31 August 2010

The Fascist Offensive

I've also found that when attempting to understand an issue, whether it relates to a current political situation, or a competitive business situation, to resort to two research methods:

1. Reach back and read what history has taught us.
2. Research and attempt to understand what competitors have to say about a mutual competitor... as the saying goes "The enemy of my enemy is my friend"

I've been doing some historical reading as it relates to the growth of Fascism in Germany & Italy in the 1920's & 1930's and I found the following article from "Seventh World Congress of the Communist International" from August 2, 1935 and I felt that it warranted some pondering:

The development of fascism, and the fascist dictatorship itself, assume different forms in different countries, according to historical, social and economic conditions and to the national peculiarities, and the international position of the given country. In certain countries, principally those in which fascism has no broad mass basis and in which the struggle of the various groups within the camp of the fascist bourgeoisie itself is rather acute, fascism does not immediately venture to abolish parliament, but allows the other bourgeois parties, as well as the Social-Democratic Parties, to retain a modicum of legality. In other countries, where the ruling bourgeoisie fears an early outbreak of revolution, fascism establishes its unrestricted political monopoly, either immediately or by intensifying its reign of terror against and persecution of all rival parties and groups. This does not prevent fascism, when its position becomes particularly acute, from trying to extend its basis and, without altering its class nature, trying to combine open terrorist dictatorship with a crude sham of parliamentarism.

The accession to power of fascism is not an ordinary succession of one bourgeois government by another, but a substitution of one state form of class domination of the bourgeoisie -- bourgeois democracy -- by another form -- open terrorist dictatorship. It would be a serious mistake to ignore this distinction, a mistake liable to prevent the revolutionary proletariat from mobilizing the widest strata of the working people of town and country for the struggle against the menace of the seizure of power by the fascists, and from taking advantage of the contradictions which exist in the camp of the bourgeoisie itself. But it is a mistake, no less serious and dangerous, to underrate the importance, for the establishment of fascist dictatorship, of the reactionary measures of the bourgeoisie at present increasingly developing in bourgeois-democratic countries -- measures which suppress the democratic liberties of the working people, falsify and curtail the rights of parliament and intensify the repression of the revolutionary movement.

Comrades, the accession to power of fascism must not be conceived of in so simplified and smooth a form, as though some committee or other of finance capital decided on a certain date to set up a fascist dictatorship. In reality, fascism usually comes to power in the course of a mutual, and at times severe, struggle against the old bourgeois parties, or a definite section of these parties, in the course of a struggle even within the fascist camp itself -- a struggle which at times leads to armed clashes, as we have witnessed in the case of Germany, Austria and other countries. All this, however, does not make less important the fact that, before the establishment of a fascist dictatorship, bourgeois governments usually pass through a number of preliminary stages and adopt a number of reactionary measures which directly facilitate the accession to power of fascism. Whoever does not fight the reactionary measures of the bourgeoisie and the growth of fascism at these preparatory stages is not in a position to prevent the victory of fascism, but, on the contrary, facilitates that victory.

The Social-Democratic leaders glossed over and concealed from the masses the true class nature of fascism, and did not call them to the struggle against the increasingly reactionary measures of the bourgeoisie. They bear great historical responsibility for the fact that, at the decisive moment of the fascist offensive, a large section of the working people of Germany and of a number of other fascist countries failed to recognize in fascism the most bloodthirsty monster of finance capital, their most vicious enemy, and that these masses were not prepared to resist it.

What is the source of the influence of fascism over the masses? Fascism is able to attract the masses because it demagogically appeals to their most urgent needs and demands. Fascism not only inflames prejudices that are deeply ingrained in the masses, but also plays on the better sentiments of the masses, on their sense of justice and sometimes even on their revolutionary traditions. Why do the German fascists, those lackeys of the bourgeoisie and mortal enemies of socialism, represent themselves to the masses as "Socialists," and depict their accession to power as a "revolution"? Because they try to exploit the faith in revolution and the urge towards socialism that lives in the hearts of the mass of working people in Germany.

Fascism acts in the interests of the extreme imperialists, but it presents itself to the masses in the guise of champion of an ill-treated nation, and appeals to outraged national sentiments, as German fascism did, for instance, when it won the support of the masses of the petty bourgeoisie by the slogan "Down with the Versailles Treaty."

