Tag Archives: ETHICS

You have no right to food, air, and water

nestle ceo on waterI saw this  photo posted on my Facebook news feed recently and found it difficult to believe. But, after some fact checking I learned it was true . The CEO of Nestle, the world’s largest food company, openly and proudly declared that water (the most basic requirement of life on earth) should not be a natural right but instead, it should be viewed as a foodstuff and assigned a market value. I’m sure his views have no relationship to Nestle being a major seller of bottled water.

For centuries basic food staples have been allocated by market economics and the Monsantos of the ag-biz industry are rapidly patenting even the seeds needed to grow a common garden. Increasingly the world’s farmers cannot set aside a portion of their crop as seeds for next year’s crop, thus lowering growing and consumption costs. The bulk of all farming today uses genetically altered and patented seeds the large corporations have almost total control over. Monsanto owns the herbicide Roundup and according to the New York Times their Roundup Ready seeds account for 90% of America’s soybean crop and 70% of its corn and cotton crops. There are few supermarket foods in today’s world that don’t contain soy and corn. Try ignoring their patent rights and they will own your farm.

Continue reading You have no right to food, air, and water

Followup #1 to drug discussion

heroin-gearAs a follow up to a previous article about the growing drug related explosion in America’s prison population here’s a couple of things that have come to my attention:

  1. A reader sent a link to a New York Times article about the heroin problem in Rutland, Vermont. Since heroin is a major drug of abuse the article could have implications to most communities American communities.
  2. A lot of people on want to rant on and talk about how horrible the drug situation is but very few are willing to actually get involved. Recently a group organized in Greenfield to try finding answers. Pretty much it is three people sitting in a room once a week waiting for others to come join them.
  3. There have been a couple of reader comments at the end of my original article and also
  4. several made on Facebook. Here’s examples from Facebook.

1. Well I realize I no longer live in Ohio but being from there and still call it home, would like to put in my two cents on this matter.. I live in a state where Medical Marijuana has been legalized..I agree with it and encourage it, especially when people have

Continue reading Followup #1 to drug discussion

To free or not to free, that’s but one question

According to our local newspaper Adams County, Ohio issued 27 indictments related to a variety of drug related crimes.  the indictments followed an 8 month investigation and reading through the charges most involved heroin, possession and/or trafficking.

Surprising to me, however, was that none of the 27 were arrested or incarcerated.  The reason given by the county sheriff was lack of jail space. Adams County’s jail, which was built to house 38 inmates, is currently home to 55.  Arresting these 27 would require farming them out to neighboring county jails at a cost of over $1,600 a day. According to the sheriff, “We can’t afford that.”

There’s nothing new about overburdened jails in America. The nation has the largest prison/jail system in the world and the world’s largest population of inmates. The cost to taxpayers is enormous and much of the problem stems from our drug laws, a failed war on drugs and get tough sentencing laws that abound.

What prompted this article was a morning headline about California, and its governor Jerry Brown, having freed 1,400 lifers during the past 3 years. Brown claims the paroles have nothing to do with overcrowding but that state’s prisons have been under fire for decades for such.

What I find interesting in all this is the need for policy review and public discussion. We need to seriously be talking about our drug laws, do we really want people in prison for use or possession of marijuana? Do we really want to continue the expensive and failed war on drugs? Should life in prison really mean life and if not, how long should life be? In the 1950s a life sentence in Ohio usually meant parole after serving 20 years. In today’s Ohio one source claims it requires a minimum of 30 years.

So, what do we do? Do we decriminalize marijuana? Do we do the same for other popular recreational drugs? Do we follow Portugal’s seemingly successful lead and decriminalize many drugs, including marijuana, cocaine and heroin? All the statistics tell us the nation’s opinion about marijuana is rapidly changing, especially in those states that have legalized medical and recreational marijuana. We’ve apparently been having that discussion and the public is increasingly voting in favor. But what about other recreational drugs, do we lock those 27 Adams County druggies up and continue footing the bill or do we begin looking for a more affordable, and possibly more successful, alternative? Let the debate begin.

What American president are you?

george-washingtonThere’s probably a kazillion surveys on the Internet one could take but I ignore most of them. On occasion, though, one comes along that catches my fancy and I take the time to answer the questions. A few weeks ago I published one that supposedly provided an inkling of where one resided on the political spectrum. For me the result was slightly left of moderate liberalism, not far from Gandhi and Mandela.

