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politically what?

politically what?
That's the unlikely name for an awesome political blog which is fiercely independent and fiercely anti-terrorist...just like this blog.
And "The Boodge" is not afraid to step on neocommunists' and other terrorist appeasers' toes either. This is a strongly worded yet well written blog. You will enjoy it...ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE AMERICAN. (Or Israeli)



After AT&T stabbed me in the back for the last time with their grossly overpriced internet services replete with phone services I used only to get onto the 'Net by committing another act of bad faith, fraud, breach of contract, and price gouging, I chose to switch to the internet service offered by my cable company---CableOne. I had dealt with CableOne about 10 years ago when I had cable TV with them for a year and was constantly taping Rush Limbaugh, Ren & Stimpy, Beavis & Butt-Head, The Simpsons, Drew Carey, Jeff Foxworthy, and The Commish...a real mix of quality TV programmes.
I've been with CableOne for about three weeks now and I must say that the quality of internet service works a bit faster than it did with AT&T, not to mention that programmes seem to work faster.
But just a few days after I got cut off by AT&T a forum network site where one of my forums is located got hacked and that brought down the site for several days. When it became too obvious that the hundreds of thousands of messages---of which my forum, RAW IS POLITICS, a hybrid of politics, professional wrestling, business, science, technology, education, health, and sport threads, contained in the neighbourhood of 123 000---were not going to be readily retrieved---the call was made that forum hosts would restart their forums all over. That meant me too. Cornerbarforums is now back up and running, has been for almost four weeks now, with stronger firewalls, and yes we have plenty of room if you want to host a forum there, we ask only that you follow our TOS...and as a network staff member I have found myself helping out members with some of the technical aspects of the format, the Beehive format, which is HTML intensive, but not difficult to use.
And as for RAW IS POLITICS, that forum is back up and running stronger than ever, with more sport folders with special emphasis on American and Canadian football and auto racing, and additional wrestling folders, including those for Total Nonstop Action (TNA) wrestling in addition to several folders for WWE programmes and general information, plus folders for health issues, legal, business, science, technology, other sports, and the major American political parties, to speak nothing of the regional politics from the UK, Latin America, the West Indies, the East Indies, Indochina, East Asia, South Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Pacific including New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. And now the current total as I speak has passed the 9 500 mark and continues to rise, it will break the 10 000 mark and be the first to do so. RAW IS POLITICS has returned to number one on Cornerbarforums, click the second icon from the left in the top bank of radio buttons below the Atomic Lounge banner for the nearly 7 000 threads. And BTW I set that forum to guest access (1) and you don't have to pay to join the network (2).
Also I can help you with an awesome tutorial I drafted about the way the Beehive forum format works, and even one about how signatures work, with which I would gladly help you with.
Furthermore I would like to point out that as of 1st August Cornerbarforums has become Freedom Forums, but the URLs are not about to change.
And the other forums are rebuilding as well, a few forums merged, including the previously Number Two and Three forums, into PSP Island where you can learn how to make fancy graphics, fancier than you will see here anyway, and there are other forums, political, sports, and other topics covered. You are sure to enjoy those forums there.


