Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Profits > People: Part 1

Christmas is here. In the United States, what is it really about? Is Christmas about worshiping or paying tribute to your god or has it become a capitalists dream?
I argue it has become the latter.

The capitalists (yeah, the 10% that control 71% of the wealth), probably have their eyes glued to the T.V or to their stocks portfolio hoping for the markets to rise or for their corporation to bring enough profit to pay for the $9.00/hr workers salary plus a huge profit for them (CEO).

Make no mistake about it, there is nothing wrong about being rich. But being rich and sacrificing someones safety, livelihood or family is not right. Take a few examples: Bernie Madoff who stole 50 billion dollars off of a phony ponzi-scheme. This guy is the definition of what happens when capitalism is unregulated and when President Bush's SEC Chairman is asleep at the wheel. As a result, people are losing their family savings and retirement accounts.

Second example: Wal Mart. Wal Mart just a lost a 640 million dollar lawsuit because they failed to pay employees overtime, worked employees off the clock, and failed to give employees a break. This is just a drop in the bucket for Wal Mart because they're worth around 380 billion dollars! Watch the movie "The High Cost of Low Price" for more Wal Mart wrongdoings.

Over the last 8 years we've watched workplace safety decrease and workplace deaths increase, wages decline for the middle and poor class while wages rise for the wealthy 5%, factories being sent overseas as our trade deficits widen every year while sweatshops in China become common, and labor union membership plummet!!

Objective complete for President Bush and his allies. (Well almost, Enron got caught)..BUT anyway, the Bush Crime Family have single handily taken the United States into a corporation-dominated state, (Fascism).
Example: AIG and JP Morgan needed a couple billion, when and how much? and sure here you go! But John the union pipe fitter just got laid off and Cindy the accountant just lost their jobs and won't be able to buy Christmas presents- too bad find a job this isn't socialism, says Bush and his allies.

So on this rainy Christmas eve night, how could these few capitalists at the 'top' sleep at night knowing that they've sacrificed millions of Americans well being?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Welfare Capitalism: Part 1

It must be nice to have that kind of privilege. Yeah, the kind of privilege that Wall Street has received as a result of the 700 billion dollar bailout. If every working poor and middle class citizen in American evenly divided up that 700 billion, if we took some of the CEO pay and gave it to the 200,000 (or so) homeless people in this nation, ALL of the Republican right-wingers would be PISSED. They would be saying something like: "Lazy, Socialists, all they want is a hand-out! Get a job!!!"

But here's the double standard. When Wall Street and these welfare CEOs come to Washington with their handout they hear, "Okay, how much?". When GM and the UAW come to Washington with their handout they hear, "I dunno, how bout' payin' dem' Union folk a lot less, ya hear (slang)". So next, this big lie floats around that UAW wages pay $ 70/hour with benefits. All of the right wingers and free marketeers jump on this rumor. In short, that statistic is true if you add in ALL of the retiree benefits, but that's not how you calculate average wages -- that's how you propagandize statistics.

A dozen or so Republican Senators pledged to filibuster and oppose this automaker bailout merely for a political trick. A memo went out that the UAW President received which stated that the Republicans should oppose this LOAN to stand up to unions and Democrats. Forget the 3 million jobs on the line or the heart and soul of the middle class diminishing, the Republicans wanted to make a political statement. AND, they succeeded. Only with the mercy of the Bush Administration (who got us in this mess) the automakers got 17 billion dollars.

There's a catch? Oh, what catch? The simple provision that states UAW workers must take a cut in pay in line with Honda and Toyota workers. The problem? Some Toyota and Honda workers make more than UAW workers, BUT overall, UAW workers have a better pension, better/cheaper health insurance, and start their employees out at $2 more on the hour currently.

The question then becomes: What if Toyota/Honda drops wages? What if Toyota/Honda outsource more factories? Should the UAW drop wages and outsource factories?
Oh, and the news today is some 600 executives received a total of 1.6 billion dollars from the 700 billion dollar BAILOUT. I guess they deserve it for running these financial institutions in the ground (sarcasm).

Beyond this, we now live in a corporatist society in which a UAW worker earning $60,000/year is viewed as the problem. Where as a CEO making $1,000,000 +/year is not blamed for the company going belly up, yet is viewed as part of that "special privilege" that ECONOMICALLY defines the term: "Corporatism / Fascism".

Disaster capitalism has arrived.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Anti-Union Model

There seems to be a common connection between Republicans and Unions. They hate them. Forget the fact that the average union worker makes 10 dollars more on the hour than a non-union worker, or 80% of workers in a union have free health insurance compared to just 49% of workers not in a union, or the fact that 68% of workers in a union have a retirement pension compared to just 14% of workers not in a union. ( ;

Just analyzing labor union and worker's rights policy, the Republicans have always tried to shape foreign nations into an anti-worker nation.

