Eroding the Concept of "Private Property"

"Someone should write an erudite essay on the moral, physical, and aesthetic effects of the Model T Ford on the American nation. Two generations of Americans knew more about the Ford coil than the clitoris, about planetary system of gears than the solar system of stars. With the Model T, part of the concept of private property disappeared. Pliers ceased to be privately owned and a tire pump belonged to the last man who had picked it up. Most of the babies of the period were conceived in Model T Fords and not a few were born in them. The theory of the Anglo Saxon home became so warped that it never quite recovered."

John Steinbeck
Cannery Row


There Ain't No Guarantees

Last year I replaced all the windows in my house with those expensive double-pane energy-efficient kind.

Yesterday, I got a call from the contractor who installed them. He was complaining that the windows had been installed a whole year ago and I hadn't paid for them yet.

Now just because I'm blonde doesn't mean that I am automatically stupid. So I told him just exactly what his fast-talking sales guy had told ME last year ... Namely, that in just ONE YEAR these windows would pay for themselves! Helllooooo!' I told him, 'It's been a year!'

There was only silence at the other end of the line, so I finally just hung up. He hasn't called back, probably too embarrassed about forgetting the guarantee they made me. Bet he won't underestimate my intelligence again.


Hug A Tree; Exploit A Worker

"...The performance gap between Wal-Mart’s actions on social and environmental matters exists for this reason: tackling climate change fits squarely within its current business model; improving labour standards does not. Getting suppliers to use less energy and cut other resource use saves on their production costs. This means Wal-Mart can bargain with them for even lower prices. In contrast, better labour standards are still associated with the higher costs of higher wages and the investment needed in continuous monitoring and fostering better relationships between management and staff.

Wal-Mart may have made a dramatic shift in its attitude towards the environment, but the dynamic that governs its relationships with suppliers remains the same. Scott’s green vision gives suppliers yet another reason to find ways to cut costs – this time by investing in energy efficiency, for example. Reforming labour practices at contract factories is a different challenge. It requires giving more power to employees at the bottom of the chain, for example through encouraging them to join unions and bargain collectively. That is not the Wal-Mart way..."

Read more @ Ethical Corporation.


Is That A Bulge In Your Flat Earth Society?

Exxon pulls the plug on climate flat-earthers...Reports that Exxon has stopped funding some groups that lobby against action on climate change have had a guarded welcome from environmentalists.

ExxonMobil shocked environmental campaigners when it announced in May that it would stop funding groups that deny human-made climate change.

In a corporate citizenship report, published ahead of its annual general meeting, the US oil and gas giant said that it would suspend donations to public policy groups “whose position on climate change could divert attention from the important discussion on how the world will secure the energy required for economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner”.

It is a new tune for a company that environmental activists, like Greenpeace, have long criticised for denying the long-term implications of its fossil fuels business on the planet. But does Exxon’s move signify a radical change in the company’s attitude to climate change, or is this merely an astute public relations approach to deflect attacks from campaigners?

Exxon has reportedly dropped nine groups, including the Capital Research Center, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, Frontiers of Freedom Institute, George C Marshall Institute and the Institute for Energy Research. The company has not yet named the remaining groups.

Read more @ Climate Change Corp.


Keep It Stupid Simple


"Oil Me..."

"Yep, oil inflated 300% in eight short years under the "leadership of two oil men." But, you can't blame them. We put the foxes in the henhouse, knowing full well "real" oil men love digging holes on the supply side, supporting ethanol subsidies and blaming speculators -- it's in their genes! Talk about cognitive dissonance; real oil men thrive on cowboy images of Marlboro Men in Hummers, Navigators and F-150 trucks.

Net result? Another perfect example of "creative destruction" in action as conservative ideology meets "law of unintended consequences," driving GM, the symbol of America capitalism, closer to bankruptcy ... while turning America into a socialist economy."

Paul B. Farrel


Republican Socialism

“When I picked up my newspaper yesterday, I thought I woke up in France. But no, it turns out socialism is alive and well in America. The Treasury Secretary is asking for a blank check to buy as much Fannie and Freddie debt or equity as he wants.”

Senator Jim Bunning (R-Ky.)

Fannie and Freddie are government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs. They are stockholder-owned corporations that were chartered by the federal government to buy and package home loans and make loan guarantees. Fannie Mae was founded in 1938 as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and has since been converted into a private corporation.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson last week testified before Congress and requested swift legislative action to expand the Treasury’s ability to lend to these two troubled GSEs and to allow the department to buy stocks in them if necessary.

Read more on Republican Socialism.