Sunday, May 31, 2009

US Physician killed by Terrorist

Dr. George Tiller was murdered by a terrorist on Sunday morning, in Wichita, Kansas. Dr. Tiller was murdered in the lobby of the Reformation Lutheran Church, as he welcomed congregants into the worship service.

Dr. Tiller worked at a women's health clinic. The clinic was one of the few that provided late term abortions for women whose health (and perhaps their lives) would be compromised by giving birth.

Dr. Tiller was murdered by a TERRORIST. His murder was a HATE CRIME against women. Dr. Tiller was murdered by a TERRORIST for performing a LEGAL medical procedure.

At what point will terrorists stop having more rights than women and doctors? At what point will we take domestic terrorism at abortion clinics seriously?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Judas Jobs

We all start out as babies. Babies are future humans – the hatchlings we feed, nurture, educate, and eventually kick out of the nest to fend for themselves. They are completely dependent upon us. Babies all come out looking rather like Winston Churchill, but turn into little images of genetic memory. “She has her father’s nose” or “He has his mother’s eyes” are the kinds of comments made while staring into the face of the future, and trying to identify whom he or she most looks like. It’s hard to imagine wanting to hurt babies, or cynically wanting to profit from their existence, but sadly, there are those who do, who have.

In 1974, a group called War on Want published a treatise called, “The Baby Killer.” It was a report on the use of infant formulas and infant malnutrition in Third World countries. That same year, a Swiss group published the same report, calling it, “Nestle Kills Babies.” Nestle filed a libel suit against the group. In 1976, the group was found guilty of libel. They were fined a nominal 300 Swiss francs, and the judge warned Nestle about its marketing practices.

What infant formula companies were doing was giving their products to nursing mothers in hospitals, and touting their superiority over breast milk. The mothers used the free samples, their milk dried up, and they left the hospital, having to buy infant formula, and mix it with water that was often contaminated. They would stretch the formula, trying to save money, resulting in poor nutrition. Nestle wasn’t the only company that was doing it – but it was (and still is) the largest.

In 1977 a group called INFACT (Infant Formula Action Coalition) launched the Nestle boycott, in Minnesota. In 1978, hearings were held in the US concerning the marketing of baby formula. A year later, UNICEF and the WHO held an international meeting, and called for an international code of marketing for such products. A code was developed ad adopted by 1981. In 1984 Nestle agreed to implement the code, after meeting with boycott organizers. The boycott was suspended. It was re-launched in 1989, after the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) claimed that health care facilities in the developing world were awash in free samples from infant food companies. Nothing had changed. Again, Nestle wasn’t the only company profiting on the misery and poverty of the third world, but they were the largest.

Time and time again, Nestle has refused to change their behavior. They have been found guilty of the same actions, over and over. And so, the boycott continues. It has spread across the globe. Nestle is currently under fire for their aggressive marketing techniques in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

NestlĂ©’s lack of moral compass extends to their dealings with the small US towns they divide and conquer whilst buying up the water supply. The same scenarios have played out in small towns across the country. The residents of Fryeburg voted against Nestle building the pumping and trucking station. Nestle sued the town 5 times. They just weren’t willing to take no for an answer. Nestle told the Maine State Supreme Court that the town was interfering with NestlĂ©’s RIGHT to grow their market share. It seems they feel they are entitled to the water.

In McCloud,CA, Nestle negotiated a secret deal (no public input) that would have granted them control of the water for 100 years, for next to nothing. Nestle got involved in local elections – and funded the pro-Nestle candidates. The private financial records of Nestle opponents were subpoenaed – in an attempt to intimidate.

Sound familiar? It’s pretty much the same thing that they did in Fryeburg. Threats were made about IRS audits and investigations into the finances of opponents. Meanwhile, the Maine legislators turn a blind eye. Governor Baldacci was Nestle/Poland Spring’s lawyer at one time. Senators Collins and Snowe don’t seem to answer the calls they get from constituents opposing Nestle.