 

My most recent survey was 50 questions that supposedly show which of 25 US presidents your personality most resembles. My results place me closest to the current president, Barack Obama. According to some Ph.Ds my scores indicated this about my personality:

Not likely to discriminate on the basis of race or sexual orientation.
More likely to be pro-choice rather than pro-life.
Likely to feel trapped by the status quo.
Likely to enjoy complex and abstract discussions.
Likely to be more knowledgeable on academic topics.
More likely to have a tolerant attitude towards smoking.
More likely to favor mild criminal punishments over harsher ones.
More likely to watch TV, read the news, and stay up to date on current events.
More likely to mobilize your friends to take part in your own interests.
Someone who seems opinionated to others, while being in fact quite open-minded and tolerant of opposing views.
Less likely to frequently change jobs and partners.

Continue reading What American president are you?

Shame the Devil, my latest favorite quote

Larry 'n NassauWhile I write a blog I can make no claim to being a journalist. I can, however, be critical of professional journalist for what the choose to be news and for their motivations. In this century much that claims to be journalism misses the mark for one important reason, It fails meeting a standard set by Walter Lippmann in the late 1800s, “There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil.”

While many excel at shaming there is too often little truth that goes into defining who the devil is or in discerning what is true. I recently heard a broadcast journalist say the cable news channels drive the news today and they are less interested in telling the truth than in building an audience. Democracy relies on an informed citizenry and in the days of Edward R. Morrow it was a journalist’s job keep the voter informed by filtering out that which was merely sensational from that which was necessary to be informed. In today’s 24/7 world of cable news the emphasis is on reporting the sensational in order to build the audience. Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News, has proudly made clear that Fox is not in the news business, it’s in the ratings business.

While Fox News is not alone, it is the master of choosing the devil and then making up whatever truth is needed to shame.

If You’re a Working Person, Good Luck!

Larry 'n NassauHere’s a quote I found online by the CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein. It speaks volumes about the reality of life for today’s working-class American:

“This country does a great job of creating wealth, but not a great [job] of distributing it.”

To expound on just what Mr. Blankfein is eluding to check out these very clear facts about life in America for those who are fortunate enough to even have a job.

  • From 1978 to 2011, CEO compensation increased more than 725%.
  • From 1978 to 2011, worker compensation grew by 5.7%.
  • Since 1978 CEO compensation has grown 127 times greater than work compensation.
  • In 2010 CEO salaries grew 28%
  • In 2011 CEO salaries grew 15%
  • In 1978 CEOs took home 26.5 times what workers earned.
  • In 2013 CEOs take home 206 times what workers earn.
  • CEOs of large corporations often get huge “golden parachute” payoffs if their companies fail. Workers get nothing.
  • Worker wages are not tied to productivity. Productivity has skyrocketed but wages haven’t. American workers are producing more and getting paid less.
  • Income disparity (inequality in earnings) in America is close to record levels.
  • Income disparity has left 95% of Americans further in debt than they’ve ever been.

These facts, taken from a variety of sources, simply leave me shaking my head in wonder. Wondering how the American worker continues to vote for politicians who have permitted this to become reality in America. I heard one TV commentator state that given all this a parent can no longer say to their child, “Study and work hard and you can become whatever you want. You can someday live in that big home on the hill.” Something has to be done to break this reality. Government is the only entity with the power to do it and both parties that now make up the most unaccomplished congress in the nation’s history aren’t about to use that power for fear the super wealthy and powerful will withdraw their reelection support.

Please share your thoughts with other readers by leaving a comment. Click on the Leave a Comment link below.

10 Things You Need to Consider

Before any of you call me a communist I would appreciate it if you’d spend some time learning what communism is. I am not, nor ever been, a communist. I know what it is, I know every attempt at it has resulted in a failed state, and I would never want America to abandon capitalism for communism. But, capitalism is also not a perfect economic system, especially if one wants to live in something less than a dog-eat-dog society. Unfettered or unbridled capitalism can be just as harmful to people as communism. In recent decades this nation has rapidly deregulated its economy and the results have been catastrophic for the middle and lower classes. Just take some time to watch the following ten videos and see for yourself what is happening in this nation. While I will defend a person’s right to get ahead I will also argue that there is a point of excess that is abhorrent.

Continue reading 10 Things You Need to Consider

Wars Are Not for Protecting Freedom

Larry 'n NassauHere’s your homework assignment. Name one American war, other than the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, that was about protecting the freedom of the American people. Don’t waste your time because there haven’t been any. The Revolutionary War was to gain our freedom and the War of 1812 to keep it. Other than that, our wars have been to expand or protect political and economic interest.

