Archive for October, 2011

Qantas grounding isn’t all bad

Who isn’t shedding any tears for the downfall of Australia’s number one airline? That’s right, Australia’s number two airline.

That would be Virgin Australia, which is purported to pay their employees less, give them less benefits and even outsource more expensive maintenance work to cheaper Asian countries. Take a look at this email they sent to their frequent fliers:

Translation:

Virgin Australia is jumping all over the recent suspension of Qantas international and domestic service. To assist this effort we have:

  • Flown in as many goddamn planes as we could find from every corner of the world to snap up all these extra customers.
  • Given extra special deals for all the people Qantas screwed because they’re going to get a refund anyway and we can offer a discount seeing as our margins are so huge since we pay our workers so little.
  • Imported some Asian workers earning less than minimum wage so we can cope with all this free business.

We will continue to monitor the situation carefully for more opportunities to cash-in on those morons at Qantas who will be working for us next year for severely reduced pay. Suckers.

Yup, good job unions. You have almost managed to destroy the employer with the most unionised workers and the best employment conditions in your industry. You think those jobs are going to stay in Australia when Qantas gets bought-out by Cathay Pacific?

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Israeli settlement approval committee better than expected

When I heard about this committee to retroactively legalise settlement outposts, I definitely raised an eyebrow (and possibly died a little inside, but hey).

Luckily, it doesn’t look like the thing has any legs. Or teeth, or other assorted body parts. Bibi made this pretty clear by telling the settlers not to expect much. Even right wing stalwart Benny Begin is vocally opposing the idea of the committee.

So who is left promoting this PR disaster that undermines the fabric of Israeli society and rule of law? None other than Danny Danon aka the nicest thing Israeli parliament ever did for Palestinian extremism.

Who even needs an anti-Israel media campaign when you have a deputy speaker of the Knesset travelling the world who is guaranteed to say the wrong thing at the wrong time at every opportunity?

Israeli bid to legalize West Bank outposts hits AG objections – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News.

On Friday officials in the Prime Minister’s Bureau told settler leaders not to expect too much from the committee.

Somewhat surprisingly, Minister without Portfolio Benny Begin has come out against the proposed body, arguing that it is immoral to steal land for settlements.

Last night Yesha Council of settlements head Danny Dayan told Haaretz, “It often seems as if the prime minister has conceded his authority to control two executive branch bodies: the Attorney General’s Office and the Civil Administration. The ministers must take action to restore the authorities to their original format.”

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Give pizza a chance!

I can’t even start to explain how smart this is. Herman Cain has taken “Imagine” and “Give Peace a Chance”, two songs that defined the pseudo-socialist “peacenik” movement, and turned them into gospel anthems for corporate America and fast food.

Even 20 years ago (presumably), Cain was stickin’ it to the hippies. The Cain train is going full steam ahead towards the Whitehouse (well, apparently with some sexual misconduct on board, but hey, pizza!).

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The world’s biggest media companies

From the Fortune 500

Interesting that only one of them is accused of “controlling the world”. Disney is bigger than News Corp and Time Warner isn’t far off.

In fact, Time Warner is the biggest magazine publisher in the US and the UK and they make most of the big Hollywood movies. They have a  HUGE amount of influence.

Everyone’s always talking about the “evil Murdoch empire”. Why is no one ever conspiracy-theorising about Time Warner’s pernicious influence in our society?

I think it’s *ahem* time for action!

Fortune 500 2011: Industry: Entertainment.

Revenues Profits
Rank Company Fortune 500 rank $ millions % change from 2009 $ millions % change from 2009
1 Walt Disney 65 38,063.0 5.3 3,963.0 19.8
2 News Corp. 83 32,778.0 7.7 2,539.0 N.A.
3 Time Warner 95 26,888.0 -6.8 2,578.0 4.5
4 CBS 174 14,059.8 8.0 724.2 219.7
5 Viacom 180 13,497.0 -0.9 1,548.0 -3.9
6 CC Media Holdings 391 5,865.7 5.7 -479.1 N.A.
7 Live Nation Entertainment 444 5,063.7 19.7 -228.4 N.A.

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We are wall street

I only just saw this meme, but I’m pretty blown away by it. It makes it all so beautifully clear.

“We are Wall Street. It’s our job to make money. Whether it’s a commodity, stock, bond, or some hypothetical piece of fake paper, it doesn’t matter. We would trade baseball cards if it were profitable. I didn’t hear America complaining when the market was roaring to 14,000 and everyone’s 401k doubled every 3 years. Just like gambling, its not a problem until you lose. I’ve never heard of anyone going to Gamblers Anonymous because they won too much in Vegas.

Well now the market crapped out, & even though it has come back somewhat, the government and the average Joes are still looking for a scapegoat. God knows there has to be one for everything. Well, here we are.

Go ahead and continue to take us down, but you’re only going to hurt yourselves. What’s going to happen when we can’t find jobs on the Street anymore? Guess what: We’re going to take yours. We get up at 5am & work till 10pm or later. We’re used to not getting up to pee when we have a position. We don’t take an hour or more for a lunch break. We don’t demand a union. We don’t retire at 50 with a pension. We eat what we kill, and when the only thing left to eat is on your dinner plates, we’ll eat that.

