liveonearth: (moon)
I'm not talking about the ignorant rebels who've been co-opted by corporate Republican interests and convinced to vote against their own best interests.  I'm talking about those Tea Party thinkers who know that our government is run by and for big business (not "the people"), and would like to do something about it.

This is what I've been talking about.  The possibility that the left wing and the right wing could reach around the back of the government bird and strangle the business creature that is riding on its back.

*first use of tag: Bernie
liveonearth: (blue skinned alien)
I'm reading an article in New York magazine (April 7-20, 2014) about the color of Obama's presidency, and the first thing mentioned is the Bill Maher show in which Bill Kristol was frankly upset at him for saying that the rise of the Tea Party was due to racism. My liberal friends here in Oregon, and the ones that live in the Rockies and the South for the most part agree with this assessment. They are certain that's the reason that some who call themselves Tea Party are in stark opposition to every single thing that Obama says or does, apparently without consideration of the details. It is reasonable to assume that this oppositional defiance is based in that base instinct that Obama is brown and different and must be wrong and evil. But this assumption is simpleminded too; there is more to the Tea Party than simple racism.

Those who hate Obama for his skin are not political creatures. They do vote, and host radio shows, but in they do not make sense or generate policy. All they do is upset everybody, stop policy and new ideas from being developed. We need to shut them up by ignoring them, instead of trying to beat them in rational argument. There is no point arguing with racism or insanity.

There are Tea Party libertarians who are political, intelligent and curious, and interested in shades of meaning without regard for shades of skin tone. These are the Tea Party core that most liberals haven't met, and won't meet, because their experience has been so bad trying to negotiate with the angry racists. There is a rational case for small government, for making the government operate according to the constitution, for the separation of church and state and for making corporations behave like responsible businesses instead of being "persons" with rights but no responsibilities under the law. These concerns need to be discussed and rationally balanced with our desire to take care of the less fortunate among us, instead of dismissed as rantings.

So I beg of you, Americans, to do your best to listen to and respect the other side, whoever they are. I beg liberals to consider that there might be real concerns about the longterm viability of large government. And I beg Tea Party conservatives to offer reasons, to be specific and soften your words when you despise something that Obama has done. It is my conviction that Obama is sympathetic to the libertarian position, but because he is a politician and elected as a Democrat, he must play the game within the parameters of his position or be removed. It has cost him dearly. It will be interesting to see what our first brown-skinned president does after his 2nd term ends and he is free to act on his real inclinations.
liveonearth: (critter 2)
That's a lot of people who can't shower in or cook with the water coming from the faucet. The solution to this pollution is said to be dilution, same as ever, which means people have to wait until enough good water has run through the system to wash out the chemical. The wildlife get no such warning. The symptoms are nausea and vomiting. I haven't found anything about longterm toxicity yet.

Events like this are manageable for populations wealthy enough to purchase bottled water or travel to cleaner digs. For impoverished folks and for the creatures and plants of the land, this is a true crisis.

The leak was a foaming agent used to wash coal, and it went from a 48,000 gallon storage tank straight into the Elk River. The primary component in the foaming agent that leaked is the chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (CH3C6H10CH2OH). It has been patented as an air freshener and has a slightly minty odor (another good reason not to use air fresheners). It is used in ~20-25% of coal plans, mainly for "coking coal" which is used for metallurgical purposes, but not for making coal burned to make electricity ("steam coal") which is the lion's share of total coal produced.

The biz owning the leaky tank is called Freedom Industries, and it distributes mining reagents for WV, VA, PA, OH, MD, MN, KY, and MI. In 2008, Freedom Industries was specially selected by Georgia-Pacific Chemicals as a distributor of G-P's Talon brand mining reagents for the states already mentioned. Georgia-Pacific Chemicals is, of course, a subsidiary of Georgia-Pacific, which was acquired by Koch Industries in 2005. Koch is big biz, and should be penalized to assure that they will take better precautions in all their plants in the future.



