Showing posts from January, 2008

Battles over nurse staffing ratios spread across nation.

This is from Labor Notes. This sounds as if it is a real problem. I have heard some stories of Canadian nurses moving to the U.S. but then returning because of working conditions. Having mandatory ratios would improve working conditions and attract more nurses to help the shortage.

Battles Over Nurse Staffing Ratios Spread Across NationMischa GausLabor NotesFebruary 2008Faced with insufficient staffing, nurses in a number of states are pushingfor legislation that would specify the number of patients each nurse cansafely care for. Photo: Jim West.After a patient quietly died in registerednurse Danielle Magaña's hospital hallway, she decided she'd had enough.Although an autopsy later said the woman had died of natural causes, Magañasaid the incident was waiting to happen at her chronically short-staffedhospital, San Antonio's Baptist Medical Center.Intensive-care nurses like her were assigned up to five patients per shift,including two in the hallways who weren't hooked i…

Arroyo: Philippines may not sign ASEAN Charter .

This is from the Daily Tribune. I don't really fathom Arroyo's reluctance to ratify the ASEAN charter until Burma's human rights situation improves. If Burma signs the charter this will surely provide just that much more ammunition to critics to put pressure on Burma. If the Philippines refuses to sign the charter that hardly hurts Burma!

Rights chief shrugs off GMA threat, urges gov’t to ratify Asean Charter
The country’s top human rights official yesterday criticized a threat made by President Arroyo that the Philippines will not ratify the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (Asean) landmark Charter due to poor human rights conditions in junta-ruled Myanmar.
Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairman Purificacion Quisumbing said she finds it ironic that the Philippines has been at the forefront of the negotiations for the Asean Charter only to backtrack from ratifying the document.
“Let us have a common push for the Philippines to ratify this. I’m just not sure…

Panitch: U.S. Econonic Crisis in Perspective.

Leo Panitch is a well known--at least in Canada--academic leftist. I didn't realize that Schwarzenegger had cut back on a lot of public expenditures in California. One would think that such expenditures would be a good stimulus. I guess if it were military expenditure it would be OK.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~(((( T h e B u l l e t ))))~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A Socialist Project e-bulletin .... No. 80 .... January 31, 2008_________________________________________________
Putting the U.S. Economic Crisis in Perspective
Leo Panitch
It is time to take stock. The centrality of the American economy to the capitalist world – which now literally does encompass the whole world – has spread the financial crisis that began in the U.S. housing market around the globe. And the economic recession which that financial crisis has triggered in the U.S. now threatens to spread globally as well.
Capitalism has had an incredible run – politically and culturally as well as economically – since the stagflation crisis of the 197…

Afghan who dared to read about human rights sentenced to death

This is from the Independent. This is the free and democratic Afghanistan that NATO and the US are fighting for. Earlier, a Christian convert from Islam had to flee to Italy to avoid a death sentence. A female legislator was kicked out the
legislature for criticizing her colleagues. The US house and Senate would be emptied in no time if that rule were followed in the US.

Sentenced to death: Afghan who dared to read about women's rights

By Kim SenguptaThursday, 31 January 2008
A young man, a student of journalism, is sentenced to death by an Islamic court for downloading a report from the internet. The sentence is then upheld by the country's rulers. This is Afghanistan – not in Taliban times but six years after "liberation" and under the democratic rule of the West's ally Hamid Karzai.
The fate of Sayed Pervez Kambaksh has led to domestic and international protests, and deepening concern about erosion of civil liberties in Afghanistan. He was accused of blasphemy afte…

Philippines: Living in Paradise

This is from the Daily Tribune. This editorial seems to be cheerleading for Joseph Estrada the deposed and now pardoned former premier. The Catholic Bishops have actually in the past often opposed the Arroyo administration. Perhaps they are changing now and have made peace with the administration. The Papacy has always been after the Philippine Catholic Church to tone down its political advocacy. If the Church trends too far right it may find that it loses priests to the more radical opposition as has happened in the past.

Living in paradise?

Catholic bishops appear to have totally lost their moral moorings as they virtually exculpated Gloria Arroyo and her government from blame on the rampant corruption and instead put the blame on the Filipino people for the moral decay in society.
They also placed the blame on the media for the “darkness” that we live with today, saying Filipinos are “a people almost without hope,” seeing darkness everywhere, adding the many problem…

Spritz your way to happiness

This is from the Daily Tribune (Manila) Perhaps this is a chance for some enterprising U.S. entrepreneur to market this in the U.S. Americans could remain smiley while losing their homes..

