27 December 2004

In today’s world the Potters are beating the Baileys

If you've never seen It's a Wonderful Life, this little snippet might not make any sense. But has anyone not seen the fabled Christmas classic?
Old man Potter dismissed the Bailey Savings and Loan as a kind of privatized social welfare program for dumb poor workers who couldn’t cut it on their own. “And what does that get us,” he asked? “A discontented, lazy rabble instead of a thrifty working class. And all because a few starry eyed dreamers stir them up and fill their heads with a lot of impossible ideas? Don’t the Rush Limbaughs or Tom Delays say the same thing today?

Labor laws, social welfare, retirement benefits, guaranteed healthcare, workplace safety laws, consumer protection--all are dismissed by our modern Potters as so much misplaced sympathy offered to the undeserving by the foolishly starry eyed, thinking that is at best naďve and at worst dangerous. Any mention of social welfare on AM radio is now associated with Bolshevik Socialism – want to give workers a guaranteed living wage or put any limits at all on the worst excesses of the market and you’re labeled as an advocate of Gulags and death camps.

George, of course, argued back. “Just remember this, Mr. Potter,” he retorted, “that this rabble you’re talking about, they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath?” Today he could add: is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die with decent healthcare, affordable housing, quality education for their kids and the sure knowledge that when old age comes, there will be some comforts to look forward to?

Where are all the George Bailey's today? Isn't the evil old Mr. Potter the epitomy of pure unadulterated capitalism and the archetypal conservative?

23 December 2004

The idea that somebody would spend $50,000 for a cat when they can go to any shelter and rescue one is absurd

Woman pays $50,000 for a clone of her cat Nicky.
The creation and subsequent sale of Little Nicky is the first commercial transaction of a cloned pet by the Sausalito-based biotechnology company Genetic Savings and Clone. Critics fear the purchaser of the copied cat could be the first of a stampede of bereft pet owners.

The only detectable difference between the 9-week-old kitten and its predecessor, according to the owner, is the $50,000 cost.

"I see absolutely no differences between Little Nicky and Nicky," gushed the new owner, Julie, shortly after the transaction. An airline employee in her 40s, the resident of Dallas requested that her last name not be used. "When Little Nicky yawned, I even saw two spots inside his mouth -- just like Nicky had."

What a twisted world we inhabit, where let alone the fact that thousands of domesticated pets are euthanized, children starve as food rots in warehouses. Capitalism is a instituted system devoid of morals and values.

15 December 2004

Afghanistan is a chaotic mess ruled by warlords, drug kingpins, and the Taliban, which is alive and well

What's happening in that other place in the world we invaded a few years ago? It seems Americans are spending a great deal of money on a state head that resembles more of a mayor, a very expensive mayor.
Warlords, who control 80% of the nation, were bribed with tens of millions to give at least tacit support to Karzai. Afghanistan's majority, the Pushtun, were represented only by a few minor candidates without any political base. The most important Pushtun leader, Gulbadin Hekmatyar, declared a "terrorist" in 2002 for opposing the U.S. invasion, was, of course, excluded.

Afghanistan's new "democratic" president is the world's most expensive mayor. Karzai rules only downtown Kabul, protected by 200 U.S. bodyguards, 17,000 U.S. troops and a token NATO force that includes Canadians. It costs Washington $1.6 billion US monthly to keep Karzai in power. Without the foreign troops' bayonets, Karzai's little puppet regime would quickly be swept away.

The real power behind figurehead Karzai is the Northern Alliance, the rump of the old Afghan Communist Party, made up of Tajiks and Uzbeks.

13 December 2004

Shades of our last years in Vietnam

America's most decorated living soldier sounds off on the growing need for a military draft.
By the end of this recruiting year, the Regular Army, Reserves and Guard could fall short more than 50 percent of its projected requirement, or about 60,000 new soldiers. And according to many recruiters, quality recruits are giving way to mental midgets who have a hard time telling their left foot from their right.

“The bottom line is that Recruiting Command is in trouble,” says another recruiter with almost 30 years of service. “The Army has re-instituted ‘stop loss,’ which is basically a backdoor draft. They’re stopping people from retiring or completing their enlistment and leaving the Army. They do this fairly often, mostly in August and September, depending upon how far behind they believe they’ll be at the end of September.

Maybe the U.S. can stem the need to enlist Americans into overseas imperialistic campaigns in lieu of immigrants eager to earn American citizenship by proving their mettle on the battlefield.

Or perhaps we can depend on robot grunts to perform the prescribed killings. Less moral conflict with machines wreaking death and destruction on those less fortunate to be placed in the path.

1 December 2004

Our modern version of Marie Antoinette

Courtesy of Rob Sanchez Job Destruction Newsletter, noting the blatant doublespeak of Hewlett Packard head Carly Fiorina, who while lobbying for the recently passed increase of non immigrant visa workers, is axing workers from the HP payroll.
While Carly is busy lobbying for more H-1Bs, HP is planning on firing thousands of employees. If there is a shortage of skilled American workers as she claims, you would think HP would hold onto everyone they hired. Could it be that their HR department was stupid enough to hire unskilled Americans that can't handle the jobs they were hired for? If the answer is yes to that question, I hope that HP is firing their entire HR department for incompetence.

Carly's managing style at HP will fit right in with her political ambitions. Rumor has it that Carly wants to join the Bush administration as labor secretary. Many HP workers said that they voted for Bush just to get rid of Carly. That may have been a big mistake because she can do far more damage as labor secretary than she ever could at HP.

The complete sellout of the American worker continues unabated. It's everywhere in corporate America, and opportunity has been snatched away from Americans in a avaricious campaign for cheap labor by corporate chieftains.

Last week I interviewed a young candidate for a support programmer position. He had the appropriate university training, but lacked professional experience and was earnestly trying to get into the field he studied for. However, most all of this work (large system development and support) has been apportioned to offshore vendors, done in foreign locales or by non immigrant visa workers imported here to the States. And the strategic stance of most all corporate IT departments is to move all coding work to offshore vendors. Offshoring and importing of non immigrant visa workers go hand in hand. Everytime I hear one of these lobbyists or CEOs proclaim about a shortage of qualified professionals, I want to scream. Then my stomach churns as I witness the sycophant politicians obediently screwing American workers and selling out our once proud birthright.

But American voters keep sending the same legislators and president back, to receive more economic punishment, enamored with jingoistic rhetoric despite the factual data that speaks to the contrary.