Washington Evening Journal

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‘The process is so open’

Chinese councilor visits American counterparts
By Andy Hallman | Dec 21, 2012
Washington City Councilor Bob Shellmyer (right) speaks with his friend Junlin Liao (second from left) after the council meeting Wednesday. Junlin brought his nephew (second from right) and his father (left) to the meeting. His father was a city councilor in China.

The Washington City Council welcomed a few visitors from the Far East to its meeting Wednesday. Three men from China sat in on the council’s proceedings. One of them, Xiaogui Liao, was the equivalent of a city councilor in his native country, and he wanted to see how an American council functioned.
The visit was arranged by councilor Bob Shellmyer, who is friends with Xiaogui’s son, Junlin Liao. Junlin works at the University of Iowa Hospitals. Junlin informed Shellmyer that his father would visit him for a few months this winter and that he would like to observe a meeting of a municipal body in the United States, to see how it compared to his back home.
Xiaogui, Junlin and Junlin’s nephew Ding Liao attended the meeting. Ding is a university student at Indiana University at Pennsylvania (IUP). Xiaogui does not speak English, so his son interpreted for him throughout the meeting. Afterward, Xiaogui met the councilors and the city staff such as the city clerk, city administrator, city attorney and police chief.
Xiaogui said the meeting he witnessed Wednesday was much more transparent than the meetings of the executive board of the Yilu People’s Congress, which he served on for 23 years until his retirement in 2006. Yilu is a city of 14,000 people in Sichuan Province in the southwest part of the country.
“The process is so open,” Xiaogui said through his son who was interpreting. “It’s totally different here. In China, most of the decisions and arrangements are done behind closed doors. Some people have a disproportionate influence on those decisions.”
The meetings of municipal governments are normally closed to the public in China. However, Junlin said times are changing and that the recent meeting of the National People’s Congress was open to reporters. Xiaogui said he wished his country were open and democratic, similar to the Washington City Council he saw this week.
“Ordinary citizens cannot get into our meetings,” said Xiaogui. “Only the representatives can be there.”
In addition to serving on the Yilu People’s Congress, Xiaogui was a country doctor for 42 years and directed the Yilu Township Hospital for 27 years. He was trained in both Chinese and Western medicine. As a representative, he was sensitive to the needs of rural residents, blocking numerous tax proposals that would have significantly increased the financial burden on farmers.
When asked why he chose to become a representative on the People’s Congress, Xiaogui replied, “It is an honor to serve the people.”

Comments (13)
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Feb 23, 2013 03:56

Tom Wolfe's Last (and Best) Magazine Story

New York, Ny., United States
February 21, 2013

The religious foundation of Silicon Valley is not a minor point in "The Tinkerings of Robert Noyce." It's both the point and the punchline — the pie in the face of the people who think they live in the center of the universe because they live in New York City or Boston or some place like that... and, as Wolfe likes to say, have no idea. But then Wolfe makes this point in all his books, in all his stories. The people who think they live in the center of the universe never do unless they live in a universe of their own invention. People in New York City never have any idea, in the same way teenaged girls always have loamy loins. What makes "Tinkerings" so interesting, however, is that he makes this point without trying to distract you from it... and so thirty years down the road the story feels like a test of some kind, or a bet that Wolfe placed on the future, as his going-away present. It's not the story of a reporter who simply wants to "get it right," in terms of detail and atmosphere; it's the story of a writer who wants to beright, in terms of his thoughts and ideas — in terms of his holy consuming vision.


Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Feb 15, 2013 12:47
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Feb 15, 2013 06:50
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Feb 04, 2013 14:11

Robert Noyce [’49] Goes to Silicon Valley

The “Mayor of Silicon Valley,” our own Robert Noyce ’49, got his start in a Grinnell physics classroom.

At 8 p.m. Central this Tuesday, Feb. 5, PBS’s American Experience explores the history of Silicon Valley — “In 1957, decades before Steve Jobs dreamed up Apple or Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, a group of eight brilliant young men defected from the Shockley Semiconductor Company in order to start their own transistor business. Their leader was 29-year-old Robert Noyce ... .”

Check your local air times and watch bonus video on American Experience.

Full Story

"Anytime you do something off the beaten path, you put yourself at the risk of being misunderstood." Ben Milne of Dwolla


Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Feb 01, 2013 06:10

A Letter of Warning to America


Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Feb 01, 2013 03:15

Being a Grinnellian

"Grinnell put us together. This is the meeting place," says Serbian Kristina Duric ’13. She and Californian Cynthia Amezcua ’14 talk about international friendships, the global Grinnell family, and living abroad. Full StoryBeing a Grinnellian

See more videos and learn more about Being a Grinnellian.


Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Jan 30, 2013 06:57

The Grinnell Magazine Winter 2012

The Winter 2012 issue of The Grinnell Magazine looks both back and forward at the same time.

The cover story, “Harry’s War,” celebrates the centennial of the graduation of Harry Hopkins 1912 and chronicles how this colorful and enigmatic man not only designed and implemented the New Deal, but also became perhaps the most powerful presidential aide ever and helped orchestrate the defeat of Hitler.

Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Jan 30, 2013 06:46
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Jan 23, 2013 07:04

Silicon Prairie

When Max Farrell ’12 started exploring career opportunities, he didn’t expect to end up just down the road from Grinnell.

But Des Moines, Iowa, offered him the irresistible opportunity to help build the new online and mobile digital cash network Dwolla, founded by one of Inc. Magazine’s “2012 30-under-30 top young entrepreneurs.”

