Month: March 2014

The Koch Brothers Businesses

If you care about this country and want to preserve your right to vote and fairly influence elections, Cut and Paste this list to “Word”, Print it out and then Keep a Copy Handy, especially the top sections which are consumer products we all use.
You can effect a change but it will take the determined effort of a large part of the nation, but it all starts with you and me.

Union 76

Koch Industry/Georgia-Pacific Products:
Angel Soft toilet paper
Brawny paper towels
Dixie plates, bowls, napkins and cups
Mardi Gras napkins and towels
Quilted Northern toilet paper
Soft ‘n Gentle toilet paper
Sparkle napkins
Vanity fair napkins
Zee napkins

Koch Industry/Invista Products:
COMFOREL® fiberfill
COOLMAX® fabric
CORDURA® fabric
DACRON® fiber
SOLARMAX® fabric
SOMERELLE® bedding products
SUPPLEX® fabric
TACTEL® fiber
TACTESSE® carpet fiber
TERATE® polyols
TERATHANE® polyether glycol
PHENREZ® resin
POLARGUARD® fiber and
LYCRA® fiber

Georgia Pacific Building products:
Dense Armor Drywall and Decking
ToughArmor Gypsum board
Georgia pacific Plytanium Plywood
Densglass sheathing
G/P Industrial plasters (some products used by a lot of crafters)-
Agricultural Plaster
Arts & Crafts Plaster
Dental Plaster
General Purpose Plaster
Glass-reinforced Gypsum (GRG),etc.

At the Water’s Edge

Throughout the 200 years of this nation’s history,  just about all honorable Senators, Representatives, even ex-Presidents and Vice Presidents adhered to the general principle that politics ended at the waters edge.

That meant that in a time of war or national crisis they stepped back from bloviatring about foreign policy and international decisions and supported the elected president, creating a united front to those who would harm us. If they had some alternative idea they communicated that, not to the public or in the press and definitely not to the enemy, but to the department heads and  administration executives who were then free to listen and utilize, ignore or modify the advice, based on their judgment as the operating part of the elected government.

Interestingly, when he was chairman of the Republican Party, Michael Steele took a stand inside the formerly Grand Old Party. Addressing his internal critics he said,

“I’m the chairman. Deal with it,”

“I tell them to get a life, I’m looking them in the eye and say I’ve had enough of it. If you don’t want me in the job, fire me. But until then, shut up. Get with the program or get out of the way.”

He was not actually talking about international problems or decisions, but his comments do apply in this way.

I think the President should say something similar, such as;

“I am the elected President.

Deal with it.

If you disagree strongly with my decisions work towards winning the next election, but till then shut up about foreign policy and for God’s sake stop giving aid and comfort to our enemies.”

And make no mistake about it, the constant criticism of every statement and decision made by this president and his administration, small, large and intermediate, foreign or domestic, are both giving aid and comfort to our international enemies as well as firing up our own lunatic fringe to the point where I am as afraid of their irrational actions as I am of some Al Quida operative damaging an aircraft in flight.

Those who persist in joining in with the disaffected minority and use their position to attempt to conduct their own private foreign policy seem to have forgotten this concept, one that had served to make this country great, especially those discarded presidential candidates who failed in their efforts to win he votes of the citizenry. There is a reason Senator McCain and later Ex- Governor Mitt Romney, for instance were not chosen to run the country. The people , in their collective wisdom, who are supposed to make that decision evaluated their pro-offered comments and policies and decided that neither was worthy of the office. And judging by their recent complaints and proposals the electorate did the right thing.

And the people who blindly nod their heads without thinking about what their terrorist fellow travelers are really saying and doing are also a part of the effort to give aid and comfort to those who wish us and our system no good.

Starting during the Clinton Administration some members of the Republican Party began to act in total opposition to anything the elected president attempted culminating in the disgraceful obstructionist policies we have been seeing these last few years.

I am glad that the Democratic MAJORITY in the Senate found the intestinal fortitude needed to act like a MAJORITY even to the extent of altering the rules of the Senate concerning cloture. In most democracies majority rule means just that and the gentlemen’s rules enacted by the Senate in the eighteenth century have outworn their usefulness,

Failing that it is time to fold our tents in Washington and admit that under the current arrangement the country is ungovernable.

“If it is not true, why was it on the news ?”

If it is not true, why was it on the news ?”

 A very good question.

One worth exploring carefully.

The news is gathered by human beings, most of whom wish to report the facts and figures, the statements and events of the day, and of the nation and the world, accurately to their listeners, viewers and readers.

Those reporters and correspondents all have their own ideas as to what is news, what is trivia, what is chaff, and what is propaganda.

Most try to separate the facts from the chaff.

Some less conscientiously than others.

