Category Archives: Globalism

Quick! Who’s Position is This…Bush or Giuliani???

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Okay, time for a little fun. Can you guess who said the following regarding various issues??? 

U.S. Policy toward Africa

He said the United States should focus its policy toward Africa on increases in trade. “U.S. government aid is important, but aid not linked to reform perpetuates bad policies and poverty.”

In May 2007, he was informed that he held between $500,000 and $1 million in investments in companies that work in Sudan.

U.S. Policy toward India

He views India’s rapidly growing economy as a potentially lucrative market, saying the United States should “take advantage” (CNBC) of the “large number of consumers that are emerging in India.” In particular, he said, the U.S. stands to “make a lot of money in India” in new energy technology.

Military Tribunals and Guantanamo Bay

He said he supports the detention camp at Guantanamo. He said in a June 2007 interview with the Wall Street Journal that he believes the allegations of prisoner mistreatment at Guantanamo have “been grossly exaggerated, and many of the reports that I see are that it’s not terribly different from any other prisons.”

Domestic Intelligence

He defended the domestic spying initiatives, saying “he did it to protect our national security and to try to find out information about people that might attack us and might be preparing an attack on us, in order to secure us, in order to protect us.” He said in September 2007 that electronic surveillance should not be “unrealistically” limited.

War on Terror

He responded to John Edwards’ criticism of the war on terror, saying in June 2007, “This is not a bumper sticker; this war is a real war.” He generally refers to “the terrorist war against us,” lately, rather than the “war on terror,” he told TIME.

Democracy Promotion in the Arab World

He believes in a larger goal of a democratic (AFP) Iraq and Middle East. But, he says, stability takes precedence over democracy. “Democracy can’t flourish unless people are safe. You can’t have democracy when people are being killed,” he said in January 2007.

Energy Policy

He has ties to various energy companies, many of which are fossil fuel-oriented including Duke Energy Corp., the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, Valero Energy Corp, and FPL Energy. He has supported increased use of nuclear power.

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

He has held up Israel as “the only outpost of freedom and democracy in the Middle East and the only absolutely reliable friend of the United States.” (Haaretz) In a 2002 speech, he stressed that Jerusalem must “remain the undivided capital” of Israel. He also said at that time that the Palestinian Authority is not a “moral equivalent” to the Israeli government, because “there is a difference between a nation based on law and democracy and one that harbors terrorism.” He called on the Palestinian Authority to create “institutions of political and economic freedom and religious toleration.” More recently, he said that in his view it “makes no difference” whether the Palestinian Authority is run by Hamas or Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas. At a March 2007 fundraiser, he also said that the United States should “not push any peace process” until the Palestinian Authority recognizes Israel’s right to exist and condemns terrorism.

North Korea Policy

He supports the policy of China placing pressure on Pyongyang. “I think the strategy has produced enough results so far that you have to stick with it,” he said. He indicated it remains unclear whether Iran or North Korea is further along in developing a nuclear weapons program.

Cuba Policy

He is critical of Castro, which he made clear recently in a speech over whether or not to return Cuban child Elian Gonzales to Cuba in 2000 (He was an outspoken voice for keeping the boy in the United States).

He also attacked Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for following Castro’s “model.” (AP) Speaking to a group in Florida, he said the United States must build an alliance with Mexico and Colombia to counteract the shift to the left of Latin American governments.

U.S. Policy toward China

He has not made many public statements on his views of China. However, he said in an CNBC interview that limiting China ’s ownership of U.S. debt is “generally a bad idea and generally self-defeating.” He said that the U.S. should build industries that we can sell” in China.

Defense Policy

He has called for an “offense-as-a-defense” (Journal-Register)strategy towards al-Qaeda, backing the U.S. troop surge and continued presence in Iraq.

He fully advocates the addition of thirty-five thousand troops to the army’s current level of 512,000 (AP).

In September 2007, he said the United States should pursue a nuclear missile defense system, as “America can no longer rely on Cold War doctrines such as ‘mutual assured destruction’ in the face of threats from hostile, unstable regimes.”

Iraq

He says we need a plan by which to measure progress but that does not include troop withdrawals. “You need statistics,” (FOX) he said in January 2007. “You need to be able to determine whether or not you’ve brought the violence down. If it doesn’t work, then you got to put more people in.”

He opposes any “artificial timeline” for troop withdrawal from Iraq, which he says would be tantamount to giving America’s enemies “a printed-out list of how it’s going to retreat (ChiTrib) to its enemy.” He is steadfast in his support for the war, which he considers part of the larger global war on terror.

Trade

In October 2007 he spoke in support of the pending Free Trade Agreements with Peru, Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, saying they “would be good deals for the United States.”

Homeland Security

In a September 2006 he stressed the need for a nuclear material detection system in the United States.

Iran

He has the United States should proceed diplomatically with Iran, but that “we will use a military option if we have to.” He said a military strike would be “very dangerous”but nuclear arms in the control of “an irrational person” like President Ahmadinejad was more dangerous.

His supporters are vocal advocates for bombing Iran preemptively in order to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons. 

Climate Change

He said he believes climate change exists (SFChron) and that something must be done to reduce pollution. However, he has not said outright that he believes climate change is caused by human activity. His statements with regard to policy on the issue have been rather vague.

Immigration

He supports some type of path (NYT) to citizenship for illegal immigrants. “If you have twelve million people, to thirteen to fourteen to fifteen million that are here illegally, it is much easier for terrorists and drug dealers to hide,” he said recently. He also said that he is in favor of a border fence and a database with which to keep track of all immigrants. 

As mayor of New York City, Giuliani opposed a law (NYT) that would have prevented illegal immigrants from receiving Social Security, food stamps and health care benefits.

United Nations

He has been extremely critical of the United Nations, which, he said, “proved irrelevant to the resolution of almost every major dispute of the last 50 years.” He says the institution’s primary capabilities are in humanitarian and peacekeeping missions, but “we should not expect much more of it.”

Specifically, he said the United Nations must hold accountable states that support or condone terrorism. “Otherwise, you will fail in your primary mission as peacekeeper,” he said. “It must ostracize any nation that supports terrorism. It must isolate any nation that remains neutral in the fight against terrorism.”

U.S. Policy toward Russia

He advocates commercial engagement with Russia, but has also expressed support for the planned missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. In October 2007 he called for an increase in military spending to “send a heck of a signal” to Russia.

Recently he traveled to Moscow to promote U.S.-Russian business relations.

And the answer is [dramatic pause…]

Rudi Giuliani

So if you vote for him, you clearly vote for more of the same neo-con nonsense. 

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Extreme Workers and the Ripple Effect of Long Hours on the Job…

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I’ve always been perplexed by those who are content with working their lives away. Of course I’m no one to talk. On more than one occasion I have been labeled a work-a-holic. But now there is a new term – ‘Extreme Worker. I first heard it on the radio a few years back but more recently on NPR. In the end, I did what I always do with new buzz words. I filed it under “another meaningless word to describe something equally meaningless that doesn’t deserve my full attention.” 

As it turns out, two reports were released last week, from two well respected organizations, in the field of life and work studies. 

The general message of both studies is that we spend far too much time at work. Moreover, the consequences of that extra work are far reaching, and destructive.

“Extreme Job” is the phrase coined by the Hidden Brain Drain Task Force of the Center for Work-Life Policy. According to this think tank, you have an extreme job if you work 60 hours or more a week and meet at least 5 additional characteristics from a list of 10. These include fast-paced work under tight deadlines, responsibility for profit and loss, a large amount of travel, an unpredictable flow of work, and work- related events outside business hours.

