Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Race to the Bottom: Jobs, Trade, Deficit and Justice

Race to the Bottom: Jobs, Trade, Deficit and Justice
By Alan Tonelson, fellow, U.S. Business and Industry Council

What is the difference between free trade and fair trade? Who wins and who loses when multinational corporations tap into a global surplus of workers? Why should Americans be concerned about the growing trade deficit? With off-shoring, outsourcing, stagnant wages, and declining benefits, American workers are worried.

Alan Tonelson examines the role that globalization of trade and labor plays in their lives. No one is exempt, he argues, from low-wage textile workers to high-tech aerospace engineers. What decisions need to be made in Washington and around the world so that labor and trade policies assure prosperity for working people in the era of globalization?

Alan Tonelson is a fellow at the US Business and Industry Council. He has been following trade and labor issues for more than a decade and is the author of numerous articles in national publications as well as the book The Race to the Bottom: Why a Global Worker Surplus and Uncontrolled Free Trade are Sinking American Living Standards. In November, 2004, he was interviewed for PBS Frontline's examination of Wal-Mart, Is Wal-Mart Good for America?

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Saturday, October 15, 2005



FILM, MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE: Allow me to introduce our American visitors --

PAUL SOLMAN: When I was growing up, the monomaniacal Red Chinese were Hollywood's baddest actors.

Censorship and economics

PAUL SOLMAN: But what does a culture of repression have to do with economics? Well, we Westerners assume that political freedom and technological innovation go hand in hand. And indeed, innovation is essential. For China to keep growing, it has to evolve into a more advanced economy; has to innovate because right now it relies almost entirely on exports, says MIT's Yasheng Huang.

YASHENG HUANG: Japan is usually viewed as a country obsessed with export and foreign trade; the ratio is about 20 percent. The US is a free trading nation; the ratio is about 20 percent. China has 70 percent of its GDP tied up in foreign trade.

PAUL SOLMAN: The Chinese economic miracle. You see it in the glitz and glimmer of the big cities, the hustle and bustle of new businesses. China's economy grew a dazzling 9.5 percent last year, leading the world, as it has the entire past decade. But to MIT's Yasheng Huang, the miracle isn't how fast China is growing, but how far it still has to go.

YASHENG HUANG: If you look at the economies after the Second World War, which succeeded in catching up and overtaking the West, each single one of them is located in East Asia.

PAUL SOLMAN: Huang is talking about South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

YASHENG HUANG: How come you have an economy that is growing around 8 to 9 percent churning out poor returns? That shows to me that the investment returns must have been very low, and probably even negative.

PAUL SOLMAN: The returns on the money invested in its publicly traded companies, that is. If the stock market goes up, those companies are presumably making money. If it goes down, they're presumably not. Even the so-called father of Chinese venture capital, high party official Cheng Siwei, agrees that the vast majority of Chinese companies are losers, not worth investing in.

CHENG SIWEI: I think only 30 percent of the listed companies are valuable to invest.

PAUL SOLMAN: 30 percent?


Misinvestment: secrecy and no accountability

PAUL SOLMAN: Now, it's not that nobody's making money in China. It's just that, with government control of both the media and investment, there's no transparency, no way to know if firms are profitable; especially state-owned firms, more interested in preserving jobs than being competitive, says Finance Professor Chun Chang.

PAUL SOLMAN: The banking system also shows how badly investment has been directed in China up to now, as our colleague Darren Gersh of the Nightly Business Report found when he looked into it in some depth.

DARREN GERSH: Even official statistics show that China's banks are technically insolvent. If economic growth falters, some fear China's banking system could collapse.

PAUL SOLMAN: The point is: Investments by stockholders or banks are only as good as the profits they generate. If China has been misinvesting its money, that would help explain why it's lagged so far behind its East Asian neighbors, which suggests that the Chinese economy could turn out to be less miracle than mirage.

Sounds like VaporWare and THE BIG BANG! all rolled up into one to me. Is this what the analyst at Citigroup are talking about?

Friday, October 14, 2005

G8 Appeasement & Treason and The Far East: WWIII

DRAFT: A Work in Progress

G8 Appeasement & Treason and The Far East: WWIII

Ladies & Gentlemen of the World,

It is painfully clear that The Far East which includes Malaysia, India, & China have embarked on a Economic War since the 1990s with the Western Industrialized civilizations which is represented mainly by the G8 Nations which includes The United States, Europe, & Japan.

