Massachusetts to expand the instruction time students receive was noted for the harmonious relationship between a state head of a major labor group and the Massachusetts government.

The whole teachers-unions-ease of firing-tenure issue needs some work. Yet obviously teachers and their unions are not intractable. And it is hard to argue that it is difficult to get rid of teachers when 132,000 teachers have been laid off since the beginning of the recession in 2007.

I will make another point in Jobs favor. He was a far better and more decent capitalist than the hedge fund managers on Wall Street.

 

Global warming study finds no grounds for climate sceptics’ concerns. The deniers have plenty of denial left in them regardless of more than a billion temperature records dating back to the 1800s.

Jon Stewart On GOP Reaction To Gaddafi’s Death: ‘What The F*ck Is Wrong With You?’ Video at link.

“Is there no Republican,” asked Stewart, “that can be gracious and statesmen-like in this situation? We removed a dictator in six months, losing no American soldiers, spending, like, a billion dollars rather than a trillion dollars, and engendering what appears to be goodwill with the people who now have a prideful story of their own independence to tell… not to mention oil, they have oil. Anybody wanna give credit?”

He then played a clip of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) and Sen. John McCain giving credit. To the French and British.

 

You can lead a conservative to the facts, but you can’t make them have any class.

 

Herman Cain Compares Social Security To Slavery. I’m hoping that I get the opportunity to become a Social Security slave since Wall Street ate a big chunk of my retirement funds.

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The Right-wing Emergency Committee For Israel Is Trying to Portray OWS as Anti-Semitic, Even as Several Jewish Groups Join in The Protests

Never underestimate how low conservatives can go and how fast they can create yet another astroturf group that pretends to speak on behalf of regular Americans. It the conservative playbook no lie is too big, too venal or too morally outrageous. All such lies are justified in the name of the movement. If those lies hurt America or democracy, oh well, sacrifices must be made in the name of all-mighty conservatism. Thus the Right’s new meme that the OWS protesters are anti-Semitic – Homeless anti-Semite was around long before OccupyWallStreet

Right-wing pundits and Republican Party figures are continuing their attempt to smear the Occupy Wall Street movement as anti-Semitic, but we now have more evidence that the charge is profoundly dishonest.

To review: the Emergency Committee for Israel (which, it turns out, is funded by Wall Street) released an ad last week claiming that Occupy Wall Street is shot through with anti-Semitism, and demanding that Democrats condemn the protests. That attack has now been picked up by various pundits and GOP officials. The Republican National Committee started using the line against Democrats Wednesday. The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin inevitably piled on. Fox News is all over the story.

Exhibit A in the ad (watch it below) is a sign-bearing man who yells that “Jews control Wall Street!” Now, as I’ve previously reported, Occupy protesters have taken to surrounding the man, who gave his name to me recently as David Smith, with rebuttal signs, including one that reads, “Asshole —>”. Smith has been hanging around Zuccotti Park nearly every day for a couple of weeks.

But as Josh Nathan-Kazis reports at the Forward, Smith started carrying anti-Semitic signs around the financial district long before Occupy Wall Street existed…

Think porgress has more on the Emergency Committee for Israel who are financed by hedge fund managers. One of the biggest contributors has been on a crusade against Obama ever since he and Democrats passed that modest package of financial reforms. David Smith seems to have both medical, and what unfortuantely seems to be genuine mental issues. Leave it to the Right to exploit a guy with mental problems who is going blind. Three is also another “nutpicking” example in a guy named Danny Cline who has some manic obsession with making trouble and seeing himself on YouTube.

OccupyWallStreet: Yom Kippur Celebration in Support of Occupy Wall Street 10/7/11

Another story about Jews supporting OWS that the Right is pretending does not exist, Jewish groups rally in sukkah at Occupy Los Angeles

As part of the Occupy Los Angeles movement, hundreds of Angelenos have been living in tents outside downtown’s City Hall for several weeks. On Oct. 16, Jewish groups rallied in a sukkah alongside these temporary shelters.

“I think of a sukkah as a structure that’s full of vulnerability,” said Elissa Barrett, chief of regional operations for Progressive Jewish Alliance and Jewish Funds for Justice (PJA & JFSJ), a participant in the demonstration. “It forces us to look at what’s happening in the world around us.”

In solidarity with the protestors of Occupy Los Angeles — an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street and similarly anti-corporate — several Jewish clergy, community organizers and rabbinical students came together to organize the protest in the sukkah, billed as “Not Just a Sukkah: A JUST Sukkah at Occupy L.A.”

The collaborators included Rabbi Jonathan Klein of CLUE-LA (Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice); Rabbi Jason van Leeuwen of Temple Ner Maarav; Lauren Henderson, a rabbinical student at American Jewish University (AJU); Rabbi Aryeh Cohen of American Jewish University; Charlie Carnow, a CLUE-LA board member; and Maya Barron of PJA & JFSJ.

 

And a video from the L.A. group as well, A Just Sukkah at Occupy LA


The Emergency Committee for Israel was one of those shady groups that pushed for the invasion of Iraq. Their interests and what is best for the U.S. always seem to be at odds. Why are such anti-American groups supported by the Right? That’s just a rhetorical question, we all know the answer.