Category Archives: Uncategorized

Speechless

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My friend keeps asking me: “Why aren’t you blogging?”

After careful thought, I responded, “I have nothing to say.”

What can I say that isn’t being said already by all the other liberal bloggers on the internet with a far wider reading audience than the three people who have stumbled upon my editorials? I make my little comments about news stories on Facebook, and then quickly go watch a movie or read a book to take my mind off the latest horrors being reported.

We’ve fallen down a rabbit hole. That’s it. When Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are frontrunners in the GOP primaries, all of whom seem like cartoon characters, all you can do is shake your head.

Are we really debating whether people should be allowed to use birth control? Really? Of course, when you clap eyes on some of the people in the mountains of West Virginia and like places, who support the GOP against their own better interests, you know they’re not using birth control (also against their own better interests) and it’s never been an issue with them. They’re voting against their own better interests because they don’t want a “nigrah” in the White House. Universal health care? “Comm’nism”. As Bill Maher said, “I just want to get this guy some teeth. Why is that bad?”

Dear God, we have some states making laws that forbid a physician from telling a woman that there is a problem with her pregnancy if they think she might seek an abortion! Yet, once that child is born, if it needs extraordinary medical care the Right doesn’t think they should have to contribute to its care!

Everything the GOP does, says, stands for these days is geared to enabling large corporations, banks, insurance companies, the richest 1% of the population, and their cronies to benefit financially in leaps and bounds. Wall Street has turned into a total predator, even to its wealthiest main clients. Your money isn’t safe anywhere these days; the big banks are sniffing around trying to figure out a way to bleed depositors with fees levied on balances below a certain level. That level is difficult, if not impossible, for many people to support. The banks are not hurting by any means; they just want to maintain that exorbitant level of income they’ve grown to know and love.

It’s exhausting just to think about how screwed up we’ve become on how many levels! The Christian Right is behaving in a decidedly un-Christian manner—or, I don’t know, maybe it is Christian behavior, seeing how often in 2,000 years the Christian Church has displayed behavior and actions that are completely antithetic to the teachings of Jesus. The Christian Right wants to dictate our sexual behavior, yet they don’t want to feed the hungry or help the sick and infirm it seems. Jesus said “Love your neighbor as yourself” and they interpret that to mean donate to their nepotistic causes. Cities are making it illegal to feed the homeless; but we’re debating whether or not prayer should be allowed in public schools.

What can I say that isn’t already being said? It’s 2012, and the end of the Mayan calendar is less than a year away. What does it mean? Anything? Nothing? Natural disasters? Man-made disasters? A combination? The End of the World as We Know It? I haven’t started hoarding water and canned goods, although my son has expressed a little concern about whether we should be doing that. We live in a two-bedroom co-op; how much could we possibly store? Also, if it’s really a bad disaster, like if Long Island is suddenly inundated by a tidal wave and we’re just screwed—I don’t have the energy to go scavenging for food, and I certainly don’t want to be rounded up and herded to some sports arena for “relief”.

Nope. I’d rather die and go to the great genealogical research center in the sky.

 

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Modern Fairy Tales

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I posted a link to a Truthout story on FaceBook that listed a lot—a lot—of huge, wealthy companies as having many offshore bank accounts and paying little or no income tax. One of the companies mentioned was General Electric.

Now, the other day, one of my FB friends posted a story about what a great company GE is, and how the reason it doesn’t pay any income taxes is because of its research and investment in green industries. Well…he wants to think they’re the good guys, the ethical company investing money and creating jobs in an industry that will benefit mankind, therefore they’re entitled to…well entitlements, like paying zero taxes on earnings of $3.9 billion in 2010. Why does he so desperately want to “prove” that GE is a good, ethical company? Because he just invested money in GE stock. He didn’t comment on my post; he just posted one of his own, a link to a site called Covalence by ethicalquote.com.

It’s a Swiss company. They gather data from the internet that mention big company names, good, bad or indifferent. Then they have college kids rate the information according to prescribed criteria in several different categories, and then they rate the companies. According to the FB friend, GE was given an ethical rating on the site of #1 in its class for 2008. Of course, WalMart got high praise for its human rights efforts in 2008 as well, so what does that tell you?