Based on two surveys and dozens of interviews and focus groups, the Hidden Brain Drain Task Force estimates that about 20 percent of high earners in the United States, defined as those in the top 6 percent of income levels, meet the definition of an extreme worker. That means 20 percent of those who make it to the top are working harder than any human can sustain for very long.

A 60-hour workweek, with a one- hour commute each way, means leaving the house at 7 a.m. every morning and not returning until 9 p.m. And more than half of extreme workers log longer hours than that.

Some say they love the thrill, the meaning, the challenge, the oversized compensation packages and the brilliant colleagues.

Of course the term “Extreme Worker” generally refers to those in the white collar world. However, does this phenomena also extend to the average service or blue collar worker as well?

In the U.S., working time has actually been increasing across all sectors. Many workers put in longer hours than the forty hour standard. Two weeks of paid annual leave is standard, with some workers receiving three weeks after long periods of service. Frequently, workers are afraid to take up their full entitlement in case it might jeopardize their job security.

In blue collar industries like service and manufacturing, hours are rising as well, and we all know about the two earner household being the new standard. The United States is an example of a country where workweek policies are not strictly enforced. The U.S. legally allows mainly two types of compensation, those being wage and salary labor. Wage earners are compensated on a per-hour basis, whereas salaried workers are compensated on a per-week basis. The 40-hour workweek, in effect, applies only to wage laborers, yet legally they may be required to work more than forty hours. The kicker…firms are only required to pay time-and-a-half, or 1.5 times the worker’s base wage, for each hour of work past forty.

As you might imagine, overtime is very popular with larger companies.

In some states firms are required to pay double-time, or twice the base rate, for each hour of work past 60. This provides an incentive for companies to limit working time, but makes these additional hours more desirable for the worker. It is not uncommon for overtime hours to be accepted voluntarily by wage-earning workers. In fact, unions often treat overtime as a desirable fringe benefit when negotiating labor contracts. 

Salaried workers however, are not covered by overtime protections. Some have argued, as I have, that the concept of being exempt from overtime is now being abused by many companies, as increasing a salaried worker’s working hours effectively reduces his or her per-hour pay, resulting in cheaper labor for the enterprise.

The current economically conservative and anti-worker political culture in the federal government, doesn’t help the situation much. Unlike Europe, our government doesn’t seem to care much about the health and welfare of the average American worker.

So what do Americans do in the face of constant job insecurity in the form of outsourcing, layoff, and a total absence of union protection that is perpetuated by the government in the interest of big business?

They work longer to keep their job at any cost – even those who say they love it. In reality they have no choice because some other fearful empty suit will be right in line behind them to scoop up their job. What is even more ridiculous, is that they do this having full knowledge of the consequences.  

Sixty-nine percent say their extreme jobs undermine their health, 46 percent say work gets in the way of a good relationship with their spouse, and 58 percent say it gets in the way of strong relationships with their children.

And what about those children?

Catalyst, a research and consulting organization that aims to expand opportunities for women at work, looked specifically at stress on working parents at the office, which they call “parental concern about after-school time,” or PCAST.

All those instances where child care falls through, all the hours children are left alone or with a sitter, all the hours people spent at the office knowing a child is home sick – affects close to 50 million employees in the United States, the Catalyst study says.

The solution, both groups say, is what Catalyst calls “the agile workplace.”

That means a philosophy of flexibility. On the specific topic of PCAST, that could include subsidies for after school care and backup care, and the ability to telecommute.

The alternative, the task force warns, is that today’s distracted and overworked employees will become tomorrow’s drag on the bottom line.

Are any of these proposed solutions being implemented? Of course not. Just ask yourself if you know of any free after school programs or care programs designed to help overworked parents?

You won’t find any. 

Harvard professor Juliet Schor (check out our book review here), author of the book, The Overworked American, writes:

A decade of research by Berkeley sociologist Arlie Hochschild suggests that many marriages where women are doing the “second shift” are close to the breaking point.  When job, children, and marriage have to be attended to, it’s often the marriage that is neglected. The failure of many men to do their share at home further problems. A twenty-six-year-old legal secretary in California reports that her husband “does no cooking, no washing, no anything else. How do I feel? Furious. If our marriage ends, it will be on this issue. And it just might.”

Serious as these problems are, the most alarming development may be the effect of the work explosion on the care of children. According to economist Sylvia Hewlett, child neglect has become endemic to our society.” A major problem is that children are increasingly left alone, to fend for themselves while their parents are at work.  Nationwide, estimates of children in “self”—or, more accurately, “no”—care range up to seven million.  Local studies have found figures of up to one-third of children caring for themselves.  At least half a million preschoolers are thought to be left at home part of each day.  One 911 operator reports large numbers of frightened callers: “It’s not uncommon to hear from a child of six or seven who has been left in charge of even younger siblings.”

Even when parents are at home, overwork may leave them with limited time, attention, or energy for their children. One working parent noted, “My child has severe emotional problems because I am too tired to listen to him. It is not quality time; it’s bad quantity time that’s destroying my family.” Economist Victor Fuchs has found that between 1960 and 1986, the time parents actually had available to be with children fell ten hours a week for whites and twelve for blacks.  Hewlett links the “parenting deficit” to a variety of problems plaguing the country’s youth: poor performance in school, mental problems, drug and alcohol use, and teen suicide. According to another expert, kids are being “cheated out of childhood…There is a sense that adults don’t care about them.”

In the end we must ask ourselves as a culture – is it worth it?

Another good link on this topic from Harvard here

Another Reason Not to Trust China…

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Family members were left stunned in Hong Kong on Thursday (November 22) after a Chinese decision denying the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier entry into Hong Kong. 

The decision was later reversed by Beijing.

Hundreds of families poured into Hong Kong to greet servicemen from the aircraft carrier and fleet, which holds 8,000 of United States’ servicemen, airman and sailors, only to find out Thursday morning that the carrier would not come port-side.

The Kitty Hawk is not expected to make it back to Hong Kong by the end of the Thanksgiving day in Asia, according to the
U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is home to thousands of U.S. expatriates, with many gathering at midday for special Thanksgiving day service at the city’s oldest church, St. John’s Cathedral. Hong Kong is also a favoured stopping point for U.S. warships in the Pacific region. 

There are several issues which may have prompted Beijing’s action, including U.S. plans to sell Taiwan a $490 million U.S. dollar upgrade to its missile system and last month’s meeting between George Bush and the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist leader whom Beijing considers a traitor.

The State Department and Defense Department said it remained unclear why the aircraft carrier strike group had been denied access at the last moment just as the crew of some 8,000 sailors and airmen were to celebrate the annual US holiday on Thursday.

“At present, it appears the USS Kitty Hawk strike group will not be making a port call in Hong Kong as previously planned as a result of a last minute denial by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” said State Department spokeswoman Nicole Thompson.

“The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not give an explanation for its denial. The United States is pressing the Chinese Foreign Ministry for an explanation and for a reconsideration,” she stated. 

A spokesman for the Pentagon, Lieutenant Commander John Daniels, said, “We don’t know the reason the Chinese have done this.”

It is no secret that China has an array of industrial spies roaming the planet. It freely pirates US technology with no regard for intellectual rights, and has used that technology to cyber attack countries like Germany, blast a satellite out of orbit and demonstrate that it can cripple US defenses if need be. 

It was only a few years ago that China could barely make a stable rocket launch. Now the Chinese turned that program around with purchased and stolen American technology.

So why did China bar the Kitty Hawk? 

