Fascism should more properly be called corporatism since it is the merger of state and corporate power
"Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government."
6.21.2009 Israel Linked Bogus Tweeters Destabilize Iran
A Presidential candidate calling himself the winner before the votes are counted?
A social networking site 'informing the world' using newly minted "tweeters" that are promoted by a right wing newspaper in an antagonistic country within hours of their first posts? The folks being promoted writing in ENGLISH-
Said paper altering their web article after this has been revealed?
Welcome to the Zionists corrupting Iranian democracy and the worlds perspective.
Proof: Israeli Effort to Destabilize Iran Via Twitter #IranElection
Right-wing Israeli interests are engaged in an all out Twitter attack with hopes of delegitimizing the Iranian election and causing political instability within Iran.
Anyone using Twitter over the past few days knows that the topic of the Iranian election has been the most popular. Thousands of tweets and retweets alleging that the election was a fraud, calling for protests in Iran, and even urging followers hack various Iranian news websites (which they did successfully). The Twitter popularity caught the eye of various blogs such as Mashable and TechCrunch and even made its way to mainstream news media sites.
Were these legitimate Iranian people or the works of a propaganda machine? I became curious and decided to investigate the origins of the information. In doing so, I narrowed it down to a handful of people who have accounted for 30,000 Iran related tweets in the past few days. Each of them had some striking similarities -
1. They each created their twitter accounts on Saturday June 13th. 2. Each had extremely high number of Tweets since creating their profiles. 3. “IranElection” was each of their most popular keyword 4. With some very small exceptions, each were posting in ENGLISH. 5. Half of them had the exact same profile photo 6. Each had thousands of followers, with only a few friends. Most of their friends were EACH OTHER.
Why were these tweets in English? Why were all of these profiles OBSESSED with Iran? It became obvious that this was the work of a team of people with an interest in destabilizing Iran. The profiles are phonies and were created with the sole intention of destabilizing Iran and effecting public opinion as to the legitimacy of Iran’s election.
I decided to do a google search for 2 of the 3 - @StopAhmadi and @IranRiggedElect. The first page to come up was JPost (Jerusalem Post) which is a right wing newspaper pro-Israeli newspaper.
JPost actually ran a story about 3 people “who joined the social network mere hours ago have already amassed thousands of followers.” Why would a news organization post a story about 3 people who JUST JOINED TWITTER hours earlier? Is that newsworthy? JPost was the first (and only to my knowledge) major news source that mentioned these 3 spammers.
JPost, a major news organization, promoted these three Twitterers who went on the be the source of the IranElection Twitter bombardment. Why is JPost so concerned about Iranian students all of a sudden (which these spammers claim to be)? I must admit that I had my suspicions. After all, Que Bono? (who benefits).
There’s no question that Israel perceives Iran as an enemy, more so than any other nation. According to a recent poll, more than half of Israel’s population support using military force against Iran if they do not cease from developing nuclear energy (which they have the legal right to do as per the NNP treaty). Oddly enough, this comes out of a country which is not a cosigner to the NNP treaty and has no right to develop nuclear energy, yet posses an arsenal of nuclear BOMBS.
Of course, Mousavi himself plays an important role in causing the social unrest within Iran. How often do you see a candidate declare himself the winner before any votes are counted and then, when faced with defeat, call the entire election process a fraud? As obvious as it was in our own 2000 election, Al Gore would not touch the topic of voter fraud. No major US politician goes near the subject. They know full well that such an accusation would shake the entire foundation of our democracy and threaten the political structures that are in place.
“Mr. Speaker I understand we are under Martial Law as declared by the speaker last night.”
That is a quote from the Republican Representative from north Texas, Michael Burgess.
Is there something going on that "We the People" are unaware of? Alright, it would be naive to think otherwise, given the amount of tax payer money involved in socialising Wall Streets losses- but MARTIAL LAW?
"I don’t know there was much she did apart from accompanying Bill [Clinton] going around," he said. Her recent statements about being deeply involved were merely "the sort of thing people put in their canvassing leaflets" during elections. "She visited when things were happening, saw what was going on, she can certainly say it was part of her experience. I don’t want to rain on the thing for her but being a cheerleader for something is slightly different from being a principal player."
Mrs Clinton has made Northern Ireland key to her claims of having extensive foreign policy experience, which helped her defeat Barack Obama in Ohio and Texas on Tuesday after she presented herself as being ready to tackle foreign policy crises at 3am.
"I helped to bring peace to Northern Ireland," she told CNN on Wednesday. But negotiators from the parties that helped broker the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 told The Daily Telegraph that her role was peripheral and that she played no part in the gruelling political talks over the years.
Lord Trimble shared the Nobel Peace Prize with John Hume, leader of the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party, in 1998. Conall McDevitt, an SDLP negotiator and aide to Mr Hume during the talks, said: "There would have been no contact with her either in person or on the phone. I was with Hume regularly during calls in the months leading up to the Good Friday Agreement when he was taking calls from the White House and they were invariably coming from the president." advertisement
Central to Mrs Clinton’s claim of an important Northern Ireland role is a meeting she attended in Belfast in with a group of women from cross-community groups. "I actually went to Northern Ireland more than my husband did," she said in Nashua, New Hampshire on January 6th.
"I remember a meeting that I pulled together in Belfast, in the town hall there, bringing together for the first time Catholics and Protestants from both traditions, having them sitting a room where they had never been before with each other because they don’t go to school together, they don’t live together and it was only in large measure because I really asked them to come that they were there.
"And I wasn’t sure it was going to be very successful and finally a Catholic woman on one side of the table said, ’You know, every time my husband leaves for work in the morning I worry he won’t come home at night.
"And then a Protestant woman on the other side said, ’Every time my son tries to go out at night I worry he won’t come home again’. And suddenly instead of seeing each other as caricatures and stereotypes they saw each other as human beings and the slow, hard work of peace-making could move forward."
There is no record of a meeting at Belfast City Hall, though Mrs Clinton attended a ceremony there when her husband turned on the Christmas tree lights in November 1995. The former First Lady appears to be referring a 50-minute event the same day, arranged by the US Consulate, the same day at the Lamp Lighter Café on the city’s Ormeau Road.
The "Belfast Telegraph" reported the next day that the café meeting was crammed with reporters, cameramen and Secret Service agents. Conversation "seemed a little bit stilted, a little prepared at times" and Mrs Clinton admired a stainless steel tea pot, which was duly given to her, for keeping the brew "so nice and hot".
Among those attending were women from groups representing single parents, relationship counsellors, youth workers and a cultural society. In her 2003 autobiography "Living History", Mrs Clinton wrote about the meeting in some detail but made no claim that it was significant.
Rather than it being the first time the women had met, Mrs Clinton wrote: "Because they were willing to work across the religious divide, they had found common ground." Mary Fox, the wife of a former IRA prisoner and one of the seven women at the meeting, said she had been there on behalf of the Footprints community centre. "It was quite a political change for the women’s sector after the visit of Hillary Clinton. We would love to see her as president. She spoke to each of us and was very interested in our work. She was lovely."
Mr McDevitt said: "I’ve always had a theory that these people were already well networked. Maybe they needed a bit of bringing together and she [Mrs Clinton] was an ideal focus point." Once a peace deal was in place, Mrs Clinton supported women politicians and was always available if they visited Washington "to give them a pat on the back, give them moral support", he added.
"So in a classic woman politicky sort of way I think she was active...She was certainly investing some time, no doubt about it. Whether she was involved on the issue side I think probably not." Some of the people Mrs Clinton met went on to help found the Women’s Coalition, which took part in the Good Friday talks. Lord Trimble said: "The Women’s Coalition will think they were important. Other people beg to differ."
Steven King, a negotiator with Lord Trimble’s Ulster Unionist Party, argued that Mrs Clinton might even have helped delay the chances of peace. "She was invited along to some pre-arranged meetings but I don’t think she exactly brought anybody together that hadn’t been brought together already," he said. Mrs Clinton was "a cheerleader for the Irish republican side of the argument", he added.
"She really lost all credibility when on Bill Clinton’s last visit to Northern Ireland [in December 2000] when she hugged and kissed [Sinn Fein leaders] Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness."
Responding to inquiries from this newspaper, Hillary Clinton’s campaign issued a statement from Mr Hume. "I am quite surprised that anyone would suggest that Hillary Clinton did not perform important foreign policy work as First Lady," the statement said.
"I can state from firsthand experience that she played a positive role for over a decade in helping to bring peace to Northern Ireland. She visited Northern Ireland, met with very many people and gave very decisive support to the peace process.
"There is no doubt that the people of Northern Ireland think very positively of Hillary Clinton’s support for our peace process, due to her visits to Northern Ireland and her meetings with so many people. In private she made countless calls and contacts, speaking to leaders and opinion makers on all sides, urging them to keep moving forward."
Concerns over Economy Push George W. Bush's Overall Job Approval to New Low
George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has dropped to a new low in American Research Group polling as 78% of Americans say that the national economy is getting worse according to the latest survey from the American Research Group.