When I did a search on Covalence for General Electric, they were given an honorable mention in a couple of areas, nothing really too wonderful. But nothing that praised them all over the place as a pioneer in green energy, investing money everywhere for the good of mankind, nothing like that. It mentioned that Siemens was backing off on nuclear energy following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan, but GE and Toshiba in partnership were going ahead with their plans to bring more nuclear plants to our shores! And GE owned the company that made the Japanese plants that are now hanging on by their fingernails lest they melt down!

I did a search on Google for mention of GE and green energy. They started up Ecoimagination in 2005, a green company. They bought out a little green technology company in Ireland and have been operating there. By 2009 they had invested $5 billion in Ecoimagination. None of their green ventures are located in the US; in fact, they believe that China and Korea are more “poised to launch” that industry than anywhere else in the world. (Those people won’t be making any good wages, believe me! I think GE is ready to “launch” itself into a $10 billion a year company!)

So, it doesn’t appear that they have plans to open any new factories in the U.S. All of the jobs created from their green efforts will be in China.

In the past few years GE has developed some new things that might be good, and others that are a joke, like their fucking “energy-saving” fluorescent light bulbs that are supposed to last for years—what a scam! GE supported the legislation that stopped the manufacture of incandescent bulbs in the U.S. and made the new “environmentally friendly” bulbs the only bulbs to be sold here starting in 2014. (They made it earlier, in 2012, for some wattages.)

Here’s the rub: GE got to shut down the last plant in the U.S. that manufactured the incandescent bulbs we all grew up with. Two hundred jobs gone. Those people’s jobs aren’t yet obsolete, however. Those jobs eliminated at The Winchester Lamp Plant in Winchester, VA will be exported to Mexico, where there aren’t any regulations about minimum standards for light bulbs. So, those bulbs will continue to be manufactured in Mexico. There will be a much larger demand for bulbs in places like India, where the always-booming population is getting more access to electricity…and they have no environmental regulations about light bulb usage either.

So, booming market for GE!

The “energy efficient” bulbs? They’re made overseas in China. Now, I’m not a big fan of stuff made in China, and it has nothing to do with xenophobia or racial prejudice. First of all, companies that bring their manufacturing operations to China are looking for the cheapest labor they can possibly find. China has truckloads of poor people jumping at the chance to earn a few pennies an hour for 12-hour days. They’re just hungry; they don’t question what their employers tell them to do. So, when they handle all kinds of toxic crap for shipping back to the good old U.S. for retail sale at grand mark-ups, they may not even know what they’re handling. They’re just earning their $0.17 an hour, happy to keep body and soul together (sort of). I own a desk lamp my sister bought at Kohl’s during a going-back-to-school sale. I had mentioned I needed a new reading lamp and she happened to see these lamps for sale, so she got me one. It’s made in China. When I unpacked it, there was a large tag on the power cord cautioning me not to touch it; it has lead in it. If I happen to touch the cord, I should immediately wash my hands, or whatever other body part came into contact with it.

Kohl’s sold lamps with lead-tainted power cords during a going-back-to-school sale? And why is there lead in this power cord? I’ve never had an appliance with a lead power cord before. Don’t they know about copper wire and plastic/rubber coating?

Okay, so what about the “environmentally-friendly” fluorescent bulbs that are manufactured in China for sale here? Well, instead of a little glowing filament of tungsten giving off light, they have chemicals, one of them being mercury, and they make the phosphorous coating on the glass glow. If a bulb breaks in your living room, they tell you to open the windows for at least 15 minutes and then they give some tips for picking the mercury out of your living room rug. But your space is contaminated, baby; don’t let ‘em fool you! In fact, when one of these bulbs burns out (or breaks) there are special disposal methods for them because of the mercury.

