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For a time, about 35 years ago, the region that dubbed itself "Silicon Valley" - the greater southern end of the San Francisco Bay Area - had an ethos different from the rest of the country. Various attempts to describe it populated with "entrepreneurial libertarianism", "garage millionaires”, “visionaries” and other snappy tags intended to dazzle and bewilder were thrown out there by the media to offer some way for the outside public to get their heads wrapped around what this place was about. To be sure, the legacies of people like Mssrs. Hewlitt and Packard, Mr. Jobs and Drs. Warnock and Geschke are well known and what they did pretty much touched the lives of every modern human being in some way. Back then, even corporations could be fallible: most of the technology we rely on today had its genesis in the halls of Xerox Palo Alto Research Center by the graces of C. Peter McCulloch, a visionary who saw the value of turning creative minds loose in an environment free of distractions to dream and create a few blocks south of Page Mill Road - and instead of having the vision to understand, commercially develop and market their genius, they essentially ignored it or gave it away in favor of a conservative decision to continue the pursuit of their tried and true business model: copiers. That conservative decision cost them billions, if not trillions of dollars. Since then, business has managed to manipulate America’s laws into privatizing profit while making the public absorb their losses. Below the fold, I explain what this has to do with why it’s so important that Congressman Mike Honda is reelected and his opponent needs to be defeated in a very big, convincing way.

The world of Hewlett and Packard, Steve Jobs and their contemporaries was a much different place from today, and because of the then unique mindset of the South Bay - isolated from the glitz and complicated, noisy and fractious San Francisco / Marin end of the Peninsula, the laid-back, bucolic atmosphere nestled in those semi- rural orchards of Mountain View, Los Altos Hills, Cupertino and Santa Clara were ideal for educated, intellectually curious and industrious people to escape from the complications and distractions of city life and pursue their creative interests in new directions.

Anyone living here who’s old enough can remember when HP was the South Bay's second largest employer (next to the Dole packing plant - and the Libby packing plant was just down the road). And for good reason: if you had any solid technical skills, that was the place to work. Why? They paid living wages, had good medical and dental coverage, other desirable benefits, a retirement package... in other words, the company valued its employees and they wanted to retain them. More than placing tangible value on the products of their labor and offering them a comfortable living in exchange for their work, they also valued them as human beings - because it was good business.

And so that mindset continued for awhile as other small startups began, some becoming big startups and continuing on to be world class corporations while others died on the vine or were purchased for their intellectual property... but almost everyone knows about this so I won't belabor the point.

However in recent years - especially those subsequent to the heavily documented "dot-com bust", a curious exchange happened: as some of the technical and entrepreneurial techniques that were created here have migrated east, in exchange for those lucrative gifts, the methodology that drives the east coast business methods of getting things done with people steadily infected The Valley. Human beings, resources and intellectual curiosity have now turned into disposable commodities upon which Yale-trained MBAs placed dollar values as the needs of business dictate. The trans-national mindset that was the genesis of the multitudes of "free trade" agreements sent board stuffers, packaging techs and breadboard wiring work overseas to eventually be made obsolete through mechanization. The remaining employees who have survived the most recent cullings of the herd have since been put in the position of having to watch their working conditions and benefits steadily whittled down to eventual parity with those of their employer’s communist business partners: 30 hour weeks to legally avoid on-boarding with benefits, no 401K retirement plans (because in this framework, you will NEVER retire your employment from any corporation anymore) - and that favorite sword of Damocles corporations now use to keep their staff in line: “at-will” employment.

So is it any wonder that the absolute last vestige of what this place used to represent would be put to rest with the introduction of the disease that has plagued every other aspect of American life? I speak of course of the upcoming House of Representatives election in which Representative Mike Honda’s seat is being challenged by a Mr. Ro Khanna, another “Democrat”. This upcoming contest was recently mentioned in a New York Times article:

Mr. Khanna appears to have raised almost 3 times the amount of campaign money that Rep. Honda has in his war chest. How is that possible? I’ve lived here for 30 years and I’ve never heard of the guy.

Well it turns out there’s a reason why a working guy like me has never heard of him before now: Mr. Khanna has the endorsement of some extremely wealthy, powerful contributors here in the Valley. In what appears to be a rerun of the Meg Whitman story in which trans-national corporations continue their attempts to buy more political offices like cheap real estate, it would seem that Rep. Honda has spent far too much time in the pursuit of helping the people who live in his district instead of focussing his efforts on passing corporate-friendly tax legislation and helping to kill organized labor. 14 years of serving our community by supporting immigration changes, science education, nanotechnology and other issues that Silicon Valley used to care about evidently haven’t been sufficient for the local greedheads, banksters and other Third Way DINOs who own the big buildings on North First Street, Great America Parkway, Montague Expressway, Tasman Drive and Murphy Ranch Road. Among Mr. Khanna’s ideas are lowering tax liability on corporations who offshore their work to entice them to return to America… a worn out argument used by blue dog democrats and republicans who just can’t get enough of Reaganomics, no matter how much evidence there’s been over the last 30 years to prove it to be a sham. Fabulous - let’s REWARD the wealthy elite by cutting their tax liability even more more so they can pay poverty wages HERE instead of some communist Asian country with no employee protections or safety protocols.