The best try to reasonably present both sides of the issues that come up from time to time, and not let their personal opinions color what they are reporting. They assume that the viewer, the reader or the listener is smart enough and intelligent enough to sort out the details and assess the validity of issue orientated news. (Unfortunately, this is not always true.)

There is a problem that fairness creates.

Very often, those who gather and present news items, in an effort to be fair and balanced, present two sides of an issue as if they were both equally likely to be factual, when in fact one side is mostly fluff.

This is often called “false equivalence.” (Reacting as if two comments or responses are equivalent and that one balances or counters the other )

On occasion, that “fluff” contains simple incorrect statements, possibly honesty intended, but still major distortions, and worse sometimes outright lies.

A few news sources make no such effort at fairness and actively distort what they provide in an effort to support one side or another.

It is up to the intelligent part of the populace, the interested electorate, and actually the boys and girls who four or five years from now will have to live with the results of political and diplomatic decisions being made this year, especially in an election year, to watch what is presented and sort out the truth and falsity of the various statements.

Political statements are very often slanted to present the information likely to affect the politician’s future plans, previous actions and opinions, in as a favorable a light as possible. However, slanting details frequently leads to distortion and that can easily grow into outright lies.

If news reporters do not correctly detect and point out what is false and what is not, we all have to pay attention and decide for ourselves what is true and what is not.

As the interested citizen does this, he or she will discover who are the truth tellers, who are the politically partisan, and learn to assess just how likely a presented statement is to be true, to be grossly exaggerated, to be completely false or to be factual, but, taken separately from the speaker’s context,  giving a false picture of the original meaning intended.

In recent years, certain news presenters have habitually shown video clips of one simple statement from a longer speech or statement by itself in a way that totally reverses the speaker’s meaning.

Once that is detected, we have discovered why, “something is in the news but still is false”.

It should not take very long to also realize that certain news organizations simply cannot be trusted and that any controversial video clip that they present has to be examined very carefully, and its context, the parts immediately before and immediately after, examined to see if someone was trimming the film clip to alter the information to favor one partisan side or another.

Doing this is all a part of becoming an informed intelligent citizen.

What is important is that we recognize these things and become aware of them as they unfold. During an election year there are many partisan commercials that are produced by often unscrupulous supporters of one or another candidate or about some issue to be decided at the next election.  With the expansion of the internet, almost any claim or allegation can be checked with but a few clicks of the mouse. And even here partisan operators, having discovered that things can be checked, have also learned how to manipulate Google and other search engines so that comments that support some candidates position are listed first in a search. And some such supporting references are even planted, but with a little practice a searcher can bypass the tainted sources and find the original statements or reports that are being quoted.

It all boils down to the duty of each and every citizen to be alert and attentive. Those who brightly state, “”Oh, I don’t get involved in politics,” may someday discover that their chance to influence elections and the results has slipped away.

And then what ???

Lingering racism

” … The man is president of the world’s greatest democracy, and attained that position because of the  freedoms and opportunities available to our citizens. So why exactly would socialism be attractive to him? ….”

At its core, apparently even in the hearts of many whites who seem willing to accept an Afro-American as an acquaintance or workmate is the germ of lingering racism. You know, the people who would never make a racial joke themselves but who will laugh at one when they are in a group of their white peers. Not a hearty laugh, perhaps, but quite a way from the deserving frown that some rabidly anti-American humor deserves. If asked they will deny having the least racial sentiment.

This sentiment is easily stoked by the small minority of real racists who along with certain other lunatics who having escaped the asylum have been running amok through our political system hell bent on beating down any President who bears the label “Democrat”.

I first saw this last effect occurring during the second part of the Clinton administration . Having voted for both Papa Bush and Bob Dole I was hardly a candidate, one would think, to be extending much sympathy to Bill Clinton. But the unfairness of the attacks began to nudge at my conscience. I asked myself a similar question; ” … Why would Bill Clinton try to ruin this country which had given him so much opportunity ? Cui Bono ? …” Unless I could discover a good reason for that, I had to admit that he was not such bad a person and eventually began to respect him as a well meaning competent politician.

This country cannot survive as a representative democracy  if a significant portion of the electorate is totally unwilling to work along with the elected president regardless of race or party. The willingness to compromise and accommodate the winning party is one of the pre-requisites of a successful democracy. Today I note a small geographically consolidated minority that simply refuses to co-operate with anything the current president proposes, short of him throwing himself physically under the wheels of the proverbial bus in some public humiliation.

And the spark of this resentment is the racial fear that has so long paralyzed this country and prevented it from becoming all it can be. The danger is the possibility that this minority will grow larger or failing that, in extremis, will motivate one of the screwballs that are only weakly restrained at best to do something violent. That has happened before, several times and little good has come from it except for causing Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt he opportunity to become one of our greatest.