Spritz your way to happiness
By Maripet L. Poso, Staff Writer
Throw out those Zoloft and Prozac; there’s a new antidepressant in town!
And you don’t need a doctor’s prescription for this one; you don’t even need to worry about side effects as the only proven aftermath is smelling nice and feeling good. And here’s the catch! Product can be consumed without any moderation whatsoever and at any time you want!
We’re talking about smiley perfume, a happiness-triggering slash the very first antidepressant perfume that’s become a cult scent in some parts of Europe and is starting to invade the Philippines.
“When we launched smiley in 2005, it was such an instant hit,” said Juan Cuadrado, area manager of Arthes, the French company behind Smiley, during the launch recently at Rustan’s Essenses, Makati. “…

U.S. rejects more troops for Afghanistan

The US, along with Canada, Britain, and the Dutch, are trying to put pressure on other NATO members to contribute forces to areas in the south where the Taliban are resurgent. In most countries there is considerable opposition to sending troops period. A recent report in Canada, the Manley Report, would see Canadian troops move out of their combat role in Kandahar if there were not a thousand more troops sent there and also better equipment including helicopters. Our prime minister however is very pro-Bush and could very well say that the US troops already being sent to the south by the US constitute over a thousand troops and certainly the US could provide helicopter support. This is from the Globe and Mail.

U.S. rejects more troops for Afghanistan
The Canadian Press
January 29, 2008 at 3:47 PM EST
Washington — The United States won't be sending more combat troops to Afghanistan despite Canada's demand for NATO reinforcements as a condition for staying in the battle, a U.S. Def…

Naomi Klein: Why the Right Loves a Disaster

A disaster, particularly an economic disaster, should be an opportunity for the left. However, Klein is to a large extent correct, because the left is so weak the right is able to use economic problems to their own advantage. A good example is Bush's use of tax cuts to stimulate the economy. He even describes them in ways that appeal to the masses. The cuts involve putting people's own money back in their pockets. However, he never talks about cutting a few billion off the military budget and putting it back into people's pockets to spend as they see fit. However, since government income will be reduced there will be increased pressure to cut social spending those terrible "entitlements". The military doesnt apparently have entitlements. They are funded following some sort of natural law but not by the Invisible Hand of the Market but the very visible hand of government. The costs of Empire and the War on Terror are not to be questioned.

Why The Right Loves a Di…

Philippines exports weaker because of high dollar, energy prices

This is from the Inquirer. With inputs being very high priced Philippine exports are bound to be less competitive. With the dollar weaker, prices of Philippine products in U.S. markets will be higher. However, other currencies are also much higher so this may partly compensate. At least Philippine consumers will enjoy lower prices for products imported from the U.S.

2008 exports seen weaker on US concerns, high energy prices
Thomson FinancialFirst Posted 17:26:00 01/29/2008
MANILA, Philippines -- Merchandise exports growth this year is likely to be weaker on a further slowdown in the US economy, high energy prices and the continued strengthening of the peso, an industry leader said Tuesday.
"Exports contributed very little to national economic growth last year, and we are seeing very little growth, if any for 2008," Sergio Ortiz-Luis, president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation or Philexport said at an energy summit here.
In the first 11 months of last year, exports rose…

Yemen's Deals with Jihadists Unsettle the U.S.

This article gives a rare insight into U.S. and Al Qaeda operations in Yemen. Yemen is a hotbed of jihadism. Ironically as with many other jihadists they are in effect a left over from the fight against the Soviets and also socialists in Yemen itself. The local accomodation with radical Islamists sounds as if it actually worked after a fashion although a new breed of young jihadists regards the radicals who participate as traitors.

January 28, 2008
Yemen’s Deals With Jihadists Unsettle the U.S.
SANA, Yemen — When the Yemeni authorities released a convicted terrorist of Al Qaeda named Jamal al-Badawi from prison last October, American officials were furious. Mr. Badawi helped plan the attack on the American destroyer Cole in 2000, in which 17 American sailors were killed.
But the Yemenis saw things differently. Mr. Badawi had agreed to help track down five other members of Al Qaeda who had escaped from prison, and was more useful to the government on the street than off,…

Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra needs new instruments

This is from the Daily Tribune. Perhaps the Philharmonic could receive money from the infamous fertilizer fund. Many urban politician received money from the agricultural fund so why not use it to grow the renowned symphony orchestra?

Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra: Continuously regenerating
By Maripet L. Poso, Staff Writer
Dinah S. Ventura
An old trombone with its slide fastened by electrical tape is a sad sight even for non-musicians. It signifies deterioration, not just of the instrument itself, but of the music industry to which it belongs. And this is exactly what the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO), the country’s leading orchestra and one of the Asia Pacific Region’s top musical ensembles, wants to keep from happening.
A recent survey on the condition of the PPO’s musical instruments revealed ratings that ranged from 0-3, with 0 being the lowest and 5, the highest. Considering the ideal national orchestra instrument ratings of 4-5, the PPO musicians must …

Crucial ally against Al Qaeda in Iraq wants fighters to be part of army and police

This is from the Independent. This shows the danger of the new policy that has dramatically reduced insurgent violence in parts of Iraq. The new allies are former Sunni insurgents. If they are "incorporated" in the army and police, many police and army units may in fact be under control of regional leaders. The majority Shia government fears just such a situation.

'If there is no change in three months, there will be war again'

By Patrick Cockburn in FallujahMonday, 28 January 2008
A crucial Iraqi ally of the United States in its recent successes in the country is threatening to withdraw his support and allow al-Qa'ida to return if his fighters are not incorporated into the Iraqi army and police.
"If there is no change in three months there will be war again," said Abu Marouf, the commander of 13,000 fighters who formerly fought the Americans. He and his men switched sides last year to battle al-Qa'ida and defeated it in its main stronghold in and aroun…

Pakistan Rebuffs Secret U.S. Plea for C.I.A. Buildup

This is from the NY Times. Musharraf is no doubt wise to prevent U.S. intelligence from further infiltrating Pakistan. The U.S. already plotted to help Bhutto return although Musharraf it was also hoped to include Musharraf in a deal. However, the U.S. would like to have an even more pliant govt. in power if they can. Some in the administration don't seem to care a hoot for Musharaff's troubles. If Musharraf acted as the U.S. would like he would likely face civil war. Even as it is actions such as unmanned predators firing at buildings and alleged al Qaeda safe houses is provocative since there is always collateral damage.

Pakistan Rebuffs Secret U.S. Plea for C.I.A. Buildup
'President Pervez Musharraf dismissed proposals to allow the United States greater latitude to operate in tribal territories where militants are active, officials said.'

Published: January 27, 2008
WASHINGTON — The top two American intelligence officials traveled secr…

Discontent grows in Iraq over new national flag

This is from wiredispatch. New flags seem to always cause trouble. Once earlier a new national flag was introduced that was rejected by almost everyone. However, the Kurds refuse to fly the old flag because they associate it with Saddam. Even though this flag is very much like the old one it deletes the three stars associated with the Baath party representing freedom, unity, and socialism. The deletion makes good sense to me since Iraq is neither free, unified, nor socialist.

Discontent grows in Iraq over new national flag
Dean YatesReuters North American News Service
Jan 26, 2008 04:21 EST
BAGHDAD, Jan 26 (Reuters) - The Iraqi parliament's move to adopt a new, temporary national flag has provoked an outcry, with one major province refusing to fly it and ordinary Iraqis attaching the old flag to their cars in a silent protest.
Iraqis have flooded chat rooms on the Internet with criticism of this week's decision, which had long been demanded by the Kurdish minority who say the Sadda…

Is China de-coupled from the US economy?

These are two articles on the Chinese economy and the effect of a US downturn on its economic growth. Even pessimistic projections place Chinese economic growth at over 9 per cent this year, certainly not much like a recession. Up until now China was worried about growing too quickly. With its environmental problems a slow-down is probably positive and it may be helpful in terms of domestic consumption versus export. The first article is from the Wall Stree Journal.

OnlineJanuary 24, 2008China Turns Its Attention To Maintaining MomentumBy ANDREW BATSONJanuary 24, 2008BEIJING -- Even as China reported today a second year of annual growthabove 11%, the prospect of a U.S.-led global economic slowdown lookedlikely to force a shift in priorities: from curbing the boom tosustaining momentum.The government wants to generate 10 million urban jobs this year.Delivering that is likely to mean a sharper focus on the domesticeconomy, after a period when trade has been a big growth driver.China'…

Terrorist sympathizer appointed by Bush as ambassador to Nicrargua

This is from paulitics blog. Of course the terrorists were the Contras. Together with Negroponte another Bush favorite Callahan supported and facilitated the Contra counter-revolution. The nauseating story of CIA involvement is detailed at this site among others. Among the terrorist acts of the CIA was the mining of Nicaraguan harbours:
" The World Court declared the American mining illegal but the U.S. government chose to flout the law and continued the mining. The government of Saudi Arabia secretly arranged with the CIA to fund the Contras at the rate of $1 million a month. This money was laundered via a bank account in the Cayman Islands (under the name of Lt. Colonel Oliver North) to a Swiss Bank account, and thence to the Contras. "
Daniel Ortega was the leader of the Sandanistas and is now again president of Nicaragua. It is surely a gross insult to send Callahan. However, I guess you can say that he knows the ropes. Anyway, Ortega is now corrupted and probably q…