They barred it because they are an aspiring global super power, and they want everyone to know that they could – a demonstration of diplomatic bullying. 

China is a quasi capitalist/communist super state that is rapidly expanding with a carefully controlled, state run ideology. The curious thing is, unlike the old Soviet Union, it is working. They believe in what they are doing, because their approach is producing tremendous wealth which conveniently for the Chinese, is driving the world’s fastest growing economy at the expense of U.S. workers. There is no period in history where so much wealth and economic power has been created in such a short period of time. In turn, from that wealth and industrial power, the Chinese are building military might. They are rapidly militarizing, and in a few short years, will be able to control events in Asia, without any interference from the U.S. 

Taiwan will become whatever China wants it to be, the U.S. economy will continue to suffer, and the United States will simply have to accept that, because we continue to cow-tow to a country that is run by Communist thugs and continues to ignore international law.

To neutralize, or at the very least, attempt to check this coming military might that China will undoubtedly exploit to its full advantage, the U.S. must begin to respond in kind to such diplomatic slaps in the face. Our current policy of bending but not breaking, in the name of an apparantly failed mutually beneficial economic relationship with the Chinese, must be halted immediately. That is to say, scrap globalism…it isn’t working as intended.

We must begin to rebuild from within, and that includes rigorous education reforms that focus on science and technology including medicine, a wholesale change in our international economic policy with regards to China, and a renewed push in the area of space exploration, as well as advanced defense technologies. 

Shoring up what little manufacturing we have left here might not be a bad idea either.

Anything short of this is suicide, and it can be done in as little as twenty years.

More to come on this. 

World-Wide Recession Looming???

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From: Foreign Policy Passport 

U.S. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s pessimistic testimony to Congress on Thursday has caused increased handwringing around the world, with new reports questioning whether the sub-prime fallout will lead to a worldwide recession. The general consensus is no — the damage will be contained to the housing sector and hedge funds, which irresponsibly invested in sub-prime.

But what if sub-prime’s use were actually more widespread? Some mutual funds have acknowledged small investments in the funds. This isn’t a big deal, as some risk is to be expected in those vehicles. But what about money-market funds, where most personal savings are invested? They offer a low rate of return and are considered one of the safest investment. But according to a recent Bloomberg article, money-market fund managers have invested $11 billion in sub-prime, including managers at Bank of America and Morgan Stanley. In other words, about $11 billion worth of personal savings are at risk.

In the grand scheme of things, $11 billion is a drop in the bucket. But as we’ve seen over the last few months, small problems like this tend to be more widespread, so it’s likely more money-market funds will be forced to acknowledge sub-prime investments, and peoples’ savings, which are already at historic lows, could disappear. If this happens, recession would be inevitable, and depression a real possibility.

The China You Will See is Not the China That Is…

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Next summer’s Olympics will showcase a China as a modern country of skyscrapers, and Western culture. However the government behind this facade, the same government that has built China into what it is, has acheived modernization by imprisoning political activists, restricting religious freedoms, tightly controling the media and Internet, exposing it’s citizens to deadly pollution, unsafe food and consumer products, and violating international trade treaties with the U.S.

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), consisting of nine U.S. Senators and nine members of the House, noted Communist Party leaders authorize political and religious persecution “Against persons the Party deems to pose a threat to its supremacy…” and that party “officials wield the legal system as a harsh and deliberately unpredictable weapon…” 

Here is their overview…

The Commission observed ongoing human rights abuses and stalled development of the rule of law in China during 2006-2007. The Commission also observed increased repression in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and Tibetan Autonomous areas of China, stepped-up harassment of legal advocates, and increased restrictions on Chinese reporters. In addition, across the areas the Commission monitors, the following general themes emerged: (1) Chinese leaders’ increasing intolerance of citizen activism and greater suppression of information on urgent matters of public concern (including food safety, public health, and environmental emergencies); (2) the instrumental use of law for political purposes; (3) the localization of dispute resolution in order to insulate the center from the backlash of national policy failures; and (4) the influence that China’s linkages with the rest of the world have had on some aspects of its domestic rule of law and human rights development.

With the 2008 Olympic Games only months away, China is is under intense pressure from foreign activists to comply with international standards across a broad spectrum of issues. from the workplace to air quality. The CECC not only cited recent issues including food and product safety, which also affects foreign consumers of Chinese exports, but also complained of “inadequate and inconsistent implementation, corruption and a lack of regulatory incentives.” Moreover, the panel found that the Chinese government discourages consumer organizations and harasses people for reporting problems with consumer products. Environmental reforms have been hampered by uncooperative local authorities and outright suppression of green activists that demand the free flow of information. 

Human rights also came under fire by the CECC. Chinese communists continue to detain and imprison democracy activists as well as those attempting to organize workers in labor unions not approved by the government. Police routinely detain people for days without formal charge.

Sound familiar?

2006 saw a tightening of the screws on religion, with communist officials continuing a “campaign of persecution” against the Falun Gong spiritual movement. Protestant church gatherings that didn’t register with the government were shut down, and Catholics were blocked from contact with the Vatican. Independent clergy were also detained, while Tibetan Buddhists faced greater repression. 

Foreign reporters were granted greater freedoms, however Beijing have increased government restrictions on domestic journalists in the interest of preserving order and control before the games. The CECC concluded that, “Developments during 2007 suggests that the prospects for a free press in China remain dim.” 

The Internet has also threatened the Communist Party’s monopoly of information.

In response, it has restricted access to many websites and imposed licensing requirements aimed at curbing politically sensitive data, with the goal of tracking  and arresting online government critics. Chinese officials also continue to impose prior restraints on publishing, and publication of critical books. 

Senator Byron L. Dorgan, the commission’s chairman, said the 360-page study was “sober reading,” a sign that repression is getting worse in China”, despite promises of reform. He called the report a “wake-up call” as well. 

The Chinese Embassy in Washington was called for a comment, but officials did not respond to it.

Western journalists know full well what China is really about as do our political and business leaders. The latter choose to ignore human rights abuses in the name of economic expansion on the backs of Chinese peasants, using their belief in the need for a global economy to cleanse their collective conscious. 

Our actions and reactions as a nation are unconscionable.

I call for a protest and boycott of the 2008 Olympics in China as an act of solidarity and demonstration of support for Chinese people, who are suffering under the yoke of opressive and deadly Communist rule. For humanity sake, we must take a firm stand. 

The New Poverty…

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Poverty isn’t what it used to be. If one takes the time to characterize the modern poor vs. the historical poor, they would find that the avenues out of poverty are quickly being closed by the new world economy and the dynamic that is ‘globalism.’

The postmodern American economy is in utter disarray and social safety net policies used throughout the 20th century, have de-evolved, resulting in a new demographic of poor people. The most visible result of this disarray is that poor children are relatively worse off now than at the beginning of the 20th century despite all of the political rhetoric through the years. More alarmingly, their opportunities out of poverty are slim and none. Maanufactuing jobs that could be had on a high school diploma have evaporated to a large extent, and many are simply priced out of trade school or college.

What is so dangerous about the new poverty is the sense of surprise it brings. Poverty can hit so suddenly, that people can fall so far behind so fast, and lose everything they’ve worked for in a matter of a few months, because they are literally living paycheck by paycheck. The new poverty is about our loss of faith in relationships we once had with companies and the government. It seems nothing is guaranteed anymore. Many people work for several companies in their lifetime because they are simply burned out or pushed out or outsourced out of their old one. Workers cannot depend on a pension, savings, or even Social Security. The new poverty is a complex sociological issue that has many causes and seemingly fewer and fewer solutions. 