In 1953, a CIA led coup under President Eisenhower's reign ousted the pro-worker right's President - democratic elected Mossadegh and installed the Shah of Iran. In short, the Shah was a ruthless dictator who killed leftists, socialists, communists, and those of Mossadegh's Tudeh Party that supported labor rights. Needless to say the Iranians haven't been big fans of the United States since.

In 1973, another CIA led coup in Chile under President Nixon's reign
ousted and killed President Salvador Allende and installed Dictator Augusto Pinochet. Besides the fact Pinochet tortured 30,000 communists and Marxists, he ran the economy in Chile based on Milton Friedman free market principles. He trampled over trade union rights, abolished the minimum wage, and privatized almost everything. Sounds like something the modern U.S Republicans wish they could do, eh? As a result of Pinochet's free market obsession, 45% of Chile residents were living under the poverty level in the 1980s.

More recently, President Bush's war in Iraq is nothing short of what Bush would want in a nation. Although he isn't the Prime Minister in Iraq, it seems that Iraqi workers are experiencing what us Americans witnessed throughout the late 1800s into WWI and WWII - more strikes, sit ins and protests.

New collective bargaining agreements need to be enacted to protect the workers of Iraq from falling wages and poor working conditions. Union benefits will not be earned so as long President Bush has a stake in Iraqi policy. Do you think someone like Bush would support trade unionists in Iraq when he doesn't even support trade unionists in America?
President Bush's direct record with labor unions is disgraceful. In 2005, he tried to remove collective bargaining rights in the Department of Homeland Security, but more recently he signed an Executive Order which denies new employees at the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms to join a union.

Although those are just a few examples of Republican relationships with labor unions, those particular examples show at which costs they will go to impose their pro-corporation, anti-worker policies.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Iraqi Democracy Tops U.S Democracy

Today the Iraqi Parliament approved an agreement that would allow U.S troops to remain in Iraq until the end of 2011. 149 Parliament members voted for the agreement. I find it very odd that the Iraqi Parliament was allowed vote on the agreement, while the U.S Congress was not. There are other provisions in the agreement, but even U.S experts really cannot speculate for sure what is in the agreement. The Bush Administration has admitted that they would prefer not to translate the agreement and make it public in fear of public backlash. God forbid the American people realize what the agreement says and do not approve of it. This is typical Bush secrecy and Fascism though; surpassing executive powers while re-writing the rule of law and our own Constitution, therefore slapping the American public in the face.
Our elected Congress people were not given the opportunity to vote on it. Our people do no what the agreement entail.
So does Iraq have more of a democracy than we do?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

McCain and the Wall Street Meltdown

"I don’t think anyone who wants to increase the burden of government regulation and higher taxes has any real understanding of economics and the economy and what is needed in order to ensure the future of this country.” -John McCain, 4.23.08

John McCain has supported deregulation since the beginning of his time in the Senate. On the campaign trail before the financial markets crashed, McCain has said numerous times, "the fundamentals of our economy our strong", echoing President Bush. McCain and the Republican Party our proud to be de-regulators. Ask the experts, the reason for this financial market crisis is due to lack of oversight and regulation. Senator Obama has been out front on this issue for years now, calling for stricter regulations when the housing market started plummeting due to predatory loans and balloon interest rates. Senator Obama, unlike Senator McCain, actually read Sectretary Paulson's bailout plan. Senator McCain didn't read Paulson's bailout plan until September 23.Video of that admission here:

If that's not shocking enough, then how would you feel if you knew John McCain's Campaign Advisor, Rick Davis, was a lobbyist for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac hired to lobby against strict regulations. Davis earned $30,000 a month for 5 years up until August. McCain claims that was the 'past' and he hasn't been associated with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for a while now. Now, because of the deregulation we the taxpayers are bailing out Fannie/Freddie and Wall Street because of flawed economic policies dominated by special interests, people like Rick Davis. Sounds crooked to me. Then again, thanks to public records, McCain has 177 lobbyists working on his campaign. 83 of them have worked in the finanacial industry.

Make no mistake, John McCain has a past with the finanacial industry. During George H.W's term, 5 U.S Senators were sent to interrupt investigation into the Savings and Loan Crisis. The Savings and Loans market was deregulated in the mid 1980s allowing for risky investments and an eventual 3 billion dollar government bailout. John McCain was one of those 5 Senators that caused the halt of the investigation, thus leading to further damage of the market. Those 5 Senators were paid a total of 1.3 billion dollars to do so. The Senate Ethics Committee called McCain's actions "poor judgment" and McCain said in 2002 it was "the worst mistake in my life".
3 out of the 5 Senators were convicted. McCain walked away, but clearly thought it was okay to put his illegal practices in front of the American people.
"Let’s Reduce Regulation.” -John McCain, 3.12.08
Country First?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Palin Agenda

The American public elected George W Bush for two terms knowing that he was a "born-again Christian". As religion is a sometimes personal issue, Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin isn't shy about it.

Sarah Palin was said this in her Church to ministry students:

"Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God," she said. "That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God's plan."

