Here’s an interesting analysis. I took this right out of the Wired Magazine article that I mentioned in my “Jobs are not Us” post.

“Agriculture jobs provided decent livelihoods for at least 80 years before the rules changed and working in the factory became the norm. Those industrial jobs endured for 40 some years before the twin pressures of cheap competition overseas and labor-saving automation at home rewrote the rules again. IT jobs – the kind of high-skill knowledge work that was supposed to be our future – are facing the same sort of realignment after only 20 years or so. The upheaval is occuring not across generations, but within individual careers.”

– Daniel H. Pink / Wired Magazine Feb-2004

 

I’ve been noticing this, but what I think is more alarming is the cheap mobility of intellectual property and the huge, cheap labor forces available to produce it. There is no shipping cost to moving production overseas when all that being produced is information. And that goes for anything that can be transmitted electronically, including any kind of accounting, financial analysis, designs such as schematics, blue-prints, artist-concepts, finite element models… the list goes on. It’s not just IT, it doesn’t look like any of the white colar world is safe anymore.

I suppose it’s inevitable, and in a global sense, it probably represents an equalization of income that you may even go so far as to call a universal justice, but if the government is watching out for the American people then I think it would be a good idea to slow the process down a little so the American people can get half a chance to adjust. It’s fine for the technicians in India to make $11,000/year if that buys them a decent life in India, but $11,000/year ain’t gonna buy shit in America. American workers could really use some protection right now.

Of course the decrease in wages will eventually bring lower prices on goods and services, but not without an overlap that will have a squeezing effect on American consumers that will shed enough debt to feed an investment frenzy. But on the other end, will Americans still have to pay 5 times more for pharmacueticals than people in other countries? Only as long as we have collateral…

If nothing else, it would be nice if there was some kind of managed approach to handling the inevitable downsizing of American consumerism where the human and social interests of American people are not up for sale.

I’m trying to understand this one. The detainees in Guantanamo Bay. Rumsfeld called them “the most dangerous, best-trained vicious killers on the face of the earth.”

Dick Cheney said these detainees are “devoted to killing millions of Americans.” I agree that people like that should be contained… (or executed actually, which is where I differ from AI). But I don’t understand the advantage of moving the entire process from the judicial branch to the executive branch.

Anyway, despite all this, several detainees have been released without charge. Apparently, Rumsfeld and Cheney were wrong about some of them. (whoops.)Well this is where I start asking questions. Think about the man who has the misfortune to be mistaken. Seems more likely to happen inside the tension of war and excluded from the cost of judicial process. How long was he detained? – Two years? – What were the conditions? – Brutal?
That just doesn’t seem right to me. I just can’t get myself to believe that any such message could ever affect the most dangerous, best-trained vicious killers on the face of the earth. I don’t know why Camp Delta exists. Maybe it’s a stress crack from the strains of a distorted government.

 

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, some of them have been brutalized in these cages for two years without charge, trial or legal council.
Now the president, since he owns Camp Delta, is telling the Red Cross to fuck themselves. (I bet those exact words were heared in the halls of the west wing, comming from someone.) So anyway, I assume the value of whatever is being achieved is greater than the value of the lives of perhaps several innocent people. Maybe it’s a message to all the “terrorists” of the world and of course if the real message is addressed to the “enemies of the executive office”, then the executive owned military commission makes all the sense in the world.

Regardless of politics and motives, the obvious thing is that the US government is a human rights violator. Bush himself said these guys are killers “that don’t share the same value system we share”. I guess that means that they aren’t human enough to be eligible for things like human rights. I gotta believe he is serious about this because many of the human rights laws are based on legal status, such as POW, and the white house is refusing to establish legal status.

I really think that these detainees should get legal status, even if it means inventing a new status for terrorists. At least shake out the POWs and let the world know they can treat American POWs humanely. I mean isn’t that an important message to send out too?

If the detainee is really a terrorist, then I personally do not sympathize with him, but I am still concerned about the violations based on principal. I think humans are capable of containing and/or executing terrorists, we don’t need to become monsters to do the job.

As I got more cynical about the world, I always found it a comfort to note in the human rights reports, that the list of human rights violations in the US, was always limited to capital punishment for criminals, which under some circumstances, I support. It’s a drag to see my country in there now for the violation of so many conventions, including Geneva and the even our own U.S. Constitution.

USA-Action

28. January 2004 · Categories: Environment, Politics · Tags: ,

Just read about this on the NRDC site…

NRDC and other environmental groups leaked a draft Environmental Protection Agency proposal that would weaken and delay efforts to clean up mercury emissions from America’s coal-fired power plants. The article goes on to explain that those 1,100 facilities are the largest unregulated industrial sources of mercury contamination in the country, spewing 50 tons of the poison — roughly 40 percent of U.S. industrial mercury emissions — into the air each year.

