Tag Archives: government

The KingMakers

1 Jul

Hurray for the corporations! Huzzah! Corporations now have freedom of religion. Isn’t this exactly what our founding fathers hoped for when they penned and approved the Declaration of Independence and then our Constitution of the United States so long ago?

And now here we are on the anniversary of that august dawn of our country’s birth and the Supreme Court has not only since awarded corporate entities the right to person-hood but also the rights to free speech through the spending of unlimited amounts of money (something that a king might do, say what?) and now the corporate state has the right to exercise their freedom of religion by infringing upon the freedom of others to express their own religious beliefs. (something akin to a king’s power, may I have an amen please?)

But the great irony of all is not so much that these things we call corporate entities now have the freedom to exercise their religion…or that they are even considered to have the ability to have a religion or a belief system for that matter.

No, the great irony is not that corporations can possess religious morality but that they also have the power to kill with impunity!       For I am an owner of a GM vehicle! And what price have they paid (that hasn’t cost them our own bailout money) for their lies, poor craftsmanship and negligent homicide?

So let there be light, for the mystery of creation is no more. This is how it is done…

Corporations have not become people and the Supreme Court of the United States has not fashioned them in our own image.

Nay, I say to you…They are become Gods!

 

 

No News is Bad News

10 Jun

Two things that we should know that we probably don’t want to hear…and this is not good news.

1. The Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan that exploded and melted down 3 of its 6 nuclear reactors released 168 times the radiation that the atomic bomb in Hiroshima unleashed in 1945.

2. In December of 2013 the Japanese Parliament passed a State Secrets Law.  The penalties for violators include: 10 years in prison for civil servants who leak classified information. The law covers defense, diplomacy, counter-terrorism and counterintelligence. But it also empowers bureaucrats to lock away documents for up to 60 years.

And here are 2 more things that you probably don’t want to know:

1. The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission found the nuclear disaster was “man-made” and that its direct causes were all foreseeable.

2. Japan has 53 other nuclear reactors, all of which have since been suspended or shut down… however, Japan’s new energy plan for 2014 calls nuclear power “the country’s most important power source”. It also recommends that the government begin the re-opening of nuclear plants, aiming for “a realistic and balanced energy structure”…but

Shhhhhhhhhhhh…Don’t tell anyone.

The Water’s Great but Watch Out for the Soap!

23 May

File:Ivoryso2.jpg

Here is a new word of the day: Triclosan

It’s a chemical and antibacterial agent that is found in soaps, toothpastes, cosmetics, deodorants, and many other products. Apparently it is so common that it’s difficult to avoid. One study found triclosan in the bodies of 75 percent of people tested.  

That’s a lot of people…and triclosan!
 
And now, of course, and as you might have guessed, many experts are saying that it doesn’t just kill bacteria but it is also known for altering hormones, interfering with muscle function, causing allergies, and spawning resistant germs…But product manufacturers, of course and as you also might have guessed, say that triclosan is safe in humans…so?…Who to believe?
 
Well a little investigative, computer research found that… Triclosan does penetrate the skin on contact and enters the bloodstream… A 2010 study found that children who had higher exposure to triclosan had a higher incidence of hay fever. Triclosan is toxic to aquatic bacteria at levels found in the environment. Triclosan inhibits phoysynthesis in diatom algae, which are responsible for a large part of the photosynthesis on Earth!…and several studies have found that Triclosan has estrogen effects on the body and has been linked to breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men, and a whole host of other health problems.
 
And finally Triclosan also has been employed as an effective selective agent in molecular cloning!
I don’t know about you but when an ingredient used in a common household product can also be the subject of a science fiction novel, I say let’s stop using it.
 
But here’s the real kicker…although Triclosan is used in three-quarters of antibacterial liquid soaps and body washes…according to the Food and Drug Administration….plain soap is just as effective as triclosan-containing antibacterial washes in removing bacteria from hands and preventing illness! So in other words…IT DOESN’T EVEN WORK!
I’ve never understood why companies have to add all sorts of chemicals to products that otherwise would work just fine especially when the added chemicals are dangerous and ineffective. If you want to fool me into thinking that your product is new and improved just tell me that, or make up a name for the special additive that you really aren’t adding and don’t add it! How would I know? I just want to wash my hands!
 
When I was younger, whenever I would see an Ivory soap commercial that would claim that Ivory soap was 99 and 44/100% pure, I would always wonder…pure what? Pure Ivory? So I looked it up and Ivory soap contained: sodium tallowate, sodium cocoate, sodium palm kernelate, water, sodium chloride, sodium sillicate, magnesium sulfate and fragrance….So I guess it’s pure sodium? With fragrance of course so it doesn’t smell like crap…but at least it doesn’t have Triclosan!
 