Without a doubt we need to consider biomass-based fuels as a source of energy. But not everyone agrees on how to do it.
In Australia, Prime Minister John Howard has just rejected the concept of mandatory ethanol placement in fuels, maintaining that the people need to have a choice about their fuels.
I am inclined to agree as the appropriate move should be toward a more positive encouragement in ethanol and biofuel production.
The best way that I can think of is by extending a tax break for the development of such, and even extend a tax break beyond the 100 percent mark for monies spent developing ethanol and other biofuel technologies, both for oil and fuel companies and for automotive manufacturers alike. A 200 percent tax break would not only offset the costs of development of alternative fuels but also help sustain the development of traditional fuels thus reducing the rates of taxation and pricing on fuel. Currently the price of ethanol is also rising but if we establish tax breaks for the development of such we could provide an effective answer to some more reasons for higher fuel prices.
And with the reduction in fuel costs come the reduction of the costs of goods and services across the board. Higher fuel prices leave less money for other essentials in life as well as other commerce.
And let us not stop with the fuel companies and the auto companies either: Let's extend this tax break to farmers, who will more readily be able to afford to maintain their properties and implements and may even be more self-sufficient. Growing maize, hemp, soybeans, and other sources of biofuels would help their bottom line, especially with a tax break for doing so, a 200 to 250 percent tax break on the production costs, no doubt.
Even President John F Kennedy knew the value of tax reform: Though not implemented till after his death it proved to be a major tax cut in its time; Kennedy was a strong proponent of tax reform, a major reason the top marginal tax rate was lowered from 91 percent to 70 percent. His methodology inspired more recent tax policies from Ronald Reagan and George W Bush.
Roll your eyes if you like but right now America are set to run revenues of $274bn higher than expected this year and $243bn higher next year, this even with surging fuel costs, most of you are paying US$3 a gallon or higher. Right now I'm pretty close, with fuel prices running $2,89 a gallon.
Kennedy's tax cut proposal, once implemented, saw federal income tax revenue jump significantly, with the growth accelerating more than 8 percent annually from 1965 to 1969, about quadruple the rate from 1961 to 1964. As a result wealthier households wound up picking up a larger share of the tax burden as their lower income neighbours wound up paying less in taxes.
And then there was the first tax cut from President Reagan. Say what you will about the man but his cuts resulted in more than US$1trillion in increased tax revenues flowing into the US Treasury in a 10 year period. It helped a number of Americans more readily afford new VCRs and computers and even cars, and it helped further the development of advanced cassette and compact disc technologies.
What worked for Presidents Kennedy and Reagan with regard to general tax policy would easily work toward ecologically correct fuel source development.
Now if only we could corral some of the federal spending that has risen to some $22000 per household...But the primary point remains clear: Reduce the tax burden on producers who make biofuels, even eliminate it if needed---the 200 to 250 percent tax break would even fuel greater job development, greater crop production, greater quantities of fuel development, more environmentally friendly fuels with lower prices on all types of fuel, and a cleaner environment...a true win-win situation for all parties involved from the farmer raising maize soybeans and hemp to the distillers and refiners creating ethanol and similar fuels from biomass, even from waste food products, to the oil and fuel companies selling the fuel, to the consumers who fill their Holdens and Peugeots and Buicks and Hondas and Kias and Marutis and Nissans and Fords and Volkswagens and Bedfords with this fuel. Nascar have announced a successful test with unleaded fuels in their cars. Maybe biofuels could be next...if they are not already there.
And what could be so bad about that?