It appears that Communism has a new face, a face we can recognize on the surface like a iceberg: A Free Market Economy. But it is the unseen below sea level that concerns us all. I am quite sure that historical figures in the past such as President Harry S. Truman, General Douglas McArthur, Chairman Nikita Khrushchev of the USSR, President John F. Kennedy, & President Richard M. Nixon are rolling in the graves about now in response to the rise of The Far East Empire.

A former Supreme Allied Commander and Five-Star General was relieved of his command during the Korean War by President Truman due to General MacArthur's position on China and his insubordination to the Commander and Chief of the United States Armed Forces regarding the Chinese incursions into that war at the time. General MacArthur's position was to unleash atomic weapons & invade China and eliminate the flow of support from the Chinese to the North Koreans. President Truman did not intend on widening the Korean conflict and overruled General MacArthur's Chinese invasion plan. General MacArthur in response embarked on a support of his opinion campaign in the United States and to the United Nations to invalidate President Truman's decision. President Truman had no choice but to FIRE General MacArthur for insubordination. [1]

The History of the first half of the 20th Century in relation to The Far East, tells us that General MacArthur spent most of his military career in & around The Far East, which made him a top American specialist and advisor on the culture of The Far East to the United States military and government. The Japanese had attacked the United States in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7th 1941 which forced the isolationistic country of the time into the throws of World War II. Two distinct Theaters of Operations were defined & military leadership was assigned by President Franklin D. Roosevelt: General Dwight Eisenhower of the European Theater and General Douglas MacArthur of the Pacific Theater. Resources were in short supply & restricted before the war and the Pacific Theater was prioritized as a secondary objective, Europe and Adolph Hitler were to remain to primary objective of the United States involvement in WWII. The Pacific Theater suffered incredible losses and setbacks until General MacArthur flexed his political talents and was thus rewarded more resources.

[More to come, but first ponder these images...]

"Peace is at hand", British Prime Minster Neville Chamberlain.

A warning for Malaysia, India, & China approaching 2010.

We've been there, done that before... are you ready for the Ultimate Sacrifice?

China's first atomic bomb was exploded Oct. 16, 1964 in the desert of Xinjiang.
My comment: It looks like we missed our golden opportunity to starve off another World War...Vietnam would never have happened either.

Why Did Truman Really Fire MacArthur? ... The Obscure History of Nuclear Weapons and the Korean War Provides the Answer
By Bruce Cumings

Mr. Cumings is the author of, North Korea: Another Country (2003) and co-author of, Inventing the Axis of Evil: The Truth About North Korea, Iran, and Syria (2004).

On 9 July 1950 -- just two weeks into the war, it is worth remembering -- MacArthur sent Ridgway a hot message that prompted the joint chiefs of staff (JCS) "to consider whether or not A-bombs should be made available to MacArthur." The chief of operations, General Charles Bolte, was asked to talk to MacArthur about using atomic bombs "in direct support [of] ground combat." Bolte thought 10-20 such bombs could be spared for Korea without unduly jeopardising US global war capabilities.

Boite received from MacArthur an early suggestion for the tactical use of atomic weapons and an indication of MacArthur's extraordinary ambitions for the war, which included occupying the North and handling potential Chinese -- or Soviet -- intervention: "I would cut them off in North Korea . . . I visualise a cul-de-sac. The only passages leading from Manchuria and Vladivostok have many tunnels and bridges. I see here a unique use for the atomic bomb -- to strike a blocking blow -- which would require a six months' repair job. Sweeten up my B-29 force."

At this point, however, the JCS rejected use of the bomb because targets large enough to require atomic weapons were lacking; because of concerns about world opinion five years after Hiroshima; and because the JCS expected the tide of battle to be reversed by conventional military means. But that calculation changed when large numbers of Chinese troops entered the war in October and November 1950.

At a famous news conference on 30 November President Harry Truman threatened use of the atomic bomb, saying the US might use any weapon in its arsenal. (10) The threat was not the faux pas many assumed it to be, but was based on contingency planning to use the bomb. On that same day, Air Force General George Stratemeyer sent an order to General Hoyt Vandenberg that the Strategic Air Command should be put on warning, "to be prepared to dispatch without delay medium bomb groups to the Far East . . . this augmentation should include atomic capabilities."

