Eideard

Posts Tagged ‘tea party

Global trade to gain speed in 2014 and 2015

leave a comment »

containers offloading in Qingdao, Shandong province
Trucks carry containers unloaded from ship in Qingdao, China’s Shandong province

The growth of global commerce will pick up speed this year and next, says the World Trade Organization…Trade will grow by a “modest” 4.7% this year and by 5.3% in 2015, says the WTO.

Next year’s figure, if correct, would be in line with the average growth rate in world trade over the last 20 years…These forecasts are consistent with other figures that show the world economy is gradually recovering from the financial crisis…

The overall impact is that global trade is above its pre-crisis level, but well below where it would have been, had it grown in line with the earlier pre-crisis trend…In fact, that gap is still getting wider and by next year will, on the new forecasts, be 19%.

So the analysis by the WTO does suggest progress…But if world trade and its growth before 2008 was in some sense normal, we are still not back there…

“In addition to creating a permanent shift downward in the level of trade,” said the WTO in a press release…”The global recession of 2008-09 may have reduced its average growth rate as well.”

The agency’s director general, Roberto Azevedo, said that just waiting for an automatic increase in trade was not enough…He called for new trade liberalisation agreements, in particular the negotiations known as the Doha Round…”Concluding the Doha Round would provide a strong foundation for trade in the future, and a powerful stimulus in today’s slow growth environment.”

The new WTO figures confirm that China is now the biggest goods trader in the world…Adding together exports and imports, China leads the United States, which is itself still the biggest trader in commercial services…However, the picture is different if the European Union is treated as a single unit, counting the trade of EU member states with outside nations and excluding commerce within the Union.

On that basis, the EU is the world’s biggest trader.

A significant portion of the whole equation is foreign direct investment, one of those economically rich processes that typically provides jobs and trade at both ends of such agreements. As long as Congressional Republicans control regulations governing FDI, the United States doesn’t stand a chance of improving trade.

Tea Party Confederates and the rest of the Republican Party have done everything they can to sabotage foreign direct investment from China in the United States. Between their Cold War mentality and fear-based ideology leftover from the Bush-Cheney years, FDI from China last year was less than 1% of the total.

Logic makes it clear to the Chinese their investment plans are better served within the European Union and in bilateral agreements with developing nations. That is where they are going to send their money. Americans who want jobs had better start asking questions of the isolationist patriots in Congress who believe their only mandate is to protect the likes of General Electric and the Koch Brothers.

About these ads

Written by Ed Campbell

April 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm

America’s ten least healthy cities

leave a comment »

smoking, obesity, no exercise

There’s no doubt that great strides have been made in Americans’ health over the years. Americans smoke less, are more likely to be insured and live longer. However, significant health disparities remain across the nation, influenced by individual choices, the community and clinical care.

To determine the well-being of Americans, Gallup-Healthways surveyed hundreds of thousands of Americans in 189 metropolitan areas in the United States in 2012 and 2013. The survey recorded the physical and emotional health of the residents, as well as measuring job satisfaction and access to basic needs. The resulting Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index allows for comparisons between places and over time.

Not surprisingly, the physical health of residents was influenced by their habits. While less than 20% of Americans surveyed were smokers, more than 34% of Charleston, W.Va., residents smoked, the most in the nation. Residents also reported among the highest rates of obesity in the country…

According to Dan Witters, research director for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, there is a clear relationship between poor physical health outcomes, such as obesity, and many of these habits. “When you’re talking about obesity, the big three are healthy eating, exercise, and smoking…”

AMERICA’S LEAST HEALTHY CITIES:

10. Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, Ark.

9. Spartanburg, S.C.

8. Chattanooga, Tenn.-Ga.

7. Clarksville, Tenn.-Ky.

6. Fort Smith, Ark.-Okla.

5. Redding, Calif.

4. Columbus, Ga.-Ala.

3. Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, Tenn.-Va.