Because apparently that stuff will make you…sickeningly… clean.
 
So far it has been banned in Minnesota but if you don’t live there you can
  • Stay away from products labeled “antibacterial,” “antimicrobial,” or “germ killing.
  • Use nontoxic soap for hand-washing and bathing (what a concept!)
  • Avoid “antibacterial” or “antimicrobial” household items such as cutting boards, towels, shoes, clothing, and bedding because those products are often impregnated with triclosan.

Good luck! And may the faucet be with us!

 

Supreme Beings

16 May

When you think about it, the Supreme Court of the United States has been quite busy reforming the way we do business in this country by helping to re-interpret our Constitution and prepare it for the 21st century.

In the last few years they have declared corporations to have the same rights as human beings, free to speak by spending unlimited amounts of money to support their corporate interests. The humans who work for them are now also allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money in support of their favorite candidates who can then legislate with those corporations best interests in mind. You and I of course as lesser beings of the new century are also free to spend as much money as we want on our favorite candidates who will have our human interests in mind.

After all that’s what freedom is all about isn’t it?

The Supreme court has also determined that voter’s rights and affirmative action regulations no longer serve any purpose within our society because human beings have grown in character and thought and risen above the petty emotions and primitive thinking that once ruled our every day affairs. Because here in the new century humans have evolved beyond the need of regulatory government.

And in their most recent decision these Supreme justices have ruled that prayer can now be allowed at government meetings and no longer do we the people of the United States need to worry about separating our government from our religion but not because we all share the same common religious beliefs but because, as Justice Kennedy wrote for the majority opinion, “Prayers offered at a town council meeting are ceremonial and in keeping with the nation’s traditions.”

So here we have it. At the dawn of the new millennium, Corporations are people, Money is speech, Humanity has conquered emotion and Religion is but ritual ceremony… because…as near as I can figure…and as our Supreme magistrates have, in their infinite wisdom, apparently ascertained…

We mortals are now on our own… and God…officially at least…

is dead.

 

 

 

He-ocracy?

12 May

If Jesus were walking the Earth today, what do you think he would have to say about Capitalism as the form of government here in the United States of America, the self described greatest Christian nation in the history of mankind?

Do you think he would be in favor of it?

Or would he like to see it replaced with a theocracy more in tune to the worship of himself, as God…

Or would he prefer a government more in tune with “Loving your neighbor as yourself?”

In my mind capitalism is more like, loving yourself as yourself, but maybe I don’t get it…

Any thoughts?

Charter Charlatans?

27 Mar

If you live in the NYC area then you know that newly elected mayor, Bill DiBlasio, is working to fulfill a campaign pledge to charge rent to charter schools. The mayor said he wants to charge rent based on how much a school can afford to pay, and he also wants to slow or perhaps even stop the continued growth of the NYC charter school movement so that more focus can be brought back to the public schools. Naturally the charter schools are up in arms over this proposal because charter schools receive rent-free space in city buildings even though they are privately run.

During Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure, Money for charter schools increased from $32 million to $659 million and what was once a modest collection of 17 charter schools has now expanded to 159 charter schools within the city…and overall the NYC education budget has almost doubled to 25 billion dollars from the 13 billion dollars that was being spent when mayor Bloomberg took office.

But the city charter schools, along with receiving free rent from the city also raise quite a lot of money from the private sector including large donations from “philanthropists” like the Waltons of Wal-Mart fame, and the hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones, along with other prominent Wall Street tycoons, (You probably remember them from the great financial crash of 2008)… Anyway, That’s how Success Academy Charter Schools’ chief executive officer, Eva Moskowitz. can make nearly $500,000 a year to run only 22 “non-profit” schools.

That’s also how Mayor DiBlasio can be opposed by a “nonprofit” charter advocacy group called Families for Excellent Schools. They have organized rallies in Albany, created an internet website and spent 3.6 million dollars on commercials that can be seen constantly throughout the day on television here in the tri-state area. Charter school political action committees have even donated more than 100 thousand dollars to NY Governor Cuomo and other NY state politicians.

So is it a surprise that The Governor says that he is now “Excited” about charter school growth and that Mayor Di Blasio is now beginning to step away from his hardline campaign stance against charter schools?

