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Friday, March 11, 2005

Daniel Akst Still Dumb as a Doorknob

Some of the most idiotic stuff I've ever read comes from Daniel Akst, as I've noted years ago. Now he's telling us Wal-Mart really takes from the rich and gives to the poor! Equally astute is his analysis of the situation of Wal-Mart's underpaid workers:
It's tempting to say that some of the benefits to shoppers come at the expense of Wal-Mart's roughly 1.2 million employees, but it's a tough case to make. Many Wal-Mart employees presumably can't get better jobs; if they could, they would. By continuing to work at the chain, they are showing that they prefer the jobs they have to no jobs at all. If Wal-Mart vanished, in fact, they would be in big trouble indeed.
Reminds me of Larry Elder. I heard Elder telling a caller that workers don't need labor unions because it's in the interests of the corporations to treat them well!

Jack Clark 10:12 PM [+]  0 comments  
Post #111060796839088286

Free Trade Proposal Splits El Alto, Bolivian City

The market-oriented changes that Washington long ago prescribed for Latin America have brought little or no prosperity to the average person, with some lands poorer than before.

Growth has been no better than halting in a region that needs galloping momentum to pull many of its people out of poverty, despite improved economic indicators seen in 2004.
There's no way by itself growth in these economies can adequately help the average person. There also needs to be a fairer distribution of income, so that the top 1-5% don't hoard most of the wealth while those at the bottom go hungry and die.

Jack Clark 10:06 PM [+]  0 comments  
Post #111060758480197614

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Seminar Eyes 'Good Ol' Boy' Gap for Progressives

'Up in Henry County, there's a mill worker unemployed because of free trade, his wife is working at a Wal-Mart without benefits, his kid is sick,' Saunders said. 'The election comes around and he hears that some judge in Massachusetts says two gay guys can get married, and he goes and votes for George W. Bush.

'What in the hell is wrong with this picture?'
The guy is terminally stupid, and the Democrats are terminally incompetent.

Jack Clark 10:01 PM [+]  0 comments  
Post #111052088475664209

Evangelical Leaders Swing Influence Behind Effort to Combat Global Warming

A core group of influential evangelical leaders has put its considerable political power behind a cause that has barely registered on the evangelical agenda, fighting global warming.

People on all sides of the debate say that if evangelical leaders take a stand, they could change the political dynamics on global warming.
I hope this is true. I also hope these evangelicals will now start supporting a real effort to end 11,000,000 children unnecessarily dying every day from hunger and preventable disease -- in other words, for them to truly follow the teachings of their Savior, Jesus Christ, which he spoke in Matthew 25:31-46.

Jack Clark 9:55 PM [+]  0 comments  
Post #111052051996934133

A Son Marches Home, A Father Wonders Why

[P]oliticians and news personalities who talk so blithely about war would adopt a different and more cautious tone in their advocacy of killing others were they to know that a degree of risk attaches to themselves and their own kith and kin should war ensue. It would be a more peaceful world if the law read that the children of every elected official and every TV news celebrity would immediately be drafted on the commencement of hostilities.
I'll vote for that!

Jack Clark 9:49 PM [+]  0 comments  
Post #111052015184425014

Pentagon Clears Top Personnel, Policies in Abuses

'This looks like another whitewash. Almost a year after the Abu Ghraib pictures, we still haven't had an independent investigation into the widespread prison abuse by someone not appointed by or subordinate to Secretary Rumsfeld,' the organization's special counsel, Reed Brody, said.
LOL! Rumsfeld's own subordinates clear him and other higher ups of wrongdoing.

Jack Clark 9:05 PM [+]  0 comments  
Post #111051754038964606

Scott Ritter: Iraq Vote Fixed

Ritter maintained that in initial election results, the Shia majority won nearly 60 percent of the vote, giving them control of Iraq's National Assembly without having to form a coalition with any other group.

However, said Ritter, "Suddenly there's a government-ordered lockdown of the votes, while there is a secret recount - not a public recount - this wasn't Florida where you had people checking chads - this was a secret recount where American troops were escorting ballot boxes into undisclosed locations to be counted by [interim Prime Minister] Allawi's government."

Ritter told Malzberg that the secret recount dramatically changed the political landscape, with the Shia vote dropping to 48 percent and Allawi's government picking up nearly 10 points of support, from 4 percent to 13 percent.
This is what I've thought all along. The Shia are 60% of the country, and 20% of the country, Sunnis, basically didn't vote, so the Shia share of the voting population goes to 75%. So how they wound up with only 48% of the vote is something that never made sense.

Jack Clark 9:03 PM [+]  0 comments  
Post #111051742372241108

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

VELVETREVOLUTION.US : VR's Divestiture for Democracy Campaign

This is a GREAT idea, to put public pressure on the voting machine companies to themselves institute paper trails and other fair voting measures.

Jack Clark 10:21 PM [+]  0 comments  
Post #111043569634069281

New Math at Wal-Mart

Here's some food for thought:
To the Editor:

Re "Don't Blame Wal-Mart," by Robert B. Reich (Op-Ed, Feb. 28):

If Wal-Mart offered high-paying union jobs, as do the auto industry and the government, it would be seen as a savior in small towns and welcomed into big cities.

Would increasing wages cripple the company? If the wages of Wal-Mart's 1.2 million workers were increased to $25 an hour (from about $10), the company's costs would go up by about $36 billion.

Passing on that increase to consumers would add about 12 percent to the company's current annual revenues.

Therein lies the choice: jobs that pay about $50,000 a year for more than a million Americans, or a 12 percent discount on Gummy bears and barbecue grills.

William Seay
Nyack, N.Y., March 1, 2005
The writer, a psychologist, is a union representative for the New York State Public Employees' Federation.