Someone tell me how these bulbs are environmentally friendly? They seem pretty hostile to me. With an incandescent bulb, if it broke the worst thing that could happen is you cut yourself on broken glass. With these “environmentally friendly” bulbs, you risk brain damage! As my friend pointed out as well, these lights can cause migraines and epileptic seizures because of the flickering…

Of course, these bulbs will be very friendly to GE and its investors! At three bucks a bulb, they stand to make a bundle! Of course, if the bulbs don’t last as long as they say they will, you’re SOL if you don’t save the receipt. So, that will be a good thing for GE and its investors as well! Are you going to save your light bulb receipts for 10 years?

You know…I think I’m going to make a point of it!

Today’s Five Things That Are Making Me Crazy – I

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It’s all getting out of hand.

1.       Congress has taken leave of its senses and is considering making rape victims who seek abortions answerable to the IRS. I mean actually go in and tell them what happened, re-live the whole experience—and let little government bureaucrats decide whether or not it’s really a rape and an abortion is justifiable. But the Right (the inventors of the lie about a single-payer healthcare system resulting in “death panels”) says it wants smaller government. I think they want smaller government when it comes to letting them do whatever they want, especially where giving allowances to stupidly wealthy corporations in which they have a vested interest is concerned or keeping the tax breaks for the rich, but they want bigger government when it comes to controlling the masses.

2.       One example of another attempt to break up “evil big government” is to deregulate Monsanto’s genetically altered Round-up Ready Alfalfa (or whatever the hell it is) so it can be fed to cattle and end up in our diets. They say it’s not dangerous…Do you believe them? I don’t believe anything that comes out of their mouths anymore! Watch the documentary film “Food, Inc.” and you’ll never eat again. Haven’t you seen little seven-year-old girls with mature breasts from drinking milk from hormone-saturated cows? I have! It’s freaky! But if you want to buy natural food, food that hasn’t been processed to death, food that isn’t loaded with chemicals and hormones—you have to be rich! I can’t afford to shop at Whole Foods! I have to eat plastic food from regular grocery stores!

3.       Not only is our government divorced from reality on the whole economic front and the high unemployment issue (which they’re just ignoring!), but they want to deregulate any kind of safety measures currently in effect for workplaces! I watched this film called “The Race to the Bottom”, a short but extremely effective piece that I saw on Truthout. There was a fire in Bangladesh that killed over 20 people, very similar to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911 that killed over 146 factory workers. Like the 125 women and 21 men that died 100 years ago in the Triangle fire, the people in the fire that occurred in Bangladesh couldn’t get out of the building because the main exit was engulfed in smoke and flames; the other exit was locked so they wouldn’t steal any of the clothes they made. They jumped out the windows from the 11th floor—just like the girls in the Triangle Factory. This just happened in December 2010. The factory they worked for makes the clothes you spend a fortune on at Gap.

4.       The workers in Bangladesh demonstrated for a raise in wages—to $0.35 an hour. Gap wouldn’t give it to them! Walmart won’t give it to them! A raise in those people’s wages would be “an impediment to free trade.” The film “Race to the Bottom” tells how the wage paid to the women of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory 100 years ago translates to a little over $3.00 an hour today. Those people in 2010 Bangladesh were beaten by the police for asking to be paid $0.35 an hour in today’s dollars! And Walmart and Gap said “No”. Now here in the good old USA, we have how many governors attempting to wipe out collective bargaining rights? It just makes me want to walk up to these guys, look them square in the eye—and kick them in the balls so hard they sound like Mickey Mouse for the rest of their sad little lives!

5.       What is with Obama? Whose side is he on? I liked the big push for the health care thing, but since Obama didn’t push hard enough, the people got shortchanged while the insurance companies won! You say “Single-payer system”, they say “Socialist pig! Burn the witch!” And ironically it’s the consumers that need their insurance that get burned. I liked that Obama hired Elizabeth Warren to start that commission to protect consumers; but he’s letting her get walked all over by the banks! She’s a smart lady with a lot of integrity—and they’re trying to eat her alive! It’s kind of like Obama throws a punch at the Right—and ends up shaking hands with them and making deals! He wants to build more nuclear plants in the US—using Toshiba, the company that brought threats of nuclear meltdowns in Japan and toxic fallout to our own West Coast! What is Obama thinking?

Oh, that’s not everything, but I better save some so I don’t explode tomorrow…