francesflukas

Opinionated Thinking?

I recently picked up a copy of Scientific American in the an airport bookstore. I wanted to taked my mind off why I was travelling and it was the “Food” issue. Food, water, air, shelter and clothing, and farming, climate, and the survival of the current occupants of the earth is (yes “is” because it is all one subject) a favorite subject of mine. I was thinking as I picked it up, “Why don’t I read this? Science is one of my favorite interests. Why am I not a subscriber to this magazine?”

Of course the first article I pick to read is the one on GMOs. After I read it I looked to see who wrote this piece ofs*h#t and it says the author is the board of Scientific American. The board? What, did they sit down in the board room and write it as a committee? I doubt it. More likely Monsanto, Nestle, Dow, DuPont, ADM, Conagra, Baer, Bayer or one of their ilk wrote it for them. That’s why I don’t read it anymore.

This was unnerving not because I was so naïve that I didn’t know scientific reaearch has been corrupted by corporate influence and interest, or by government influence, and by the necessities of real or perceived of academic survival, but because it made the dissappeareance of that last shred of truth so real.

And then there was the complete disregard for the moral and political consequences of the science. As if the science being accurate made the consequences of it’s use irrelevant. It’s the equivalent of saying the accuracy of the science of splitting the atom is all that matters. Bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Fukushima melt down are irrevelant.

They completely missed or deliberately ignored the reasons some of us are out there protesting Monsanto et al and GMOs. This battle isn’t even over using a new technology before we completely usnderstand the science and consequences, a foolishness that has gotten us into more trouble, DDT, PBB, and the Dust Bowl for example, than I like to think about.

The heart of this battle is power. It’s about the privatization of everything. It’s about none of the rest of us being able to own or hold public title to land to grow food, the water on that land, the plants we grow, or unpolluted air. It’s about patenting and therefore owning life. If you have a lovely old tomato or rose or whatever that your Mom and Granny and great Grandpa grew and you put it out there to be contaminated by GMO pollen the seed and therefore what would be your future plants no longer belong to you. Your children’s inheritance and all the friends you may have shared it with now belongs to the GMO patent holder. What does that mean? It means that the richest people and corporations will own EVERYTHING. They have already spent the last three hundred years pushing the rest of us off the land. As with the land so with the water and the food.

As this push continues, there will be no more public. No more public anything, parks, libraries, town halls, utilities, roads, education, and no more government standing between the rest of us and the amoral or immoral abuses of corporations or any other powerful entities. It’s about whether or not the rest of us will be able to feed ourselves or have to depend on our corporate “mothers” like newborn babes. And it’s not just about who controls all the food on earth, it’s also about who controls the water, the land, and even the air.

Twice in the last ten years bottlers have gotten control of the water supply. Once in South America and once in Africa. Both were a disaster for the people who were not wealthy. The bottling companies charged so much for the water that people had nothing left to buy food, couldn’t bathe, cook if they had food, or event think about watering a garden. The bottling companies were kicked out it got so bad. But what happens if there is no government to kick them out? Or if the government is so corrupted that they won’t?

Gigantic profits are at stake here. And so much more than that. Whoever controls air, food and water controls everything. They can make the world better, and they might if there is a profit in it. Or they can commit genocide, enslave us, starve us, or just wipe all us useless trash off the face of the earth to stop pollution and global warming. It’s not so much that I think they will as I don’t want them or anyone else to ever get the chance.

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Unexpected ( I hate titles don’t you?)

Thank you everyone who read my chewing spikes piece.

Just started doing this and haven’t finished the learn wordpress stuff yet. I have had two requests to moderate my posts and I have no idea what that means. So, if you would like me to do that please let me know how and I will try to please.

Isn’t it just like life that the one piece I wasn’t sure I wanted to publish because it was so vicious is the most read thing I’ve done?

It started out to a particular person and wound up being a vent meant for all those arrogant know-it-alls who’ve been spouting their opinions as if they were truth form heaven for the last too many years. Didn’t realize how totally sick of it I was until I wrote chewing spikes.

Have a strong sense of hypocrisy between this piece and the one about aggression. Where oh where does legitimate anger and aggression end and the over the line aggression and anger start? Chimps even commit genocide but they don’t worry about it. Drawing the line is a truly human dilemma.

Scariest thing about writing? What you’re likely to learn about yourself and others.

So Angry I Could Chew Spikes!

