Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Harris Miller Lie Machine Part 2

Here are the comments of Dr. Norman Matloff, professor of Computer Science at UC, Davis, a self-described Democrat and articulate, long-standing critic of outsourcing, worker replacement programs, expert on H-1b and not, coincidentally, critic of Harris Miller.

H-1B/L-1/offshoring e-newsletter, 4/18/2006

When Harris Miller, former president of the industry lobbying group ITAA, first announced his intention to run for the Senate, I said, "Miller has consistently used tactics which most people would consider underhanded." I gave a couple of examples of such tactics, and could have given a lot more.


At the time, a lot of programmer and engineer activists thought that Miller would be highly vulnerable due to his support of H-1B and offshoring. But they forget that he's a PR guy, an extremely skilled one. You can see it in the second enclosure below, where he deflects the questions quite deftly.

Speaking of slick PR people, look at this passage:
"Miller's communications director, Taylor West, downplayed the importance of the letter and said Miller will be courting union voters by stressing the need for better education and training so that Virginians can compete."

"Harris is not someone who wants to see jobs leaving this country," West said. "We have to acknowledge the realities of a global economy and be sure we're providing the resources and the tools for our workers."

Miller's ITAA membership consisted of some of the largest firms involving offshoring, so West's claim is really absurd. Miller has made hundreds of public statements in favor of offshoring. For instance, in his testimony to Congress on March 5, 2004, he said
"My members believe outsourcingâ-rather than trying to build and retain a substantial in-house capability--remains the most effective strategy for conducting a wide variety of IT operations."

Here is a quote from The Economist, Dec. 11, 2003:

"Many companies have not yet taken anything like full advantage of offshoring. Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), a lobby group, says that offshore locations have so far captured just 3-4% of all American companies' outsourcing. The bulk remains onshore in the hands of big firms such as ...
of offshoring (see chart 2). Mr Harris [sic] says some big companies have told him that up to 40% of their outsourcing business could end up offshore. That suggests the industry still has a long way to grow."

Keep in mind that the ITAA worked hard to defeat bills in state legislatures that would mandate that state government work be done in the U.S. (HR Magazine, May 2004)

Remember how offshoring was an issue in the 2004 presidential election? Miller made it clear that the ITAA was opposed to it being an issue. Here is some interesting material from the New York Times, January 20, 2004:

"One of the concerns I have is what happens in this situation when, in their eagerness to create a policy issue, some of them have engaged in a lot of antitrade rhetoric and antiglobalization rhetoric," said Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA). "From the association's perspective, it will be an ongoing concern if it turns into a hard-and-fast policy concern in the general election."
* ...
"ITAA's Miller, who says he has helped to raise money for candidate Howard Dean in a personal capacity, says IT companies would 'be very disappointed in any presidential candidate who has made a fundamental of his campaign that he would remove the U.S. from a leadership role on trade issues...obviously this is a lot of posturing in the primary. We know that candidates in both parties have last-minute changes of heart when they have to go out in front of the general electorate.'"


Did you catch that last sentence? Miller has the nerve to castigate politicians who do what the voters want!

Here is another example of Miller's slickness, from the Manufacturing and Technology News, November 4, 2003:

" industries. 'That's not to say that isn't a significant number, but the hyperbole with this issue tends to outweigh reality," Miller says. These consulting firms 'are trying to make a lot of money by projecting these ridiculous percentages of work offshore. The Forresters and Gigas are trying to get consulting contracts by using these ridiculous reports that they have no basis for.'"

So does that mean Intel chairman Andrew Grove is guilty of using hyperbole when he notes that 500,000 IT jobs have already left the United States, Miller was asked at a recent hearing of the House Small Business Committee by Rep. Don Manzullo (R-Ill.). 'It's because we had a major recession in the IT industry," Miller responded.

To which Manzullo said: 'That's not what he's talking about.'

Miller: 'I understand. I'm not going to get into a fight with Mr. Grove. Intel is a member. But what I'm saying is the U.S. software and services industry according to all data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics...'"

