Thoughts as they occur...

Thoughts from a chaotic mind

Friday, December 26, 2003
Christmas is over, and the mind keeps running...

It would seem that a good deal of the organization stirring up anti-war protests and generally causing a ruckus in our society of late can be linked directly to the recent incarnation of the Communist Party. We know they relish working under our skin when we are distracted about abortion, hanging chad, gay marriage, quotas and other really important stuff. Monbiot, a left leaning writer for The Guardian made the "most unusual" discovery that some of the ruckuses in the EC had communist backing.

Confronting a communist leaflet distributor recently at the Santa Cruz, CA Farmers' Market, I asked why the Communist Party persisted in pushing their agenda after so many gross failures. The mono-syllable droid responded, "Because we are right." and then went totally postal on a tirade about being tired of being screamed at by his boss, etc., etc...the typical leftist victim mentality. Sheesh. A lot of anger there. Ah feel his pain...

I'd heard that Mr. Ed Azner (sp?) had similar questions posed to him, even noting the 100 million + deaths associated with communist despots and I understand his response was simply, "They did it wrong."

Seriously, though, there is a growing number of people at the low end of the social scale that feel there is no American dream. My conservative brothers and sisters should not be cavalier about this issue and expect their economic formulas to take care of them. They must be listened to before this new "red scare" gets physical.

posted by Gary  # 12/26/2003 01:32:00 AM (0) comments

As noted in a previous BLOG, the conservative agenda is due it time under the spotlight. Just as there is a stream of "unprocessed" dogma from our liberal friends, there exists a similar phenomena from our conservative friends. This one backs souless multinational corporations, genetically modified foods, relaxation of environmental standards, consolidated media ownership, lip service on illegal immigrants, wholesale export of high value added labor in tough economic times, and is trying to create another bureaucracy surrounding faith-based initiatives. Certainly the previous administration set a lot of this in motion or perpetuated that which was already in place. I give President Bush a lot of slack based on his professed beliefs, however, we must wonder if the current administration's policies are aimed at getting us over the current economic hurdles or are they a taste of the Big Government future.

As an example of how ridiculous things can get, take the case of genetically modified organisms (GMO). The President, conservative leaders, Forbes, Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, CATO, etc. have all been caught off guard (I hope) publishing pro-GMO propaganda and advancing their agenda. In every case, it could be traced back to spin funding of Novartis, Dupont, Monsanto, etc. through industry shills, "public interest" web sites, etc.

While the conservative rhetoric has been much less hateful and less mean spirited than that coming from our liberal friends, the uninformed citizenry is being duped...or maybe even worse, not even listening at all.

Again, shame, shame on us!!

posted by Gary  # 12/26/2003 01:03:00 AM (0) comments
Thursday, December 25, 2003
Sent to some select friends, part of this was also logged under Dr. Mann's BLOG.

Dear Friends,

After 9/11, for no more that 48 hours, we looked into ourselves and asked, "Why do they hate us?"

The major biochemical companies introduced genetically modified food into our food chain without our choice or even our knowledge and gave us the taco shell recall, genetic pollution, increased use of Roundup, terminator seeds, lower yields, etc. While I tend to have increasingly conservative views of most matters, this is one "liberal" issue that I embrace wholeheartedly due to the deception and the revolving door between industry and the FDA. I have seen articles in reputable publications supporting the GM food sweep, however, looking beneath the covers, there was always a covert money trail from the biochemical industry pushing forward their agenda.

I have requested more supporting documents regarding the leverage the U.S. is placing on New Zealand in this matter. If you have any, I would appreciate your forwarding the information to me. Remember, this gained momentum during the Clinton years and the Bush administration seems to have taken a "tread lightly" approach to the whole issue so as to not stifle the economy. Mind you, the U.S. is not the only country pushing this horserace agenda (China, Japan, France, etc. are all in the club)...it just seems to be the most visible, and we, humanity will suffer the long-term effects.

Regards,
Gary

----------------------------------------------------------------------

22 December 2003

Press Release

ERMA FAILS ON ALL COUNTS AS N.Z. GOVERNMENT BOWS TO PRESSURE FROM BUSH

ERMA has failed on all counts with it's approval of the GE Onion
Trials, according to Charles Drace, author of "Everything You Need to
Know About GE but the Government Won't Tell You - a genetic
engineering resources book."

* ERMA is supposed to assess the risks of GE technology and provide a
protective framework so GE doesn't pose risks to the environment.
Yet, they've approved an application for trials that are specifically
designed to AVOID showing those risks, known risks like horizontal
gene transfer, pollen contamination, soil contamination, and adverse
effects on insects. It's also been designed to avoid the study of the
proven adverse effects on health associated with this type of GE
technology.