This is to the arrogant a**h**e I unfriended on Facebook today. You do not know everything. No matter how much you think you know, how well read you are, how educated you are, and how much privy information you think you have, you are still only one Homo sapien in six billion. Your experience in this life is only one six-billionth of the total human experience on this planet in the last sixty-five years. Which is only 0.00065 of the probably total time Homo sapiens have been on this planet.

That gives you absolutely no right whatever to judge other people’s anything. But if you are going to judge you could at least actually read, carefully, what I had to say. I did not say that the government was wrong or right to call Snowden a traitor. I did not say that U.S. citizens were wrong or right to call him a hero. I said, “When the citizens are calling a man the government calls a traitor, a hero, the country is in trouble.” I mean that when there is such a huge divergence between a government and it’s people there is a problem. I did not define the problem or blame anyone for it. If you think I did that is entirely in your presumptuous mind.

As real to us as our personal experiences are, they are not any more than that. That is why we read, watch movies and plays, and listen to music, because there is never an end to our education. And there never should be an end to trying to broaden our experience. Our broadest experience will never encompass the whole of the experience of humanity, our little galaxy, or even our apparently little universe among the universes.

As limited as my experience is I am probably wrong in my conclusions political, philosophical and financial. But that doesn’t make you right. And neither one of us is ever going to learn better by refusing to acknowledge the possibility that the other just might be right.

Real Worth

One of the posts to my Facebook today was a “down with the IRS” post. Normally I don’t pay all that much attention to tax hate stuff of any sort whether it’s TV, CSPAN, newspapers or Facebook. Hating the government and taxes seems to be a monomania with US citizens these days.

But this one went on to berate paying taxes for those who don’t work by those who do. As if those on Social Security and disability and even unemployment don’t pay taxes too.

The three things tax and government haters seem to hate the most are Social Security, unemployment compensation, and disability insurance. Every single one of these is an INSURANCE plan. They are operated by the government because otherwise almost no one would be able to afford them and sooner or later a lot of people need them. What part of everybody who collects on them has paid premiums for this INSURANCE don’t they get? And some of them, like my spouse who worked for over forty years in spite of being born with cerebral palsy, paid premiums for all that time. Was he not entitled to collect on his insurance when he could no longer work? Not according to these people. According to them he’s just a mooch living off their work.

What they don’t know about the people who have to collect on these insurances would fill up a lot more space than we have here. But there’s room for my one little story.

My husband was born with cerebral palsy. He was very lucky to be able to walk with a brace. His whole left side is smaller than his right side and his left leg will not support him. When he tries to stand on his left leg it simply gives way. He has been able to walk without a noticeable limp unless you look closely) or brace since he had surgery when he was in eighth grade. He has had terrible muscle cramps and headaches all his life. We now know probably from the cerebral palsy.

In spite of all this he started working at the age of eight in his father’s drug store. It wasn’t hard work because he was there more to be with his father than work. But he liked helping his father and did small chores that would otherwise have been done by a retail clerk or his overworked father. He started selling shoes when he was in college. After college he worked his way up in the medical billing business until he was Director of Client Services. When that company went out of business he went back to shoes. In between shoes he worked for a year or so for an auto rental company. He was the manager of several stores in different companies and at the time of his accident was an area manager for the states of Washington and Oregon.

When he had his accident, he and his boss had just finished an inventory and were putting away the paperwork. The paperwork was kept in an open space above a ceiling about eight or nine feet above the floor. It was in a nearly full box about two feet by two feet by three feet. My husband was on a ladder trying to pull the box out of this space. He told his boss he thought the box was too heavy. He should have refused to pull it down, but when you need your job you don’t dare do a thing like that. His boss said it would be alright, go ahead and pull it down. My husband pulled it down, nearly dropped it on his boss and got a ruptured disc in his back.

After several months of physical therapy he was trying to get back to work at least part time when he stepped off a ladder the wrong way. You know how sometimes you think that last step is closer than it is? That’s what happened to him. He landed too hard on his good leg and damaged the meniscus in his knee. He had physical therapy, he had surgery, he had depression. Here is a man who all his life had avoided the even the idea of having a disability or handicap. He had worked for over forty years in a country where even when they can work, eighty percent of disabled people cannot get work.

