Thursday, May 1, 2008

May Day Celebrations

Los Angeles - Dockworkers protesting the US war in Iraq shut down all the ports on the US west coast as they struck Thursday in honour of May Day. The action by thousands of dockworkers shut down all 29 ports on the US West Coast from Seattle to San Diego and was scheduled to last for the entire day shift from 8 am to 5 pm. The action came two months before the contract expires between thedockworkers, represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents port operators and large shippers. "We are supporting the troops and telling politicians in Washington that it's time to end the war in Iraq," said union President Bob McEllrath in a press release. The Pacific Maritime Association had complained about the union's planned action with an arbitrator, which had ordered the union to go to work today. The union said that its strike action was protected by the constitution. A dispute between the maritime association and the dockworkers paralyzed West Coast ports for 10 days in 2002.

Remembrances of dreams lost when the Bolshevik Revolution died.
Anti-war dockworkers shut down US west coast ports

While 0thers prefer remembering those victims of communism:

Welcome to The Distributed Republic's 5th annual remembrance of the victims of communism. Our busy personal lives made this year's event a bit sparser than usual, but we hope you enjoy the postings.

The Red Plague by guest blogger Professor R. J. Rummel (republished)

Complicity by Jonathan Wilde

Forced Labor: North Koreans Working Abroad by Rainbough Phillips

A History The EU Wants to Forget by Rainbough Phillips

A Video Memorial to Victims of Khmer Rouge by Rainbough Phillips

Gulag Love by Jonathan Wilde

Remembrance by Jonathan Wilde

Taken from here:

The Distributed Republic.


Citizen Quote

Every good citizen makes his country's honor his own, and cherishes it not only as precious but as sacred. He is willing to risk his life in its defense and its conscious that he gains protection while he gives it.

Andrew Jackson
Via - Wizbang Blog -- Thursday Afternoon Reads

Sin Tax On Food?

From the state that gave us the toilet paper tax comes the fast-food tax.

They get you coming and going.

Whereas the TP tax was meant strictly to raise revenue, this is also aimed at making people eat healthy.

While we are on the subject of strange tax laws.

Don Surber -- Taco Tax.

Foolish Illinois Tax Law Lession

It is unlawful for any retailer to advertise or hold out or state to the public or to any purchaser, consumer or user, directly or indirectly, that the tax or any part thereof imposed by section 3 hereof will be assumed or absorbed by the retailer or that it will not be added to the selling price of the property sold, or if added that it or any part thereof will be refunded....
--35 Ill. Comp. Stat. 105/7.

And Illinois enforces it, with state revenue officials sending these threatening letters to retailers who dare tell customers that they'll pick up the sales tax. It's a Class A misdemeanor offense, that can get you up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine:

While we do not want to interfere with your advertising techniques, under the circumstances, we are compelled to do so. You should immediately cease advertising that no sales tax will be incurred. Any future advertisements of this kind will be viewed as a continuing violation, which could result in criminal prosecution.

This may be the dumbest tax law in the history of dumb tax laws. If a company offers a 7-percent-off sale across the entire store, that's legal. But if the company says, "We'll pay your 7 percent sales tax," that's not legal. The two are equivalent from the perspective of the state treasury, the seller, and the buyer. It's just a matter of wording. Now there may be a case if the tax is hidden, but here it's not—big posters are advertising that the tax exists and is being paid.


The Tax foundation -- Suburban Chicago Retailers (Illegally?) Pay Sales Tax for Customers in Stimulus Check Sale

Via: Say Anything Blog

You Will Pay Higher Taxes -- I Think I'll Pass, Okay?

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken, front-runner in the race to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, said on Tuesday that he has paid $70,000 in back taxes and penalties owed in 17 states, going back to 2003.

The media may get their recession and there may be enough Bush obsession that the Democrats win come November, but it really is a sad state of affairs when the top of the ticket is surrounded by terrorists and American hating mentors and a leading Senate candidate is a tax scofflaw (this is his third tax/workers comp issue this year).
Star Tribune

But We Want To Wrap Up This Story Today!

This video is a keeper. When a reporter challenges George Bush on his credibility when he describes the US as winning in Afghanistan, Bush at first tries to explain that “winning” doesn’t mean the war is over. Bush notes that he has said repeatedly that tough fighting remains ahead. After the reporter tries asking the same question again, Bush vents his frustration:

See the video here -- Hot Air --Video: Bush erupts against attention-deficit media.

Drill and Innovate

We can't conserve our way out of our energy problems. We can drill and we can innovate!

To those who say ANWR won't help, here is this:


Litigating Legitimate Business Out Of Business

"Congress clearly intended to protect from vicarious liability members of the firearms industry who engage in the 'lawful design, manufacture, marketing, distribution, importation or sale' of firearms," the appeals court said.

