Saturday, January 26, 2008

Naples Daily Noose defending Burger King's "right" to exploit farmworkers/my response

Editorial: Burger King
Chain’s hint of tomato ban is volley back at coalition

Daily News staff
Friday, January 25, 2008

Burger King has announced it may stop buying tomatoes from Southwest Florida packing houses if the Coalition of Immokalee Workers continues pressuring the fast-food giant to pay a penny more per pound for one of customers’ favorite toppings.

Burger King’s announcement comes amid word that prior commitments from other fast-food chains such as Taco Bell and McDonald’s to help migrant workers get a better break — approximately doubling their pay per 40-pound bucket picked — may be falling apart as growers now back away.

We understand there has been resistance in the past to coalition initiatives out of concern for the organization becoming a union and agribusiness losing control. Still, we wonder whether Burger King’s bold move may simply be an overdue acknowledgement that what the coalition proposes turns fundamental economics upside down. It asks that buyers in the free marketplace pay more than they have to for a raw material. The coalition asks companies to take less of a profit or pass the added expense on to consumers in the form of higher prices.

As a result, Immokalee agribusiness and migrant workers themselves may lose jobs.

The logic, leveraged by street demonstrations outside targeted firms’ corporate headquarters, has been ripe for someone to blow the whistle, and now Burger King has.


I see that Lytle and the other lapdogs of corporate power at the Naples Daily Noose still know on which side their Milkbone is buttered, and as usual, the growers/bosses/those in power are still breaking treaties.

“[T] here has been resistance in the past to [C]oalition [of Immokalee Worker] initiatives out of concern for the organization becoming a union and agribusiness losing control.” Well, of course, heaven forbid there should be any working-class organization because those poverty-stricken agribiz bosses like Collier Enterprises et al won’t make quite as many millions, pobrecitos.

Notice Burger King makes “bold moves.” Talking about turning logic and decency upside down! A powerful corporation using its muscle to extort more sweat for less pay from the workers producing its wealth is a brave thing to the Noose, while those same workers trying to make a tiny bit better living are threatening to turn the Noose’s beloved capitalism “upside down.” Somebody has to “blow the whistle” on these workers trying to survive? Holy Orwellian twisting of what whistleblowing means!

However, there is some truth in this editorial: it is anathema to capitalism that the people actually producing the wealth (workers) have some decent share of it. (The lower the wages, the higher the profits).

The good news, though, is that there is an alternative to higher prices for those consumers (also working people) the Noose says it’s worried about, an alternative that never gets mentioned in the discourse of those defending the “right” of corporations to make more and more money no matter what: BK could choose to make a little less money while still paying a little more for tomatoes without charging more for their crappy food.

It is not a natural law that the only choice is EITHER higher wages OR no jobs and higher prices. “Passing on the expense to consumers” is only an excuse to demonize workers.

Ian Harvey

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Even sadder than another senseless death is the propaganda that guarantees many more will follow

Dead soldier found his calling in Afghanistan, say mourners

Kathryn May

Ottawa Citizen

Saturday, January 12, 2008

OTTAWA - Gunner Jonathan Dion was something of a lost soul (WHATEVER THAT MEANS—BUT AT LEAST HE WAS ALIVE) until he joined the army and found his mission in Afghanistan to "make a difference," said friends as they mourned the soldier who was killed late last month.

Dion, who would have turned 28 years old last week, died Dec. 30 during his first NATO mission (THAT’S WHAT YOU CALL A SHORT “CALLING” IN LIFE! AND THESE SAME PEOPLE THINK SUICIDE BOMBERS ARE NUTS.) after his light-armored vehicle struck a roadside bomb about 20 kilometers west of Kandahar city.

As they loaded his wooden casket into the waiting gray hearse, the family released a white dove (FOR PEACE?!), which flew over the heads of a somber crowd that had gathered silently outside.

Dion was born in Val d'Or Que., but spent most of his life in Gatineau. Friends said he was a good athlete, was generous, selfless and "one of the gang" who was always willing to help his friends (AND HIS EARLY VIOLENT DEATH WAS HIS REWARD??)

Kevin Graham, who grew up with Dion and later followed him into the military, said his friend found his calling in the armed forces. He had dropped out of school, tried his hand at a few jobs (AS IF THAT WAS SUCH AN UNUSUAL THING THAT HE WAS BETTER OFF KILLING HIMSELF? HOW ABOUT CREATING A SOCIETY IN WHICH WORKING CLASS MEN DON'T SEE KILLING AND BEING KILLED FOR THEIR GOVERNMENT AS THEIR ONLY WAY TO MAKE A LIVING??? BUT THEN WHO WOULD FIGHT THEIR WARS FOR THEM???) - and then someone handed a pamphlet about the military and he was sold, said Mr. Graham.

He said his emails from Afghanistan revealed how much Dion loved his work and had found his niche (POOR GUYS DON'T KNOW THAT A "NICHE" MEANS SOMEWHERE SAFE AND SECURE). In fact, Graham said it was Dion who inspired him to join the military a year later.

"It was the best decision he made in his life," said Graham. "He wanted to make a difference in the world and that's what he did." (AND THIS POOR GUY MAY SOON FOLLOW IN HIS DECISION TO GIVE HIS LIFE FOR SOME "MISSION" FOR THE RICH.)

Dion's uncle Ronald Marcil said his nephew was a proud soldier who was determined to go back to Afghanistan even before he finished his first tour of duty. Despite his death, he said, the family supports the mission and distributed "Support Our Troops" pins and magnets during the funeral (SUPPORT THE TROOPS BY BRINGING THEM HOME!).

Saturday, January 12, 2008

great sick example of what advertising does

back-to-back commercials on canadian tv in winter:

commercial 1: ad for caribbean destination tickets showing depressed characters fed up with shoveling snow, how early it gets dark, etc., the characters actually crying and wailing.

commercial 2: a twinrix ad worrying northern travelers about that same vaunted, tempting caribbean rubbed in our faces in the previous commercial now suddenly dangerous because the pharmaceutical corporation needs us to be afraid in order to buy its product, a hepatitis vaccine.

we cannot be allowed to accept or enjoy the moment because then we wouldn't want to escape, wouldn't "need" their products, every momentary escape fraught with "danger" or "lack," too, so the cycle of dissatisfaction and yearning consumption never stops.

john berger's ways of seeing (1972) still the best book ever written on this carrot-and-stick of capitalism.