Let's face it, we are stuck with high petrol and diesel prices. And we think that there are cut and dried reasons, like it's President Bush's fault, it's the oil companies' fault, it's Halliburton's fault.
But the reality is not so simplistic as those. There are a LOT of factors behind our elevated fuel prices.
Well, of course the WAR is a good reason behind it...as long as there is instability in the Middle East AND we rely heavily on imported oil including that which comes heavily from the Middle East we are going to experience fuel price problems.
But in recent years developments in the global economy, especially in Asia, have fuelled the price rises for petrol.
Take for instance the exploding economies of China and India, each with at least 1,2 BILLION people. With two-and-a-half billion in those economies, and a growing automotive market in both, the oil producing companies are eager to capitalise on those growing economies, in other words, they are sending more and more oil and gas and even coal to the two burgeoning economies. China have experienced economic growth of some 10 percent annually for a number of years whilst India have also experienced strong economic growth under prime minister Manmohan Singh and his predecessor, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
And this has fuelled the growth of the Indian automotive industry with the Indian automakers approaching 5 million units in 2004. As Suzuki team with local manufacturer Maruti to produce the Esteem and Mahindra have started moving beyond their early Jeep-inspired line (Mahindra produced Willys and Jeep vehicles for the Indian market from the 1940s to the 1960s) and their miniature single-cylinder-powered Champion microtrucks to produce the more modern SUV Scorpio and even branching out into Europe, Tata have begun branching out to South Africa. Additionally, for several years Mahindra tractors have been sold in the United States.
And Indian automotive sales have proceeded at a strong clip. As more and more Indians buy automobiles and become increasingly mobile, the infrastructure has to be further improved, with a national highway system well under construction. India are also starting to become more of an automotive exporter.
The Chinese automotive industry has also begun to really grow. Major homegrown players include Geely, FAW, Great Wall, Heibao, Xiali, and Yangcheng, but the really big production has now shifted in high gears for foreign automakers including GM, Ford, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Honda, all of which are working very closely with Chinese manufacturers. GM are now exporting Cadillacs to China and building larger volumes of Chevrolets and, most interestingly enough, Buicks, for the Chinese market. Volkswagen produce the Lupo and Santana for the Chinese market as well.
Then there are the supply problems, such as the lack of refining capacity in the United States. America have not built a new oil refinery in 30 years. Three zero. That is how long more radicalised environmentalists have managed to gum up the works in America's ability to develop their own oil resources or build oil refineries. Invariably they object to any form of drilling, any form of harvesting, any new refinery construction, placing America into a straitjacket that forces dependency upon foreign oil. And executive orders of the 1990s creating land grabs of large swathes of land in the Western states and arbitrarily establishing national monuments and parks have not helped American energy independence efforts.
Additionally there are high rates of taxation and slim profit margins for the oil companies. An oil company make only 10 cents on $3 a gallon petrol for example. That means that the state and federal excise taxes come heavily into play. Typical federal excise taxes per gallon run 18 cents a gallon and state petrol taxes push the tax amount yet even higher.
And in Britain the fuel taxes are even more acute: In early 2001, when petrol was selling for 84 pence per litre---the equivalent of more than $5 a gallon---retailers made only five pence per litre, a tiny fraction of the 61 pence per litre that went straight to the government.
"Conservation" won't solve the problem, folks: Demanding greater development of ALL forms of energy, traditional and renewable alike, will bring us solutions. We are going to have to put up with a couple of oil wells here and there along our coasts if we are to become energy independent.
But it doesn't stop there.
We could easily establish more renewable sources of energy, solar, windpower, and wave power alike. We need to get behind the effort to place windmill farms along the New England coast...however much Senator Edward M Kennedy, D-MA, may oppose the effort out of concern for his view of the coastline. Aesthetics are easily sorted out; the important factor is resolving the energy supply problem. After all, a wind farm worked in the hills east of the San Francisco Bay Area, why not New England as well?
And then of course there are the biofuels, including even the do-it-yourself ethanol stills that evoke the moonshine stills of the backwoods Appalachian Mountains and Kentucky and Tennessee of the Prohibition era, making fuel from maize and hemp and other plant products.
All possible fuel sources need to be utilised and all efforts need to be undertaken to enable the energy independence, where we can produce our own oil, refine it, build refineries when needed, but also develop biofuels, encouraging the development of such as needed, and even generate energy from other sources, from windpower to solar power to wave power like that which has been in use for as long as 30 years in the UK.
We CAN achieve energy independence...even if we don't ever see $1 a gallon in the United States. Then again, if we implement HALF the methods suggested, maybe we can see LOWER prices..we don't know until we make an effort.


Walmart Fails In Germany---Economy, Retail Markets To Blame

THERE IS NO QUESTION that the mighty economic powerhouse of the retail industry, Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart, have been for the most part successful in their 44 years of existence.
What started as a five-and-dime general store in 1950 in that small town, and made its first foray into larger discount stores in 1962 on US71 in nearby Rogers have grown into a multinational corporation, expanding throughout Mexico, Latin America, Asia, Europe, and Canada.
But recently Walmart have hit a couple of landmines in their development as a global retail giant.
In May they pulled out of South Korea's tight cutthroat market; the stores were sold to Shingesae for US$882m, this just after French retailer Carrefour had just left the market. Those stores have now been rebranded as EMarts (Korean language website).
And close on the heels of Walmart's failed efforts in South Korea, they have had to make another retreat: Last month, the major retailer announced their plans to pull out of the market...at a loss of US$1bn.
Evidently they hit a lot of road blocks but they come in three major factors.
SOME are based upon Walmart's unfamiliarity with German shopping habits, like a desire for more privacy and less services. The Germans' primary focus is on the lowest possible price...which has made homegrown retailers Edeka, Metro, Rewe Group, Aldi, and Lidl household names throughout Europe. Interestingly enough the German shoppers were initially afraid that they would have to pay more for American style customer service, like sacking their groceries at the register.
Which brings to mind the next group of reasons behind the development of Walmart's failure in Germany: Let's meet the German grocery giants, most of whom have spread their wings internationally.