Full Story

Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Jan 16, 2013 04:32
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Dec 29, 2012 03:19

Has U.S. manufacturing declined because its companies are not competitive? Hardly. American companies are among the most efficient in the world. The nation's steel industry, for instance, produces 1 ton of steel using two man-hours. A comparable ton of steel in China is produced with 12 man-hours, and Chinese companies produce three times the amount of carbon emissions per ton of steel. The same kinds of comparisons are true for other industries.

But American companies have difficulty competing against foreign countries that undervalue their currencies, pay health care for their workers; provide subsidies for energy, land, buildings, and equipment; grant tax holidays and rebates and provide zero-interest financing; pay their workers poverty wages that would be illegal in the United States, and don't enforce safety or environmental regulations. With increased Obama tax rates, the United States gets a distinction no nation wants -- the world's highest corporate tax rate. Should anyone be surprised that manufacturing companies are leaving the United States?

Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Dec 24, 2012 23:41

Jeffrey Immelt, the head of Barack Obama's highly touted "Jobs Council", is moving even more GE infrastructure to China. GE makes more medical-imaging machines than anyone else in the world, and now GE has announced that it "is moving the headquarters of its 115-year-old X-ray business to Beijing". Apparently, this is all part of a "plan to invest about $2 billion across China" over the next few years. But moving core pieces of its business overseas is nothing new for GE. Under Immelt, GE has shipped tens of thousands of good jobs out of the United States. Perhaps GE should change its slogan to "Imagination At Work (In China)". If the very people that have been entrusted with solving the unemployment crisis are shipping jobs out of the country, what hope is there that things are going to turn around any time soon?

Earlier this month, Immelt made the following statement to a jobs summit at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce....

"There's no excuse today for lack of leadership. The truth is we all need to be part of the solution."

Apparently Immelt's idea of being part of the solution is to ship as many jobs overseas as he possibly can.

A recent article on the Huffington Post documented how GE has been sending tens of thousands of good jobs out of the country....

As the administration struggles to prod businesses to create jobs at home, GE has been busy sending them abroad. Since Immelt took over in 2001, GE has shed 34,000 jobs in the U.S., according to its most recent annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. But it's added 25,000 jobs overseas.

At the end of 2009, GE employed 36,000 more people abroad than it did in the U.S. In 2000, it was nearly the opposite.

GE is supposed to be creating the "jobs of tomorrow", but it seems that most of the "jobs of tomorrow" will not be located inside the United States.

The last GE factory in the U.S. that made light bulbs closed last September. The transition to the new CFL light bulbs was supposed to create a whole bunch of those "green jobs" that Barack Obama keeps talking about, but as an article in the Washington Post noted, that simply is not happening....

Rather than setting off a boom in the U.S. manufacture of replacement lights, the leading replacement lights are compact fluorescents, or CFLs, which are made almost entirely overseas, mostly in China.

But GE is far from alone in shipping jobs and economic infrastructure out of the United States. For example, big automakers such as Ford are being very aggressive in China. Ford is currently "building three factories in Chongqing as part of $1.6 billion investment that also includes another plant in Nanchang".

Today, China accounts for approximately one out of every four vehicles sold worldwide. The big automakers consider the future to be in China.

Just a few decades ago, China was an economic joke and the U.S. economy was absolutely unparalleled.

But disastrous trade policies have opened up the door for a mammoth transfer of jobs, factories and wealth from the United States to China.

China has become an absolute powerhouse and America is rapidly declining.

Beautiful new infrastructure is going up all over China even as U.S. infrastructure rots and decays right in front of our eyes.

You can see some amazing pictures of the stunning economic development that has been going on in China here, here, here and here.

America is being deindustrialized at lightning speed and very few of our politicians seem to care.

Back in 1979, there were 19.5 million manufacturing jobs in the United States.

Today, there are 11.6 million.

That represents a decline of 40 percent during a time period when our overall population experienced tremendous growth.

We used to have the greatest manufacturing cities on the entire globe. The rest of the world was in awe of us.

Today, most of those formerly great manufacturing cities are decaying, rotting hellholes.


Millions of good middle class jobs have been replaced by low paying service jobs. Today there are huge numbers of Americans that are cutting hair or flipping burgers because that is all they can get right now.

Barack Obama says that we need more free trade.

The Republicans say that we need more free trade.

In Washington D.C. our politicians do not agree on much, but one thing they do agree on is that we need to keep shipping jobs out of the country.

Until the American people wake up and start demanding an end to the globalization of the U.S. economy, the job losses are just going to continue to get worse.

The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000. If this trend continues, millions more Americans will soon be surviving on food stamps or living in tent cities.

The American people are deeply concerned about the economy, but they still have not connected the dots on these issues. The mainstream media and most of our politicians keep telling them that the globalization of the economy is a wonderful thing.

It is so sad that people just do not understand what is going on right in front of their eyes.

Whether you are a conservative or a liberal or a libertarian, you should be against the deindustrialization of America.

Allowing our industrial base to be raped is not a good thing.

Allowing big corporations and foreign governments to pay slave labor wages to workers on the other side of the globe making things that will be sold inside the United States is not a good thing.

Allowing the destruction of our industrial capacity to threaten our national security is not a good thing.

Allowing millions of precious jobs to leave the country is not a good thing.

The biggest corporations are making some extra profits by exploiting cheap labor on the other side of the globe. Corporate executives love to shower themselves with larger and larger bonuses.

But our current trade policies are not working for American workers.

We need "fair trade", not "free trade".

The United States is being taken advantage of, and the Democrats and the Republicans are both laying down like doormats and letting it happen.

If you want to know where all the good jobs went, it is not a big mystery.

They have been shipped out of the country and they are not coming back.

Unless fundamental changes are made, things are going to get worse and worse and worse for American workers.

So what is going to happen next?

It is up to you America.

Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Dec 24, 2012 02:50

"The coming collapse of China"

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