Jim Hightower

Offshoring Big Blue


Have corporate chieftains become deaf, blind and stupid-or just stupid?

Check out IBM Corp., the computer giant that once prided itself on treating employees right. These days, workers for Big Blue are being pounded black-and-blue by IBM’s relentless downsizing and offshoring. Fewer than 30 percent of IBM’s employees now live and work in our country. The corporation is chopping another 5,000 jobs in New York state, apparently sending the work abroad. IBM seems blind to the injury this causes in its own community. Injury turned to insult when the community learned that the company took $45 million from state taxpayers last summer in exchange for a promise to keep jobs in New York. The double cross caused an uproar, but IBM’s top executives are tone-deaf to public sentiment. In March, even as IBM lobbied for a chunk of federal stimulus money, the company submitted a patent application for a computer system to help corporations send more jobs overseas.

Could they possibly get any more stupid? Yes! IBM is offering jobs to displaced workers. The only catch is that they’ll have to move to China, Slovakia, India, or wherever their old job went. What a deal. You can keep your offshored job, but you have to offshore yourself. You also have to work for the local wage-the one that’s so low IBM decided to move your job there.

Why should our tax dollars finance this travesty? Rep. John Hall, a New York Democrat, and others are sponsoring HR 1874, the Patriot Corporations of America Act, to support companies that don’t abandon our country. For information, call Hall’s office at 202-225-5441.

Beggin’ for a Regulatin’

One of the most ignominious, sordid and sad chapters in American presidential history was the decision by George W, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice and other top officials to soil our nation’s moral standing by engaging in torture. They publicly denied it and did tried to cover up their roles in directing it, blaming low-level soldiers and CIA agents.

The cover-up continues: President Barack Obama is refusing to release photos and transcripts of Guantánamo torture sessions. Meanwhile, the real perpetrators get off scot-free. Cheney has become a fixture on yackety-yak TV and radio shows, blathering maniacally that torture is “moral.” Rice has resorted to Nixonian megalomania by declaring that waterboarding is legal: “By definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Convention Against Torture.”

Then there’s John Yoo, one author of the Justice Department memos that gave the Bushites legal cover. Yoo recently has been rewarded by the Philadelphia Inquirer, which hired him as a columnist. Fearing public outrage, the paper tried initially to disguise him as an occasional contributor. Now that the truth is out, the Inquirer is scrambling to rationalize, claiming the paper needed to add more “conservative voices to the mix.” Come on, aren’t there any conservative scribes who haven’t written torture memos?

These people are immoral lawbreakers who sullied America’s flag and values. It’s time to stop coddling them and hold them accountable for their crimes.

For more information on Jim Hightower’s work-and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown-visit www.jimhightower.com.