Isn’t it amazing what money can do? Teachers and educators have always known that money makes a difference when it comes to your child’s education. Can your public schools use its public money to advertise in favor of the public school budget? Do your public schools have 3.6 million dollars that they don’t need for educating your children, to use for creating commercials to “convince” local politicians and influence you to support their efforts in passing the public school budget, let alone raising the school budget?

Money matters! And one has to ask why billionaires are so interested in paying large sums of money in order to gain control of and advertise for the privatization of the public schools in our country… What’s in it for them? And most importantly, what do you think is really in it for you and your children? In the short term privatization always looks good, especially when there is a multimillion dollar ad campaign to help you to try and make up your mind.

But in the long run? Just ask yourself this: When have Wal-Mart, Wall Street tycoons and billionaires ever been interested in spending money on the poorer classes of this country…except when it leads to greater class exploitation and increased profits for themselves?

 

 

 

 

Shameless

24 Mar

I’m always receiving lots of junk Email in my inbox. Probably you do too. Most of it goes straight to my spam folder but every once in a while some slip through to my inbox and that’s mostly because every once in a while I can’t help but open one up just to see what it says. I’m sure that sets off an alarm in my browser that tells the internet police, “Hey! This guy will read anything! Send him more!”

Today I couldn’t help but be intrigued by this one titled: Background Checks: Find Out Your Parents’ Past Crimes!

If you’re curious about your parents’ past crimes, it just might be time to pack up and leave the house…unless of course you feel  they’ve been cheating you on your allowance and owe you more money for the lookout work you’ve been helping them out with… or maybe you feel they’ve been moonlighting with another gang late at night after you’ve been sent to your room to do your homework.

Here was another Email with the heading: Shameless Liars and Thieves!

It was from a Republican newsletter and after I opened it, it immediately identified the shameless liars and thieves as…the government. (As if I didn’t already know) but what had they done this time? Apparently our government has been withholding the secret to a cure for cancer for over 85 years! (I guess that means Republicans have been in on in too!)

Anyway, the short memo, as it’s called, goes on and on and on and explains that the good Dr. Al Sears knows the cure for cancer, aging, obesity, arthritis, depression, Alzheimer’s, and even graying hair! In fact he knows the cure for everything! All you have to do is purchase his newsletter and buy and read his 5 volume set about how to cure everything. And somehow the government can no longer stop him! Hooray for the internet! Hooray!

Of course, as any English teacher can tell you, always read to the end before answering any questions or filling out any forms because if you scroll down to the very end of this rag sheet you’ll find this disclaimer:

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Well, I suppose you’ve got to give them some credit. After all, they did put the words Shameless Liars and Thieves right there in the title to their Email. You just had to read to the end to find out that they were talking about themselves…

Now, If only someone could find a cure for people who behave like that!…or is it being kept a secret?

Are You a Welfare Queen?

13 Mar

Do you live in a community that has received federal aid as part of a recovery from a natural disaster like a hurricane, flood or tornado? Have you ever participated in a job training program? Have you, your spouse or child ever received an education grant, like a Pell Grant as part of a student college loan? Did your child ever attend a Head Start for pre-schoolers program?  Was money ever spent on your behalf to enforce child support orders? Did you partake in a program that helped to improve your teachers’ skills? Have you been involved in any screening programs to detect breast and cervical cancer in you community? Has anyone in your family ever attended a college or university that received federal money as part of a program to strengthen their management and fiscal operations? Did you work for Americorps- which trains and places teachers in low income communities? Or do you live in a community that has received federal assistance in upgrading their water and sewage systems? Maybe you take a child tax credit or earned income credit on your tax return. Does your elderly parent or perhaps you, if you are a senior citizen, receive housing assistance?

Well then, according to the Republican party members in Congress, operating conservative think tanks and Fox news, you’re on Welfare!

Because, When so called conservatives lump all of these programs together and call them welfare and then calculate how much money is being spent on these programs and then divide that number by only those folks who are living under the poverty line, they come up with a whopping total of $61,320 spent by the federal government on welfare recipients, which is 168 dollars per day which means that people on welfare are making 21 dollars an hour per day, everyday, even on Saturday and Sunday, to sit around and do nothing! That’s 11,000 dollars more than the average middle class family earns in America! Aren’t you outraged?????

And then when you consider that President Obama himself is writing these checks, and licking the envelopes and stamps and then mailing them out to all of these welfare recipients (all of whom he knows personally… because they used to go to school together) (or rather skipped school and smoked marijuana together) Then aren’t you doubly outraged!!!