General Curtis LeMay remembered correctly that the JCS had earlier concluded that atomic weapons would probably not be useful in Korea, except as part of "an overall atomic campaign against Red China." But, if these orders were now being changed because of the entry of Chinese forces into the war, LeMay wanted the job; he told Stratemeyer that only his headquarters had the experience, technical training, and "intimate knowledge" of delivery methods. The man who had directed the firebombing of Tokyo in 1945 was again ready to proceed to the Far East to direct the attacks. (11) Washington was not worried that the Russians would respond with atomic weapons because the US possessed at least 450 bombs and the Soviets only 25.

On 9 December MacArthur said that he wanted commander's discretion to use atomic weapons in the Korean theatre. On 24 December he submitted "a list of retardation targets" for which he required 26 atomic bombs. He also wanted four to drop on the "invasion forces" and four more for "critical concentrations of enemy air power."

In interviews published posthumously, MacArthur said he had a plan that would have won the war in 10 days: "I would have dropped 30 or so atomic bombs . . . strung across the neck of Manchuria." Then he would have introduced half a million Chinese Nationalist troops at the Yalu and then "spread behind us -- from the Sea of Japan to the Yellow Sea -- a belt of radioactive cobalt . . . it has an active life of between 60 and 120 years. For at least 60 years there could have been no land invasion of Korea from the North." He was certain that the Russians would have done nothing about this extreme strategy: "My plan was a cinch." (12)

A second request

Cobalt 60 has 320 times the radioactivity of radium. One 400-ton cobalt H-bomb, historian Carroll Quigley has written, could wipe out all animal life on earth. MacArthur sounds like a warmongering lunatic, but he was not alone. Before the Sino-Korean offensive, a committee of the JCS had said that atomic bombs might be the decisive factor in cutting off a Chinese advance into Korea; initially they could be useful in "a cordon sanitaire [that] might be established by the UN in a strip in Manchuria immediately north of the Korean border." A few months later Congressman Albert Gore, Sr. (Father of former VP and 2000 Democratic candidate Al Gore, Jr., and subsequently a strong opponent of the Vietnam war) complained that "Korea has become a meat grinder of American manhood" and suggested "something cataclysmic" to end the war: a radiation belt dividing the Korean peninsula permanently into two.

Although Ridgway said nothing about a cobalt bomb, in May 1951, after replacing MacArthur as US commander in Korea, he renewed MacArthur's request of 24 December, this time for 38 atomic bombs. (13) The request was not approved.

The US came closest to using atomic weapons in April 1951, when Truman removed MacArthur. Although much related to this episode is still classified, it is now clear that Truman did not remove MacArthur simply because of his repeated insubordination, but because he wanted a reliable commander on the scene should Washington decide to use nuclear weapons; Truman traded MacArthur for his atomic policies. On 10 March 1951 MacArthur asked for a "D-Day atomic capability" to retain air superiority in the Korean theatre, after the Chinese massed huge new forces near the Korean border and after the Russians put 200 bombers into airbases in Manchuria (from which they could strike not just Korea but also US bases in Japan). (14) On 14 March General Vandenberg wrote: "Finletter and Lovett alerted on atomic discussions. Believe everything is set."

At the end of March Stratemeyer reported that atomic bomb loading pits at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa were again operational; the bombs were carried there unassembled, and put together at the base, lacking only the essential nuclear cores. On 5 April the JCS ordered immediate atomic retaliation against Manchurian bases if large numbers of new troops came into the fighting, or, it appears, if bombers were launched from there against US assets. On that day the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Gordon Dean, began arrangements for transferring nine Mark IV nuclear capsules to the Air Force's 9th Bomb Group, the designated carrier for atomic weapons.

The JCS again considered the use of nuclear weapons in June 1951, this time in tactical battlefield circumstances (15) and there were many more such suggestions as the war continued to 1953. Robert Oppenheimer, former director of the Manhattan Project, was involved in Project Vista, designed to gauge the feasibility of the tactical use of atomic weapons. In 1951 young Samuel Cohen, on a secret assignment for the US Defence Department, observed the battles for the second recapture of Seoul and thought there should be a way to destroy the enemy without destroying the city. He became the father of the neutron bomb. (16)

The most terrifying nuclear project in Korea, however, was Operation Hudson Harbour. It appears to have been part of a larger project involving "overt exploitation in Korea by the Department of Defence and covert exploitation by the Central Intelligence Agency of the possible use of novel weapons" -- a euphemism for what are now called weapons of mass destruction.

