U.S. Politics

March 12, 2009

San Francisco Chamber on anti-”anti-junket” junket

Fifty members of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce have taken a business trip to Washington D.C. to protest the “anti-junket” attitudes that have gripped Congress and the public after several incidents of abuses by bailed out financial firms. As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Big business is cutting back on convention travel these days, afraid of being branded as lavish spenders in a down economy. And that’s having a real impact on cities like San Francisco, where conventions and business meetings have a huge impact on our economy. That’s the message a delegation of the city’s civic leaders will deliver to Congress today, specifically asking the Northern California congressional delegation to help tone down the criticism of such business meetings. The San Francisco officials are concerned that businesses that otherwise would send employees to meetings and spend appropriate sums on food and entertainment will increasingly cancel meetings out of fear they will be singled out on Capitol Hill and by the public as overindulgent. “They don’t want to be on the front page of the newspaper or on the 11 o’clock news, seen as frivolously spending money even though it is for legitimate purposes,” said Joe McInerney, the president and chief executive officer of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, based in Washington. The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce-led delegation, consisting of some 50 participants, is in Washington to ask members to keep in mind the economic contribution of travel and tourism while they negotiate proposed restrictions on recipients of federal emergency funds. They do not want legitimate business travel chilled because of extravagant spending by others… “We do not want to support irresponsible extravagance, but we also do not want to discourage business from holding conventions and meetings so they can spend appropriately on entertainment in San Francisco,” said Steve Falk, the chamber president. Among those suffering the consequences of a falloff in business are service employees, he said. “While we understand the need for transparency, we want to make sure that legislation (covering emergency fund recipients) does not have the unintended consequences of impacting negatively on the hospitality workforce,” said Mariann Costello, vice president of Scoma’s restaurant in San Francisco, who is among the chamber delegation.

Filed under Business Associations, Travel and Tourism, U.S. Government, U.S. Politics by

February 11, 2008

Asians & Latinos key to Hillary’s California victory

That’s according to Scott Kurashige of the Huffington Post, who noted that this may be the first time in American history where, “a candidate failed to win African Americans and whites but won overall-as Clinton did in California”. He noted, however, that “if Clinton’s multicultural strategy is unprecedented, Obama’s effort to transcend “minority” politics is historic. Casting Obama as a “colorblind” politician, the pundits and his left skeptics have largely missed the significance of what he represents. Getting “beyond race” today is not about ignoring the problem of racism or moderating ones politics to appease whites. Instead, it means thinking about America as a multiracial nation that dispels old notions of both white normativity and majority/minority identities.” The article is worth a read: The Future is Now: California’s Multiracial Challenge to America“.

Filed under California Politics, U.S. Politics by

June 6, 2007

Schwarzenegger on HIB Visas- he gets it wrong again

Governor Schwarzenegger has written a letter to the U.S. Senate criticizing the proposed reforms of the H1B visa program.  His letter says in part:

Although I support the bill’s effort to increase temporary H-1B visas it is critical that the annual level be based on the actual workforce needs of these sectors and not an arbitrary cap. The current caps of 65,000 for skilled professionals and 20,000 for holders of advanced degrees have proven to be far less than what is needed. Future levels for these visas must be based on the demands of the market or this policy will strangle these important industries, forcing them overseas. The H-1B program must also be enforced in a way that does not impose unnecessary, costly administrative burdens on law-abiding U.S. businesses. I am concerned that the current bill may make the H-1B program harder to administer, especially for smaller businesses, such as technology start-ups, and force these companies to consider moving critical functions, including product development, to facilities offshore. My greatest concern, though, is with the proposal for a new points-based “green card” system designed to encourage the immigration of workers with training and skills in key areas. Replacing the current employer-based system, where companies can identify the specific skills needed and sponsor qualified immigrants, with an untested system run by the government threatens the very foundation of the program and must be amended. I strongly urge the Senate to retain an employment-based application process and consider authorizing a smaller points-based pilot program prior to any wider implementation.

This opinion could be expected from a Governor who takes all his consul from large Corporations and campaign donors, but he has absolutely NO right to claim that he is representing the opinions of small business. The current H1B Visa program is a modern version of indentured servitude- a throwback to this seventeenth century system that was long ago banished from our society. Naturally big Corporations love the current H1B visa programs as it gives them a ready supply of something akin to slave labor- employees that are completely beholden to them and under their complete control. Ask anyone who has worked on an overseas contract as a small business or independent contractor- you must completely shut down your life to work on one of these contracts and you are completely at the mercy of your “Corporate Sponsor”.

In 1999 and 2000, at the tail end of the dot com boom, I worked as a Program Manager in Silicon Valley. The firm I worked for imported large numbers of technical workers from a large Central Asian country. My job was to try to manage these poorly trained workers who were assigned to companies in California cities outside of the Silicon Valley, and I can tell you from first hand experience that any claims that these workers are more qualified then Americans- or that they can’t find Americans to do these jobs, is simply laughable. They want the cheap slave labor- it is as simple as that.

