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Obama In Allentown, Pa. To Discuss Jobs, Economy

AP/Huffington Post
First Posted: 12- 4-09 10:46 AM   |   Updated: 12- 4-09 12:00 PM

President Obama travels to Allentown, Pennsylvania on Friday to discuss jobs and the economy, one day after his jobs summit in Washington, D.C. and in the wake of news that unemployment decreased slightly last month. He is speaking at Lehigh Carbon Community College.

“This is good news, just in time for the season of hope,” Obama said. “But I want to keep this in perspective. We’ve still got a long way to go. I consider one job lost one job too many.”

The full remarks as prepared for delivery:

It is good to be back in the Lehigh Valley. It’s been about a year and a half since I last visited Allentown and Bethlehem when I was running for this office. And while it was a pleasure to be here as a candidate, it is an honor to be here as your President.

Pennsylvania, you helped put me in office. But even on the most trying days, I want you to know that I’m grateful – grateful for the opportunity to serve you in these challenging times for America; and grateful for this chance to get out of Washington and spend the day in the Lehigh Valley, talking with folks about this very tough economy.

I’ve just come from Allentown Metal Works, where I had a chance to visit with workers there. They were working hard – and not just to forge the heavy machinery that makes this country run. Like so many others across America, they’ve been doing the best they can to stay afloat in a brutal recession that has hit folks like them hardest of all.

In the two years since this recession began, too many members of our American family have felt the gut punch of a pink slip. Eight million Americans have lost their jobs. Every one of us knows someone who has been swept up by this storm: neighbors who have lost their homes or their health care; friends who have used up their savings and put off their retirement; relatives who have downscaled their dreams – or dropped them entirely.

I’ve heard these stories in every corner of America, and I see them in the letters I read each night.

So as we come to the end of this very tough year, I want to do something I haven’t had a chance to do often during my first year in office; and that is to share some encouraging news on our economy.

MORE HERE

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I seldom cross-post from Reconstitution, but this is important enough that I would like to get it as much attention as I can give it.

Many of us have been screaming for YEARS that we are killing people in the name of “free” trade, and the pollution and deprivation it visits upon the underdeveloped world. It appears that maybe some of that is coming back to visit us, with a vengeance.

One of my main criticisms of “free” trade as practiced by American corporatists is the willful blind-eye we turn to what these corporations do to the countries they offshore our jobs to. They willfully subcontract work to firms that are more or less (and sometimes EXACTLY, as in the case of KBR) slaveholders. But there is so much more that “free” trade brings to other countries, in the form of toxic pollution that would never be tolerated in most Western countries (except for Texas, Alaska, Mississippi, and Alabama, of course.)

The President promised to address the environmental tsunami that NAFTA turned loose on Mexico, and then he backed off, after some pressure from American corporatists who are interested in nothing but profits. Without a doubt, some of those who pressured the President happen to be corporate “factory” farmers, who can find dealing with the waste that animal husbandry produces to be difficult, to say the least. In Mexico, of course, they’ve never had to worry about any of that; they’ve turned vast swaths of Mexico into toxic wastelands, without regard for either the population near where they set up shop, or the environment.

Do you suppose that maybe NOW, the President might consider actually keeping that promise?

Sewage-filled lagoons at a pig farm in eastern Mexico – a product of the North American free trade deal – are suspected of creating ground zero conditions for swine flu in this country.

Environmentalists argue lax regulations in the factory farming that boomed in Mexico right after the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and the U.S. are making people sick – and not just with swine flu.

“You might call this the `NAFTA flu,'” said Rick Arnold, co-ordinator of Common Frontiers, a Canadian coalition focusing on Latin America and issues of economic integration.

He argues multinationals are getting away with dire conditions not allowed north of the border.

Environmental groups three years ago began protesting against operations at the Carroll Farms in Veracruz, jointly operated by U.S. pork giant Smithfield Farms.

The first confirmed case of swine flu originated with a 5-year-old boy from the town of La Gloria, near the farm. He recovered.