Among all Americans, 19% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 77% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 14% approve and 79% disapprove.
Among Americans registered to vote, 18% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 78% disapprove. When it comes to the way Bush is handling the economy, 15% of registered voters approve of the way Bush is handling the economy and 79% disapprove.
A total of 78% of Americans say the national economy is getting worse and 47% say the national economy is in a recession. A total of 42% of Americans, however, say they believe the national economy will be better a year from now, which is the highest level for this question in the past year. This optimism does not spread to improvements in household financial situations as 17% of Americans say they expect their household financial situations to be better a year from now, which is the lowest for this question in the past year.
The results presented here are based on 1,100 completed telephone interviews conducted among a nationwide random sample of adults 18 years and older. The interviews were completed February 16 through 19, 2008. The theoretical margin of error for the total sample is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points, 95% of the time, on questions where opinion is evenly split.
2.19.2008 Fidel Castro resigns as Cuba's president Fidel Castro Resigns Cuban Presidency After Nearly Half-Century in Power
An ailing, 81-year-old Fidel Castro resigned as Cuba's president Tuesday after nearly a half-century in power, saying he will not accept a new term when parliament meets Sunday.
The end of Castro's rule — the longest in the world for a head of government — frees his 76-year-old brother Raul to implement reforms he has hinted at since taking over as acting president when Fidel Castro fell ill in July 2006. President Bush said he hopes the resignation signals the beginning of a democratic transition.
"My wishes have always been to discharge my duties to my last breath," Castro wrote in a letter published Tuesday in the online edition of the Communist Party daily Granma. But, he wrote, "it would be a betrayal to my conscience to accept a responsibility requiring more mobility and dedication than I am physically able to offer."
A militarist suffering from acute narcissism and armed with the Bush Doctrine is not fit to be commander in chief.
by Justin Raimondo
John McCain’s reputation as a maverick is no recent contrivance. The senator first captured the media spotlight in September 1983, not long after he’d been elected to his first term in the House, when he voted against President Reagan’s decision to put American troops in Lebanon as part of a multinational “peacekeeping” force. One of 27 Republicans to break with the White House, the freshman McCain made a floor speech that reads as if it might have been written yesterday—by Ron Paul:
The fundamental question is: What is the United States’ interest in Lebanon? It is said we are there to keep the peace. I ask, what peace? It is said we are there to aid the government. I ask, what government? It is said we are there to stabilize the region. I ask, how can the U.S. presence stabilize the region?... The longer we stay in Lebanon, the harder it will be for us to leave. We will be trapped by the case we make for having our troops there in the first place.
What can we expect if we withdraw from Lebanon? The same as will happen if we stay. I acknowledge that the level of fighting will increase if we leave. I regretfully acknowledge that many innocent civilians will be hurt. But I firmly believe this will happen in any event.
Now insert “Iraq” where McCain said “Lebanon.” It’s as if McCain the Younger foresaw our present predicament and taunted his future incarnation, showing that wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age.
2.08.2008 The FBI Deputizes Business
Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does—and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law. InfraGard is “a child of the FBI,” says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.
InfraGard started in Cleveland back in 1996, when the private sector there cooperated with the FBI to investigate cyber threats.
“Then the FBI cloned it,” says Phyllis Schneck, chairman of the board of directors of the InfraGard National Members Alliance, and the prime mover behind the growth of InfraGard over the last several years.
InfraGard itself is still an FBI operation, with FBI agents in each state overseeing the local InfraGard chapters. (There are now eighty-six of them.) The alliance is a nonprofit organization of private sector InfraGard members.
“We are the owners, operators, and experts of our critical infrastructure, from the CEO of a large company in agriculture or high finance to the guy who turns the valve at the water utility,” says Schneck, who by day is the vice president of research integration at Secure Computing.
“At its most basic level, InfraGard is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the private sector,” the InfraGard website states. “InfraGard chapters are geographically linked with FBI Field Office territories.”
In November 2001, InfraGard had around 1,700 members. As of late January, InfraGard had 23,682 members, according to its website, www.infragard.net, which adds that “350 of our nation’s Fortune 500 have a representative in InfraGard.”
To join, each person must be sponsored by “an existing InfraGard member, chapter, or partner organization.” The FBI then vets the applicant. On the application form, prospective members are asked which aspect of the critical infrastructure their organization deals with. These include: agriculture, banking and finance, the chemical industry, defense, energy, food, information and telecommunications, law enforcement, public health, and transportation.
FBI Director Robert Mueller addressed an InfraGard convention on August 9, 2005. At that time, the group had less than half as many members as it does today. “To date, there are more than 11,000 members of InfraGard,” he said. “From our perspective that amounts to 11,000 contacts . . . and 11,000 partners in our mission to protect America.” He added a little later, “Those of you in the private sector are the first line of defense.”
He urged InfraGard members to contact the FBI if they “note suspicious activity or an unusual event.” And he said they could sic the FBI on “disgruntled employees who will use knowledge gained on the job against their employers.”
In an interview with InfraGard after the conference, which is featured prominently on the InfraGard members’ website, Mueller says: “It’s a great program.”
The ACLU is not so sanguine.
“There is evidence that InfraGard may be closer to a corporate TIPS program, turning private-sector corporations—some of which may be in a position to observe the activities of millions of individual customers—into surrogate eyes and ears for the FBI,” the ACLU warned in its August 2004 report The Surveillance-Industrial Complex: How the American Government Is Conscripting Businesses and Individuals in the Construction of a Surveillance Society.
InfraGard is not readily accessible to the general public. Its communications with the FBI and Homeland Security are beyond the reach of the Freedom of Information Act under the “trade secrets” exemption, its website says. And any conversation with the public or the media is supposed to be carefully rehearsed.
“The interests of InfraGard must be protected whenever presented to non-InfraGard members,” the website states. “During interviews with members of the press, controlling the image of InfraGard being presented can be difficult. Proper preparation for the interview will minimize the risk of embarrassment. . . . The InfraGard leadership and the local FBI representative should review the submitted questions, agree on the predilection of the answers, and identify the appropriate interviewee. . . . Tailor answers to the expected audience. . . . Questions concerning sensitive information should be avoided.”
One of the advantages of InfraGard, according to its leading members, is that the FBI gives them a heads-up on a secure portal about any threatening information related to infrastructure disruption or terrorism.
The InfraGard website advertises this. In its list of benefits of joining InfraGard, it states: “Gain access to an FBI secure communication network complete with VPN encrypted website, webmail, listservs, message boards, and much more.”
InfraGard members receive “almost daily updates” on threats “emanating from both domestic sources and overseas,” Hershman says.
“We get very easy access to secure information that only goes to InfraGard members,” Schneck says. “People are happy to be in the know.”
On November 1, 2001, the FBI had information about a potential threat to the bridges of California. The alert went out to the InfraGard membership. Enron was notified, and so, too, was Barry Davis, who worked for Morgan Stanley. He notified his brother Gray, the governor of California.
“He said his brother talked to him before the FBI,” recalls Steve Maviglio, who was Davis’s press secretary at the time. “And the governor got a lot of grief for releasing the information. In his defense, he said, ‘I was on the phone with my brother, who is an investment banker. And if he knows, why shouldn’t the public know?’ ”
Maviglio still sounds perturbed about this: “You’d think an elected official would be the first to know, not the last.”
In return for being in the know, InfraGard members cooperate with the FBI and Homeland Security. “InfraGard members have contributed to about 100 FBI cases,” Schneck says. “What InfraGard brings you is reach into the regional and local communities. We are a 22,000-member vetted body of subject-matter experts that reaches across seventeen matrixes. All the different stovepipes can connect with InfraGard.”
Schneck is proud of the relationships the InfraGard Members Alliance has built with the FBI. “If you had to call 1-800-FBI, you probably wouldn’t bother,” she says. “But if you knew Joe from a local meeting you had with him over a donut, you might call them. Either to give or to get. We want everyone to have a little black book.”
This black book may come in handy in times of an emergency. “On the back of each membership card,” Schneck says, “we have all the numbers you’d need: for Homeland Security, for the FBI, for the cyber center. And by calling up as an InfraGard member, you will be listened to.” She also says that members would have an easier time obtaining a “special telecommunications card that will enable your call to go through when others will not.”
This special status concerns the ACLU.
“The FBI should not be creating a privileged class of Americans who get special treatment,” says Jay Stanley, public education director of the ACLU’s technology and liberty program. “There’s no ‘business class’ in law enforcement. If there’s information the FBI can share with 22,000 corporate bigwigs, why don’t they just share it with the public? That’s who their real ‘special relationship’ is supposed to be with. Secrecy is not a party favor to be given out to friends. . . . This bears a disturbing resemblance to the FBI’s handing out ‘goodies’ to corporations in return for folding them into its domestic surveillance machinery.”
