Monday, July 16, 2007

Chop Chop!

Although this may seem to be a historic image this branch of the Daba-Guyaozi Coal Railway was only completed in 2005. A QJ class locomotive hauls a long train of empties through the desert from Guyaozi to the new coal mine at Yangchangwan in Ningxia Province, China.

As consumers in the West, we love China. We are not so fond of India, since we seldom see "Made in India" stickers on the goods we buy. But "Made in China" stickers are everywhere.

Wal-Mart in 1998 posted banners saying the company bought American. Apparently, someone in management thought shoppers cared. They didn’t. Wal-Mart took down those banners years ago. Nobody protested. The parking lots did not empty. Companies in China began stocking the shelves at Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Target.

Call it the Bob Barker phenomenon. The price is right. Bob has retired, but the show goes on. So does its message.

So, if we buy "Made in China" items, we don’t hate China.

As customers, we love China.

But if a person is employed in manufacturing, he fears China. If he has just been laid off, he may hate China. If the plant where he worked is closed for good, he blames China.


The sleeping giant is awake and taking over.

It's difficult not to feel a sense of loss to the Chinese, our appetite for consumer goods has put ourselves at risk of economic extinction.

Go "F" yourself Wally Mart!


DEN said...

Oh yea, the Steam Locomotive runs on COAL and works to bring more from the mine.

So much for bringing Global Warming under control.

erling krange said...

What else is new?

erling krange said...

I'll try again!


DEN said...

Erling, that sounds rather American to me, money corrupts thats for sure.

Usually brings out the worst in folks.

ยบ¿carol said...

I must say I was shocked by Erling's article. I thought the U.S. had the market cornered on businesses hiding their money from the tax man.

I welcomed you back several days ago when you first posted, Erling. The next time you posted was on another thread and by what you said it sounded like you didn't go back to that thread. Just about everyone said hello to you there. Welcome back!

erling krange said...

This Minister of Finance used to be a left wing socialist. When in office, she turned almost dark blue. She promised to get rid of poverty, but she has failed big time. With the Bilderberger group out there, there will be impossible to get rid of poverty.

David B. Benson said...

On Biopact today is an interesting article about the European Happy Planet Index, a measure of happy, productive, long lives versus carbon cost.

Iceland wins, followed by Norway and Sweden together.

DEN said...

Doc, I would disqualify Iceland just because it has a vast geothermal system. It reduces the countries need for energy. They call it "renewable energy".

What puzzles me is all the countries lie in the BRRRRR! COLD! zone.

Can't we find anything warmer?

DEN said...

Doc, is anyone commenting at that site?

Seems odd.

David B. Benson said...

Den --- There are just a very few comments hither and yon.

Now a question for everybody:

"George Bush told a lie today."

Now, does this mean to you that: (i) he knew he spoke a untruth, but you don't know whether or not he intended to deceive; (ii) that he knew he spoke an untruth, with intent to deceive; or (iii) merely that he spoke an untrue statement, not necessarily knowing that it was untrue?

Alan said...

Two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the fifth inning just now gives USA softball a 3-0 lead against Japan in the final of the World Cup. Cat Osterman, from my area, is the pitcher. Girls softball, especially at this level, is a good game to watch. They can fkn PLAY.

DEN said...

ii, obvious fascist intent.

DEN said...

The dude creeps me out!

Would not tell the truth if his ass was on fire!

All trust is gone!

DEN said...

Crazy Harry?

Forcing his Republican colleagues to put up or shut up on the notion of an up-or-down vote, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) just moments ago announced that he will immediately file a cloture motion on the Reed-Levin troop redeployment bill and, if Republicans follow through with a filibuster, will place the Senate in a prolonged all-night session Tuesday to force a true continuation of debate.


Cannot find how this is or is not going. C-Spam is in repeat mode, nothing live.

Disgusted said...

Shoot First -- Ask Questions (Much) Later?
Almost every day brings a new allegation of wrongdoing by U.S. troops in Iraq who have been placed by their superiors in an "atrocity producing situation." Will the press finally probe this issue deeply?

