Trivia 1I

About the lowest that I've seen campaign contributors stoop is the practice of getting around legal campaign financing limits by sending them off in the name of their children. One such law bender, one Dr. Scott A. Stolnitz, donated $1000 to Lamar Alexander's failed presidential run in the name of his ten-year-old daughter. His rationale? Listen to this...,"It was based on what I thought was in her best interest...even at that tender age. I told her what I was doing and why. She did not object." Asher Simon was only nine years old when he donated $1000 each to Sen. Dianne Feinstein's campaign as well as two other Democrats running in 1994. As an attempt at explaining this foolishness, Asher's mother stated that the boy, "supports candidates he agrees with". Come on, mom. The only candidate he might agree with at nine would be found running for mayor of Sesame Street or Ruler of the Galaxy on Power Rangers. The reality is that their parents had bumped up against even the lax limits allowed under federal law and these icons of honesty simply used their children to buy even more representation than before. How sad. (1)  (See here for Dr. Stolnitz's 9/22/05 rebuttal to this report, my inquiry to the LA Times for confirmation of the facts, their reply and two additional messages from Dr. Stolnitz.)

Another group has found the need to unionize themselves for protection and financial security in these days of complete corporate control. Already, 6% of America's doctors have become organized through the Service Employees International Union. In fact, the union sees such promise in the future that they are pledging $1 million a year for organizing efforts aimed at the medical community.. Why would doctors feel the need to become unionized? According to Dr. Lawrence Koning, a Corona, CA obstetrician-gynecologist and a member of the Union of American Physicians and Dentists, "I can see the time coming when we're not simply independent business owners...but just workers. Doctors are being cut back, they're being told what to do or how much to make...We have no power." Some are even threatening the possibilities of a physician strike. According to the National Doctors Alliance, and in direct opposition to warning from the AMA that such actions are against medical ethics, Sometimes it is far better to strike than to allow a patient to go into a substandard facility." Well, whatever their reasons, I would like to welcome them into the ranks of the organized workers of America. It's about time that America awoke from its long Reagan Era induced coma and to realize that Corporate America has sadly become the enemy of what little remains decent in America. Just remember who is trying desperately to destroy unions and who at least tries to appear to support us. (2)

Prosecutor Bill Loughery, in his closing argument against the Rev. Henry Lyons, president of the National Baptist Convention USA, who was convicted on corruption charges, and whose words could be aimed at so many other greedy Christian "leaders" like Jerry Falwell and Reed and the like, "Somewhere along the line, he traded the good book for the bank book." (3)

Unbelievably, President Clinton is pushing for a military program that has already been denounced as insane and unworkable nearly fifteen years ago. Just after Clinton's last State of the Union speech, Defense Secretary William Cohen announced that the U.S. would once again spend billions of dollars creating the Star Wars system. This is the same system that the very scientist who initially gave President Reagan the idea later admitted that he was only kidding and that he didn't think, at the time, that even Reagan could be fooled into believing such a thing could ever be possible. Nevertheless, Reagan spent billions of your tax dollars on this joke and now Clinton, trying his very best to imitate the ultra-conservatives he so admires at the expense of the rest of the nation, plans on spending tens of billions of your taxes more. In fact, over $50 billion has already been wasted on a system "that has yet to be deployed or successfully test a single reliable device". Nonetheless, even with such a sorry record (two hits on target out of 15 tests), the Pentagon seems to believe that they need only test it three more times prior to deployment and at a cost of hundreds of billions of your tax dollars more. As John Pike, the director of space programs at the Federation of American Scientists, recently queried, "Ask yourself: Would you fly on an airplane that has crashed thirteen out of fifteen times and is only going to be tested three more? It's buggier than Microsoft software." This idiocy doesn't even address the real dangers the world faces in regards to sneak attack. No country would fire a missile at America for the simple reason that the point of origin would be far too easy to determine and retaliation assured. No, this nonsensical and obscenely expensive gift to America's defense contractors can't protect us from nuclear devices brought into the country and detonated remotely. The reality is that the idea of deploying such a system may create a very friendly climate for the Right Wing hard-liners in Russia who may feel that their nation's defense is compromised by this action, leading them to a possible pre-emptive strike and plunging the planet into a catastrophic and completely avoidable hell. We need to spend those billions of dollars in reducing the number of missiles still on alert in both Russia and the U.S. and her allies. Only that will actually lessen the dangers of accidental nuclear war, not useless and costly gifts to Corporate America. (4)

This was too Zen-like to ignore, folks. As American planes carry out day after day of bombings in Iraq, the U..S. operated Radio Free Iraq begins its daily broadcast with the happy, "Dear listeners, we hope that you are having a nice day, and that you enjoy our programs today." It ends its macabre opening with "Thank you for following us, and peace and blessings be upon you." As much as I love the black humor of Kurt Vonnegut, he could never invent this recurring scene on his best day. (5)

Personally, I've probably bought my last pair of Levi jeans. Due to the company's lack of a discernable business plan, the Levi brand has steadily lost customers to expensive, poorly made jeans that are backed by glossy ads that sell the aura of the product without bothering about their shabby production. Instead of attempting to change its image to one of durable and reasonably priced jeans, these bozos have, instead, decided to continue laying off its American workers (11 plants closed and 7400 workers fired in 1997 and another 19,900 employees to be sacked this year) and will move its manufacturing facilities to Third World countries where wages are nearly nil and health, safety and environmental laws nonexistent. Well, I admit that finding any small corner of Corporate America that hasn't sold out to profits over honesty and their duty to their nation, I will try to find another brand that employs Americans making products in America. It will be difficult but, I can assure you, not impossible. (6)

Finally, words of wisdom from J.C. Watts Sr., father of Rep. J.C. Watts Jr., the black Oklahoma Republican, "A black man voting for the Republicans makes as much sense as a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders." (7)

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