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Member since: Fri Dec 16, 2011, 09:30 PM
Number of posts: 8,994

About Me

I'm a liberal looking to make a difference in politics.

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Can any Republican beat this flip-flop record?


Biden was wrong when he accused Paul Ryan of making two requests for stimulus funds.

Paul Ryan actually made FOUR requests, not two.


WASHINGTON -- During Thursday night's vice presidential debate, Vice President Joe Biden attacked Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) for criticizing the president's stimulus act despite having sent two separate requests for stimulus funds for his district.

Biden was wrong. Ryan sent at least four requests.

A Freedom of Information Act request for correspondence between Ryan's office and the Environmental Protection Agency, filed by The Huffington Post, unearthed two additional instances in which the Wisconsin Republican petitioned for American Recovery Act funds. In addition, there were many other occasions in which the GOP vice presidential nominee asked the EPA for grant money for projects in Wisconsin's 1st District, which encompasses Ryan's hometown of Janesville and has a slight Democratic lean. Combined, the letters muddy Ryan's claim that the stimulus wasn't helpful and that government spending, more broadly, doesn't assist small businesses.

The letters, Ryan's spokesman Brendan Buck said, were sent as part of the congressman's basic responsibility to advocate on behalf of his district. "Part of being a congressman is vouching for constituents and helping them navigate the federal bureaucracy when asked," he said.

But the letters' language reveals a congressman who was involved in reviewing the applications and determining that taxpayer money could be useful economically. Moreover, the direct petitioning of the EPA could prove awkward for the Republican ticket, owing to the insistence among many in the GOP that the agency is a hindrance and should be eliminated.

Globalism cannot survive without the exploitation of third world workers

The only reason globalism exists is to make wages cheaper by finding cheaper wages outside the country. Without the ability to find cheaper wages elsewhere, it's simply less expensive to produce what you need nearby.

Globalism is why the United States Government turned to Haiti and pressured them into keeping their peoples' wage increases low. The Haitian garment workers would be earning a lot more per hour right now if it weren't for American interference.

Our "God given" right to cheap goods comes at the expense of other peoples' livelihoods.


Contractors for Fruit of the Loom, Hanes and Levi’s worked in close concert with the US Embassy when they aggressively moved to block a minimum wage increase for Haitian assembly zone workers, the lowest-paid in the hemisphere, according to secret State Department cables.

The factory owners told the Haitian Parliament that they were willing to give workers a 9-cents-per-hour pay increase to 31 cents per hour to make T-shirts, bras and underwear for US clothing giants like Dockers and Nautica.

But the factory owners refused to pay 62 cents per hour, or $5 per day, as a measure unanimously passed by the Haitian Parliament in June 2009 would have mandated. And they had the vigorous backing of the US Agency for International Development and the US Embassy when they took that stand.

To resolve the impasse between the factory owners and Parliament, the State Department urged quick intervention by then Haitian President René Préval.

“A more visible and active engagement by Préval may be critical to resolving the issue of the minimum wage and its protest ‘spin-off’—or risk the political environment spiraling out of control,” argued US Ambassador Janet Sanderson in a June 10, 2009, cable back to Washington.

Two months later Préval negotiated a deal with Parliament to create a two-tiered minimum wage increase—one for the textile industry at about $3 per day and one for all other industrial and commercial sectors at about $5 per day.

Still the US Embassy wasn’t pleased. A deputy chief of mission, David E. Lindwall, said the $5 per day minimum “did not take economic reality into account” but was a populist measure aimed at appealing to “the unemployed and underpaid masses.”

Haitian advocates of the minimum wage argued that it was necessary to keep pace with inflation and alleviate the rising cost of living. As it is, Haiti is the poorest country in the hemisphere and the World Food Program estimates that as many as 3.3 million people in Haiti, a third of the population, are food insecure. In April 2008 Haiti was rocked by the so-called Clorox food riots, named after hunger so painful that it felt like bleach in your stomach.

According to a 2008 Worker Rights Consortium study, a family of one working member and two dependents needed at least 550 Haitian gourdes, or $12.50, per day to meet normal living expenses.

Myths from around the world


The irony meter explodes: Romney accuses Obama of being soft on China


PORTSMOUTH, Ohio - It was all about China for the Romney-Ryan ticket today, the two politicians hammering the Obama administration for delaying the release of a report that could label China a currency manipulator.

"I want to make sure that when people cheat, when they don't follow the rules in trade, we finally hold them accountable," Mitt Romney told a crowd of 3,000 who had gathered on a college quad to hear him speak.

"You know the president, the president has an opportunity, had an opportunity, was required as of last Friday to officially designate whether China is a currency manipulator," Romney said, going on to explain that being a currency manipulator means that a country is "artificially" holding down the value of its currency so the products it sells are less expensive than those made in other countries, and so that American companies making the same products go out of business.

"And yet over the past several years, the President's failed to call China a currency manipulator," Romney said. "He had the occasion on Friday to come out with that official designation. Do you know what they said? We're not going to make any determination until after the election.

In Rick Snyderland, no good deed ever goes unpunished


A number of offenses can get you in trouble at work: slacking off, not being a team player, tardiness, and so on. It's understandable if you're reprimanded for committing one of these. But a Detroit paramedic is in hot water for what seems to have been an act of kindness -- giving a blanket to a man who was cold.