Globalism has clearly not helped the situation. For years talk of free trade and the benefits of that trade, was standard political speak. Bob Zoellick, a U.S. trade representative at a recent press conference said, “If one is concerned about developing countries, both history and recent studies would suggest an open system is going to be the formula for them. Others like Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School, claim that globalization “has improved the lot of hundreds of millions of poor people around the world.” I do not agree.

I would argue that globalization has been a losing proposition for most of the countries, including the U.S. When you talk to people like Robert Reich or anyone else that supports free trade, and express concerns, you’re labeled as an isolationist. However, I’m not arguing for an isolationist position – merely to construct free trade in a common sense fashion that softens the broad sword that usually comes down on the world’s poor with brutal consequences. Reich and others suggest that these people must simply get themselves re-educated and lift themselves up. The problem is they often do not have the resources to do so, so they are simply cast aside as a necessary evil of global economic expansion. 

The visible results of globalism do not appear to be as positive as supporters would have us believe. The vast majority of countries, over the last two decades, have experienced slower growth than was seen in the previous two. Moreover, poorer countries have generally suffered the worst declines in the growth of income per person. 

Then there is China. Supporters of free trade point to China as a beacon of progress – but at what cost? China has highly protected domestic markets that close off foreign import across broad sectors of their economy, illegal currency manipulation, and a state owned banking system…remember…they are a Communist nation. As a result, China has been able to resist import pressure from the West especially in the areas of durable goods and technology, as they jail anyone who dissents and poison they’re rural inhabitants with a level of pollution the world has never seen. It begs the question – is this free trade or trade for free?

There is clearly something wrong with the prevailing orthodoxy. Strategies for common sense economic development have been abandoned in the name of profit, and it is generally assumed that open markets, privatization, and attracting foreign investors will do the job in a humane fashion. So far this is not the case. 

The last two decades of globalization have also shown substantially diminished progress in health outcomes for infants and older children, as well as life expectancy, which has also dropped in the U.S. recently. The same is true for other social indicators, including education and literacy, with the slowdown in progress far worse among lower-income countries.

A world in which many third world countries enslave poor children for the purpose of making consumer goods, and where half of all people survive on less than $2 a day, speaks volumes to the failure of globalization, especially whens world trends are moving in the wrong direction from a human rights perspective. The U.S., nor can the rest of the world, afford not to re-think economic policy simply because free trade is fashionable, or to bow to the whims of special interests and their paymaster multinational corporations. No one is arguing to quell the expansion of trade to international markets, however it must be done with humanity as a primary concern, not a socio-economic afterthought.

In short, the globalists have it wrong, and people are beginning to wise up…finally.

Indian ‘Slave’ Children Found Making Low-Cost Clothes for Gap

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Another sad and absurd chapter has been written in the long, destrcutive saga that is the new ‘Global Economy.’

Child workers as young as 10 years old, have been found working in a textile factory in conditions close to slavery to produce clothes that appear destined for Gap Kids. Children described long hours of unwaged work, as well as threats and beatings. Gap said it was unaware that clothing intended for the Christmas market had been improperly subcontracted to a sweatshop using child labor.

I bet they weren’t aware. 

GAP announced it had withdrawn the garments involved while it investigated breaches of the self-imposed ethical code by the company three years ago.

All this, so suburban American white kids can look more fashionable, as their parents take them to the mall where they can over consume and perpetuate this cycle of exploiting the poor.  

Children working in filthy conditions in Delhi, India, has renewed concerns about outsourcing by large retail chains, and their garment production in third world countries. The United Nations has long recognized India as the world’s capital for child labor, yet little change as there are now an estimated 15,000 garment factories in India. According to one estimate, more than 20 per cent of India’s economy is dependent on child labor.

Despite its charitable activities with an eye on polishing it’s image, Gap has been criticized for outsourcing clothing production to the developing world many times in the past. In 2004, when it launched its social audit, it admitted that forced labor, child labor, wages below the minimum wage, physical punishment and coercion were among abuses it had found at some factories producing garments for the company. In the past year Gap has dealt with 23 suppliers reagarding workplace abuses.

Human rights violations in the form of illegal child labor are a logical extension of globalism, in that they serve to apply downward pressure on retail prices, so a debt driven Western economy can continue to over consume, and keep the world retail industry afloat. There is no other solution anything short of exploitation. That’s why human rights violations and child labor keeps happening…no matter what GAP, Wal-Mart or any other retailer wants you to believe. 

The fact is that companies like the GAP and Wal-Mart, are completely insulated from any legal liability or criminal prosecution as they hide behind nameless and faceless sub-contractors who wholesale clothes to these retailers on the backs of beaten children. When caught, they simply do what they always have done – declare that the practice is an outrage and pull product from their supply channels from that contractor, until they receive another shipment from the next contractor. 

If these retailers were really concerned about human rights, they would shift productions operations to countries where these types of abuses cannot happen – the U.S. might be a solid move in that direction…but we know that will never happen. Instead they continue to willingly sacrifice children in the name of profit. They do not care about these third world children because they own everything there is to own, including most governments, and they are simply above any real prosecution that has any teeth. 

Until consumers take action, this dynamic simply will not change, and there’s no sign American consumers, blinded by false prosperity and vanity, are willing to change their habits. Ensalved children aren’t even a blip on the radar to them.

This  deplorable and overtly criminal situation in India is a clear violation of international trade law as well as a gross violation of human rights. GAP executives should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law based on any knowledge they had regarding the use of sweatshops. Surely we can punish those who abuse children and send a message to the money and power elite that this type of activity will not be tolerated.    

Gap said in a statement from its headquarters in San Francisco: ‘We firmly believe that under no circumstances is it acceptable for children to produce or work on garments. These allegations are deeply upsetting and we take this situation very seriously. All of our suppliers and their subcontractors are required to guarantee that they will not use child labor to produce garments. In this situation, it’s clear one of our vendors violated this agreement and a full investigation is under way.’

That’s commendable on their part, but I say consumers in the West should be demanding answers from retailers as to how goods are produced and think twice about where they spend their money. Why you ask? GAP will not police themselves and willingly give up garments made for pennies, even if they are made by enslaved children. Quite frankly, profit trumps all other cards, even a moral conscious or human rights. That’s what globalism is at it’s core of mud – the blind pursuit of ever cheaper labor. It’s happening everywhere at the expense of the poor – child labor in India, wide spread and unrestricted pollution resulting in ‘cancer villages’ in China…all so we can have cheap jeans and lower cost sweaters. 

Proof is embodied in how GAP reacted. They did not immediately cut ties with the supplier it accused of improper subcontracting.

Company spokesman Bill Chandler said the company was taking the breach of its child labor policies “extremely seriously,” and continued by saying, “We’re willing to end relationships with vendors when they don’t meet our standards.” 

The problem is, they didn’t.

Bush vs. Jackson…The Similarities are Striking…

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Andrew Jackson to George Bush – do they represent bookends of a centuries old ideology? Can the history of Native Americans in the United States offer any ideological understanding to the occupation of Iraq? Have we simply butchered other cultures in the name of ‘what we need or what we want?’To answer this question, one must define the framework and motives of American Imperialism.

The basic foundation of what I call ‘Resource Imperialism’ is comprised of capitalism, imperialism, and Christian fundamentalism. These three socio-cultural forces have slowly shaped American into a state that has greatly modified it’s political ideology over the past 100 years in order to preserve a way of life, often by eliminating whole cultures of people through war. The catalysts are quite apparent really. Capitalism constantly requires new markets and resources to survive, imperialism is present to secure those markets and resources via land grabs, and Christian fundamentalism provides a convenient veil for the true selfish reasons behind the violence – that is, the conquered must be made to understand that they are ignorant and thus must convert to a more culturally pure ideal in order to save themselves from damnation – Christianity.     

