Here’s the whole story
How we defeated Congressman Charles Taylor
In 2006, Congressman Taylor was defeated by an alliance of two powerful forces.
College-educated professionals in Asheville: Congressman Taylor infuriated progressives with his clear-cutting forests, bank fraud, and cruel votes against veterans benefits and college students. Led by MoveOn, progressives formed a massive phone bank and made thousands of phone calls to voters.
Voters in the smaller towns and cities of WNC: As nationalists, they hated CAFTA. On the day of that crucial vote in 2005, Congressman Taylor cast eleven votes on the floor of Congress; but when it came to CAFTA, he vanished. CAFTA passed by only two votes. If he had voted against it, it would have been a tie and would have failed for a lack of a majority. Thanks to him, it passed and the textile (blankets) and apparel (shirts and socks) industries began moving out of WNC and into Central America. In fury, working-class voters, especially textile workers, tipped the balance and voted him out.
In Cecil’s campaign, we want to follow the same strategy.
On the downside, our neighbors are cultural conservatives.
On the upside, they are nationalists … and economic nationalists.
THE MAIN ISSUE
The main issue is the economy. We need jobs.
Thanks to NAFTA (1993), CAFTA (2005), and the CHINA (2000), Wall Street has shipped entire industries overseas. This is world historic – no country has ever de-industrialized itself. It is a national crisis that has hit North Carolina with the force of a nuclear explosion.
In the years since, we have been told that the global economy will pan out for our country, ourselves and our children. Today, while Wall Street is doing exceedingly well, nearly everyone else is suffering – from the blue-collar worker to the white-collar research scientist, computer programmer, small business owner, government worker, artist and musician.
Strained financially, we listen to mantras that are mutually exclusive: “Those industries are never coming back” and “The economy will bounce back.”
We believe because we need to believe.
The Emperor has no clothes
On the bright side, there are those who no longer believe
Thanks to NAFTA, CAFTA, and CHINA, our neighbors in the smaller towns and cities of Western North Carolina lost their jobs when entire industries – textiles, apparel, and furniture – were shipped to Mexico, Central America, and China. As a result, they rightly regard Wall Street as traitors who have betrayed our country and rightly mistrust the politicians of both parties who have failed to protect and defend our country.
Like the small boy in the bedtime story, our neighbors in WNC were among the first to point out that the Emperor is wearing no clothes. They who have worked in industry have sense enough to know that real estate, financial services, insurance, and hospitality are not industries, but bubbles that have a tendency to burst. They who have manufactured shirts, socks, blankets and furniture have sense enough to know that a “financial instrument” is not a product.
Our main demand: A tax on foreign imports
Truth to tell, there is a way to bring this economic nightmare to a halt, but thanks to campaign contributions from Wall Street neither political party is prepared to tackle it. As an independent, Cecil’s campaign is going to be based on economic nationalism. Our everyday slogan is: “It’s the economy, Jack.” Notice we do not say stupid. That’s because we don’t believe people are stupid. In fact, quite the reverse.
Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress has the sole power to regulate international trade.
Our main demand is simple and concrete: We want Congress to pass a 40% tax on foreign imports. Why 40%? Because that’s what it was for 200 years. As the first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton launched the tariff for two reasons:
To protect American industry.
To raise revenue to pay off the national debt.
Protectionism did that job successfully for two centuries … and it will again.
Now here’s a word for the Tea Party:
A tax on foreign imports is a tariff.
Tariffs generate tax revenue and that will lower the national debt.
How do we know? Because tariffs did exactly that for 200 years.
Why it will work
As of 2011, for the first time ever, a MAJORITY of Americans (53%) are opposed to free trade. That number has gone up roughly 10% every year. Depending on how the question is worded, up to 69% of Americans oppose free trade. And that’s according to a public opinion poll taken by the Wall Street Journal.
When people love their country, they are nationalists.
When people want protectionism, they are economic nationalists.
And nowhere in America are folks more nationalist and economic nationalist than in Western North Carolina.
Listen to one man’s story.