It’s no wonder the good old USA is going to hell in a hand basket. You work hard every day and pay taxes and yet no good lazy bums are lounging around all day with 61,000 dollars and change in their pockets doing nothing. And they get free healthcare too! Don’t forget that! All in all, when you consider all of the extra perks, besides the welfare checks, these good for nothing poor folks are making upwards of $80,000 and using food stamps to buy lobster and fresh fish and organic foods!

Aren’t you mad? Didn’t you get the Email about this? Didn’t you hear the Congressmen and Senators rage on TV about this inequality? Didn’t you see every single Fox News program air this story over and over again? Didn’t you notice the pretty blonde lady who occupies the conservative pundit’s chair on every day time talk show practically break down in tears over how her country is falling apart because of these entitlement programs for the undeserving poor?

I know that I certainly am appalled! I just want to know why all of these poor welfare recipients continue to live in squalor and degradation in some of the saddest inner cities the world has ever known, when they are each making over $80,000 per year in cash and prizes?! For goodness sakes, four of them put together have over a 1/4 of a million dollars at their disposal! Why are so many of them homeless and refusing to live in decent and safe housing?

I just don’t get it. Why do the poor live like they don’t have any money when they apparently have all of it? Why haven’t they moved into my neighborhood…or yours? They could all afford a nice townhouse in the pretty blonde lady’s co-op couldn’t they…or live in the high rise next to that middle aged guy with the rolled up sleeves, suspenders and bow tie, who gets red in the face and practically faints from apoplexy each night while commenting on TV about how entitled these poor people are?

According to Republicans We spend 1 trillion dollars on the poor each year, more than we spend on Social Security, Medicare and National Defense…put together! And all of it spent just so that the President’s lazy friends can pretend they are poor, sit around all day, pay no taxes, eat lobster and smoke crack in a whore house!

And if you believe all that…Then I just may have another tax break for the rich, and a food stamp cut for the poor, that I can sell you!

Moral of the story?: Stay in school, don’t believe everything anyone tells you, fact check and learn how to do math. The result is that a lot of Americans are woefully misinformed about what we spend on anti-poverty programs, and what those programs look like. Traditional welfare, now known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, costs the federal government just $16.5 billion (out of a 3.6 Trillion dollar budget)In the real world we spend about $25 per day on the needy or about $753 per month for each lower income American (persons in the lowest income-third of the population) and NOT the $61,320++, per year that Republicans and conservative pundits claim.

Guns Are Just Plain Bad For Business

24 Feb

 

Here’s another bit of anecdotal evidence concerning the gun control debate in the USA. Should we really have more guns or fewer guns? Which would make us safer? Well, if you want to ask the real experts just consider what happened when Toby Keith’s “I Love This Bar & Grill” opened in mid-December in Woodbridge, Va., outside Washington, D.C..

It seems that even though Virginia’s gun laws permit firearms in dining establishments Mr. Keith’s bar and grill has instituted a no-guns policy, which has caused some would-be customers to say that they won’t patronize the restaurant, and the restaurant’s Facebook page has drawn thousands of comments on the decision. One post announced, “If I have to be a defenseless victim to go there, NO WAY!” And another post added, “No guns allowed? Why does he [Toby Keith] hate America so much?

To be fair, other posts supported the decision to make Mr. Keith’s restaurant a “gun free” zone. And in fact although Virginia’s laws allow the carrying of weapons out in the open as well as concealed firearm permits, Carrying a concealed weapon and consuming alcohol in the state of Virginia is a Class 2 misdemeanor. So go figure. Bringing your gun into a bar pretty much means that you’re asking for trouble.

But more importantly, if you continue reading about why Mr. Keith decided not to allow guns in his restaurant, even though the good citizens of Virginia are allowed by law to bring them there, you will find that his spokespeople cited “insurance regulations” as the main reason for their decision…

And that’s really all you need to know, because insurance companies are in the business of making money (and you thought it was insurance) and as such they really, really, really hate having to pay out on any insurance claims…ever… And since statistics and mathematics and actuary tables figure quite prominently into how insurance companies decide on the probability of the company having to pay out on a claim to one of their insured, they know that nothing says trouble like a person carrying a gun.

Statistics tell us beyond any doubt that if a person carries a gun he or she is much more likely to shoot someone or get shot than a person who doesn’t carry a gun. And that means someone is going to get hurt, and that means someone is going to get sued, and that means that an insurance company is going to have to pay money to someone somewhere and that is bad! Forget about the fact that people are going to die or get hurt. If it means that an insurance company has to pay out on a claim, then 2nd amendment rights be damned! No guns!