Fascism aims at the most unbridled exploitation of the masses but it approaches them with the most artful anti-capitalist demagogy, taking advantage of the deep hatred of the working people against the plundering bourgeoisie, the banks, trusts and financial magnates, and advancing those slogans which at the given moment are most alluring to the politically immature masses. In Germany -- "The general welfare is higher than the welfare of the individual," in Italy -- "Our state is not a capitalist, but a corporate state," in Japan -- "For Japan without exploitation," in the United States -- "Share the wealth," and so forth.

Fascism delivers up the people to be devoured by the most corrupt and venal elements, but comes before them with the demand for "an honest and incorruptible government." Speculating on the profound disillusionment of the masses in bourgeois-democratic governments, fascism hypocritically denounces corruption.

It is in the interests of the most reactionary circles of the bourgeoisie that fascism intercepts the disappointed masses who desert the old bourgeois parties. But it impresses these masses by the vehemence of its attacks on the bourgeois governments and its irreconcilable attitude to the old bourgeois parties.

Surpassing in its cynicism and hypocrisy all other varieties of bourgeois reaction, fascism adapts its demagogy to the national peculiarities of each country, and even to the peculiarities of the various social strata in one and the same country. And the mass of the petty bourgeoisie and even a section of the workers, reduced to despair by want, unemployment and the insecurity of their existence, fall victim to the social and chauvinist demagogy of fascism.

Fascism comes to power as a party of attack on the revolutionary movement of the proletariat, on the mass of the people who are in a state of unrest; yet it stages its accession to power as a "revolutionary" movement against the bourgeoisie on behalf of "the whole nation" and for the "salvation" of the nation. One recalls Mussolini's "march" on Rome, Pilsudski's "march" on Warsaw, Hitler's National-Socialist "revolution" in Germany, and so forth.

But whatever the masks that fascism adopts, whatever the forms in which it presents itself, whatever the ways by which it comes to power

Fascism is a most ferocious attack by capital on the mass of the working people;
Fascism is unbridled chauvinism and predatory war;
Fascism is rabid reaction and counter-revolution;
Fascism is the most vicious enemy of the working class and of all working people.


"...Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you."

Disguised Fascism Seen as a Menace

"When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled "made in Germany"; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will, of course, be called "Americanism," Professor Halford E. Luccock of the Divinity School of Yale University said yesterday morning in a sermon at the Riverside Church, Riverside Drive and 122d Street.

"The high-sounding phrase "the American way" will be used by interested groups, intent on profit, to cover a multitude of sins against the American and Christian tradition, such as lawless violence, tear gas and shotguns, denial of civil liberties," he said. "There is an obligation resting on us all to dedicate our minds to the hard task of thinking in terms of Christian objectives and values, so that we may be saved from moral confusion.

"For never, probably, has there been a time when there was a more vigorous effort to surround social and international questions with such a fog of distortion and prejudice and hysterical appeal to fear. We have touched a new low in a Congressional investigation this summer, used by some participating in it to whip up fear and prejudice against many causes of human welfare, such as a concern for peace and the rights of labor to bargain collectively.

Professor Luccock, who preached on the theme "Keeping Life Out of Confusion", continued:
"The old prayer in the Psalms, 'Let me never be put to confusion,' seems a strange one in a day when there seems to be little else but confusion in a puzzled world. We ought to recognize that uncertainty of mind is not all a bad thing. It is a sign that your mind is still alive, still sensitive. If you are not at all confused in this day you are dead mentally and spiritually.

"There is of course the peace of the cemetery. If you want that you can have it. But you will pay for such complacent serenity with blind eyes which do not see the world's fear and agony; with deaf ears, into which the still sad music of humanity never comes; with deadened nerves and unsensitized conscience.

"We will never be brought to confusion, even in such a baffling and muddled world as ours, if we have a faith in a God of love as the ultimate power in the universe. The words 'God is love' have this deep meaning: that everything that is against love is ultimately doomed and damned."

- New York Times, September 12, 1938, Page 15
"Fascism in America will attempt to advance under the banner of Americanism and anti-Fascism."

"It is a peculiarity of the development of American fascism that at the present stage it comes forward principally in the guise of an opposition to fascism, which it accuses of being an "un-American" trend imported from abroad. In contradistinction to German fascism, which acts under anti-constitutional slogans, American fascism tries to portray itself as the custodian of the Constitution and "American democracy." It does not as yet represent a directly menacing force"

- Georgi Dimitrov (1882-1949). Seventh Congress of the Comintern (1935).

05 August 2010


Below find some information about the latest in the ongoing saga of WikiLeaks. Click the Bold Links for more information:

WikiLeaks aftermath
By Shuja Nawaz
August 6, 2010

IN STAND-UP comedy and politics, timing is critical. There was nothing “funny ha-ha’’ about the recent leak of US documents about the Afghanistan war implicating Pakistan and its Inter-Services Intelligence agency. But there was plenty of what the British call “funny peculiar’’ for sure.

