More Perfectly Logical Propaganda on Facebook

Holy crap.  I just spotted this on Facebook and was moved to write about it. It’s rare these days, that I’m moved to write about anything. So thank you, Anonymous Facebook “friend” for giving me a kick-start.

Oh, and BTW, there's no apostrophe in WMDs

Oh, and BTW, there’s no apostrophe in WMDs

WTF? This isn’t exactly the way it went down. W said there were WMDs in IRAQ not the “Middle East”. This kind of out-of-context stuff is enough to drive me to Gowanda, as my mother used to say. I noticed that several people “liked” it. Oh, how I wish there were a “don’t like” button so I could make my feelings known. What about the thumbs up/down to replace the “Like” button?

Speaking of WMDs, (and it has been ten-plus years since Bush LIED TO US about WMDs in Iraq in his famous State of the Union address in 2003), we are pretty sure that there actually ARE chemical weapons in Syria. We’ve seen the pictures and received the verdict. Chemical weapons killed 1400 innocent people in Syria. Maybe not all of them were innocent, but nevertheless, using chemical weapons is deplorable under any circumstances.

This is not a good situation, and I’ll reluctantly admit that something should probably be done about it. But not by us, the good ol’ USA, who yet again feels it must take the weight of the world on its shoulders and fix everything that’s gone wrong in the world. If a few other countries would step up to the we’re-outraged-and-something-must-be-done-about-it bar and be willing to expend some energy (and money and expertise and support and manpower), to demonstrate to Assad what the world thinks of his actions, that would be one thing. But no one has. Not one country.

I heard on one of the nauseating 24-hour news channels that all polls show that the majority of “The Amurican people” are — by huge margins — against getting involved in the Middle East. The numbers vary depending on the poll (and who is conducting it and what segment of the population is being asked) but are consistent. Let these polls show our politicians (especially those who are trying to manipulate Obama into striking Syria just so they can criticize the methods with which he does it, not to mention the outcome and any collateral damage), that WE DON’T WANT TO GET INVOLVED WITH ANYTHING IN THE MIDDLE EAST ANY LONGER.

Listen to the population, listen to your constituents. We should have an opinion in this. We don’t want it. I can’t think of one good reason to do it since it is pretty likely we’ll be aiding those who want to do us harm anyway. So, we’ll help you so you can try to kill us later. Sounds perfectly logical to me.

Obama said he wouldn’t do anything without the support of Congress. If he doesn’t get the support of Congress but chooses to do it anyway, I’m going to be extremely disappointed in a President I have supported and trusted to do the right thing.

Attacking Syria is not the right thing to do.

16 Astute Quotations by Michelle Bachmann

Michelle BachmannMy apologies for this, a blatantly political post. Those of you who love Michelle Bachmann, read no further! Instead go here.

Disappointment sweeps the nation!

It is with deep regret we note that Michelle Bachmann will likely not run for president in 2016. Oh the woe. First we lost Glenn Beck, then Sarah “Caribou Barbie” Palin, now Ms. Bachmann is being persecuted by the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Ethics? Who needs ’em? We want our Comic Relief!

Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) campaign for president is over nearly before it started. There are (probably false) accusations from disgruntled staffers but that’s not the real bad news, Bachmann has found herself at the center of an investigation by the OCE, the same entity whose investigation eventually led to the censure of Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY).

The accusation? Misuse of campaign funds.

The drawback to this most unfortunate situation, is the reduction in number (if not outright elimination) of earthy, from-the-heart, absurd Michelle Bachmann quotes.

I compiled a list of a few, but in keeping with my promise to keep my posts brief, I had to limit the number to 16. And it was not easy to decide which were the most ludicrous.

“I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out then under another Democrat president Jimmy Carter. And I’m not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it’s an interesting coincidence,” speaking on the Swine Flu outbreak in 2009.

Yes, Ms. Bachmann that’s what it is. A coincidence. Please. Presidents who control Swine Flu? Or wait, that would be God punishing us with Swine Flu because we were dumb enough to elect a Democrat.

“There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design,” at a 2006 debate in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Could you be more specific? Maybe give us just one name?

“Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful. But there isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas,” on the House floor in April, 2009.

Ah, you know what they say about too much of a good thing, Michelle!

“And what a bizarre time we’re in, when a judge will say to little children that you can’t say the pledge of allegiance, but you must learn that homosexuality is normal and you should try it.”

No, that’s not exactly what the judge will say. But you interpret the law any way you want. You’ve been doing that all along anyway.

“But we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.”

Ms. Bachman was off in her heterosexual dreamland the day slavery was discussed in American History.

“It is a brand new, billion-dollar high speed train that is going to go from Disneyland up to Las Vegas…Harry Reid, the Senator from Nevada, was behind this measure, and it makes us wonder, is he more interested in making sure kids start gambling at younger ages?”

Uh … I am struck dumb by this one. Not difficult to do in my case, but struck dumb nevertheless. Let’s always bring up kids. It’s a sure way to generate a little legitimate outrage.

”Does that mean that someone’s 13-year-old daughter could walk into a sex clinic, have a pregnancy test done, be taken away to the local Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, have their abortion, be back and go home on the school bus? That night, mom and dad are never the wiser.”

Right. And not only that, there’s lots of time before the school bus leaves to maybe, share a vial of crack with friends.

”Not all cultures are equal.”

That’s for sure. Some cultures actually do things that are right, and good, for their populations.

”[Pelosi] is committed to her global warming fanaticism to the point where she has said she has even said she is trying to save the planet. We all know that someone did that 2,000 years ago.”

So since it’s been done once, no need to do it again.

“I just take the Bible for what it is, I guess, and recognize that I am not a scientist, not trained to be a scientist. I’m not a deep thinker on all of this. I wish I was. I wish I was more knowledgeable, but I’m not a scientist.”

No, you aren’t a deep thinker, that much is evident. So why do keep foisting your opinions on people who think even less deeply than you do?

“The big thing we are working on now is the global warming hoax. It’s all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax.”

Says the non-deep-thinker.

“Lady Liberty and Sarah Palin are lit by the same torch.”

I rest my case.

”If we took away the minimum wage — if conceivably it was gone — we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.”

Just so your kids don’t have to do any of the jobs at the whatever level. Right?

”This cannot pass. What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t pass.”

Oh. But it did. And it has. But feel free to slit your wrists. You, as a Congresswoman have health insurance that will cover your ER costs. Not so much those you are asking to join in the wrist-slitting fun.

Her latest sound-bite-producing comment, this time on ObamaCare,

“Let’s repeal this failure before it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens. Let’s not do that. Let’s love people. Let’s care about people. Let’s repeal it now while we can.”

Ms. Bachmann evidently believes that guns don’t kill people, health care kills people.

Last year, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota said she wanted “people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax” and cited the oft-repeated Jefferson line that “a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing.”

(Jefferson later changed his mind on this. He wrote in a letter to a Dutch diplomat: “Happy for us, that when we find our constitutions defective and insufficient to secure the happiness of our people, we can assemble with all the coolness of philosophers and set it to rights, while every other nation on earth must have recourse to arms to amend or to restore their constitutions.”)

However, Ms. Bachmann neglected to mention that part.

Michelle, we’re gonna miss ya’.

Photo credit: swanksalot / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Obamacare Made Us Do It!

What!!? No more Twinkies?

Hostess Brands recently announced its intention to go into bankruptcy, lay off over 18,000 workers and liquidate assets. The management/union disagreements focused on reducing workers’ benefits and salary cuts. The CEO got his pay tripled, but the rest of the worker bees doing the baking and packaging and distributing of the delectable little goodies were supposed to suck it up and settle for less. Among those reduced benefits is health insurance. But the union objected to this plan and now Hostess is one of those whining companies “Obamacare made us do it!!”

I guess it’s not unreasonable to assume that a company which makes its profit by delivering shit to kids and adults with Ding Dong addictions wouldn’t really be too concerned about healthy eating, let along health care for its employees.

And after all, those employees probably got a lot better perks than health insurance, like access to the Twinkie rejects and good deals on the merchandise. They should be willing to trade snack cakes for health care. It’s only fair, right?