Stake Through the Heart of a True Vampire: Karl Rove

Jitters at the White House Over the Leak Inquiry

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Published: October 14, 2005

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 - Karl Rove nosed his Jaguar out of the garage at his home in Northwest Washington in the predawn gloom, starting another day in which he would be dealing with a troubled Supreme Court nomination, posthurricane reconstruction and all the other issues that come across the desk of President Bush's most influential aide.

But Mr. Rove's first challenge on Wednesday morning came before he cleared his driveway: how to get past the five television crews and the three photographers waiting for him. He flashed his blinding high beams into the camera lenses and sped by.

That is the way things are for the Bush White House these days. The routines are the same. But everything, in the glare of the final stages of a criminal investigation that has reached to the highest levels of power in Washington, is different.

Mr. Rove is scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury on Friday, the fourth time he will have done so in the case, which centers on the disclosure of an undercover C.I.A. officer's identity.

Mr. Rove, deputy White House chief of staff for policy and senior adviser, and I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, are the most prominent administration officials to find themselves squirming under the attention of the hard-nosed special prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, and the attendant news media scrutiny.

But the inquiry has swept up a dozen or more other officials who have been questioned by investigators or have testified before the grand jury, and, should it lead to the indictment of anyone at a senior level, it has the potential to upend the professional lives of everyone at the White House for the remainder of Mr. Bush's second term.

The result, say administration officials and friends and allies on the outside who speak regularly with them, is a mood of intense uncertainty in the White House that veers in some cases into fear of the personal and political consequences and anger at having been caught in the snare of a special prosecutor. And given how badly things have been going for Mr. Bush and his team on other fronts - a poll released Thursday by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center put his approval rating at 38 percent, a new low - they hardly have deep reserves of internal enthusiasm or external good will to draw on.

"Everyone is going about the work at hand while bracing for the worst case," said a senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to get around the official White House position that it will not comment on the investigation.

Most administrations come to a point like this, at risk of being paralyzed internally and frozen externally in the klieg lights of scandal. To those who worked in the White House under Bill Clinton, it was almost a way of life and such a searing experience that many former Clinton officials have more than a dollop of sympathy for what their successors in power are going through.

"In this presumption of guilt culture, which is what has come about in Washington in the last 10 or 15 years, there must be a sense of anger there and an inability to manage the facts," said Lanny J. Davis, a lawyer in Washington who was brought into the Clinton White House to help deal with the multiple investigations of that administration. "It's hard to imagine how bad it is. You sit at your desk and you know what the facts are, but you can't get them out to the public because the lawyers tell you you can't - or if you can, the noise from the presumption of guilt culture overwhelms the facts."

Mr. Bush joked late last year with Matthew Cooper, a reporter for Time magazine, about why Mr. Cooper was not yet in jail for fighting a subpoena demanding that he testify about a conversation with a source who later turned out to be Mr. Rove. These days, though, the leak investigation is almost never spoken of openly within the West Wing, and certainly not made light of, administration officials say.

Lawyers for most of the officials who have testified before the grand jury have by and large chosen not to share information with one another, leaving colleagues largely in the dark about what others are telling Mr. Fitzgerald.

There is a presumption inside the White House that anyone who was indicted would resign or go on leave to fight the charges, though it is unclear what planning has taken place for that possibility.

The prospect of a White House without Mr. Rove, Mr. Bush's longtime strategist, has some allies of the president in a near panic, fearful that without him the administration would lose the one person capable of enforcing discipline across a party that has become increasingly fractious and that is almost at war with itself over the president's nomination of Harriet E. Miers to the Supreme Court.

With the White House stumbling and preoccupied, some allies of the president already see a policy void that is being filled by other prominent Republicans, like Senator John McCain of Arizona, who recently outmaneuvered the administration to win passage of an amendment that would set new standards to guard against the use of torture in the interrogation of detainees in the fight against terrorism.