Since Gorbachev began dismantling the Soviet Union, the U.S. has engaged in a variety of military interventions including attacks against Bosnia, Sudan, Haiti, Yugoslavia, the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, the pillage of Palestine and now threats of new wars with Iran and Syria, as well as the attempted destabilization of Turkey which has resulted in recent Congressional debate regarding the Armenians. Throughout the 20th century, there have also been actions against Cuba, Vietnam, Korea – the list is long. George Bush’s current dominant political ideology of American Power is complex and aggressive. It covers up motives for war with abstract slogans and rationales such as building civil societies, opening free markets, instituting human rights, spreading democracy and freedom, national interests, security, and terrorism – much like the founding fathers did during the settlement of the West. In fact, one could argue that American violence directed at others cultures and nations surpassed more notorious regimes like Nazi Germany simply because the violence has taken place over a longer period of time. 

In 1830 the Congress of the United States passed the “Indian Removal Act.” Many Americans were against the act, including Davy Crockett – his non-support of the act would cost him his career. The bill passed and President Jackson quickly signed it into law. The Cherokees attempted to fight removal legally by challenging the removal laws in the Supreme Court and by establishing an independent Cherokee Nation. The court ruled against the Indians. In Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, the Court refused to hear a case extending Georgia’s laws on the Cherokee because they did not represent a sovereign nation. Native Americans were simply shut out in the name of land lotteries, rumored gold on Indian lands, and natural resources.   The Bush administration is simply applying the aforementioned ideology to modern times. 

The U.S is not interested in uplifting the Iraqi people from oppression. We invaded Iraq to secure scarce resources and entrench ourselves in Iraqi culture with the purpose of regional monopolization of power. Much like the Native Americans, the Iraqi government is not recognized as ‘legitimate’ in the strictest sense of the word. The United States, much the same way we took over all Indian territories in this country by imposing our culture and will on them, has done the same in Iraq. We are only interested in manipulating Iraq for position and power. In 250 years, nothing has changed.   Another equally important fact is that the U.S. virtually immune from international prosecution, that is to say that, the U.S. is unaccountable for all crimes it has committed since the time of the founding fathers. The U.S. has exterminated or killed Native American Indians, Africans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Nicaraguans, Filipinos, Koreans, Vietnamese, Panamanians, Serbians, Afghans, and Iraqis, or anyone else unwilling, afraid, or incapable of making the United States pay for its crimes or force it to change its policy of perpetual violence. As long as this dynamic is in place, this phenomenon will continue.

It begs the question…are the terrorists the first group in history willing to fight this continued exploitation, while being fueled by the current negative international sentiment regarding U.S. foreign policy? 

 

Bush Continues to Ignore What the American People Want in the Name of Corporate Profit…

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A few days ago I posted on to this blog on recent developments in the Republican party in regards to globalism and free trade. In short, support among Republicans for free trade is ebbing…and quickly at that. However, president Bush once again seems to be rallying around a narrow minded ideology of trading American jobs and prosperity for profit, rather than listening to the cries of help from the middle class and his own party! Business as usual at the White House. 

In the last six years, the Bush administration has signed 11 free trade agreements, including seven new agreements in Latin America, and in spite of the under current of opposition to new deals, is pushing new agreements with Peru, Colombia, and Panama. To defend his position, Bush argued just days ago that free trade is necessary because “More exports support better and higher-paying jobs — and to keep our economy expanding, we need to keep expanding trade.”

The problem is, these high paying jobs aren’t materializing. 

Bush said these three agreements would lower agricultural and industrial tariffs on American businesses as well, while providing 75 million new consumers for American goods. Although the President acknowledged that many Americans are questioning free trade, he added that “the federal government is providing substantial funding for trade adjustment assistance that helps Americans make the transition from one job to the next.”

Another problem is, the program is filled with massive loopholes that make it almost moot to most Americans.

Link here for AFL-CIO congressional testimony regarding (TAA) loopholes.

In spite of all these outcries, the administration is currently working toward a new trade agreement with South Korea that will be closed to beef autos, and steel, according to analysts. 

What Bush continues to struggle with is the fact that the very foundation of globalism and free trade, as well as the benefits that it was supposed to bring to this country, have been proved false. Globalists insist, as echoed by Bush, that free trade creates new jobs and keeps consumer goods cheap. Thus, free traders claim markets will continue to expand.

The opposite is happening.

Granted, some jobs have been created, but the jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, are mainly service sector jobs that are not exposed to outsourcing, unlike manufacturing and high tech jobs that are. The caveat here, is that these service sector jobs pay up to 60% less than the manufacturing and high tech jobs that have been lost. The job creation is simply not an apples to apples comparison, and that fact is conveniently left out of free trader dialog. Also, many college graduates are finding it difficult to find gainful employment than even warrants going to college or justifying the ever increasing tuition costs and student loan interest rates, which this administration has allowed to sky rocket.  

Simply put, Republicans cannot and traditionally have not been able to manage the economy. Unfortunately, we have been at the mercy of Reagan and two Bush’s – all big time spenders, all incompetent in the area of macro economics and trade policy. If you look at economic records and rates of job creation and unemployment going back to Harry Truman, the data proves this out. During Carter’s administration for example, the economy added 10 million jobs and reduced government spending, all in the face of high inflation. George H.W. Bush holds the dubious honor of having both the poorest GDP growth and income growth for working class Americans on record. The deficit also exploded by $100 billion in only four years. Bush Jr. is even worse than daddy.

The economy is the worst it has ever been under the current president. The Bush administration’s annual loss stands at three-quarters of a trillion dollars and he has only managed a net gain of 5.6 million jobs – the worst ever. The numbers of ‘working poor’ and unemployed are creeping up as well, while the income gap between the rich and poor is the widest it has been since the 1920’s – great for lords at the top, not so much for the serfs at the bottom. The trade deficit with China speaks for itself.

So, what does it all mean? On a macro level, it means our current policies are not working. Short-sighted conservative corporate fat cats are gutting the economic fish for a seemingly final meal. Real economic growth comes from the bottom – via a thrifty working class that is able to save and rely on affordable health-care, guaranteed retirement, and reasonable consumer prices. Free trade was supposed to provide all of this. Instead, we have gotten currency manipulation from China, higher prices on essential goods like home energy, garbage consumer products, trade deficits, an insurance crisis, an evaporating manufacturing and high tech sector, and a cash strapped middle class who cannot even escape the crunch through re-education, because there’s nothing to re-educate to. And then when you’re in your senior years, you get to coast to the finish line with a reverse mortgage. All of this smells to me.

Can someone explain this to Bush please…and Robert Reich while you’re at it?  

Republicans Seem to Be Falling Off the Globalist Bandwagon…

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There are signs of increasing resistance to globalization in a new Wall Street Journal-NBC News Poll. Sixty percent of Republican respondents said they agreed with the statement that free trade has been bad for the U.S. and said they would agree with a Republican candidate who favored tougher regulations to limit foreign imports.

Now that is interesting to say the least. 

While Bush continues to call for continued global trade expansion, the rest of his party is having second thoughts which reflects a substantial shift in sentiment from eight years ago when King George could say or do no wrong. Leading Republican candidates are still trying to promote free trade though. “Our philosophy has to be not how many protectionist measures can we put in place, but how do we invent new things to sell” said former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. “That’s the view of the future. What protectionists are trying to do is lock in the inadequacies of the past.”