But, really? No more Hostess Products? No more tasty cupcakes, no more gooey, spongy, chemical-laden “snack cakes”? No more Wonder bread? Whatever is to become of us? Oh wait. We stopped eating that garbage decades ago. That’s right. Now I remember, when companies had to start labeling their products with the actual crap that was in them. In addition to the usual: high fructose corn syrup, glucose, dextrose, palm oil, sweet dairy whey and cellulose gum, there are more mysterious ingredients to be noted. Stuff like ferrous sulfate, sodium caseinate, mono and diglycerides, stearoyllactylate, sodium caseinate, agar and a few things to “retain freshness”. Oh yeah, Hostess products have a 25-day shelf life.

Pretend you made some chocolate cupcakes. Pretend you injected them with white sticky goo and wrapped them in plastic and sat them on your counter for 25 days. Do you think you’d be wanting to chomp into one on that last day? Then think of what has to go into Hostess cupcakes to keep them from getting the way yours now look after a 3 1/2 week sabbatical.

This would be their cupcake:

Photo credit: Newbirth35 / Foter / CC BY-NC

This would be your cupcake:

fungal flouce

Photo by Psybeartist

I once worked in a small town in Ohio. Kind of an everyman’s kind of town, and I’d stop in at a tiny grocery two or three times a week in the morning to get a coffee to go and a newspaper. Invariably, I’d see high school kids in there, before school, buying cigarettes, Mountain Dew and Hostess snacks. Talk about a three-way burner! Holy headspin! We’re talkin’ some major uppers here, enough to get those kids through until third period at least.

You may think, but kids can’t buy cigarettes. Well, in this place they could, because the guy behind the counter taking in the small change was related in some way to all of them. It was that kind of town, where The Extreme Tractor Pull and The September Gopher Shoot were the two major social events of the year.

I’m trying real hard not to put a label on the types of people who would buy Hostess stuff, but it is difficult not to do that. Usually, it’s people who live for today, the hell with tomorrow, if I want to eat stuff that in no way resembles real food, then I should be able to do that. So don’t take away my Dolly Madison Cakes. And I’ll have a 20-ounce Dew and a pack of Marlboros with them.

Thankfully, this segment of the population seems to be in decline as people become more and more concerned with health issues and what kinds of foods they eat. Consumers now want organic-grown vegetables and meat that hasn’t been injected with growth hormones and antibiotics. A lot of us now really care what we are putting into our bodies. To a person, we are rejecting Hostess stuff.

So finally  Hostess reluctantly admitted that well, yes, there has been a downturn in recent years, a somewhat diminished demand for their products.

You think?

It’s getting very tiring listening to these junk food places blathering on about Obamacare. It hasn’t even happened yet. To my knowledge, 2014 is the first year anyone has to do anything about it. So why all the bitching about it now?

Maybe because, you weren’t on the winning side in this latest election? Maybe because you want to get out there and let everyone know, “Well, it’s your fault, you 51% of Americans for voting for him. It’s all his fault we have to lay off people and close down our good factories.” Bullshit.

It’s your own fault, Hostess, for committing to products that no one wants anymore. You’ve mismanaged your company for years. You’re in debt you can’t get out of. This is just a good excuse to get political and obfuscate the real reasons for your failure.

Yeah, yeah, we all know how Denny’s Grand Slam is going to go up by 49 cents and Papa John’s Pizza will cost more in order to pay for Obamacare. Sniff, sniff. Get over yourselves. It won’t work. It would be a dark day I’d dine in Denny’s. (How’s that for alliteration?). One doesn’t “dine” in Denny’s, one scarfs.

And I like pizza as well as the next person, but Papa John, think I’ll be passin’ on you.

Get a life. You lost.

So, Hostess, while it is so much more convenient to complain about Obamacare and blame the death of your company on labor unions, it was going down anyway.

Nothing Says “Freedom” Like Voter Suppression

Watched Rachel Maddow last night. Rachel is one of my personal heroes. Anyone who can get on TV and just talk for an hour and make so much sense and sound so interesting, is someone way up on the People I Most Admire scale. I couldn’t do it.

