Updating Monsanto

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I first wrote about the trial of Monsanto at The Hague.  Just a quick update with how that turned out.  The company was found guilty on all charges, and the ban on any and all Monsanto products being sold in the European Union still stands.

However, I also wanted to write about newly released documents that show how Monsanto has been paying off government regulators and scientists in an effort to keep them from publishing scientific studies that show the harm that Monsanto products (in this case, Roundup) do, along with using their influence to stop scientific studies that show Roundup to be a health hazard.  There are lawsuits around the country that claim that Roundup is a carcinogen.  These documents have been made available to the public, since this is a public health concern.

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I hope that you go to the links provided below and read the articles.  This is an important discussion to have, since there is an effort in the U.S. to allow corporations to self-regulate.  I feel that this shows that no corporation should be allowed to self-regulate, but that the entire process needs to be made completely public, with all scientific data peer-reviewed and released to the general public.

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Have you used Roundup?  What are your thoughts on this?

 

https://corporateeurope.org/food-and-agriculture/2017/04/monsanto-tribunal-outcomes

 

http://www.alternet.org/environment/just-released-docs-show-monsanto-executives-colluding-corrupted-epa-officials-manipulate?akid=15952.302291.OmHT9X&rd=1&src=newsletter1080638&t=25

 

 

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I Just Don’t Get It

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It seems like this country is simply going crazy.  There is more hatred being verbalized (and people being brutalized) all over.  I’m sure we’ve all seen the rants posted on social media of people verbally abusing others.  Where in the world is this hate coming from?  I simply cannot imagine anyone having the time in their lives to worry about the following:  where another person is from; what religion they choose to follow; what color someone else is; what gender they are; or what sexuality they practice.

Really, I’d like to know what is going on (or not going on) in the lives of these haters.  Seriously, how can they find the time to get involved in other people’s lives like this?  Don’t they have their own lives to worry about?  Don’t they also have to go to work, raise their children, worry about their loved ones?  How in the world do they have the time to worry about what other people are doing in their own private lives?

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And, the most important question of all – what the he** business is it of theirs anyway?  Really, is a medical doctor from India taking their job away?  Is a migrant worker who earns a living picking produce taking their job away?  Is the very fact that someone worships another “god” making their “god” smaller?  Does a different skin tone change their skin tone?  Does the love that someone has for another person change the love they have for their loved ones?  What difference does it make?  I just don’t get it.

I’ve heard all the “arguments” that people try to use to defend their hatred, and seriously they are simply and completely flawed.  Not to mention illogical.  I simply cannot imagine ever having the time or the inclination to stick my nose into something that is just not my business.  If you understand this, please explain it to me.

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Wonder Woman

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My daughter and I finally went to see this movie the other day, and I must say that I was thrilled.  I have never read comic books, so my only background for Wonder Woman was that of the 1970’s TV show staring Lynda Carter, so I went into the movie with no preconceived notions.

I have to say that I loved this movie.  What a tribute to “female power”.  I loved that first and foremost, Diana Prince, along with the rest of the Amazons, both looked like a woman who could fight, and fought like a hardened warrior.  These were not super skinny women, these were extremely fit women who could take care of themselves.  I also loved the way that Diana Prince walked.  She strode with all the confidence in the world.  That confidence was breathtaking, and I must say that I want some of that!

I don’t want to give too much away for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, but I loved the movie.  In the realm of “power women” movies this is the best so far.  I encourage you to watch this, just to see what a confident woman looks like!

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What is Wage Theft, and Are You a Victim?

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Wage theft commonly refers to workers illegally not being paid their full wages.  Usually this refers to low-wage workers who are denied full pay for a variety of reasons.  Some of these include:  refusing to pay the legal minimum per hour wage, not paying for all hours worked and/or not paying over-time pay.  This is a wide-spread problem, and costs the workers in the U.S. approximately $8 billion per year.  Obviously, this is another social issue that effects the poor more than others, since earning a minimum wage is not really a sustainable wage.  To steal from people like this is particularly nasty.

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However, there is another kind of wage theft that also happens.  Frequently people are told that their health insurance costs a certain amount and that amount is withheld from their paychecks by their employer to pay their portion of the health insurance costs, only to find out later that what was being withdrawn was a higher amount than the insurance actually cost.  This is particularly hard to prove, since (at least in my state) the insurance company will decline to tell you how much your employer-offered health insurance actually costs.

Another type of wage theft is when a “salaried” employee routinely works many hours of overtime, but is not paid because they are considered “salaried”.  The usual answer for not paying salaried workers is that they will be “given” the same number of hours as extra time off.  However, trying to receive any of that promised time off is difficult, to say the least.