Because guns ARE dangerous. And more guns DOES equal more violence…not less. It’s in the numbers and the statistics and any insurance company knows that. Virginia is 17th in the U.S.when it comes to gun violence and Mr. Keith’s restaurant is located outside Washington D.C. which is #1 in gun violence! So what would you expect at a bar where everyone might decide to bring a gun and then have a few drinks? Détente?…because everyone is armed? Then you’re no insurance company. They do their research and that is why Toby Keith’s place will be gun free.

Besides, if you do some research of your own about the “wild west” of days gone by, and check on the strategies of some of the most famous lawmen of that time, like Wyatt Earp, you’ll discover that when they were hired by distraught boom-town officials who wanted to stem the violence that was plaguing their citizens and townsfolk, The very first law enacted was always, “No Guns within town limits!” Wyatt Earp and his contemporaries didn’t hand out guns to make towns safer. They took away the guns! They made their towns “gun free zones”.

And it worked great. That’s why the west isn’t wild anymore. It’s such a simple concept that the very idea that we are even having a debate in this country over whether we should have more guns or fewer guns is proof positive that we have all gone stark raving mad! Oh, and by the way, did you notice while reading this article that our nation’s capital is the most dangerous place in our nation?! Imagine what other countries must think? We have all of the nuclear weapons! Who among us in the USA would advocate for giving all of the other countries some of our nukes so that the world would then be a safer place in which to live?

I guess maybe the other countries would…but would that make all of us safer?

The lesson of Toby Keith’s bar and grill is: If only we loved each other like we love our money…any insurance company could tell you how that would work out…

Is Justice in America, Blind, Deaf or Dumb?

23 Feb

In 2012, A 47 year old Florida resident who carried a concealed weapons permit, along with a concealed weapon, sat in his car at a Jacksonville convenience store when 4 teenagers pulled in next to him with their rap music blaring from their car stereo. The man complained about the loud music to the teenagers and asked them to turn it down. One of the teenagers argued with the man and angry words were exchanged. The Floridian said that he felt threatened because he thought that he saw a weapon pointed at him from inside the other car so he pulled out his gun and fired 10 shots into the SUV, killing one of the teenagers.

2 years later the man was brought to trial on 1st degree murder charges and after listening to the evidence and witnesses a jury of Floridians deliberated for 30 hours over 4 days and decided that the shooter was guilty…of ATTEMPTED murder! Even though he had shot and killed a 17 year old boy, attempted murder was all they could agree upon.

And even though there was no weapon found in the SUV and even though the jurors still had the option of finding the defendant guilty of second degree murder or manslaughter, with Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law in effect, the jurors decided that they couldn’t decide if the shooter was acting in self defense or not…after all he did testify that he “felt threatened.”

Wow! So, I guess it was a good thing that there were other potential victims in the SUV that he was able to attempt to murder because otherwise he would have gone home a free man…apparently in Florida the teenager that was killed doesn’t count as actually being hit with the bullet just because he happened to be shot to death.

And this is what we get with more guns owned by more people who are given more rights to carry them around with additional rights to defend themselves whenever they see fit to do so. Which is exactly what our Founding Father’s hoped for the future of flintlock wielding American militiamen, and their targets, when they composed the Second Amendment…isn’t it?

Still I know there are gun advocates everywhere who believe that more citizens carrying concealed weapons make for a safer world. But what we are seeing rather, is a world of aggravated, angry and now armed citizens who still do not feel really safe unless they shoot first and ask questions later. Why wait for the intruder to break into your house when you can go outside and stalk him first?

So citizens beware! From now on when you travel from state to state check the laws of that land because these United States are fast becoming 50 autonomous territories free to set their own interpretations of the 2nd Amendment into the pages of their own separate but equal law books. And if while traveling, you happen across an angry citizen of that free state, who tells you to turn down your music or put away your annoying cell phone or take off your hat or pull down your hooded sweatshirt or to just stop looking so suspicious, you’d better say, “yes sir!” or “No Ma’am!” or “Excuse me. I didn’t know that I was bothering you. May I please be excused?” And for god sakes smile, and raise your hands…but not too fast…palms open…and avert your eyes perhaps…anything you can think of to look non-threatening and friendly and subservient will do… I guess…

Otherwise you might wind up dead! Shot by a fellow U.S. citizen with their legally concealed weapon.

Unless of course a convoluted law and a confused jury say that you weren’t.

 

 

 

 

Joanna Funk

piano accompanist and teacher

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