National Public Radio (NPR) did a four-part series on one worker in North Carolina. Bill spent his life making sofas for $15 an hour at a furniture factory in Lenoir, near Hickory. In 2005 Broyhill moved all of its factories to China. Today, Chen Hong does Bill’s job for 70 cents an hour. As you can imagine, Bill understands foreign trade real well. Given a chance, he would vote to restore the 40% tax on foreign imports, but neither of the political parties has ever given him that chance.
Is it not time to give voters that chance … and for Americans to shape their own economic destiny?
When I was a teenager in the early 1960s I used to listen to Malcolm X on the radio when he delivered speeches at the Apollo Theater in New York City. He was always talking about nationalism, especially economic nationalism. He told people: You have to shape your own economic destiny, and when you do, that will improve your life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
Bring ‘em home (troops and factories)
Thanks to the massive exodus of industry, we believe the men and women of Western North Carolina are ready to vote for a candidate who takes a stand and that stand is spectacularly simple: “If you love America, bring ‘em home” (troops and factories). As Boomers, we know something about bringing the boys home.
Nationwide, it will take a national movement and a long protracted struggle, like the Vietnam War.
In 1968, 53% opposed the Vietnam War, and the war ended in 1973.
In 2011, 53% oppose free trade, so a nationwide movement will a number of years.
A nationwide movement means we have to elect more and more economic nationalists to Congress.
That is not impossible. There are already 90 members of the Progressive Caucus of Congress who want to
withdraw from the WTO.
When it comes to voting who is opposed to the direction of our national economy?
It is Asheville, home to thousands of progressives and followers of Dennis Kucinich.
It is WNC, home to thousands of Libertarians and followers of Ron Paul.
Truth to tell, folks on both left and right are fed up. So many, in fact, that “Good Morning, America” felt comfortable doing a series of shows about the typical home having zero products made in America. What divides us is cultural issues; what unites us is the economy.
However long it takes, it is better than what we are doing now, which is fighting this issue, that issue, every issue, always being on the defensive.
And make no mistake: this 40% tariff is going on the offensive.
Wall Street will scream bloody murder.
They will shout “Smoot-Hawley!” and scare you that protectionism will cause an economic depression. (Oh, yeah, like they didn’t do that already.)
They will scare you out of your wits that China holds our national debt. (Oh, yeah, like they didn’t paint us into that corner.) And so on.
Congressman Heath Shuler
Our Congressman and his Blue Dog Democrats are part of the problem, not the solution.
When it comes to the economy, he has no answer for the high rate of unemployment and underemployment, hunger and homelessness, bankruptcies and foreclosures. Ask him about jobs and he’ll talk about job training and entrepreneurship. Ask him about health care and he’ll admit proudly that he voted against it. (He has the finest health care America can buy.)
In Washington, D.C. he lives in a townhouse on “C” Street with right-wing Republicans whose religion has nothing to do with Jesus and everything to do with Wall Street and the almighty dollar.
On Sunday, March 27 Cecil Bothwell announced he would run for Congress.
On Tuesday, March 29 Mr. Shuler sent a fundraising e-mail: “I need your help. National Republicans and their shadowy 527 groups are already organizing and beginning to raise millions of dollars to try and buy the 2012 election.”
Wowzer. Then why does he LIVE with those shadowy Republicans?
Here’s where I make my pitch – and it’s not for money.
Cecil Bothwell is running as an independent.
To get on the ballot, he needs 20,000 signatures by June 2012.
That’s 2,000 signatures a month.
That’s 200 people, each gathering 100 signatures a month.
Or 400 people, each gathering 50 signatures a month.
That’s you and me, working in pairs and groups, often with Cecil
At festivals in Asheville
At festivals in Western North Carolina
At events at the Orange Peel, Grey Eagle, Civic Center
In our condo complexes and apartment buildings
On the street where you live
Last of all, I will tell you that for me this is not an academic exercise.
As a breast cancer survivor, I have no health insurance.
Like so many professionals, I have a job but am severely underemployed.
My son, who grew up in Asheville, has moved to California to get a job.
I campaigned for Heath Shuler when he first ran in 2005 and even donated to his campaign.
I write history books, so here’s a “Timeline of Tariffs” . . .
The U.S. has used tariffs for more than two centuries
to raise revenue and protect American industry
Tariff: A t