* ERMA is supposed to only approve the use of technology that brings
a potential benefit to the country. Yet, the purpose of these trials
is to develop technology for the use of and future profitability of
an American company, Semenis, and to help the chemical powerhouse
Monsanto sell more chemicals.... in other words, for the profits to
go overseas.

* ERMA is supposed to consider other alternatives. Conventional
onions, a major export of New Zealand, sell for 30 cents per pound,
wholesale. GE food always sells for at least 1/3rd less because of
the health risks, so the most we could sell GE onions for would be 20
cents per pound. New Zealand organic onions currently sell overseas
for $3 per pound and we can't keep up with demand. Go figure!

* ERMA is supposed to assess the legitimacy of an application. The
Round-Up Ready GE onions Crop and Food are developing for Semenis
through these trials are designed to reduce herbicide use. Yet,
overseas studies over the past six years show that Round-Up Ready GE
technology, when used in practice, results in 2 to 5 times MORE
herbicide use than conventional practices. ERMA knew this yet ignored
it. It defies all logic to accept, as ERMA has, that a technology
designed by a chemical company to enable it to sell more chemicals
will somehow miraculously reduce the use of chemicals.

* ERMA is supposed to review and assess scientific studies. Yet, ERMA
has ignored recent studies from France and Belgium, which I presented
to them, which show that all the major GE foods now produced in
America have mutated so far from the original approved GE
construction that they would no longer qualify for approval. In fact,
GE Bt Corn has mutated into a form that is so toxic it would be
illegal if it hadn't already been approved in it's original form The
reason for these mutations is that GE scientists still have no way of
controlling GE technology. Because it's an out of control technology
thousands of scientists around the world who are not funded by GE
chemical companies have joined organisations committed to keeping GE
out of the environment until it can be understood and controlled.
ERMA has ignored those.

* The only justification for ERMA's decision lies in the fact that
Helen Clark and team are committed to a free trade agreement with the
United States and the Bush administration have stated, categorically,
that they will not discuss free trade UNTIL we have opened out
markets to American GE food and GE technology companies. That's why
the moratorium was lifted, that's why the onion trials were approved,
and that's why the New Zealand government has decided to pay to cost
of all applications to ERMA for GE trials - so they can prove to Bush
that they're opening our market as he has instructed. The stink of
government involvement in this decision is the ruse of trying to
embargo the decision until journalists go on leave for the holidays,
a ruse they've used on every occasion when there's been an unpopular
GE announcement.

For more information, particularly the details of how this Onion
trial has been designed to AVOID the study of risks associated with
this type of GE technology, please contact:

Charles Drace, CFP
PO Box 3833
Christchurch
Bus. 03-364-9140
Priv. 03-365-6607
email: charles@cdrace.co.nz
phone no. from 25 Dec to 29 Dec. 03-304-7602

posted by Gary  # 12/25/2003 11:51:00 PM (0) comments

Sent to a Bay Area talk show host recently. This was also logged under Dr. Mann's BLOG.

Dear Barbara,

I always enjoy listening to you when I can on the weekends. I am so curious how you obtained your conservative underpinnings.

Anyway, in one of your segments today, a correct-minded lady (I almost said right-minded) said that we have more power than we realize in changing the way business and politicians react in a given situation...pandering to the left or doing less than wholesome things.

A friend of mine in New Zealand forwarded this blog to me and it seemed to tie in well with what you two were talking about. I hope your antenna doesn't get bent when you see some NGO issues creeping into the dialog.

Enjoy...
Gary

=========================================

Consumers embrace ethical sales, costing firms £2.6bn a year
By Danielle Demetriou
09 December 2003

A new generation of consumer activists is emerging in Britain, with more than one in two people boycotting the products of companies that they regard as unethical, according to a study. From Nestle to Esso, multinationals have been the subject of high-profile consumer boycotts in recent years. In the first study to examine the extent of brand boycotting, published yesterday, it emerged that the cost of consumers switching brands for ethical reasons last year was £2.6bn in lost business.

While 52 per cent of consumers have boycotted at least one product during the same period, two-thirds claimed that they would never return to a product once it had been associated with unethical practices. The figures came to light as part of The Co-operative Bank's Ethical Purchasing Index, which has annually analysed the extent of ethical consumerism over the past four years. This year's report incorporated an additional study involving 1,000 consumers that aimed to gauge the extent of ethical boycotting and its impact on industry.