Jack Clark 8:42 PM [+]  0 comments  
Post #111042974196780185

A Tax Net That Catches Only Minnows

[Former I.R.S. commissioner] Charles O. Rossotti... says that the I.R.S.'s enforcement strategy winds up scrutinizing ordinary taxpayers much more than the rich and powerful, who do not depend on wage income. In a new book, "Many Unhappy Returns" (Harvard Business School Press), Mr. Rossotti says the agency is "like a police department that was giving out lots of parking tickets while organized crime was running rampant."

Mr. Rossotti, a founder of the information-technology consulting firm American Management Systems whose skill at understanding effective organizations made him wealthy, writes that the I.R.S. "picks on the little guy" over small sums, while "largely overlooking an ocean of money hidden in business entities for which the owners, rather than the businesses themselves, were supposed to pay taxes."
As cannot be said often enough, an elementary principle for understanding the world is that systems designed by the wealthy are designed to keep them wealthy and make them more so, not the opposite.

Jack Clark 8:40 PM [+]  0 comments  
Post #111042960005907663

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Social Security Ain't Broke, so Bush Is Obsessed With Fixing It

Let's be blunt: A progressive tax is a good thing for the very reason libertarian and conservative ideologues think it is bad: It redistributes income in a way that ever so slightly makes us more equal and minimally protects the weakest among us.

Anybody who wants a democratic society cannot accept excessively uneven income distribution. As Alexis de Tocqueville famously observed, the rule of the majority must be rooted in a thriving middle class.

The alternative? Class warfare and socioeconomic chaos--exactly what we faced during the Depression when Social Security was introduced to save capitalism.
I couldn't agree more.

Jack Clark 10:08 PM [+]  0 comments  
Post #111034850366901609

Haiti's Torment Ignored

President Bush's State of the Union speech was long on 'the force of human freedom,' which he called 'the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul.' Yet just 600 miles from Florida, that hunger and longing is being met every day with bullets, beatings, arrests and rape by the unelected, unconstitutional government in Haiti. That government's biggest supporter is the administration of George W. Bush.
Bush and his whole gang should be tried for war crimes in Iraq, and for mass murder in Haiti.

Jack Clark 10:01 PM [+]  0 comments  
Post #111034806518984918

Chertoff, the Devil and Nosferatu

I heard Mike Malloy say that new Homeland Security czar Michael Chertoff's last name means "devil" in Russian. I checked with a Russian-speaking friend of mine. "Chertoff" does literally mean "of the devil." And Chertoff certainly has the look of a satanic being. However, the first time I saw Chertoff, an even more exact match came to mind, Dracula, as embodied by the actor in the film Nosferatu:

How appropriate that this Bush administration killer so directly resembles a creature who sucks the life out of people.

Jack Clark 3:20 PM [+]  4 comments  
Post #111032428242831536

Sunday, March 06, 2005

US Murder of Journalist Giuliana Sgrena

While US military spokespeople allege that Calipari's car was speeding, unidentified, towards an Army checkpoint, Sgrena's life-partner, Pier Scolari, told Italian media that Calipari's car was a few hundred meters from the airport and already past all US checkpoints when the attack began.

Sermonti, who spoke with Scolari, says, further, that "Calipari was speaking in English with someone in the airport telling them to get ready [for Sgrena's arrival] when, just as they reached the airport, without any warning, the [US forces] opened fire."

"They're talking about 300 bullets from different weapons," said Sermonti. US military spokespeople say soldiers fired at the car's engine block. "With heavy weapons, bullets fly all over," responds Sermonti. "From the reconstruction of the events, it's a miracle everyone isn't dead."

In addition to the shrapnel in her shoulder, Sermonti told Air America Radio that Sgrena also sustained an injury to her lung.

According to Scolari, says Sermonti, Giuliana had been warned by her captives that "the Americans didn't want her to get out of Iraq."

At the time of her abduction, Giuliana was heading to an area of Baghdad where witnesses from Fallujah are staying to interview Fallujah refugees about the US assault on their city last year. Says Sermonti:

"She had some information about the use of illegal weapons by US forces in Fallujah that was very sensitive. A very hot topic. There were rumors of some use of chemicals and a number of weapons that are not legal -- like [napalm] and phosphorus."
Just like we deliberately bombed Al Jazeera offices in Afghanistan (and also in Iraq, if I recall correctly) because we didn't like their reporting, we tried to wipe out this Italian woman because in her stories she accused US troops of committing atrocities. Either that, or the trigger-happy level of US troops has gone completely off the charts.

Jack Clark 11:31 PM [+]  0 comments  
Post #111018069451178937

Rule Change Lets C.I.A. Freely Send Suspects to Torture

The Bush administration's secret program to transfer suspected terrorists to foreign countries for interrogation has been carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency under broad authority that has allowed it to act without case-by-case approval from the White House or the State or Justice Departments, according to current and former government officials.

The unusually expansive authority for the C.I.A. to operate independently was provided by the White House under a still-classified directive signed by President Bush within days of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the officials said.

The process, known as rendition, has been central in the government's efforts to disrupt terrorism, but has been bitterly criticized by human rights groups on grounds that the practice has violated the Bush administration's public pledge to provide safeguards against torture.

In providing a detailed description of the program, a senior United States official said that it had been aimed only at those suspected of knowing about terrorist operations, and emphasized that the C.I.A. had gone to great lengths to ensure that they were detained under humane conditions and not tortured.
Have you ever heard such bullshit? If we didn't send them over there to be tortured, why the hell did we send them there? Do those countries have more skilled interrogators? Of course not. We sent them there to be tortured. Or else why didn't we send them to a country like Britain, for example?

Jack Clark 11:21 PM [+]  0 comments  
Post #111018011480203843

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