Asked about the case in his daily on-camera news briefing on Thursday, Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, portrayed Mr. Bush as eagerly awaiting the results of the investigation. The case centers on whether administration officials illegally disclosed the identity of the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson, as part of an effort to distance the White House from criticism by her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV. In mid-2003, Mr. Wilson, a former diplomat, became an outspoken critic of how the administration had used prewar intelligence about Iraq's weapons programs to justify the invasion.
The investigation led to the imprisonment of a reporter for The New York Times, Judith Miller, for 85 days for refusing to testify before the grand jury about a conversation with a confidential source, later identified as Mr. Libby.

"The president has said that no one wants to get to the bottom of it more than he does," said Mr. McClellan, whose own credibility has taken a pounding because of statements he made two years ago that Mr. Rove had no involvement in leaking the C.I.A. officer's identity. "I want to get to the bottom of it. We don't know all the facts."

Despite the fear inspired by Mr. Fitzgerald, the White House has treated the special prosecutor extremely gingerly, making no public criticism and pledging at every turn to be completely cooperative. When Mr. Bush was asked about the investigation during an appearance on the NBC News "Today" program on Tuesday, he said Mr. Fitzgerald had conducted the case in "a very dignified way," a statement that could make it difficult for Republicans to attack the prosecutor if he should bring charges against administration officials.

If the Bush White House is marked by anything, it is relentlessness and resilience. While the West Wing seems more on edge than usual - Mr. McClellan got into an uncharacteristically heated exchange with reporters on Thursday about the Miers nomination - the official line is business as usual, and the principals appear to be trying hard to play their roles.

Mr. Libby still arises in the wee hours each morning and puts in 14- to 16-hour days in Mr. Cheney's office. Mr. Rove, who left his house at 5:50 on Wednesday morning, has kept up his usual duties, Mr. McClellan said. After appearing before the grand jury on Friday, Mr. Rove will get right back into political mode. He is scheduled to appear at a fund-raiser over the weekend for Jerry Kilgore, the Republican candidate for governor of Virginia.
Doug Mills contributed reporting for this article.

What's very much in store for George W. Bush after Impeachment is uninhibited Revenge: Mussolini Style,

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Political Way: Sellout, Lies, & Deceit

This is a neighbor of mine that I found while reading my local newspaper's editorial section, in which John wrote a very compelling, outspoken piece about the State of the Union. I was so impressed and elated that I decided to look him up and give him a ring.

At first our conversation was guarded with suspicion on John's part, in my little county in a Southern Red State, it doesn't pay to be a progressive politico of any kind. But we broke through it all and since have kept in touch, and I intend on helping John succeed to that awful, deceitful place in Washington, DC... to an office in The Capital building.

Recently, John informed me that he had dropped out of the private sector and that he was going to invest himself in the public sector and run for US Congress. I reckon that he felt pretty strongly about his views and he put his money where is mouth is. Impressed, again.

Yesterday, John called me for my email address and that he wanted to send me a little something that he wanted to get my opinion on. I gave him the information and hung up. Later, I found this in my inbox...



John Konop

John Konop For Congress

P.O Box 706 (770) 852-2222

Lebanon, GA 30146

Republican Party official rejects John Konop—Republican candidate for U.S. Congress—because of his positions on immigration, trade, and Federal spending.

Canton, Georgia, September 29, 2005 — John Konop is seeking the Republican nomination for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District seat. Bart Brannon—in his capacity as the Cherokee County Republican Party Vice Chairman of Communications—repeatedly suggests that Mr. Konop is not a “real” Republican because of his positions on:

· Curbing illegal immigration by, among other things, controlling our borders

· Renegotiating trade deals like NAFTA and CAFTA to strengthen American wages, jobs, and industry

· Ending out-of-control Federal spending

When told that Mr. Konop’s positions are shared by many fellow Republicans, Mr. Brannon writes that the proposals would, “…end illegal immigration without regard to how this would effect our economy... those are not conservative principles.” Mr. Konop rejects the assertion that lawless immigration and lax enforcement benefit Americans and represent conservative values.

