Saturday, November 18, 2006

What they do and don't need.

Entry for Wednesday, 27 July, 2005


I hope none of you are buying that clap-trap coming from Iran when they say they need nuclear power for generating electricity. That would be like King Triton saying he needs to develop nuclear submarines in order to find fish for his people, or needs to tunnel under your capital city in order to find water.

They already have a source for generating electricity that will last for centuries - long after the viability of the automobile gasoline market has finally gone. Modern technology makes electric plants clean and efficient without a single drop of enriched uranium. There is no reason whatsoever for Iran to "need" nuclear enrichment except to make bombs. That's a fact and anyone who says otherwise is a liar.

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And speaking of manufacturing, the AFL-CIO has a mutiny on its hands, and all I can say is that it's about time. Unions have been a big part of the cause of the flight of manufacturing from this country - which is a shame, because in the beginning unions knew what their mission was and accomplished it, namely protecting workers from greedy bloodsucking robber barons.

Now the robber barons are winning, and unions are going to have to change both their tactics and their scope. Instead of spending money on politicians, it's time the unions realized that the politicians can no longer control the robber barons. In fact, it's pretty much the other way around. In order to stop jobs from being shipped to cheap labor overseas, the only real solution is to make the overseas labor less cheap. Every time a corporation moves a factory to a third world country, the union should be right there behind them, telling the workers plainly how they are being exploited and the wages and benefits that they should be receiving. The unions need to go multinational if they want to compete with unaccountable multinational corporations.

If they want to spend money on politicians, they should be spending it on third world politicians - teaching them how their people are being sucked dry by the robber barons and how they will be abandoned as soon as some less expensive sucker nation comes along and gives them bigger tax breaks and more freebies to build their factories. If they want to replenish their membership, the unions are going to have to go where the exploitation is occurring, not sitting here on their duffs whining to US politicians who can do nothing about the unaccountable robber barons.

The unions might consider becoming NGO's at the United Nations - not that I have the least bit of faith or confidence in the United Nations, make no mistake. But the Europeans will at least sympathize with the plights of the exploited third world workers, and they obviously hate corporate robber barons who are also beginning to put the squeeze on European workers. The enemy of my enemy....

And here in the US, the unions need to return to their roots - to stop trying to buy politicians and start providing real service to American workers. The unions own greed and power-mongering needs to be rapidly eradicated - otherwise, they have not one whit of moral high ground to take. It's time they remembered the moral high ground was the only place from which they succeeded in the past and can succeed in the future. In the eyes of the average worker, union gangsters are no different from corporate gangsters. The unions will keep losing support if they cannot return to the basic ideals that founded the worker's rights movement: reasonable pay, reasonable benefits in lieu of cash payments where necessary, and job security.

Regrettably, it is not the job of any corporation to provide health and retirement benefits to workers for their lifetime, and the corporations are not going to be shy about asserting this fact. This is a new reality that the unions are going to have to deal with squarely in the realm of facts-on-the-ground, not pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking. It is a man's responsibility to save for his retirement and buy insurance and save for everyday medical expenses. This is real life and it isn't going to go away. If the unions want all of their members to have health insurance, they they should offer it themselves at reasonably low prices, or set up their own clinics and physicians for salary instead of fee-for-service (only for union members and their families, of course). Nobody is stopping them from providing these types of health care and retirement options for their members. But as long as they keep insisting that it is somehow an employer's responsibility, they are doomed to failure. That business model will no longer fly, and it's time to face reality about it.

And to American workers, both factory and service sectors, I say this: as soon as the unions get their act cleaned up - join! Living wages is not a pipe dream if everyone insists on them.

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And one other thing, class. If there are illegal aliens working for your company, you NEED to contact the proper authorities and blow the whistle. Don't feel sorry for them, feel sorry for your own children who will never be able to make living wages as long as illegals are here working under the table for substandard hourly pay and no benefits at all. In order for American workers to be protected, labor laws are going to have to be enforced. As long as the corporations, big and small, are flouting the law, you have no chance of improving your conditions. A society without law is an exploited society - why allow yourself and the illegals to be exploited?

It is also not America's job to provide citizens of other countries with employment, medical care, and education. That is the job of their own native governments, and if those governments aren't doing that, then they need to change their government - by whatever means are necessary. I'm sorry that's so ugly, but there it is. Relocating the entire population of South America to the US will not solve their problems in the long run. It will only bring them north, as they flood the market, depress wages, and end up just as exploited and hopeless as they were in their native land.

And as an aside, the US government should send a bill every month to those other governments for every bit of the health care, education, and welfare benefits received by illegals. And the rules about citizenship for newborns needs to be changed. The rule should be that a newborn is a citizen of the US if and only if at least one parent is a US citizen and the other is here in the country legally. If either parent is here illegally, or neither one is a citizen, then the child should be a citizen of its mother's native land, not the US. No regular US birth certificate should be issued - some sort of special consular certificate should be given in its place listing the physical location of birth but emphasizing the child is not a US citizen. If and when legal citizenship is obtained for the parents of the child, then they could apply for a regular state certificate. If no such application is made by the child's 18th birthday, then the child must apply for citizenship under the regular process for adults, and must be willing to give information about illegal relatives to the INS. Otherwise, they are still illegal aliens and should be treated as such.

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Don't like such harsh words? Well, you're not alone. Many people can't stomach the reality of America's current situation. The final question boils down to this: just how much in taxes do you want to pay? If illegals aren't paying their share, then you're paying it. If illegals are getting medical care, education, and welfare benefits, then your children aren't getting those services. It's that simple. There is only so much money to go around, and giving it to non-citizens makes less available for citizens. It is a zero sum game. So you have to decide whose future you want to finance - that of American citizens, or that of illegal aliens. As the declining quality of both education and health care prove aptly - you can't have both and still have money left for yourself to live on every month.

So, class, I ask you again: how much do you want to pay in taxes?

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