Friday, January 06, 2006
Get Your Rant On
Rant from Seattle paper
here's a non-rude quote:
Is anyone else tired of living in a parody of a real country?
It's rude, crude, and right on target.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Wake up Sheeple!!!
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Rep. John Murtha, a key Democratic voice who favors pulling U.S. troops from Iraq, said in remarks airing on Monday that he would not join the U.S. military today.
A decorated Vietnam combat veteran who retired as a colonel after 37 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, Murtha told ABC News' "Nightline" program that Iraq "absolutely" was a wrong war for President George W. Bush to have launched.
"Would you join (the military) today?," he was asked in an interview taped on Friday.
"No," replied Murtha of Pennsylvania, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives subcommittee that oversees defense spending and one of his party's leading spokesmen on military issues.
"And I think you're saying the average guy out there who's considering recruitment is justified in saying 'I don't want to serve'," the interviewer continued.
"Exactly right," said Murtha, who drew White House ire in November after becoming the first ranking Democrat to push for a pullout of U.S. forces from Iraq as soon as it could be done safely.
"Let me tell you, war is a nasty business. It sears the soul," he said, choking up. "And it made a difference. The shadow of those killings stay with you the rest of your life.
Wow. This is a guy who probably got hundreds of people to enlist over the years. Wow. You ever see those old guys with the red Marine baseball caps? That's Murtha.
For him to say this, leaves me stunned.
Of course, the chickenhawks are tossing names about. I wonder how many of them have two purple hearts and a bronze star?
When a man like Murtha would tell anyone, not just his friends and family, not to enlist, knowing what that means, I am shocked. I mean, he went to Korea and then reenlisted for Vietnam. He was a DI, for God's sake. Prmoted from the ranks. In peacetime. He even looks like a bulldog, for Christ sakes.
You can't be much more Marine than that.
It's a shame how Bush has degraded this country, that a man like Jack Murtha has to tell people not to enlist. It's like a priest telling a kid to not go to seminary.
from the news blog
When you are this bad a president.... everything IS your fault.
Federal authorities issued 21 citations last year for a build-up of combustible materials at the West Virginia mine where 12 men died, according to U.S. Labor Department statistics.
The mining explosion should call attention to the Bush administration’s inadequate enforcement of federal mining safety regulations. Mining safety in the U.S. has improved dramatically since President Clinton signed the Mining Safety and Health Act of 1997. (In that year, 272 miners died on the job, versus just 56 in 2003. Since 2000, fatal injuries have decreased by 34 percent.)
Phil Smith, the communications director for the United Mine Workers of America, said that while safety regulations are in place, “The problem with the current laws is enforcement.” According to an AFL-CIO analysis, the Bush administration cut 170 positions from federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and has not proposed a single new mine-safety standard or rule during its tenure.
And there’s a reason for that. According to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, since 2000, the Coal Mining industry has made approximately $10.3 million in political donations — 88.5 percent of which went to Republicans. The Washington Post reported that West Virginia coal firms raised $275,000 for Bush.
Last September, Bush has rewarded the coal industry by placing coal industry veteran Richard Stickler in charge of MSHA. Stickler spent about 30 years as a coal company manager with Beth Energy. Mines managed by Stickler were marked by worker injury rates that were double the national average, according to government data cited by the United Mine Workers union.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Wal-Mart Watch: New Hampshire Health Care
DON'T TAKE NEW HAMPSHIRE BILL FOR GRANTED
- Fair Share Health Care Bill To Be Heard This Month (Sprawl-Busters)
Lawmakers in New Hampshire will take up legislation this month that requires large corporations to pay their fair share of health care costs for their workers. Such legislation around the country has been called the "Fair Share Health Care Act." The hearing on HB 1704, "An Act establishing a health care fund, continually appropriating a special fund, and requiring certain employers to report certain information to the department of health and human services" will take place on January 11th. Similar legislation was passed last year in Maryland, and was vetoed by the Governor. But that veto may be overridden this month. Under the proposed law, a for-profit employer with 1,500 or more employees, would have to spend up to 10.5% of the total wages paid to employees in the state on health insurance costs. If the corporation paid less than 10.5% of wages, it would have to pay into the Fair Share Health Care Fund "an amount equal to the difference between what the employer spends for health insurance costs and an amount equal to 10.5% of the total wages paid to employees in the state."