SOURCES
Fresh Brains sent me this link:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/11/west-virginia-chemical-sp_n_4582100.html
National Geographic on the same leak:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/01/140110-4-methylcyclohexane-methanol-chemical-spill-west-virginia-science/
Daily Kos
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/01/11/1268990/-Freedom-Industries-Has-Ties-to-Koch-Brothers
Koch Industries
http://www.kochind.com/
liveonearth: (moon)
Today on MoveOn they're soliciting for signatures on a petition to make Walmart pay its workers better. Moveon says it's an outrage that Wallyworld employees have to use public services for healthcare because can't afford better. What isn't mentioned is that they spent what they had on vehicles and fuel, guns, alcohol and cigarettes, mobile phones and flatscreens. And a roof over their head.

Minimum wage is law. No company can hire you over the table for anything less. Walmart can pay minimum wage and if people apply for and accept that job, they have made a deal with that company. If they don't like it, they can quit, get another job. If there isn't another job, they can start their own business, or be useful to a family business or take care of an aging elder. They can run for office, start a protest, try and change the minimum wage. There is no shame in doing these things. The shame is in doing nothing. I just don't know how far from nothing this petition is. Having a grievance is not the same as having a solution.

When the economy contracts, families get closer. The resources that we do have get shared with those we care about. The death rate went down in the Great Depression, perhaps for this reason.

I can't get on board with political efforts to increase "jobs" because what "jobs" means is working for large corporations which will strike the best deal they can get for everything including manpower. It's the game, and winning for the 1% means never having to worry about a job. The worker never wins. The worker is a cog in a machine that cares nothing about him and will replace him the moment he begins to crack. The safety net may ease his passage a bit, but it is easy to get caught in.

To be trapped in the safety net is to lose your self respect, to become depressed, to want to die. This may be why so many white American men commit suicide. Middle-aged white guys commit suicide more than anybody else. Perhaps the veterans are driving that statistic.
liveonearth: (chemistry colorful)
Mercola sent out this warning. In his article he has an assortment of options for the person who would like to take action to prevent this outcome. Here:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/03/13/unlabeled-aspartame-use.aspx?e_cid=20130313_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20130313
(*new tag for aspartame)
liveonearth: (moon)
If Americans snacked only occasionally, and in small amounts, this would not present the enormous problem that it does. But because so much money and effort has been invested over decades in engineering and then relentlessly selling these products, the effects are seemingly impossible to unwind. More than 30 years have passed since Robert Lin first tangled with Frito-Lay on the imperative of the company to deal with the formulation of its snacks, but as we sat at his dining-room table, sifting through his records, the feelings of regret still played on his face. In his view, three decades had been lost, time that he and a lot of other smart scientists could have spent searching for ways to ease the addiction to salt, sugar and fat. “I couldn’t do much about it,” he told me. “I feel so sorry for the public.”

SOURCE
NY Times article on the science behind Addictive Food. For sure, the objective is profits, not health.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/magazine/the-extraordinary-science-of-junk-food.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&
liveonearth: (Default)
And you thought you could trust a pharmaceutical company? LOL, probably not, you're smarter than that. GSK promoted off-label uses for two drugs, and didn't reveal safety information on another. (They make lots of vaccines, in case you don't know.) Scientific research done by corporations with a profit motive is guaranteed to be reported in a biased way. This will be the biggest fine ever paid by a drug company, and it might even big enough to serve as a disincentive to standard pharmaceutical policies of disinformation. Too bad that these drugs are what insurance will pay for, and not preventative care. And too bad that nobody goes to jail; the decisionmakers of GSK get to hide behind the corporation. Maybe their bonuses will get cut. I can only hope. I know there are humans behind these decisions. Humans with greed and pride where their love and compassion ought to be.

NEWS
http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_20990296/glaxosmithkline-pay-largest-health-care-fraud-fine-history?source=rss
http://bottomline.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/07/02/12525279-glaxosmithkline-settles-fraud-case-for-3-billion?lite
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2012/07/02/health-glaxosmithkline-fraud-settlement.html
liveonearth: (Default)


More Photos here:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/occupy-los-angeles-protesters-leave-tons-of-trash

