Trivia 1B

Pulitzer prize winning reporters Donald Barlett and James Steele somehow were able to publish the series "What Corporate Welfare Costs You". (1) The series exposed the fact that every taxpayer works an average of two weeks a years solely to provide the $125 Billion subsidy to "needy" Corporate America. Editor-in-Chief Norman Pearlstine assured its readership that Time was not showing an "anti-business" side with these articles, however. (As if anyone in America with two IQ points to rub together had the mistaken belief that Time was anything but just another cog in Corporate America's machine!) In fact, Pearlstine argued strongly that Corporate America had the "duty" to "seek to avoid taxes and gain special subsidies". (As Wayne Grytting of Z Magazine (2) offers, "Try that argument substituting welfare mothers for corporations". See how many high ranking employees of the conservative media would agree with that.) Mr. Pearlstine didn't stop there, however. "Ending corporate welfare as we know it is essential. Rather than give corporations uneven exemptions, it may make more sense to simply do away with both corporate welfare and corporate taxation." This insane suggestion would, in Mr. Pearlstine's own words, would create a "level playing field." In other words, according to this moron, we should cease providing outright welfare for corporations and, instead, provide total welfare for them by forcing you and I to make up the difference in our taxes. Does anyone out there see this as a rather stupid idea besides me?

The Environmental Protection Agency, the arm of the federal government which, a long time ago (pre-1980) stood as the health monitor for our nation, has shown just how useless it has become in this sad and nasty era of Republican "leadership". Starting last month (Jan., 1999) they are providing your grocer with a newly modified brochure on pesticides for distribution to their customers. Now that Congress is openly owned by the pesticide lobbyists, among so many, many others, the wording of the warnings have been "improved" by that same lobbying group. Changing even the titles, the new brochure offers "Healthy Sensible Food Practices" to replace the far more descriptive "Tips to Reduce Pesticides on Foods" of the old brochure. Where once consumers were offered the suggestion to buy food labeled "certified organic", the new offering is to ask your grocer and he "may be able to provide you with information about the availability of food grown using fewer or no pesticides (italics mine)". Finally, where you were once offered a list of the damages that pesticides on food would cause such as cancer and birth defects and nerve damage, the new and improved version only states that there may be "health problems at certain levels of exposure". What level of exposure is completely left up to you, the consumer, to somehow discover on your own. (3)

Curious about why the Ford Motor Corporation has a new found commitment to the environment (though most notably in Ireland, for some reason) ? The Citizens for a Sound Economy group (doesn't that just sound as wholesome and good a conservative front can be?) has produced the "Communications Guide for Republicans" and used by businesses to fool the public (just my humble opinion) into believing that they are environmentally aware without the hassle of actually being environmentally aware. First, they advise that "Focus groups show that people are more likely to empathize with your approach if they believe you are 'on their side'" See Ford's commercials about how they do so much good in order to protect the environment and the new slogan for Weyerhaeuser, the "Tree Growing Company". Finally, the guide suggests that the word "reform" not be used (gosh, after the destruction of welfare for the poor and the attempt to destroy Social Security and Medicare and on and on in the guise of "reform", I wonder why they shouldn't use that word). Instead, the guide offers, "Focus groups indicate people are more likely to respond positively to change when the word modernizing is used in describing our efforts on environmental protection". So, as if the intelligent people of America had any doubt left that 1984 is here, we can now see that the Right has every intention of destroying what little good remains in America by virtue of wording acceptable to focus groups. How long do you, personally think it will be before the word modernizing is used in as a sound bite on the news? (4)

Again, the use of words to create confusion as to the purpose of an organization has cropped up. Using the misleading title the Greening Earth Society, these folks want us to stop focussing on the dangers and damages of Global Warming and to see it for the wonderful and beneficial future it offers, instead. They suggest that we all focus on the "positive aspects of a rising level of carbon dioxide' and to see it the light of how "nature is growing stronger, bigger, greener, and more resilient as a result of what we humans are doing to promote our own growth". (Ooh! Are you feeling same warm fuzzies that I am right now?) Where did these wonderful, positive and forward thinking proponents of a healthy and green environment come from? Well, if you're a long time reader of this site, you can rest assured that it ain't from the sunny side of the street. No, it even openly shares office space with its creator, the Western Fuel Association. Now who, I ask you, should you rely on for open and honest information about the greenhouse effect except the coal industry, itself? They even have a warm, friendly motto for this little group. It's "humankind is a part of nature, rather than apart from nature". (Boy, does that send shivers of contentment and relief up and down my spine.) (5)(9)

Just a few things that infected America while the conservative media was drooling all over itself checking out Monica's stained dress and reading the pornographic "Starr Report" or, as those with minds left referred to it, "The Starr Chamber's Report". I won't get too specific simply because to do so would be far too depressing and tiresome. Instead, let's look at the trends which are damaging this nearly great nation. Wall Street has been on an orgy of mergers and buy-outs, reducing the already small choices consumers have left. Bankers and investors have been busy forcing already financially strapped nations in Asia, in particular, to increase unemployment and wages and benefits as a condition to receive even more loans to be used to pay off the last set of loans from the IMF (International Monetary Fund). The Environmental Protection Agency, a new federal oxymoron, has looked the other way while industries such as the Nuclear Power industry has allowed the residents of Hanford Washington to live with the reality of radiated ant colonies moving into town and tumbleweeds which show high levels of radiation rolling down their streets. Our Foreign Service personnel have repeatedly requested funds for anti-terrorist steps at their embassies which were denied, costing hundreds of people their lives when our embassy buildings were bombed in Africa last year. Thousands of women and children were raped slaughtered in Kosovo by satanic creatures searching for an "ethnically cleansed" nation. Hundreds of thousands of unreported lay-offs occurred throughout Corporate America. Hundreds of thousands of people in East Timor were murdered for demonstrating for a return to the democratic government that Indonesia destroyed when it invaded that nation 23 years ago. The 1999 federal budget offers just $1 Billion for school construction but $9 Billion for the already proven useless Star Wars missile program. (6)

Want even further proof that American ideals have long ago been smeared beyond recognition by the Right? A Philadelphia company now offers greeting cards for prison inmates and their love ones. Acknowledging the sad fact that 13% of all adult African-American men are now housed in the nation's prison system, it offers such warm cards as the one "Thinking of you" which pictures a young black couple embracing. Inside it says, "Love transcends prison walls. It stands the test of time". Sadly, the company hasn't got around to designing a line of cards for those inmates executed and later found to be innocent. I wonder what a line like that would look like. Probably just a cartoon of a warden and a prosecutor with red, embarrassed faces and the single line, "Oops! Sorry!" (7)

Finally, an example of the truism that the rich are not only different from you and me but down right sicker to boot, I offer the following. A thirteen year old girl, got the ultimate in bat mitzvahs when her "obsession" with the movie "Titanic" was fed by a Pittsburgh hotels ballroom being transformed into the luxury liner complete with four-meter steaming smokestacks on the buffet table, phosphorescent artificial icebergs and a gigantic photo of the stars of the movie but with the girl's face superimposed over Kate Winslet's. The cost for this small gathering? Reportedly nearly $500,000. I wonder what political party her folks belong to? (8)

I'll cease exposing the wonders of America for the time being so that you can rest your monitor-stressed eyes and go get a soda and some chips or whatever. I'm nowhere near finished, understand, just pausing for now!

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