Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Still, Bill Dobbs of United for Peace and Justice, which has planned a massive anti-war demonstration on the eve of the convention, called the sound system "a potential Big Brother nightmare."
Then the article mentions this
"a new fleet of motor scooters to cut through gridlock should trouble arise."
When big brother starts using mini scooters, you know that is when you should be scared. /sarcasm
Notice how they did not use the word mini, they had to use the word motor to make them seem more big brotherish.
France Vows to Enforce Scarf Ban Despite Threat
See my earlier post here...
Seeing France's continual commitment to banning religious symbols in schools is interesting.I am curious to see what would happen if they pass the ban.Could it piss off the right Muslims just enough so that they would get a nice little suicide bomb as a present?I would say that situation is a possibility.
and that was in december
"So is Najaf really the right spot to be fighting Moqtada al-Sadr and his Shia militia? To fight, and possibly kill-either on purpose, by accident, or as a consequence of his own self-martyrdom--this new hero of the Shia, admired by 68 percent of Iraqis, according to a poll taken last May by the US government? "
first off, we did not pick the place to fight, Sadr did. Secondly, we are not the ones wanting to fight, Sadr is.
But the article does bring up some good points that need to be looked at.
"The Western Allies who occupied Germany after VE-Victory in Europe-Day, May 8, 1945, suffered precisely zero fatalities in the course of their peacekeeping duties. If that doesn't square with some distant memory you might have about the aftermath of the US entry in Baghdad in April 2003, that's because you might be carrying a false-meme planted by national security adviser Condoleezza Rice at the time. For whatever reason, purposeful or accidental, Rice tried to minimize and contextualize then-erupting anti-Americanism by planting an incorrect historical precedent in the minds of Americans; she claimed that diehard-Nazi "Werewolves" kept the bloodshed going for years after Germany's surrender. This tale of Germany in the '40s might have succeeded in making Americans feel better about taking losses in Iraq in the '00s, but it was just that: a tale. Which is to say, not true. "
I heard this differently, but I did hear it only from right wing circles, so I could be wrong about what I thought it was like after WWII. I will need to put this on a to list to look at.
Whatever one thinks of the Jaysh al-Mahdi, the Sadrist fighters in Najaf, they are nothing like the Nazi Schutzstaffel, or its battlefield wing, the Waffen SS. The SS was the product of the centralized, industrialized, and hierarchalized Nazi state. The SS was actively evil, but when Hitlerism collapsed, it did, too.
The origins of the Nazis and the al-Mahdi are not the same, but their goals are. Each want to forcefully deploy their lifestyle on others, weather they like it or not. Oh and do not forget, kill everyone that is different from you. In some ways the al-mahdi are worse than Nazis, they back their hate with religion. I am sure their was a healthy dose of religion for the Nazis, but the Sadr fighters have much more. This guy makes a good stab at trying to reduce the negative connotation surrounding Sadr, and his merry band of brothers, but it does not quite cut it for me. The bush administration has made mistakes in the Iraq war, but pointing out their mistakes does not change the fact that Sadr is a radical cleric, who might be backed by Iran, a fact that was missed by this article.
But we might remember that the stated reason for our being in Iraq-other than, of course, the WMD-threat-was not to take out Moqtada; we were there, we said, to help Iraqis, 60 percent of them Shi'i. And we are also there, presumably, to make sure that a pro-American government wins a democratic election.
He only mentions the real reason why we are in Iraq in passing, to install a democracy. If you are against democracy, you are against the Iraqi people and the US. It does not matter if they are proamerican or anti-American. If the elected officials uphold human rights, justice, and freedom, I don't care if they like us. As long as they let us train the military, and use some land for military bases to contain Iran.
I just laugh now when I see lines like this, seeing how things really turned out, this was not the case at all.
Here's one man's reason for fighting:
Ayad Ali, a militiaman in Baghdad's Sadr City slum, claimed his brother was run over by a U.S. tank. "I would fight the Americans until the last drop of my blood," he said, echoing a sermon al-Sadr has delivered in a funeral shroud, symbolizing his readiness to die in battle.
This guy was right about one thing.
Instead, Americans have found themselves in a lose-lose situation. Kill al-Sadr, create a martyr, and lose what little remains of Iraqi hearts and minds. Or else, don't kill al-Sadr, and see credibility of the whole US military mission undermined--in Iraq, and maybe around the world.
I don't know how to get the US out of this box. But I do know this much: the neocons, who got us into this mess on the basis of false evidence and false analogies, are not the ones to get us out of the box, either.
No it was not America that solved the Sadr problem, it was Iraqis (or one Iraqi to be exact). This should be pointed out to the Iraqis every where, that is a powerful message that could save a lot of lives (American and Iraqi).
Only they have the power to solve their own problems.
Also, I realized why we played it right in Najaf. There have been a few that have advocated taking over the shrine, which would mean brutal fighting inside the shrine. Some have also wanted brutal take down of those rebelling.
We are in a war, and in war it is simply stated that you must win. Normally you win by destroying you enemy, and that is in fact what most people think about when they think of war. In fact, you win by not giving you enemy what they want. If you enemy wants to take over your land, you kill them. The have to live, if they want to enjoy your land. If you enemy wants you to kill them, you do not kill them. You imprison them, or make peace. Sadr wanted us to kill him, and we won by not falling into his trap.
Monday, August 30, 2004
Please spend some more time reading and thinking about it before advocating a position this dangerous.
[Warning this post is long, I would not read this unless you are forced to somehow]
I don't know if I have said this before, but I prefer to make broad, general statements, instead of actually deal with the details. Often I find that once I do did into the details, my original ideas end up being confirmed. Either I am stubborn, dumb, just pick up the facts I am looking for, or was right all along.
I will let you be the judge of that.
To start our the Georgia discussion, I will give the history of the area as best as I possibly can and as short as I possible can.
Here is one account of a lot of Georgian History, which I read, and here is another that I skimmed.
Main points from the above links that I read.
Georgian in the 18th century was a Christian nation, between Iran and Russia. Georgian sought protection from Russia in 1783. It seems like that is where all this stuff started. Georgia spend some time under the control of Iran.
"Tbilisi was destroyed and the population ruthlessly massacred"
East Georgia(which I do not know how that is different from Georgia) was then annexed by Russia, and things kinds started looking up (maybe)...
"The second half of the 19th century shows the abolition of serfdom in Georgia (1864) and an ever-increasing Russification policy that touched every aspect of Georgian society. "
Then they got their freedom...
Soviet Russia and Georgia signed a treaty on May 7, 1920, according to which Russia recognized the independence and sovereignty of the Georgian Democratic Republic. Free Georgia grew stronger and stronger, and it seemed that hopes of Georgian people were at last to be realized, but the Bolsheviks were already at the borders.
Then they lost their freedom...
... The forces were unequal and on February 25, 1921, units of the Red Army entered Tbilisi. In Moscow, Lenin received the congratulations of his commissars--"The red banner blows over Tbilisi."
During the cold war, Georgia was under control of the USSR. Georgia was placed over several of the areas that are in the news today. In the early 1990's Georgia got their freedom again, this is when they got their current government. They have been through a civil war, and a peaceful Rose Revolution.
As a side note, Georgia is a honorary member of moveon.org (a US 527).
UN Wire reports that on 23 January, the UN Development Program and philanthropist George Soros announced the creation of a trust fund to combat corruption. The fund will pay government salaries and thus help reduce bribery.
Here is a link, about the good things that are happening in Georgia, before we start talking about current events. To understand the latest information coming out of Georgia, you will need to know a few principle players, if you want a broader view of the entire area you should probably checkout this link.
Some of the areas that Georgia is made up of are: Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Adzharia.