Of course the point can be made that the devastation caused by Wall Street is just as ugly...but two wrongs does not make a right. Those of us who wish to limit the power of corporations to run our government can do better than to trash our inner cities. I don't know how it went in other cities, but here in Portland the settlements were predictably infiltrated with all those who had nothing better to do, ie: the homeless. And because this town is as soft and generous as it is to all who are down on their luck, the free food, medicine and all things good just flowed into the area. But the downside of letting the homeless, drug-addicted and mentally ill occupy your occupation is large, and contributes to messes like this. I'm not passing judgment. Just hoping for more classy activism from the grassroots who are not represented by the tea party.
liveonearth: (concerned eye)
This might end up being important:

Under the deal announced Friday, Verizon will pay $3.6 billion to Comcast, Time Warner and Bright House Networks to use a swath of cellphone airwaves that the cable giants own but do not use. That would cement Verizon’s status as the dominant wireless carrier and give it access to valuable spectrum at a time when its primary rival — AT&T — is struggling to expand its network through a controversial proposed merger with T-Mobile.

The rest of the story on the Washington Post
liveonearth: (blue skinned alien 2)
Fascism
should rightly be called
Corporatism,
as it is the merger
of corporate
and government power.

~Benito Mussolini
liveonearth: (Default)
http://www.postcarbon.org/blog-post/523782-memo-to-the-occupied-movement-a

His point: we need a new paradigm, because the era of oil-fueled expansion, growth and "progress" is OVER. The new paradigm must involve a sustainable economic model which will be more local.
liveonearth: (Homer Simpson "D'oh!")
So, rage against duly elected government is patriotic -- quintessentially American -- whereas rage against multi-national shareholder-accountable corporations is anti-American. OK, gotcha.
--Jon Stewart
liveonearth: (Where the wild things are)
A recently introduced bill--H.R. 1581--would eliminate protection for wilderness study areas and Forest Service roadless areas and allow industry to develop and extract resources from them. We need to do something other than this. We need to create broad migration zones along all riparian areas and connecting them, in order to allow species to survive during this time of climate change. This approach will facilitate our longterm survival in a way that short term extractive industry cannot, and should be built into law. Also, we need to end corporate personhood, such that when we do decide to allow our lands to be used for some purpose, the developer/extractor must be responsible for the end product...instead of raping the land for profit and then dumping the devastation back on the public for rehabilitation. But that's what I think. If you care about wilderness, go to the sierra club link and have your say.

http://sierraclub.typepad.com/michaelbrune/2011/09/wildlands-are-your-lands.html
liveonearth: (part of the solution)
As you may know I lean libertarian. I am skeptical whenever government authority is imposed. There has to be a good reason for government to exist, or to do anything at all. So it could come as a surprise to you that I think universal HPV vaccination is worth considering. I am sensitive to the argument by Andrew McCarthy that the state should not be "encouraging sexual promiscuity by socializing its cost." HPV is easy to avoid. All you have to do is keep your mucus membranes away from everyone else's sexual equipment. Easy? To ask humans to abstain from sex, at any age, is a losing battle. Teens especially. You may get your kid convinced that saving her virginity is important, but another kid might change her mind. Those who are abstinent may be vocal, but they are a small minority.
What are we looking at here? )
liveonearth: (Default)
....this is a "holy shit!!" for me....

from the Washington Post:
----------------------------------------
Economy/Business News Alert: Apple surpasses Exxon to become world's largest company
August 9, 2011 1:35:58 PM
----------------------------------------

Apple overtook Exxon Mobil as the world’s most valuable company Tuesday, as the computer company’s stock continued to defy a slowing market.

The changing of the guard is due in part to a market slowdown that has depressed oil prices and taken Exxon Mobil stock down significantly. But the switch is also a testament to Apple’s gravity-defying growth.
liveonearth: (Default)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/asian-investors-anxiously-monitor-us-debt-talks/2011/07/31/gIQAAyq9lI_story.html?wpisrc=al_economy

I guess they're happy that we can keep steering their freight train toward that cliff. Obama is the pragmatic fall guy, demonized by most. He calmly goes about the business of finding something productive that we can agree on. He is willing to disagree with his own party, which is refreshing and hopeful. His positions make sense to me. I have long been disappointed that he could not take on big business more directly. I know he wants to, the socialist pig. Just now though with today's agreement we see that the guys with the corporate jets have as much control over the law as everyone who is afraid to see medicare cut.

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