No Rudy – what protectionists are trying to do is save he middle class from ruin. 

President Clinton championed a less-protectionist bent by promoting the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) during his administration, however his wife, and the current Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton, uses more skeptical rhetoric, going as far as coming out against a U.S. trade deal with South Korea altogether. Other leading Democrats have been harshly critical of trade expansion as well. In a March 2007 Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, 54% of Democratic voters said free-trade agreements have hurt the U.S., compared with 21% who said they have helped. This, along with eroding support among Republicans represents a fresh challenge to free-market conservatives and greedy American companies that benefit from cheap labor abroad, and unrestricted wage leverage when dealing American workers.

On Chris Matthew’s show Hardball recently, Robert Reich, a longtime supporter of the globalist ideal, had difficulty deflecting barbs from Pat Buchanan when dealing with the subjects of worker security, real living wages and the eroding dollar. To be perfectly honest, Reich’s answers seemed a bit trite and somewhat academic in tone. He had no real answers regarding what has happened. 

Even relatively small trade deals are facing resistance. Trade pacts with Peru and Panama still have a chance of passing in the current congressional term, however deals with South Korea and Colombia are in serious jeopardy. Some legislators believe South Korea isn’t opening its market wide enough to American beef and autos. Presidential “fast track” trade negotiating authority has lapsed as well. Without such authority, which requires Congress to take an up-or-down vote on trade deals, the next president would have trouble pursuing large trade agreements at all. 

Beyond trade, Republicans appear to be seeking a move away from the president on everything else, and with good reason. Everything else is a mess. Asked in general terms, a 48% plurality of Republicans said the next president should “take a different approach” from Bush, while 38% wanted to continue on his ideological path. In that poll, Giuliani maintained his lead in the Republican field with support from 30% of respondents. Former Sen. Fred Thompson drew 23% in the survey, and 15% for Sen. John McCain. 

“We’re seeing a lot of jobs farmed out,” said Mr. Pirtle, whose father works for General Motors Corp., – concerned by reports of safety problems with Chinese imports, he added, “The stuff we are getting, looking at all the recalls, to be quite honest, it’s junk.”

In the Republican campaign so far, elevating populist trade concerns has been left to the long shots. “The most important thing a president needs to do is to make it clear that we’re not going to continue to see jobs shipped overseas….and then watch as a CEO takes a $100 million bonus,” said Mike Huckabee, “If Republicans don’t stop it, we don’t deserve to win in 2008.”

We can only hope that the tide of anti-globalism takes firm root and some of the front runners begin to wise up.

Pro-Democracy Crushed in Myanmar and the Chinese Do Nothing…

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Protesters continued to wave the peacock flag of the crushed pro-democracy movement on a solitary march Saturday through the bloody streets of Myanmar‘s largest city. Many dissidents said they are resigned to defeat without international intervention as regimes like China stood around and watch people being butchered in the streets – same as Kosovo, same as Rwanda, same as Iraq. 

A top U.N. envoy on Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, arrived in the country but many protesters said they were nonetheless seeing a repeat of the global reaction to a 1988 pro-democracy uprising, when the world stood by as protesters were gunned down in the streets. “Gambari is coming, but I don’t think it will make much of a difference,” said one hotel worker, “We have to find a solution ourselves.” A young woman who took part in the massive demonstrations said she didn’t think “we have any more hope to win.” She was separated from her boyfriend when police broke up the protest by firing into crowds.

Demonstrations began last month as a result of the crumbling economy in Myanmar, as people angry over massive fuel price hikes took to the streets — shortly afterward it ballooned into tens of thousands after monks began marching in protest. The Junta, who are oppressive militaristic rulers of Myanmar and closely tied to China, responded by shooting into a crowd of protesters that included monks and clubbing them with batons.

What is remarkable, is that China continues to back these criminals and has done nothing to interfere with the terror wrought on the protesters. Of course China’s reaction was predictable. After all, they did roll over the Chinese Democratic party with tanks in the Tiananmen Square Massacare in 1989. And don’t forget that Myanmar (Burma), is also resource rich, so why interfere? Let’s just let them beat the hell out of each other, then roll in and take over when the timing is right under the guise of liberation. Can anyone say Iraq? Funny how the drive for limited energy resources by developed nations is resulting in more and more of these nasty little skirmishes lately – don’t you think? 

But I digress…

Little more than lip service by the U.S., Russia, and China is being offered in order to restrain these thugs. The United States, which possesses limited leverage, froze any assets that Myanmar leaders may have in U.S. financial institutions and prohibited American citizens from doing business with them. The United Nations has resorted to the usual ineffective attempts at reconciliation that never really seem to fly. So the U.S. and others have turned a hopeful eye toward our ‘friends’ China. When they’re not busy poisoning our kids with lead paint, their busy poisoning Myanmar’s kids with lead paint, as they too are Myanmar’s biggest trading partner. 

However, China does not seem prepared to go beyond words in their dealings with the Junta, ruling out sanctions as they jostle for a chance to get at Myanmar’s bountiful and largely untapped natural resources, especially its oil. Can’t offend a friend I suppose. Human rights will have to be the bridesmaid yet again. Some Chinese academics and diplomats say the international community may be overestimating what Beijing can do. “I actually don’t think China can influence Myanmar (Burma) at all except through diplomacy. China’s influence is not at all decisive,” said Peking University Southeast Asia expert Liang Yingming.

Really? I have a few ideas to offer.

Key backers of this group of murders in Myanmar, particualrly China, must pay a cost for the blood they will have on their hands. Women were killed, the young, the old, children, monks were beaten are now holed up behind barbed wire – someone must answer…I say start with China. Specific businesses and their management should be targeted with sanctions as well as the Chinese government for the role they have played in furthering the interests of the Junta, in the name of oil and profit. China should be questioned and brought to bare before the world why they have backed these butchers for years. Name must be named, and the dead must be avenged. The U.S. must act and empower the U.N. as well, to impose sanctions against the junta and China if need be. If the Chinese people really back human rights, they should boycott these Chinese companies as well. There’s an old American saying folks – put your money where your mouth is.

Bush himself, lacks the credibility, intelligence, nerve or grammar to take on this regime and its backers in the world’s eyes, so we must rely on Congress to act so credible damage might be done to the reputations of China and the Chinese companies that do business in both Myanmar (Burma), and the U.S. Congress, along with the U.N. , should impose immediate sanctions on Chinese firms, while going after some of the illegal drug money that the Junta uses to finance these murder sprees. 

Maybe pull a Ronald Reagan.

Train and equip rebellious groups operating within Burma and along its border areas.  These groups are not exactly the proverbial good-guys, (given their history of drug trafficking), however some of them represent ethnic groups that have faced murderous behavior from the Junta that amounts to little more than ethnic cleansing – much like this last week. They could be a valuable ally in this struggle. If China wants to support the Junta, then it will have to accept the consequences of such support as well as running the risk of destabilizing all of Southeast Asia. Let’s see if they like that shit sandwich?

In my opinion, the time is now to finally send a message to China – you cannot simply do what you please whenever you please (or not in this case) without stiff consequences from the rest of the non-communist, non-dictatorial, non-civil rights violating, non-murdering, countries in the world. For the sake of the human condition, our government must take a stand on this situation. I urge Nancy Pelosi (who is cool at best on China) and the rest of the Democrats to act on a resolution that will put these policies into motion. There is no reason why we should tolerate this type of behavior in the name of failed globalistic economic ideals. At some point, the sanctity of human life must supersede the garnering of oil on the totem pole of foreign policy. 