I will give you some of the information I found, then pronounce judgment on their final status (free or not free).
This is one person's view on why Abkhazia should be free. It starts out weird, but you can just skip the first section. Abkhazia, has been fighting for their freedom, for as long as anyone can remember.
It is said in the Caucasus that, had it not been for the long reign of Stalin, Abkhazia would today have been an independent republic. As it is, this period saw the start of the latest tragic page in the history of Abkhazia. If the first act of the tragedy was the annulment of the country's independence, this was followed by the murder of the national leader of Abkhazia, Nestor Lakoba. This in turn was followed by mass-repressions. During 1936-37 the national intelligentsia of Abkhazia and its leading personnel were annihilated to a man.
At the end the writer quotes from their Constitution, ratified on 24 November 1994.
"THE REPUBLIC OF ABKHAZIA (APSNY) SHALL BE A SOVEREIGN DEMOCRATIC STATE BASED ON LAW HISTORICALLY ESTABLISHED BY THE RIGHT OF A NATION TO FREE SELF-DETERMINATION."
Recently, in Abkhazia:
Tensions in Abkhazia led to open warfare on a much larger scale than in South Ossetia. In July 1992, the Abkhazian Supreme Soviet voted to return to the 1925 constitution under which Abkhazia was separate from Georgia.
After reading a lot, it gets unclear on the particular motivations of certain groups. Russia is always involved, and because of personal prejudice (ie cold war), I just do not trust them at all. This line though makes a lot of things clear.
For two centuries, the Abkhaz had viewed Russia as a protector of their interests against the Georgians; accordingly, the Georgian incursion of 1992 brought an Abkhazian plea for Russia to intervene and settle the issue. An unknown number of Russian military personnel and volunteers also fought on the side of the Abkhaz, and Shevardnadze accused Yeltsin of intentionally weakening Georgia's national security by supporting separatists.
Currently, Abkhazia is in a stalemate, but the situation is far from resolved.
History of South Ossetia and here
On 20 April 1922, after the Sovietization of Georgia in 1921, the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast (AO) was formed. Georgian writers have claimed that, like the Abkhazian ASSR, the South Ossetian AO had been formed by the Bolsheviks to create permanent sources of tension, so as to enable the Kremlin to control Georgia more easily.
Another view point from Nation Master:
In April 1922, following fierce fighting between White Russian and Soviet forces the "South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast" (i.e. district) was formed.
South Ossetia was separated (by Russia) from North Ossetia after the Russia Revolution in the early 1900's and joined with Georgia. Early on, South Ossetia has wanted either Federal Status in Georgia or to be joined with it's northern Neighbor (North Ossetia- now apart of Russia) .
Now it appears that the federal status is not enough, and they want to separate from Georgia and not Join North Ossetia according to their leaders.
In 1993, several thousand people died, and Russia was able to strike a peace deal between the two parties. Though recently tensions have escalated, and Russia has it's dirty hands in the current conflicts between South Osseita and Georgia.
Georgian soldiers then intercepted a Russian convoy carrying military equipment, including missiles, which led to tensions between Tbilisi and Moscow
Adzharia (or Ajara or Ajaria)
I could not find any information about the early history of Adzharia, I suspect that is one reason why Adzharia seems to be a success story for Georgia (and here). I think this is pretty much a closed case, and I think Georgia was wise to bring this area back under it's control. There did not seem to be popular support for a separatist movements. You have to read this article, about Aslan Abashidze.
Now to the judgment part.
In deciding whether or not certain areas of Georgia should be allowed to leave the Georgian state, I looked at two main factors: How long the area has been fighting for it's freedom and where they want to go (to Russia, or just be independent).
It appears that Abkhazia wants to be free, and they have tried several different tactics.
Abkhazian leaders have made alternating demands in recent years. At times, they have insisted on full independence, and at other times, they have requested associate membership of the Russian Federation.
Abkhazia seems to be biding its time, to either get Russian support or raise a serious army in order to fight for it's freedom. I am surprised that since the tensions in South Ossetia have flared up, we have not heard anything from this area. A good strategic move, would be to have a uprising at the same time South Ossetia does, in order to stretch the forces of Georgia to the limit.
I don't really see any reason why this country should stay in Georgia, they have a long historical line of sovereignty, very few ethnic connections to Georgia, and have endured some ethnic restructuring at the hands of the Georgians.
Let the Abkhazians go.
I have read that separate Autonomous regions were created in order to stroke ethnic conflicts to make Georgia easier to control. To me that does not delegitimize the fact that South Ossetia has wanted it's freedom in 1921 and they want their freedom now. They were fighting Russia for their freedom in the early 1900's. They are fighting for their freedom from Georgia now. Though it is not clear whether or not they want to be free or join North Ossetia (a part of Russia). They are saying one thing, and the Georgians are saying another thing. The south Ossetians do not have close ties ethnically or nationally with Georgia, the only reason why Georgia was South Ossetia is because of land, to maintain Georgia's territorial integrity, and to stem the tide of other separatist movements.
Let the South Ossetians go.
This one has been wrapped up, it looks like once the elections happen we will see if the people want to be free from Georgia by the people that they vote for. Though, it seemed like the short lived movement to separate from Georgia was centered around one fellow, Aslan Abashidze , who went back to Russia when he was close to being shot.
If the movement to separate or at least retain its autonomy is solidified through the elections, tensions could flare back up between Georgia and Adzharia, though they will be mostly political for awhile. If Georgia was to mistreat this section of it's country, I suspect that widespread calls for separation would occur.
Arguments Against Freedom
The arguments for retaining the territorial integrity of Georgia which I have seen are: retaining the territorial integrity of Georgia, and the American war on terror.
first, retaining the territorial integrity of Georgia, in order to retain the territorial integrity of Georgia is a tautology, with no logic that leads me to the conclusion that is stated. So unless I seem some convincing sentences between those two statements, I am going to dismiss that every time I read it.
Secondly, the American war on terror makes sense on the surface, but when you follow the logical conclusion of Georgia keeping its borders in tact, you end up with one large unstable state. Instead of having 4 independent, stable states to do counter terrorism with, you have one unstable state to do counter terrorism with.
CIA Fact book on Georgia.
Saturday, August 28, 2004
Here are some emails that I have received lately at work.
we will be holding a week-long celebration!
and this one
If you opt not to dress up for the festivities next week, dress will be business casual.
Monday - Crazy Hat Day (biz casual)
Tuesday - Sports Day
Wednesday - Decade Day
Thursday - Hawaiian Shirt Day
Friday - AIMS Logo Shirt Day
Here are some ideas that have been passed around between some friends at work, for Monday.
The penis cap.
A flesh colored hat shaped like the head of a penis. To be done properly this cap would need to be a replica of your own penis.
The bra cap.
A bra wrapped around you head (stuffed or unstuffed - personal preference).
The meat cap
Just go here.
I was leaning toward the bra cap, but then I thought of this one.
Tin foil hat.
I found this site with directions and tips for protecting yourself from all sorts of stuff I did not know existed.
I know which one I am wearing, and it is not women's underwear. I did not want to go into the store and try bras out on my head, I think that would get me arrested.
Friday, August 27, 2004
This place I am thinking of
...has a strong central government that makes all major decisions.
...has cradle to the grave health care.
...is where most of the people live an agrarian lifestyle.
...is a place where animals are loved -- not used for food and doing the work of man.
...is a where a high percentage of the population is vegetarian.
...is where a most people are fulfilled by their work, not beaten down by it.
...has a near perfect climate.
...has a government that resources are large, expansive, and well managed.
...is a place where people are free.
...is a place where sustainable environmental policies are in place.
