Category Archives: economy

The Dirty Practice of Factory Farms

Why we need to re-access how we raise food animals. by Jerry Bierens    January 5, 2016

There is a very bad thing going on in America and around the world today that needs to be exposed and talked about in depth, and it only gets minimal attention, when it should be a concern for all.

That is the practice of “Factory Farming”. To call it “farming” is a real stretch of the way I remember the dairy farm (my neighbor’s) that I worked on throughout my formative years. Maybe that’s why I find these “modern” practices so offensive but I think that even without this experience, I would be abhorred by this.

These farms and their practices, like this (literally) horrendous shit, from the cesspools, to the aerating of the waste, hogs raised in gestation crates (where they can’t even turn around) and just the inhumane practice of raising these animals that are known to be very intelligent (smarter than your dog and way smarter than a cat) is something that is NOT necessary and should be illegal.

To treat the humans that are (most of the time ) forced to live nearby, with the disrespect, stench and potential for disease is not right. Most of them don’t have the means to move either.

One of the worst parts of this is how harmful it is to the animals, as some of the pigs go literally insane (you might too, if tortured in this manner).

It’s a practice that needs to be changed and it can be done with common sense laws (like no gestation crates and no feces/urine pools), regulations and regular inspections and fines for inhumane practices.

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Then there’s this: Dairy farming with huge numbers of animals (as many as 8000+ in some cases, although 1000 to 2000 is way more common) is another form of farming that is driving the small farmers out of business and also is in need of some new regulatory laws.

There’s not much else I can say here in this limited time and space but you get the gist of it, I hope.

You know they say the best test of a society’s morality is how well (or badly in these cases) they treat the most vulnerable among us. We ask a lot from these animals and by treating them in this fashion is just plain wrong.

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Why We Must End Trickle-Down Economics

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The greatest lie of our generation is still being preached and practiced by Republicans.

Why We Must End Trickle-Down Economics

BY SCOTT LANGDON ON OCTOBER 9, 2015

The greatest lie of our generation is still being preached and practiced by Republicans

If one thing has been made clear so far during this early battle among Republicans trying to stand out as a presidential front-runner, it’s that every candidate is trying to stand out by saying absolutely nothing new.

They drop Ronald Reagan’s name as though he had been their best friend, and tout “Big Government” as the biggest obstacle toward economic growth and prosperity for all Americans. They continue to be unwilling to address the growing crisis of economic inequality in the very country over which they hope to preside.

When Reagan took office in 1981, the wealthiest 1% of the population controlled 8% of the wealth, while the bottom 50% controlled 18%. Today, the top 1% controls 20% of the wealth and the bottom 50% only 13% of the country’s money.

This trend is continuing, and the gap between the elite rich and the rest of our struggling society is widening to a massively obscene chasm not seen since before the Great Depression. The middle class in America is looking for a candidate that will bring a fresh approach to the economic realities of the time in which we live. Harkening back to Ronald Reagan will no longer do.

The term “Trickle-Down Economics” refers to an economic theory that defined the Reagan presidency. It was such a ridiculous concept at the time that it was nicknamed “voodoo economics.” Trickle Down Economics is the theory where allowing the rich to have more economic benefits actually benefits a society as a whole. The theory postulates that upper-level income members of the society will invest that money into the general economy by spending more, investing in the creation of jobs, and so forth.

Essentially, the idea is that the wealth the rich possess will “trickle down” to the middle class and eventually to the poor. Over the last 35 years, conservatives have managed to turn the term “voodoo economics” into simply “economics,” and has since been practiced moderately (United States) to extremely (Kansas, most red states) across the country.

So, if TDE works so well, why are we sitting on the economic crapper? If you ask a republican presidential candidate, they will likely direct your attention to Benghazi, the Alaskan pipeline or the quarter that they just pulled from behind your ear.

Tackling head-on the simple truth that the great trickle down experiment has failed and embracing a more reasonable and sensible solution doesn’t seem to be something our politicians are willing to do; and it’s extremely frustrating. Whenever someone suggests that raising wages for the average worker will make significant strides toward straightening our wayward economic ship, Republicans turn apoplectic.

The real truth, however, is that trickle-down economics has never worked. Rich people simply do not buy enough to keep the economy humming. That might seem clear for most, but not if you listen to the Republican debates. Throwing Reagan’s name out, longing for the days before Clinton, as if those were the lost glory days gone by, it’s an actual Republican strategy, and it doesn’t make sense.

Nick Hanauer, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and self-proclaimed plutocrat, gave a TED Talk in 2014, suggesting that we need to take lessons from farther back than Reagan; he suggested we go all the way back to Henry Ford.