EDEKA are the largest German grocer with more than a quarter of the country's shoppers, their equivalent of Safeway or IGA or WinnDixie in the United States, with about 4100 stores ranging from hypermarts to corner markets; they also operate the SPAR chain found in Europe, Africa, Argentina. and Japan.
The name originated from the German phonetic enunciation of the original name, EdK (eh-deh-ka), or Einkaufsgenossenschaft der Kolonialwarenhändler which translates to "Purchasing association of the grocers", and was granted in 1913, 15 years after the company were formed from four cooperatives. Today the company own ADEG Group in Austria, with stores in Russia, Denmark, and the Czech Republic.

Then come the Neckarsulm-based Lidl, whose stores are located mostly in Europe, with plans to expand into Canada in near future. The company were originally formed in the 1930s but did not go into the present-day format of typical German-style grocery stores until 1973, when they copied rival Aldi's format, see below for more information, and now have some 5000 stores. Most Lidl stores are located in northern Europe spanning from France and Ireland and the UK to Scandinavia, with some in Italy and Croatia; in fact Lidl have branched into photo lab and floral operations as well. Lidl even offer DSL internet service to German patrons!
Lidl get their name from retired schoolteacher Ludwig Lidl who along with Josef Schwarz were partners in Südfrüchte Grosshandel Lidl & Co, originally a fruit wholesaler; in 1977 Schwarz bought the rights to the Lidl name for DM1000, when the chain had 30 stores, because Schwarz had rejected the name Schwarz Markt (and understandably so because the name means Black Market in English). Speaking of English...Lidl have become well known in Britain during the past 12 years they have been in that country.

Aldi, whose name comes from Albrecht-Discount---drawing from the surname of the company's founders---are marking their 60th anniversary this year and the Essen-based giant are even more widespread than any of their rivals.
Two interesting things to note about Aldi:
There are not one but TWO Aldi chains, Aldi North and Aldi South.

(LEFT) Aldi North logo, used mostly in northern Germany and northern and western Europe.
(RIGHT) Aldi South logo, used mostly in Southern Germany, central Europe, Britain, Ireland, the United States, and Australia.
Aldi North cover northern Germany and western and northern Europe, including Poland, Spain, and Portugal, whilst Aldi South cover southern Germany, Switzerland, Croatia, Austria (those last two under the name Hofer), the UK, Ireland, Australia, and much of the eastern and central United States. They even have their own logos for each division.(1)

Aldi South service the UK and Ireland---both of which are NORTH of Spain, France, and Portugal, ALL serviced by Aldi North. (2)
And some of you who have shopped at an Aldi store in the eastern or Midwestern United States know what I am talking about; I will cover more about the basic concept behind German supermarkets later, in essence, you enter into a long row of pallets of merchandise, mostly groceries, you hit some randomly selected special merchandise, like home electronics, clothing, toys, maybe some ready to assemble furniture, you pass the dairy and deli coolers, then two big aisles stretch to the checkout counters, one alongside juices and baked goods and frozen foods, very minimal staff, you pay for bags, you can take cartons for carrying groceries home without charge.
Aldi pioneered the concept used by most of their competitors including Lidl, Real, and even Edeka. It is one of the main reasons they continue to generate some US$37bn annually.

The Rewe Group are comprised of a number of different businesses specialising in groceries, home improvement, electronics, travel, and discount stores.