If you are thinking this place does not exist, you would be right. I am trying my best to describe what I think a modern day Garden of Eden would look like. I left off the things that might tip of the most clever readers.
Such as: ...is a place where the God of Abraham, Moses, and Noah is worshipped night and day.
Garden of Eden, Heaven,or Utopia (man made or god given) is the human dream. Some believe that it will be heaven on earth, others believe there will be plump virgins in heaven. Some people, like Democratic Socialists of America, want heaven here on earth, and they also want to be the prime architects of that said heaven.
I think it is fairly obvious that God is a socialist powerhouse. Just take a look at the Garden of Eden, the first place God gave humans to play. No work, all vegetables, and no clothes. If that does not say "leaning to the left", then I don't know what does. What is more interesting than the fact that God is a socialist, is why the biodome collapsed?
The socialist Garden of Eden failed because, men could not follow the rules. In the garden of Eden there was only one rule, and we managed to break it in record time. We went from being benefactors of the socialist state, to being on our own. Our new natural state is one of continued toil, self reliance, and darkness. The important question to ask is, what to do now?
Man has two options, either we can try to regain our former glory or just try to make do with what the good Lord has given us. To regain our former glory would be to try to make heaven on earth. Can you say been there, done that? Heaven can be ran only by God, not by men.
Our only option, as the infallible men we are, is to make due, while trying to help as many people on the way as possible. This means pushing market reforms, killing Islamic fascist, and voting bush till we die.
Thursday, August 26, 2004
"Global economic integration has rendered obsolete both the social democratic solution of independent national economies sustaining a strong social welfare state and the Communist solution of state-owned national economies fostering social development."
At least we agree that traditional welfare states have and the Communist states have failed. Though, it is all in the comparison. The welfare states would not have looked like they failed if it were not for the Japans, South Koreas, and the Americas of the world. The Communist would not have looked liked they failed if it where not for the (comparatively) booming economies of western Europe.
In the United States, we must fight for a humane public policies that will provide quality health care, education, and job training and that redirect public investment from the military to much-neglected urban housing and infrastructure.
Off the cuff I know that house ownership rates are at all time record highs, so why urban housing needs more public investment escapes me. I wonder what the appreciation rate of public housing is versus privately owned housing?
Only through creating material and cultural bonds of solidarity across racial, gender, age, national,and class lines can true equality of opportunity be achieved.
Hmm that sounds like a one size fits all mentality. The only way to create material bonds between me and poor African is to take my stuff away from me and give it to the poor African. We both know that the poor African owns nothing I want.
The only way to create cultural bonds is if you relate our cultures to a very high degree. For example, Australia and the US have a large amount of cultural bonds, in fact our cultures are largely the same. While America and zimbabwe don't have a high degree of cultural bonds, they only way to make us closer is to make us similar. In other words, someone's culture is going to die.
Democratic socialists recognize that for individuals to flourish, a society must be grounded in the moral values and institutions of a democratic community that provides quality education and job training, social services, and meaningful work for all.
Meaningful work for all...That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. I do not belief that meaningful work for all is possible under any social/political system. Even under a market based system this is impossible.
In the 21st century, such regulation will increasingly occur through international, multilateral action. But while a democratic state can protect individuals from domination by inordinately powerful, undemocratic transnational corporations, people develop the social bonds that render life meaningful only through cooperative, voluntary relationships. Promoting such bonds is the responsibility of socialists and the government alike.
So now it is the government's job to make me happy?!?! Or just to promote happiness. Which is easier for the government to do: promote happiness or just protect the right to pursue happiness. Also which job would the government be better at?
I love the meaningful bonds develop through voluntary relationships, but you as a socialist do not have a choice of not promoting those social bonds that will render life meaningful. I bet that none of those social bonds include religion at all.
Democratic socialism is committed both to a freedom of speech that does not recoil from dissent, and to the freedom to organize independent trade unions, women's groups, political parties, and other social movements.
What about the freedom to start my own business and lock out the trade unions and other groups? What about my right to abstain from those groups because I feel like they would hinder my development as a person?
The social welfare programs of government have been for the most part positive, if partial, responses to the genuine social needs of the great majority of Americans.
Personally, I would be a lot better off I had all the cash that I have paid into my retirement which the government now has. Secondly, welfare is not for the majority it should be for the minority in need, not the majority in want. Genuine...I genuinely need the money I make given to me so I can go bet it one 100 to 1 odds, and clean up.
As democratic socialists we are committed to ensuring that any market is the servant of the public good and not its master. Liberty, equality, and solidarity will require not only democratic control over economic life, but also a progressively financed, decentralized, and quality public sector.
controlling the market is the worse idea that I have ever heard of, it is like trying to control the weather. You would have to understand the market fully to be able to control it completely. A large diverse economy such as the United States is to large and complex for one single entity to manage.
The words "quality public" do not go together, when was the last time you heard of a quality public pool or a quality public bathroom?
Free markets or private charity cannot provide adequate public goods and services.
So when people don't want to help others voluntary, you are going to force people to be generous.
In the workplace, capitalism eschews democracy. Individual employees do not negotiate the terms of their employment except in rare circumstances, when their labor is very highly skilled. Without unions, employees are hired and fired at will. Corporations govern through hierarchical power relations more characteristic of monopolies than of free markets. Simply put, the domination of the economy by privately-owned corporation is not the most rational and equitable way to govern our economic life.
"except in rare circumstances".
What if I am in one of those rare circumstances? Do I lose the ability to negotiate my fair market wage?
Secondly, by trying to create a equitable economic life you are creating injustices. The fact those injustices happen to center around highly skilled, highly paid workers, does not negate the fact that you are creating injustice trying to rid the world of injustice.
Social need will outrank narrow profitability as the measure of success for our economic life.
Will social need outrank my need for success in my economic life? This is basic logic that was disproved in Star Trek IV, man these guys really need to watch more movies.
Racism, sexism, xenophobia, and resentment of the poor are exacerbated by economic insecurity.
I do not resent the poor of America, I just wish they would stop complaining, go to school, and get a job. I feel sorry for the poor of the world who lack the will to fight for their freedom and equality, and who put my country in the position of doing it for them, then resent us for their failings.
Discrimination occurs in a myriad of forms, and a socialist society must eradicate all of them.
Even though a person's feelings are often not logical, ill formed, and hateful, you cannot change the way every person feels. If you can eradicate discrimination, then the rest of the worlds social ills would be easy to solve.
In the emerging global capitalist economy the controlling economic institutions - the transnational corporations - have integrated financing, production, distribution and consumption on a vast scale. They now have the capacity to function as "stateless" institutions, relatively independent of any particular national economy.
Do you hear the fear in their voice?
U.S. dominance of the global economy is buttressed by its political power and military might. Indeed, the United States is engaged in a long-term policy of imperial overreach in a period in which global instability will probably increase. Elements of this instability include national, ethnic and religious conflicts; economic decline and stagnation of subordinate capitalist nations; trade rivalries among advanced capitalist nations; and environmental degradation imperiling the quality of life.
"global instability will probably increase", really. Why is global instability going to increase?
Is it because they are poor and hate America or is it because the poor want the right to govern their selves.
I would agree that "national, ethnic and religious conflicts" are going to increase, but those problems are not caused by the US. They are caused by bad governments with bad polices and people who want self determination. I don't see what the US has to do with any of that, except act as a lens to focus the failings of others.
"economic decline and stagnation of subordinate capitalist nations"
Here the socialists are blaming their problems on the capitalists.
The [military] resources needed to sustain U.S. dominance are a drain on the national economy, particularly the most neglected and underdeveloped sectors
Really, why has our economy out paced Europe?