I’m sure she takes a lot of abuse from the Gay-Unfriendly Conservative Right Wingers but I refuse to listen to any of it. She laughingly refers to herself as “just a middle-aged lesbian in a cheap jacket.” She’s so much more than that.

She did a show on early voter suppression. Republicans naturally want to do this, because Democrats vote early in greater numbers. That’s because they (the Democrats) need flexibility, they can’t always bop down to the polling location on Election Day in their SUVs, fresh from Yoga, like the Republicans can.

Voter Fraud is a Felony! Billboards in Ohio and Wisconsin that went up in intercity and known student residential neighborhoods, which seemed to indicate that the act of merely voting could land you in jail. These billboards were paid for by an “unknown family”. I so wish I knew who that was. Eventually they were taken down and replaced with Voting is Your Right billboards, but who knows how many people were affected by that message?

Florida is required by the Voting Rights Act to offer  a set amount of hours for early voting so what did they do? They attempted to schedule early voting so that the polls would not be open on Sunday Nov. 4th because it is well known that this when churches encourage their members to vote (Souls to the Polls) and there is a huge African-American turnout after church. It didn’t work, the courts struck it down and the polls were opened, but still, they tried. And the lines! Six, seven, eight hours in line in some areas because the polling locations aren’t manned with enough people and the voting hours are structured in such a way that minority groups tend to show up at the same time, thus discouraging them from voting. You know, people who work for a living.

Back to Ohio, Jon Husted is playing the voter suppression card, this time at the eleventh hour, in a controversial new directive concerning provisional ballots. He ordered election officials (this past Friday) to shift the burden of filling out provisional ballots from the poll worker to the voter. Previously the recording of the voter’s form of ID was the poll worker’s responsibility, but not any longer. Doesn’t seem like a big deal? It is, actually. It has the potential to impact the count of thousands of votes. And, remembering 2000, we know how important thousands of votes can be.

I have been in both Ohio and Florida this election season. And while I am glad to be in a state that politicians consider vote-worthy, I am really tired of hearing about how Republicans continually try to get the vote to come out better for their side. If you can’t win with billions of dollars, then suppress the vote. It’s just disgusting.

I’ve been doing a little voter suppression of my own. Here’s how it goes:

I have a benign political discussion with someone (anyone).

Me: Who are you voting for?

They: Romney.

Me:(yawning) Well I’m voting for Obama. Hey, I hear those lines are hours long! What say both of us don’t bother to vote, we’ll just cancel each other out and we won’t have to go to the polls!

They: Okay.

Then I’m on to the next person, but then, of course, I vote anyway!

I doubt it will work but it’s worth a try.

Photo courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art.

 

Questions About Offshoring American Jobs

Warning: Non-humorous post. The fact that I warn that this post may not be funny assumes that there are earlier posts which have been funny, which, of course, is only in the eye of the humor-beholder. 

There is one issue, well actually there are several, but this is one I’ve been thinking about for years. Outsourcing to other countries, or offshoring. Specifically, the offshoring, or elimination of American IT jobs. I do not profess to be an economic expert, nor do I have a degree in finance, but can anyone out there enlighten me as to how the practice of sending as many of our IT jobs as we can to other countries is good for our economy and ultimately for our country?

I’m just talking about IT here because it’s what affects me. Other professions currently offshored include (but are not limited to) writers, administrative assistants, tax preparers, web programmers and designers, drafters, human resources, call centers, and the biggest sinkhole of jobs, manufacturing. In 2011, 2,273,392 jobs were outsourced. 53% of the manufacturing jobs, 43% of IT jobs, 38% of R&D, and the list goes on. On and on.

My name is Peggy.

IT, in the olden days, was a niche career path where one could establish a place for him/herself in the solid, safe middle class. It took a certain amount of interest and aptitude in computers and logic, so it appealed to some but to others it seemed boring and nerdy. I always considered it a good thing that not everyone wanted to do this particular work since it was what I did, and if everyone wanted my job then there would be less opportunity for me. Selfish? Maybe. But I’m guessing most everyone feels that way about his or her chosen profession.