Should the H-1B Visa Cap be Raised? Absolutely Not…

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By continually flooding the labor market in the U.S. with inexpensive foreign workers, we are destroying our own talent pool in a long run. What would motivate a prospective college student go into a technology, spent years of time, money and effort and keep on developing his own skills if he can see how quickly the market could be flooded with a cheap replacement? This will only compound an ongoing issue, as we continue to create tremendous downward pressure on wages, and force businesses to complete based on the dependency of foreign workers. I can see corporate America’s view I suppose, if you can’t have slavery, this is the next best thing. These are people who routinely work overtime for free under the threat of their visa being ‘revoked’ and universally accept lower wages for equal work being done by their American counterparts.

Moreover, large corp[orations like Microsoft, want us to buy into the idea that there is such a shortage of skilled tech workers, that HB-1 workers are needed. Places like Monster are loaded with resumes of American IT workers who can’t buy a job with their soul – and if you’re over forty, you may as well hang it up. It also takes longer for unemployed IT people to find jobs than ever before – just talk to people like myself (MCSE, MCDBA, A+, Net+, Linux+, 15 years experience, etc.) It took me 17 months to find gainful employment at a reasonable wage. In fact, during the last economic downturn (that Bush said never happened), IT people were among the hardest hit, and many had to leave the industry all together as IT budgets sank to just 3% of total sales on average, while training dollars went up in smoke. The real effort should be to re-claim these workers and get them back into the industry, not replace them with lower paying HB-1 Visa holders. Any other explanation is a smoke and mirrors tactic by the corporate fat cats who need to pad the almighty bottom line at the expense of American workers.

Equally important, given how many resources a local IT worker invests in their skills, they should be carefully protected so we might keep our economy moving. It is one thing to jerk around an employee who has just couple of months of formal training at the entry level, it is quite another to push someone out who has spent 10 years and $100,000 on education and skills development, like myself and many of my colleagues did. Where do these fools, who are perpetuating this nonsense, think this is all going? When did corporations stop caring about American born workers and begin sacraficing them for profit?

Lastly, the quality of foreign workers is mostly a myth. Many companies put foreign workers through internal training and there is absolutely no reason why this training should not be offered to American born workers instead. In fact, many IT advocate groups for American workers have found that few foreign workers start providing high quality, high volume output from the first day on the job.

Many bloggers are questioning whether HB-1’s should be regulated or levels allowed to be dictated by the market. Some question whether or not supply and demand laws have been artificially manipulated. I say they have and that manipulation is causing a back-log of foreign workers which ultimately results in brain-drain as often higher skilled and more experienced American workers are forced to exit in the name of lower wages and profit.

Check this study…

 http://www.globalizationresearch.com/

Companies have overloaded the market with foreign labor while American workers struggle, it is as simple as that. From that situation, the market works to force domestic workers out of the industry. Meanwhile, foreign workers are getting subsidized education in their home countries, addition training by their new American employers, and ultimately hired for much less – sometimes up to 25% less.

The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected job growth in Core IT (Information Technology) jobs of 110,000 a year through 2007; it also estimates that about 35,000 degrees in IT per se are earned a year. That may sound at first like a worker shortage in IT. A closer look at the situation, however, suggests otherwise. What people don’t realize is that as many as half of all IT professionals do not IT degrees. Many American IT workers are industry certified like myself and as many as 80,000 more per year get certified without getting a college degree. These people are competent and no better or worse off than any HB-1 worker from an entry level knowledge standpoint. So what are we being fed here by cry babies like Bill Gates? And if foreign IT workers are so much more qualified, why did the Indian company Wipro just announce plans to build a new facility in Atlanta, hiring American workers? Check out link here…

 http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/08/28/ap4059658.html

We’re being lied to by the greedy.   

According to the BLS, changes in the earnings of Core IT Professionals have been similar to those for all professionals and only marginally higher than those for the entire civilian labor force.

There is evidence, in part, that the “labor shortage” has been artifically created by the IT industry. The alleged worker shortage is at least partly due to the stinginess of the American corporations and the general practice of cutting forcing wages downward. Check out a very informative article complete with references regarding the ‘artificial shortage.’

http://www.fairus.org/site/PageServer?pagename=iic_immigrationissuecenters60e9

Finally, a quick story I found on a blog. Five years ago, an American IT worker in New York City needed some additional training and approached a school that provided programs in Oracle. The coordinator there was frank and told the truth, “You shouldn’t take this class. Most of the Oracle people in New York are workers from India. You will not be able to break into a shop because they tend to hire their own. So don’t waste your time.” 

Is this what we want in the long-term? Congress and American corporate greed farms are wrong. I am not anti-immigrant – I am born of first generation immigrants. I simply want to make sure Americans don’t suffer due to bad policy, and that is exactly what the HB-1 program is. We must build from within to ensure high paid jobs for all, including our immigrant friends, not the least common denominator so one group is under-paid and the other not paid at all. This is what corporations want, and they must challenged on it. 

The True State of the American Workforce on Labor Day 2007…

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Corporate America continues it’s war against the labor movement. After a long period of prosperity from 1948 to 1973 in which unions and corporations both prospered, most corporations have adopted a hostile attitude toward unions, spurred on by a series of anti-union presidents, including Reagan, Bush #1 and Bush #2. Where unions are present, large employers, like Wal-Mart and others, seek break them. In workplaces without unions, employers are prepared to do whatever necessary to prevent workers from organizing, even if that means violating the law.

The anti-union drive has largely enjoyed the support of the government. According to a study by John Schmitt and Ben Zipperer, of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, one in five organizers will be fired during an average organizing drive. Such firings are illegal, but enforcement is painfully slow, and the penalties ineffectively small. As evidence shows, most anti-union employers eagerly embrace this blatantly anti-union loophole.

Government policies have also supported anti-union practices in other ways. The main purpose of trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), no matter what supossed advantages of this destructive policy you are spoon fed by short-sighted globalists, is to make it as easy as possible to relocate factories overseas and allow corporate fat cats to stuff their pockets on the back of American workers. This, coupled with incompetent management of the economy by the Bush administration has resulted in a 30 percent over-valued dollar which in turn effectively imposes a 30 percent tariff on goods exported from the United States.

The result of these dog-and-pony-show policies is that much manufacturing, and in once manufacturing powerhouse places like Buffalo NY – virtually all manufacturing – has been moved overseas in the last quarter century, giving the country a trade deficit of more than $700 billion annually that continues to grow. These lost jobs have been disproportionately union jobs. While the unionization rate in manufacturing was more than 40 percent in the sixties, in 2007 it is just around 12.0 percent. And, with the loss of these union jobs has come weaker, watered down benefits because workers simply do not have the muscle to negotiate for fair treatment against collossal, well financed anti-union employers, who are prepared to hurt American workers at the prodding of stockholders.  

The weakening of the labor movement is not just bad news for the workers who lose union jobs. According to polling data, there are tens of millions of workers who would like to be represented by a union at their workplace, but don’t have that option. Right to work laws in many Southern conservative states make it all but impossible to organize. While public sector managers are not generally friendly to unions either, they are more restricted when it comes to firing union organizers or using other harsh anti-union tactics that are now standard practice in the private sector. As a result, more than 36 percent of public sector employees are members of unions, while private sector unions languish. When polled regarding the freedom to choose, data suggests that as many as sixty percent of American workers would join a union if they could. 