Mr. Brannon criticizes Mr. Konop’s proposals for restructuring America’s trade deals claiming they would “…restrict the free market... (and) essentially grow the size of government and its regulatory influence on American business.” Yet Mr. Brannon refuses to explain how the CAFTA provision empowering foreign tribunals benefits American companies. U.S. Congressman Norwood (GA Rep), in a pre-CAFTA floor speech, warned, “If (CAFTA) becomes law, the administration, the American courts, even the United States Constitution will have no effect on the final interpretation of this agreement. That will be left to the CAFTA tribunal, two Central American judges, always pitted against one judge from the United States.” Mr. Konop rejects Mr. Brannon’s assertion that demanding smart trade deals means Americans are economic isolationists.

Mr. Brannon also suggests that Americans submit to China’s ongoing trade violations or, “…be ready to send our children to fight them within the next twenty years.” Mr. Konop rejects the use of such fearful, extortionist rhetoric as the foundation for American trade policies.

Mr. Brannon supports the votes by local Congressmen John Linder and Tom Price for the pork-laden Transportation and Energy bills, for the lop-sided CAFTA trade agreement, and against cracking down on China’s blatant trade violations. Mr. Brannon arrives at the conclusion that he and Mr. Konop are, “…on opposite ends of the political spectrum…I will be supporting your opposition whether it is John or Tom.”

Finally, Mr. Brannon says the Transportation Bill, “…could be better, but unfortunately there are not enough congressmen willing to decline their share of vote-buying pork.” Fortunately for Americans, Congressman John Konop will say no to pork and yes to balanced budgets. Please visit to learn more.


Two (2) emails from Bart Brannon to John Konop dated 9/26/05 and 9/28/05
Contact information from the Cherokee County Republican Party website flyer
Rep. Norwood Floor Speech

John Konop & Bart Brannon Emails

Email #1


No John, I do not believe by simply paying dues one qualifies as a member of any organization, especially a political group. But that is the practice shared by every political organization I have ever followed. The party can outline its basic beliefs as is the case with CCRP's mission statement hoping to attract those who subscibe to that point of view. I for one wish there were more Republicans running for public office, but it seems with every election cycle the party must look outside itself to find candidates (see Governor Perdue, State Senator Bill Stephens and five or six other senators).

CCRP is open to you with your isolationist philosophy and me with a desire to expand America's influence on the global economy. You would apparently seek more government imposed restrictions on trade where I would rather let the free enterprise system control trade through higher quality products being produced here in the western hemisphere then shipped worldwide. If other countries impose restrictive tariffs, then American companies have the ability to influence consumers through marketing campaigns. If other countries offer lower labor costs as is the case in South America, India, China and elsewhere, then American companies should take advantage with the result being better deals for American consumers. If America offers lower labor costs as is the case with automobile manufacturing (I believe you drive a nice BMW built by a company that offshored much of its manufacturing to the SE U.S. creating thousands of jobs) then we attract that business. Government should reduce the burden of working with other countries (i.e. NAFTA/CAFTA/China trade) vs. building a wall around America to protect some perceived lack of competitiveness espoused by Pat Buchanan, Ross Perot and other isolationists.

Highway Bill -- could be better, but unfortunately there are not enough congressmen willing to decline their share of vote-buying pork. A possible solution would be ending so much money funneling through DC bureaucracy before being returned to the states. I think GA gets about 90% of what it sends to DC which is up from previous years due to Johnny Isakson fighting for our state.

Energy Bill -- Decent legislation if ANWR is approved. Additional research money for bio-diesel vehicles would be good and also benefit farmers so we could reduce that ridiculous waste of taxpayer subsidy supported heavily by Georgia's Saxby Chambliss as Chairman of the Senate Ag Committee.

China -- Either work with them or be ready to send our children to fight them within the next twenty years. Don't know about you, but IMHO that would be the war to end all wars.


----- Original Message -----

Friday, September 23, 2005 7:04 PM Page 1 of 2 - emailMyName

Subject: Re: CCRP - Constitution Day


I have not heard from you. The coffee over is still open. I would like to know your opion on the Highway bill, Energy bill and China as a trade partner. How dose that work with the CCRP mission statement. Is your point if you pay your dues the mission statement dose not matter. Thanks jk

Email #2


No matter who put the platform together, it's foundation is the same as Ben's; stop free trade, end illegal immigrationwithout regard to how this would effect our economy, restrict the free market by regulating how companies accom their work...essentially grow the size of government and its regulatory influence on American business. To me, th not conservative principles (generally or otherwise). With all due respect, I do not see the need for a coffee meeting. We are on opposite ends of the political spectrum totally different concerns and ideas about how to solve these concerns. Good health to you as you go forward in campaign, but I will be supporting your opposition whether it is John or Tom.