According to the NYT article, “…In the latest filing, of the 220 individual donors to Mr. Khanna’s campaign, 27 listed their occupation as “C.E.O.,” four as “chief financial officers” and about 40 as being involved in investments.” That alone should be a red flag for anyone who actually works for a living. But the notion that the business mentality which originally made Silicon Valley the gold mine it had become should finally be exterminated in favor of the latest corporate buyout - this time of the local government - is a disgusting example of just how morally bankrupt American Business has become; for while it has become obvious that supply side economics has been a rigged scheme all along to enrich and empower the wealthy elite at the expense of the Middle Class, the money mavens of Sand Hill Road may eventually find in the future that they would have been better served to have embraced “demand side” economics instead. You see, if there’s nobody left to buy iPhones, Droids and BMWs except the residents of Atherton and the gated homes of Los Altos Hills, they won’t sell very many.

And that is why Mike Honda needs to defeat Ro Khanna - and not by just a few votes: by a landslide. Business here in Northern California needs to hear a clear message: we do not intend to be victims of this vulgar power grab, as what has happened in Atlanta, Houston or San Diego - we refuse to end up like Detroit, New York or Boston: our people are creative, educated, work hard and deserve a living wage in a safe, robust community as well as does the rest of this country. The Third Way and neocon ditto heads who front these shallow corporate shills as political candidates can ply their intellectual snake oil somewhere else - Somalia comes to mind....

Originally posted to Anakai on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 02:59 PM PDT.

Also republished by Silicon Valley Kos, California politics, and Progressive Policy Zone.

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Comment Preferences

  •  At the DF anniversary party in SF (21+ / 0-)

    last week Howard Dean said that although DFA generally supports people who are running for office rather than people who already hold a political office, they are supporting Mike Honda because they believe the Honda-Khanna battle "is a fight for the sould of the Democratic party".

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam> "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Edna St.V. Millay

    by slouching on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 03:03:51 PM PDT

  •  Great, important post! (12+ / 0-)

    Mr. Khanna once asked me either "Do you think schools should be run like a business?" or "I think business should be run like a business."  (It was really noisy)  I told him to read "Schools Can't Do it Alone" by Jamie Vollmer.  He is a CEO who advocated for schools to be run as a business and saw the error of his ways.  Plus he is a wonderfully witty writer.  

    I also went to hear Khanna speak recently and when asked about the issue of seniority jokingly compared himself to Ted Cruz who caused so much harm with his government shutdown.

    I plan to deliver the 5 votes in my household to the Honorable Mike Honda!

    Now off to follow your link...

    ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

    by slowbutsure on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 03:15:07 PM PDT

  •  Not that my tip & rec are a big deal, (5+ / 0-)

    but you had them and then lost them with the gratuitous slap at too wide a swath of the country. There are plenty of people in Atlanta, Houston, San Diego, Detroit, New York City, and Boston who are "creative, educated, work hard and deserve a living wage in a safe, robust community."

    War beats down, and sows with salt, the hearts and minds of soldiers." Brecht

    by DaNang65 on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 03:52:36 PM PDT

    •  Very good point (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DaNang65, pdkesq, Glen The Plumber, Lujane

      I've pulled my tip, but decided to leave my rec. This diary does deserve to be read. A diary a few days ago wanted to blow off this campaign, and bemoaned the waste of two Dems spending money to campaign against each other, and seemed to have  a view that Honda=Khanna=Honda and it wouldn't matter which was elected.

      Maybe diarist could do some editing of that nasty last paragraph.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 04:08:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  All waste blame to Khanna was point of this former (4+ / 0-)


        That blame seemed obvious from a distance even without the local color of today's diary by Anakai.

        The DFA comment on

        battle for the soul of Democratic Party
        rings true.  The bizarre thing about Khanna's race is that this battle in this district would have occurred upon Honda's eventual retirement from age, when it would have become much easier to win by a Khanna-type candidate (or by Khanna himself if he spent the intervening years as a non-Congressman political activist and/or philanthropist), but they are so impatient that they insist on bringing it to a head now, at a time when many Democratic policies that they claim to support at are being blocked by Republican obstruction, which is creating irreversible damage.
    •  You bet I intended it to be gratuitous - (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      To those city fathers, representatives and congress people in those various cities who have sold out the great folks they're supposed to be representing who have the same aspirations and needs as those who toil here in The Valley at the pleasure of their feudal corporate masters: reduced or zero business taxes to incentivize business growth... union busting at the expense of fire and police protection... it isn't just here. It's across the entire country, and it's killing this nation. I know that it's everywhere else. I had no idea that I was going to be read by people with such narrow comprehension skills.

      If you have a problem understanding that concept within the context of my diary, then it's your issue - not mine. If you've taken offense, then you might consider rereading it with a more generalized mindset.

