Wednesday, December 15, 2004

What would Jesus buy this Christmas?


If you want to have some small economic impact for the good this Christmas, then please at least boycott J.C. Penney, Kmart, Kohl's, May's, Sears, Target, and Wal-Mart.

There are two interesting lists regarding the retail giants. One is the Sweatshop Scorecard of retailers by Co-op America and is available at

The other is a Buy Blue.Org which is highlighting the large companies that donated to Republican or Democratic campaigns.

Do you see any relationship here?

Sweatshop Scorecard:Federated = C; J.C. Penney = D-; Kmart = D; Kohl's = D+; May's = C; Sears = D-; Target = D; Wal-Mart = F.

Retailers with large percentages of Republican contributions: J.C. Penney = 81%; Kmart = 86%; Kohl's = ; May's = 90%; Sears = 76%; Target = 72%; Wal-Mart = 80%.

Conclusion: Please boycott those stores.

Our consumer brand of American fascism is maintained by our unconscious consumerism. The TV ads we watch in the "privacy" of our homes create the self-illusion of individualism and freedom, but they are really the Madison Ave. version of the great Nuremberg rallies of Nazi Germany. Hitler and Goebbels would be envious of our slick consumer fascism which puts corporations in control of the government in order to make government profitable to corporations.

If these giant retailers didn't fund the Republican politicians do you honestly believe that we would still not have laws preventing sweatshop exploitation.

Check out the many good organizations supporting fairtrade, greentrade, and opposing sweatshops. You can start with these:

Co-op America

Global Exchange

Rainforest Action Network

Watch out for "greenwash" masquerading as green.


Buy Green

[I've only just learned about Green Seal and Buy Green. If you know something about them that I should know please let me know. Also if you have a favorite fairtrade, greentrade, or anti sweatshop website please let me know of it and I'll it to the list.]


Friday, December 03, 2004

Time for elections to be back in the public's hands.

There has been surfacing very credible evidence of computer scamming with the ballot counting of the 2004 election. Scamming seems to be going on with both the new touch screen computers and with the computer counting of the optical scan and punch card ballots.

So far the questions about the legitimacy of the 2004 election focus on several main areas: (1) intervention with voters at the polls by manipulating the access to ballot machines so that Democratic Party precincts had few voting booths and long waiting lines while Republican precincts and plenty of voting booths and very short or no waiting lines; (2) in multi-precinct areas some Democratic voters in the long lines were told to use the voting booths with no lines for the other precinct thus making their punch card holes not register correctly on the ballot; (3) use of provisional ballots not consistent and prejudicing Democratic precincts, and (4) computer irregularities in adding votes never cast or miscounting votes cast.

While there are more old-fashioned ways of election fraud being used, it is the computer fraud that adds up the fastest to the highest number of wrong votes.

To me the whole computer scam boils down to one issue: would we ever allow a private group of people to physically take our paper ballots into a closed room without public scrutiny and emerge a few hours later to declare the results? If not, then why would we ever let a private company accomplish the same thing by using a computer? It is time that the people reclaim our public elections and demand that no computer program -- for either optical scan, punch card, or touch screen balloting -- may be used unless it is open source code that may be viewed by anyone.

Today the computer companies have privatized our public elections and take our ballots into the closed door interiors of their computers and count the votes without public scrutiny of how the counting is being conducted.

Why is this allowed? It is the consumer culture that permeates our society that takes it for granted that a computer code is some kind of proprietary holy cow. That may be the case for open market consumerism, but that most definitely should not be the case for public elections. We the people need to recapture our own elections from the computer companies that are now holding us hostage in the name of convenience. It is fine for the hardware to be subject to proprietary controls by private companies, but the software for counting the votes must be open source.

A computer company should not be allowed to count public elections unless its counting software is open for the public to see how it is doing the counting. Anything less is simply allowing the private company to take our ballots behind closed doors and then to merely announce the results afterwards.

Gregory Wonderwheel