The leaks followed a period of growing confidence of the ISI and Pakistan in their quest to work with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to rebuild relationships marked by severe historical distrust. How Afghanistan and Pakistan overcome the challenge posed by intelligence reports linking the ISI to hostile events in Afghanistan will determine Pakistan’s relations in the neighborhood and with the United States, as well as the trajectory of US withdrawal from the region. President Karzai’s press conference following the leak indicates that some damage has been done already to the nascent Pakistan-Afghan entente......

Pentagon demands Wikileaks return Afghanistan document
5 August 2010 Last updated at 22:11 ET
BBC News

The Pentagon has demanded that Wikileaks remove a trove of secret documents on the Afghanistan war from its website and cancel plans to publish anything more it holds.

But a Pentagon spokesman acknowledged the already-leaked documents' viral spread across the internet made it unlikely they could ever be quashed.

"We are asking them to do the right thing," spokesman Geoff Morrell said.

Wikileaks called Mr Morrell "obnoxious" and appealed for public donations.

The US military documents released last month detail civilian deaths, friendly-fire episodes and other ground-level incidents.

They include allegations the Pakistani intelligence service has backed the Taliban insurgents' fight against the US-led coalition and the Afghan government, and indicate Taliban fighters have acquired surface-to-air missiles. ......


Politician: Execution OK for Wikileaks source
August 3, 2010 9:48 AM PDT

A Republican congressman who's a member of the House Intelligence Committee lashed out at Wikileaks this week, saying the Web site's alleged source should be executed for treason.

Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan told a local radio station on Monday (MP3 audio) that he believes that Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence specialist who is suspected of being a source for the document-sharing Web site, should be charged with treason.
When the WHMI interviewer suggested that treason in war is a capital crime, Rogers replied: "Yes, and I would have absolutely, I would support it 100 percent. He put soldiers at risk who are out there fighting for their country, and he put people who are cooperating with the United States government clearly at risk."

Rogers added: "If you have an 18- or 19-year-old over there, you want to get your hands on this private first class yourself. I know I do." .....

Opinion: It's a WikiLeaks World, Get Used to It
(Aug. 5) -- No matter where right or wrong lie in the posting of classified military reports on WikiLeaks.org, one lesson should be clear: This is how it's going to be. Technology will continue to undercut secrecy -- not just in the military, but in all large organizations.

Government and corporate leaders who aren't ahead of this problem may already have trouble on their hands they don't know about.

When 90,000 pages of documents chronicling the Afghan war went online last week, their potential effects on military planning and security caused the White House to strongly condemn their posting as "irresponsible." Differing more than slightly, Salon commentator Glenn Greenwald praised WikiLeaks.org as "one of the most valuable and important organizations in the world."

While there is universal agreement that over-classification in the U.S. government is a problem, leaking government documents isn't a good way to fix it. Nevertheless, a pair of related technology trends will continue to push this "fix" in a disorderly way if it's not solved methodically.

Technology: First, individuals today have tremendous power to collect, transmit and process information. Average people have hand-held computers and phones, huge-capacity flash memory thumb drives, and so on. The tech-savvy have even more powerful information devices, familiarity with encryption, and anonymization tools. We have overcome the natural conditions that made easy-to-censor hand-written letters a minimal threat to "operational security" in World War II.

Culture: Cultural trends are coming into play as well. Military service-members today live in a culture of information sharing that might baffle their senior officers. They expect to be in touch with the outside world during their tours. Their service is long and difficult enough without quarantining them in a communications bubble for protracted periods. Indeed, doing so would undermine military effectiveness by cutting deeply into the morale of young men and women whose stateside lives are "always connected." This is the generation that knows the value and power of sharing information.

So what's to be done? .....

07 March 2010

Armenia and reality

IMHO, there is a time and a place to when we should be realists and recognize those moments in history when to speak out about something that is "right" and when the timing of our speaking out can put our sons in and daughters in harm's way. Correcting history is the luxury of a stable and strong power, not that of one overstretched militarily and economically.