For years teachers and other unionized labor have had us fooled. We were too busy working to notice. Do you really think that we are incapable of teaching 3rd graders and doing landscaping? We’re going to take your cushy jobs with tenure and 4 months off a year and whine just like you that we are so-o-o-o underpaid for building the youth of America. Say goodbye to your overtime and double time and a half. I’ll be hitting grounders to the high school baseball team for $5k extra a summer, thank you very much.

So now that we’re going to be making $85k a year without upside, Joe Mainstreet is going to have his revenge, right? Wrong! Guess what: we’re going to stop buying the new 80k car, we aren’t going to leave the 35 percent tip at our business dinners anymore. No more free rides on our backs. We’re going to landscape our own back yards, wash our cars with a garden hose in our driveways. Our money was your money. You spent it. When our money dries up, so does yours.

The difference is, you lived off of it, we rejoiced in it. The Obama administration and the Democratic National Committee might get their way and knock us off the top of the pyramid, but it’s really going to hurt like hell for them when our fat a**es land directly on the middle class of America and knock them to the bottom.

We aren’t dinosaurs. We are smarter and more vicious than that, and we are going to survive. The question is, now that Obama & his administration are making Joe Mainstreet our food supply…will he? and will they?”

These “occupy” idiots don’t seem to think about what it really takes to become a Wall Street executive. Whatever you want to say about Wall Street, they fight to get where they are and they work bloody hard to stay there. People complain about inequality, but the elites are pulling longer hours than ever, knowing that with the wrong decision they could lose everything at any moment, while the “99%” demand their “right” to a 35-hour work weeks with benefits.

For more on how the West has lost its worth ethic, see this TED talk by Niall Ferguson:

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Gaddafi’s contribution to the popular lexicon

Neologism from Charles Krauthammer in The Washington Post: “The Libyan crossfire”:

Libyan ‘crossfire’ – The Washington Post.

You’ve got your Mexican standoff, your Russian roulette, your Chinese water torture. And now, your Libyan crossfire. That’s when a pistol is applied to the head and a bullet crosses from one temple to the other.

That’s apparently what happened to Moammar Gaddafi after he was captured by Libyan rebels — died in a “crossfire,” explains Libya’s new government. This has greatly agitated ACLU types, morally unemployed ever since a Democratic administration declared Guantanamo humane. The indignation has spread to human rights groups and Western governments, deeply concerned about the manner of Gaddafi’s demise.

I can definitely see myself using this.

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People are pretty damn awesome

Some things take an insane amount of time and dedication.

I was impressed with all of these, but then … LIGHTSABER TENNIS?!?!!?

God damn!

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Herman Cain: worse than Hitler?

Apparently this video has caused a worldwide controversy, because it shows — wait for it — SMOKING!!

Clearly the media has missed the fact that a guy with a serious moustache can’t give a real badass look into the camera without exhaling a lungful of carcinogens. Has no one ever seen a Clint Eastwood movie?

Meanwhile, if anyway can find a video with he iconic Simpsons moment referenced in the title, please post it in the comments or something. It seems surprisingly hard to come by.

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Great guide to Israel/Palestine borders and land swaps

I was just linked to the below video from The Atlantic and the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace.  It’s brilliantly done, very simply and clearly explaining the whole concept of land swaps and going through the possible options and the difficulties that they create.

Drawing an Israel-Palestine Border – The Editors – International – The Atlantic.

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No, corporations REALLY ARE people

I’m told there has been some kind of big stir in America because Mitt Romney said “corporations are people”. Take this for example:

The Romney Economy.

In his quick, casual reply—corporations are people—Romney had seemed to give something away, though it wasn’t immediately clear what. The press chose to play the episode as a “gaffe,” as ABC’s Jake Tapper described it, a moment in which the weakness in Romney’s political pitch, the gap between his own privileged experience of the world and that of working-class voters, had been exposed. ­MSNBC, in a spate of giddy incredulity, seemed to keep the clip on loop for a week. But Romney’s own campaign managers did not try to obscure the episode at the state fair, to say he had been misunderstood or to secret it away. Instead they promoted it, as an advertisement of principle, and made the confrontation the centerpiece of a solicitation to supporters. A few days later, Romney’s communication director, Gail Gitcho, told the press that the exchange had raised $25,000 within 24 hours.

The incident, in retrospect, did less to peg Romney as a creature of privilege than it did to reveal something deeper. For Romney, the corporation has long been an object of a certain idealism. It is something he has spent much of his adult life—first as a management-strategy consultant, then as CEO of the private-equity firm Bain Capital—working to perfect, to strip of its inefficiencies until it might function as a perfectly frictionless economic unit.

Of course, everyone missed the point. It seems like the entire US press has overlooked something that any second-year law student could tell you. That is, corporations are people.

Don’t believe me? Here’s something Lord MacNaughten said in Salomon v Salomon [1897] AC 22:

 The company is at law a different person altogether from the subscribers to the memorandum; and, though it may be that after incorporation the business is precisely the same as it was before, and the same persons are managers, and the same hands receive the profits, the company is not in law the agent of the subscribers or trustee for them.

This goes right back to basic principles of what a corporation is – an entity designed to be separate from the people running it. It has its own interests and it is responsible for its own actions. Remember that a “person” is not the same as a “human”.

It is perfectly understandable that a retired priest wouldn’t have a strong grasp of this legal technicality, but the entire US media? For shame.

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