When they couldn't get their radical laws passed nationwide New York City tried to make a legitimate business illegal using the courts, forcing the Congress to act. If you can't make and sell guns that pesky second amendment won't be a problem at all!
Wizbang Blog -- Appeals Court Shoots Down NYC Lawsuit Against Gun Industry

Foolish Oil Policy

It may surprise Americans to discover that the United States is the third-largest oil producer, behind Saudi Arabia and Russia. We could be producing more, but Congress has put large areas of potential supply off-limits. These include the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and parts of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. By government estimates, these areas may contain 25 billion to 30 billion barrels of oil (against about 30 billion barrels of proven U.S. reserves today) and 80 trillion cubic feet or more of natural gas (compared with about 200 tcf of proven reserves).

What keeps these areas closed are exaggerated environmental fears, strong prejudice against oil companies and sheer stupidity. Americans favor both "energy independence" and cheap fuel. They deplore imports -- who wants to pay foreigners? -- but oppose more production in the United States. Got it? The result is a "no-pain energy agenda that sounds appealing but has no basis in reality," writes Robert Bryce in "Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of 'Energy Independence.' "

Unsurprisingly, all three major presidential candidates tout "energy independence." This reflects either ignorance (unlikely) or pandering (probable). The United States imports about 60 percent of its oil, up from 42 percent in 1990. We'll import lots more for the foreseeable future.

Most Americans don't realize and there will be a price when a backlash will occur against the enviro-wackos and the politicians who caved to their extreme beliefs.
Washington Post - Robert J Samuelson -- Start Drilling

It's DIRTY Oil!


In an interesting tussle, a virtually unnoticed clause was added almost at the least moment to a US energy bill that bars the government, in particular the Department of Defense, from using Alberta crude because it is deemed unconventional and too dirty.

A provision in the US Carbon Neutral Government Act incorporated into the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 act effectively bars the US government from buying fuels that have greater life-cycle emissions than fuels produced from conventional petroleum sources.

The United States has defined Alberta oilsands as unconventional because the bitumen mined from the ground requires upgrading and refining as opposed to the traditional crude pumped from oil wells.

California Democrat Representative Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and Republican Tom Davis added the clause.

Thanks, guys. I'll remember you whenever I fill up. Some cynics might suspect a corrupt motive:

Wihbey underlines Saudi Arabia and Canada were direct competitors for the biggest customer: the US. David Kirsch, head of Oil Markets PFC Energy, says that “In the US mid-continent, the penetration of oilsands crude is deep, they are increasingly competing with the long haul crude from the Middle East. Until recently we saw a Saudi domination, but now it is becoming a Canadian affair.” And that’s why the Saudis are starting to play hardball, claimed Wihbey.

“They’re playing hardball ... then all of a sudden this legislation pops in, literally a month after these statements were made in November,” noted Wihbey.

But I'm sure it's just a sincere concern for the environment. I had missed this story, and I suspect most people did. Via Jerry Pournelle, who observes:

The easy way to make ethanol is to import sugar from Brazil and use that. Of course we don't and won't do that.

The easy way to bring oil prices down is to drill offshore and on the North Slope. Of course we don't do that.

The easy way to bring electricity prices down (you can make fertilizer with electricity) is to build nuclear power plants, expensive but cheap compared to wars. Of course we won't do that.

And why won't we?

UPDATE: Environmentalists are indefatigably trying to block this new source of energy:

Alberta's oilsands came under fire in Washington, D.C. yesterday, with environmentalists protesting the visit of deputy premier Ron Stevens and demanding a ban on "dirty oil" be enforced.

The National Resource Defense Council, which claims 1.3 million members across the U.S., [NOTE: I think they mean the Natural Resources Defense Council] bought an ad in the widely read Capitol Hill Roll Call newspaper, featuring a Maple Leaf oozing oil.

If we really do see seven-dollar gas by 2012 as some are predicting, we'll know who to blame. On the other hand, here's some good news:

Alberta expects a U.S. working group to classify the province´s oilsands fuel as a conventional resource to exempt it from tough new restrictions on imports, provincial envoy Gary Mar said Tuesday.

It certainly should.

We are hostages to the enviro-wackos!

And can I just clarify something -- It is incorrect to say that we are addicted to oil. Oil powers the economy, it powers freedom, food, and fun.

This is not evil or wrong, it is just fact! When it becomes economic feasable we will have a new source of energy -- but chances are good that we WILL tap our own resources prior to that occurring.

Controlling our own oil would control our future.



Driving Is Serious Business

According to reporter Paul Chapman, Volvo wants to create a car that basically "forms a giant bumper" around its occupants to protect them if and when the need arises. A Volvo representative quoted on camera goes on to state that beyond the elimination of crash-related death and injury, Volvo would like to see the elimination of car accidents altogether.

I am always amazed at how lightly we take driving. It is crazy that states would even have to consider a law against texting while driving -- what kind of fool texts while they drive and why do I have to be on the road with someone that mentally deficient?

People, you are operating a 4000 pound piece of equipment at speed! Drive like you mean it -- drive like your flying a plane!