And he was never going to be able to go back to his job. As it turned out to any job. He can’t stand in the same place for more than twenty minutes with out extreme pain. He can’t sit for more than twenty minutes without extreme pain. He can’t walk more than thirty feet without a cane or a walker. He can’t operate a computer keyboard for more than five minutes and a mouse for more than a minute without getting cramps in his hand. He just couldn’t work anymore.

He had paid his disability insurance premiums, his unemployment insurance premiums, and his social security insurance premiums, all his working life. It still took three years and a good lawyer to collect his insurance. For three years we hoped more than believed he would collect his disability insurance. When Social Security agreed with us after a three hour interview and very thorough paper investigation we thought the state would give in and agree. No such luck. And all this time we kept hearing horror stories about the people who were terribly injured and never collected. Some who were turned down because they didn’t have a lawyer and everybody is turned down who doesn’t have a lawyer. And it wasn’t the lawyers telling us this it was the employees of the state. Some who had lawyers and died of their injuries before they could ever collect a penny. And one hates to think about the suicides.

My husband is proud of his insurance. He’s proud he had the guts to stick it out and win what was just. But I see the looks people give him when he says he’s on disability. Though I know they shouldn’t these looks embarrass me. And I hope he doesn’t notice them. Because after forty-six years I know his real worth. And it’s more than they could imagine.

I hope if people know and understand the reality behind the “don’t tax me for the shiftless” attitude that they will look at it differently. That they will see that there are real people behind these ideas, these ideologies. That what goes on in the real world with real people is very VERY different than the ideologies. And maybe even that no matter how successful you are, no matter how wealthy you are, no matter how powerful you think you are; terrible, tragic things can happen to you. And you may not be able to go on in this life without your insurance. Without it you too could need medical care you can’t afford. You could be helpless, you could be homeless.

And above all I hope it makes people think about what it means to be a person. And what it means if we throw persons away as if they were trash because they aren’t perfect. And especially what it means when we start behaving like Nazis and acting out the belief that some of us are more valuable than others. What a person is paid, what a person pays in taxes, what a person has in the bank should never be the measure of that person’s worth.

Thank You George Takei

Your post today of “YOUNG TURKS” made me cry. I hope it will get me to do something. I can at least email my senators and my congressman. I passed it along on Facebook. What else would help? I’ll take plausible suggestions from any one. And pass them along.

The film says it all. Thanks again George Takei for making it possible for me to see it.

The Word for Today – Aggresiveness

The word for today is aggressiveness. My 1963 Webster’s describes aggressiveness in part as: “a disposition to dominate often in disregard of others’ rights or in determined and energetic pursuit of one’s ends; MILITANT also implies a fighting disposition but suggests not self-seeking but devotion to a cause, movement, or principle;”

Sounds mostly pretty bad doesn’t it? Like bullying, war mongering, genocide, mugging and gangsterism. And it can be. But, like almost every human attributes it has two sides, the obviously negative one and a less obvious positive one. I saw an article not long ago where the author (sorry I don’t remember the name) suggested that every human character trait has a negative side and a positive side depending on how you use it and in what context.

People so often get carried away in their aggressiveness that it’s harder to see the positive in it. Mohandas Ghandi, the Mahatma, is such a good example of the positive. He aggressively pursued justice from Africa to India. That he did it nonviolently is part of what makes his aggressiveness so admirable. That he pursued it relentlessly, with courage in the face of violence, is a testimony to the level of aggressiveness with which he pursued his goal. If he had pursued a basically evil purpose as aggressively as he pursued justice we would consider him one of the most evil men who ever lived. But because he fought for his goal with non-violence and moral courage we consider him a hero.

It’s easy to find negative examples of aggressiveness gone wrong, aggressively greedy Wall Street brokers and bankers, aggressively military tyrants, and aggressively violent gangsters. But I bet if you look around carefully you’ll see a lot of Ghandi’s successors out there too. They are still brave, still heroes, still pursuing justice, equality, brotherhood, democratic and republican ideals, AGRESSIVELY.

It Took Me So Long To Get Here

I was one of those kids whose teachers always said would be a writer or artist or something special. It’s not that I never tried to live up to their expectations. And it’s not that lots of other worth while things didn’t happen in my life. It’s just that becoming a paid, published author never did. Maybe this will lead to that and maybe it won’t. Maybe it doesn’t matter.

But my mind is full of all this stuff I should have written. And I plan on writing it all out, to the best of my ability, here. I hope it’s going to be worth doing, and even more, worth reading.

F Lukas