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In its statistics Germany does not exclude long-term unemployed from the work force, as the US does to artifically lower the rate. U3 in the US is at around 17 percent, if I'm not mistaken (the measure that includes long-term unemployed and involuntarily part-time employed). US U1 unemployment would be higher if measured by German methods. Despite this, US defines a larger work force than Germany. So direct comparisons are misleading.
At any rate, go there and you see the vast majority of people including the poor and unemployed live a lot better than they do here, without the same constant anxiety, and with much better working hours and conditions. (German work ethic, sure, but the hours are the best, meaning lowest, in the OECD.)
Posted by JackRiddler | Wed Feb 29, 2012, 01:45 PM (1 replies)
It should be noted this is also thanks to the euro exposing the other EU markets directly to the German manufacturing advantage. It was incredibly reckless for the EU periphery countries to have joined the single currency and thus lost the ability to protect their markets and maintain self-sufficiency and national interest. Reckless for the peoples, but profitable for enough elites that these countries chose a self-destructive path.
It's appalling to see the Germans, who have benefitted from the euro so exorbitantly (among other things it's also kept their products cheaper for non-EU markets), and whose success is not entirely due to work virtues (size certainly makes a difference), now complaining about the costs of maintaining the system that has done so much for their prosperity, and casting aspersions on Greeks, Italians, Spaniards and Irish.
Posted by JackRiddler | Wed Feb 29, 2012, 01:39 PM (2 replies)
and the unprecedented and unconstitutional Supreme Court decision that stopped the recount that would have confirmed Gore's victory. Although he was not one of the perpetrators of the 2000 coup d'etat in the United States, it's time he apologized to make you feel better. Since those who actually committed the coup and went on to perpetrate war crimes and genocide in South Asia aren't apologizing, and have been rewarded for their crimes with continued freedom and material prosperity, and are always plotting their way back into power.
A criminal cabal stole the election and seized your government, ending the pretense to democracy. It surely hurts, and the denial must run deep. How much easier to beat up on a legitimate but not powerful third-party candidate, even though he had nothing to do with the criminal events.
But there's no excuse for this. Focus on the crime and the criminals, not the bystander who annoys you. Let go of your denial.
Posted by JackRiddler | Wed Feb 29, 2012, 01:34 PM (4 replies)
Today, on Democracy Now:
GLENN GREENWALD: Well, what’s so bizarre is that if you listen to the media, you would see Iran as this sort of irrational aggressor, this country that is just kind of lashing out arbitrarily at other nations, and specifically at Israel and the United States, for no reason. And what’s so amazing about that is it completely ignores the context of what the United States and Israel have been doing to Iran for the last several years.
Then he describes how it doesn't appear that the top levels of the Obama admin want a military conflict with Iran and are not beating the drums of war, but are demonizing Iran and orchestrating sanctions. So what's with the constant propaganda that recalls the Bush-era WMD push prior to US-UK launching the aggressive war on Iraq in 2003?
GLENN GREENWALD: I think what you’re seeing is the military—the American media speaks to people other than top-level Obama administration officials. They speak to Israeli officials. They speak to neoconservatives who are very much in positions of influence. They speak to other people who are probably hawkish within the Obama administration, who do seem to want a confrontation with Iran. And the American media is leading the way, as usual, in demonizing Iran, in ratcheting up fear levels. There was an extraordinarily irresponsible report yesterday from ABC News, Diane Sawyer and Brian Ross, claiming that synagogues and other Jewish facilities in New York City and around the country are now targets of Iranian terror, even though there is zero evidence for any sort of claim like that. There are now claims from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post that Iran has an operational relationship with al-Qaeda. And so, what you see is exactly the same kind of techniques—they’re not even hiding it—that were used to lead the nation to war in 2002 and 2003 are now being employed for Iran.
Posted by JackRiddler | Thu Feb 16, 2012, 06:24 PM (16 replies)
They didn't need to plant them because the criminals got what they wanted just by lying about WMD. They knew well from experience that afterward they could just make up new lies that the American people would also swallow or tolerate. They knew that 10 years later, even after the lies were exposed, none of them would get the noose, all of them would live comfortably in prosperity.
Finally, they knew that while Americans would believe it all, if they planted WMDs they would be exposed for it to the rest of the world.
The simple and short answer is, it was impossible.
No less an authority than Scott Ritter explained to me why that was in early 2003, before the US invasion.
