27 December 2001

Bush Grants China Permanent Trade Status

There are some issues that a majority of both political parties are in solid agreement on. Trade relations with China is one of them. President Bush granted China permanent normal trade status today. Bush caps the final act to the battles Clinton carried out that also divided the Democratic party. I feel Americans should be outraged over this deal - China is still a brutal dictatorship, a communist slave state that offers up ample minions for slave labor duty. No discourse, opposition, or free speech of any kind is tolerated. I'm just going to go point by point, and make the case against PNTR:
  • Our trade deficit with China is the largest in the world - approaching 100 billion dollars per year. According to some economists, every $1 billion in our U.S. trade deficit equals the loss of 14,000 jobs. For American workers, PNTR is a disaster.
  • China's record on human rights is deplorable. Presently there are 6 million to 8 million political, religious, ethnic and labor activists in Chinese forced labor camps. About 300,000 of them are held without trial.
  • China's horrendous environmental record continues to threaten the well-being of the entire planet. Today, five of the world's ten most polluted cities are in China and an estimated two million people die each year there from air and water pollution. Water pollution is so severe that 80 percent of China's rivers have no fish remaining in them.
  • PNTR has also not benefited U.S. security interests. China is steadily expanded its military arsenal - missles, aircraft, submarines, and destroyers. China recently purchased over 4,000 warplanes, four Kilo-class submarines and two Souvremenny-class destroyers that are a major worry for both Taiwan and the United States. Chinese workers have also been detected building a fiber-optic communications system linking Iraq's air defenses.

Capitalism at its worst - the sanctioning of state oppression by a republic that heralds its freedom. All for the abundant legions of cheap labor and the reduction in tariffs ...
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26 December 2001

Some Liars are More Equal than Others!

Bill Clinton was impeached for lying under oath, right? For lying in a deposition that was later found to be irrelevant to the case and inadmissable - the case itself was soon dismissed as bogus. Now, consider the "funeralgate" saga of Service Corporation International accused of reprehensive acts - desecrating graves and destroying human remains ...

Distraught families filed a class action lawsuit on Wednesday in a state circuit court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, accusing Menorah Gardens and Funeral Chapels and its parent company, Service Corporation International, of desecrating graves and destroying human remains.

The lawsuit alleges that people were buried in the wrong graves at Menorah Gardens cemeteries in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach without their relatives' knowledge.

It said cemetery workers broke open some burial vaults and dumped the bodies in the woods, and crushed down other coffins to make room for new coffins on top of them.

SCI ties to the Bush family are long and deep, and George W. Bush was required to testify in Texas for the same allegations. An SCI attorney says Bush talked to him about the state agency investigation - according to Johnnie Rogers, he delivered a letter from Bush demanding an end to the investigation.

Hmm, so it's wrong to lie about marital infidelity but lying under oath to hide a coverup and protect important campaign contributors is O.K.? I can't believe people who try to tell me that Bush is any less corrupt than Clinton ...
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20 December 2001

One Movie To Rule Them All

I got to see Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring today and it was a treat indeed. I took in a midday showing, since I'm now among the ranks of the unemployed masses, casualty of the current economic downturn and corporate offshore movement of jobs in my profession. All I can say is wow, what a glittering, esteemed presentation of the epic fantasy classic by Tolkien! Unbelievable, a movie that stayed fairly true to the book with very few pop embellishments. Sights and sounds vividly captured the mood, settings and themes - in some cases it was uncanny how the film portrayal of Middle Earth accurately recreated the pictures my imagination conjured when reading LotR. Not all the settings, but the Shire appeared just as I thought it would be like. As did Saruman's tower and Rivendell. Even the musical score, criticised by a number of folks, fit the action sequences perfectly. Although I've read the books multiple times, I still sat in suspense, fearing the worst for the film's heroes. Superbly choreographed action scenes filled with deeds of violence, but little blood and gore also add to the riveting tale.

If you haven't seen LotR: FotR yet, go now. Proceed immediately to your neighborhood picture palace and enjoy the best flick to come out in recent years.

After the bombardment of Burger King advertisements, I had lowered my expectations, thinking what a disgrace it would be to dishonor LotR and shovel it off to the public like Godzilla or Armageddon. So I was hoping that it would be fair, and not suck like most everything else Hollywood is jamming out ...

Now I have to wait another year for part 2 of 3 ... each Christmas will bring another LotR book installment brought to the silver screen ...

6 December 2001

If he doesn't eat, that's OK, it saves me . . . 40 cents a day

Federal prosecutors want to force-feed a former Tempe man who has been on a month-long hunger strike to protest his arrest in a worldwide anti-terrorism sweep last month. Peter Sexton, a U.S. assistant attorney, told a federal judge Monday that the government plans to file 20 more counts Thursday against Malek Seif, 36, and wants him to be healthy for a trial tentatively scheduled for about 30 days from now. Those charges would include stealing an identity and loan fraud.

The story has caught national attention and was the topic for discussion on the KTAR David Leibowitz program today. Mr. Seif is a French citizen originally from East Africa. Though suspected, he has not been charged with a crime related to the 9-11 attack, but was arrested in October for five felony counts, charged with providing false information to the Social Security Administration in 1999 and to the Federal Aviation Administration last year on questions about his name, ancestry and birthplace.

Should the federal government be able to force feed Mr. Seif and thus force an end to his hunger strike? Or should he be allowed to starve himself to death like legendary IRA hunger striker Bobby Sand in 1981?

And then there is the spectacle of Sheriff "PornoPurveyor" Joe, bragging about the 40 cents per day being saved ... Though, Arpaio did meet with Mr. Seif and reportedly attempted to persuade him to eat ..