Each and every year more then 40,000 people die in auto crashes and we treat that as if it were just a fact of life. Yet when 4000 brave soldiers die tragically and heroically doing what they volunteered to do we hold grim milestone wall to wall press coverage.
Autoblog --Volvo wants to eliminate in-car injuries and death by 2020
Video at link.

Sweeny Report and Applesauce Do Their Part For The Cause

In an attempt to mitigate some of the damage the Reverend Wright has done to Barack Obama the RRStar Sweeny Report and Applesauce both pointed to the foolish statements of the Reverend Falwell and Pat Robertson following 9/11 in which they blamed the decadence of the US for the terrorist attacks, implying that the wrath of God was upon us.

While Falwell and Robertson's statements are reprehensible they simply do not compare to Wright's assertion that the attacks were retribution on the US for being global terrorists deserving of the attack.

This issue has to have been brought up in the fever swamps of the far left and it gets trucked out and repeated by every member of the Obama army -- I think I even heard it mentioned by Joy Behaer on The View (no, I don't watch, but it was on a clip on the news).

Keep in mind that Falwell and Robertson realized their error and apologized while the Reverend Wright restated his opinion this week and is completely unapologetic.

Check out both posts (Sweeney Report -- Applesauce) along with my replies -- neither Chuck nor Pat responded directly to my pointing out their flawed comparison and to the apologies of Falwell/Roberts. Pat tried to deflect the conversation, not once but twice -- it is now as unimportant as the flag pin issue.

Media Rule: Act As If Long Enough It Comes True

The bruised economy limped through the first quarter, growing at just a 0.6 percent pace as housing and credit problems forced people and businesses alike to hunker down.

The country's economic growth during January through March was the same as in the final three months of last year, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. The statistic did not meet what economists consider a definition of a recession, which is a contraction of the economy. This means that although the economy is stuck in a rut, it is still managing to grow, even if slightly.

Many analysts were predicting that the gross domestic product (GDP) would weaken a bit more -- to a pace of just 0.5 percent -- in the first quarter. Earlier this year, some thought the economy would actually lurch into reverse during the opening quarter. Now, they say they believe that will likely happen during the current April-to-June period.

"The economy is weak but not collapsing," said Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Bank of America's Investment Strategies Group. "A recession can't be ruled out, although the stars are not lined up at this point to definitively say one way or the other."

The media has been talking the economy down since Bush took office, didn't it have to have grown to have slowed?

But they will eventually get their recession -- just not yet. (I think we have or are near the bottom now.)
Ace Of Spades HQ --Economy Grows In First Quarter By 0.6%; Weak Numbers, But Better Than Expected

Clinton blasts Bush for not stopping a project Bill OK'd

INDIANAPOLIS — Hillary Clinton loves to tell the story about how the Chinese government bought a good American company in Indiana, laid off all its workers and moved its critical defense technology work to China.

It’s a story with a dramatic, political ending. Republican President George W. Bush could have stopped it, but he didn’t.

If she were president, Clinton says, she’d fight to protect those jobs. It’s just the kind of talk that’s helping her win support from working-class Democrats worried about their jobs and paychecks, not to mention their country’s security.

What Clinton never includes in the oft-repeated tale is the role that prominent Democrats played in selling the company and its technology to the Chinese. She never mentions that big-time Democratic contributor George Soros helped put together the deal to sell the company or that the sale was approved by her husband's administration.


McClatchy -- Clinton blasts Bush for not stopping a project Bill OK'd

9/11 Conspirator On Trial Again

Funding Charges For Spain’s al Qaeda Chief And 9/11 Co-Conspirator

MADRID, Spain - The convicted leader of al Qaeda in Spain and two Syrian-born alleged accomplices have been charged in a new case on suspicion of financing terrorist cells.

The suspects in the latest case are Syrian-born Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, 44, who was sentenced in 2005 for leadership of al Qaeda in Spain; and Syrian-born Muhamed Galeb Kalaje Zouaydi, 47, and Bassam Dalati Satut, 48, both sentenced in the same trial in 2005 for membership in a terrorist group,

Yarkas was the key defendant convicted in an al Qaeda trial in September 2005 in Madrid, when the National Court sentenced 18 of the 24 defendants for al Qaeda and terrorism links, acquitting the other six.

It was one of the largest terrorism trials to date in Europe and prosecutors sought thousands of years in jail for Yarkas and two other prime defendants in that case, arguing that they were connected to the deaths of the victims of the September 11 attacks in the United States.

But in the end, the National Court convicted only Yarkas of a 9/11 link in the 2005 trial, and on the lesser charge of conspiracy.

The National Court sentenced Yarkas in 2005 to 27 years in prison — 12 years for al Qaeda leadership in Spain and 15 years for conspiracy in the 9/11 attacks.

But in June 2006, Spain’s Supreme Court overturned the conviction of conspiracy in the 9/11 attacks, leaving Yarkas with just the 12-year sentence for al Qaeda leadership


Pat Dollard

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