Under the UN disarmament program, of which he was the field commander until 1998, likely all Iraqi WMDs and at least 95% of the capacity for manufacturing them were destroyed, confirmably, by 1998.
Ritter's team had documented how Iraq acquired or manufactured the weapons and how they were disposed. Since the stockpiles had been substantial and the program complex and secret, some munitions or chemicals might have slipped through their net more or less by chance, but it was questionable whether even the Iraqi military could still find these minor stores.
The story is told at length in Ritter's 2003 film, "In Shifting Sands."
The major powers and the UN all knew that Iraq had no WMDs -- more importantly, they knew that Iraq's capacity to make WMDs had been eliminated. They knew that any stores that might have been missed were no threat.
But acknowledging this meant the end of the UN sanctions program. In Aug. 1998, Ritter's boss Butler called upon him instead to back a Clinton plan to claim Iraq was still in violation. Butler told him the Americans wanted to issue an ultimatum and commence bombing.
Ritter resigned, a few weeks before the "Desert Fox" bombings of Dec. 1998.
Unlike with the domestic sites of 9/11, even after an invasion the US could not control the Iraqi crime scene.
The US could never invade Iraq against widespread opposition among the major powers and then credibly claim to have found WMDs, unless these were presented to UN and international inspection. At that point, fakery would be impossible.
As Ritter explained, starting from scratch in 2003, you cannot plant Iraqi-made poison gas of the 1994 vintage and credibly age it nine years in a fashion that will fool the UN chemists.
Ritter was prophetic. He had contacted every office in Congress with an ironclad case that no WMDs existed and that the invasion propaganda was demonstrably false, but unfortunately he was unable to sway the Iraq war vote in any way (and he also went completely unacknowledged after the invasion, when he was proven right on every point).
To our group in 2003, Ritter predicted that after the invasion, we would hear repeated announcements that WMD were in fact found, until most people would come to believe it even after each and every discovery was refuted and retracted.
This is what happened.
The even shorter answer is itself question: Was discovering WMD a necessity for invading Iraq?
Could you have predicted beforehand that it wouldn't have been, that the flow of events after an invasion would cause the question to recede and give rise to other justifications for the invasion? Yes.
"Well we're in there now, we have to stay in!"
And so it went.
So your initial premise is flawed, and cannot support any of what follows. Sorry.
Posted by JackRiddler | Fri Feb 10, 2012, 09:42 PM (0 replies)
Saddam was a very bad man. And yet not every accusation leveled at him was true. And some accusations against him were invented to commit a crime against the Iraqi people that was even worse than what Saddam had done to them already.
Those who deconstructed these false accusations did not therefore defend Saddam's other bad acts, or hate the USA.
People here can bloody well distinguish between a bad Iranian regime (which has only grown worse thanks to Western pressures) and the idea that war is not the solution. They're just not going to participate in the demonization and manufactured propaganda that goes together with the push to war.
The most important thing Americans (and that is what most of us are) can do right now to help Iranians is to oppose the plots for starting a war on Iran, which will make everything worse. This is not support for the Iranian regime. And that you flip this somehow into "hating the USA" is triply disgusting.
And funny, because the one who seems incapable of expressing outrage without literally demanding that we "hate" - as a requirement to be considered liberal, no less - is you.
Posted by JackRiddler | Wed Feb 8, 2012, 09:17 PM (1 replies)
Before we go on: Provide evidence for your astonishing claim that the radical Shi'a government of Iran is supplying its old enemies, the Sunni radical Taliban. Or correct yourself. It's on you as the one making the claim.
At the time the USG launched the aggressive invasion of Iraq, USG was also declaring that Iran was part of an "Axis of Evil." The USG threat to wage war on Iran was all-too credible. It started before the election of Ahmedinejad, at a time when the moderate Khatami was president. The superpower showed it had the will and ability to commit mass murder without needing any credible pretext and even when almost all of its allies were in opposition.
It's as if a galactic superpower blew up Canada and threatened to blow up your country next. Logically, you would find yourself some allies in Canada.
If the US had not committed the worst crime of this century in Iraq, then Iran would have had neither the opportunity nor the incentive, in self-defense, to be involved in Iraq. Yet some of those same Shi'a militias, especially the government-near ones, are also backed by the US. Interesting, no? I guess your black-and-white view of the world doesn't go that far.