Divide and conquer. It’s easy to play in small towns that are in desperate need of jobs and revenue. It’s easy to bring out the pettiness that lurks below the surface of our (barely) civilized veneers. In Fryeburg the backlash against those who oppose Nestle continues. The award for most petty and venal goes to those who are trying hard to get the Fryeburg librarian fired. Emily Fletcher opposed Nestle. She didn’t back down, or shut up, and now a small group of pitchfork wielding yokels are trying to suggest that Mrs. Fletcher is somehow lining her own pockets through the tiny Fryeburg Library budget. These are people would besmirch a neighbor on behalf of a corporation who has made a fortune profiteering in the Third World. They would betray a neighbor for a few Judas jobs

Nestle doesn’t seem to understand yet is that global communication is making it easier for communities to fight them. Global communication makes it easier to keep an eye on them, and to tell the truth about them.

The whole world is watching.

“When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.”
Benjamin Franklin, in “Poor Richard’s Almanac.”

Resources: and

© S. Bruce 2009

June 8 Update:
One of the pitchfork wielding yokels who was calling for Emily Fletcher's blood (while said yokel's blood had approximately a .15 alcohol level) is apparently on Poland Spring's payroll.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

men at work

How is it that Rush Limbaugh can lecture ANYONE about looks, and be taken seriously? Seriously - for all of the whiny men who claim they can't understand why I talk about sexism - THIS is why. THIS is exactly why.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

International Day Against Homophobia

This year's theme is: homosexuality knows no borders.
Held on May 17 each year, the International Day Against Homophobia is the moment to remember that homosexuality is a universal fact and cannot be restricted by borders.
There are gay men and lesbians in all countries. What actually differs from country to country is how these people are treated.
Not all of the world’s citizens are able to enjoy the privilege of living in an egalitarian society. In many countries, loving a member of the same sex and having sexual relations with that person are against the law.

NH is poised to legally sanction marriage for our gay brothers and sisters. This isn't possible in so many other countries around the world. We can help stop homophobia around the globe by setting a good example here.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Radical Cleric Pat Robertson

Apparently Pat's doing a little selective reading of that Bible he's so fond of. The Old Testament is full of polygamy. The same Old Testament that Mullah Robertson uses to condemn homosexuality.

If the "logical consequence" of same gender marriage is pedophila - how in the world does Mullah Pat explain all that molestation going on in evangelical and Catholic churches? And why is ole hurricane Pat silent on the FLDS - polygamy AND pedophilia?

Friday, May 08, 2009

Evolution Happens

It’s been a big year for equality in New England. Vermont passed a bill granting marriage equality to its gay and lesbian residents. Republican Governor Jim Douglas vetoed the bill, but legislators overrode the veto. On Wednesday, Maine Governor John Baldacci signed Maine’s marriage equality bill into law. On signing the bill into law, Baldacci said, “In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions. I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage." Also on Wednesday, the NH House voted to pass the Senate amended version of HB 436, the NH marriage equality bill. It now goes to Governor Lynch, who can sign, not sign and let it become law, or veto.

I listened to the audio stream from the NH House chamber, which meant I was able to hear the last ditch efforts of the anti-equality folks. They all said basically the same thing – and everything they said was a lie, especially when they said they needed “more time” to craft a better bill, something they had absolutely no intention of. Out of state hate groups spend a ton of money on ads and robo-calls. The Cornerstone Policy Group, an in-state hate group, also launched robo-calls that were pretty darned close to push polling. The anti-equality members of the House are already sending around emails decrying the “out of state groups” that want to engage in social engineering. Sounds like a massive case of projection to me.