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This whole concept is particularly evil, since you have a right to be paid for the work that you do, and you should have the right to find out exactly how much your own health insurance costs.  Has any of this happened to you or to anyone you know?  If so, let me know in the comments below.  I’ve included some links below that give you more information regarding this issue.

http://www.epi.org/publication/employers-steal-billions-from-workers-paychecks-each-year-survey-data-show-millions-of-workers-are-paid-less-than-the-minimum-wage-at-significant-cost-to-taxpayers-and-state-economies/?utm_source=Economic+Policy+Institute&utm_campaign=f46b5aacc2-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_05_17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e7c5826c50-f46b5aacc2-58297025&mc_cid=f46b5aacc2&mc_eid=d8e2a8427b

http://www.nclnet.org/wage_theft_six_common_methods

 

What is a Pre-existing Condition?

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There has been a lot of talk about pre-existing conditions, what they are and if people who have them can be denied health insurance, or be made to pay more for health insurance.  A pre-existing condition is anything medical that happened before a person’s health care policy went into effect.   In the bad old days, before the ACA, health insurance companies could refuse to sell policies to people who were sick, or who had been sick.  There were companies who did sell policies to these people, however the cost was much too high for the average person to pay.  With the ACA, these people were able to buy policies for about the same price that the average “healthy” person could.  With the advent of TrumpCare, these pre-existing conditions don’t need to be covered by insurance companies.  Here is a list of some of these conditions that no longer will be covered.

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As you can see, a lot of people have these conditions.  For example, I was born of with a heart murmur and I have had asthma in the past.  Heart murmurs, as I understand it, can be a crap-shoot.  It’s a 50/50 chance of needing a medical intervention.  I never even knew I had one until I was pregnant, then I was told that I’d had it all my life – go figure.

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What do you think about these pre-existing conditions?  Are you in danger of losing your health care?  If you do lose it what will you do about it?  Let me know in the comments below.

“Fight Club”- FOAK and What it Means

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The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks such things as hate crimes, terrorism, and white supremacists.  They are a well-respected organization and committed to dealing with facts.  As most of us know, there are a lot of white supremacist organizations throughout the U.S.  What a lot of people don’t know, is that there is a lot of talk within these organizations about military operations against various groups of U.S. citizens.  All a person has to do is look at some recent events to see that this is true.

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However, the specific issue at hand is the formation of a new group, by Kyle Chapman (I am leaving a link below where you can see who and what Kyle Chapman is) which will be a “highly masculine” group called the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights (otherwise known as FOAK’s) which is going to be formed for the express purpose to “bring the fight to the streets”.  Recently we have seen an uptick in the violence that protestors are being met with, not only from the police, but also from these groups of the extreme right-wing.

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I am not going to regurgitate the links that I’ve provided.  Instead I am encouraging you to read them, and educate yourself.  With the fear of being seen as a lunatic conspiracy theorist, my thoughts are leading to this:  What if, with all the new violence, the President declares Military Rule, Democracy is suspended and we have a dictator?  I know, it sounds insane, however, don’t these various groups vowing to “fight” against protestors (and others) sound a lot like the Nazi Brown Shirts?  Let me know what you think.

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http://nypost.com/2017/04/27/alt-right-group-tries-to-build-small-street-army/

https://www.adl.org/education/resources/reports/state-of-white-supremacy

http://www.salon.com/2017/03/24/white-supremacist-who-traveled-to-new-york-to-murder-black-men-followed-extremist-racist-online-groups-who-support-trump_partner/

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/26/opinions/white-supremacy-is-terrorism-ifill-opinion/

 

Why is Science Important?

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This past weekend there was a march in Washington, D.C., along with other marches around the world in support of science.  We actually needed a march to support science.  I still can’t wrap my head around that fact.  The marches were in support of evidence, fact-based and peer-reviewed science.  This is needed since the administration in Washington is against both science and peer-viewed research.  Research needs to be peer-reviewed, since anyone could claim to be a scientist, publish a “study” and claim anything.  We already can see that happening, so it needs to be stopped.  Science is actually one subject that can be proved correct.  Just because someone doesn’t like what is scientifically proven doesn’t mean that they have the ability to claim it is false.

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For those people who think that we don’t need science, do you like using your technology?  Phones, laptops, t.v., all are science-based.  Should funding be cut, so will your technology.  How about “cutting-edge” health care?  All those new life-saving surgeries are based on science.  Do you like your new medicines?  Those too come from science. If funds are cut so will your health, since there will be less money spent on keeping you healthy.  Science is life-saving.  It affects all of us in every part of our lives.  Support science, your life may very well depend on it.

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