By Greg Mitchell

(July 16, 2007) -- These days, hardly a week passes without the arrival of another serious allegation of a U.S. atrocity or other unnecessary killing of civilians in Iraq by Americans.

Just in the past few days we’ve witnessed a McClatchy report from Baghdad revealing that U.S. soldiers have killed or wounded 429 Iraqi civilians at checkpoints or near patrols and convoys during the past year; an extremely troubling Los Angeles Times account of routine brutality, and a plea from Reuters for a military probe of the death of two of its staffers last week, possibly shot by U.S. copters. The Nation just published a massive cover piece by Chris Hedges and Laila al-Arian detailing the disturbing findings of on-the-record interviews with about 50 returning veterans of the war.

Perhaps this will finally spark more sustained media interest in this subject, which has been tragically undercovered since day one of our invasion in 2003. Even the killings at Haditha, which did gain wide attention, were mainly ignored by the media for two months after the initial revelations in Time magazine.

There are two good reasons for this lack of investigation: reporters can’t get around much due to the horrific violence, and everyone recognizes the danger and pressure the soldiers face. But that doesn’t excuse most of the bad behaior nor the general lack of press enterprise. For example, here at home where the threat of getting blown up in the streets is presumably small, why was it left to The Nation to produce a survey of vets -- when any major news outlet could have attempted it?

In this space over the years, I have tried to draw attention to this issue in various ways, from quoting the rare observations of embeds who witnessed some harsh or deadly military actions to exposing the huge amount of “condolence” or solatia payments to survivors (thousands of payments and tens of millions of dollars). As with Vietnam, when the memoirs come out and the history is written, we will be shocked, I believe, by the level of wrongdoing by our troops who, to be fair, have been placed by their superiors in what Robert Jay Lifton called an “atrocity-producing situation.”

Perhaps the most compelling evidence of likely everyday brutality by U.S. troops emerged in April, yet as far as I know, was not investigated by major media.

A U.S. Army Surgeon General study of over 1,300 troops in Iraq had revealed increasing mental stress -- and an alarming spillover into poor treatment of noncombatants. It disclosed that at least 10% of U.S. forces reported that they had personally, and without cause, mistreated civilians (not prison detainees) through physical violence or damage to personal property.

The survey also noted that only 47% of the soldiers and 38% of marines agreed that noncombatants should be treated with dignity and respect.

Over 40% said they backed torture in certain circumstances. Even worse, nearly one in five said that all noncombatants "should be treated as insurgents." About 30% said their officers had not made it clear that they should not mistreat civilians.

More: Only 40% of American marines and 55% of soldiers in Iraq said they would report a fellow service member for killing or injuring an innocent Iraqi. Of course, this only guarantees that it will happen again, and again.

Jeff Englehart, a 26-year-old Army specialist from Grand Junction, Colo., said in The Nation survey: “I guess while I was there, the general attitude was a dead Iraqi is just another dead Iraqi. You know, so what?” You may wish to discount that, believing that The Nation is liberal and antiwar and that its pool of interviewees was drawn largely from veterans' organizations critical of the war.

Then you are still left with yesterday’s L.A. Times piece, which reported on the testimony of a Marine corporal, Saul Lopezromo, at the trial of Cpl. Trent D. Thomas, charged with murdering an Iraqi near Hamandaya (others have pleaded guilty). Lopezromo said Marines in his unit began routinely beating Iraqis after officers ordered them to "crank up the violence level.” Echoing the Army survey, he added that Marines consider all Iraqi men part of the insurgency, and added that a procedure called "dead-checking" was routine: If Marines found a wounded man in a house, instead of checking to see whether he needed medical aid, they shot him to make sure he was dead.

"If somebody is worth shooting once, they're worth shooting twice," he said.

To the extent they can do so, is the media now willing to deeply probe the actions of our beleaguered troops in Iraq? As Bob Herbert concluded a column about The Nation survey last week, “it’s one thing to lose a war. It’s much worse for a nation to lose its soul.”

Greg Mitchell (