2. Charleston, W.Va.

1. Huntington-Ashland, W.Va.-Ky.-Ohio

RTFA for the depressing details. Each metro area is rated for a physical health index, obesity, blood pressure and poverty rate. Following notes describe contributing factors – without having the courage to confront politics and ideology.

Fact is – nine of these ten unhealthiest cities are in the old [and new] Confederacy. You’re looking at the actual achievements of Tea Party and right-wing Republicans, Blue Dog Democrats and True Believers in fundamentalist religion. This is the reality they offer to Americans gullible enough, ignorant enough to vote them into power.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Pakistani Christian sentenced to death for blasphemy

with 5 comments

A Pakistani Christian man has been sentenced to death for blasphemy, in a case which sparked fierce rioting in the eastern city of Lahore last March.

Sawan Masih was convicted of using derogatory remarks against the Prophet Mohammed in a row with a Muslim friend.

Hundreds of Muslims attacked the city’s Christian Joseph colony, torching homes, when the allegations surfaced.

Allegations of blasphemy against Islam are taken very seriously in Pakistan, where 97% of the population are Muslim.

Several recent cases have prompted international concern about the application of blasphemy laws.

Sawan Masih’s lawyer said a judge announced the verdict during a hearing at the jail where the trial has been held, amid fears for his client’s safety if he attended court.

The 26-year-old Masih, who is a father of three, has consistently maintained his innocence during the year-long trial…

Critics argue that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are frequently misused to settle personal scores and that members of minority groups are also unfairly targeted.

Muslims constitute a majority of those prosecuted, followed by the minority Ahmadi community.

Any expectation of fairness in the use of a patently absurd law is misplaced. Not that I expect anything more from sectarian zealots. No matter which continent.

Flat-earthers who consider science untouchable and secular law untenable are stuck into definitions of culture that hasn’t changed since the Stone Age.

Written by Ed Campbell

March 28, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Oil Patch CEO turns into a NIMBY – Presto! Just like that.

with one comment

Exxon Mobil’s CEO has joined a lawsuit to stop construction of a water tower near his home that would be used in the fracking process to drill for oil…While fracking — hydraulic fracturing of rock to release pockets of oil — has raised complaints from environmentalists around the country, Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson’s opposition to a project in his own neighborhood is interesting, given how deeply Exxon Mobil is involved in the process.

Tillerson appeared at a Town Council meeting in Bartonville, Tex., the wealthy enclave near his Dallas home last November to join in the protest over the water tower…The lawsuit contends the project would create “a noise nuisance and traffic hazards.” Trucks would be needed to haul and pump water.

The tower, being built by Cross Timbers Water Supply, would rise 15 stories, the Journal says. It’s adjacent to Tillerson’s 83-acre horse ranch and not far from an 18-acre homestead. Tillerson is devoting considerable time to the matter: he sat for three hours in the lawsuit last May and attended an all-day mediation session in September, besides his Town Council appearance.

Among the others opposing the project are those who are not exactly known for environmental crusading: former U.S.House Majority Leader Dick Armey and his wife are the lead plaintiffs.

Creeps like Tillerson and Armey – especially the latter – are up to their armholes in scumsucking rightwing politics. That they are hypocrites enough to join the Not In My BackYard brigade shouldn’t surprise anyone. They are stellar examples of the sort of thugs who will embrace the words of constitutional freedom – while denying them to anyone who questions the royal entitlements of their wealth.

Armey in particular – since he chose the jive designation of Tea Party for the current incarnation of the Confederate White Citizens’ Council – and picked out the flunkies who “spontaneously” brought it to the public ear and eye.

Thanks, Mike

Written by Ed Campbell

February 24, 2014 at 8:00 pm

Republican nutballs fear global assistance for the disabled

with one comment


38 Republicans walked by wheelchair-bound Bob Dole and voted against the treaty

Any suspicion that the political right, after suffering a defeat on the debt ceiling and facing threats from business donors, is losing its clout can be dismissed by the fight over the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The treaty has been ratified by 141 countries. It is backed by the White House, former President George H.W. Bush, the major U.S. disability and veterans advocacy groups, and American businesses.

