Monthly Archives: May 2009

Be Patriotic and be Willing to Die for Corporations

It’s Memorial Day weekend so I want to thank all of our veterans to whom we owe a great debt. I honor their patriotism to our nation and I believe on Memorial Day only veterans should be off work for the holiday. That has been a pet peeve of mine for some time now. Again bless all of you vets.

Have a Little Patriotism and be Willing to Die for Corporations

I want to talk about another way Americans can be patriotic to who runs our country. That would be corporations. You can be patriotic to the corporations by blindly supporting them. After all right after 9/11 the first thing President Bush said, was to go shopping. Doesn’t that prove to you that supporting the corporations is what this country is now based on?

In January of 2009 six people died and 501 people were sick in more than 43 states because of salmonella in peanut butter. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that on 12 occasions in 2007 and 2008, Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) sent out peanut butter containing salmonella.

Cribs have been recalled because of the death of two infants. One U.S. child died and 19 others have needed surgery since 2003 after swallowing magnets used in Polly Pocket toys. Chinese toys containing lead paint have been recalled. Last year the US government forced China to have 467 recalls which set a record. In the United States, over 50,000 children under age 5 are treated each year in emergency rooms for injuries from recalled products An average of 87 children die from these injuries each year. In 2007 thousands of pets died before contaminate pet food was recalled.

Go back a decade and we had as many as 250 deaths and more than 3000 catastrophic injuries associated with defective Firestone tires. Most of the problem tires came from Firestone’s factory in Decatur, Illinois, which had quality problems from 1994-1996 when the factory was being run by scabs brought in during a labor dispute. Several former workers testified before a congressional committee about long work hours and emphasis on quantity over quality.

The first thing Firestone did after the recall was look for a company spokesperson, like a popular celebrity from the entertainment or sports world to put a good spin on the company. Then because the recall cost them so much money they increased their prices by 3 to 5%. I’m surprised the advertising department at Firestone didn’t put a spin on the whole fiasco and come up with the slogan, “Firestone Tires: the perfect gift to buy your mother-in-law.” Maybe they could have market the tires to daredevil types and their slogan could have been, “Not only will our tires not make their 30,000 mile lifespan,they may shorten your lifespan.”

I have to ask, why should anyone care if corporate America is putting all our lives at risk? So what if faulty products are killing people? What a bunch of crybabies. Why does everything always have to be about you? Think of all the stress these recalls are putting on corporate America. Let’s not forget the legislators who had to put on a dog and pony investigation because of the public outcry of Firestone victims’ families. These poor legislators were caught between the voters who hired them and the corporations who own them.

If the public really cared about deaths, injuries and injustices caused by corporations, they would have stood up to corporate America a long time ago and elected a consumer advocate like Nader for president. Instead, the majority of the public continues to support politicians who push a corporate agenda that puts corporate greed over public need. That includes agendas like tort reform, deregulation, the weakening of both labor and environmental laws and support for trade agreements like NAFTA and GATT. All politicians claim to be family-friendly and support “family values.” That is unless those family values clash with legislators being business friendly. The businesses end up being in the driver’s seat and the public ends up being crash test dummies. If legislators really were public servants, instead of corporate servants they would respect the interest of their constituents and not pass trade legislation like NAFTA and GATT that the majority of Americans were opposed to.

Are we going to continue to let our “representatives” take care of corporations at the expense of our resources, health, environment, communities and morals? Candidates for office spew out a mantra calling for smaller government, what they really want is more corporate controlled government in this country. Because of the WTO and the World Bank, the tentacles of this corporate controlled government are going to strangle the world in the interest of globalization, putting all our lives at risk.

The truth is that corporations put profits before people. I’m not going to let the consumers off the hook because they put low prices before morals and human rights. People will shop at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Clubs believing they are getting cheaper prices. The low prices also mean no unions and low wages so consumers are paying social services for the working poor that work at these big box stores. Not to mention that Wal-Mart and Sam’s discriminates against women getting into management positions. Also the low prices led to US companies locating in overseas sweatshops to meet the prices Wal-Mart demanded to pay for their goods. You can go to church all you want but you violate the morals of all religions when you do business with immoral companies. It’s hard to kick companies like Nike in the ass when you are wearing Air Jordans.