Perhaps the place to begin is here:
Top of the Agenda: Turkey Balks at U.S. Genocide Vote on Armenia
Turkey recalled its ambassador (CSMonitor) to the United States over a disagreement on how to refer to the mass killings of Armenians during World War I. The U.S. House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee passed a resolution requiring official use of the term "Armenian genocide" in referring to the killings. "We condemn this resolution accusing Turkey of a crime that it had not committed," the Turkish prime minister's office said in a written statement. Turkey had warned that passing the bill could disrupt positive relations with Washington and damage Turkish-Armenian reconciliation.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telephoned fellow Democrat and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman before the vote to say the measure could harm efforts (Telegraph) to normalize Turkish-Armenian relations, the White House said. Despite this appeal, Berman went ahead with the committee debate and vote. It remains unclear whether the bill will reach a floor vote.

What is this all about?
The Armenian Genocide (Armenian: Հայոց Ցեղասպանություն, translit.: Hayoc’ C’eġaspanowt’yown; Turkish: Ermeni Soykırımı) – also known as the Armenian Holocaust, the Armenian Massacres and, by Armenians, as the Great Calamity (Մեծ Եղեռն, Meç Eġeṙn, Armenian pronunciation: [mɛts jɛˈʁɛrn]) – was the deliberate and systematic destruction (genocide) of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by the use of massacres, and the use of deportations involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of Armenian deaths generally held to have been between one and 1.5 million. Other ethnic groups were similarly attacked by the Ottoman Empire during this period, including Assyrians and Greeks, and some scholars consider those events to be part of the same policy of extermination.[6]
It is widely acknowledged to have been one of the first modern genocides, as scholars point to the systematic, organized manner in which the killings were carried out to eliminate the Armenians. Indeed, the word genocide was coined in order to describe these events. It is the second most-studied case of genocide after the Holocaust.

The starting date of the genocide is conventionally held to be April 24, 1915, the day that Ottoman authorities arrested some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. Thereafter, the Ottoman military uprooted Armenians from their homes and forced them to march for hundreds of miles, depriving them of food and water, to the desert of what is now Syria. Massacres were indiscriminate of age or gender, with rape and other sexual abuse commonplace.

The Republic of Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, denies the word genocide is an accurate description of the events (see, Denial of the Armenian Genocide). In recent years, it has faced repeated calls to accept the events as genocide. To date, twenty countries have officially recognized the events of the period as genocide, and most genocide scholars and historians accept this view. The majority of Armenian diaspora communities were founded as a result of the Armenian genocide.

And after you read through that analysis pick up some of the backstory here:

Armenia and reality
By Ron Kampeas · March 5, 2010
M.J. Rosenberg at the Huffington Post sees the vote yesterday in the House Foreign Affairs Committee recognizing the Armenian genocide as a genocide as typical of Israel lobby machinations:

The lobby has always opposed deeming the Armenian slaughter a genocide largely because Turkey has (or had) good relations with Israel. And the lobby, and its Congressional acolytes, did not want to harm those relations.

But, since the Gaza war, Turkish-Israeli relations have deteriorated. The Turks, like pretty much every other nation on the planet, were appalled by the Israeli onslaught against the Gazans. And said so.

Ever since, the Netanyahu government has made a point to stick it to the Turks.

That battle is now being carried to Washington. The Israelis are trying to teach the Turks a lesson. If the Armenian resolution passes both houses and goes into effect, it will not be out of some newfound compassion for the victims of the Armenian genocide and their descendants, but to send a message to Turkey: if you mess with Israel, its lobby will make Turkey pay a price in Washington.

And, just maybe, the United States will pay it too.

I think this assessment is wrong, but I first have to admit a degree of culpability; M.J. bases this assessment on a parsing of a brief I wrote on the vote, and his parsing is fair enough; there's just so much I could pack into the brief, and stuff I left out might have led him to different conclusions.

First, let me make clear: I don't think Israel or the pro-Israel lobby is behind this vote. What I was trying to report in the brief is that while Israel and the pro-Israel lobby helped squelch previous efforts to pass this non-binding resolution, this year -- based on a bunch of conversations I've had over the past year -- I can safely say that the pro-Israel community is hanging back and telling the lawmakers, "Do what you feel is right. We're not spending political capital on the Turks this season."

I honestly did not get the sense that anyone in the pro-Israel lobby is eager for this resolution to pass; just that they did not feel motivated to burn themselves by helping to kill it.

In fact, this resolution carried in committee at least once before -- in 2007 -- and it carried because seven out of eight Jews on committee voted for it. (The single Jew who voted against was Robert Wexler of Florida, who was a friend of the Turkish lobby.)

