Today's Note From a Madman
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
The Not-So-Friendly Skies
United Airlines has been granted the right to stop paying their employees' and past employees' pensions.
But they promised to, didn't they?
Why yes, they did. But since the deep pockets of the United States government, financed by you and I, have agreed to guarantee the pensions of large companies when they hit a hurdle or two, why wouldn't United do just that?
United has been operating under Chapter 11 Bankruptcy laws since 2002.
Some of you might say, "Well, if they filed today, under the NEW bankrupcy laws, United wouldn't be able to get away with it."
Under George W. Bush's new bankruptcies' laws, United WOULD be able to get away with it, but you or I wouldn't.
"Hey," Continental and Delta and USAir must be thinking, "We have debt... we have retirees... we have pensions that cost us billions of dollars... Why not let the citizens of the United States take care of US too?"
Why not indeed?
$6.6 billion of the $9.8 billion owed to 121,500 United Airline employees will be paid by US, the people of the United States of America. The other $3.2 billion will be lost to those employees forever.
By the way, there is no repeal on George W. Bush's tax give-back to the rich. There is no raise in the Capital Gains tax, which, for the most part, benefits the ultra-rich to the tune of having them pay about 50 cents in taxes for every one dollar US hard-working people pay. Additionally, President Bush wants to eliminate the inheritance tax, which he and the other liars on the RIGHT call the death tax, which only would effect the top 52,000 families in America over the next ten years. I'm willing to bet that no one receiving this newsletter is in that group. (The inheritance tax only applies to estates worth over $1.5 million.)
WHEN WILL THE RICH PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE?
I'm tired of hearing that the top "x" percent pay "y" amount of dollars. By percentage, they pay a mere fraction of what you or I pay.
If I had a business, and I couldn't take care of my employees the way I promised, what would be MY fate?
With no further (legal) term available, and just over three years to go, the world leaders are beginning to set up the roadblocks of diplomacy against the world bully, Bush. It's okay. Bush will never get it, knowing nothing of diplomacy.
Ariel Sharon has delayed pulling 13 and 14 year Israeli residents from the Gaza strip, out of respect for Jewish religious beliefs of mourning that happen during July. Does anyone know that Bush threatened Sharon with a complete ending of American support for Israel if he did not do everything in his power to create a Palestinian state, by giving them thousands of Jewish cities? (or settlements). Bush did this without regard for the fact that the entire middle east Muslim world has vowed the eradication of the existence of Israel.
While Bush bleats for support of his 'cheat the baby-boomers out of their social security so the rich can have it' plan, and Medicare/Medicaid verges on bankruptcy, Congress is busy infighting tooth and nail over justices. OOOOOOrah. : ) Way to go boys. I knew you had it in ya, somewhere.
Tony Blair has publicly committed to giving the English people what they want, and never mind Bush, Iraq, and all those lies, after losing over 1/3 of his party in parliament.
Italy is hanging in there with some splendidly well mannered verbiage, after losing their most important field agent to wildfire on the part of green, ill-informed, and far too young American military guys, who shot him to death during his rescue of a female Italian reporter who had been held hostage by those nasty Arab Muslim insurgents in Iraq, but they have erected an LED clock in the time square counting down the seconds till Bush's time is over, and his arrogant cabinet with him.
Churches in Italy report thousands jamming the pews, asking for blessings of wisdom for the Americans, to get a better one next time.
Closer to home, Utah has spurned over $80,000,000 in public school funding and opted out of the non-funded 'no child left behind' program, which only succeeds in bringing the gifted and achieving kids to the level of non-English speaking illegal immigrants.
The governor of Arizona, Janet Napolitano has sent a hefty bill to the President, for expenses incurred in prosecuting and keeping in prison, foreign nationals (mostly Hispanic) who are not citizens, and who have not been kept on their own side of the border by our federal government, which actually is, by Constitutional decree, one of their few true responsibilities.
The very topmost Army general has declared to the President that with so many troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and other undisclosed locations around the globe, that if anything really did happen that threatened national security in a real way, there is not a damn thing we could do about it.
Someone in Congress has actually reared up and declared that moving the entire contingent of military out of Germany and closing those bases will in actuality cost more like $20 billion, which we cannot afford, so maybe we should take more time with that Presidential (Rove) idea.