Two weeks ago, a house caught fire, and the elderly man who lived there was brought outside wearing only his underwear. Paramedic Jeff Gaglio gave him a blanket. Then on Tuesday, Gaglio was informed that the department was bringing him up on charges for his action. Jerald James, chief of the Emergency Medical Service (EMS), who is responsible for Gaglio's punishment, said in defense of the charges, "We can't have an employee who feels that they have a right to give away state property without getting prior approval." In fact, his department and the city of Detroit are strapped for cash. However, it has also been revealed that the department did not pay for the blanket. The one that Gaglio gave away had been donated.

Gaglio explained his frustration to his local Fox station. "I'm being punished for giving a man a blanket. Something that would seem like a common everyday courtesy. Something that any man or woman would do in the city of Detroit."

The city's EMS is battling several problems in relation to its lack of cash, including being understaffed and using out-of-date ambulances. According to the Detroit News, the department brings in $8 million less than its operating budget, due to the number of uninsured Detroit residents who are unable to pay for services rendered.

So far, there's no word on what Gaglio's punishment might be, but with increasing media attention, whatever the department decides will be scrutinized. Looks as if the old adage "No good deed goes unpunished" might ring true in this case.

For the 500,000,000th time... Obama did not lose that debate.

You don't LOSE a debate when the other side is bum rushing with loads of lies and nonsense while reading from a cheat sheet.

Why do we keep letting this undead meme keep zombie walking its way across the DU? Put it down and double-tap it. Obama didn't lose that debate.

There is no such thing as "Those jobs aren't coming back" in manufacturing.

A country with a population of hundreds of millions, and that doesn't manufacture anything, is doomed to collapse. Its currency will lose value and when that happens the jobs will come back because the goods coming from that country will be ultra-cheap on the global market. This is a certainty. The jobs will come back.

And for the sake of such a populace, like America, low-end manufacturing must come back. The low-end of the tech industry - the $20/hour QA and low-end programming jobs - must make a major comeback.

For populations of that size, nothing else creates the sheer number of good paying jobs that will support a middle class lifestyle. There will never be enough knowledge industry jobs or high-level manufacturing jobs combined, to supply a population that big with enough middle class jobs. The service industry that has grown to supplant manufacturing is, inherently, an industry of very low paying jobs, with a smattering of job types that pay a lot. The service industry cannot, inherently, create enough high-end jobs to make up for the middle class jobs that have been lost.

Furthermore, a resurgence of low-end manufacturing jobs also puts upward pressure on wages simply because of the increase in middle-class jobs. When low wage service employees can just up and leave for better-paying factory jobs, employers are forced to both raise wages and improve working conditions. Instead of a proliferation of Wal Mart work environments you'll see the reverse: things moving more in the direction of the fabled "Google campus" style of employee pampering. It's called an employee's labor market, and we have had that before. We can have it again. Everything I just said about manufacturing, also applies to low-end tech. We must have a major resurgence of both to bring back the employee's labor market.

We have 10 million unemployed Americans and ten million more who are underemployed, and we have an employer's market that suppresses wages and enables employers to treat their workers like crap. This is not temporary. It's structural, and if we don't put to shame the lie that "those jobs aren't coming back"... it will not only be a permanent situation, but it will get worse.

It is extremely unlikely that there will be any new industries that produce as many middle class jobs as manufacturing and low-end tech did. New industries are producing fewer jobs and only a sliver of those few jobs are well-paying. It's called bifurcation, and it is happening to a far worse degree than ever before.

When the horse and buggy cart industry went byebye, the auto industry replaced it with a massive wave of job creation. Nothing like that is emerging now, nor will it within even the distantly foreseeable future - distant, as in decades out. You can take that to the bank: we have at least one entire generation of Americans coming up to find that most jobs are low paying and not capable of sustaining the cost of living. The nightmare of age discrimination, unfair employment credit checks, fighting for job connections and getting one's low-paying service industry resume noticed among a pile of thousands, will all look tame compared to the stresses of job hunting a generation from now. Sure, you'll still have your Mark Zuckerbergs 1%ers, but unless we have a major low-end tech/manufacturing resurgence, America's 99% will have it a lot harder than the 99% have it today.

Paul Ryan: burned in the third degree by a nice big steaming cup of Joe.

That is all.

It's gotten effing cold here, so it's coffee time for me and the missus. Time for Fair Trade?

I've been studying the Fair Trade movement for a while and it's time to give them the better of the doubt and give it a try. It's REALLY cold today so we went out and got some coffee. We can't really figure out where our coffee is REALLY coming from so we went with a fair trade label. In case anyone wants details, we got Seattle's Best Fair Trade Cert to go with Alter Eco Dark Quinoa chocolate, which was also certified Fair Trade.

I just can't tell if "American made" coffee was the result of abused, underpaid farm workers, and that's assuming "from the United States" coffee even exists. I can reasonably expect that Fair Trade will be slavery-free and exploitation-free.

Is Fair Trade in general the right choice here? A lot of it is imported but on the flip side it appears that labor exploitation and child exploitation are filtered out by Fair Trade certification. It looks like it balances out as far as I'm concerned. Are there any scandals that inexperienced folks should beware of?
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