I know many of you will think I’m being unpatriotic and dissing our service people but that’s not my intent. I’m just trying to deny you the argument that wars are justified because they protect our freedom. While protecting freedom may someday be a cause it wasn’t for the Mexican-American War, Spanish-American War, either world wars, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan, or any of the many times we’ve intervened in the affairs of small nations of the Caribbean or Central and South America. Protecting our freedom will also not be a valid justification for America becoming militarily involved in Syria’s civil war.

Protecting America’s freedom is an age old pitch used by the P.T. Barnums who always know how to make a sucker of the public for the advancement of their personal interests. The Barnums of Vietnam included such hucksters as Dow Chemical who besides making millions from the war gave us that great movie line, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” Don’t be surprised if the pitchmen for Syrian involvement includes the Raytheon Corporation who today makes all the Tomahawk missiles. Oh, and the Navy destroyers and submarines from which those missiles will be launched, they were built by household names like Westinghouse, General Electric and General Dynamics.  I wonder what sales pitches their hired guns are throwing at congress about now, just as the Pentagon is sending a fifth destroyer into the Eastern Mediterranean.

If president Obama does decide to involve America in Syria I just don’t want to hear we did it to protect our freedom. That line should be a no sale!

Has He No Shame?

Larry 'n NassauOne test of where you’ve had your head lately is how much you know about the mayor of San Diego. I’m assuming you haven’t had your head up your ass and know that this piece of human slime is scheduled to return to work this morning after a “intensive” two week recovery program for sexual creepiness.

During the two weeks mayor Demento’s been getting healed even more women have come forward with their own stories of feeling icky around this heel. There’s also been a recall campaign mounted to get the mayor removed from office. In the meantime this guy is going to show up this morning, walk into his offices with the hugely bizarre full-teeth smile of his, and announce himself fully recovered and ready to serve his constituents. At least those who are female and willing to work without panties.

I can only look at this from my perspective and I just can’t imagine how large one’s ego (or gonads) must be to permit showing one’s face in public after such a thing. How could someone with a conscience not immediately submit their resignation followed by seeking anonymity in the trunk of a hollow tree.

Cost of a Big Mac

If you scan the headlines you may have noticed several about disgruntled fast-food workers. Mainly they are not happy about the hourly wage rate. There is also a debate in congress over raising the minimum wage from its current $7.25 to something exceeding $9.00. I came across a neat widget this morning that demonstrates the potential effects of raising the price of a Big Mac on wages paid to McDonald employers. Scan down the article (or read down the article) and you’ll find a box where you can enter how much you’d be willing to pay extra for a Big Mac. This will result in data appearing that reports the positive effect it could have on earnings. CLICK HERE!

Boy George Hysteria

Is there nothing the public doesn’t want to know about the Royal baby? Is there nothing the news media isn’t willing to report? This was a lead in to a story at Huffington Post:

Will Baby Cambridge Be Circumcised?

The royal family—along with the British upper classes—has practiced circumcision for hundreds of years. Is this one tradition Prince George will be spared?

Random Thought: You’re Gonna’ Ban What?

Seriously! I just read that some crazy ass right-wing gubernatorial candidate in Virginia is promising to outlaw oral and anal sex if elected. First of all, in his case the word should be spelled GOOBERnatorial. Secondly, how can such laws be enforced? Lastly, didn’t Virginia’s tourism slogan once read, “Virginia is FOR lovers?”

I might also add that the US Supreme Court declared laws restricting how American’s get their jollies unconstitutional back in 2003. I’d suggest this dude sit out an election cycle and spend the time reading a history book.

Snowden, an Affair of the Heart

Larry 'n NassauSaw a headline this morning that caught my attention and provoked a little thought. It declared that Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, believes Edward Snowden to be a hero because what he did came from his heart. I had to ask myself, what does heart have to do with revealing government secrets or breaking a law? Is this some sort of new excuse to justify doing what one wants? “Well your Honor, my heart told me to steal that Mercedes,” or, “I killed my wife because she broke my heart.” While lots of Americans may love their Apple iPhone I’m betting The Woz is in the minority on this one.

This whole Snowden issue is a bit of a farce anyway. While the cable pseudo-news channels

Continue reading Snowden, an Affair of the Heart

Mothers and music are changing the world

Mother’s Day 2013 is just around the corner and in many of the world’s nations mothers and future mothers have no idea of their rights as humans. They are sold into slavery, forced into arranged marriages, denied education, and treated as objects and not as humans. Playing for Change, through music and drama, is trying to educate these women about their basic rights as humans. I urge you to watch the included video and consider offering your support in some way.

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