Trivia 1R

    A wee glimpse into the cluttered mind of the conservative media.  USA Today explained in an article that he reason that television has been offering more business news and less real news is because "stocks account for about half of the average family's financial assets ... And more than 40 percent of all families own stocks, either directly or indirectly through mutual funds and retirement funds."

    Now, by taking more than just a cursory look at this sentence, we find that forty percent is not a number that the term "average" can be based on.  Forty percent is far less than fifty percent which would be the only fair definition of "average", particularly when it comes to stocks and other forms of wealth.

    Even that forty percent isn't indicative of anything in detail.  If all families owned the same or close to an average amount of stock, then one could possibly use that figure for some form of comparisons.  However, in the real world, the vast majority of stocks are owned by just the top 10% of all Americans, meaning the rest of the forty percent scrambles to obtain some share of what's left.

    What the article obviously missed entirely is that the "average" American owns zero, zilch, nada, no stocks whatsoever.  Therefore, the argument that television is somehow providing information that every American needs is nonsense.  It is providing information to those whom their advertising time is purchased by wishes to reach.  That information is then rationalized for all by making viewers think that, if they own no stocks, then they are less than average.

    Convoluted, isn't it? ( 1 )

    Just a thought about vouchers.  Personally, I might support them if, among a couple others, one very important condition were included in their use.  They could be used only to fund those children who had attended public school for the prior three years and whose parents met a financial means test for poverty and that the private school would accept that child charging only the value of the voucher for the education.  No child who was already enrolled in a private school or who had attended a private school in the preceding three years would be allowed to participate nor would otherwise financially capable parents be able to use the public funds nor would private schools be allowed to increase their tuitions above the value of the vouchers.  That would eliminate any possibility of wealthy parents using the vouchers to fund the education that they were obviously able to provide without the voucher.

    I don't know if you abhor the little minds that pretend to be capable of offering justice while also appearing on television as "judges" but, if not, maybe this will expand your reasoning on the subject.

    Judy Sheindlin, who acts under the name "Judge Judy", recently told a cheering crowd of other silly little people that needle exchange programs are the creation of "liberal morons" and proposed an alternative.  "Give them all dirty needles and let them die!"

    When questioned about the hate that was obviously the foundation of such a horrendous idea, she released a statement that did not deny her guilt but only proclaimed, "and body who thinks I would advocate the government supplying tainted needles to addicts is a fool."

    Okay, does that make her a fool for saying it or does it mean that only a fool would listen to her ranting and take them seriously or does it mean that she is, at heart, an idiot?  Your call, readers. ( 2 )

    Imagine that you work for the New York Times as the person who writes, not the actual stories, but only the headlines (yes, there is such a person at nearly all newspapers).  Now imagine what you would put above the report concerning the fact that the Monsanto corporation, through its PR firm Burson Marsteller, paid 100 people, using money or just transportation and free food, to be a part of a "demonstration" supporting the corporation's bioengineering technology during a Food & Drug Administration hearing.  Even with Monsanto, itself, calling the practice of paying people to pretend to support something "abhorrent", the New York Times could only muster the inane headline "Monsanto Campaign Tries to Gain Support for Gene-Altered Food".  Now, would you read that story or would the headline give you the impression that all is well with the world and the corporation is just doing what any business would do?  Would you think it important that the fact that the New York Times also employs the PR firm Burson Marsteller an important enough factor to include that in the story? ( 3 )

    Do you think that the deaths that were the direct result of not only shoddy products manufactured by Ford Motor Company and Firestone Tires and the resulting cover up by the suits in the suites will change how corporations behave in the future?  Do you think that, now that the American public has been made aware of this criminal behavior that the same thing won't happen again?  In fact, do you believe that there must be some agency within the federal government that is mandated to protect us from the greed and idiocy in the corporate suites?

    Well, the only question that can be answered in the affirmative is the last one and that will necessarily have to be a qualified "Yes".

    Last August 22 (2000), the Mitsubishi Corporation admitted that they had "systematically concealed customer complaints about tens of thousands of defective automobiles since 1977."  These defects included faulty fuel tanks, clutches, crankshafts, and brakes.  In order to keep the problem from coming to the attention of either any government agency nor news media, the repairs were initialed "H" for hitoku which means "conceal".

    Now, about that question regarding what protection the American people can expect from their government regarding defects known to many but reported by none.  Normally, one would expect the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency to be responsible for your safety.  I say normally because the idiots in America who voted for any Republican in the last twenty some years is completely to blame for the fact that, when that senile old fool Ronald Reagan came into office in 1981, the NHTSA immediately took a 49% cut in their budget.  Since then, every Republican Congress since has continued to undermine the agency but continually cutting their budget further and further until, today, there are but 42 people who work at the agency and only 15 to 20 have any investigative skills or responsibilities.

    Even when this vastly under funded and undermanned agency does find the power to attempt to enact safety requirements, Congress immediately blocks the attempts.  The two most egregious examples are the attempt by the agency to limit the number of hours a truck driver could work without rest and the attempt to publicize rollover ratings on new vehicles for the benefit of consumers.  Neither of these truly necessary attempts to regulate safety for the public good was received by Congress as anything more than a blatant attempt to put the value of human lives over the profit margins of their owners.

    So, the answers to the above questions are, no, the cover ups and the lies and the outright criminal behavior by corporations will only be forced further underground within the corporate structure since you only have to fix what can be proven to be broken.  Also,  in as much as no one will ever go to prison for killing innocent people there really isn't any incentive to change.  As far as the American people's new found knowledge of these criminal events having any effects, ask your friends and co-workers which brand of tires and which line of automobiles were involved in the recent problem and see how many remember even that basic knowledge.  Finally, is there any government agency that is meant to protect you from criminals in Corporate America and now in the global corporate economy the answer is absolutely not.  Unless or until the American people find the mental agility to see just how badly the Republicans and their conservative agenda is harming us all, then these types of crimes and criminal behavior will not only continue but will increase in size and destruction in the coming decades. ( 4 )

 

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Copyright 3/5/01