So if the Jewish members favored the "genocide" label in the past, why did I choose to make a news item of yesterday's vote? Because there was a subtle -- but significant -- difference this time. Last time, the chairman of the panel, the late Tom Lantos of California, did not sponsor the bill -- but he ended up voting for it, after agonizing about it in his opening remarks. So too did the other six Jews who voted to call the massacres a genocide. And some of them explicitly agonized because of Turkey's good relations (at least then) with Israel. "This has been tough for me," Gary Ackerman of New York said then. Eliot Engel of New York voted "with a heavy heart."

This time, Lantos' successor as chairman, Howard Berman of California, did not dither at all and, in fact, co-sponsored the bill. And despite his urgings, it passed by a much tighter margin than in 2007: 23-22 yesterday as opposed to 27-21 in 2007. (It never reached the full House in that session.) This year, Wexler's out of Congress, and all seven Jews on the panel were in the "aye" column.

So what does this really tell us about the Israel lobby? It says, first of all, that its frontline -- Congress' Jewish members (and please, this is not unusual, Hispanic groups look to Hispanic members as their frontline, etc.) -- will at times defy the lobby's wishes. They did so in 2007, when pro-Israel groups lobbied very, very hard against the resolution. That they felt freer to vote in favor yesterday is significant, but the bigger picture underscores that they are not the lobby's pawns.

It also means that lobbies align themselves with existing interests. Previous defeats of the bill -- whether in committee, or by keeping the resolution from reaching the House floor -- were not the Israel lobby's alone. As M.J. notes, the Obama administration, like its predecessors, lobbied hard against the bill. Notably, Republicans on the committee who are seen as stalwarts of the pro-Israel lobby voted nay both times, including Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Mike Pence of Indiana, and presumably for the same reason: They have close ties to the Pentagon, which, because of Turkey's NATO membership, does not want it to pass.

It also means that there are other, competing, lobbies. Adam Schiff of California, the perennial sponsor of this resolution, happens to be Jewish -- and also happens to represent an Armenian-heavy constituency in California. Berman is and Lantos was, not coincidentally, also Californians.

But finally, it means that American foreign policy -- and this is something we wonks forget -- is driven, perhaps to a greater degree than in any other country, by conscience. By moral choice.

I'm not saying yesterday's vote is the correct moral choice. The doctrine of "realism" in foreign policy implies legitimate moral choices of self-interest -- and this vote may not be in Amerca's self-interest. And I don't know whether the resolution will go farther than the committee -- Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, kept it from the House floor in 2007, and may do so again.

But there's no question what recent Jewish theory teaches out about the Armenian genocide: That it was, indeed, a genocide. In 1986, I took Yad Vashem's 3-week intensive study course on the Shoah, and I'll never forget what Yehuda Bauer -- the preeminent Shoah scholar -- taught us: The Armenian genocide was the Holocaust's "cousin if not its brother." What persuaded him, he said, was evidence that the Ottomans looked to physicians to facilitate the massacres -- a precursor of the science the Germans used to speed up their genocide just decades later.

Yesterday's vote might not have been in U.S. interests, according to a "realist" foreign policy read. It probably was not in Israel's interests, despite the recent coolness between Israel and Turkey. (Notably, one Israeli voice who has consistently defied his country's "realist" approach and advocated for recognizing the Armenian genocide as such is Yossi Sarid -- also a father of the peace movement.)

American support for Israel has never had a purely "realist," or self-interested, cast -- and via Goldblog, Walter Russell Mead at the American Interest makes this case better than I ever could. The support has been, mostly. a moral choice, whatever you make of the morality.

And whatever one makes of the wisdom of the vote yesterday -- or in 2007 -- I remember feeling immensely moved as seven Jewish members voted not in the "realist" interests of the State Department or the Pentagon or of Israel; but in the interests of never again denying that a genocide occurred.

22 January 2010

Haiti & Isolationism

FB Poster 1: " you know what FUCK HAITI! if we had a disaster and needed help what other country is gonna help us out!? my point exactly..... what a joke! 10% of our country is unemployed bc all of our work is being sent to other countries bc their gonna do it for the fraction of the hourly rate.. Fuckin scabs! Ahhhh"

FB Poster 1: "10% of our country is unemployed bc all of our work is being sent to other countries bc their gonna do it for the fraction of the hourly rate.. Fuckin scabs! Ahhhh"

FB Poster 2: "i was thinkin the same thing im sick of hearing all about it

FB Poster 1: "Well let's see.. We're gonna fly them to the U.S. Do they have green card? Nope! Then will take care of them, give them free housing, loans and jobs (our jobs) and free education.. Would they do the same for us? NO!"

FB Poster 2: "exactly."