Amazing.

Miller has also opposed having H-1B employers give hiring priority to American workers. (CNet News, January 20, 2005) Etc., etc.
Well, enough quotes of Miller. Clearly, the Web abounds with them.
Nice to see the DPE of the AFL/CIO speaking out, as seen in the first enclosure below.
Norm

Labor Labels Senate Hopeful 'Anti-Worker'
By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 14, 2006; B05


RICHMOND, April 13 -- National labor union leaders are criticizing Virginia U.S. Senate candidate Harris Miller for opposing worker rights as a lobbyist for the high-tech industry.


In a letter to the Virginia AFL-CIO, the national union group representing white-collar workers called Miller "truly one of the bad guys" for his support for outsourcing jobs and importing foreign guest workers.


The letter was the latest example of Virginia's two Democratic Senate hopefuls having problems with their party's base voters. This month, several prominent black politicians criticized Miller's opponent, former Navy secretary James Webb, for statements he made about affirmative action.

"I cannot accept Jim Webb's views and statements on affirmative action,"
state Sen. Henry L. Marsh III (D-Richmond) said April 3. "I think his candidacy will have rough going gaining support among the rank and file."

Kristian Denny-Todd, Webb's communications director, said Marsh was mischaracterizing Webb's comments, in which he said that affirmative action should be based on class, not race.

"Jim Webb always has and always will support affirmative action for African Americans," Denny-Todd said.

The letter from the Washington-based AFL-CIO's Department for Professional Employees, which represents 4 million white-collar workers, was sent in February and first made public Thursday on the Raising Kaine Web blog, which is run by Webb supporters.

In the letter, Executive Director Michael W. Gildea writes of the candidate, a former president of the Arlington-based Information Technology Association of America: "Miller's anti-labor, anti-worker activities find him unfit for any kind of labor support."

Gildea was out of town and did not return calls. But the president of the professional employees' union, Paul Almeida, said his organization has a "long track record" with Miller that he said motivated the unusually blunt letter and an accompanying two-page fact sheet.

"When we saw his name pop up, we didn't know if people in the labor movement knew him the way we did," Almeida said. "He should be [asked] to defend why the outsourcing of jobs and the bringing in of guest workers is a good idea."

Doris Crouse-Mays, secretary-treasurer of the Virginia AFL-CIO, said her organization is not endorsing anyone in the June 13 primary. But she said the comments from the national group will be considered when determining endorsements in the general election.

"Assuming that Harris Miller was to win the nomination, it would be addressed at our executive council," she said.

Miller's communications director, Taylor West, downplayed the importance of the letter and said Miller will be courting union voters by stressing the need for better education and training so that Virginians can compete.

"Harris is not someone who wants to see jobs leaving this country," West said. "We have to acknowledge the realities of a global economy and be sure we're providing the resources and the tools for our workers."

http://www.raisingkaine.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=2134
Breakfast With Harris Miller
by: Teddy <
http://www.raisingkaine.com/userDiary.do?personId=11>
[subscribe <
http://www.raisingkaine.com/subscription.do?diaryId=2134> ]

April 15, 2006 at 16:06:58 MST
(Thanks to Teddy for this article... - promoted by Lowell)

About a dozen Democrats from the City of Fairfax, plus assorted children, met with Harris Miller Saturday morning at The Old Country Buffet in the City of Fairfax. While ingesting our monthly quota of cholesterol we had a lively conversation with the Senatorial candidate, who appeared to be in good form, accompanied by his (non-eating) aide, Andrew.
Teddy <
http://www.raisingkaine.com/userDiary.do?personId=11> :: Breakfast With <http://www.raisingkaine.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=2134> Harris Miller

After mentioning the newly announced closing of the Ford plant in Norfolk, which brought up globalization, the lead-off question pointedly introduced Mr. Miller's lobbying background, and established that, contrary to frequent media sound bites, he was not a successful industrial dot.com technocrat but rather someone who represented such CEO's by lobbying Congress and in helping, in Mr. Miller's view, to develop America's contribution to the Information Age.