Nowhere is a struggle against militarism more pressing than in the United States, where the military budget bleeds the public sector of much needed funds for social programs.
I see they don't want to reduce military spending inorder to tax us less, they just want out money so that they can give it back to the poorest among us.
They state they want to reduce spending on the military, but then next they say their must exist a multinational armed force. Who is going to pay for this army, if all the countries have small armies? All it would take would be one kick ass army from a small country to whoop up on everyone.
No country, even a superpower like the United States, can guarantee peace and stability, never mind justice. Only a genuinely multinational armed force can intervene in violent conflicts to enforce generally accepted standards of human rights and democratic practices
Wow something I agree with, but just because my country will fail trying to ensure justice, freedom, and stability, does not mean that my country should not try. I just cannot wait until the rest of the world joins us in our moral imperative.
Treaties on human rights, international labor standards, women's rights, environmental protection have all been ratified by many nations (albeit generally not by the US).
I don't even know what to say to that line.
The women's movement increasingly argues that only by restructuring work and child care can true gender equality be realized.
So by giving women breaks, we can make things equal.
If a woman wants my job she can have it, but she had better be able to work as hard as me. She can have the overtime, odd hours, late day emergencies that will make me bald, grey, and give me a heart attack.
Economic democracy means, in the most general terms, the direct ownership and/or control of much of the economic resources of society by the great majority of wage and income earners.
I think that is called a stock market?
If the poor would stop buying liquor, smokes, and VCR's, they could pool their money to buy ownership of the companies they work for. Eventually, they would control everything.
Such democratic control must also encompass existing financial institutions, whose funds can be used to invest in places abandoned or bypassed by transnational capital, such as urban and rural areas, and in sectors of the population that have been historically denied control and ownership of significant economic resources.
This takes the cake...They want to take my money and make bad investments with it...hah haaaah.
Hey.....Wait......That is not funny at all.
..Only independent, democratically run unions can protect workers
What about the ability to go somewhere else and find a job?
The great run-up in national debt is due directly to military-led deficit financing. Reduced military expenditures and more equitable taxation represent the only sources of funds on the scale needed to provide the social programs required to ameliorate declining living standards.
The national debt shrank during the 90's because our economy brought in more money to the government.
Here they say they want a more equitable taxation. Excuse me if I am suspicious, before they said this:
Social Redistribution. Social redistribution--the shift of wealth and resources from the rich to the rest of society--will require:
1) massive redistribution of income from corporations and the wealthy to wage earners and the poor and the public sector, in order to provide the main source of new funds for social programs,income maintenance and infrastructure rehabilitation, and
2) a massive shift of public resources from the military (the main user of existing discretionary funds) to civilian uses.
How is that going to happen with out unequal taxation???
No laws of nature or "free markets" dictate that we must destroy our environment, worsen global inequality, squander funds on useless deadly weapons, and continue to relegate women and people of color to second-class citizenship
Hey those weapons are not useless? They are used to kill people and destroy things. Silly socialist have you ever seen an M-16?
"We invite you to join us in this effort worthy of a lifetime of commitment."
No thanks, I am going to exploit some hot Latin chicks.
Socialist's goals are noble, proud, and worthy of being considered. They are also impossible to achieve using their own rule set to achieve their goals. They want peace and justice for everyone, but are unwilling to fund and direct their army for that purpose.
They want everyone to have a happy fulfilled life, but they want to hand people that life on a silver platter. If happiness could be given that way, then the ones born into riches would be the happiest among us. It could be passed down from the parents to the children, but it does not work that way.
They seem to think that just by organizing and demanding freedom and equality, the dictators will hand them their equal rights, environmental protections, and social programs.
To the socialist the worlds evils consist of inequality and trans-national corporations. That is it!! They think that if they make every one equal, tax and control the corporations for the good of all, have generous social welfare, and a few government programs promoting social bonds that the world's people will be happy.
What is a person with out any needs? Are they happy...Or.... Unhappy because they can't have what they want?
It is a very interesting, tense movie. It was made during the good ole days when the ladies looked real and the movie special effects looked fake. Now the ladies look fake, and the special effects look real. I like our movies better much better.
The plot is fairly simple. Around the late 1940's or early 1950's a space ship lands right beside the Washington monument. It appears after carefully studying our planet the Aliens choose to land in the United States, instead of Russia (What a surprise!?!?). The space ship receives the normal greeting offered to strange people when they come to America, the US military. The ship contains one robot and one alien that looks like a man. Michael Rennie plays Carpenter (the man look alike alien. If I could make myself look like any human for this movie. I would have chosen Marilyn Monroe. It would keep you from getting shot and make the movie more interesting.) who tries to bring a message to the entire world, but ends up struggling with the world's politics in order to present his message.
I loved this movie, it is classic sci-fi at its best, as far as I am concerned. If you have not seen this movie and you are tired of the violence, sex, drugs, bad rap music, weak plotlines, week messages, and foul language -- this movie is a must see.
I was interested enough in it's political message to do a little research on the current state of affairs when the movie came out. The movie was released in 1951, here is a timeline of that period. As you can see the United Nations and the Cold war were just starting. The ending speech of the movie carried powerful political overtones then and even stronger ones now.
Here is a link to the entire last section of the script.
I would like to point out one section that has stuck into my brain for the last few months.
The Universe grows smaller every day -- and the threat of aggression by any group -- anywhere -- can no longer be tolerated.
There must be security for all -- or no one is secure...
This does not mean giving up any freedom except the freedom to act irresponsibly.
Your ancestors knew this when they made laws to govern themselves -- and hired policemen to enforce them.
The script goes on to relate how the alien race along with other races has achieved peace in the universe.
The line that was most important to me was: There must be security for all -- or no one is secure...
That line points out interlinking, communal nature of security. America might be secure from attack, but a country,which maybe separated by water and a few other countries, is not secure. America's (or any other country for that matter) security is only as good as our neighbors security. Our neighbors security is only as good as their neighbors security. So on and so forth that pattern goes until every country in the world is affected. We might be more secure than other countries (ie. South Korea), but a loss of security for one country is a loss (even if it is a small loss) for all.
Security shares the same interlocking, communal nature with freedom. Freedom gained spreads outward. Freedom lost ripples through the collective body of the world.
In fact, you may not realize that the security or freedom was lost. For example, you are free to go to most parts of America, and roam it's highways until you die. What if civil unrest threatened Iowa? I have never been to Iowa, but I have lost the ability to travel securely (or to exercise my freedom to travel) through the state of Iowa. Their security and freedom loss was a loss to me (even if it does not directly affect me).
Increasing the freedom of others, increases my freedom. If am willing to die for my own freedom, I should be willing to die for the freedom of others.
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
"We'll help you pay for school, and we'll help even more if you're willing to serve your country. And together, we'll make 2004 the last year that debt and dollar signs come before degrees and dreams for the future."
As the American economy changes toward an information and service based economy, more and more, highly trained people are needed to fill jobs and fuel economic growth. We must have a good educational base in order to throw workers on the economic fire. Also, education can be used as a spring board into the middle class for people in America. That is why Kerry's above idea is a good idea to start the idea mill running, but I don't think it is the one to implement.
We already have the above system, through the national guard and army. Increasing those programs to a civilian corps type situation will only use federal money in an unproductive way.
I fail to see the cost savings per person educated of the above plan, versus the current private loan model. I do see how the poor could use the system to move up the economic ladder. The government will pay for you school, while you will work for 4 years (before or after school I don't know but kerry's statement could be taken to mean before school). The problem with the four years that you are working is that the government is making use of your skills, not the market.
