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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 70,085

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Time & Karma

Letter from Chinese Laborer Pleading for Help Found in Halloween Decorations

Letter from Chinese Laborer Pleading for Help Found in Halloween Decorations


The letter reads: "Sir, if you occasionally buy this product, please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization. Thousands people here who are under the persecution of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever."

"I was so frustrated that this letter had been sitting in storage for over a year, that this person had written this plea for help and nothing had come of it." Julie Keith told Yahoo! Shine. "Then I was shocked. This person had probably risked their life to get this letter in this package."

The letter describes the conditions at the factory: "People who work here have to work 15 hours a day without Saturday, Sunday break and any holidays. Otherwise, they will suffer torturement, beat and rude remark. Nearly no payment (10 yuan/1 month)." That translates to about $1.61 a month.

Keith, a mom who works at the Goodwill in Portland, Oregon, did some research into the letter. "I looked up this labor camp on the internet. Some horrific images popped up, and there were also testimonials about people who had lived through this camp. It was just awful."




The important thing now is to make the Republicans pay the price for being obstinate

......... If Republicans are being intransigent and the American people want compromise, then, in theory, the Republicans will get blamed. And that does seem to be happening: The GOP polls terribly, and they lost the 2012 election.

But at the elite level — which encompasses everyone from CEOs to media professionals — there’s a desire to keep up good relations on both sides of the aisle. And so it’s safer, when things are going wrong, to offer an anodyne criticism that offends nobody — “both sides should come together!” — then to actually blame one side or the other. It’s a way to be angry about Washington’s failure without alienating anyone powerful. That goes doubly for commercial actors, like Starbucks, that need to sell coffee to both Republicans and Democrats.

That breaks the system. It hurts the basic mechanism of accountability, which is the public’s ability to apportion blame. If one side’s intransigence will lead to both sides getting blamed, then it makes perfect sense to be intransigent: You’ll get all the benefits and only half the blame.

The two parties are not equivalent right now. The two sides are not the same. If you want Washington to come together, you need to make it painful for those who are breaking it apart. Telling both sides to come together when it’s predominantly one side breaking the negotiations apart actually makes it easier on those who’re refusing to compromise.


Fiscal Cliff: No One Is Going To Cry For Repukes When They Lose Ability To Obstruct In Next Congress

The Cliff, the Deal, and the Filibuster
by BooMan
Fri Dec 28th, 2012 at 09:07:05 PM EST


In any case, while we're in the subject of the filibuster, it's helpful to keep it in mind as we go careening off the fiscal cliff. In his statement tonight, the president said that he was cautiously optimistic that a deal could still be reached but that, if no deal came into place, he would ask Harry Reid to bring a basic bill to the floor for an up or down vote.

...I expect a bill to go on the floor -- and I've asked Senator Reid to do this -- put a bill on the floor that makes sure that taxes on middle-class families don’t go up, that unemployment insurance is still available for two million people, and that lays the groundwork, then, for additional deficit reduction and economic growth steps that we can take in the New Year.

Normally, the Republicans would filibuster a bill like this. However, they have a number of considerations that are not normally in play. Number one is the clock. The act of filibustering is actually the act of not agreeing to a motion to proceed. That forces the Majority Leader to invoke cloture which takes time to 'ripen.' Specifically, the cloture petition is ignored for one full-day, so one filed on Monday cannot be voted on until Wednesday. If the Republicans don't agree to an up or down vote on Sunday (the 30th of December) they will have effectively stalled the process through to the cliff. Do they want to do that?

And, if they are worried that the Democrats might have the momentum and unity to change the filibuster rules, using a high profile filibuster at the end of this Congress (in direct defiance of the president) would probably remove any doubt about the matter.

Of course, even if Harry Reid passes a bill in the Senate, that doesn't mean that John Boehner will be willing or able to match him in the House. But that creates a further conundrum from Mitch McConnell. Does he filibuster and take all the blame, or does he dump it all in Boehner's lap, split the Republicans, and lose the message war?

One thing is for sure. If there is no deal and there is a filibuster in the Senate, no one is going to cry for the Republicans when they lose some of their ability to obstruct in the next Congress.


(FL) Researcher: Long lines at polls caused 49,000 not to vote

Source: Orlando Sentinel

Like Jordan, as many as 49,000 people across Central Florida were discouraged from voting because of long lines on Election Day, according to a researcher at Ohio State University who analyzed election data compiled by the Orlando Sentinel.

About 30,000 of those discouraged voters — most of them in Orange and Osceola counties — likely would have backed Democratic President Barack Obama, according to Theodore Allen, an associate professor of industrial engineering at OSU.

About 19,000 voters would have likely backed Republican Mitt Romney, Allen said.

This suggests that Obama's margin over Romney in Florida could have been roughly 11,000 votes higher than it was, based just on Central Florida results. Obama carried the state by 74,309 votes out of more than 8.4 million cast.

Read more: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/os-discouraged-voters-20121229,0,215136.story

Are These Guys Really In Charge Of The Republican Party?-“It's a shit show,” says one Republican.

Source: Buzzfeed

Are These Guys Really In Charge Of The Republican Party?
From a DUI to fumbled fiscal cliff talks, there's no time for soul-searching in a leaderless party. “It's a shit show,” says one Republican.