While our economy is in trouble it’s a good time to demand a more humane economy. Take the first step and use responsibility when you shop. From within to the outside that is how things change.

Big Corporation Man

Dancing on the Ruins of Multinational Corporations

States are not moral agents, people are, and can impose moral standards on powerful institutions. ~Noam Chomsky


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Fundamentalist Christian Jihad

A group of Fundamentalist Christian U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan has been distributing bibles to Muslims to try and convert them. Is it any wonder many Muslims are questioning whether our invading Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t Christian Crusades? Word is that the U.S. Army has had these would be missionaries burn these bibles written in two different Arab languages. I hope these Fundamentalist Christians haven’t done too much damage but I suspect the most extreme of the Islamic Fundamentalist will use such information for recruiting jihadists.

The problem I have with fundamentalists of any religion is that fundamentalists believe in literal interpretation of their holy books. They also believe that the salvation of the world depends on them. They believe they alone are right and are willing to impose their point of view by force on others if necessary. This is not to say that fundamentalists of any religion should be painted as terrorists as only a very small percentage could end up as terrorists. On the other hand I think a lot of fundamentalist leaders have made dangerous statements and bear being watched closely. Let me focus on some of these fundamentalist leaders that we need to fear right here in our own country.

Shortly after 9/11 on the 700 Club television show, Reverend Jerry Falwell said we were being punished by God so maybe we should have place him on a terrorist watch list. Falwell blamed feminists, gays, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), People for the American Way and liberals for making God angry. 700 Club hosts Pat Robertson responded, “I totally concur.” He went on to say that Islam is a “violent religion bent on world domination.” Reverend Billy Graham’s son, Rev. Franklin Graham said, “Islam is a very evil and wicked religion.” Henry Jordan, South Carolina Board of Education and Christian Coalition member stated, “Screw the Buddhists and kill the Muslims.” Most recently Robertson has said we should assassinate Venezuela’s President Chavez.

Islamic Fundamentalist in Afghanistan and many other Arab nations have been criticized because they believe women should be submissive and they practice barbarous acts like beheadings for drug dealers. Meanwhile in the U.S. Bunny Wilson, member of the Fundamentalist Christian Promise Keepers female auxiliary said, “Promise Keepers offer women a new kind of freedom, liberation through submission.” As far as beheadings former Drug Czar Bill Bennett was applauded by Fundamentalist Christians when he stated, “I have no moral problem with beheading drug dealers and shooting casual drug users.”

R.J. Rushdooney, architect of “Christian Reconstructionism” declared, “In winning a nation to the gospel, the sword as well as the pen must be used. Democracy is a heresy against God.” Randall Terry, founder of the Christian Leadership Institute stated, “I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good…Our goal is a Christian nation. We don’t want equal time. We don’t want pluralism.” Terry most recently was arrested trespassing while protesting President Obama’s speech at Notre Dame.

I am reminded of Adolph Hitler’s quote, “Loyalty and responsibility toward the people and the fatherland are most deeply anchored in the Christian faith.” Hitler knew this so he courted conservative Christian clergy. They helped him, as propagandists fueling anti-union, anti-liberal and anti-Semitism hate.

While I believe religion of any faith can be a good thing, seeing the fundamentalist side of it practiced can be horrifying. It’s as Pascal said, “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it with religious conviction.”

Wilco War on War

Wilco Kamera

“Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

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A Quick Note

Mrs. Elecpencil accompanied me to the Oakland Center last Saturday to see the musical, “Reefer Madness.” A friend who produces plays in the Warren area accompanied us. She loved the play as did the Mrs. and I. It was laugh out loud funny and I think you should see it. The Elecpencil doesn’t endorse  many things so when he says it’s good you best believe it. I won’t tell you anything about it as I expect you to go see it. Last Saturday it was sold out and they had to add seats. Fifteen people had to be turned away and the good folks at the Oakland gave them discount tickets for this coming Friday or Saturday May 15 and 16.