FB Poster 3 : "I feel the same...hate to say it but yea....lol"

FB Poster 1: "ya dude in a since it sucks what happened...... but seriously its outa control and over rated.... if we were in the same perdicament we would never get all the money, food and drugs needed to save our lives unless it came from the U.S. and the first thing they'd ask.... do you have health insurance sur? lol

Bernard Martin Isolationism: National policy of avoiding political or economic entanglements with other countries. Isolationism has been a recurrent theme in U.S. history. It was given expression in the Farewell Address of Pres. George Washington and in the early 19th-century Monroe Doctrine. The term is most often applied to the political atmosphere in the U.S. in the 1930s.

The failure of Pres. Woodrow Wilson's internationalism, liberal opposition to war as an instrument of policy, and the rigours of the Great Depression were among the reasons for Americans' reluctance to concern themselves with the growth of fascism in Europe.

The Johnson Act (1934) and the Neutrality acts (1935) effectively prevented economic or military aid to any country involved in the European disputes that were to escalate into World War II. U.S. isolationism encouraged the British in their policy of appeasement and contributed to French paralysis in the face of the growing threat posed by Nazi Germany.

In essence, not participating in world politics lead to the rise of Hitler and WWII.

Haiti is on an island that was once called "Hispaniola" Christopher Columbus landed at Môle Saint-Nicolas on 5 December 1492, and claimed the island of Hispaniola for Spain that day in and effort to find TRADE ROUTES to the orient. Instead he "found" the America's and the vast wealth of raw materials here.

The British East India in the 1750's began global economic trading. This also lead to the colonization of the America's and many many immigrants coming here for work. The first shots of the FIRST global war were fired @ Fort Necessity just south of Pittsburgh and was the foundation of the Seven Years War fought around the world basically over economic issues.

So, the basis of the foundation of the United States resides in global trade. The model created by the Founding Fathers made us the biggest and richest kid on the block. Essentially, not helping the Haitians would be like the entire city of Pittsburgh burning to the ground and the very richest people saying "F 'em" It would not go over well and those kids whose parents died would raise kids who hated America.... The "Rich Peeple" (kinda like the situation currently in the Middle East.)

You're probably correct that we wouldn't get much help if a natural disaster struck one of our major cities... at least no where near the same level as we are providing for Haiti. But that's 'cause we're still the richest country on the planet.

By most economic measures, Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas. It had a nominal GDP of 7.018 billion USD in 2009, with a GDP per capita of 790 USD, about $2 per person per day. I'm pretty sure that they don't take any jobs from the US since about 66% of all Haitians work in the agricultural sector, which consists mainly of small-scale subsistence farming.

FB Poster 1: "Ok well thanks for the info.. My outlook on haitians are a lot different now.. I guess I'm not a irritated as much now.. Ha ha"

Bernard Martin Understanding where jobs go and why:
The textile trade is a great example of why jobs migrate to "lower cost" producers.

As a direct result of colonization of the America's the British Trade Unions (remember that they started them) was pretty angry with the the folks in New England for taking there jobs from them because they had cheaper labor. Several years later the people in New England where pretty upset with the Southern States for taking their jobs away. ... moving forward in history the textile industry moved to China and the folks down South where upset. In the past several years the Chinese have become rather perturbed that they have lost the textile business to India and Viet Nam.

This brief snippet of history was related to me by the Indian Ambassador to the US several years ago... The most interesting part of the story was the final part: he fully expected the textile industry to next move to Afrika or another "low cost producer" Such is the nature of history repeating itself.

12 December 2009

Week in review: Copenhagen and the sceptics

At some point you have to ask: "Should we be following the money?" Why do you think the Saudi's would prefer to deny that climate change is happening?

Week in review: Copenhagen and the sceptics
Paul Woodward, Online Correspondent
Last Updated: December 11. 2009 11:44AM UAE / December 11. 2009 7:44AM GMT

On Monday the long-awaited Copenhagen climate summit opened amid renewed attacks on the scientific findings that demonstrate climate change.

"The debate, set off by the circulation of several thousand files and e-mail messages stolen from one of the world's foremost climate research institutes, has led some who oppose limits on greenhouse gas emissions, and at least one influential country, Saudi Arabia, to question the scientific basis for the Copenhagen talks," The New York Times said.

"The uproar has threatened to complicate a multiyear diplomatic effort already ensnared in difficult political, technical and financial disputes that have caused leaders to abandon hopes of hammering out a binding international climate treaty this year.