----- Original Message -----

Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2005 10:04 AM
Subject: Re: Cherokee County Republican Party eLetter SPECIAL EDITION


My web company was already correcting that before you pointed it out.As in any project, we constantly proof reading our copy as you may understand to make sure it is correct. That is just of other mistakes we caught.Our company is making the correction as fast as they can. If yo any more feel free to point them out.

As far as my brother goes, the platform was put together by fellow members of the CCRP pa brother was never a part of any meetings. Are you saying anyone who helped or supports the platform is not a real Republican?

Finally, can you focus on the platform detail and give an opinon without personal attacks and generazaltions. I have not found many people who don't think it's a conservative platform. Yes, I am still interested in your opinon. Also, the coffee offer is still open. Thanks

My comment: Is Bart for Real? ... or another out-of-touch Republican Bart Simpson?

GM's Idle Class: Big Pay, No Work

GM's Idle Class: Big Pay, No Work
By Jonathan Fahey & Joann Muller, 10.17.05

GM has thousands of workers collecting paychecks for not doing much. What would it take to get them off the payroll? Probably more than GM could afford to spend.

Scott Taylor spent this summer fixing up neighborhood parks in Edgemere, Md., a pleasant suburb in Baltimore County that juts into Chesapeake Bay. He trucked sand into the waterfront Lynch Point Park to rebuild the beach, power-washed the play set, fixed the fences and helped a Boy Scout troop paint a flagpole. For this and other community service work Taylor earned $31 an hour along with fully paid health insurance and credit toward raises and his pension. Who's paying him? General Motors, the carmaker that has lost $1.3 billion so far this year.

Taylor, 49, is an autoworker, but GM no longer has a job for him. The Baltimore factory where he worked for the past 21 years closed in May. Instead of sending Taylor packing with a nice severance package, GM put him in what's known as the "jobs bank." Under a contract it first negotiated with the United Auto Workers in 1984, GM is obliged to pay workers who lose their jobs full wages and benefits, even though they are not building vehicles.

Across the U.S. some 5,000 GM workers like Taylor are in the jobs bank. Many are doing what Taylor is doing, volunteering at parks departments, fire departments, churches, schools and GM dealerships. Others are going to community colleges, with tuition aid from the UAW and GM. Still others go to a room in an industrial park or shopping mall near their closed factory, in Baltimore; Linden, N.J.; Lansing, Mich. and elsewhere, and pass the time playing cards, watching movies and doing occasional paperwork. Some transfer to other GM factories when jobs open up. Others stay in the jobs bank until retirement.

GM's cost for all those idle workers: $750 million a year.

It's a situation no one likes--not GM and not workers like Taylor. "I'm getting an opportunity to help out, and my community is getting free labor," Taylor says. "But I enjoyed my job, and I hated to see it go. I want to be in the plant, working."

The pay guarantee is one more reason--after disappointing cars, brutal competition and health care costs--that GM is having trouble getting its finances in order. Chairman G. Richard Wagoner has said GM needs to shed 25,000 or more workers by 2008 and close three or four factories. But unlike most companies, it has labor costs that are fixed. The costs don't go down when GM closes a factory.

The idea behind the thumb-twiddling jobs bank, paradoxically, was to give workers an incentive to do their jobs faster. In the early 1980s, as Detroit automakers were getting slammed by the first wave of Japanese competition, GM realized that workers would only come up with ways to boost productivity if they were sure it wouldn't cost them their livelihood. The jobs bank was intended to be a temporary holding pen for workers awaiting reassignment. GM's productivity has indeed risen--31% since 1995, according to Harbour Consulting--but its market share has steadily dropped, from 32% to 27%.

A logical solution, it would seem, would be to buy out workers like Taylor. In principle there ought to be some severance pay that would make GM better off, because it would be less than it would otherwise fork out to keep a worker in the jobs bank but would also make the worker better off, because he could quit the make-work and take a real job somewhere. "From a social standpoint, there couldn't be anything but an improvement," says University of Chicago economist Chad W. Syverson. "If they're bought out, at least they can go do something else that's productive, besides playing cards."