Call 330-746-0404 for reservations TODAY! Friday/Saturday at 8 pm with a special MIDNITE show Saturday.

Also check out the Oakland on my blog under Entertainment.

Before the play we stopped at Charlie Staples and had some Chicken BBQ that was first rate. Check it out and see if you don’t agree!

The music from Reefer Madness which I think the Oakland did even better: Reefer Madness

Clip from the 1937 propaganda movie

FDR: A little orphan girl once told me that the sun would come outtom Her adopted father was a powerful billionaire so I suppressed the urge to laugh in her face, but now, by gum, I think she may have been on to something!

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No Average Joe

I’ve already written about having a sense of mortality when I see so many people die way before their time. That feeling just hit me again as my mother-in-law’s neighbor Joe Alexi died at age 64. Joe graduated from Mathews High School here in Vienna, OH. After high school Joe married and bought a home in Vienna. It’s a good thing he did because Vienna was lucky to have him. Joe showed just how much the “Average Joe” could do for a community. Truth is that if every community had an “Average Joe” like Joe Alexi this country would be a lot better off.

Joe had two sons that played baseball so Joe stepped up and volunteered to coach pee-wee and Little League baseball. Joe was a member of the Vienna Athletic Club and was the guy that could be seen walking through the stands at our high school football and basketball games selling 50-50 raffle tickets. Joe saw a need for our boys to learn basketball at an early age and started and coached the St. Vincent DePaul Church Basketball Program for 25 years. Another man helped him who is named, Joe so the program affectionately became known in the community as, “Joe ball.”

Joe was a member of St.Vincent’s and could be seen there as an usher, a cook at the fish fry, or setting up tables or pushing a broom to clean up after a church hall function. This is how Joe went beyond merely keeping the faith but into sharing his faith.

Joe’s neighborhood was made up in a large part by widows in their eighties like my mother-in-law, Margaret who lives right next door to Joe. Margaret and the other widows in the neighborhood couldn’t have asked for a better neighbor. Joe would mow people’s yards or plow snow from their driveways if he saw it needed to be done. Joe and his wife, Sue who has worked with special needs children for many years are the kinds of neighbors who recognize that community means “common unity.” Joe was a gentleman filled with humility who wouldn’t think of bragging about all the volunteer things he did because to him they were just part of daily life.

Physically Joe was short, bald and only had one good eye. That did not stop him from clearly seeing needs in our community and standing tall and going about them with no fanfare. Joe’s career was operating heavy equipment and he possessed the right equipment within to help construct a better community right here in Vienna. Mother Theresa said the best way to make a better world was to “just do what’s in front of you” and Joe was the perfect example of doing that.

While John McCain was on the campaign trail he talked of meeting an “Average Joe ” who was worried about the direction of our country. That was Joe the Plumber who by now we all know is a lying blow hard who isn’t even a licensed plumber  yet thinks he should be running his bosses plumbing business. While Joe Alexi stood for everything a neighbor should be Joe the Plumber puts the “bore” in neighbor.  Lately Joe the Plumber has said that gays are queers he wouldn’t want around his kids. I can tell you that the Elecpencil wouldn’t want his two kids around a do nothing,  know nothing, small minded bigot, media whore like Joe the Plumber. I am grateful that my son experienced a few years of playing Joe ball as it’s made a better man of him.

Our country is in trouble because we have too many Joe the Plumbers and not enough Joe the Heavy Equipment Operators. RIP Joe Alexi no “Average Joe”.

For Joe the Heavy Equipment Operator:

Emerson Drive A Good Man

The Mighty Clouds of Joy: Keep On Doing It

Why be an average person? All the great achievements of history have been made by strong individuals who refused to consult statistics or to listen to those who could prove convincingly that what they wanted to do, and in fact ultimately did do, was completely impossible. ~ Eric Butterworth


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