Conservative groups are splintering. The Romney campaign has dissolved into backbiting and billing disputes. A “plan B” to avert the fiscal cliff proved to be a colossal embarrassment. A teetotaling Idaho senator has been charged with drunk driving. But the most striking symptom of the GOP’s horrible moment is the party’s inability to get done what virtually everyone here knows is in its political best interest: A hasty surrender.

It’s difficult to find a Republican operative who is willing to say on the record that going over the fiscal cliff next Tuesday is a good idea. Provoking a crisis is bad politics: Republicans are resigned to taking the blame. And it’s bad for their policy agenda: They will likely be cornered into a broader tax hike than the best deal they could get from President Barack Obama today, and with none of the spending cuts that might now be on the table.

And yet, the dominant emotion among most Republicans here is one of sheer resignation.

“It’s a shit show,” one prominent Republican told BuzzFeed of the GOP’s messaging position. “Tax rates are going to go up on everyone, and we’re going to get the blame.”

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/johnstanton/are-these-guys-really-in-charge-of-the-republican

KRUGMAN: “We are at war with Eastasia, and always have been.”

........business leaders intervening in our economic debate are, for the most part, either predatory or hopelessly confused (or, I guess, both).

I’d put Fix the Debt in the predatory category; it’s quite clear that the organization (which is yet another Pete Peterson front, this time explicitly dominated by corporate interests) has an agenda more focused on cutting social insurance and corporate taxes than on reducing the deficit per se.

Meanwhile, Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, exemplifies the hopeless confusion factor. By all accounts, he’s a good guy, with genuinely generous instincts. But in his message to employees, urging them to write “come together” on coffee cups, he gets the nature of the fiscal cliff completely wrong. In fact, he gets it wrong in two fundamental ways. He writes:

As many of you know, our elected officials in Washington D.C. have been unable to come together and compromise to solve the tremendously important, time-sensitive issue to fix the national debt.

OK, first of all, the fiscal cliff is NOT A DEBT PROBLEM. In fact, it’s the opposite: the danger is that with expiring tax cuts, expiring unemployment benefits, and the sequester, we’ll reduce the deficit too fast. Deficit scolds are having a hard time reconciling their sudden concern about excessive deficit reduction with everything they were saying before – and evidently Mr. Schultz hasn’t gotten the message that we are now at war with Eastasia, and always have been.

And then, on top of that, he has the politics all wrong, in the characteristic centrist way: he makes it sound as if the problem was one of symmetric partisanship, with both sides refusing to compromise. The reality is that Obama has moved a huge way both in offering to exempt more high-earner income from tax hikes and in offering to cut Social Security benefits; meanwhile, the GOP not only won’t agree to any kind of tax hike at all, it also has yet to make any specific offer of any kind.



Congress knew the cliff was coming. In fact, Congress made the cliff.

About those spoiled children we pay to govern us

Dan Amira is (rightly) incensed at all the complaining members of Congress -- and particularly the Senate -- are doing in the New York Times and elsewhere about having to come back to Washington to work on the the quote fiscal cliff crisis endquote.

Hey, guess what? Nothing requires Congress to wait until the very last second (or even after the very last second) to hammer out a compromise. Nobody is forcing Congress to reach a lofty annual gridlock quota. Congress knew the cliff was coming. In fact, Congress made the cliff. If you wanted to spend some time with your kids over Christmas break, maybe that sense of urgency you're feeling now should have surfaced a few weeks ago. Legislating is your job, and the only reason you're in Washington instead of seeing Les Misérables with your family is because you're terrible at it. ...Dan Amira, Daily Intel

Pawn Shop Owner: 'I Will Sell No More Guns-I broke into tears seeing types of firearms I'm selling'

SEMINOLE, Fla. - As a pawn shop owner, Frank James was always a big believer in gun rights and the second amendment. After all, it was his bread and butter business.

But after what he saw in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday, he's had a change of heart. "I basically broke into tears and looked up on the wall, seeing the types of firearms I am selling," James said.

At the Loan Star Pawn store in Seminole, a glass display case that once housed several Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifles is now empty. The glass counters normally filled with handguns has been completely cleared.

"I'm not going to be part of it anymore," James said. He has several copies of the exact rifle suspected in the massacre.


BOO HOO: “You work your butt off & you end up with next to nothing (but about $2 million this year)”

Mr. President, Have Pity On The Working Man
By: TBogg Thursday December 27, 2012 10:25 pm

Courtesy of the NY Post, here is one of the people John Boehner and the Republicans are protecting from the onerous confiscatory upper end tax increase from 35 percent to 39.6 percent:

They’re ready to jump off a real cliff.

New Yorkers of all income levels got a rude awakening yesterday when they saw in The Post how much more they will pay in taxes next year without a fiscal-cliff deal by Jan. 1.


Clothing designer Peter Opie, of Canary Wharf Clothier, made about $2 million this year — and would see his tax bill spike by a staggering $100,000.

“The system is nuts here — it’s madness personified!” he said

“We were impacted massively by the hurricane — and now there is this,” said Opie. “You work your butt off and you end up with next to nothing.”


Oh look, here are some kids who worked in coal mines for $3 a week!

I’m sorry. What was Peter Opie saying about “working your butt off”?

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