Foxconn tries to gouge Wisconsin

We know the script well by now. A big company dangles the prospect of opening up a new factory or office that promises a lot of good-paying jobs and gets the local and state governments to offer up all manner of tax incentives and other inducements to close the deal. But the inducements given to them do not seem to have been written into the contract to be contingent on them making good on the promises. Then once the deal is signed and the company gets all the benefits, the number of jobs mysteriously gets reduced, they pay less than promised, and the factory and office size becomes much smaller.
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Dubbing, subtitles, and miscommunication

I wrote recently about how disconcerting it was when watching a film when the audio and video are not synchronized, so that the spoken words do not match up with the mouth movements of the speaker.

I recently watched a film where this problem was even more pronounced. It was an Italian film but they had dubbed it into English. Dubbing is usually bad and rarely done these days. When I was young in Sri Lanka, I recall seeing a number of so-called ‘spaghetti western’ films that were made in Italy that had one American star (like Clint Eastwood in the Man With No Name trilogy) or with Steve Reeves as various mythical heroes like Hercules, with the rest of the cast being Italian. So the star would speak in English but all the others in Italian with their voices dubbed in English. They were pretty bad.
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How old will you be in heaven?

About a year ago, I wrote a post having fun with the idea of what religious people think about the age that they will look like in heaven, any answer to which creates all manner of contradictions and problems. It turned out that St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE) had thought about this a lot and laid out his vision.

In this article, Margaret Morganroth Gullette looks at what the various religions that have an afterlife as part of their doctrine say about this question, and they all seem to think that you will look young, a fantasy that is nurtured by popular culture.
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Pete Buttigieg: The ‘outsider’ who is actually a neoliberal insider

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has got a lot of mileage and positive press with his claims of being a religious person and mayor of a small rust-belt Midwest town and thus an outsider to the swamp of Washington politics. But as his campaign has gained ground and peoplelook more closely at his background, that veneer has started peeling off, revealing him to be very much a part of the national security state. Max Blumenthal writes that he is very much a political insider being groomed by the neoliberal establishment and the ‘liberal interventionist’ faction of US politics.

Blumenthal looks at the parts of Buttigieg’s resume that he does not talk much about, starting with Tulsi Gabbard’s criticism of Buttigieg’s support for sending US troops to Mexico to fight the drug cartels, and his angry and defensive response.
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An own goal by Andrew Yang?

The entrepreneur whose candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president has shown surprising longevity (he was one of only seven candidates who qualified for the last debate) may have said something that might doom it.

Andrew Yang said he does not think Trump should be facing criminal charges and would consider pardoning Trump if he were in fact prosecuted.

“We do not want to be a country that gets in the pattern of jailing past leaders,” Yang said, adding that “there’s a reason why Ford pardoned Nixon.”

“I’d actually go a step further and say not just, hey, it’s up to my [Attorney General]. I would say that the country needs to start solving the problems on the ground and move forward.”

“Would you consider a pardon then?” NBC News asked.

“I would,” Yang said.

We actually should get in the pattern of jailing past leaders if they have committed crimes because that is the only way to prevent them from committing crimes in the first place. There was outrage at Ford for pardoning Nixon and strong suspicions that it doomed his re-election campaign. This idea that we should ‘move forward’ and not look back, the same excuse president Obama gave for not prosecuting the torture war crimes committed by the Bush administration and the CIA, is what enables presidents to willfully abuse their power, over and over again.

Yang saying that he would pardon Trump, someone who has abused his office and taken vilification of Democrats and indeed anyone who even mildly criticizes him to high levels, may well turn off many Democrats, similar to the adverse reaction to Tulsi Gabbard’s decision to merely vote ‘present’ on the impeachment articles. It will undoubtedly infuriate the many who think Trump is an absolute danger to democratic norms.

Trump is mad as hell about being impeached but not acquitted

As one might have expected, Donald Trump is annoyed that he may not get the quick impeachment trial and acquittal in the US senate that he seeks.

The Senate adjourned until January with the Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic leader Chuck Schumer unable to agree on trial procedure. Pelosi has said she wants to know how the trial will be handled before she sends two House-passed articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate.

Trump, who was due to arrive at his private Palm Beach resort late Friday, has been looking forward to a trial in the friendlier Republican-controlled Senate and is riled up about the delay, according to Senator Lindsey Graham.

“He’s mad as hell that they would do this to him and now deny him his day in court,” Graham told Fox News Channel after meeting with Trump at the White House on Thursday night.

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Michael Moore on Mother Jones and the 2020 election

Mother Jones is the name by which Mary Harris Jones (1830-1930), a legendary union activist and organizer, was known. The nickname was given to her by the workers because of the caring way she dealt with them especially during strikes.

Known as the miner’s angel, Mother Jones became an active campaigner for the United Mine Workers Union. A political progressive, she was a founder of the Social Democratic Party in 1898. Jones also helped establish the Industrial Workers of the World in 1905. For all of her social reform and labor activities, she was considered by the authorities to be one of the most dangerous women in America.

Nothing could dissuade Mother Jones from her work. At the age of 82, she was arrested for her part in a West Virginia strike that turned violent and was sentenced to 20 years. But her supporters rallied and convinced the governor to grant her a pardon. Jones, undeterred, returned to organizing workers.

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Australian government absurdity on fires and climate change

Parts of Australia are going though a terrible time with bushfires burning out of control, coupled with a drought and heat wave. The city of Sydney is blanketed by a smoky haze because of the fires and there seems to be no real prospect or relief other than hoping for rain.

The conservative Australian government. like the US government, consists of people who want to do nothing about climate change . Like Trump, the Australian government is a fierce defender of coal, and in its attempt to shift attention away from the contribution that global warming may be playing in creating this crisis, its deputy prime minister has issued a statement that comes close to matching the stupidity of Donald Trump who blamed Californian forest fires to the forest floors not being swept clean of debris.

The deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, has conceded Australia must take further action to combat the climate crisis and acknowledged that the bushfires ravaging New South Wales and South Australia have further shifted community sentiment on the issue.

But McCormack, who is acting prime minister while Scott Morrison returns from a much-maligned holiday in Hawaii, also linked the fires to other causes, including dry lightning strikes and self-combusting manure. [My italics-MS]

Film review: The First Temptation of Christ (2019)

Some of you may remember my review of the hilarious short (45 minutes) film The Last Hangover by a Brazilian comedy troupe Porta dos Fundos that that has a reputation for skewering religion, politics, culture and other hot-button topics. That earlier film envisaged the Last Supper as a massive drunken blowout that resulted in the apostles waking up the next day to find Jesus missing and having only the vaguest notion of what had happened.

The troupe has returned with an even funnier short film (45 minutes) The First Temptation of Christ that is being streamed on Netflix. The central premise is a surprise 30th birthday party for Jesus thrown by his parents Mary and Joseph when he returns from spending forty days in the wilderness. But things start to go awry because Jesus (played here by the same actor who played Judas in the other film) has brought a friend Orlando with him whom he met during his desert sojourn. God (whom Jesus has known all his life as just his Uncle Vittorio) also turns up and he and Joseph and Mary have to tell the oblivious Jesus the truth about his real parentage, that he is the Son of God with miraculous powers, and what his mission in life is to be. We also have cameos by the Buddha, Shiva, and other gods who all get their share of barbs thrown at them.
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