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Friday, July 23, 2004

The American Model 

The Germans have now OK'd longer work hours to save jobs:

DaimlerChrysler workers agreed to implement a 40-hour week for some workers and to cut paid break time to secure 6,000 jobs in Germany, in a deal that will save the company 500 million euros ($613 million) a year from 2007.

I guess this is an inevitable consequence of the globalization of the economy...anywhere workers (try US and UK for example, for the Chrysler part of DaimlerChrysler and the Thomas Cook part of Thomas Cook) are willing to work longer hours, the owners/bosses can threaten to send jobs to and so win concessions.  It's a very disturbing trend, with far deeper consequences than the simple "off-shoring" of jobs. What it does is put all of the power in the hands of the owners. Workers are scared because they know there will always be someone hungrier in Puerto Rico, then Brazil, then India, then eventually Zaire. It doesn't matter to the owners. It's not even solely about money, it's like rape, where the main issue is control and power. Note that the management of DaimlerChrysler was even willing to take a 10% pay cut to get the workers to buy off on this.  The consequences--full power for management, the end of effective unions, and the constant shifting of jobs from one location to the next--wherever the people are poorest and most desperate. Workforce Soylent Green.

And it's coming wherever workers currently have rights:

In France, workers at a Robert Bosch car-parts factory voted on Monday to lengthen their working hours to save jobs, making them the first employees to vote to scrap France's 35-hour week.

Oh, well, as long as it hurts the French, we're all happy, right?

It's GREEN DAY, folks.

-Vulf


Wednesday, July 21, 2004

We have met the Rogue Nation, and it is U.S. 

Forget the "triumvirate" of evil.  It is a single-member club.  If you are looking for the world's greatest rogue nation, look no further than the U.S.  With the repeal of the Spratt-Furse ban on nuclear weapons research (on devices less than 5 kilotons), the U.S. is ostensibly the country most actively pursuing new forms of nuclear weapons for its arsenal.

And of course we need look no further than Colorado for support of this repeal:

Underlying the willingness of many Republicans to repeal the ban on developing low-yield weapons is the belief that existing arms control measures, consisting of treaties and inspection programs, are failing.

"Experience has shown that nonproliferation treaties really don't have any affect on countries like North Korea, India and Pakistan," said Senator Wayne Allard, a Republican from Colorado.
 
That's right, Wayne, or on countries like the U.S.  What amazes me about the hypocrites like Wayne Allard is that they somehow think none of us are smart enough to see through them.  For crying out loud, you're talking about the U.S. backing out of a treaty, and then mention North Korea and Pakistan--nice company to be in, but of course he doesn't see the logical connection in his words.

The administration is encouraging the exploration of new nuke technologies:

Linton Brooks, acting director of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), elaborated on the Energy Department’s rationale for the legislation’s repeal at an April 8, 2003, Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. Brooks claims that by requesting the repeal of the Spratt-Furse law, “We are seeking to free ourselves from intellectual prohibitions against exploring a full range of technical options.”

When asked to add anything at the end of a Dec. 2, 2003 interview, Brooks said:

I guess only that we talked about the nonproliferation, and we talked about the weapons program, and it’s important to understand that, from our perspective, we’re talking not about two things, but one. The creation of the National Nuclear Security Administration and the consolidation of these programs under me is because we see them as very deeply related. Their related technically obviously. I mean, what I learn in protecting American nuclear weapons spills over into my ability to protect Russian nuclear weapons. But they are linked philosophically, and that is that, on the one hand, we want to minimize threats to the United States by making sure that nuclear materials and nuclear weapons stay out of the hands of people who would do us harm. On the other hand, we want to make sure that we have a safe and effective deterrent, so even if people acquire the capability to do us harm, they will, to the maximum extent possible, be deterred from doing so. So, it’s often been suggested that there’s some tension between a weapons program and a nonproliferation program, but as somebody who’s responsible for both, I don’t see tension, I see complementarity, and I think that’s the point I’d like your readers to understand.

Sorry, Linton, I really can't understand any of that. Unless you mean your having an increased nuclear deterrent will force other nations to stay out of the nuclear arena.  Again, that same lack of ability to step out of one's own (narrow) perspective as Allard--why wouldn't any other country say the same thing, feeling themselves morally justified in deterring the rest of the world?  Add to it the fact that "W"'s U.S. has threatened to use nukes, and all I can see is a tinderbox for proliferation.

Stop making sense, indeed.

-Vulf


The other 241 are missed, too 

According to Reuters, there are now 659 U.S. troops "killed in action" in Iraq.  900 total, including those killed in inaction.  No end in sight. 80%+ since "W"'s macho carrier speech.  Nothing major since then.

-Vulf

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