When the government raises its alert levels, InfraGard is in the loop. For instance, in a press release on February 7, 2003, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General announced that the national alert level was being raised from yellow to orange. They then listed “additional steps” that agencies were taking to “increase their protective measures.” One of those steps was to “provide alert information to InfraGard program.”
“They’re very much looped into our readiness capability,” says Amy Kudwa, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security. “We provide speakers, as well as do joint presentations [with the FBI]. We also train alongside them, and they have participated in readiness exercises.”
On May 9, 2007, George Bush issued National Security Presidential Directive 51 entitled “National Continuity Policy.” In it, he instructed the Secretary of Homeland Security to coordinate with “private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to provide for the delivery of essential services during an emergency.”
Asked if the InfraGard National Members Alliance was involved with these plans, Schneck said it was “not directly participating at this point.” Hershman, chairman of the group’s advisory board, however, said that it was.
InfraGard members, sometimes hundreds at a time, have been used in “national emergency preparation drills,” Schneck acknowledges.
“In case something happens, everybody is ready,” says Norm Arendt, the head of the Madison, Wisconsin, chapter of InfraGard, and the safety director for the consulting firm Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc. “There’s been lots of discussions about what happens under an emergency.”
One business owner in the United States tells me that InfraGard members are being advised on how to prepare for a martial law situation—and what their role might be. He showed me his InfraGard card, with his name and e-mail address on the front, along with the InfraGard logo and its slogan, “Partnership for Protection.” On the back of the card were the emergency numbers that Schneck mentioned.
This business owner says he attended a small InfraGard meeting where agents of the FBI and Homeland Security discussed in astonishing detail what InfraGard members may be called upon to do.
“The meeting started off innocuously enough, with the speakers talking about corporate espionage,” he says. “From there, it just progressed. All of a sudden we were knee deep in what was expected of us when martial law is declared. We were expected to share all our resources, but in return we’d be given specific benefits.” These included, he says, the ability to travel in restricted areas and to get people out. But that’s not all.
“Then they said when—not if—martial law is declared, it was our responsibility to protect our portion of the infrastructure, and if we had to use deadly force to protect it, we couldn’t be prosecuted,” he says.
I was able to confirm that the meeting took place where he said it had, and that the FBI and Homeland Security did make presentations there. One InfraGard member who attended that meeting denies that the subject of lethal force came up. But the whistleblower is 100 percent certain of it. “I have nothing to gain by telling you this, and everything to lose,” he adds. “I’m so nervous about this, and I’m not someone who gets nervous.”
Though Schneck says that FBI and Homeland Security agents do make presentations to InfraGard, she denies that InfraGard members would have any civil patrol or law enforcement functions. “I have never heard of InfraGard members being told to use lethal force anywhere,” Schneck says.
The FBI adamantly denies it, also. “That’s ridiculous,” says Catherine Milhoan, an FBI spokesperson. “If you want to quote a businessperson saying that, knock yourself out. If that’s what you want to print, fine.”
But one other InfraGard member corroborated the whistleblower’s account, and another would not deny it.
Christine Moerke is a business continuity consultant for Alliant Energy in Madison, Wisconsin. She says she’s an InfraGard member, and she confirms that she has attended InfraGard meetings that went into the details about what kind of civil patrol function—including engaging in lethal force—that InfraGard members may be called upon to perform.
“There have been discussions like that, that I’ve heard of and participated in,” she says.
Curt Haugen is CEO of S’Curo Group, a company that does “strategic planning, business continuity planning and disaster recovery, physical and IT security, policy development, internal control, personnel selection, and travel safety,” according to its website. Haugen tells me he is a former FBI agent and that he has been an InfraGard member for many years. He is a huge booster. “It’s the only true organization where there is the public-private partnership,” he says. “It’s all who knows who. You know a face, you trust a face. That’s what makes it work.”
He says InfraGard “absolutely” does emergency preparedness exercises. When I ask about discussions the FBI and Homeland Security have had with InfraGard members about their use of lethal force, he says: “That much I cannot comment on. But as a private citizen, you have the right to use force if you feel threatened.”
“We were assured that if we were forced to kill someone to protect our infrastructure, there would be no repercussions,” the whistleblower says. “It gave me goose bumps. It chilled me to the bone.”
US President George W Bush and other top officials issued almost one thousand false statements about the national security threat from Iraq following the September 11 attacks, according to a study by two not-for-profit organisations.
The Associated Press reports the study, published on the website of the Centre for Public Integrity, concluded the statements “were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanised public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretences”.
In speeches, briefings and interviews, President Bush and other officials stated “unequivocally” on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had links to al-Qaeda, or had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to get them.
“It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaeda,” wrote the study’s authors Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith.
“In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003.”
The study found that President Bush alone made 259 false statements – 231 about weapons of mass destruction and 28 about Iraq’s links to al-Qaeda.
The other officials named in the study are vice president Dick Cheney, then-national security advisor Condoleezza Rice, then-defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, then-secretary of state Colin Powell, deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz and White House spokesmen Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan.
“The cumulative effect of these false statements – amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts – was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable din for several critical months in the run-up to war,” the study concluded.
“Some journalists – indeed, even some entire news organisations – have since acknowledged that their coverage during those pre-war months was far too deferential and uncritical. These mea culpas notwithstanding, much of the wall-to-wall media coverage provided additional ‘independent’ validation of the Bush administration’s false statements about Iraq.”
1.21.2008 Jewish Identity Can't Depend on Violence
by Arun Gandhi
Jewish identity in the past has been locked into the holocaust experience -- a German burden that the Jews have not been able to shed. It is a very good example of a community can overplay a historic experience to the point that it begins to repulse friends. The holocaust was the result of the warped mind of an individual who was able to influence his followers into doing something dreadful. But, it seems to me the Jews today not only want the Germans to feel guilty but the whole world must regret what happened to the Jews. The world did feel sorry for the episode but when an individual or a nation refuses to forgive and move on the regret turns into anger.
The Jewish identity in the future appears bleak. Any nation that remains anchored to the past is unable to move ahead and, especially a nation that believes its survival can only be ensured by weapons and bombs. In Tel Aviv in 2004 I had the opportunity to speak to some Members of Parliament and Peace activists all of whom argued that the wall and the military build-up was necessary to protect the nation and the people. In other words, I asked, you believe that you can create a snake pit -- with many deadly snakes in it -- and expect to live in the pit secure and alive? What do you mean? they countered. Well, with your superior weapons and armaments and your attitude towards your neighbors would it not be right to say that you are creating a snake pit? How can anyone live peacefully in such an atmosphere? Would it not be better to befriend those who hate you? Can you not reach out and share your technological advancement with your neighbors and build a relationship?
Apparently, in the modern world, so determined to live by the bomb, this is an alien concept. You don't befriend anyone, you dominate them. We have created a culture of violence (Israel and the Jews are the biggest players) and that Culture of Violence is eventually going to destroy humanity.
Arun Gandhi is President and co-founder of the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence. Mr Gandhi is the fifth grandson of India’s legendary leader, Mohandas K. “Mahatma” Gandhi. He is president and co-founder of the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, now at the University of Rochester in New York
1.16.2008 Huckabee Certfiable Zealot
The United States Constitution never uses the word "God" or makes mention of any religion, drawing its sole authority from "We the People." However, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee thinks it's time to put an end to that. Advertisement
"I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution," Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. "But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view."
When Willie Geist reported Huckabee's opinion on MSNBC's Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski was almost speechless, and even Joe Scarborough couldn't immediately find much to say beyond calling it "interesting,"
Scarborough finally suggested that while he believes "evangelicals should be able to talk politics ... some might find that statement very troubling, that we're going to change the Constitution to be in line with the Bible. And that's all I'm going to say."
Geist further noted of Huckabee that if "someone without his charm," said that, "he'd be dismissed as a crackpot, but he's Mike Huckabee and he's bascially the front-runner."
1.13.2008 We'll nuke Iran - Bush promises Israel
We'll nuke Iran - Bush promises Israel
Thu, 01/10/2008 - 16:08 - Wire Services - US President George W. Bush promised Israel's opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu that the United States will join the Jewish state in a nuclear strike against Iran, Israel Radio reported today.
Former Prime Minister Netanyahu, opposition Likud party's hardline chairman who opposes the US-backed Annapolis peace process, reiterated to President Bush his stance, that a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Iran's nuclear installations was the only way to stop the Islamic nation's nuclear weapons ambitions.
"I told him my position and Bush agreed," Netanyahu told Israel Radio.
During their 45-minute meeting at King David hotel in Jerusalem Netanyahu also told Bush that "Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people and will remain under Israeli sovereignty for eternity."
President Bush issued a stark warning to Iran over Strait of Hormuz incident, saying that "all options are on the table to protect our assets."
“There will be serious consequences if they attack our ships, pure and simple,” Bush said during the joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem. “And my advice to them is, don't do it.”
Bush criticized those who interpret the National Intelligence Estimate, which found that Iran gave up its nuclear weapons program in 2003, as a sign that Iran was no longer a threat.
