Sunday, March 13, 2005

State Department

Today we can see what the Republicans and the Bush Administration have done to this country. The duplicity and lack of standards is incredible. How can we as a country allow this administration to complain about the torture that is committed by other countries, and not say something about what we have done. To not start an independent investigation into the abuses that we have committed in the name of democracy, peace and anti-terrorism. America, a country that is willing to send it's “enemies” to other countries that have less of a problem with torture in order to get the information that we want fro people that we feel have little value as human beings. We are supposed to have morals, standards of conduct, values that other people and other countries are to aspire to and emulate. Yet we have the balls to tell them that they violate international rights and standards, and try to justify that by saying the we are not afraid to remind our “friends” about those same standards. We even site Iraq for torture, rape and murder at the hands of the government. The same government that we put in power, that remains in power because of our military presence. What crap. This administration, and the Republican party that is protecting it in congress, have disgraced this country. They have caused America's prestige, history and legacy to be tarnished in the name of money. Because that is all that this war was about. There were no weapons of mass destruction. There was not connection to Al Qaeda. The oil for for money that went missing was in large part under U.S. accounting companies and U.S. over site. The fight for democracy was something that we imposed on these people. Yes, it is better for them to be in a democracy, to be able to choose their leaders and set their own policies. But they should be the one to instigate that, not us and not under false pretenses. The ends do not justify the means. This has been proved and settle throughout history and through many court decisions.

How is it that we can tell the Syrians to get out of Lebanon because they are an occupying for when we are in Iraq as an occupying force? What gives the Unites States the right to do anything anymore? We have become the “do as I say, not as I do” country. Oh yeah, where is my money that went to Haliburton and its subsidiaries? Why are our troops not the best fed soldiers on the planet with the best equipment and the best housing when in the field? Why are we paying mercenaries $100K plus a year to be in Iraq? Each mercenary cost us 3 privates. How come Iraqis don't have reliable electricity or running water? I don't hear about the insurgents blowing up those facilities. Is it possible that they are so unreliable as to not be high value targets? Wouldn't our money be better spent by Iraqis to rebuild their own country that giving it to U.S. companies that charge 1000 time more for the same work?

Now these thieves, these Orwellian, neo conservative, neo Nazi's are trying to destroy the AARP. The very same group that they praised last year when they came to their aid with support for the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit (which is not much of a benefit when it cost you more money than if you did not have it). Now it is being attacked for not supporting the Social Security reforms. Well, if we did not continue to borrow for the “lock box” there would not be a crisis in 40 years. How about we make it so that everyone pays into Social Security no matter how much money they make. How about we limit what a person can take out of Social Security based on how much money they have to retire on. Personally, I don't think that some like Michale Eisner will have much need for the couple hundred dollars a month he will get when he retires. How about if you have assets of over 1 million dollars at retirement age (65) you get nothing. Social Security was supposed to be a safety net for our seniors citizens. Not just a handout. Those people that retire to the south do so because they can no longer afford to live in their own homes any more. They have to sell the home that they have lived in for 40 years, where their children have grown up in and grand kids have visited so that they can afford to live out the rest of their lives.

Now the Republicans are attacking personal bankruptcy laws. O.K. I can see the point. You should not be able to get out of your debts by claiming bankruptcy. Fair enough. But if credit card companies continue to extend credit to people they don't deserve it and continue to increase their debt limit, then they both get what they deserve. There are some circumstances that also need to be taken into consideration. Medical bills for one, loss of a job (especially since Republicans like to outsource), or natural disaster. When we change the bankruptcy laws for the individual, we also have to change it for corporations. They can no longer hide behind Chapter 11. Why should a business down stream be hurt because a company did not pay their bills? Why should a company and its senior officers not be held responsible and liable for corporate mismanagement. Investors, employees and suppliers all count on management to run an efficient and profitable company. When that does not happen, then someone needs to be responsible. That should be the CEO, President, CFO, chairman of the board and the board itself. They are the ones that look over the business, its prospects and management of it books.

The whole bancruptcy issue will be dealt with later.

Unions

It is time that the unions of this country get to work and start to protect the American worker. It is also time for the American worker to get off his ass and do something to protect their jobs. SEIU president is looking to restructure unions along industry lines. Get rid of the old unions based on jobs and consolidate based on the industry a worker belongs to. Not sure if I agree with that, but i will look into it further. What has to happen is that unions and their members start to think outside the box. Management has been talking this for years. It's time for the workers to start thinking that way too. What American workers need to do is have their unions (especially one that are called international) to start efforts throughout the world to unionize. What that will accomplish is that overseas workers will get higher pay and better working conditions. This will directly affect American workers. Overseas workers that make what American make will make American labor more affordable. When American and overseas labor rate get closer to being equal, the biggest difference will be in quality and transportation. Obviously, the closer you are to the sale, the less you spend on transportation. Just in time manufacturing becomes easier to manage and affordable. More jobs come back to the U.S.. We need to use the environmentalist slogan; Think globally, act locally.

Union members cannot continue to ask for more and more money without pricing themselves out of jobs. But what they need to do is to work closer with industries and business and partner with them. Demand to see the books, demand to have independent auditors and consultants, then ask for profit sharing. Demand that every pay cut the workers take, every give back in a benefit is matched at the corporate level. Demand that senior officer can only be paid a percentage above what the average worker is paid. Demand that no dividends are paid if employees do not get raises at the same rate as management. Companies make money because of the workers, not management. It is management's responsibility to it's investors to keep the company profitable. Paying someone several hundred million dollars in salary and stock option is ridiculous. The CEO could not have done that without labor. Investors could not get that dividend without labor.

How come the minimum wage in the U.K. is going up to $10/hr this year? Our minimum wage is still languishing at $7.25/hr. I don't know about you, but you can't afford to live in the northeast or upper mid west on that kind of money let alone raise a family. Unions should start there.

Have you noticed that a majority of the governments in Latin America are now leftist. That most of these countries no longer find that NAFTA is beneficial to them. That they have been used for cheap labor with little return for them. Watch the next few years as they press to have trade agreements changed that favor them. They are not abandoning capitalism, just imperialism.