When told that he seemed to be part of the problem through his efforts at outsourcing jobs as well as bringing foreign info workers to this country through H1-B and L-1 visas, he brushed aside any negatives. His response was that there were at least a million more info tech workers in America today than three years ago, which in his view showed job increases, not job loss, and he ignored a question as to how many of these workers were American or foreign hires while he launched into a rather persuasive discussion of American education.

The problem, in his view, is that American education is based on a 19th century agricultural society. American students are choosing not to study science and engineering, whereas China, three times our size, graduates six times as many engineers annually as America, and the same goes for India.

So naturally American bosses have to fill their need for technical engineers with foreigners. He basically ignored a comment that perhaps one reason students no longer study engineering is that American industry consistently turns down American graduates in favor of the cheaper foreign experts, so Americans are going into other fields. He proposed developing incentives and subsidies to encourage students to study science and engineering, and to re-train laid-off workers.


This segued into how to create jobs for Virginia, especially in desperate areas like Southside and Southwest Virginia, where the economy is still in a slump. A massive transportation development program would not only provide jobs for many years, but it would have a multiplier effect throughout the Virginia economy, and could be tied to national security as a rationale for the expense, in Miller's view. Why, he asked, did not Virginia install broadband throughout the state, as Alberta has done in Canada, which would enable information workers to work from Danville as easily as if in more expensive Northern Virginia? Certainly Danville jobs would not have to pay as much as in Northern Virginia.

A Gulf War veteran asked several pointed questions about both the Iraq war and the health problems of returning vets. Once Mr. Miller ran through his usual statements about establishing a "metric" for withdrawal of our troops, based on how prepared Iraqis were to take over security, he floundered a bit, repeating that we could be out of Iraq safely in two years. In his view there is a chance Bush will announce victory and go home in September in time for the November elections; or, some one said, begin bombing Iran.

There was a quick discussion of nuclear war, but the Gulf War vet persisted in pulling Miller back to the problems of veterans now beginning to return in large numbers, needing health care. The concentrated rage of these veterans is stunning. They feel betrayed by this country's leadership, which, they have now discovered, actively lied to them, and then failed to provide them with adequate materiel and support. Some, when unable to find jobs and denied immediate health care, have become homeless or committed suicide, a fact carefully concealed by this Administration. Mr. Miller offered one or two feel-good efforts at how he takes some veterans to dinner, and agreed to contact some veteran's organizations. He admitted he had never been in the military.

Here we got into some serious name-dropping as Mr. Miller discussed Democratic chances in the upcoming election. He feels that, with "Jim"
(meaning Webb) having entered the race, and events going as they are, now it looked as though national Democratic leadership with whom Miller has been in close contact, might raise the Virginia Senatorial race to one of its top eight races and provide national support.

Despite the give and take, and the breadth of the discussion, my personal estimate is that Harris Miller convinced, at best, perhaps two or three that they should support him rather than James Webb. He failed to give answers (satisfactory or otherwise) to concerns about his anti-worker, pro-business lobbying past, and blew past questions asking for details on many of his answers.

This left me, at least, with the impression that he is running a standard, garden variety campaign based on Democratic stereotypes and slogans, endorsements and platitudes. He is able to trot out a few showcase ideas (like transportation construction and education) and
he sternly conceals his dismal record in dismantling employment for hundreds of thousands of American middle class workers (what one researcher termed "deleting American
workers")


Actually, I almost think he would be better as a candidate for Governor than for Senator, but, when this was hinted at, his supporters became angry. While it was a reasonably enjoyable morning, the truth is, he seemed a practiced schmoozer, not a deep thinker- as my grandmother used to say, "a mile wide and an inch deep."


2 Comments:

Blogger The Richmond Democrat said...

Thanks for this information!

Tue Apr 18, 12:51:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Info_Tech_Guy said...

You're most welcome, JC.

Tue Apr 18, 06:07:00 PM GMT-5  

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