"Let me remind you what the NIE actually said," Bush stold reporters. "It said that as far as the intelligence community could tell, at one time the Iranians had a military -- covert military program that was suspended in 2003 because of international pressure. My attitude is that a non-transparent country, a country which has yet to disclose what it was up to, can easily restart a program."
This would be the blogs 4th birthday, I believe.
Sadly, Blogger has seen fit to send my archives away, pfffhift, gone.
8.01.2007 Cheney Comes Clean
Many of us have felt that perhaps Mr Bush isn't "the decider" at all, that the more experienced, more "tied in" Vice President has been calling the shots- following an agenda he has worked from since the nineties.
Mr Cheney admitting he pulls the strings that make the chimp dance:
Q So those 3,000-plus lives have not died in vain?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: No, sir. Larry, you worry about every single casualty and --
Q Do you feel the burden of it?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Absolutely, when you're in one of those positions the President obviously has the biggest burden. I shared some of that when I was Secretary of Defense, during Desert Storm. There are times when you make decisions to commit military forces, when you know that one of the results of that is going to be that there are going to be American casualties, that American soldiers are going to die. It's one of the most difficult things anybody has to do. It goes with being President of the United States, and we have to have somebody prepared to make those decisions. And I firmly believe, Larry, that the decisions we've made with respect to Iraq and Afghanistan have been absolutely the sound ones in terms of the overall strategy.
Q Although there were mistakes.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Oh, sure. Yes, there are always things in war that happen that nobody anticipated; surprises, things that don't go exactly as planned. That's the nature of warfare. But that doesn't mean the strategy isn't the correct strategy, that the objective isn't the right objective.
Q Does it pain you when Brent Scowcroft says, "This is not the Dick Cheney I knew"?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well --
Q I mean, you were close friends.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Sure, and I don't bear any grudges towards Brent. Brent doesn't walk in my shoes these days. He's not in the job I'm in. He's not responsible for making the decisions the President has had to make and those of us who support him and advise him.
The link will bring you to the rest of the Larry King interview.
6.23.2007 UniParty? You Betcha!- a quick survey...
Hillary booed for her stance on the Iraq war she voted for:
Democratic Presidential hopeful Senator Hillary Clinton was booed at a conference on Wednesday for blaming failure in Iraq on the Iraqi government.
Some members of the audience at a conference of a liberal activist group called ‘Take Back America’ were dissatisfied with Hillary's remarks on Iraq.
They were also unhappy with the Senator asking for more US troops to be sent to Iraq. The 'Take Back America' group had also protested Hillary's stand on Iraq in 2006.
Clinton had been doing well with the crowd, slamming President Bush in unusually harsh terms for a full 23 minutes before treading into the political danger zone of Iraq.
In the first quarter of this year, more than 150 former Bush donors pitched in for Mrs. Clinton's campaign, while a similar number anted up for Mr. Obama, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission data performed for The New York Sun by the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics.
Even NeoCons love Obama:
...a surprising new name joined the chorus of praise for the antiwar Obama – that of Robert Kagan, a leading neoconservative and co-founder of the Project for the New American Century in the late 1990s, which called for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
Kagan is an informal foreign policy adviser to the Republican senator John McCain, who remains the favoured neoconservative choice for the White House because of his backing for the troops in Iraq.
But in an article in the Washington Post, Kagan wrote approvingly that a keynote speech by
Obama at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs was “pure John Kennedy”, a neocon hero of the cold war.
He wants the American military to "stay on the offense, from Djibouti to Kandahar," and he believes that "the ability to put boots on the ground will be critical in eliminating the shadowy terrorist networks we now face." He wants to ensure that we continue to have "the strongest, best-equipped military in the world."
Obama never once says that military force should be used only as a last resort. Rather, he insists that "no president should ever hesitate to use force -- unilaterally if necessary," not only "to protect ourselves . . . when we are attacked," but also to protect "our vital interests" when they are "imminently threatened." That's known as preemptive military action. It won't reassure those around the world who worry about letting an American president decide what a "vital interest" is and when it is "imminently threatened."
Bases in Iraq forever? You bet- our hands on the gas pump- well Halliburtons, the oil companies, etc; fascism is a merging of corporate and state power, so yup, our hands.
Democrat-Led House Lays Legal Groundwork for Korea-Style Bases in Iraq
It seems the Democratic-led House of Representatives Thursday approved an amendment that, contrary to the leadership’s intention, lays the legal groundwork for a protracted – if not “permanent” — U.S. military presence in Iraq.
During debate on the 2008 Foreign Operations bill, the House approved by voice vote an amendment submitted by Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King that inserted the word “permanent” before “basing rights agreement” in the following text:
“SEC. 685. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used by the Government of the United States to enter into a basing rights agreement between the United States and Iraq.”
Stop being a compliant consumer. Face the ugly truth. Don’t get fooled by the stock market. Accept the need for the mistreated middle class to become the revolutionary class. The British military establishment's most prestigious think tank sees what too few over-consuming Americans are willing to anticipate. Unjustified and mounting economic inequality is planting the seeds for global economic conflict.
Here is what the new report from the UK Defense Ministry's Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre warned might happen by 2035. "The middle classes could become a revolutionary class. The growing gap between themselves and a small number of highly visible super-rich individuals might fuel disillusion with meritocracy, while the growing urban under-classes are likely to pose an increasing threat...Faced by these twin challenges, the world's middle-classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transnational processes in their own class interest."
To be sure you do go to the piece and read more I'll offer you another quotation-
A ton of data demonstrate how crazy our economic system has become where a relatively few receive astronomical gains that no rational person could see as justified. One study tracked down home ownership data for 488 CEOs in the S&P 500 Index set of companies. The typical home of the CEOs has 12 rooms, sits on 5.37 acres, and carries a $3.1 million price-tag. Companies big enough to rate S&P 500 status hiked their median CEO pay by 23.78 percent in 2006 to $14.8 million. In comparison, U.S. worker weekly wages rose just 3.5 percent in 2006.
Many more facts and figures illustrate the state of our (working class) world. Check it out.
All right, no more excuses, people. After four years in Iraq, it’s time to get serious. We’ve spent too long goofing off, waiting to be saved by the bell, praying that we won’t get asked a stumper like, “What’s the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?” Okay, even the head of the House intelligence committee doesn’t know that one. All the more reason to start boning up on what we—and our leaders—should have learned back before they signed us up for this crash course in Middle Eastern geopolitics. And while we’re at it, let’s do the math on what the war really costs in blood and dollars. It’s time for our own Iraq study group. Yes, there will be a test, and we can’t afford to fail.
If you are diligent and a quick study you may master the material before the attack on Iran.
2.08.2007 Break Your Chains, 21st Century Serf
Here's a silly question: Why the hell are we still in Iraq? Because the Bush cabal/junta, the neocons, the Zionists -whichever name you prefer to call them -they always get what they want.
So American military might is still in Iraq, doing what the cabal wants them to do, while most Americans are complacent, obedient slaves here at home, convinced they are safe because GI Joe is in Iraq keeping the bad guys far away. The Average Joe and Jane six-pack are doing as they're told, being Good Americans, not questioning their leaders. It's easy, not doing a god damn thing.
A few hundred thousand people like myself went to the streets and protested the war, but the majority of American sheeple are still content doing what comes naturally, which is to sit on their Lazy Boys in front of the boob tube passing gas and the hours away rooting for their favorite teams,. They're going to the malls, seeing a movie, having one more beer and it's bed time, then they get up and do the same old thing, work, spend money they don't have, watch sports, sleep, pay the minimum on the credit cards, pray they hit the lottery, and never think anything's going to change, or for that matter get worse for them.
Most Americans haven't a clue how bloody it is in a far away place like Iraq. The trained seals at home are comfortable, that's all that matters.
That's why these devious bastards who have taken over our country are getting away with it! They love it when the lemmings out there can't remember one sentence in their own Constitution or Declaration of Independence. They love it that the vast majority of numb-nuts don't know that their leaders are breaking every law in the books ...
The Revolution will not be televised. I realize the neocons are just the visible helmsmen for the disease of corporate control combined with scrambling elite power that has sorely infected our nation and world. As the Bush house of cards crumbles from so many angles, as common folks see through the decades old Israeli web of deception: as the lies are given up to the light and revealed for all to see these f*ckers, cornered by truth, are going to be even more dangerous.
People, overall are good and decent, Truth in its many guises will trip up these "leaders". Humanity will out. Mass media lie factories be damned.
Iran will be a smokescreen for the devious, scandal ridden governments threatening war, while giving their sheeple a cause to rally around. Feeling hate gives their overly controled, TV mediated lives meaning, for Chrissakes. Gives them a team to not just support but to belong to. Thinking folks though, lately, sadly, are reactive rather than proactive. You see through the hype, you're freeing your mind; get your ass moving.
World War Finis is on the horizon -you know what crew is at the wheel of state(s).
Educate and act. Fight the power. Be the medium of change.
1.15.2007 What Would MLK Do?
Martin Luther King Day seems a fitting time to break my blog fast.