(TOP) Logo for the Metro Group
(LOWER LEFT) Logo for the Real store chain
(LOWER RIGHT) Logo for the Extra store chain
Metro AG are composed of SIX companies, Metro Cash and Carry, a self service warehouse, Real, Extra, Media Markt, Saturn, and Kaufhof.
And here is a look at where those Walmarts just sold in Deutschland are going to be rebranded: Real are a relatively strong performer in what has turned out to be a flat economic landscape for Germany and Europe, obtaining a net profit of 9,9bn (about US$12,7bn) in the year 2005 with 43090 coworkers (annual average on full time base) in three countries. (German language link)
Another chain held by Metro is Extra which have a bit more of an upscale feel. Then there is MediaMarkt, which are an electronics store chain, as are Saturn, and then the department store chain Kaufhof, rounding out the Metro stable of companies...all furthering the German conglomerate's credentials in their takeover of Walmart Deutschland. Anticipate that those stores will perform much better under Metro management and under the Real brand name.
Aldi started a unique concept of grocery stores that focuses on simplicity, with a relatively limited selection of mostly store-branded products inside a smaller store, minimal staffing, no public telephones, and pallets containing cases of products instead of traditional shelves.
Typically customers enter through one door, to a long, wide, continuous aisle, that carries the customers toward the back of the store, past a long aisle of dry goods and sometimes beer and wine, then to a small group of general merchandise products near the back of the store, past a small bank of freezers, then past a back wall with dairy and deli coolers, a few tables of general merchandise, then either up one or two central aisles loaded with tinned goods, health and beauty products, pet care products, dry pasta, soft drinks, fruit juices, or along a side wall with baked goods, energy drinks, more juices and pop, and then a bank of doors opening to upright freezers.
When you reach the checkouts, anticipate having to queue up as it is common practise in an Aldi or Lidl or Edeka or Real to wait in lines given their minimal staffing policies and only a few registers. Also plan to pay for shopping bags, or you can bypass that by taking a carton or two with you to carry home groceries. Many Germans carry their own reusable shopping bags out of concern for the environment.
Also, you may have to insert a coin in order to use a shopping cart, they are connected to other carts by a short chain that cannot be manipulated to connect to the cart's own chain latch, and you get that money back when you connect the chain to the next cart.
The current success story of Metro AG, which just reported a profit of a third of a billion American dollars, is a rarity in a flagging European economy, affecting European nations which have sustained high unemployment rates as of late and are only now corralling those rates.
The European economy has been sustaining a lot of turmoil for several years, and there are a lot of underlying factors, such as their more socialised government programmes, being overly generous with benefits and even holidays, with labour laws mandating even shorter work weeks forcing a lower level of productivity in many western European countries. And resistance to reforms are fairly strong: French protestors drove president Jacques Chirac to scrap a labour reform law that he had just signed.
Other American companies are also affected by the flagging European economy, like Ford which may consider selling its money-losing Jaguar division and General Motors which have had to reduce their labour force at their Opel and Vauxhall plants in Europe; they also sell Chevrolet products including the subcompact Spark and the compact Lacetti and Cadillac products in the continent.
But reforms to the European economic machine may have to come from newcomer European Union members with more libertarian policies on labour, like Poland and the Czech Republic, as well as the charter member United Kingdom, who continue to hold to the pound which remains strong. But then again the euro is also very strong...which some say may be hurting the continental currency now used in a dozen countries.
The Eurozone will remain strong as long as common sense is used in order to further the expansion of the currency. One wrong move and the currency could go from US$1,27 this morning to 85 cents in just three years.
But economic policies need to start favouring the companies more in order to further develop the job base and the economic base as well. If lower income taxes and greater economic incentives were to be implemented on a greater scale Europe could become an economic supercommunity in its own right.
BACK TO WALMART for a moment: They are concentrating on their stronger markets in China and Latin America as well as the US and Canada, with some emphasis in flat operations in Britain, where they operate Asda, and Japan, where they operate the Seiyu chain.
I would say, Walmart are not dead, they are just resting, let them. Even God rested. They will make a stronger comeback in time, maybe even to Germany, wiser and stronger.


A Little Insight Into My Job...Through Someone Else's Eyes

Tales Of An RGIS Auditor could be a tale about my time on the job. Thankfully they are not, though my own job experiences have been a little bit of those, but nothing like the ones on that blog, and I am grateful as an employee for that company (click here) that I have had virtually NONE of the mishaps.
All the more reason I have no complaints. There is no time for them. I just get up, go to work, count inventory, get the job done, and be done with it.
No problem.
It's a bit of an unusual job I admit but we get the job done, and I guess I have learnt a lot about the job and the industry. Basically we deal with a wide range of stores from groceries to discount stores to department stores.
Well, enough about my end of this. Let's leave you to be the judge. And BTW I am not afraid to upset applecarts at the job, which I value very much, I just don't see the point in messing around with talking about the job in this venue unless something really big comes up.


My Diary: eBay Tool Bar Likes Me

My Diary: eBay Tool Bar Likes Me
Just another interesting entry in the blog of my good friend Melissa Dettwiller, the bodybuilder and physique artiste extraordinaire, with an immense amount of beauty and sex appeal to go with her physical strength and fitness.
I strongly advise that you read her blog and have a look at the entries.
In this one, she talks about how someone hacked her account and tried to sell a car under her name. All the more reason it is important that we remain on our guard. And there was a feature that did look out for my dear friend Melissa, the "Buff Doll" herself.
BTW you too could learn not only from her example but also learn more about this exciting physique artist. Have a look today.