Medical officials have not pinpointed where the outbreak began.

And from its Virginia headquarters, Smithfield officials insist there is no evidence linking their operations to the disease.

Smithfield Farms, the world’s largest pork producer with $12 billion in annual sales, opened Carroll Farms in 1994, calling it a “joint venture.

At home, the company was fined $12.6 million (U.S.) in 1997 after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency disclosed it was dumping raw pig sewage into a river flowing into Chesapeake Bay.

The health ministry, which earlier said 168 people were believed killed by swine flu in Mexico, yesterday would confirm only 12 of those deaths as being from swine flu and would not say how many more cases were suspected.

The air in Mexico City, once called the “most polluted” by the World Health Organization, is loaded with human fecal matter, gases, dust and other toxic materials.

“The pollution affects our eyes, throats and lungs,” said Dr. Erendira Gallardo Lobera, a general practitioner. She said the Mexican government should take stronger measures to ensure residents of the capital aren’t breathing in rat and dog feces with their oxygen.

For 30 years, the proponents of “free” trade have been extolling its many wonders. Among those wonders are a steady slide in Western living standards, small farmers in much of the developing world driven to suicide, slavery, pollution… and now, brand new (and lethal) diseases.

What’s not to LOVE about “free” trade?

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Well, as you probably already know, Fox News makes me feel like losing my groceries, but I had to show this video attack on Congressman Alan Grayson. This repulsive dude, Neil Cavuto, is attempting to take on the appearance of authority to trick him into giving him an absolute number on an argument that doesn’t really call for anything but a relative example.

What Alan is dealing with here is known as The “Cavuto mark”. Following a satirical segment proposing it on The Daily Show on September 13, 2006, the word “Cavuto” is sometimes used to refer to a question mark “used to turn any statement, no matter how outrageous, into a simple, seemingly fair, question.”

Barney Frank: “This is presumably a psychological disorder”

Huffington Post

April fools day, 2009

House Republicans did their best Wednesday to battle Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) on the House floor and wound up on the receiving end of some classic Frank jabs.

The bill at issue, authored by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), would cap executive compensation at bailed-out financial institutions and it puts the GOP in a tough spot: after expressing outrage over the AIG bonuses, it’s tough to vote against the bill.

In announcing their opposition, Republicans such as Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) took to the floor to decry the fact that the stimulus allowed the bonus payments to be made. They excoriated Democrats for not reading the full stimulus bill but said they objected to the bill on the floor that would fix the loophole that had been in the stimulus.

Frank had a field day with it.

“This is really extraordinary,” he said. “What you have just heard is a denunciation of something the Congress did a few weeks ago and a refusal to undo it. I’ve never seen people, Mr. Chairman, so attached to something they hate. This is presumably a psychological disorder which I am not equipped to diagnose. The objection of the gentleman from Texas was that when the recovery bill was passed, it was passed too quickly [and it] included a provision that shouldn’t have been in there. This bill takes it out.”

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RNC chair: Only real jobs are those business creates

Raw Story- David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Sunday February 8, 2009

Most state governors, including many Republicans, are strongly behind a stimulus bill that will fund government projects to put large number of people back to work and get the economy moving again.

“It comes at a time when we need it,” Florida’s Republican governor, Charlie Crist, recently stated. “People need jobs. It’s about jobs, jobs, jobs.”

However, newly-elected Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele believes that government-funded jobs don’t count as real employment because “a job is something that a business owner creates.”

“What this administration is talking about is ‘making work.’ … It’s not a job,” Steele explained during a Sunday appearance on ABC’s This Week. “It ends at a certain point. … These road projects that we’re talking about have an endpoint. … There’s no guarantee that there’s going to be more work when you’re done that job.”

ABC host George Stephanopoulos objected, “We’ve seen millions and millions of jobs going away in the private sector, just in the last year.”

MORE HERE

This video is from ABC’s This Week, broadcast Feb 8, 2009.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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