I use this page as a portal to get my daily news fix, but have been coming up short when it comes to having good news to share/link.
Habeas Corpus- gone. "Signing Statements" are effectively taking the legislature out of the governmental mix. Mr Bush claims to be a "unitary executive", a term not found in our Constitution; a term that brings to mind a Mussolini or a Hitler, not the President of the United States. I could go on and on...
The war under Mr Bush stumbles on, even escalates. Where are the Democratic Party alternatives to the failed GOP policies that got our nation this far down the road to economic, military and moral ruin?
I have been seeing the political world in a less than positive light. There seems to be little difference between the actions of the two major political parties in this country.
The media blah blah blah's on, telling us what to think.
On the average, folks don't seem to actively care. Our media diet paints us as powerless.
“I believe that people have a right to decide their own destiny; people own themselves. I also believe that, in a democracy, government exists because (and only as long as) individual citizens give it a "temporary license to exist" - in exchange for a promise that it will behave itself. In a democracy you own the government - it doesn't own you. Along with this comes a responsibility to ensure that individual actions, in the pursuit of a personal destiny, do not threaten the well-being of others while the "pursuit" is in progress.”
An American, a composer, a unique human being...
9.30.2006 Think the Economy is OK?
I cannot add to the facts and figures of the following article.
More reality based analysis:
The New Face of Class War
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
The attacks on middle-class jobs are lending new meaning to the phrase "class war". The ladders of upward mobility are being dismantled. America, the land of opportunity, is giving way to ever deepening polarization between rich and poor.
The assault on jobs predates the Bush regime. However, the loss of middle-class jobs has become particularly intense in the 21st century, and, like other pressing problems, has been ignored by President Bush, who is focused on waging war in the Middle East and building a police state at home. The lives and careers that are being lost to the carnage of a gratuitous war in Iraq are paralleled by the economic destruction of careers, families, and communities in the U.S.A. Since the days of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s, the U.S. government has sought to protect employment of its citizens. Bush has turned his back on this responsibility. He has given his support to the offshoring of American jobs that is eroding the living standards of Americans. It is another example of his betrayal of the public trust.
"Free trade" and "globalization" are the guises behind which class war is being conducted against the middle class by both political parties. Patrick J. Buchanan, a three-time contender for the presidential nomination, put it well when he wrote1 that NAFTA and the various so-called trade agreements were never trade deals. The agreements were enabling acts that enabled U.S. corporations to dump their American workers, avoid Social Security taxes, health care and pensions, and move their factories offshore to locations where labor is cheap.
The offshore outsourcing of American jobs has nothing to do with free trade based on comparative advantage. Offshoring is labor arbitrage. First world capital and technology are not seeking comparative advantage at home in order to compete abroad. They are seeking absolute advantage abroad in cheap labor.
Two recent developments made possible the supremacy of absolute over comparative advantage: the high speed Internet and the collapse of world socialism, which opened China's and India's vast under-utilized labor resources to first world capital.
In times past, first world workers had nothing to fear from cheap labor abroad. Americans worked with superior capital, technology and business organization. This made Americans far more productive than Indians and Chinese, and, as it was not possible for U.S. firms to substitute cheaper foreign labor for U.S. labor, American jobs and living standards were not threatened by low wages abroad or by the products that these low wages produced.
The advent of offshoring has made it possible for U.S. firms using first world capital and technology to produce goods and services for the U.S. market with foreign labor. The result is to separate Americans' incomes from the production of the goods and services that they consume. This new development, often called "globalization," allows cheap foreign labor to work with the same capital, technology and business know-how as U.S. workers. The foreign workers are now as productive as Americans, with the difference being that the large excess supply of labor that overhangs labor markets in China and India keeps wages in these countries low. Labor that is equally productive but paid a fraction of the wage is a magnet for Western capital and technology.
Although a new development, offshoring is destroying entire industries, occupations and communities in the United States. The devastation of U.S. manufacturing employment was waved away with promises that a "new economy" based on high-tech knowledge jobs would take its place. Education and retraining were touted as the answer.
In testimony before the U.S.-China Commission,2 I explained that offshoring is the replacement of U.S. labor with foreign labor in U.S. production functions over a wide range of tradable goods and services. (Tradable goods and services are those that can be exported or that are competitive with imports. Nontradable goods and services are those that only have domestic markets and no import competition. For example, barbers and dentists offer nontradable services. Examples of nontradable goods are perishable, locally produced fruits and vegetables and specially fabricated parts of local machine shops.) As the production of most tradable goods and services can be moved offshore, there are no replacement occupations for which to train except in domestic "hands on" services such as barbers, manicurists, and hospital orderlies. No country benefits from trading its professional jobs, such as engineering, for domestic service jobs.
At a Brookings Institution conference in Washington, D.C., in January 2004, I predicted that if the pace of jobs outsourcing and occupational destruction continued, the U.S. would be a third world country in 20 years. Despite my regular updates on the poor performance of U.S. job growth in the 21st century, economists have insisted that offshoring is a manifestation of free trade and can only have positive benefits overall for Americans.
Reality has contradicted the glib economists. The new high-tech knowledge jobs are being outsourced abroad even faster than the old manufacturing jobs. Establishment economists are beginning to see the light. Writing in Foreign Affairs (March/April 2006), Princeton economist and former Federal Reserve vice chairman Alan Blinder concludes that economists who insist that offshore outsourcing is merely a routine extension of international trade are overlooking a major transformation with significant consequences. Blinder estimates that 42-56 million American service sector jobs are susceptible to offshore outsourcing.3 Whether all these jobs leave, U.S. salaries will be forced down by the willingness of foreigners to do the work for less.
Software engineers and information technology workers have been especially hard hit. Jobs offshoring, which began with call centers and back-office operations, is rapidly moving up the value chain. Business Week's Michael Mandel4 compared starting salaries in 2005 with those in 2001. He found a 12.7 per cent decline in computer science pay, a 12 per cent decline in computer engineering pay, and a 10.2 per cent decline in electrical engineering pay. Marketing salaries experienced a 6.5 per cent decline, and business administration salaries fell 5.7 per cent. Despite a make-work law for accountants known by the names of its congressional sponsors, Sarbanes-Oxley, even accounting majors, were offered 2.3 per cent less.
Using the same sources as the Business Week article (salary data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers and Bureau of Labor Statistics data for inflation adjustment), professor Norm Matloff at the University of California, Davis, made the same comparison for master's degree graduates. He found that between 2001 and 2005 starting pay for master's degrees in computer science, computer engineering, and electrical engineering fell 6.6 per cent, 13.7 per cent, and 9.4 per cent respectively.
On February 22, 2006, CNNMoney.com staff writer Shaheen Pasha5 reported that America's large financial institutions are moving "large portions of their investment banking operations abroad." Offshoring is now killing American jobs in research and analytic operations, foreign exchange trades, and highly complicated credit derivatives contracts. Deal-making responsibility itself may eventually move abroad. Deloitte Touche says that the financial services industry will move 20 per cent of its total costs base offshore by the end of 2010. As the costs are lower in India, the move will represent more than 20 per cent of the business. A job on Wall Street is a declining option for bright young persons with high stress tolerance as America's last remaining advantage is outsourced.
According to Norm Augustine, former CEO of Lockheed Martin, even McDonald jobs are on the way offshore. Augustine reports that McDonald is experimenting with replacing error-prone order takers with a system that transmits orders via satellite to a central location and from there to the person preparing the order. The technology lets the orders be taken in India or China at costs below the U.S. minimum wage and without the liabilities of U.S. employees.
American economists, some from incompetence and some from being bought and paid for, described globalization as a "win-win" development. It was supposed to work like this: The U.S. would lose market share in tradable manufactured goods and make up the job and economic loss with highly educated knowledge workers. The win for America would be lower-priced manufactured goods and a white-collar work force. The win for China would be manufacturing jobs that would bring economic development to that country.
It did not work out this way, as Morgan Stanley's Stephen Roach, formerly a cheerleader for globalization, recently admitted. It has become apparent that job creation and real wages in the developed economies are seriously lagging behind their historical norms as offshore outsourcing displaces the "new economy" jobs in "software programming, engineering, design, and the medical profession, as well as a broad array of professionals in the legal, accounting, actuarial, consulting, and financial services industries".6 The real state of the U.S. job market is revealed by a Chicago Sun-Times report on January 26, 2006, that 25,000 people applied for 325 jobs at a new Chicago Wal-Mart.
According to the BLS payroll jobs data,7 over the past half-decade (January 2001 - January 2006, the data series available at time of writing) the U.S. economy created 1,050,000 net new private sector jobs and 1,009,000 net new government jobs for a total five-year figure of 2,059,000. That is seven million jobs short of keeping up with population growth, definitely a serious job shortfall.