Congress is currently debating a bill that would take an important step toward re-establishing the right of workers to join a union. The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would require a company to recognize a union once a majority of workers have signed a card indicating they want to be represented by a union. This gets around the election process, which gives employers a chance to intimidate workers and fire the leaders of an organizing effort. (Under the EFCA, workers can still request an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.) The bill passed by the House by is currently being blocked by a Republican filibuster in the Senate. While the EFCA is not likely to become law under this Congress (anti-worker President Bush would almost certainly veto the bill even if it did pass), pro-labor groups should recognize the importance of legislation. The right to organize is not the concern of just a small special interest group as many conservatives would have the American electorate believe, it is a basic and essential right that should concern every American that wishes our country continued prosperity. 

Unions have also been essential to a wide range of political initiatives over the post-war World War II period. Programs including Medicare, Medicaid and Head Start would not have been possible without the strong support of the American labor movement. Big labor has also prevented President Bush from privatizing Social Security and it will be difficult to make more progress on other key social and economic legislation without the support of a strong labor movement.

This Labor Day weekend, make an effort to say thanks to all of those who have built and continue to make America the greatest place on earth in which to live – call out conservatives for the short-sighted, anti-American worker, political hypocrites that they are – support organized labor.

The Latest Video from Catman Cohen and his portrayal of America…

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Controversial and mysterious Catman Cohen presents his stunning, dark portrayal of America, an unforgettable audio-visual protest journey into the national dream turned nightmare. This video nails it. If you want a six-minute triage of everything thats wrong, link to this video below…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Y0rmtOWDnU

Bob Murray is Whistling a Different Tune these Days…

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A sorrowful glow of somber concern envelops Crandall Canyon mine owner Bob Murray these days, marking a sharp detraction from his chest thumping just a few days ago.

As the situation at the Crandall Canyon mine in Utah becomes more ominous, anti-union as well as anti-MSHA conservative owner Bob Murray, announced that the Utah based mine will never re-open. “It will not be reopened,” Murray said. “We are already discussing about how we might go about honoring the trapped miners and to make this site for perpetuity.”

No kidding it won’t re-open Bob. You’re going to be sued into oblivion and with any luck maybe hit by a train carrying coal, as those like me continue to hold out for poetic justice.

Spare me the manufactured -choked up drama act – on camera that seems to have miraculously overwhelmed you in the last three days or so. 

Maybe your single-handed effort at referring to the MSHA as “union lackeys” (whatever that is supposed to mean), knowingly engaging in the most dangerous and illegal mining practices in the industry, accusing the U.S. Geological survey of lying about the fact that an earthquake did not trigger the mine accident, and icing the cake by giving up on the rescue effort, seals the deal for me. You’re a scumbag who put his workers in harms way for profit, much the same way our president puts our troops in harms way for senseless ideology and profit. 

What we have here ladies and gentlemen is another, in a long line of neo-modern industry owners and CEOs, who could care less about their workforce as long as the profit continues to roll in – nothing more. Besides being a heartless and greedy bastard, what infuriates me about Murray the most is his callous boldness like so many other conservatives, when it comes to the poor – that is, everyone making less than $200,000 per year. Among his first statements after the collapse… 

“Without coal to manufacture our electricity, our products will not compete in the global marketplace against foreign countries…and people on fixed incomes will not be able to pay their electric bills… every one of these global warming bills that has been introduced in Congress to date eliminates the coal industry and will increase your electric rates four to five-fold.”

Spoken like a true conservative knucklehead. Tell me this Bob – what the hell does mine safety have to do with global warming? Only a nit-wit could make that connection – or a conservative maybe. Only in recent days has Murray’s bald forehead begun to really perspire as the death count now includes three rescue workers who might be alive if it weren’t for the trapped and presumed dead miners, who are only presumed dead because Murray willfully exposed them to a situation that could have easily been prevented with only a minute exercise in human conscious and concern for your fellow man. Leaving a few safety pillars was too much to ask I guess.

Bob Murray should receive the same cordial treatment, courtesy of the federal government, as Dennis Koslowski and so many other irresponsible corporate executives run amok have…the rest of his life in jail. He should be charged with three counts of second degree murder, convicted, and spend the rest of his days in jail – and as he draws his last ragged breath, may his conscious eat him alive as the death of these miners, rescuers, their widows, and fatherless children, haunt his heartless soul forever.  

Check out our ‘Documents and Writings’ page at ShadowDemocracy.org to see a brief video on what Bob Murray thought was appropriate to say in the wake immediately following the Utah tragedy…

I’ll bet he never mined a shovel of coal in his life. Just another conservative hypocrite….

The Facade of Mutually Beneficial Globalist Theory Crumbling…

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Popular backlash against globalisation is sweeping rich countries around the globe according to a recent Harris poll. Large majorities of people in the US and in Europe want higher taxation for the rich and pay caps for corporate executives to offset the perceived unjustified rewards to the priveledged few and the negative effects of globalisation on working people. It’s about time.

  

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Leaders in the World Trade Organization call anti-globalism hate speech, I call it predictable outrage.

In the U.S., Congress is awash with anti-globalist sentiment as the Senate prepares to vote on new trade restrictions aimed at China. I have been blogging about the destructive effects of unrestricted globalism since 1990 and continue to oppose unrestricted free trade at the expense of our way of life. Conservative pundits, many economists, and some analysts have been peddling globalism and what they believe to be the necessary melding of economies into one international marketplace in order for our way of life to continue. This argument in fact was championed and still defended by former Clinton cabinet member Robert Reich.

Reich, and these other globalist ideolouges are short-sighted and ultimately incorrect in their conclusions.

Many assumptions were made that have proven fatal to the globalist theory. For instance, the theory assumes that more education, at least according to Reich, equals higher income. This might be true if “higher end” jobs are made available to these eventual skill empowered graduates. The fact is, countries like China have been handed or more appropriately, stolen proprietary technology in aerospace, computer technology, and other areas that has led to manufacturing and capital flight from this country with a destination of China. In turn, the corresponding jobs within such sectors of the U.S. economy have evaporated. The original globalist theory had countries like China making sneakers and toasters, not complex microchips and high-tech aerospace parts. Meanwhile we brush our teeth with poison Chinese toothpaste, our pets die of tainted dog food, our kids play with lead based Chinese toys, and factory workers burn to death in Chinese steel mills with no consequence.

Another assumption did not account for developing countries to simply violate international trade policy at the expense of countries like the U.S. For example, China artificially devalues its currency to gain a trading advantage. Overtly unfair trade barriers are thrown up that make selling goods by U.S. companies in the Pacific Rim almost impossible. Couple this with some good old fashioned American coporate greed and you have a situation that has seen Chinese imports to the U.S. increase ten-fold since 1995 while real wages in the U.S. and exports steadily stagnate or even decline. We remain productive but we work like packmules to acheive that productivity as corporate management holds the baton of globalism and the threat of job loss over our collective head if we do not continue at the current breakneck pace. Yet, our most cherished and longest standing companies like General Motors and Ford suffer, and in the background, our corrupt politicians and unscrupulous corporate culture slowly sell our economy down the river. Where does it end?

If continued growth in GDP and a robust tax base is to continue, this country must be willing to protect certain industries for the sake of propping up a middle class that is being squeezed to the limit. If we do not, we may very well find ourselves in a shrinking economy as countries like China, Korea, Brazil and the European Union surpass U.S. productivity and per capita income. It may not be as outlandish as it sounds. I am not making an argument for unilateral protectionism, but when U.S. workers are made to compete against workers producing steel in China who earn $2500.00 American dollars per year and are expected to do it with no health care, no retirement security and a crumbling education system…something must change if modern Western culture is to survive.