So we IT-ers enjoyed two-plus decades of secure cube-dwelling positions, established ourselves as professionals, bonded with those sharing our interests, bought homes, consumed things, put food on the table, planned for retirement, took vacations and saved for our kids’ educations. It wasn’t a grand lifestyle but it worked out pretty well for a lot of us.

Then came The New Millenium and the passion for money, and more money, and money no matter what, and screw your way to the top of the money making market. Do it cheap, in order to put more on the bottom line. Outsource, offshore, “right-size”. There are people who will do it for a third of the money. Get rid of the high-paid American workers. The larger the corporation, the more the push to outsource. Get your IT services cheap! Any corporation who is still paying the big bucks for foot-draggin’ Americans has some ‘splainin’ to do to its stockholders.

Aren’t we kind of paying the price for that now? Everyone complains about the current administration, how the “economy hasn’t improved” how unemployment hasn’t gone down. An aside here, isn’t the percentage of unemployment a manufactured number anyway? How do we count those who have used up their unemployment benefits and are still jobless, and unemployment-less as well? I never did get that.

If we have millions less jobs available here, how can the job market ever improve, how can the housing market improve, how can the tax base be supported? There are cities and municipalities going bankrupt now. As a matter of fact, it was the story of Scranton, Pennsylvania which prompted me to finally write this blog. Fire-fighters and policemen have had their wages slashed to minimum wage. Minimum wage? You can probably make more than that pulling Double Expresso Lattes at Starbucks. And the benefits might be better. So forget risking your life to do a job. What’s the point?

 

(Cartoon by Bennett / Chattanooga Times Free Press)

 

This is not a political blog. But what can the current administration do about this? Force corporations not to outsource? Or, convince them with straight talk and earnest pleas not to do it anymore, or at least reduce the number of jobs outsourced? I don’t know if that’s possible.

What I do know is that one of the candidates who will be on the ballot in November believes in outsourcing. He’s been accused of having done it. That’s not to say he won’t try really hard to change the way things are now, because for sure this individual has changed his mind a number of times about a number of issues. I’m just sayin’.

Interestingly, when I wanted to see if anyone out there was blogging about offshoring, I googled “blogs about offshoring”. Know what came up? Every item in the list concerned how to get offshore help to write blogs.

So I repeat my question. If there is someone out there who could tell me, or point me to an article or a book that would explain it all to me, how outsourcing helps (or at least doesn’t harm) our economy and our country, would you please comment? I surely would appreciate it.

I’ll leave you with an image. You know when you made that call to get help with your wireless internet router? This is where that call went.

Meaningless Political Phrases

Back in the year 2000, I remember having a short discussion with my father about the upcoming presidential election. We never talked about politics much because I suspected we might have differing opinions, even though I was pretty sure he was an independent with a bit of a lean to the right. I had always thought discussing politics something we might want to avoid. But this particular day, he mentioned to me that it was “time for a change”. This meant that because of all the scandal during the Clinton administration, which must have really disgusted a lot of people of that generation, it was time to throw the Democrats out.

People all over were saying it, that it was time for a change. It was a phrase circulated, spread from conversation to conversation, and it started me thinking about those kinds of phrases and how they become important, if said often enough, and can affect elections, which of course, is the desired outcome. Naturally I had to write about it in my new novel, out this spring (self-promotion alert!), Perigee Moon.

Gertie and Randy didn’t seem to be too well-informed and could make no real valid arguments that defended their position that it was “time for a change”. When asked exactly why that would be they could only point to the Lewinsky Matter. So it would seem that no matter that Mr. Clinton was an adept politician and had kept the peace for eight years and balanced the budget and governed rather well, the fact that one naïve girl, rather sluttily inclined, could tempt and tease and torment a man who, as are many powerful men, might be more sexual in nature than the  average eight-to-fiver, it was still time for a change. Luke saw this, in that instant, that people around dinner tables all over the country were saying the same thing that Gertie and Randy had just said.

 “Al Gore is going to get screwed, because of Clinton,” Luke said.

This year, we have similar phrases circulating around, and two have caught my attention:

Obama is bad for our country. Okay. Just how is he bad for our country, could you elaborate on that please? No, he’s just Bad. Bad for Our Country.