Several states are horrified and actively bucking the federal driver's license proposal, which will cost individual states upwards of $200 billion (each state) to issue.
Someone, in an interview on NPR was actually able to spill the beans openly about the draft. It (the impending draft) will include women (girls starting at age 18) and if activated they will be federally mandated to go to wherever the Commander in Chief orders them, regardless of the current level of absolute bestial behavior of many, many of our own armed forces. (Only what we can expect after exposing them long term to the degradation of what is the middle east). Oh yeah, if drafted, women (girls) can expect absolutely no protection or consideration for female related medical presentation.
This is all good news for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the United States of America. Is the world beginning to shrug off what to all appearances is the beginning of a fascist regime, with the face of Bush, the mind of Rove and the absolutely embarrassing presence of Condoleezza Rice? (A woman who is nothing but a string of meaningless degrees from a university with the same name, why couldn't we have had Oprah, instead of her?)
One warning. The administration may still believe they should hang onto power with a death grip despite what is Constitutionally required.
Bin Laden is available to pull jobs off for his buddy Bush. Odd that he has not, in all the years since the towers went down, and he was blamed, been caught. One might even muse that Osama might be in someone's protective custody, while our special ops military continue to scour the world for him, thinking he is a rogue, hiding in a cave.
Course the Bin Ladens and the Bushes have been best buddies for decades. Google Salem Bin Laden if you don't believe me.
We will want to watch federal activities very carefully those last 18 months. Even Bush knows how to play possum, an old game where . . . .well, ya'll probably know about that, too.
The Secret Downing Street Memo
Where We Are Going?
On talk radio today, and on the Internet, there is a palpable frustration about the lack of mainstream media (or as many appropriately call it, "corporate media") coverage of the secret Downing Street memo. I share this frustration. In my view, it is inexcusable that the cable news networks and the major newspapers have failed thus far to give this story the attention it deserves. At its core, the disclosure represents a vindication of the assertions of all of us who opposed the war, and truth-telling former Administration officials who were smeared for daring to provide the public the information it is entitled to. More importantly, it shows an Administration that appears to have lied to the American people and their elected representatives, while simultaneously telling the truth to the representatives of the British people, about the most grave matter for any nation -- the decision to go to war.
To be sure, there is more coverage in the last three days about this than in the previous week. A new story by Knight-Ridder puts an appropriate context on the letter I circulated, and -- while scant -- CNN at least saw fit to mention the letter over the weekend.
However, if you will excuse the sports analogy (the NBA playoffs are in full swing and my Detroit Pistons are the defending champions), in basketball, it is frequently the case that a team will feel it is getting a series of unfair calls from the referees, and will expend so much energy worrying about the lack of fairness, that it loses track of its game plan.
A smart team, on the other hand, will adopt a two-tier strategy. They will work the refs, meaning complain about the calls, and try to urge the officials to do better. But, more importantly, they will simply play harder so that the bad calls will not be outcome determinative.
How does this apply to the situation at hand? As Eric Alterman has noted in his book What Liberal Media?, the right-wing has made its fortunes by loudly complaining when the media fails to do its bidding or -- as Alterman dubs it -- "working the refs". We must do the same. In letters to the editor, newspaper ombudsmen, calls to talk radio, and diaries on liberal websites, we must loudly decry the media's failure to cover this important story. Please continue to do your part to bring this story to the attention of the cable networks and major newspapers, as well as your elected representatives. Don't give up. I assure you I will press ahead in every way to get this story this coverage and context it deserves.
More importantly, we must put aside the dereliction of duty of the corporate media and simply fight harder for our nation. A media that fails to serve the public interest cannot be our source of validation or our barometer of political success. We must continue to beat the drum on talk radio, liberal websites and other alternative media. When you see the furor this story generates in the alternative media, that should be sufficient for you to know that many, many people recognize this serious breach of the public trust for what it is.
While a lack of mainstream media attention makes the fight for a more progressive and free America more difficult, it does not make the shift that is occurring any less inevitable. Politics is cyclical. The way things are now is not the way they will be in the near future. Let's fight to make that change happen as soon as possible.
Well, Whad'ya Know?
