Were we duped? – CBC Archives

Were we duped? – CBC Archives

These people bring up some points about the first Iraq war. Interesting!

I was one of the people pointing out this BS in the 90’s and I was called everything but a patriot. That was in the days before PCs and when I find my written word I will post it and illustrate that some of us were right and informed back in the “dark ages”.

Florida’s Crist Gets Engaged

NOw this puts a new turn on the Repub VP stakes.  Romney was my fav to be the VP only because Crist was a bachelor…that is about to change and so has my fav for the VP job.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist won’t be sleeping alone in the governor’s mansion much longer — he is engaged to a woman he met in New York City last September.

Crist, 51, asked Carole Rome to marry him Thursday morning, giving her a blue sapphire ring surrounded by diamonds.

She said yes.

“What a great way to celebrate America’s birthday,” said Crist, who has been mentioned as a potential running mate for Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

Rome, 38, is the president of her family’s New York-area Halloween costume company. Crist said they met at a dinner where he and friends were discussing fundraising. Crist was briefly married while in college but was divorced in less than a year.

Damn!  The things people will do to get a job.

Today In Labor History

06 July

The Homestead Strike. Pinkerton Guards, trying to pave the way for the introduction of scabs, opened fire on striking Carnegie mill steel- workers in Homestead, Pennsylvania. In the ensuing battle, three Pinkertons surrendered; then, unarmed, they were set upon and beaten by a mob of townspeople, most of them women. Seven guards and eleven strikers and spectators were shot to death. 1892

The Exxon Valdez Ruling

On June 25, the next-to-last day of the current term, the United States Supreme Court slashed the punitive damages judgment for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, which devastated Alaska’s Prince William Sound. The award was reduced from $2.5 billion to only $507.5 million—an amount equivalent to a few days’ profit for the giant oil company..

Exxon Mobil Corporation paid more than $1 billion to settle state and federal claims for environmental damages. The company went to trial in 1994, however, against a class action suit by over 32,000 individuals and small businesses devastated by the accident, predominantly commercial fishermen, native Alaskans and local landowners, who claimed that Exxon’s reckless conduct caused the accident

Just in case you are not old enough to remember the diaster:

Witnesses testified that before leaving port Hazlewood consumed five double-vodka drinks, an amount that would have rendered any non-alcoholic unconscious. When tested by the Coast Guard 11 hours after the accident Hazlewood still had a blood-alcohol level of .061, meaning that during the wreck his level was about three times the legal limit for driving a car.

As the ship approached a well-known reef, Hazlewood set the autopilot, increased speed and turned the ship over to a subordinate unlicensed to perform the maneuver necessary to avoid running aground. The Exxon Valdez hit the reef, spilling crude oil into Prince William Sound. Hazlewood then tried to “rock” the ship free, a procedure that spewed more oil and risked killing the crew.

The result was the largest oil spill in US history: 11 million gallons covering 11,000 square miles, including 1,300 miles of pristine shoreline. The spill devastated the local economy as well as the environment. Estimated losses in the sport fishing industry alone were almost $600 million over the two years following the accident. Within days an estimated 250,000 seabirds perished, along with thousands of otters and seals. Despite billions of dollars in cleanup, the environmental effects of the spill still linger. Much of the oil seeped below the surface of affected beaches, decaying at a rate of about three to four percent per year. Animals that dig in the sand for their food continue to be contaminated.

Now that that is out of the way.

The essence of this ruling is that it drastically reduces the power of punitive damages to deter the most harmful conduct of big business and makes it much more difficult for plaintiffs’ lawyers to finance costly and protracted litigation like the Exxon Valdez case. The court has taken what was once considered a big club for plaintiffs and their attorneys and whittled it into a toothpick.

Obama’s Patriotic Tour

Barely one month after sealing his victory in the primaries and with four months to go before the general election, the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama has embarked on a campaign swing that has the declared aim of proving his patriotism.

Obama kicked off his patriotism tour—set to run through the July 4th holiday—with a speech entitled “The America We Love,” delivered in Independence, Missouri. The site was chosen not merely for the town’s name, but to establish Obama’s connection with its most famous son—Harry Truman, the Democratic president who ordered atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Obama’s speech, ostensibly a reflection upon patriotism and “American values” in the run-up to July 4th, was a thoroughly reactionary address, in which words were carefully chosen to identify with themes generally associated with the Republican right and, at key points, to deliver a kick in the teeth to sections of left-liberal Democrats who have deluded themselves and sought to generate illusions in others about the real political character of his campaign.

Obama began his speech with a ritualistic reference to the “men of Lexington and Concord … our first patriots,” without a word to acknowledge that the democratic ideals embodied in the American Revolution and the guarantees of democratic rights written into the US Constitution have been subjected to a wholesale repudiation in practice by the current Republican administration in Washington.

Of course, the Democrats and Obama himself are fully complicit in this process. “How do we keep ourselves safe and secure while preserving our liberties?” the Democratic candidate asked rhetorically at one point in the speech. Obama offered no answer, but just the week before he announced his support for a bill legalizing the Bush administration’s domestic spying program, while offering blanket immunity to telecommunications companies that collaborated in the massive illegal warrantless wiretapping operation.