A few things both wrong and scary with her words. Since when did she start speaking for God? I don't think the authorization of the Iraq war was in the Bible. I'm not sure, but I don't know that a loving God would approve of nearly 100,000 Iraqi's dead and +4,000 U.S troops dead based on a war waged with false intelligence. Many former aides to Bush confess that Bush planned to invade Iraq at the beginning of 2001, without no intel at all. The White House tried to paint Saddam as a terrorist-loving dictator. When in fact, Saddam hated terrorists and held no connection to 9/11.
Secondly, she uses 'God's Plan' to justify the war. Didn't the First Crusade start like that? Pope Urban II decided one day to launch a preemptive religious war. Dont the islamic extremists justify killing through Allah?

In American culture, if it's radical to kill American citizens through 'Allah's' will. How is that different than launching a 3 trillion dollar, 5+ year, preemptive invasion into a sovereign nation and justifying that through 'God's Will', like Palin does?

You can't have it both ways. They're both wrong. I don't feel comfortable knowing that we have another extremist running with a candidate for President. When asked if she'd support war with Russia, she said:
"Perhaps so. I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you're going to be expected to be called upon and help."

It not only scares me that Palin justifys war through religion and God, but she seems almost to be flexing her muscle and carelessness, the same failing cowboy diplomacy we've witnessed the past 8 years.

Sarah Palin is a heartbeat away from the Presidency. McCain is 72 years old, and with his past health problems and stress he'll be dealing with, I sure as hell don't want her in charge.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Bush/Cheney, fans of Water Boarding

It must be a Republican thing. Even now, John McCain opposes any kind of LIMIT on interrogation methods. John McCain was a POW for 5 years and before 2008, he supported putting a limit on water boarding and extreme uses of interrogation methods.

The White House and the Republicans need to do a little research.

In 2005, the U.S State Department declared "submerging a head into water" torture and a clear violation of human rights. ((Water boarding is the process of pouring water onto the victims face, making the victim feel like their drowning)).

In 2006, the U.S Dept of Defense revised the Army Field Manual and prohibited the use of water boarding by the U.S military.

It least 3 Al Qaeda members were water boarded with the order/supervision of the CIA, approved by the Bush administration in 2006.

The United Nations (which we're a member of), describes torture as
'any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession...'

So, if our own State Dept and Dept of Defense is declaring water boarding as torture, then the Bush administration has clearly violated United Nation agreements, military law, and Geneva Convention law.

Why did the Bush administration clearly and knowingly violate the agreements against water boarding and torture?

George Bush, Dick Cheney, and those in charge of the CIA should be charged with war crimes for knowingly allowing these methods occur. They need to serve life in prison or capital punishment. I guarantee, if these were any other national leaders, they'd be held accountable and punished.

Instead, we have an administration that has surpassed their Executive Powers and waged policies at their own judgment, ignoring law.

Friday, June 20, 2008

McCain Similar to Bush

We hear all this talk from Senator Obama and the Democratic Party claiming, 'McCain supports the failed Bush White House policies; McCain is a third term for Bush.' etc, etc.
So, does McCain really support Bush's policies?

Has McCain, the self proclaimed 'straight-talk express' really brought straight-talk?

President Bush pledged to fight global warming and climate change, but he surprisingly turned his back on an international treaty, Kyoto Protocol, and refused to sign on to it with the rest of the world. This would of been an international agreement to cap green house gases and reduce CO2 emissions.
John McCain also pledges to fight global warming, but remember who's funding his campaign and filling his wallet, the 'we don't believe in scientific proof' Republicans. Is that why Bush hasn't held his pledge?

Along with the war hawks in the White House, McCain also supports the controversial War in Iraq. John McCain said we'd be in Iraq for 100 years, but recently he's said we'd win the War in Iraq by 2013. President Bush has threatened to veto any kind of date for withdrawal and McCain opposes such measure.

Here's where things get interesting. McCain has flip-flopped on a lot of issues lately. I'm just going to focus on offshore drilling, taxes, and torture. McCain has actually moved toward the Bush White House with his positions.

On offshore drilling, McCain opposed U.S offshore drilling in 1999 , however in 2008 he changed his position and now supports it. In recent news, Bush has said that he also supports it and is blaming the democrats for gas prices. Glad to see President Bush has finally developed a plan for high gas prices--wait 8 years for gas to hit $4/gallon, blame the democrats, and side with John McCain, or vice versa.

John McCain voted against the Bush tax cuts in 2001, but in 2008 says he would continue the Bush tax cuts. He has dramatically changed his position right in line with President Bush.

On torture, John McCain opposed using water boarding and extreme methods because of his previous POW experience. In 2008, McCain voted no on banning water boarding and sided with President Bush.

Not only is John McCain siding with President Bush's policies, he's sounding more and more like a flip flopper.
Wait, didn't the Republicans accuse John Kerry of being a flip flopper in 2004?

The 'straight-talk express' has displayed everything except straight-talk.