One idea a friend brought up, giving teenagers an additional two years of school. That school could be directed toward explaining credit cards, civic responsibility, and taking college prep classes. Participation in voting and understanding of state and federal governments could help oil the wheels of democracy. The students would be older when they graduated from college, and maybe wiser. The economy might benefit from having mature, better trained workers entering the work force. That would also be at a tremendous cost for the tax payers, and I serious doubt that many states would attempt such a large program.
A single federal program, will not change the overall structure of the US education system. There must be a multi faceted market approach to increasing effectiveness of the education system.
State scholarships based on academic performance is good. A better system would be to award scholarships based on financial need, but the student who receive the scholarship would have to maintain a good GPA. This system could replace the current reward based scholarship system, and target the ones who need and want it the most.
Students should be isolated from their parents financial irresponsibility, and school loans could be given low interest rates. They all ready are, but could the be lower. At what point in the interest rates do the loan companies loose interest in loaning money? Does it really improve the overall economic performance of the country to have money lost to school loan interest?
Finally, the best way of lowering the cost of education is to increase the competition for the available students. What does it take to create a university and have it become profitable? Is their a market for education companies in the college market? If there is, why have they not filled it? Is government regulation slowing the advance of education companies? Answering some of these questions and solving some of the problems that come up, will help lower the cost of education.
I have been thinking about the federal funding of schools from system flow perceptive. The US constitution does not address the funding of education and who should be in charge of it, but there is a section that covers what the constitution does not address.
Article [X.] The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people
I think it is pretty clear that education was left to the states. This is not the case in NCLB, nor was it the case before NCLB. I don't know when it changed or why, but my ignorance of the matter does not prevent me from laying out the correct way education should be funded.
Federal funding of Education from process flow perspective.
Americans pay federal taxes for education. The IRS collects the money, then federal government apportions that money to the states based on laws that have been passed. Once the money gets to the states, the states then release get the money to the schools somehow. I don't know if it goes to the counties first then to the districts or directly to the districts.
As in any process, the more complex the process is the more places the process can break down. To me the greatest potential for abuse lies when the money leaves the states. The federal government essentially takes a cut of the money to pay for the federal education infrastructure. The federal salaries of the education department, travel expenses, and the buildings those employes reside in fall under that area.
The issue of effective management is the next issue which comes up in my mind. If the federal government is going to just return the money back to the state, why is it there in the first place. The amount the state gets back may be less or even more than what was paid in,but the entire lump sum should be less than what the states could have collected separately.
The potential for fraud also increases. The more complex and the more people that are involved in a process the more loop holes exist. By adding an additional layer of federal government you have opened up another chance for fraud. To decrease the potential of fraud, you have to include more people and implement a checks and audit system. While these efforts work to save money that was brought in, they also work to spend money that was brought in at the federal level.
I would also like to point out these problems, though I don't know how to classify them.
Here is an article of people getting mad at the federal government doing their job. Once you give the money away, you lose control over where it goes. If you keep it within the state, you can at least keep it going to your general area of the country. If the money, goes to the federal level, it could end up anywhere in the US.
Also, once you give the money away to the federal goverment, you may not get it back, or maybe to get your money back you will have to follow certain rules and regulations which may not fit you situation or your local needs.
Saturday, August 21, 2004
Kerry's campaign announced it had 'filed a legal complaint against Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT) before the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for violating the law with inaccurate ads that are illegally coordinated with the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign'... MORE...
Either he has something that is damming to Bush or he has nothing?
If he has something on Bush, he has won the campaign.
If he has nothing (I suspect that he does not), why is he doing this? Are the ads that bad? Are they that damming? Does he think that he will tie the ads up in legal limbo, so that they will not be shown? Will that work? If it is shown that he has nothing, will this back fire? Is the FEC a republican water boy?
Only time will tell...
Stay tuned for our next exciting episode.
"Never mind that almost daily there's a retraction or a new story to discredit what these veterans are saying."
This a misrepresentation. Only one report has come out. So if you were counting from the day it came out, then it would be daily. Of course, the report uses the world "almost". I guess this supposed to make me feel better. Then the article goes one the detail the one thing that has discredited the swift boat veterans in the eyes of liberals. In the eyes of conservatives, it does not hurt at all because it was Kerry who wrote the (or will they use "almost" wrote) the report.
"The Kerry campaign was curiously passive as the veterans gathered force in the media-as though responding would dignify the scurrilous charges. "
This is a lie, in my view of the world. Kerry's campaign lawyers sent letters to individual TV stations trying to get the stations not to air the ads. Where there are lawyers there is a story. The writer of this story might view that is passive, but I view that as taking action.
"Flanked by firefighters in Boston, Kerry stripped the mask of patriotic valor from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth by pointing out the source of their funding: a Texas Republican who wrote two checks for $100,000 to the group. "
Hmmm...So who paid for the ads attacking Bush's service? Was it a California liberal? Would that fact (it were true) strip the "mask of patriotic valor from the" democrat ads? I suspect not for this writer.
Email that I sent to the writer.
I loved your article, I made some wonderful comments about the accuracy and the unbiased nature of you article at my site.
I don't want to retype the praises I have just written ( I am so lazy :)); but feel welcome to read them yourself.
Kerry in 04'
The worker's prime spot on the Democrats' convention agenda says something very significant about manufacturing, namely that manufacturing in America still matters. It has many faces, not only the face of the worker from Canton. It has many issues, and among them are the plight of workers fuming about the shift of production overseas, the small manufacturers who complain that unfair foreign competition is driving them and their employees from the marketplace, and manufacturers large and small who charge that the cost of doing business in the United States -- including a hefty burden of taxes and government regulation and taxes -- is driving them from the country.
For U.S. manufacturing, these are economic issues, they are management issues and they are employee issues. To be sure, for some the situation seems as simple as greedy, rich executives uncaringly taking jobs from well-paid Americans and giving them to poor foreigners. But in reality the situation is not that simple, nor are the issues solely economic, management and employee issues. They are also public policy issues. And the decisions made now and in the near future by both the private and public sectors will have profound and long-term effects on the quality and quantity of manufacturing in the United States, the international competitiveness of its companies, the competence of their managements, and the capabilities of their workforces.
In this third article of a six-part series of the U.S. workforce, IndustryWeek brings the issues that matter most to U.S. manufacturing, its managers and its workers into the middle of the presidential-election-year public policy arena.
The questions are ours. The answers are the candidates'.
But ultimately the judgments must be yours.
Most Important Manufacturing Issues
What are the most important public policy issues that must be addressed to ensure a strong economic future for manufacturing in the U.S.? Why are these the most important?
President Bush: According to a study published by the National Association of Manufacturers, external overhead costs from taxes, health and pension benefits, tort litigation, regulation, and rising energy prices add approximately 22% to U.S. manufacturers' unit labor costs (nearly $5 per hour worked) relative to their major foreign competitors. The costs are too high, and I have laid out a comprehensive six-point plan to reduce these costs.
My plan will strengthen the economy and create jobs by making health care more affordable and accessible; reforming the legal system to prevent frivolous lawsuits that increase the cost of doing business; promoting affordable, reliable, and secure energy supplies; streamlining government regulations, especially for small businesses; pursuing free and fair trade agreements that create jobs; and making tax relief for families and small businesses permanent. Taken together, these policies will lower the costs of doing business and allow entrepreneurs and business owners to spend fewer resources on bureaucratic hassles and more on creating jobs and raising salaries for workers.
Senator Kerry: John Kerry and John Edwards understand that providing for a strong economic future for manufacturing means reforming health care, making trade work for America, and cutting our budget deficit and freeing up more capital for investment.
Health care reform is needed to end the runaway costs of premiums and make businesses more competitive. Under George Bush, health care premiums have risen 40% -- making it harder for employers to hire new people, especially since manufacturers often [offer] some of the best health care benefits to their employees.