Henry Ford initiated the “$5 Day” in his factories in 1913. Ford realized that when his workers had more money, the demand for his product increased, which then increased the need for workers. He created an economic feedback loop that bolstered the economy as well as his own business.

Nick Hanauer calls this new Capitalist driven theory “Middle Out Economics.” It works from the basis that the Middle Class needs more money in order to contribute to the economy. It’s a notion that is realistic about what group of people truly drives an economy. It’s certainly not the top 1%. How much can they possibly spend day to day at small businesses and the like? It’s the Middle Class that is in the trenches, going to Walmart, eating at local restaurants and buying gas for their new and used cars.

For example, raising the minimum wage to $15 dollars per hour would create jobs by increasing demand. When the people have money, and yes, money they have worked for, they spend that money on restaurants, entertainment, goods and services, and more.

True economic growth comes not from the richest among us at the top, as Trickle Down Economics suggests, but from the middle, where this great country was born and raised in the first place. The 80’s were bad enough, if you’re a Republican presidential hopeful, or even a Democrat for that matter, put your Wham records and Trickle Down Economics away and give Middle Out Economics a try. It’s the New Capitalism, and that’s an idea you can move forward with.

I’d like to acknowledge SCOTT LANGDON for as the writer and thank him for his accurate assessment of the economy and the reason it’s not working for the middle class.

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Welcome to New California

Dear Red States:

We’ve decided we’re leaving. We intend to form our own country, and we’re taking the other Blue States with us.

In case you aren’t aware, that includes Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and all of the Northeast. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the new country of New California.

To sum up briefly:

You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches.

We get Elliot Spitzer. You get Ken Lay.

We get the Statue of Liberty. You get Dollywood.

We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom.

We get Harvard. You get Ole’ Miss.

We get 85 percent of America’s venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama.

We get two-thirds of the tax revenue. You get to make the red states pay their fair share.

Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition’s, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms.

Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and anti-war, and we’re going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they’re apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose, and they don’t care if you don’t show pictures of their children’s caskets coming home. We do wish you success in Iraq, and hope that the WMDs turn up, but we’re not willing to spend our resources in Bush’s Quagmire.

With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80 percent of the country’s fresh water, more than 90 percent of the pineapple and lettuce, 92 percent of the nation’s fresh fruit, 95 percent of America’s quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners) 90 percent of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools, plus Stanford, Cal Tech, MIT, and University of California.

With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with 88 percent of all obese Americans (and their projected health care costs), 92 percent of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100 percent of the tornadoes, 90 percent of the hurricanes, 99 percent of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100 percent of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia.

We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.

Additionally, 38 percent of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62 percent believe life is sacred unless we’re discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44 percent say that evolution is only a theory, 53 percent that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61 percent of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals then we lefties.

By the way, we’re taking the good pot, too. You can have that dirt weed they grow in Mexico.

Peace out,

California

Why America Needs Bernie Sanders

America needs to elect Bernie Sanders for president of the United States of America.

His consistency and steadfastness in his vision of what America needs has been and will remain as it has for over thirty years. He has never wavered from what that is and that is refreshing. He is just what this country needs in the White House.

But little can be done in a progressive way without a supporting congress to make it to happen, therefore, we must get the Democratic voters out in earnest to vote in 2016. Without a democratic congress to help, the possibility of addressing what is most needed in America cannot get done.

The thought of a republican in the White House with a supporting congress scares the hell out of me. Can you envision a fascist government with theocratic overtones?

My advise is this, the GOP clown car is overloaded with a lot of non-viable candidates right now, but by this time next year many of them will be gone, (perhaps even some in prison, where they belong) and the chaff that is left will, in my opinion, be Rand Paul, Scott Walker (his candidacy is the one that is most under the control of the Koch brothers and their billions, even though he also faces legal problems too) and dear old Jeb (the Nazi created dynasty) Bush.

Of these I think that Rand Paul has that best chance of getting the nomination for the GOP (Greedy Old Pricks) and his appeal to the younger voters I have been talking to, posesses a clear danger to our democracy.

These younger voters may be mesmerized by Paul’s stance on a few issues (I may even agree with him on some of them) that they are familiar with and these young people are (understandably) not as aware of the danger underneath, and that is that Paul sides too much with the general GOP agenda of NOT raising the minimum wage, NOT taking on the military industrial complex (is it ever), NOT securing universal healthcare for all, NOT improving our justice system so it is fairer for everyone, NOT getting rid of charter schools (that take public money for uncontrolled private schools), or private prisons (that are nothing more than modern day slavery), NOT canceling these so called religious freedom bills that are surfacing on an ongoing basis today, and possibly most importantly, NOT taking on the big oil companies and addressing the massive problem of climate change.

There will be a lot of things going on in the coming months but by late next summer the picture should be somewhat clearer. Until then, keep learning as much as you can about the policies of the candidates and what the whole picture of another GOP presidency would likely be.

