A not very radical proposal

I’ve got an easy idea to build troop morale in Iraq.

George Bush is going on vacation again. I can understand, since it takes so much energy to mismanage a country and cheat an electorate. Meanwhile, our troops overseas are having their tours of duty extended and being sent back repeatedly with only a few weeks or months break between fighting for their lives without proper equipment. Their leader, Donald Rumsfeld nearly mocked them to their faces as one soldier expressed the honest wish of having enough equipment so that he could make it home safe. The White House continues to pump old Rummy and keep him around since his leadership has obviously been so successful.

So, George, here’s a little tip from someone who has seen leaders try to boost morale many, many times. How about promising not to take a vacation until you’ve actually been working as long as the longest tour of duty of a soldier in Iraq? Better yet, how about not taking a vacation until the war in Iraq is over? It’s not like you work on an oil derrick, you aren’t living a very hard life, maybe you should try actually working for the people who hired you for a change?

George Bush doesn’t care about you

Just heard about yet another website soliciting donations to equip our troops in Iraq. Now how bullshit is it that tax paying citizens need to directly buy equipment for an unjust war to protect our soldiers while Haliburton is taking in record profits?

Cheers to that soldier who stood up to Donald Rumsfeld in public forum, even if he was prompted by a reporter looking for a good story. It took serious guts and I’m betting that he’s paying for it. The US Government is treating the military like crap. It is so obvious that we are ruled by a bunch of chicken hawks who have no idea what being in a war is all about. If they did, we wouldn’t be in Iraq now. Given that we are in Iraq, the fact that a private citizen has raised $200,000 to supply snipers with Binoculars and Body Armor is great, but also insane. Why the fuck are we sending snipers into Iraq without binoculars and body armor in the first place? The reason is that George Bush doesn’t care about our troops. Our troops which are made up large numbers of minorities and urban poor. George Bush doesn’t care about poor people. If George Bush did care about poor people, he’d be spending more money on education instead of cutting it, he’d be spending more on non-religious charitable organizations, and he certainly wouldn’t be cutting taxes on the people who make the most money. All this time, Haliburton and the myriad of other private companies who are doing most of the support work for our troops INCLUDING PROCUREMENT are making tons of money. These are the people George Bush cares about. Hell, most of these CEOs are personal buddies of his who donated large sums to his campaign.

It’s time the remaining Democrats get off their asses and start making this stuff public. Enough appeasement of the right. We’re in a constitutional crisis here.

Why you should care about H1-B visas

If you’ve heard about them, but haven’t given them much thought, I give a trench level view of why H1-B visas are bad for everyone involved (except corporate management)

Congress is trying to raise the cap on H1-B visas again. This is very bad and shows how the government is losing touch or just doesn’t care about their constituents.

What is an H1-B visa? It’s a mechanism by which a company can bring in a skilled foreign worker to fill a position that they can’t fill using an American worker. It was very popular in the tech industry during the boom of the 90s when almost 200,000 H1-B visas were granted per year. The visa lasts for 6 years. Having worked with many recipients of this visa, I can give some ground-level reasons why this bad for both US workers and foreign workers as well.

For foreign workers, they are essentially tied to a company for 6 years. If the company goes out of business, they are deported. If they are fired, they are deported. This essentially makes them indentured servants for the life of their visas. It is possible for them to switch to another company, but it requires a lot of effort on all parts and is extremely difficult. Additionally, H1-B visa holders are paid a lot less than their US counterparts. If a US citizen is being underpaid for their work, they can try to find a new job. The H1-B visa holder is not nearly so lucky.

For US workers, they have downward pressure on their salaries given that they can be replaced by H1-B visa holders. Additionally, since H1-B visa holders are tied to their companies, a company might choose to fill a position with an H1-B holder, rather than a US citizen who can quit if they are being mistreated. There are thousands upon thousands of skilled US workers who are currently unemployed. Recent years have seen the highest numbers of unemployed technology people in history and yet tech companies are pushing the government to raise the H1-B quotas. It certainly isn’t because they can’t find the workers.