As long as the occupying power of Israel maintains Gaza as an open-air prison and claims a right to murder the people there at any time in the streets, there will be a Hamas fighting back. Too bad if they turn to Iran for supplies.
Iran has not attacked any country and will not attack Israel, whereas Israel has stated a desire to attack Iran, and (speaking of proxies) is lobbying for others to attack Iran. Once again, the pretext (in this case, more "weapons of mass destruction") is known to be fabricated.
The USG must stop threatening Iran and condemn the Israeli push for war at all costs. The way of threats and sanctions has failed. An opening will come through negotiations and engagement.
Posted by JackRiddler | Wed Feb 8, 2012, 05:12 PM (2 replies)
should not be a disqualification in this matter. They are interested parties, soldiers for whatever side hires them who will never argue against what their client expects them to do.
Furthermore, civil law is not like the laws of physics; it's defined as much in the struggle as in the supposed principle. Being an IP attorney is not in itself impressive. You still have to make a credible argument.
Abuses of intellectual property claims are rampant. The common sense in this case, that "for the cure" is a grammatical combination of three generic and ancient English words that preceded the Komen foundation, and that these words without the Komen name do not automatically denote Komen, easily trumps the sophistry that would assign the phrase to an owner.
Komen never fails to use the full name of the foundation. That's all they should have a trademark for.
Unrelated: I agree with whoever here said that no matter who is using it, the phrase is nonsense and misleading. You may be paying for care and measures to help people survive, but you're not paying "for the cure."
Posted by JackRiddler | Sat Feb 4, 2012, 06:22 PM (0 replies)
1) "for the cure" is an English phrase that Komen did not invent and should not own
2) there is a reason they call themselves Susan G Komen for the Cure, and not just "For the Cure," to distinguish the name; and it is the same reason that other charities call themselves ___Specific Name___ for the Cure. There is no reason that people should confuse the two.
In fact, when others say "for the cure" they will often remind people of the more famous Komen charity, thus raising Komen's profile and revenues.
Until, that is, Komen shows itself to be foolish and uncharitable by bringing such cases against smaller charities.
Posted by JackRiddler | Sat Feb 4, 2012, 05:47 PM (1 replies)
Everyone! If you haven't, you should watch the excellen tEnron documentary, "The Smartest Guys In the Room."
The examples of both the Kochs and Enron illustrate what happens when neoliberal principles predominate: Money becomes speech. Capital is allowed to commit any fraud and is celebrated and rewarded for it.
Both are examples of actors who acknowledge no moral limits and happily plunder society, even at the cost of destroying it. Understanding that is more important than a comparison of the relative damage done by each. But since you brought it up, let's have a look.
The Kochs have been wreaking their destruction since the days of the Powell memo in 1971, as part of a larger cabal of money-men behind the "conservative" (radical capitalist and Christianist) movements. Nowadays they are on a legislative and political rampage, at the height of their personal influence in part because these movements have peaked. The Kochs are exposed and forced to spend more money than ever to maintain their political campaigns.
Enron's shorter period of political and economic influence probably cannot be matched by any other entity for the sheer destructive innovation:
- lobbied aggressively and won a massive deregulation of markets
- thereupon practically invented the market for energy price fraud, price-gouging and arbitrage
- helped revolutionize accounting and banking fraud in a myriad of ways, setting up hundreds of offshore scam companies with the lead bankster entities like Citigroup as key participants (unindicted, as always)
In short, Enron was pathbreaking: a model.
- probably the number one contributor to the candidacy of Bush in 2000 (what could match this for destructiveness?)
- provided free air support for the Bush side of the Florida 2000 election heist.
- key participants in the early-2001, still-classified Cheney energy meetings, where the neocon wars including Iraq were prepared
Eager to Tap Iraq’s Vast Oil Reserves, Industry Execs Suggested Invasion
And, as a final act, following the bankruptcy, exposure of the scam, demise of Arthur Anderson and Enron, and indictment of the Enron principals, investors in Enron who were at risk from California's plans to seize back some of the billions that Lay and Co. had ripped off bankrolled the destruction of Gov. Gray Davis and the recall that brought Schwarzenegger to office.
Business as usual is the truly destructive force that guides Enron and the Kochs. Their corporate ventures in the energy economy do at least as much damage to the world as the political ventures they finance with the profits.
Posted by JackRiddler | Sat Feb 4, 2012, 03:22 PM (2 replies)