Senate Republicans, however, already defeated the treaty in 2012, and it now faces an uphill slog to get the two-thirds vote needed for ratification. Right-wing critics, led by former Senator Rick Santorum, the Heritage Foundation and home-schoolers, charge that adopting it would allow global enforcers to dictate the treatment of Americans with disabilities or the permissibility of home schooling, and ease access to abortion.

In reality, the treaty is modeled on the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. It states that nations must ensure that people with disabilities get the same rights and are treated with same dignity as all others. It might well pressure other countries to adopt U.S. standards.

The inevitable conflict between ignorance and stupidity – with a dash of paranoia added, not uncommon in today’s American conservatism.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ed Campbell

February 23, 2014 at 2:00 pm

UKIP suspends councillor who blames floods on gay marriage

with 3 comments

bigots

UKIP has suspended an Oxfordshire councillor after he blamed recent flooding on the government’s decision to legalise gay marriage.

In a letter to his local paper, David Silvester said he had warned the PM the legislation would result in “disaster”.

He said David Cameron had acted “arrogantly against the Gospel”…

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said he was entitled to his “strong Baptist view of the world”, but had defied a request not to do further media interviews.

Mr Farage said: “So we suspended him, quite rightly.”

“He’s not a spokesman for the party,” Mr Farage continued, adding: “I’ve never even met him.”

Conservative Business Minister Michael Fallon said UKIP was “the only big protest party at the moment” and still counted “one or two fruitcakes” among its members…

Mr Silvester, from Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, defected to UKIP from the Conservatives in protest at David Cameron’s support for same-sex unions.

In the letter to the Henley Standard he wrote: “The scriptures make it abundantly clear that a Christian nation that abandons its faith and acts contrary to the Gospel (and in naked breach of a coronation oath) will be beset by natural disasters such as storms, disease, pestilence and war.”

He added: “I wrote to David Cameron in April 2012 to warn him that disasters would accompany the passage of his same-sex marriage bill.

Mr. Silvester should probably emigrate to the Confederate wing of the former colonies where he could join the range of nutballs that infest the Republican Party under the Tea Party umbrella. The family values hypocrites, the constitutionalist hypocrites, libertarian hypocrites or straight-up bigot hypocrites would welcome him with open arms.

Written by Ed Campbell

January 19, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Right-wing governors who refused Medicaid expansion force their state taxpayers to pick up the tab for states that did expand Medicaid

with one comment

image
Georgia’s Grady Memorial Hospital loses $45 million

The 20 states that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act help pay for the expanded Medicaid program in other states…

A Commonwealth Fund Study found Texas, Florida, Georgia,and Virginia were the biggest losers among states not expanding Medicaid because they are forgoing billions of dollars in federal funds, while residents in their states are contributing to the cost of the expansions in other states…

…Researchers explained federal funds that pay for state Medicaid programs are raised through federal general revenue collection — taxes paid by residents in all states — whether or not they participate in the program.

Therefore, taxpayers in states not participating in the Medicaid expansion will bear a share of the overall cost for Medicaid, without benefiting from the expanded program in the 20 states. Glied and Ma estimated the net loss of federal funds to states that do not expand Medicaid by using projected federal Medicaid spending in each state and calculating the federal Medicaid-related taxes paid by each state…

After taking into account federal taxes paid by state residents, states with the highest net losses include Texas, which will see a net loss of $9.2 billion in 2022; Florida, which will lose $5 billion; Georgia, which will lose $2.9 billion and Virginia will lose $2.8 billion, the study said.