EPA administrator Mike Leavitt defended the draft proposal as an emissions cap-and-trade program similar to the one that has reduced acid rain…

I don’t know much about the reduction of acid rain, but I can see the bullshit factor in the cap-and-trade program. I’ve read that when such programs were first installed some of the big polluters actually created small green energy companies that don’t make a lot of money but are real good for saving pollution credits that the parent companies can buy. I’m assuming the pollution credits are cheaper than the cost of actually cleaning up.

Apparently, the proposal is to downgrade mercury from being regulated as a “hazardous” pollutant to one that requires less stringent pollution controls. By doing so, the EPA’s “cap” would allow nearly seven times more annual mercury emissions over a period five times longer than current law.

NRDC points out that an emissions trading program would allow “hot spots” of mercury contamination in the lakes and rivers neighboring plants that buy pollution credits instead of reducing their mercury emissions. See what I mean?

I mean why is this not a big deal for conservatives? Check this out…

* According to the EPA, toxic mercury emissions from power plants put 300,000 newborns each year at risk for neurological impairment.
* Nearly 5 million American women of childbearing age have mercury in their blood above EPA’s “safe” level.
* Mercury pollution has contaminated 12 million acres of lakes, estuaries and wetlands — 30 percent of the national total — and 473,000 miles of streams, rivers and coastlines.
* Last year, 44 states and territories issued warnings about eating mercury-contaminated fish, a 63 percent jump from 1993.

* Seventeen states have mercury warnings for every inland water body, while 11 states issue warnings for mercury in their coastal waters.

I just don’t understand why people are so much more worried about terrorists when on average terrorists never manage to kill more than a handful of Americans a year. (The 3,000 on 9/11 was by far the largest killing ever by terrorists in 300 years of history, but even if 3,000 were killed every year, it still wouldn’t add up to millions, and pollution is a confirmed killer of millions every year.

Then I read things like this…

According to the Center for Responsive Politics ), the energy industry gave more than $48 million to the Republican Party in the 2000 election cycle; $3 million of that went to the Bush-Cheney campaign.

  • American Electric Power, Southern Co. ($1.6 million to GOP in 2000 cycle)
  • Reliant Energy (nearly $445,000 to GOP)
  • Dominion Resources ($560,000 to GOP)

    Along with the government-owned Tennessee Valley Authority, these corporations were responsible for one-third of all U.S. electric utility mercury emissions that year and American Electric Power alone released 10 percent of all power-plant mercury emissions. The above four companies also were among the beneficiaries of the recent EPA ruling that essentially repealed the Clean Air Act provision requiring power plants to install modern-day pollution controls if they increased emissions when upgrading their plants.

    I guess it’s all about money.

  • “Child’s Play” is the name of the latest ad that CBS is refusing to air. The ad suggests that today’s children will be the ones paying for Bush’s trillion dollar deficit. I think the ad is brief, straight to the point without being abrasive. It doesn’t seem to be as much a “bash Bush” ad as much as a simple “we need to ask questions” ad. I don’t understand why CBS refuses to air it – CBS doesn’t seem to have problems with beer and tobacco and ads from the white house…

    Anyway check out the ad…

    http://www.moveon.org/cbs/ad/

    Here’s something I’ve heared a hundred times… “…Yeah, but the rich pay way more taxes than anyone else…” Words dispensed as indisputable evidence that the rich deserve the tax breaks being delivered by the Bush administration. Of course they’re talking about income tax and it’s true, the rich have been paying more income tax, but is that unfair? Maybe we need to look at the bigger picture.

    Here’s another quote…

    “Ultimately, we are interested in the question of relative standards of living and economic well-being. We need to examine trends in the distribution of wealth, which, more fundamentally than earnings or income, represents a measure of the ability of households to consume.”– Alan Greenspan.

    Ah, so now we start to see two different measurements, income and wealth. A little more research and I discovered that compared to income, wealth is hardly taxed at all. This reveals a huge blindspot in the “rich need breaks” perception. But it’s not until you start looking at the difference between the distribution of income and the distribution of wealth that you really start to see the magnitude of the injustice.

    These statistics were taken from the Survey of Consumer Finances sponsered by the Federal Reserve Board and ranks Americans by total wealth showing their share of national income and non-income wealth (investments etc…)

    Income Wealth
    Highest 20% 47.2% 84.3%
    4th 20% 23.0% 10.8%
    3rd 20% 15.7% 4.4%
    2nd 20% 9.9% 1.0%
    Lowest 20% 4.2% -.5%

     

    Looking at these numbers, it’s easy to see that even if the rich do pay more taxes on income, which they do simply by virtue of having more income to tax, it still doesn’t have nearly the same impact on their relative standard of living and economic well-being as it does for the bottom 50% who can’t offset the discount on their income with accumulated wealth. In fact the bottom 20% are actually in debt, so not only do they have no money to offset the deductions on their income, but the taxes impede their ability to pay off their debt.

    If Alan Greenspan is right and the more representative measure of our ability to consume is wealth not income, then it seems to me that wealth should be taxed more and income taxed less, that is, as long as we are insisting that we live in a society where everyone pulls their own weight.