The BLS payroll jobs data contradict the hype from business organizations, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that offshore outsourcing is good for America. Large corporations, which have individually dismissed thousands of their U.S. employees and replaced them with foreigners, claim that jobs outsourcing allows them to save money that can be used to hire more Americans. The corporations and the business organizations are very successful in placing this disinformation in the media. The lie is repeated everywhere and has become a mantra among no-think economists and politicians. However, no sign of these jobs can be found in the payroll jobs data. But there is abundant evidence of the lost American jobs.
During the past five years (January 01 - January 06), the information sector of the U.S. economy lost 644,000 jobs, or 17.4 per cent of its work force. Computer systems design and related work lost 105,000 jobs, or 8.5 per cent of its work force. Clearly, jobs offshoring is not creating jobs in computers and information technology. Indeed, jobs offshoring is not even creating jobs in related fields.
U.S. manufacturing lost 2.9 million jobs, almost 17 per cent of the manufacturing work force. The wipeout is across the board. Not a single manufacturing payroll classification created a single new job.
The declines in some manufacturing sectors have more in common with a country undergoing saturation bombing during war than with a "supereconomy" that is "the envy of the world." In five years, communications equipment lost 42 per cent of its work force. Semiconductors and electronic components lost 37 per cent of its work force . The work force in computers and electronic products declined 30 per cent. Electrical equipment and appliances lost 25 per cent of its employees. The work force in motor vehicles and parts declined 12 per cent. Furniture and related products lost 17 per cent of its jobs. Apparel manufacturers lost almost half of the work force. Employment in textile mills declined 43 per cent. Paper and paper products lost one-fifth of its jobs. The work force in plastics and rubber products declined by 15 per cent.
For the five-year period, U.S. job growth was limited to four areas: education and health services, state and local government, leisure and hospitality, and financial services. There was no U.S. job growth outside these four areas of domestic nontradable services.
Oracle, for example, which has been handing out thousands of pink slips, has recently announced two thousand more jobs being moved to India.8 How is Oracle's move of U.S. jobs to India creating American jobs in nontradable services such as waitresses and bartenders, hospital orderlies, state and local government, and credit agencies?
Engineering jobs in general are in decline, because the manufacturing sectors that employ engineers are in decline. During the last five years, the U.S. work force lost 1.2 million jobs in the manufacture of machinery, computers, electronics, semiconductors, communication equipment, electrical equipment, motor vehicles, and transportation equipment. The BLS payroll jobs numbers show a total of 69,000 jobs created in all fields of architecture and engineering, including clerical personnel, over the past five years. That comes to a mere 14,000 jobs per year (including clerical workers). What is the annual graduating class in engineering and architecture? How is there a shortage of engineers when more graduate than can be employed?
Of course, many new graduates take jobs opened by retirements. We would have to know the retirement rates to get a solid handle on the fate of new graduates. But this fate cannot be very pleasant , with declining employment in the manufacturing sectors that employ engineers and a minimum of 65,000 H-1B work visas annually for foreigners plus an indeterminate number of L-1 work visas.
It is not only the Bush regime that bases its policies on lies. Not content with moving Americans' jobs abroad, corporations want to fill the jobs remaining in America with foreigners on work visas. Business organizations allege shortages of engineers, scientists and even nurses. Business organizations have successfully used pubic relations firms and bought-and-paid-for "economic studies" to convince policymakers that American business cannot function without H-1B visas that permit the importation of indentured employees from abroad who are paid less than the going U.S. salaries. The so-called shortage is, in fact, a replacement of American employees with foreign employees, with the soon-to-be-discharged American employee first required to train his replacement.
It is amazing to see free-market economists rush to the defense of H-1B visas. The visas are nothing but a subsidy to U.S. companies at the expense of U.S. citizens. Keep in mind this H-1B subsidy to U.S. corporations for employing foreign workers in place of Americans as we examine the Labor Department's job projections over the 2004-2014 decade.
All of the occupations with the largest projected employment growth (in terms of the number of jobs) over the next decade are in nontradable domestic services. The top ten sources of the most jobs in "superpower" America are: retail salespersons, registered nurses, postsecondary teachers, customer service representatives, janitors and cleaners, waiters and waitresses, food preparation (includes fast food), home health aides, nursing aides, orderlies and attendants, general and operations managers.9 Note than none of this projected employment growth will contribute one nickel toward producing goods and services that could be exported to help close the huge U.S. trade deficit. Note, also, that few of these job classifications require a college education.
Among the fastest growing occupations (in terms of rate of growth), seven of the ten are in health care and social assistance. The three remaining fields are: network systems and data analysis with 126,000 jobs projected, or 12,600 per year; computer software engineering applications with 222,000 jobs projected, or 22,200 per year; and computer software engineering systems software with 146,000 jobs projected, or 14,600 per year.10
Assuming these projections are realized, how many of the computer engineering and network systems jobs will go to Americans? Not many, considering the 65,000 H-1B visas each year (bills have been introduced in Congress to raise the number) and the loss during the past five years of 761,000 jobs in the information sector and computer systems design and related sectors.
Judging from its ten-year jobs projections, the U.S. Department of Labor does not expect to see any significant high-tech job growth in the U.S.The knowledge jobs are being outsourced even more rapidly than the manufacturing jobs. The so-called "new economy" was just another hoax perpetrated on the American people.
If outsourcing jobs offshore is good for U.S. employment, why won't the U.S. Department of Commerce release the 200-page, $335,000 study of the impact of the offshoring of U.S. high-tech jobs? Republican political appointees reduced the 200-page report to 12 pages of public relations hype and refuse to allow the Technology Administration experts who wrote the report to testify before Congress. Democrats on the House Science Committee are unable to pry the study out of the hands of Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. On March 29, 2006, Republicans on the House Science Committee voted down a resolution (H.Res. designed to force the Commerce Department to release the study to Congress. Obviously, the facts don't fit the Bush regime's globalization hype.
The BLS payroll data that we have been examining tracks employment by industry classification. This is not the same thing as occupational classification. For example, companies in almost every industry and area of business employ people in computer-related occupations. A recent study from the Association for Computing Machinery claims, "Despite all the publicity in the United States about jobs being lost to India and China, the size of the IT employment market in the United States today is higher than it was at the height of the dot.com boom. Information technology appears as though it will be a growth area at least for the coming decade."
We can check this claim by turning to the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics.11 We will look at "computer and mathematical employment"12 and "architecture and engineering employment".13
Computer and mathematical employment includes such fields as "software engineers applications," "software engineers systems software," "computer programmers," "network systems and data communications," and "mathematicians." Has this occupation been a source of job growth? In November of 2000 this occupation employed 2,932,810 people.14 In November of 2004 (the latest data available), this occupation employed 2,932,790, or 20 people fewer. Employment in this field has been stagnant for four years.
During these four years, there have been employment shifts within the various fields of this occupation. For example, employment of computer programmers declined by 134,630, while employment of software engineers applications rose by 65,080, and employment of software engineers systems software rose by 59,600. (These shifts probably merely reflect change in job title from programmer to software engineer.)
These figures do not tell us whether any gain in software engineering jobs went to Americans. According to professor Norm Matloff, in 2002 there were 463,000 computer-related H-1B visa holders in the U.S. Similarly, the 134,630 lost computer programming jobs (if not merely a job title change) may have been outsourced offshore to foreign affiliates.
Architecture and engineering employment includes all the architecture and engineering fields except software engineering. The total employment of architects and engineers in the U.S. declined by 120,700 between November 1999 and November 2004. Employment declined by 189,940 between November 2000 and November 2004, and by 103,390 between November 2001 and November 2004.
There are variations among fields. Between November 2000 and November 2004, for example, U.S. employment of electrical engineers fell by 15,280. Employment of computer hardware engineers rose by 15,990 (possibly these are job title reclassifications). Overall, however, over 100,000 engineering jobs were lost. We do not know how many of the lost jobs were outsourced offshore to foreign affiliates or how many American engineers were dismissed and replaced by foreign holders of H-1B or L-1 visas.
Clearly, engineering and computer-related employment in the U.S.A. has not been growing, whether measured by industry or by occupation. Moreover, with a half million or more foreigners in the U.S. on work visas, the overall employment numbers do not represent employment of Americans.
American employees have been abandoned by American corporations and by their representatives in Congress. America remains a land of opportunity but for foreigners not for the native born. A country whose work force is concentrated in domestic nontradable services has no need for scientists and engineers and no need for universities. Even the projected jobs in nursing and school teaching can be filled by foreigners on H-1B visas.
The myth has been firmly established here that the jobs the U.S. is outsourcing offshore are being replaced with better jobs. There is no sign of these jobs in the payroll jobs data or in the occupational employment statistics. When a country loses entry-level jobs, it has no one to promote to senior level jobs. When manufacturing leaves, so does engineering, design, research and development, and innovation itself.
On February 16, 2006, the New York Times reported on a new study presented to the National Academies that concludes that outsourcing is climbing the skills ladder.15 A survey of 200 multinational corporations representing 15 industries in the U.S.and Europe found that 38 per cent planned to change substantially the worldwide distribution of their research and development work, sending it to India and China. According to the New York Times, "More companies in the survey said they planned to decrease research and development employment in the United States and Europe than planned to increase employment."
