Bob's Links and Rants

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Monday, January 27, 2003

Priorities: Spend money to start fires in Iraq, or put out fires at home? While I was passing out leaflets this weekend, I had a guy ask me if I was concerned about the welfare of Iraqi civilians, and of course I said I was. He asked what I thought about Saddam Hussein's priorities when he builds expensive palaces instead of feeding his people; I responded by asking him about our priorities, paying $200 billion to bomb Iraq's people instead of feeding ours. Made him think a little, I think. Well, Britain is facing a similar discussion about priorities, accusing firefighters of depleting military funding at a critical time, because military firefighters will have to put out fires during the planned 48-hour strike by the nation's civilian firefighters:

Britain's firefighters announced Monday they would go ahead with a 48-hour nationwide strike over pay. The walkout by the country's 55,000 firefighters, scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, means almost 20,000 soldiers and their aging ``Green Goddess'' engines will again be left to provide emergency cover.

Firefighters have staged three strikes in recent months and the dispute over pay has become increasingly bitter, with the government accusing workers of draining military resources at a critical time. The last walkout, for 24 hours last Wednesday, came just days after the government announced 35,000 troops were being sent to the Persian Gulf to prepare for a possible war with Iraq.
-- from AP.

And here in the US, much of the increase in federal funding for local police and fire departments promised after 9/11 has failed to materialize as more federal revenue goes to the military and to reward the rich for being rich. (Sorry, I don't have time to find a link for that right now, but I've seen several articles about how the administration has failed to deliver on those promises after using exploiting the FDNY and NYPD for political gain.)