America should be engaged in the global economy, but one that works for America. Our manufacturing industries should never be put at an unfair disadvantage because our government is sitting on the sidelines instead of fighting to enforce our trade laws, including opening up foreign markets and preventing dumping, currency manipulation, and other unfair trade practices.
Kerry and Edwards have a plan to cut the budget deficit in half, restraining the growth of government spending, and paying for all their campaign initiatives. Cutting the deficit will free up more capital for productive investment by America's businesses. In addition, Kerry and Edwards support programs to encourage venture capital for small- and mid-sized manufacturing companies.
IW Analysis: Particularly by quoting the National Association of Manufacturers, Bush comes across as an "establishment" business executive. His plan, focused primarily on cutting costs, is not specifically targeted to assisting the manufacturing sector, but rather addresses the needs of the all business and in boosting the economy in general. Kerry, perhaps surprisingly, is relatively conservative on economic discipline.
What is your operating trade philosophy and how will it benefit U.S. manufacturing? Would you limit offshoring of U.S. jobs? If so, how?
Bush: We need to keep America the best place in the world to do business by remaining committed to free and fair trade and by ensuring a level playing field. Foreign companies recognize the quality of American workers, and that is one of the reasons why so many have chosen to locate plants here. More than 6 million Americans draw their paychecks from foreign companies, and these Americans are better off because we are an optimistic, successful trading nation. By keeping our markets open, we are helping American producers, businesses, and workers have the opportunity for free and fair trade. We are also creating the right conditions for our companies to compete with and outperform the world. And we are seeing results: American exports were at a record high in May. Sales of American-made automobiles, engines, and parts rose by 1.3% in May for another record high; industrial supplies, including chemicals and plastic materials, also hit an all-time high of $17.3 billion in May; and exports of capital goods, such as airplanes and industrial engines, climbed to $28.8 billion.
With 95% of the world's population living outside of the United States, exports are vital to the strength and the prosperity of the [nation's] economy. A retreat into economic isolationism would endanger our economic recovery, cost jobs, lead to higher prices for consumers, and put American companies at a competitive disadvantage.
Kerry: John Kerry and John Edwards believe that we need to make global trade work for America. A Kerry-Edwards administration will support U.S. manufacturing by ending tax breaks for companies who move jobs overseas and will cut taxes for 99% of corporations that keep jobs in America. The Kerry-Edwards plan will end a special break that allows companies to defer paying taxes on income earned abroad, closing the foreign tax deferral loophole that encourages companies to send jobs overseas. The savings will be used to cut the corporate tax rate by 5% and provide a New Jobs Tax Credit to manufacturers affected by outsourcing, giving them a break on federal payroll taxes for every new job created in America.
As president, John Kerry will use the full strength of our trade agreements and domestic trade laws, including anti-dumping, countervailing duties, and surge protections, to ensure that trade works for America. John Kerry will call for a 120-day review of all existing trade agreements and increased resources for trade enforcement.
IW Analysis: Bush glosses over steel import quotas and other actions taken during his presidency that call his commitment to free trade into some question. On the other hand, just by the use of such words as special break and loophole Kerry stands to alienate internationally-minded manufacturers before their executives and workers give the details of his proposals a serious look. Significantly, neither Bush nor Kerry says anything about comprehensive trade-related economic assistance for displaced workers and abandoned communities.
How do you address U.S. business leaders' concerns about the cost and scope of health-care coverage?
Bush: My Administration has acted to make health care more affordable and more available for families, workers, and small business owners. We have created health savings accounts, which combine flexible, affordable insurance options for small businesses and individuals with the opportunity to save money for out-of-pocket medical costs in a tax-free account. To reduce the burden of health care costs on small business owners and employees, I have proposed the creation of Association Health Plans, so small businesses can pool together to negotiate lower health care costs and provide health insurance to their employees.
I have also proposed $70 billion in tax credits to help working Americans buy health care coverage. And I am fighting rising health costs by rooting out fraud and abuse, working to eliminate frivolous lawsuits, and promoting wider use of health information technology to improve quality, reduce errors, and cut administrative waste.
Kerry: Skyrocketing health care costs place a dangerous burden on American businesses and make it harder for them to succeed. Since Bush took office, the cost of family health insurance has increased by 40% -- a total premium increase of more than $2,600. The Kerry-Edwards plan will provide up to $1,000 in premium relief for employers who do the right thing by offering their employees quality health coverage. [The] plan will help make health care more affordable for all employers and employees by helping out with certain high cost health cases -- providing approximately 10% in annual savings. The Kerry-Edwards plan will have the federal government pick up 75% of the cost of catastrophic health claims for employers, freeing up the capital they need to expand and create jobs.
The Kerry-Edwards plan will also cut administrative costs and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse; enhance disease management efforts; improve the use of information technology to cut billions in administrative costs; make malpractice insurance more affordable by stopping frivolous lawsuits; and make prescription drugs more affordable through reimportation and other measures. All of these measures will improve health outcomes and expand access to affordable health care while reducing the burden of health care costs on businesses.
IW Analysis: Though this problem is more a legislative issue, the next president's leadership will determine the broad approach to addressing it -- and the two candidates outline very different approaches. Bush favors limited government involvement, pushing tax and legislative changes designed to help employees shoulder an increasing share of rising health insurance premiums while also helping small business gain the negotiating power that big employers have long enjoyed. Kerry calls for the federal government to take an active role in financing health-care insurance.
How do you respond to U.S. business leaders' concerns about the burden and cost of litigation?
Bush: Our nation's litigation system is broken, and consumers, small business owners, and employees are paying the price. We need reform that is fair and just, that ensures every person has his or her day in court, and that prevents baseless litigation from hindering our economy's growth.
Trial lawyers are clogging the courts with frivolous and junk lawsuits, driving up the cost of doing business and costing Americans their jobs in health care. Junk lawsuits jeopardize access to care for America's families. I have proposed a medical liability reform plan that will reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits, lower health care costs for businesses and employees, and help maintain strong doctor-patient relationships. My proposal would ensure that injured persons are fully compensated for their economic losses, while reasonably limiting non-economic damages to $250,000. Reasonable punitive damages are available in egregious cases and my proposal requires judgments to be paid in proportion to fault. I support legislation that will eliminate the waste, inefficiency, and unfairness of multiple overlapping class action cases by making class actions removable to Federal courts when a certain level of damages [is] at stake. The legislation also includes a consumer class action bill of rights to ensure that the benefits of class action settlements go to the people who are injured rather than to wealthy trial lawyers.
Finally, we must pass a plan for asbestos litigation reform that protects victims with asbestos-related injuries while preserving the security of dozens of companies and tens of thousands of jobs.
Kerry: John Kerry and John Edwards will work to ensure that our legal system is working to establish the rules and incentives that are needed for the economy to function -- without wasting time or money. One way we punish wrongdoing and deter misconduct is through our courts. Our courts -- and in particular, the juries of regular citizens at their heart -- play a central role in making sure that even the most powerful interests are held accountable, and even the most vulnerable people have protections. At the same time, there is no question that abuses of our legal system have hurt companies and individuals who are acting responsibly. Frivolous malpractice lawsuits and class actions waste good people's time and money. That's wrong, and John Kerry and John Edwards support reforms that prevent and punish these abuses -- while at the same time preserving the principles of responsibility and fairness that make our system work.
IW Analysis: About the only thing the two candidates agree on is that reform is necessary. Bush says the jury system is part of the problem and seeks limits on how much they can award plaintiffs. Kerry says the jury system is part of the solution.
What provisions in your energy policy would help ensure a healthy future for U.S. manufacturing?