from walmart watch.com
Wal-Mart Watch: Putting the Cheap Chinese Crap in Christmas
- Wal-Mart's Holiday Growth May Be At The Low End Of The Forecast (New York Times)
Wal-Mart which mounted an unprecedented holiday marketing campaign featuring $400 laptops and celebrity-laden television commercials, is on track to post its weakest December sales growth in five years. The discount giant estimated that sales at stores open for at least a year rose 2.2 percent. The results barely landed within the company's forecast of a 2 percent to 4 percent sales increase for the month, and indicated that Wal-Mart had its worst December since 2000, when sales rose 0.3 percent. Wal-Mart, which did not return telephone calls seeking comment on the sales, sought to put a cheery spin on the forecast in its prerecorded weekly sales phone message over the weekend. The message is typically straightforward, but this one included a song, based on the Christmas classic "Up on the Housetop," summarizing the holiday season. The chorus included these lines: "Ho, ho, ho, who wouldn't go? Out to Wal-Mart, let's go shop. Get great deals, watch prices drop." But the closing lyrics offered a hint of the mood at the company, whose stock price has remained stagnant for the past year: "Just buy our stock, don't sell, sell, sell."
- Results Show Wal-Mart's Holiday Wasn't Terribly Cherry (MarketWatch via Investors.com)
The verdict is in. Wal-Mart had a disappointing showing during December as consumers tightened their pocketbooks and waited for deeper discounts -- and gift cards -- before picking up merchandise.
- Wal-Mart Sees Tepid Sales Despite Promotions (Wall Street Journal)
Wal-Mart said general-merchandise sales were stronger than food sales for the week ended Friday. The stronger general-merchandise sales -- a reversal from previous weeks -- likely indicates Wal-Mart saw a strong flow of gift-card redemptions in the week after Christmas. Even so, the 2.2% gain in same-store sales, those at stores open at least a year, would be Wal-Mart's lowest December gain in five years. Wal-Mart, whose gift-card sales beat expectations this season, is counting on a big sales boost in January from gift-card redemptions. Yet analysts differ on the impact of gift cards on retailers' overall sales. Some argue that they ultimately boost a retailer's sales by generating two trips to the store: one by the card giver and one by the receiver. Others see marginal impact, if any, on any retailer's December sales. Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Emme Kozloff, speaking of all retailers, said gift cards "will not materially impact December results and should not be used as an excuse for poor performance."
Long but worth the read
1. Al-Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri, whom the Bush administration has failed to capture after all this time, and who was probably responsible for the July 7 bombings in the London subway and the bombings in the Sinai in Egypt, will strike at US allies again in 2006.
2. Saudi Arabia will use the $160 billion windfall from high petroleum prices to strengthen its military and security forces, and to spread its rigid Wahhabi form of Islam.
3. Iran's clerical elites will use the $36 billion windfall from high petroleum prices to strengthen their military and security forces, and to spread their radical Khomeinist form of Islam. The US, even if it takes some desperate step, will prove unable to shake the regime in 2006.
4. The Iraqi government, on which the US is placing its bet, will limp along with less than $19 billion a year in petroleum income because of sabotage and guerrilla war, along with long-neglected fields and dilapidated plants and equipment. Most of that money will be absorbed by the need for internal security, reconstruction and paying off past reparations and debts, as well as by large-scale corruption and embezzlement (billions of dollars went missing during the government of Iyad Allawi in 2004).
5. The Iraqi parliament will pass fundamentalist Muslim legislation. Sometime in 2006, a majority of Iraqi parliamentarians will call for the withdrawal of US troops. The Iraqi government will have warm relations with Iran, but strained relations with Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The guerrilla war will continue.
6. The Israeli-Palestinian struggle will continue in staccatto fashion, because the Israeli government remains expansionist and land-hungry. Because the Sharon government refused to negotiate with real live Palestinians over the Gaza withdrawal no framework for peace was erected. Israeli troops will go back into Gaza from time to time. Israel will settle thousands of colonists on Palestinian land in the west and will blame Palestinians as irrational and bigotted for objecting. The subtle forms of ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Jerusalem will continue or accelerate. Fifteen percent of Palestinian children will continue to suffer from malnutrition, a result of the poverty that derives from having been put since 1967 in a large Israeli jail.
7. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization composed of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan as members and India, Iran, Mongolia, and Pakistan as observers, will follow up on its success in getting US troops out of Uzbekistan and on strengthening energy cooperation between Kazakhstan and China on the one hand, and Russia and Kazakhstan on the other, as well as security cooperation between Russia and Uzbekistan. The conjuncture of gas, petroleum, Islam, terrorism and great power jockeying will keep the new Great Game going, this time with Russia, China and the United States all playing. The US hand is weak.
8. The US attempt to isolate Iran by putting boycotts on Chinese and other companies that deal with it will only prove effective for those companies that do a lot of business with the US. Moreover, it is easy enough for a company to hive off a de facto subsidiary to deal with Iran (ask Bechtel and Halliburton). And, rising powers like India that have relatively little trade with the US will tempted to choose energy from Iran over good diplomatic relations with the US.
9. New Orleans will for the most part not be rebuilt and will increasingly be eclipsed by Baton Rouge. Louisiana as a result will become a solid Red State. The Republican Party has no particular reason to rebuild a predominantly African-American city that reliably voted Democrat, just as its leader, George W. Bush, apparently had no particular reason to implement relief work there with any urgency or efficiency after the flood. Most of the $25 billion in reconstruction aid promised by the Federal government will never arrive.
10. The United States will continue to lose global political influence because its government is running large deficits and going ever deeper into debt. In the 1950s, President Eisenhower routinely used the threat of calling in loans from war-devastated Europe to get his way. He threatened UK Prime Minister Anthony Eden with loan cancellations if the latter did not get back out of the Suez in late 1956. He threatened DeGaulle with loan cancellations if the latter didn't get France out of rebellious Algeria before it went Communist. Nowadays the US is a massive debtor nation, and has lost that kind of leverage with all but the poorest and most beaten-down countries. The US nuclear arsenal is relatively useless because it cannot actually be used, and the US military is bogged down in Iraq. America remains a superpower for the third and fourth worlds, but is often a helpless, pitiful giant as far as places like Western Europe and China are concerned.
[Caveat emptor: The author, a historian, has a fair amount of expertise with the past, but knows nothing out of the ordinary about the future.]
from Juan Cole.com [via the news blog]
Bush helping the terrorists win....
SAN ANTONIO -- President Bush on Sunday strongly defended his domestic spying program, saying it's a limited initiative that tracks only incoming calls to the United States.
"It's seems logical to me that if we know there's a phone number associated with al-Qaida or an al-Qaida affiliate and they're making phone calls, it makes sense to find out why," Bush said. "They attacked us before, they'll attack us again."
Let's suspend our disbelief for a moment and accept his claim that the program tracked "only incoming calls." Thank you, Mr. President, for giving Osama the heads up that if he wants to avoid being tracked, he shouldn't call collect. Sleeper cells across the whole fucking nation just learned how to avoid the program you call "vital" to our national security.
The President, who decried the leak of generic information about the spying as "shameless" and causing "great harm to the nation," now singlehandedly undermined the effectiveness of his own program. Shameless indeed.
Monday, January 02, 2006
The spirit of 1984 in 2006
Washington State pupils given patriotism test
Children in Washington State are being given 'Patriotism tests' which are completely unrelated to their studies. The paper gauges whether or not the student shows fealty to the power of the state and whether the student believes in the right to overthrow a corrupt government.
Losing business close to home
In the first decade after the inception of NAFTA, the United States reportedly lost 4 million textile and manufacturing jobs. To put this in perspective, a conservative estimate of 3600 of those jobs were in New Hampshire. To put this even more locally for you, over 950 were in this North Country with the death of our businesses being addressed above. These job losses can be directly attributed in part to losing economic development plans and the aforementioned corporate written trade compacts and business legislation in NAFTA, CAFTA and the impending FTAA.
Bureaucracy in trade compacts that don’t allow a small drug store the latitude to find alternative forms of prescription purchase plans for We the People, or a building market that allows modular homes to come into this State while not allowing reciprocal trade, or subsidized paper industries putting our own mills behind the eight ball, is irresponsible at best. At worst it’s the sellout of our US commerce under WTO/UN trade rules. NAFTA was pushed on us in 1994. CAFTA took effect 2Jan2006. The FTAA is highly touted by President Bush and his globalist pals and there are too few courageous elected officials in this State, on any level, that are trying to stem the tide of outsourcing American jobs and making efforts to keep business in your back yard. Tragic. We the People are the true victims here. Let’s put America first.
Yeah, RISE UP!!! 7November2006!!!