Meanwhile, in states that chose not to expand Medicaid, hospitals are planning budget cuts because of the loss of patients that expanded Medicaid would have provided…

Nothing puts the lie to Republican blather about fiscal responsibility than decisions like this. Allegiance to ideology opposing benefits for the poor and working poor, rooted in petty fury over losing yet another election to someone who doesn’t fit the populist mold of White and Right…guaranteed these fools would decide to block an opportunity to aid the poorest of their state populations. Making it certain in the process that state taxpayers would not only pay for the loss; but, pick up the tab for states where elected officials decided in favor of expanding healthcare.

They will continue to campaign on the lie that they saved people money – when all they guaranteed was increasing poverty, ill-health and a harder life for many of their fellow Americans. They are liars and criminals.

Written by Ed Campbell

December 5, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Taliban Tea Party advances their tactics

leave a comment »


Click to enlarge

The Taliban Tea Party will continue to press forward towards their version of the 19th Century whether or not the rest of the Republican Party volunteers. The Koch Bros will continue their funding at least as long as their ilk funded the John Birch Society.

The only surprise has been the number of Republicans in elective office with as little backbone as Democrats. You would think that with as many years experience as some have, dedication to Big Business and Capitalism as a class would trump fealty to Big Oil and extractive industries alone – and the promise of more support for hating women, Latinos, Black people, trade unions, intelligentsia, artists and pretty much everyone outside the borders of the GOUSA.

Written by Ed Campbell

October 20, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Men eating processed meat have low number of normal sperm

leave a comment »

Processed meats — hot dogs, bacon, ham, hamburger — are linked to lower amounts of normal sperm in men, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. Myriam Afeiche of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and colleagues said men in sub-fertile couples presenting for evaluation at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center were invited to participate in an ongoing study of environmental factors and fertility…

The study found the men who regularly ate processed meat had the lowest amount of normal sperm, compared to the men who ate limited amounts of processed meat. Men who ate the equivalent of less than a serving of of bacon a day had 30 percent more normal sperm than those who ate higher amounts of processed meats, the study said.

However, the men who ate white meat fish — cod, halibut — were associated with higher amounts of normal sperm. In addition, eating dark meat fish — salmon, bluefish, tuna — was related to higher total sperm count, the study said.

Does this mean we should encourage Tea Party types to enter hot dog eating contests. And train a lot.

Written by Ed Campbell

October 18, 2013 at 2:00 pm

South Dakota ranchers crushed by storms – ain’t any aid coming – courtesy of the right wingers they elected

leave a comment »

dead cows

The cattle lay in heaps of tangled hooves, collapsed against fences and submerged in creeks. Some had curled up behind hay bales, hiding from 70 mile-per-hour winds that scattered herds for miles, struck by hypothermia weeks before they were scheduled to go to market.

In one of the worst blizzards to hit western South Dakota, ferocious winds and snow as deep as five feet killed tens of thousands of livestock and damaged the area’s economy. More than a week later, many of the cows remain unburied…

Delayed by more inclement weather and ground too soggy for tractors, Gary Cammack, like many ranchers in this farming community just east of the Black Hills, hopes to begin the gruesome work of cleaning up the carcasses this week. But while state and county agencies have helped clear roadsides and have provided burial pits, the federal government shutdown has only complicated the crisis…

Ranchers looking for guidance on how to document their losses with the federal Farm Service Agency, whose workers have been furloughed, are, as some here say, “plumb out of luck.” And the stalling of a farm bill in Congress has left many families skeptical about whether disaster relief will ever come.

State officials estimate a death toll of as many as 20,000 cows. An official number may not be known for weeks as producers continue to search for livestock. But the loss has become about more than the economic devastation, which could linger for years and put some producers out of business. South Dakotans are fiercely self-reliant, but they now feel invisible as they ask federal officials to lend a hand.

The historic term is “hoist by your own petard”. You helped build the problem. Now you can whine about the absence of a solution. How many of these ranchers voted for Republicans, Tea Party Republicans?

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ed Campbell

October 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,800 other followers