Bush: One of the most pressing challenges facing manufacturers today is the high cost of natural gas. The manufacturing industry uses nearly 40% of the nation's natural gas to meet its energy needs. In my National Energy Policy, I called for increasing environmentally responsible domestic natural gas production to reduce energy costs, which will help U.S. manufacturing stay competitive in the global marketplace and prevent good-paying jobs from moving overseas.
My Administration has implemented several initiatives to help reduce costs and increase domestic production. My 2005 budget includes $104.4 million for the Bureau of Land Management to continue making significant progress in reducing permitting backlogs and expediting access to energy resources, including natural gas. Also, this year I announced new incentives for natural gas development in hard-to-reach areas of the Gulf of Mexico. Those incentives will save American consumers an estimated $570 million per year and create as many as 26,000 jobs. Finally, my Administration continues to work with Congress to encourage and accelerate construction of a commercially viable Alaska natural gas pipeline to bring new domestic natural gas supplies to the continental United States.
Our country needs a national energy policy and I will continue to push the Congress to pass my policy.
Kerry: John Kerry and John Edwards' energy plan will embrace a simple but revolutionary goal: harnessing new energy sources to power the world we live in. Kerry and Edwards are committed to stimulating investment in new renewable energy throughout the nation, creating jobs and lifting incomes in rural areas as well as in the high tech and manufacturing sectors. With a strong domestic renewable energy industry, the U.S. economy will benefit from this industry's large export potential.
As president, John Kerry will establish a New Energy and Conservation Trust Fund that will be capitalized by existing oil and gas royalty revenues and dedicated to accelerating the commercialization of innovative technologies, such as the manufacture of more efficient cars and trucks, the development of biofuels, and the creation of a clean, secure, hydrogen-based energy economy. Kerry and Edwards have outlined a comprehensive energy plan that will reduce oil dependence. Their plan will tap America's initiative and ingenuity to strengthen our national security, grow our economy, and protect our environment.
IW Analysis: The Bush administration stands firmly on the side of spurring production of existing energy supplies, focusing on addressing the immediate problem, and this begs the question: What is Bush's proposal to address the energy needs of the future? Kerry casts his lot with new energy sources, addressing future needs, but leaves unanswered how he would address manufacturers current concerns.
How do you respond to U.S. business leaders' complaints about the burden and cost of complying with federal regulations?
Bush: Decreasing the regulatory burden on our nation's businesses is a critical part of my plan to stimulate the economy, create jobs, and foster prosperity for all Americans. Excessive paperwork and bureaucratic regulations can hinder a company's ability to do business by diverting funds that could otherwise be used to invest in new equipment, hire new workers, or increase wages. I am pursuing a "smart" regulation agenda, which involves modernizing existing rules and adopting new rules only when justified by sound science, economics, and law.
We are seeing results. We have reduced regulatory costs and are saving money for business owners. The average annual economic cost of new regulations under my Administration is 75% less than it was under the previous Administration. And the overall burden of government-mandated paperwork declined in 2003 for the first time since 1996.
Kerry: John Kerry and John Edwards will implement regulatory reforms that are pro-market and pro-consumer. Too often, the Bush Administration has used regulatory reform to bail out corporations rather than promote true competition. As a result, regulations are standing in the way of efficiency. Overregulation is an unnecessary burden on businesses, and a Kerry-Edwards administration will see that regulations are adequately reformed to make it easier for manufacturers to compete.
IW Analysis: With both campaigns committed to reducing regulations, the matter comes down to which regulations and how to change them. Unfortunately, the candidates' answers are long on generalities and short on specifics. Among the omissions, neither candidate mentions the advisable scope of U.S. antitrust rules in the context of a global economy.
Big Vs. Small Companies
How do you respond to those executives in small- and medium-sized manufacturing companies who assert their public policy needs are different than those of the multinationals.
Bush: The needs of small and medium businesses are different from the needs of multinationals. And our policies have reflected these differences whenever possible. I know that small businesses are vital to our nation's prosperity and are responsible for creating more than 70% of new jobs. I have acted to help small businesses and the people they employ by reducing taxes, encouraging investment, and removing obstacles to growth.
Because we passed the most sweeping tax relief package in a generation, more money is in the hands of small business owners who are investing it in new equipment and new workers. By quadrupling to $100,000 the amount that small businesses can expense on things like computers and machinery, and by sending the death tax on its way to extinction, entrepreneurs can invest more in ways that benefit their employees and strengthen the economy. And because 90% of small businesses pay taxes at individual rates, the across-the-board income tax cuts have extended relief to 25 million small business owners and entrepreneurs. If Congress fails to act and make this relief permanent, many of those small business owners will see their taxes increase.
Kerry: Kerry and Edwards are committed to listening to the needs of both large and small manufacturing companies. The needs of small and medium-sized manufacturers are different from those of multinationals, but they do not need to be mutually exclusive. The interests of multinational companies will not be met at the expense of smaller companies. As the former Chairman and current Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, John Kerry has been a national leader in promoting small businesses growth and will continue to do so as president.
IW Analysis: Bush focuses on what he's done. Kerry is vague on the future.
Friday, August 20, 2004
- Georgia on my mind
- Socialism Scares me
- God is a socialist and what man can do about it
- Answers to the two comments in the CIA post
- .........and much much more.
Keyes proposed that for a generation or two, African-Americans of slave heritage should be exempted from federal taxes--federal because slavery "was an egregious failure on the part of the federal establishment."
How do they determine if you are "black"?
Is it skin color? That can be handled.
Is it genetics?
If it came to that (which it would not), it could include a lot of people or exclude a lot of people depending on how strict the rules were. Though all it would take would be getting you DNA swapped with some one else's.
If the Federal government did that, I would move to a gay state and be a black, gay man. In the name of lowing my taxes.
As the immortal bloodhound gang said, "I wish I was queer so I could get Chicks."
Or tax breaks would be fine with me.
...Against Bush's troop movement
Kerry singled out for criticism Mr. Bush's plan to cut 12,000 of the 37,000 U.S. troops in South Korea. "Why are we withdrawing unilaterally 12,000 troops from the Korean Peninsula at the very time we are negotiating with North Korea a country that really has nuclear weapons?" Kerry asked.
Hmmm...Maybe cause they have nuclear weapons?
If they attack with nukes, we are going to attack back with nukes and destroy them. Bush could be making ourselves less of a target, and saving 12,000 American lives (via the vodkapundit).
Kerry is getting most of his talking points from guys who think like this.
Secondly South Korea is more than capable of protecting itself, especially if they are buying weapons from us.
"as a hastily announced plan that raises more doubts about U.S. intentions than it answers. "
Sounds like someone is jealous.
This plan has been in the works for several years across several presidents. Bush is just taking credit for it, and it would not surprise me if he timed the announcement to go along with the election. The plan is not a plan that has been slapped together, though Kerry would like that to fit the image of the president that he is trying to display (a reckless cowboy type).
I was thinking about the troop movement, my first impression was that it needed to happen sooner. Then I realized that we had fought the cold war for 50 years, so leaving out guys out their as insurance for 15 was not a bad move. Though from what I know, it could have happened five years ago.
I think the first push is sometimes the hardest, once the ball starts moving toward a more flexible military, I think it will start spinning faster toward that direction.
update: what do you want to bet that kerry changes his mind?
Cnn quick vote.
Do you support Bush's plan to withdraw 70,000 troops from Asia and Europe?
Yes 63% 94109 votes
No 37% 54553 votes
Total: 148662 votes
Thursday, August 19, 2004
I split the undecided vote evenly between the two candidates, and if nader was in the state, I gave one percentage point to him, then split the undecided. (I think that is generous.). Well I learned that the Key to the entire game is Ural.