The study and the discussion it provoked came to untenable remedies. Many believe that a primary reason for the shift of R&D to India and China is the erosion of scientific prowess in the U.S. due to lack of math and science proficiency of American students and their reluctance to pursue careers in science and engineering. This belief begs the question why students would chase after careers that are being outsourced abroad.
The main author of the study, Georgia Tech professor Marie Thursby, believes that American science and engineering depend on having "an environment that fosters the development of a high-quality work force and productive collaboration between corporations and universities." The dean of Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, thinks the answer is to recruit the top people in China and India and bring them to Berkeley. No one seems to understand that research, development, design, and innovation take place in countries where things are made. The loss of manufacturing means ultimately the loss of engineering and science. The newest plants embody the latest technology. If these plants are abroad, that is where the cutting edge resides.
The denial of jobs reality has become an art form for economists, libertarians, the Bush regime, and journalists. Except for CNN's Lou Dobbs, no accurate reporting is available in the "mainstream media."
Economists have failed to examine the incompatibility of offshoring with free trade. Economists are so accustomed to shouting down protectionists that they dismiss any complaint about globalization's impact on domestic jobs as the ignorant voice of a protectionist seeking to preserve the buggy whip industry. Matthew J. Slaughter, a Dartmouth economics professor rewarded for his service to offshoring with appointment to President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, suffered no harm to his reputation when he wrote, "For every one job that U.S. multinationals created abroad in their foreign affiliates, they created nearly two U.S. jobs in their parent operations." In other words, Slaughter claims that offshoring is creating more American jobs than foreign ones.
How did Slaughter arrive at this conclusion? Not by consulting the BLS payroll jobs data or the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics. Instead, Slaughter measured the growth of U.S. multinational employment and failed to take into account the two reasons for the increase in multinational employment: (1) Multinationals acquired many existing smaller firms, thus raising multinational employment but not overall employment, and (2) many U.S. firms established foreign operations for the first time and thereby became multinationals, thus adding their existing employment to Slaughter's number for multinational employment.
ABC News' John Stossel, a libertarian hero, recently made a similar error. In debunking Lou Dobbs' concern with U.S. jobs lost to offshore outsourcing, Stossel invoked the California-based company, Collabnet. He quotes the CEO's claim that outsourcing saves his company money and lets him hire more Americans. Turning to Collabnet's webpage, it is very instructive to see the employment opportunities that the company posts for the United States and for India.
In India, Collabnet has openings (at time of writing) for eight engineers, a sales engineer, a technical writer, and a telemarketing representative. In the U.S. Collabnet has openings for one engineer, a receptionist/office assistant, and positions in marketing, sales, services and operations. Collabnet is a perfect example of what Lou Dobbs and I report: the engineering and design jobs move abroad, and Americans are employed to sell and market the foreign-made products.
Other forms of deception are widely practiced. For example, Matthew Spiegleman, a Conference Board economist, claims that manufacturing jobs are only slightly higher paid than domestic service jobs, so there is no meaningful loss in income to Americans from offshoring. He reaches this conclusion by comparing only hourly pay and leaving out the longer manufacturing workweek and the associated benefits, such as health care and pensions.
Occasionally, however, real information escapes the spin machine. In February 2006 the National Association of Manufacturers, one of offshoring's greatest boosters, released a report, "U.S. Manufacturing Innovation at Risk," by economists Joel Popkin and Kathryn Kobe.16 The economists find that U.S. industry's investment in research and development is not languishing after all. It just appears to be languishing, because it is rapidly being shifted overseas: "Funds provided for foreign-performed R&D have grown by almost 73 per cent between 1999 and 2003, with a 36 per cent increase in the number of firms funding foreign R&D."
U.S. industry is still investing in R&D after all; it is just not hiring Americans to do the research and development. U.S. manufacturers still make things, only less and less in America with American labor. U.S. manufacturers still hire engineers, only they are foreign ones, not American ones.
In other words, everything is fine for U.S. manufacturers. It is just their former American work force that is in the doldrums. As these Americans happen to be customers for U.S. manufacturers, U.S. brand names will gradually lose their U.S. market. U.S. household median income has fallen for the past five years. Consumer demand has been kept alive by consumers' spending their savings and home equity and going deeper into debt. It is not possible for debt to forever rise faster than income.
The United States is the first country in history to destroy the prospects and living standards of its labor force. It is amazing to watch freedom-loving libertarians and free-market economists serve as apologists for the dismantling of the ladders of upward mobility that made the America of old an opportunity society.
America is seeing a widening polarization into rich and poor. The resulting political instability and social strife will be terrible.
What afflicts humanity today is certainly not compatible with human dignity; the Almighty has not created human beings so that they could transgress against others and oppress them.
By causing war and conflict, some are fast expanding their domination, accumulating greater wealth and usurping all the resources, while others endure the resulting poverty, suffering and misery. Some seek to rule the world relying on weapons and threats, while others live in perpetual insecurity and danger.
Some occupy the homeland of others, thousands of kilometers away from their borders, interfere in their affairs and control their oil and other resources and strategic routes, while others are bombarded daily in their own homes; their children murdered in the streets and alleys of their own country and their homes reduced to rubble.
Such behavior is not worthy of human beings and runs counter to the Truth, to justice and to human dignity. The fundamental question is that under such conditions, where should the oppressed seek justice? Who, or what organization defends the rights of the oppressed, and suppresses acts of aggression and oppression? Where is the seat of global justice?
A brief glance at a few examples of the most pressing global issues can further illustrate the problem.
A. The unbridled expansion of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons
Some powers proudly announce their production of second and third generations of nuclear weapons. What do they need these weapons for? Is the development and stockpiling of these deadly weapons designed to promote peace and democracy? Or, are these weapons, in fact, instruments of coercion and threat against other peoples and governments? How long should the people of the world live with the nightmare of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons?
What bounds the powers producing and possessing these weapons? How can they be held accountable before the international community? And, are the inhabitants of these countries content with the waste of their wealth and resources for the production of such destructive arsenals? Is it not possible to rely on justice, ethics and wisdom instead of these instruments of death? Aren't wisdom and justice more compatible with peace and tranquility than nuclear, chemical and biological weapons? If wisdom, ethics and justice prevail, then oppression and aggression will be uprooted, threats will wither away and no reason will remain for conflict. This is a solid proposition because most global conflicts emanate from injustice, and from the powerful, not being contented with their own rights, striving to devour the rights of others.
People across the globe embrace justice and are willing to sacrifice for its sake.
Would it not be easier for global powers to ensure their longevity and win hearts and minds through the championing of real promotion of justice, compassion and peace, than through continuing the proliferation of nuclear and chemical weapons and the threat of their use?
The experience of the threat and the use of nuclear weapons is before us. Has it achieved anything for the perpetrators other than exacerbation of tension, hatred and animosity among nations?
B. Occupation of countries and exacerbation of hostilities
Occupation of countries, including Iraq, has continued for the last three years.
Not a day goes by without hundreds of people getting killed in cold blood. The occupiers are incapable of establishing security in Iraq. Despite the establishment of the lawful Government and National Assembly of Iraq, there are covert and overt efforts to heighten insecurity, magnify and aggravate differences within Iraqi society, and instigate civil strife.
There is no indication that the occupiers have the necessary political will to eliminate the sources of instability. Numerous terrorists were apprehended by the Government of Iraq, only to be let loose under various pretexts by the occupiers.
It seems that intensification of hostilities and terrorism serves as a pretext for the continued presence of foreign forces in Iraq.
Where can the people of Iraq seek refuge, and from whom should the Government of Iraq seek justice?
Who can ensure Iraq's security? Insecurity in Iraq affects the entire region.
Can the Security Council play a role in restoring peace and security in Iraq, while the occupiers are themselves permanent members of the Council?
Can the Security Council adopt a fair decision in this regard?
Consider the situation in Palestine:
The roots of the Palestinian problem go back to the Second World War. Under the pretext of protecting some of the survivors of that War, the land of Palestine was occupied through war, aggression and the displacement of millions of its inhabitants; it was placed under the control of some of the War survivors, bringing even larger population groups from elsewhere in the world, who had not been even affected by the Second World War; and a government was established in the territory of others with a population collected from across the world at the expense of driving millions of the rightful inhabitants of the land into a diaspora and homelessness. This is a great tragedy with hardly a precedent in history. Refugees continue to live in temporary refugee camps, and many have died still hoping to one day return to their land. Can any logic, law or legal reasoning justify this tragedy? Can any member of the United Nations accept such a tragedy occurring in their own homeland?