"In recent days, an array of scientists and policy makers have said that nothing so far disclosed - the correspondence and documents include references by prominent climate scientists to deleting potentially embarrassing e-mail messages, keeping papers by competing scientists from publication and making adjustments in research data - undercuts decades of peer-reviewed science."

George Monbiot wrote: "The denial industry, which has no interest in establishing the truth about global warming, insists that these emails, which concern three or four scientists and just one or two lines of evidence, destroy the entire canon of climate science.

"Even if you were to exclude every line of evidence that could possibly be disputed - the proxy records, the computer models, the complex science of clouds and ocean currents - the evidence for man-made global warming would still be unequivocal. You can see it in the measured temperature record, which goes back to 1850; in the shrinkage of glaciers and the thinning of sea ice; in the responses of wild animals and plants and the rapidly changing crop zones.

"No other explanation for these shifts makes sense. Solar cycles have been out of synch with the temperature record for 40 years. The Milankovic cycle, which describes variations in the Earth's orbit, doesn't explain it either. But the warming trend is closely correlated with the accumulation of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. The impact of these gases can be demonstrated in the laboratory. To assert that they do not have the same effect in the atmosphere, a novel and radical theory would be required. No such theory exists. The science is not fixed - no science ever is - but it is as firm as science can be. The evidence for man-made global warming remains as strong as the evidence linking smoking to lung cancer or HIV to Aids."

Even so, commentators such as Mona Charen, writing at National Review claimed on Tuesday: "contrary to the dire predictions of climate alarmists, there has been no measurable increase in world temperatures since 1998."

The same day, ABC News reported: "The current decade likely ranks as the hottest since temperature records began in the 1850s, the UN World Meteorological Organization announced today.

"2009 may rank as the fifth-warmest year on record, the WMO said, although the final rank won't be available until next year. 1998 holds the rank as the hottest year. It was characterised by an unusually strong El Nino, a giant patch of warm water along the equator in the Pacific that appears periodically and can strongly affect the wind currents flowing over it."

Characteristic of a popular line of attack - against the messengers rather than the message - Bret Stephens at The Wall Street Journal believes he has detected a "totalitarian impulse" driving those who call for reductions in carbon emissions.

An editorial in The Washington Post said: "Many - including us - find global warming deniers' claims irresponsible and their heated criticism of climate scientists unconvincing."

The paper then ran a commentary by former Republican vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, who, making no distinction between weather and climate, asserted: "we can't say with assurance that man's activities cause weather changes," and went on to say, "any potential benefits of proposed emissions reduction policies are far outweighed by their economic costs."

Meanwhile, in an unexpected development, The National reported on Wednesday: "The UAE made waves at the Copenhagen climate talks yesterday by putting its name to a joint statement calling on developed countries to commit to deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

"The document, which was also signed by Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Iceland, Singapore and Slovenia, is one of the strongest statements on climate change to come from an oil-producing nation.

"Members of Opec, the petroleum exporters, have generally sought to downplay the issue of global warming.

"However, yesterday's communique took a definitive stand in what was hailed as a bold departure.

" 'Humankind is confronted with the consequences of its past actions,' the statement read. 'Scientific evidence clearly shows that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions contribute significantly to global warming. The potential risks of unmitigated climate change are enormous.'"

Reporting from the front line of climate change, The Diplomat magazine described the impact already felt in Pacific island nations.

"Chief Bernard Tunim confronts the issue head-on: 'We didn't create global warming but we are its first victims. The industrialised world must take decisive action at the Copenhagen summit before it's too late for everyone.'

"Standing in knee-deep water on Piul Island, Chief Bernard points to a decaying coconut stump nearly 200 metres offshore from the beach we are standing on.

" 'That used to be our shoreline only 10 or 15 years ago,' he says. 'Look how the sea is eating us away. We are only a small island, the king tides have already swamped our gardens and soon we'll have to leave. The future of my island is now only for fish, not people.'

"Piul is one of 5 atolls that make up the Carteret Islands group in Papua New Guinea, where the 3,000 islanders who live on these beautiful yet vulnerable atolls are being recognised as the world's first climate change refugees.

"Preparations are being made to relocate them to nearby Bougainville, a large mountainous island, over the next year or two. For them, talk about climate change and rising seas is not an abstract concept but one that's a hard reality."

12 September 2009

Israel's Other War

I thought that this article was rather interesting. It's interesting to think about how the ultra conservative groups make sole claim to the country's economic success and keeping it on the '"right path" (no pun intended). What I think many fail to realize is that for any venture to be a success it is a matter of making sure all the cylinders are firing in order: It's a system that you need to constantly ix and adapt. Over time the system will encounter new problems, new roadblocks and new technology. How successful a system will be over time is dependent upon how those hurdles and opportunities are addressed over the course of time. History is the only judge. Hindsight is 20/20.