The REPUBLICAN mayor of Spokane, Washington, the guy who many REPUBLICANS looked up to and wanted to run for governor; the guy who unabashedly opposed gay rights at every turn seems to be gay himself. Worse yet, he might be a pedophile!
Mayor James West, 54 said he had "explored" homosexual relationships "online". I can see it now:
MWM, bi-curious, ISO young boy for illegal, discreet relationship.
West had sexually abused two boys 25 years ago, when they were members of West's Boy Scout troop, (Can you believe it?) according to the Spokane-Review. Additionally, the newspaper reported that West had tried to have a "sexual liaison" with a 17-year-old male high school student. The student was really a consultant paid for by the newspaper.
"I hope the council and citizens will reserve judgment until the newspaper is done prosecuting me and allow me to have a fair opportunity to answer the accusations.''
Yeah, that's how it works.
THIS GUY JUST MAKES ME SICK!
Add another hypocrite to the ranks of the REPUBLICANS.
This is no Log-Cabin guy.
In response to Madman's PROOF that IT jobs are declining in the US, Robert Scardapane writes:
You are on target with your observations about IT jobs. The IT sector is still down approximately 1/2 million jobs from it's peak in 2001. Of course, I am always happy when I see any sign of net growth. Last month was the first month in quite some time where there was IT job growth. You are also right about declining wages. IEEE has estimated that IT wages have fallen 25% from it's peak.
Here are some factors that cause this stagnation: 1) Outsourcing certain types of jobs, 2) Excessive H1B visas (visas that allow low-rent workers from outside the US to STEAL JOBS FROM AMERICANS IN AMERICA) issued in 2000-2001, 3) Companies that went bust when the stock market bubble burst and corporate malfeasance, 4) Mergers of large companies such as Oracle and PeopleSoft, 5) Excessive corporate spending on Y2K IT projects in 1998-2000 and a resulting reluctance for expansion.
By the way, do NOT trust anything that Harris Miller of ITAA (President of the Information Technology Association of America) says - a shiver went down my spine when his name was mentioned in a recent Madman letter on IT security. This man is a mouthpiece for corporate interests. He lied to Congress in 2000-2001 about a shortage of IT workers when there already was substantial IT unemployment. The result was far too many H1B visas that only made the problem worst. By the way, many of the H1B workers are paid below prevailing wage, though that does violate labor law, which drives down salaries. The Bush Labor Department never met a labor law that they didn't feel comfortable breaking and/or ignoring.
BOO-HOO-HOO! Poor George W. Bush!
"...unless you walk a mile in another's shoes (George
W. Bush's)...I'm sure it wasn't so easy having a famous daddy, being first born,
having expectations put upon you.... his (Bush's) struggle in his youth with
alcohol I'm sure was a pretty awful experience...but as a recent article in HBR
(Harvard Business Review) showed, personal adversity is often the caldron within
which one can learn (if receptive) how to become a leader."
-Our READER-ON-THE-RIGHT in response to this:
Nothing comes easy for most. That’s not the case for people like George W. Bush and Dr. N. Gregory Mankiw (whose White House biography read “he spent one summer long ago as a sailing instructor on Long Beach Island.).
"Outsourcing is just a new way of doing international trade... which makes it a good thing."
-Mankiw, President Bush's former chairman of the council of economic advisors
It's a "good thing" for someone who was born into luxury much the same way that people like Dr. Mankiw, John Bolton and George W. Bush were.
How come George H. W. Bush didn't use that same excuse?
"What I did as a kid? I don't think it's relevant. Did I behave irresponsible as a kid at time? Sure did. You bet."
-George W. Bush in the Texarkana Gazette, 1994
In 1976, 30 year-old George W. Bush was arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine for drinking and driving.
Was "Georgie" Bush a "youth" at the age of 30?
At the age of 30, some of us were starting a business.
At the age of 30, some of us were paying mortgages.
At the age of 30, some of us were taking care of our young children.
At the age of 30, some of us weren't "youths" anymore, but responsible, active, young adults contributing POSITIVELY to society.
At the age of 30, some of us were helping to create a "SOCIETY OF LIFE" that
even the likes of "hard-drinkers, drug users and partiers" like George W Bush
couldn't take away.
We all made "mistakes", but some of us took responsibility for them, while others say things like, "What I did as a kid? I don't think it's relevant."
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