If we need to let people into our country to fill workforce needs, then they should be allowed to work where ever they want in our economy for some specified period of time, and a comparable number of Americans should be allowed to go to those countries to work. If these corporations really must hire foreign workers instead of Americans, then they should be required to provide at least some re-training of American workers. What we are seeing here is a sad example of what happens when big Corporations hijack our Government and political system. Governor Schwarzenegger probably doesn’t know any of this as he has closed himself off to all business opinions except those expressed by large Corporations and select business associations, such as the California Chamber of Commerce. As a result, he presides over a State Government that has become increasing hostile to small business interests, and is well on its way to becoming far more corrupt then the Davis administration ever was. Please call or write Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and tell them to that on this issue, Governor Schwarzenegger is once again sadly misinformed and his opinions in this letter represent Corporate interests, not the interest of the people of the State of California.

Filed under California Government, Governor Schwarzenegger, Immigration, Opinion, U.S. Politics by

May 8, 2007

Republicans diss Schwarzenegger on Foreign-born President issue

Exchange at the Republican party debate with Governor Schwarzenegger looking on. All except Giuliani indicated that they would not change the constitution to allow for a Foreign born President. McCain tried to weasel his way out of the question with a lame joke:

Moderator: One of our prized guests here today, Governor Schwarzenegger — looking this man in the eye, answer this question — I’m going to go down the line, starting with Governor Romney. Should we change our Constitution, which we believe is divinely inspired to allow men like Mel Martinez, the chairman of your party, born in Cuba, great patriot, the senator from Florida, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, to stand here some night?

Romney: Never given that a lot of thought, but with Arnold sitting there, I’ll give it some thought, but probably not.

Mike Huckabee: After I’ve served eight years as president, I’d be happy to change the Constitution for Governor Schwarzenegger.

Duncan Hunter: We haven’t seen his endorsement yet, that’s a no.

John McCain: Depends on whether he endorses me or not.

Giuliani: When he called me up to endorse him, he got me on the phone, he said, “Will you endorse me?”, and I was too afraid to say no. I would say yes.

Tom Tancredo: Intimidating as he might be, I’m saying no.

Filed under California Politics, Governor Schwarzenegger, U.S. Politics by

May 2, 2007

California Democrats Pass Impeachment Resolution

“Sparked by an insurgency among delegates, the California Democratic Party has taken an historic step forward on the issue of impeachment. In a resolution affirmed by the full state party convention Sunday, the Democrats called on the U.S. Congress to use its subpoena power to investigate misdeeds of President Bush and Vice President Cheney – and to hold the Administration accountable “with appropriate remedies and punishment, including impeachment.” The delegate insurgency was coordinated by Progressive Democrats of America and its allies. While Speaker Pelosi had declared impeachment “off the table,” the Democratic Party rank-and-file has demonstrated its commitment to putting the issue “on” the table. And it’s no longer just the rank-and-file: Even among the members of the convention’s Resolutions Committee (appointed by the California Party chair), the impeachment resolution was the top vote-getter (tied with one other resolution). Coming on the heels of mass actions and resolutions across the country in support of impeachment, and Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s introduction of Articles of Impeachment against Cheney, this action by the powerful California Democratic Party builds on the pro-impeachment momentum. The resolution refers to Bush and Cheney having acted in a manner ‘subversive of the Constitution’. “

Filed under California Politics, U.S. Politics by

April 25, 2007

Congressman Rohrabacher says he hopes EU Parliament’s family members die

“Congressional hearings provide a deep insight into the inner spirit of our elected representatives – and sometimes the insight is not pretty. On April 17, we witnessed Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) unleashing his anger onto members of the European Parliament’s House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Human Rights. The members were invited guests and witnesses at the hearing. The subcommittee had issued a report in January, 2007 that was sharply critical of the Bush administration’s extraordinary rendition program in which persons from all over the world were detained by either the CIA or local police, then flown by CIA jet to other countries where they were imprisoned… the European Parliament committee said that terrorist acts must be handled lawfully by both European countries and by the United States. The report said: ‘After 11 September 2001, the so-called war on terror – in its excesses – has produced a serious and dangerous erosion of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The extraordinary rendition program undercuts the exact liberties we are defending, the rule of law, the right for a fair and speedy trial and the right to know the evidence on which one is held and prosecuted’ … Congressman Rohrabacher attacked the two British and one Italian members of the European Parliament who testified before the committee… Rohrabacher said if European countries did not cooperate with the United States and go along with whatever the Bush administration wanted, they were condemning their countrymen to terrorists by not using extralegal methods to imprison terrorist suspects. When citizens attending the hearing, including members of Codepink Women for Peace and Veterans for Peace, heard Rohrabacher’s statement, they collectively groaned. Then, much to the shock and disbelief of everyone in the hearing room, Rohrabacher said to those who had expressed displeasure at his statements: ‘I hope it’s your family members that die when terrorists strike’.”

Filed under Europe, U.S. Politics by

April 6, 2007

California may call for end of U.S. occupation of Iraq

Legislation has been introduced in the California State Legislature calling on President Bush to immediately begin the “safe and orderly withdrawal” of all United States forces from Iraq. California Senate President pro Tem Don Perata announced plans to place an advisory measure on California’s statewide ballot as part of next year’s February 5 presidential primary. The text of the resolution is as follows:

“The people of California, in support of the men and women serving in the Armed Forces of the United States, urge President Bush to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq and immediately begin the safe and orderly withdrawal of all United States forces; and further urge President Bush and the United States Congress to provide the necessary diplomatic and non-military assistance to promote peace and stability in Iraq and the Middle East.”

Filed under California Legislature, California Politics, Iraq, U.S. Politics by

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