      •  Your edit makes that point (0+ / 0-)

        Your original did not. It came off as a nasty dig at the people of those cities, not exclusively at the leadership of those cities/states. DaNang65 did not "have a problem understanding that concept". You had a problem expressing yourself. You apparently realized that, and edited accordingly, so no need to get huffy with him.

        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

        by Catte Nappe on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 10:28:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  my little one and I... (8+ / 0-)

    just got back from canvassing for Mike...upper middle-class neighborhood near Santa Clara University...Ro doesn't stand a chance.

    Ro is polling behind the republican Singh...he may not even make it thru the primary.


    We are not broke, we are being robbed. ~Shop Kos Katalogue~

    by Glen The Plumber on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 04:07:28 PM PDT

    •  It would be cool (7+ / 0-)

      if Mike Honda lived in La Honda and drove a Honda.

    •  Appointing Khanna to remove him from race, as was (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt, Lujane

      allegedly offered to Joe Sestak to remove him from primary against Arlen Specter, would be a great way to free-up money to shift from this primary to other underfunded contests and issue advocacy campaigns.

      Such an appointment by Khanna would not need to be by the Obama Administration.  Jerry Brown could probably find a suitable State government appointment (or Al Gore a suitable non-governmental appointment) for this young guy whose campaign website states:

      The human induced global rise in temperatures is an existential threat that requires a proactive approach...

      While serving as deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Commerce, I led the Green Embassy Program to make foreign offices more energy efficient, and designed clean energy trade missions.

      Even without an appointment, imagine what impact Khanna's money could have on underfunded campaigns pursuing this goal (copied from Khanna's campaign website):
      I urge President Obama to listen to the experts’ health and environmental safety concerns, and reject the pressure from Big Oil to build [the Keystone XL]  pipeline that will exacerbate the climate change problems we face and threaten public health.
      Khanna understands that:
      Big oil companies are spending millions to pressure President Obama and Congress to pass this profit-driven pipeline.
      ... so why isn't he making himself part of the solution to this problem, rather than, by impatiently declaring war on Mike Honda, indirectly making himself part of the problem?
      •  Because its easy to use issue buzzwords (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Glen The Plumber, Lujane

        to "attract the moths to the flame" - and then once in office, legislate like a Rockefeller republican.

        Happens once every 2 years. Feinstein is a great example of this.

        •  yep...I get bad vibes from Ro... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lujane, Sharon Wraight

          he could have run in the purplish district as the party asked...instead he comes with a nasty campaign attacking a sitting member of the CPC.

          f*ck that...he needs to be smacked down...bad career move...he has PO'd many.

          Honda will retire eventually...but I will never vote for RO.

          in the carpetbagger's own words...

          We are not broke, we are being robbed. ~Shop Kos Katalogue~

          by Glen The Plumber on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 07:57:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Good news is that Khanna's buzzwording (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          is accompanied by comically weak ability to pick the right time and place to take down a more-Progressive opponent.

          Honda's list of endorsements is astoundingly broad, not only ranging

          •    among Democrats from Barbara Lee to Steny Hoyer and Steve Israel, but also

          •    to Republicans like former New Orleans Congressman Joseph Anh Cao, and former everything Norman Mineta.

        •  Thanks for answering rhetorical question, which (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          might be useful for the Honda campaign to raise more aggressively, for example:

          Anybody who has contacts in the Honda campaign, could encourage them to consider making a public offer to Khanna along the following lines:

          Let’s put our money where our mouths are!

          Let’s each contribute 75% of our campaign’s current cash on hand (and of future funds raised) to pushing back against what your website correctly describes as:

          "Big oil companies … spending millions to pressure President Obama and Congress to pass [the Keystone XL] profit-driven pipeline."

          How can we explain to our children and grandchildren that we did not give top priority to the following geophysical "tipping point"?
          •    preventing “game over” on global climate, and
          •    preserving and reforming modern civilization.

          How can we justify delaying this priority, when the timing of the political “tipping point” on this issue is likely to occur:
          •    before the January session of Congress that you are campaigning to join,
          •    before our November 4 general election, and perhaps
          •    before our June 3 primary election.

  •  Redistricted out of his district, blast it! (0+ / 0-)

    Mike Honda has been an admirable man in all that he has done, politically or otherwise. I agree more with him, his actions, policies, and opinions, as well as those of Sam Farr, Joe Simitian, and Jim Beall, than I can remember ever agreeing with any single politician in all my years of voting & paying attention to legislators.

    I deeply resent that my residence was redistricted away from him, as I do not agree as much with my current Congresscritter as I would wish to do.

    I am not happy enough with my two (female) Senators, but opponents in elections have been even less acceptable. I would be happy if Jackie Speier replaced one of them--she's one of the few female legislators in CA I feel strongly positive about, along with Sheila Kuehl (who I'd be happy to see as my Senator, too!).

    Mike Honda isn't broken--don't fix him!

  •  If Jackie Speier could somehow wrest the seat (0+ / 0-)

    of Diane Feinstein from her clutches, that in my opinion would be a vast improvement. Camilla Harris might also be an option.

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