The pretexts for the creation of the regime occupying Al-Qods Al-Sharif are so weak that its proponents want to silence any voice trying to merely speak about them, as they are concerned that shedding light on the facts would undermine the raison d'etre of this regime, as it has. The tragedy does not end with the establishment of a regime in the territory of others. Regrettably, from its inception, that regime has been a constant source of threat and insecurity in the Middle East region, waging war and spilling blood and impeding the progress of regional countries, and has also been used by some powers as an instrument of division, coercion, and pressure on the people of the region. Reference to these historical realities may cause some disquiet among supporters of this regime. But these are sheer facts and not myth. History has unfolded before our eyes.
Worst yet, is the blanket and unwarranted support provided to this regime. Just watch what is happening in the Palestinian land. People are being bombarded in their own homes and their children murdered in their own streets and alleys. But no authority, not even the Security Council, can afford them any support or protection. Why?
At the same time, a Government is formed democratically and through the free choice of the electorate in a part of the Palestinian territory. But instead of receiving the support of the so-called champions of democracy, its Ministers and Members of Parliament are illegally abducted and incarcerated in full view of the international community.
Which council or international organization stands up to protect this brutally besieged Government? And why can't the Security Council take any steps?
Let me here address Lebanon:
For thirty-three long days, the Lebanese lived under the barrage of fire and bombs and close to 1.5 million of them were displaced; meanwhile some members of the Security Council practically chose a path that provided ample opportunity for the aggressor to achieve its objectives militarily. We witnessed that the Security Council of the United Nations was practically incapacitated by certain powers to even call for a ceasefire. The Security Council sat idly by for so many days, witnessing the cruel scenes of atrocities against the Lebanese while tragedies such as Qana were persistently repeated. Why?
In all these cases, the answer is self-evident. When the power behind the hostilities is itself a permanent member of the Security Council, how then can this Council fulfill its responsibilities?
C. Lack of respect for the rights of members of the international community
I now wish to refer to some of the grievances of the Iranian people and speak to the injustices against them.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is a member of the IAEA and is committed to the NPT. All our nuclear activities are transparent, peaceful and under the watchful eyes of IAEA inspectors. Why then are there objections to our legally recognized rights? Which governments object to these rights? Governments that themselves benefit from nuclear energy and the fuel cycle. Some of them have abused nuclear technology for non-peaceful ends including the production of nuclear bombs, and some even have a bleak record of using them against humanity.
Which organization or Council should address these injustices? Is the Security Council in a position to address them? Can it stop violations of the inalienable rights of countries? Can it prevent certain powers from impeding scientific progress of other countries?
The abuse of the Security Council, as an instrument of threat and coercion, is indeed a source of grave concern.
Some permanent members of the Security Council, even when they are themselves parties to international disputes, conveniently threaten others with the Security Council and declare, even before any decision by the Council, the condemnation of their opponents by the Council. The question is: what can justify such exploitation of the Security Council, and doesn't it erode the credibility and effectiveness of the Council? Can such behavior contribute to the ability of the Council to maintain security?
A review of the preceding historical realities would lead to the conclusion that regrettably, justice has become a victim of force and aggression.
Many global arrangements have become unjust, discriminatory and irresponsible as a result of undue pressure from some of the powerful.
Threats with nuclear weapons and other instruments of war by some powers have taken the place of respect for the rights of nations and the maintenance and promotion of peace and tranquility;
For some powers, claims of promotion of human rights and democracy can only last as long as they can be used as instruments of pressure and intimidation against other nations. But when it comes to the interests of the claimants, concepts such as democracy, the right of self-determination of nations, respect for the rights and intelligence of peoples, international law and justice have no place or value. This is blatantly manifested in the way the elected Government of the Palestinian people is treated as well as in the support extended to the Zionist regime. It does not matter if people are murdered in Palestine, turned into refugees, captured, imprisoned or besieged; that must not violate human rights.
* Nations are not equal in exercising their rights recognized by international law. Enjoying these rights is dependent on the whim of certain major powers.
* Apparently the Security Council can only be used to ensure the security and the rights of some big powers. But when the oppressed are decimated under bombardment, the Security Council must remain aloof and not even call for a ceasefire. Is this not a tragedy of historic proportions for the Security Council, which is charged with maintaining the security of countries?
* The prevailing order of contemporary global interactions is such that certain powers equate themselves with the international community, and consider their decisions superseding that of over 180 countries. They consider themselves the masters and rulers of the entire world and other nations as only second class in the world order.
The question needs to be asked: if the Governments of the United States or the United Kingdom who are permanent members of the Security Council, commit aggression, occupation and violation of international law, which of the organs of the UN can take them to account? Can a Council in which they are privileged members address their violations? Has this ever happened? In fact, we have repeatedly seen the reverse. If they have differences with a nation or state, they drag it to the Security Council and as claimants, arrogate to themselves simultaneously the roles of prosecutor, judge and executioner. Is this a just order? Can there be a more vivid case of discrimination and more clear evidence of injustice?
Regrettably, the persistence of some hegemonic powers in imposing their exclusionist policies on international decision making mechanisms, including the Security Council, has resulted in a growing mistrust in global public opinion, undermining the credibility and effectiveness of this most universal system of collective security.
How long can such a situation last in the world? It is evident that the behavior of some powers constitutes the greatest challenge before the Security Council, the entire organization and its affiliated agencies.
The present structure and working methods of the Security Council, which are legacies of the Second World War, are not responsive to the expectations of the current generation and the contemporary needs of humanity.
Today, it is undeniable that the Security Council, most critically and urgently, needs legitimacy and effectiveness. It must be acknowledged that as long as the Council is unable to act on behalf of the entire international community in a transparent, just and democratic manner, it will neither be legitimate nor effective.
Furthermore, the direct relation between the abuse of veto and the erosion of the legitimacy and effectiveness of the Council has now been clearly and undeniably established. We cannot, and should not, expect the eradication, or even containment, of injustice, imposition and oppression without reforming the structure and working methods of the Council.
Is it appropriate to expect this generation to submit to the decisions and arrangements established over half a century ago? Doesn't this generation or future generations have the right to decide themselves about the world in which they want to live?
Today, serious reform in the structure and working methods of the Security Council is, more than ever before, necessary. Justice and democracy dictate that the role of the General Assembly, as the highest organ of the United Nations, must be respected. The General Assembly can then, through appropriate mechanisms, take on the task of reforming the Organization and particularly rescue the Security Council from its current state. In the interim, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the African continent should each have a representative as a permanent member of the Security Council, with veto privilege. The resulting balance would hopefully prevent further trampling of the rights of nations.
It is essential that spirituality and ethics find their rightful place in international relations. Without ethics and spirituality, attained in light of the teachings of Divine prophets, justice, freedom and human rights cannot be guaranteed. Resolution of contemporary human crises lies in observing ethics and spirituality and the governance of righteous people of high competence and piety.
Should respect for the rights of human beings become the predominant objective, then injustice, ill-temperament, aggression and war will fade away. Human beings are all God's creatures and are all endowed with dignity and respect.
No one has superiority over others. No individual or states can arrogate to themselves special privileges, nor can they disregard the rights of others and, through influence and pressure, position themselves as the "international community".
Citizens of Asia, Africa, Europe and America are all equal. Over six billion inhabitants of the earth are all equal and worthy of respect. Justice and protection of human dignity are the two pillars in maintaining sustainable peace, security and tranquility in the world. It is for this reason that we state: Sustainable peace and tranquility in the world can only be attained through justice, spirituality, ethics, compassion and respect for human dignity. All nations and states are entitled to peace, progress and security. We are all members of the international community and we are all entitled to insist on the creation of a climate of compassion, love and justice.
All members of the United Nations are affected by both the bitter and the sweet events and developments in today's world.
We can adopt firm and logical decisions, thereby improving the prospects of a better life for current and future generations.
Together, we can eradicate the roots of bitter maladies and afflictions, and instead, through the promotion of universal and lasting values such as ethics, spirituality and justice, allow our nations to taste the sweetness of a better future.
Peoples, driven by their divine nature, intrinsically seek Good, Virtue, Perfection and Beauty. Relying on our peoples, we can take giant steps towards reform and pave the road for human perfection. Whether we like it or not, justice, peace and virtue will sooner or later prevail in the world with the will of Almighty God. It is imperative, and also desirable, that we too contribute to the promotion of justice and virtue.
The Almighty and Merciful God, who is the Creator of the Universe, is also its Lord and Ruler. Justice is His command. He commands His creatures to support one another in Good, virtue and piety, and not in decadence and corruption.
He commands His creatures to enjoin one another to righteousness and virtue and not to sin and transgression. All Divine prophets from the Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) to the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), to the Prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), to the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), have all called humanity to monotheism, justice, brotherhood, love and compassion. Is it not possible to build a better world based on monotheism, justice, love and respect for the rights of human beings, and thereby transform animosities into friendship?
I emphatically declare that today's world, more than ever before, longs for just and righteous people with love for all humanity; and above all longs for the perfect righteous human being and the real savior who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood on the planet.
0, Almighty God, all men and women are Your creatures and You have ordained their guidance and salvation. Bestow upon humanity that thirsts for justice, the perfect human being promised to all by You, and make us among his followers and among those who strive for his return and his cause.