Many H1-B visa holders become US citizens or make the US their home permanently. This is good for the US certainly. However, many return to their home countries with US corporate training making their home countries more competitive with the US which is not good for US companies long term.

Here’s a related article on usatoday.


My full-tilt boiling over anger over the election had subsided, but now it is back.

I think my anger over the election was starting to subside. I’m not happy, but I just can’t stay so pissed off and continue to function. Then I rented, “Bush’s Brain” last night. It brought up a lot of stuff that was sort of settling to the bottom of my mind. I think that the filmmakers should do an update to cover the 2004 election. The Swift boat ads, questioning John Kerry’s Patriotism, dirty trick after dirty trick were all straight from the Karl Rove textbook. When you learn about some of the dirty tricks that this guy has been pulling for years, it becomes very easily to believe that the Bush team would out and out steal the election illegally.

I don’t think we’ll ever know what really happened in this election, mostly because I no longer trust the government to police itself. I just hope that a small percentage of the dirty tricks pulled by the republicans become public and cause enough of an outcry to get them out of power for a good long time.

Is Iraq another Vietnam?

The more land we capture the more land we lose… Are we going to be stuck in Iraq?

Our “coalition” is disbanding, the U.N. isn’t so sure they want to help us anymore. The Iraqi people don’t seem to excited to have us there either. Are we stuck in an un-winnable war that will continue to draw American lives and resources? It looks increasingly so to me and to anyone else with a brain. There is a good article on greenleft about it.

The truth starts to come out

Who wouldda thunk it that maybe the Republicans stole the vote after all?
Well, it seems that those pesky lefties are starting to dig through the numbers and surprise, surprise, they don’t seem to make any sense. In Florida more ballots were cast for president than the number of people who voted. In Florida and several other states mostly democratic counties seemed to have voted overwhelmingly for Bush. Could it be that the exit polls (which are usually a highly accurate predictor) were correct and the voting machines were wrong? There are stories coming out about how people selected Kerry on their screens and had a Bush vote shown back to them. Now, I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories as a rule, but the evidence is mounting. Moby has some numbers in his journal. Michael Moore has got some good references as well.

The question is: who is going to investigate this? Can we trust the government to do the right thing? I doubt it. It seems to me that the right is consolidating their power by all means possible legal and otherwise. We’re being turning into a single party country against our will. I’m doubting that there is a way to fix this from within the system. The system has been corrupted.

Where do we go from here, we true fans of democracy, when the republic has become an oligarchy?

Me, I’m pondering creating an initiative to have Washington secede from the US.

Embracing Canada

Thinking about moving to Canada rather than face four more years of Bush? You and me both!

As someone who has spent a lot of time in our neighbor to the north and briefly considered moving there about 10 years ago, this election has made me think again about moving somewhere less moronic. It turns out that I’m not alone as this article on news.com mentions. There are some other cool sites too, like Immigration Canada, The Canadian Government’s Citizenship and Immigration website, this Harper’s article, and this Bushwatch site. Here’s a great top ten reasons to switch to Canada site which includes a link to download John Bender’s excellent Apple switch ad parody.

Moby’s thoughts and Cascadia

I like most of what Moby’s been saying. I’m thinking about secession.

My friend Heather pointed me over to Moby’s Website. His journal articles are doing a good job explaining how a lot of us feel. (I’m more pissed off than him, but thats ok). I’ve been thinking about secession a lot. There is that book, Cascadia, that I read a few years ago. It’s about how northern California, Oregon and Washington split off from the US and form their own country. It was written in the 60s, the new country of Cascadia is like one large Burning Man Festival except without the frat boys and with more free love. The hippy parts didn’t make too fond of it, but I’m thinking more and more how that might not be a bad idea.

Take California from San Jose northward, Oregon and the western half of Washington and you’ve got a pretty awesome country with abundant natural resources, a thriving tech economy, agriculture, manufacturing, ports and tourism. I think I’d be much happier in Cascadia, and I think those Southern states would be happier without us “freaks” making them have to go vote every four years to make sure they get another good ‘ol boy in the white house. Plus, we wouldn’t have to be supporting their asses with our taxes while getting so little back from D.C.

Anyone with me?