To me it is a little silly for anyone to have to prove their patriotism to anyone.  I guess this makes good copy for the 24 hour news stations.  It is either this or some car chase in Peoria.

SAG Gets “Final” Offer

US entertainment conglomerates organized in the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) made their “final offer” to the Screen Actors Guild on Monday, only hours before the expiration of the present contract at midnight. SAG has not asked its 120,000 members nationwide to authorize a strike.

In a message posted on its web site, SAG told its members that “work will continue and all SAG members should report to work and to audition for new work past the expiration date until further notice from the Guild.”

The AMPTP issued a statement asserting “Our final offer to SAG represents a final hope for avoiding further work stoppages and getting everyone back to work.” Members of the Alliance include Time Warner, Disney, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., General Electric’s NBC Universal, Viacom, CBS, Sony and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, among others.

AMPTP and SAG representatives were scheduled to meet Wednesday. The conglomerates arrogantly announced that they would answer questions on their ‘final’ proposal, but would not entertain any counter-proposals.

In line with general economic trends, the entertainment giants are determined to cut costs at the expense of the bulk of the industry’s workforce. A piece on “middle-income working actors” in the New York Times June 30 painted a grim picture: “Reality shows have crowded out scripted programs, comedies in particular. The studios are making fewer movies, and the ones they are making are less actor-driven. [Two of the current box office top ten are animated films; most of the others are simply ‘cartoonish.’] Networks like NBC have virtually stopped filming pilot episodes, meaning they are hiring fewer actors. Voice-over work, once a staple for less-known actors, is outsourced to other countries or given to A-list stars.”

If it is not accepted then look for more boring crap on TV–geez that means more Reality TV–oh goody!

More Economic Good News (Sarcasm)

Job losses in the US are mounting as inflation, the credit crunch, plunging home values and tighter family budgets are combining to produce a perfect storm of economic malaise, which is threatening the livelihoods of tens of millions of working people.

The private sector eliminated 79,000 jobs from May to June, according to a survey of nearly 400,000 US businesses released Wednesday by Automatic Data Processing, Inc. The ADP National Employment Report said the decline was “broad based across industrial sectors and suggests continued weakness in employment.”

The goods-producing sector slashed 76,000 jobs last month, ADP reported, with manufacturing employment falling by 44,000, marking their nineteenth and twenty-second consecutive monthly declines, respectively. Service jobs also declined by 3,000, the first fall-off since November 2002.

Construction and financial services related to home sales and lending are the two sectors of the economy hardest hit by the housing and mortgage crises. In June, ADP reported, construction employment dropped by an additional 34,000 jobs, marking the nineteenth straight monthly decline. A staggering 349,000 construction jobs have been lost since the peak of August 2006. Three thousand jobs in financial services were also lost in June.

One thing to watch is the price of gold–if it continues to rise it is good indication that the indicators will predict a deeping recession.  Sorry, but there is no good news for the middle class in the economy.

Politics Of Patriotism

Susan Estrich wrote an interesting article on patriotism:

Should John McCain have to “defend” his military record? Of course not. But the fact that he served in the military, with distinction, does not mean he’s qualified to be president.

Should Barack Obama have to explain why he didn’t serve in the military or somehow apologize for it? Of course not. Most people of his generation did not serve in the military. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Condi Rice did not see any active duty, although all of them are older. So what?

Democrats learned four years ago that choosing a candidate with a record of service in combat is no guarantee of anything. John Kerry’s military record became one more piece of ammunition for the supposedly independent mud fight that defined the election. The defenders of the mud fight said it was Kerry’s own fault because he interjected his military record front and center into the campaign. (Remember that line at the convention about Lt. Kerry “reporting for duty”?) By that logic, Democrats have a right to question McCain, who makes Kerry look like a piker when it comes to playing the military card, but Republicans have no right to question Obama, who has hewn to the George W. Bush approach of talking about other things.

This week’s round of punching and counterpunching began with comments by retired Gen. Wesley Clark, an Obama supporter, that made the very same point I just did: Serving in the military, as honorable as it is, doesn’t mean that you’re more qualified to be president. “I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president,” Clark said.

I think the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth said something very much like that about John Kerry captaining a Swift boat. Actually, what they said was much worse. They questioned John Kerry’s record and turned it into an issue of character. No one has done that to McCain, at least no one with any association to Obama. Can you imagine what McCain would say if someone did?

In politics, we always spend more time on the question of who started the fight and whether it’s actually an intentional fight than whether there is anything worth fighting about. So it is with the candidates’ patriotism. In other contexts, one might point out fairly that experience as a prisoner of war leaves scars that last for a lifetime. But if any Democrat within a mile of Barack Obama even suggests as much, that person will be thrown overboard faster than you can say Samantha Power (who was thrown overboard, you may remember, for telling a foreign newspaper that she thought Hillary Clinton was “a monster”). If Gen. Wesley Clark can’t make what should be the obvious point — that military service doesn’t qualify a person for the presidency — imagine the backlash if anyone actually raised questions about the impact of McCain’s stint as a POW?