One of the most interesting aspects of the anti-equality folks is that they love to shout about government interference in their personal freedoms. Local GOP prattler Maynard Thomson dedicated hundreds of words to express his outrage at the very possibility of a seatbelt law, in his most recent epistle. The Republicans view of gummint interference adds up to:
1. Don’t make me wear a seatbelt.
2. Don’t take my guns away.
3. Don’t make me pay taxes.

Interfering in women’s health decisions, or discriminating against homosexuals – why that’s different. God told them to do that. There is, of course, a word to describe this - hypocrisy. Otherwise, how could Thomson write these words:
“Otherwise, what DOES justify the passion to control others? What, beyond shattering arrogance and a messianic zeal to meddle in other people’s lives, wherever it appears politically possible? Enquiring minds want to know!”

What the poor, old, mired-in-the-past Republicans don’t understand (or don’t wish to acknowledge) is that things change. Prior to the 1950’s, people lived with their extended family. Mom, Pop, and the kids lived with their grandparents and often aunts and uncles. In the 50’s came the idea of the nuclear family; just Mom, Pop, and the kids. Mom lost her support system, and had to do all the childcare and housework all by herself. It’s no coincidence that this coincided with the introduction of Valium.

Families change, as do societal mores. We don’t have slaves any more. We frown on lynching, although both were perfectly acceptable at one time. We burned witches at one time – witches who always seemed to be women who refused to comply with male leadership, and refused to shut up about it. Marital rape and wife beating were once quite acceptable. These days - not so much. Women were completely left out of the original Constitution, but we finally fought our way into being included, and getting the right to vote. We no longer believe the world is flat, or that leeches are a medical cure. That’s human history for you – always changing and evolving.

Unfortunately, the GOP has put itself on the wrong side of that equation. They’ve chosen to become the party of bigotry and discrimination. It is interesting to watch GOP form The National Council for a New America, dedicated to reviving the Republican Party. The group includes Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, John McCain, and Haley Barbour. From what I’ve seen, it’s the same old white guys with the same old message. They’re stuck with the very narrow views of the radical Christian right, and that isn’t going to help them attract younger folks and move forward. They’re stuck in the past – and a few of them getting Twitter accounts won’t change that.

NH House GOP leader Sherman Packard has already said that if Governor Lynch signs HB 436 into law, the GOP will hold him responsible. He also said that same sex marriage would figure prominently in the 2010 elections. Not a one of the haters can tell you how gay people getting married will affect their own marriages – because it won’t. It will create new families, something the haters say they want. If we dare to venture into reality, gay people getting married will be good for the economy of our state. There will be marriage licenses, hall rentals, flowers, cakes, tuxedos, gowns, and of course, tourist dollars. Hanging on to the bigotry in this economy is cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. The continued embrace of the far right means further self-marginalization by the GOP. Poppy Sununu and Mitt Romney aren’t interested in moving into the future. They want desperately to remain in the past.

“The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision.” Lynn Lavner

This was published as an editorial in the Conway Daily Sun on May 8, 2009.

© s.bruce 2009

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

HB 436 passes the NH House!

The marriage equality bill passed the NH House, went to the Senate and was amended, then passed, and sent back to the House for concurrence. Today, despite the endless robocalls by out of state hate groups, and the foolish last minute testimony of nutty right wingers, HB 436 passed the House 178-167. A motion to reconsider failed.

The bill now goes to Governor Lynch. He can sign it into law, not sign it and let it become law, or veto it.
He's been quite clear that he believes "marriage is between a man and a woman."

Today Maine Governor John Baldacci signed Maine's marriage equality bill into law. Here's a little of what he said:
"In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions. I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage."

Let us hope that Governor Lynch emulates Governor Baldacci.

All this equality in one week! Congratulations, Maine!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Auto-tune the News

Auto-tune is a software program used to alter the voices of singers to give them perfect pitch. Without auto-tune Britney Spears would be a checkout girl at Wal-Mart.

When the program is used on people who aren't singing, they sound electronic. The Gregory Brothers have been having fun with something they call auto-tune the news.