The high level of boycotts was consistent with a continued increase in the overall growth of ethical consumption in the UK, according to the report. The value of ethical consumption in the UK - including the sale of products, banking and financial services, and products that are boycotted - peaked last year at £19.9bn. The total sales of ethical products rose by 44 per cent from £4.8bn to £6.9bn between 1999 and 2002. During the same period, the market share of the products rose by 30 per cent. Simon Williams, the director of corporate affairs at The Co-operative Bank, said: "The research enables us to drill down and look at people's motivations and we have discovered that many consumers are driven by ethical concerns.

"For instance, many people shop locally for convenience, but for others the overriding consideration is to buy from local stores in order to support their community." He added: "The full extent of ethical consumerism will always be difficult to gauge, given that it is about the motivation behind a particular purchase as much as the product or service itself. Boycotting big brands, shopping locally, recycling and using public transport cost consumers a combined total of about £5.6bn during 2002, the study revealed. Food, household appliances, cosmetics and tourism were among the most frequent choices of purchases for ethically minded consumers. Around £1.77bn was spent last year on Fairtrade and organic products. Free-range eggs, for example, accounted for 40 per cent of all eggs sold. A further £1.47bn was spent on "green" household products, including environmentally friendly cleaning products and energy-efficient appliances.

Consumers spent £187m on cosmetics that were not tested on animals. Despite the fact that eight out of ten people are opposed to testing cosmetics on animals, less than two per cent of all sales comply with the Humane Cosmetics Standard. A further £107m was spent on "responsible" tourism, according to the report, which was compiled by The Co-operative Bank in partnership with the think-tanks the New Economics Foundation and the Future Foundation.

Melanie Howard, director of the Future Foundation, said: "The use of boycotting, recycling and second-hand purchasing as a way to express personal values is in line with trends towards greater social engagement. This application of "ethical" behaviour when shopping highlights the need to assess the wider economic impact of this activity to the UK."

The growth of consumer awareness has gone hand in hand with an increase in the pressure applied to big businesses to conduct themselves in an ethical and transparent manner. Earlier this year, Linda Perham, the Labour MP, tabled a private member's Bill demanding greater social and environmental accountability from big businesses.

The Corporate Responsibility Bill, which was backed by 293 MPs, would make it mandatory for companies to provide reports on their social, environmental and economic impacts and establish a new regulator for corporate standards. It coincided with findings of a Mori poll in June last year revealing 92 per cent of people believed "multinational companies should meet the highest human health, animal welfare and environmental standards wherever they are operating". The Queen's Speech subsequently included proposals for a Companies Bill, which would require businesses to produce environmental and social reviews. Ms Perham, MP for Ilford North, said: "The latest report shows that consumers are becoming increasingly intolerant of companies that are less aware of their corporate responsibilities. We hope that the new Companies Bill will oblige companies to uphold the ethical demands of consumers." The findings of the report complemented a growing trend among companies to examine their corporate responsibility, according to the Ethical Trading Initiative, an organisation devoted to the promotion of good working practices. Man-Kwun Chan, the ETI's head of communication and research, said: "It is very encouraging to hear that consumers are becoming ethically aware. We have experienced an increase in terms of companies becoming more concerned about their responsibilities.

"But the question is whether it can be sustained. There is quite frequently a difference between intention and practice among consumers." 'I'm a fairly ordinary consumer' Penny Fraser is one of a growing number of ethically minded shoppers. As well as buying as many of her family groceries as possible from organisations such as Fairtrade and the local Co-op, she has boycotted companies whose business practices she believes are ethically unsound. Nestle has long been dropped from her shopping list because of its controversial associations with baby milk in Third World countries. Gap clothes have more recently become out of bounds as a result of the US company's alleged exploitation of sweatshop workers across the world. McDonald's is also avoided. "I'm what you would describe as a fairly ordinary consumer, but the avoidance of unethical products is important to me," said Ms Fraser, 37, from South Manchester, who conducts social research for a charity. "I've been boycotting Nestle products for a long time now. Wherever possible, I buy alternative products. But as a family, we would sooner go without certain products than eat Nestle's."

For Ms Fraser, shopping with ethical preferences has become significantly easier in recent years because of the ever-increasing choice of alternative products available in supermarkets.

Fair trade?

NESTLE
For the past 20 years, the Swiss-based multinational has been condemned for promoting powdered breast-milk substitutes in the Third World, which critics claim contributes to the death of babies. Germaine Greer was among a number of authors who boycotted the Hay-on-Wye Literature Festival because it was sponsored by Nestle. Last year, the company retracted a demand that Ethiopia repay its £3.75m debts.