An excerpt from the article below. As always the link above in the title:

Israel's Other War
by Carl Horowitz

For nearly 50 years it has been an article of faith among American conservatives that liberty and tradition are mutually reinforcing. Not only is there no inherent conflict between the two, the argument goes, but each works to the other’s benefit. As a corollary, religious observance, or at least cultural traits acquired through it, provides the moral basis for capitalist success. George Gilder, Irving Kristol, Daniel Lapin, the late Frank Meyer (the original “fusionist”), Michael Novak – these and other conservative authors have advanced this now-familiar view. A rapidly growing and incendiary divide among Israeli Jews, however, is putting this shibboleth to the test.

Welcome to Israel’s “other” war. It’s really a civil war in nascent form, one that pits modernity against extreme tradition. The conflict hasn’t gotten too much attention here. Yet if fully realized, it may well prove that country’s undoing. And we throughout the free world will be poorer for it.

10 May 2009

The Murtha we know and the Washington fairy tale

MARK PASQUERILLA | The Murtha we know and the Washington fairy tale

For The Tribune-Democrat
April 19, 2009 11:25 pm

— Jack Murtha is the ultimate UPS man – he has humbly delivered for us for more than 30 years.
Our western Pennsylvania region has been spared some of the harsh reckoning of this recession, largely due to Mr. Murtha’s work to transform the economy in our region.
When I moved back to town in 1981, we faced a tough economic decline.
Ten thousand steelworkers were put on the street, and you could meet them in Central Park waiting to be called back to work. These jobs left the area forever, and only through hard teamwork did we build a new economy. While our nation fights this current recession, we face a more unique challenge – sinister extremist forces of the left and right want to pick your congressman.
I love fairy tales, but not Washington fairy tales. Here is the fairy tale: That only our congressman takes campaign donations from lobbyists and defense firm employees and PACS, and that only our congressman writes earmarks.
First of all, an earmark comes from the basic constitutional rights of congressmen, and 90 percent of congressmen asked for earmarks in the current budget. Do you believe in the Constitution, our sacred law that insures your rights to carry a gun, own property and freedom of worship? Then you should want your congressman to appropriate and do earmarks, as guaranteed by our Constitution and the Founding Fathers, as a check against an imperial presidency.
Here is the other side of the Washington fairy tale. Many of our biggest local employers are involved in defense and government contracting. The biggest firms, such as DRS, employ a government-relations person (usually a former House or Senate staffer) and several lobbying firms. How can local firms such as Concurrent Technologies Corp., JWF Industries and L. Robert Kimball compete nationally if they do not retain lobbyists like the big guys?
Well the high and mighty in Washington, New York and Boston have no faith in our local work force. They believe nothing of any good can come from here. When something exceptional is produced in our region, they believe it must be a fraud.
I am sick of Washington fairy tales.
Most of Mr. Murtha’s caucus took donations from the defunct lobbying firm PMA. In fact PMA, during the 2007-2008 election cycle, according to Opensecrets.org, was the largest contributor to U.S. Reps. Mike Doyle of Pittsburgh, Micheal Capuano of Boston, Carolyn McCarthy of Long Island and Norm Dicks of Washington state. Dicks is the second-ranking member on Mr. Murtha’s defense appropriations committee.
Mr. Murtha’s caucus is no profile in courage. Why won’t Mr. Doyle go on the record to defend his mentor, Jack Murtha?
So the time has come for us to stand by our man – the ultimate delivery man, the man who has helped transform our economy and protect us from recession. Can you trust the people in Washington, the same folks who gave us the banking collapse and the bailout to protect your interests? Can you trust the Washington elite media, New York billionaires and the Rockefeller foundation with this region’s economic future?
No – you can only trust Jack Murtha.
Lastly, to my right-wing friends: I am a card-carrying Republican and neo-con. Maybe under George W. Bush, those interested in our nation’s defense could take Mr. Murtha for granted. Under Barack Obama, those who believe we need a strong defense to protect us from our enemies absolutely need to support Jack.
The ultimate aim of those left-wing extremist forces that want to hurt our congressman and his committee may be to cut our nation’s defense budget and therefore weaken our nation’s defense.
You may not agree with every statement he has made, but Mr. Murtha has spent his long career working for nothing more than jobs in this district and to build up our nation’s defense.
Jack deserves our bipartisan support from these sinister forces.

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