We must take our country back. From whom must we take it back? The House of Representatives is controlled by the Republicans. The Senate is split pretty evenly. The Supreme Court, even though they are directed not to, seems to be a little top-heavy which is causing that right lean. Yes, the President is a Democrat so I guess we need to take the country back from him.

This is not meant to be a political blog, it’s a blog about writing. I was interested in the way phrases circulate and people begin to say them, without knowing why they are saying them. And besides I like to throw a bit of politics into my novels occasionally.

Recently, I went to a Newt Gingrich Rally. There are many reasons one would attend such a rally.

  1. One is a die-hard Newt supporter and wants to yell and scream so Newt knows someone loves him.
  2. One is a supporter of Mitt Romney and is out to gather information, which can be used against Newt in the future.
  3. One is an Independent voter and is out to become educated about each of the two men, one of which will surely be the Republican Nominee.
  4. One is an Obama supporter but wants Newt to win because they believe he will be easier for Obama to beat in November.
  5. One who has nothing else to do but visit an airplane hangar on a 75-degree day in Florida.
  6. One who wants to see Callista’s hair up close.

Because I don’t want to offend any readers of my blog who might be of a different political persuasion, I will refrain from saying which category I fall into, except 6 for sure. The turnout was disappointing, only 300 or so supporters or “supporters”, but we got to get pretty up close and personal to Newt and Callista, who was wearing a beautiful shade of blue suit that day.

We were stopped outside and interviewed by CBS who, while they paraphrased what my husband said, they did not show him on TV. This was a big disappointment but I’m pretty sure they liked what he said, which was, “With Newt, what you see is what you get. If he’s elected he won’t flirt with liberals.” And he also said, when asked about Newt’s marriage baggage, that “we are Christians and as such we believe in redemption.” Now, this may or may not be the true feelings of my husband, depending on his reasons (see above) for attending the Newt Rally.

Once inside, there was a cheerleader, who yelled out periodically “We gotta take our country back!” and when that began to fall flat she’d just start up the chant, “Newt! Newt! Newt! Newt!” Here is out cheerleader:

Is this Ben Kingsley?

Bill Gates?

I believe Ellie Mae Clampett was there, and she looks real good:

Mike Raegan was there:

Herman Cain was there:

Finally! Newt and Callista arrived! The crowd went wild! Or as wild as 300 old people can get. Here they are arriving at the hangar:

Newt speaks, and says that between the swearing in and the inaugural balls, on the day he becomes President, there will be a working session and he expects to be sent bills from the House that will:

Repeal Obama Care! (applause, hollers, whistles, and sign pumping)

Repeal Dodd-Frank! (applause, hollers, and sign pumping)

Repeal Sarbanes-Oxley! (applause, hollers, whistles)

I turned to a woman and acted dumb. “What’s that?” I asked, meaning SOX. “It’s got something to do with Medicare,” she said. Well, actually not. People are clapping and yelling to repeal something and they don’t know what it is they are repealing. That’s okay, it must be good. Newt says we should repeal it.

Callista clapped at everything Newt said. You can’t see it here, but the rock on her hand sparkled while she was clapping. Damn phone cameras aren’t worth much, they can’t even capture the flash of a multi-carat.

Other observations at the Newt Gingrich Rally.

Is this Michael Moore? What’s he doing here?

I don’t think this person is a Republican, do you?

This guy looks like his rug shrunk. Aren’t those square pieces supposed to go in front of the ears?

I think this is Barbara Bush, but I’m not sure.

Here’s a nice elephant hat, complete with American flag. And that’s Tiger’s ex-wife behind her there.

Does this man have pants on?

Is this Viggo Mortenson? If only I’d known he was going to be here, I’d have worn my I Love Viggo pin.

It’s Stephen Colbert! Are we going to be on the Report?

Alas, Newt did not take Florida. But I did get both his and Callista’s autograph on the back of my “DON’T BELIEVE THE LIBERAL MEDIA!” fan.

Disclaimer: The people in these photos may or may not be who they are depicted to be by their labels, which may or may not be misleading, and should be left to the discretion of the viewer and/or reader to discern if they are or are not, who they are or are not.