I don't think the polls mean anything until after the GOP convention. If bush gets a boost he is still in this game.
via Left in the Reign
1. The CIA correctly identified North Korea's nuclear program, and the state department called them out. The situation is a lot clearer and in the open, and other countries have began to be very interested in dismantling their program.
No less safe, but if knowing about the threat makes you safer then the world is safer.
2. Libya’s WMD program was correctly identified, and brought to and end through intense negations. Admittedly, we did not think they were as far along as they were, but you can't be right all the time right.
3. We brought Iran to the attention of the IAEA, and send France, Germany, and Britain to take a look. Their interest has been gained. Iran is either in the middle of cleaning up or getting dirtier depending on how you look at it.
No less safe, but if knowing about the threat makes you safer then the world is safer.
4. As of know it appears that Iraq's WMD's was non-existent, though programs existed. Even other Arab countries where fooled.
Safer, though the claims the CIA made have not been verified.
5. American Intelligence has not caught Bin Laden, but they are working on that.
Less Safe, just by the fact that we don't know where he is.
6. The FBI had capability of getting the names of 5 of the Sept. 11 hijackers. If the CAPPS project would have been done 4 years ago, but it was not.
Less Safe, this project and others like it could save lives in the future but is not being done because of civil liberty concerns.
I would like to point out that it appears that the main country working to make the world a better place is America and her allies; everyone else just seems to take their lead from us. The only exception recently has been the Sudan issue. Where America really has not taken the lead, though I do not know if we should.
Overall, not a perfect record, but a very nice one.
I currently don't own a MP3 player, and I don't subscribe to any of these services, though I have been watching. Secondly, 5 dollars was the target price that a friend of mine had said where the price of CD's needed to be. I admit that the 5 dollar price probable will be for older music, that would be fine for me because I need to catch up.
Democrat John Kerry on Wednesday planned to attack Present George W. Bush's plan to withdraw 70,000 American troops from Europe and Asia as a threat to national security that could blunt the war on terror, campaign aides said.
The fact of the matter is that plan has been in the works for a long time, and Bush is just claiming it as his own. I have not read any real criticisms of this plan, and can think of none myself. Of course I also believe in a faster, more flexible military.
Secondly, Kerry is speaking to the same group that Bush spoke to. Is it better to speak first to these groups or second?
I have no idea why the Saudi government would buy these commercials to improve their image. While their image does need improving, I don't see how America having a bad image of them hurts them. The items they sell don't come in with their name on it, unlike other countries. They also are not a major tourism attraction for the US and even less so now that our guys are getting shot just walking around over there.
The interesting part is the station they choose in Memphis to air the commercial, 94.1 the buzz. This station is basically a pop music station, though they play a lot of the more popular rock. In other words I suspect that they have a fairly large market share, but I don't have any specifics on that. Why didn't they air this on Air America or liberal talk show stations (if their are any)? They are airing the commercial in 19 markets and they are all fairly large ones.
Anyways here is a link to the audio, listen for yourself (I was not able to get it to work, but I think that is just me.)
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Though I don't support other countries supporting separatist movements for their own good."
Yours truly, and Candace makes the following comment.
"cube: that argument might be worthwhile if it wasn't for the fact that the whole state is on the verge of disintegration. It's already in a region that's ripe for terrorism, letting Georgia go to pieces is really not a good idea. It isn't like a strong state holding on authoritatively or anything."
I have detailed my support of separatist movements in the past here and here.
first, if a person is willing to die to save their way of life or to live the way of life that they want to live, I am not willing to die to force them to live my way of life. If one thing that people want most in life is freedom? Then I am willing to hand that to them along, with a large does of self determination.
Secondly, I will mention a few separatist movements that I have a brief knowledge of. The IRA, Basque separatist, Kurds in Turkey, Kashmir, Taiwan, and don't forget French Canadians. Here is a link that has a lot more.
How many lives could be saved if people just let others go and do their own thing? Peaceful separatist movements are the way to go. I do not support letting go with no strings attached, but the strings attached should be fair compensation to the State that has lost land, infrastructure, and tax payer money. A country getting it's own government should be handled through the capitalist avenues we have available.
The only way to stop a true separatist movement is to outlast them (The brits and the IRA are a good example of this), destroy them (the Jews are a good example of this one), destroy their cultural identity (can't think of any good examples of this one, though forced marriages to people of others cultures would be an example of this), or to make your country so nice that it undercuts the movements base of support. Some of those options lean toward the violent side, or at least toward removing personal liberty.
To address Candace's statement: "that argument might be worthwhile if it wasn't for the fact that the whole state is on the verge of disintegration."
That fact is what make my argument valid, the entire state is falling apart. Out lasting the movement seems like a bad option, or making the country nice seems impossible. So the only options for keeping that state together lean toward the violent or oppressive.
Though I like the ability to search my site using google, I would prefer the search that I have access to when I a logged in, but oh well.
This is just comical. It sounds like the Palestinian prisoners are desperate. The hunger strike would solve one the Israelites problem - Palestinian criminals. If the Israelites cared, this might work.
Next thing you know, bush is going to be saying things like you can give into hunger striking prisoners, because then you have lost the war on terror.
The rise [of brain diseases] has been linked to rises in levels of pesticides, industrial effluents, domestic waste, car exhausts and other pollutants, says a report in the journal Public Health.
This statement reminds me of that batman movie (the first one) where joker made a cocktail of hair, makeup, and food products that would kill people. Only batman was able to figure out the magical combination of products that would be a killer. We don't have a modern day batman,but we do have large studies that suggest links with other random stuff that we come into contact with randomly.
In this study all you have are correlations, and you don't have any good controls. The article said it takes into account that people are living longer, and factors that out. I don't see how that can be done. 50 years ago people did not worry about brain diseases, because they did not live long enough for these supposed pollutants to affect us or did people not get these brain diseases because the pollutants were not around, and it has nothing to do with old age. Of course the study does not mention if people stopped using pesticides, the industries shut down, and people stopped driving. I think that we would stop worrying about brain diseases and start dying a lot younger.
50 years ago we did not worry about these things, and 50 years from now we will not be worrying about these things.
I would say this is one of the better Steven Seagal movies that I have seen. There was not much information given about the character, though that does not mean the character was shallow at all. Sasha (Steven Segal's Character) had some cool lines, cool scenes, and a good stage presence, but Sasha did not get some of the cooler stunts. I think Sasha was a little on the fat side. The one big fight seen Sasha was in, he fought like a girl. Though a girl with really good reflexes. Sasha slapped away the evil dudes punches easily, and then continued to slap him like he was Sasha's bitch. The plot was alright, and the evil villain was a good one. The second in command evil chick was hot, and had a really cool fight sence that Sasha was not in. Overall, this movie could be skipped, in search of better viewing.
Paul Walker played Chris Johnston who is a on again and off again archaeological student. Chris's father is the real archaeologist, who gets thrown back in time unable to come back. It is then up to Chris and his merry band of students to save chris's father. This movie is basically young Indiana Jones on time machine, not very promising. I have read the book and that is one reason why picked up the movie. While the book of this movie was great, the actual movie falls short. It had a large cast of characters, which most of them got killed of at some point in time. I think that was one of the larger problems with the movie. The large cast made it had to get to know the characters. When one of the characters died, instead of screaming, "Noooo." You find yourself either saying, I did not like that guy anyways, or who was that. This movie was well filmed well, with some nice shots. The main chick was not overly hot, the main character was not overly smart or particularly good with weapons, and the main villains were not overly evil. Though the French did win the battle in the movie, but I am too lazy to see if the battle happened in real life or if the French won. A solid flick that would fit a large number of people.