In this writer’s humble opinion America’s democracy will not survive another republican in the White House and that is what scares me the most.

Big oil has no business on the committee to determine climate policy

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Suffering From Moderate to Severe Agravation

March 15, 2015          by Jerry Bierens

Just a thought on a Sunday morning about waking up to a commercial about prescription drugs on TV.

I think I may have a “moderate to severe” headache from hearing the words “moderate to severe” again (and again, and again, and again….) on TV drug commercial for products that you CANNOT go to the store and buy.

Seems to me to be a “moderate to severe” problem that the only two countries in the world (well at least this one, I can’t speak for the rest of an infinite universe) that allow TV ads for these products are the United States and New Zealand.

I also think that I definitely do have “moderate to severe” anger that the big pharmaceutical companies have enough influence that we have a less than (<) “moderate to severe” chance to get this changed in America anytime soon.

The fact is that big business has way too much control and power in America, so, there’s not much of a chance ( I’ll rate it as “moderate to severe”) for changing it anytime soon.

We have a hard time passing any meaningful legislation (lately it’s been ANY legislation) to control and protect the public from these monsters in banking, big oil, big “pharma” and any other large institution (I’m thinking Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson and in my home state of Michigan the DeVos family, they virtually own our governor) and it is not getting better.

I could go into the money and how these evil people use it to buy all this influence but my “moderate to severe” headache is getting worse……….

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Guns and Civilized Society

Guns and Civilized Society

Try as we might, the United States will never be a civilized society with so many gun deaths

Guns and Civilized SocietyLast week was another banner week for gun deaths in the United States. Did you notice how the news of a shooting inMissouri that left nine dead went virtually unnoticed? Just another shooting. Nine dead, including the shooter.

But alas, what is one more mass killing in the only civilized country where these types of incidents are routine? Our country has become desensitized to the murder of its citizens, as is clear from how many people end up dead from interactions with police. Guns have taken the place of discourse in settling issues by the simple reason, the simple fact, that guns are omnipresent in this allegedly civilized society.

The feeling I get as each and every day goes by with either a mass shooting, a deadly police encounter, another child shooting themselves or someone else because of easy access to a weapon is that American society is heading in the wrong direction.

On the same day that we heard of this shooting in Missouri, we learned of Leonard Nimoy’s passing. It is painfully obvious that Gene Roddenberry’s vision in Star Trek of a future where the people of Earth are finally at peace is never going to happen (although I remain hopeful.) We here in the United States so easily display to both advanced and developing countries that we cannot even manage to resolve the most basic issues. Guns, racism, political inaction, a financial disconnect between the one percent and the rest of us so great that it boggles the mind… all of the above and more from the country that many think is leading the way.

With our inability to address guns, it is probably time to step aside and allow some other country to take the lead on being any kind of an example to the world.  Exceptional? The U.S. certainly was at some point, but that time is long gone. We’ll never get to that amazing place that Roddenberry envisioned if we continue to do nothing to enhancecivilization and are only able to offer the worst vision of ourselves.

Have any of you heard tales from the Old West? I will tell you it was not a good time in our history, despite any romanticized idea that it was. It was a time when people truly did settle their differences with their guns, when men were “called out” by other men, ending with at least one of them dead. The Lincoln County War here in New Mexico was proof of how bad things could get.

There is a passage from the TV series “The Magnificent Seven” that is so apropos to what is going on in this country today. A young Chinese man whose father and uncle were both murdered wants to learn to shoot from notorious gunslinger turned lawman Chris Larabee in order to take revenge.

“I want to learn to shoot, like you,” the young man says.

“Why?”

“So I can be an American.”

“Learning to shoot don’t make you an American,” Larabee tells him, “but it could make you a killer.”

The young Chinese man pleads his case, but Larabee became a “notorious gunslinger” for a reason.

“I know about hate, killin’ a man because of it. And it don’t take that hate away, just makes you feel dead inside. Guns and hate, it’s a bad mix.”

How are we in the year 2015 not able to see those words for the simple truths they are. More guns brings more lawlessness. Fewer guns brings you far closer to domestictranquility that America’s founders wrote so eloquently about. The very hard work of removing guns as an option in any dispute needs to happen.

It requires strength, bravery and fortitude from our elected officials, but that means that we, the citizens of this country, need to make it clear at the ballot box that the future of our country is important, that we think it important enough to safeguard our citizens from killing due to hate or happenstance. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is a terrible statement of where we stand on guns today in this country.

That children can get hold of a gun and shoot their cousin, sister, mother or themselves, and these events are deemed “accidents”, shouts to the rest of the world that we do not value human life the way we say we do. Talk is cheap. We need action, and we need it now.