So why isn't GM buying out redundant workers?Probably because the sums involved are so large. A jobs banker who quits is walking away from extremely valuable benefits--not only a rich guaranteed wage of $70,000 but precious health coverage, too. His pension kicks in when he quits at, say, age 62, and the health insurance lasts for as long as he lives. To be sure, he can get Medicare at age 65, but it isn't anything close to GM's insurance in quality. So a 50-year-old worker is walking away from 12 years of paychecks, or $840,000, plus health coverage for himself and his family for 15 years, plus the equivalent of Medigap insurance for as long as he and his spouse live. Tote it up and you have $1 million or more sitting on the table.

What this 50-year-old would gain by walking away is the freedom to take another job. But that other job--in construction, say--might pay only half as much. And who wants to start hauling asphalt shingles at age 50? The flagpole assignment doesn't look so bad now.

Would $500,000 tempt people to leave? It might. "If you offered $500,000 to autoworkers, I wouldn't want to step in the way of the stampede," says former UAW President Douglas Fraser. But some of these workers might resist even that sum. Taxes would cut it in half. The health benefits, in contrast, are tax free.

In January 2004 Chrysler sold an Indiana component factory to a supplier, Metaldyne. To make the deal palatable to the unionized workers, Chrysler offered them an incentive of $10,000 per year of service, in exchange for a $10 wage cut and reduced health coverage. Only 200 or so of the 1,100 Chrysler component workers, mostly younger ones, accepted that deal. The rest retired or decided to wait for reassignment in Chrysler's jobs bank.

Julie Langley, 31, spent 11 years at GM, most on the assembly line and in the body shop at Baltimore Assembly before landing in the jobs bank. She would seem young and vigorous enough to want to find another job or career. Yet she says she doesn't want any part of a buyout. "I don't want to walk away from 11 years of my life," she says. "And I'd be facing employment without a pension and without health care." Since the plant's closing in May she has been taking classes in global business and public policy, and doing office work at a UAW union hall. She's on a list to get hired at GM's Baltimore transmission plant, but her lack of seniority may keep her waiting a long time. She'll move to take another GM job but would rather not.

For its part GM probably doesn't find the notion of writing $500,000 checks very appealing. Multiply that sum by the 5,000 workers in the jobs bank and 20,000 additional workers who ought to be there and you get $12.5 billion. That's a significant fraction of the company's dwindling net worth. The deterioration of GM's former partsmaking unit, Delphi, could make matters worse. If Delphi goes into bankruptcy as it has threatened, GM could be on the hook for Delphi's retiree costs. To avert a filing Delphi wants GM to take back 7,000 workers, many of whom would end up in the jobs bank.

If GM simply bides its time, the jobs bank obligations will shrink. Each year some jobs bank workers reach retirement, some die, and a tiny handful leave voluntarily, without any lump sum. Time, too, will eventually cure GM's health insurance crisis. GM has 181,000 workers left in North America, yet it has 1.1 million people collecting health benefits from the plan--workers, retirees and dependents. That number is starting to shrink, but it will still take quite a while for GM to age its way out of that burden. Only $16 billion of GM's $77 billion health care obligation to retirees is funded.

Wagoner might offer some concession to workers to accept a shrinking of the health coverage. He could also seek an overhaul of the benefits package, including ending the jobs bank in 2007, when the UAW contract ends. Expect the union to fight hard on both fronts.

Meanwhile, James Heid, 45, who installed the second seat belt in Astro vans for 13 years, gets job training, of a sort. On a recent afternoon Heid was having a beer at the Angle Inn, near where the hulking Baltimore factory sits, lifeless, off to the side of an elevated stretch of Interstate 95. He was rushing off to class at Dundalk Community College, where he takes history and blueprint reading. Truth is, Heid doesn't have much interest in those classes. But he says he sure as heck doesn't want to sit at a table in the jobs bank room eight hours a day, waiting for a job that will probably never open up. So he's marking time, to no one's advantage.

My Comment: My God... it takes a huge private sector employer to invest in its people to 'up the productivity' in the face of working themselves out of job and is forced to stick to its committment to 5,000 plus people.

Shame on the Congress...

Shame on the President...

Shame on Us???

... for not investing in ourselves.

"So, bye bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levy
But the levy was dry
And good ole boys where drinking whiskey & rye
Singing, 'This'll be the day that I die, this'll be the day that I die...'"