GAP
The anti-Gap movement was galvanised when a demonstrator set a pair of Gap trousers alight four years ago at the World Trade Organisation conference in Seattle in protest against working conditions at factories in Cambodia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Mexico. The actress Minnie Driver plans to highlight the plight of sweatshop workers by joining one in Cambodia.

ESSO
The oil giant and its Texas-based parent company ExxonMobil have long been targeted over its environmental policies and its alleged funding of the election campaign of the US President George Bush. From Mr Bush's withdrawal of the Kyoto Protocol to his foreign policy in Iraq, activists have expressed their opposition by boycotting its stations.


http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/story.jsp?story=471510

posted by Gary  # 12/25/2003 01:54:00 AM (0) comments
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
It used to be that everything followed the 80/20 rule... 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers... 80% of your cost is tied up in 20% of your activities... and last but not least... 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. I was taken aback the other day when I vented to a colleague about how no one was participating in an organization we have, yet they were quick to complain about issues that arose. He said the 90% of the work is done by 10% of the people. Hmmm. Do we have to change if to the 90/10 rule? Anyway, I agreed with him. What do you think is behind that trend? Certainly, the current state of the economy doesn't help, however, I think this ratio was even kicking in during boom times.

Oh well...

posted by Gary  # 12/24/2003 03:54:00 PM (0) comments

I admit that I am a self-proclaimed conservative libertarian, which simply described means I don't subscribe to some of the "over-the-top" platform statements of the Libertarian Party, but strongly support their stand on minimal government regulation and impact on our daily lives.

That said, I have a number of liberal or left-leaning friends who constantly remind me of how evil our country is and continue to propagate Bush-bashing drivel at a time of national emergency. This seems to confirm over and over again that they have joined the ranks of Lenin's useful idiots and simply mouth what they have, over many years, been brainwashed to spew forth. If it isn't about pro-abortion, gay rights, or pornographic freedom, they don't want to talk about it. So who is minding the store during this time? Who is planning for our future? Who is discussing economic policy? Who is working on employment issues, not the next economic bubble?

President Bush is the lightning rod for all that seems to be wrong with this country (and the world, for that matter.) These issues have been festering for the past 30+ years, but people have slowly been indoctrinated into a pattern of thinking that bears no resemblance to that upon which our country was founded. We have been quick to poo-poo any public debate about this as "retro" thinking, yet are unable to truly substantiate any argument against it. What is wrong with this picture?

Has liberalism become a mental disease, an irrational shouting match of saying anything that is on your mind without noting the ramifications? The cultural revolution in China of the '60's and 70's has some similarities to what is going on right now in the U.S. Throw out true science and intellect for dogma. Waste another generation of our youth trying to figure out how not to teach them the three R's, but indoctrinate them into the political agenda of the week.

Mind you, we have a lot of conservative sheeple supporting human crushing policies, which I will reserve comment on for another BLOG.

Shame, shame on us!!

posted by Gary  # 12/24/2003 03:48:00 PM (0) comments
Sunday, December 21, 2003
"We have met the enemy and he is us." How many remember that famous line from the Pogo cartoon strip? It is interesting how many people, including devoutly religious people, cannot come to grips with certain phenomenon as being God-sent. Certainly, non-believers wouldn't give this a second thought, however, what if...

1. AIDS came upon us due to sinful behavior.
2. 9/11 came upon us due to sinful behavior.

Since all revelation, as we understand it, is currently in the Bible, who among us is even qualified to make such a connection and on what basis?

Suffice to say certain actions are not without grave consequences. This IS stated over and over in the Bible.

posted by Gary  # 12/21/2003 10:16:00 PM (0) comments

Remember the "Good Ole Days"? We used to say, "I remember when..." When we pine for the way things were...a simpler time... the intellectual elites would have us believe that we are morons and don't understand. In their mind, we should become subservient to their way of thinking, since we don't have the brainpower to cope with the complexities of modern day living. When one stands back from it, they are simply expressing their approach to simplifying the world...make everyone think and act like them. The fact of the matter is that a lot of this complexity...known as choice...is intended to confuse and control. The proliferation of types of Crest toothpaste, for example. How many different flavors of Coke do we need? Kraft got in trouble recently for all of its "product extensions" without really introducing new products AND missing the trend in healthy foods. More on this later.

posted by Gary  # 12/21/2003 02:15:00 PM (0) comments
Saturday, December 20, 2003
What is it with kids these days? There seems to be a trend of refusing to do homework. Is this the result of the "instant gratfication" society we have become?

posted by Gary  # 12/20/2003 07:35:00 PM (0) comments

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