We are not always told the truth. Some things bald face lies, other half truths. Many the figment of someone’s imagination. Truth buried for selfish purposes by those keeping truth in the dark.
This week’s column covers a few such items. Very few. A book could be written re the deceptions practiced on the public. Not possible here because of space limitations.
I have always enjoyed reading Op-Eds. Editorial opinions by corporate CEOs, governmental officials, retired respected political figures, retired military, etc. Top-of-the-line persons.
I was distressed recently to learn that Op-Eds are not generally written by the person whose name appears as author. The Op-Eds are written by public relations firms.
The most prominent firm is Keybridge Communications. Named after Francis Scott Key. I find this amusing because of the recent furor involving the Star Spangled Banner.
Keybridge was founded and is run by a former Wall Street Journal writer. It specializes in writing and placing Op-Eds. Keybridge’s clients include influential trade groups and global corporations.
Keybridge places 3,000 Op-Eds a year. 500 to 800 words. Cost $5,000 each. Guarantee provided. Op-Ed will appear in one or more newspapers with readership no less than 50,000.
The client and/or Keybridge itself find the “author.” Now that I know, I consider Op-Eds a deceptive practice.
2. Facebook owns Facebook. Does what it wants. Understandable. He who pays the fiddler calls the tune.
The most famous photo coming out of the Vietnam War was of nine- year-old Kim Phuc. The picture of a young girl running and crying down a street. Screaming. She was nude. Her napalmed genitals visible to the world.
I thought it outstanding. One of the best ways to evidence the horror of war is to show those affected by it.
The photo was recently shown on someone’s Facebook site. Facebook pulled the picture and comment. Facebook said it violated its prohibition on “nudity.”
A bad call from my perspective. I do believe Facebook has the right to decide what gets run. It is their website.
Some called Facebook’s action in this instance an abuse of power. I further disagree. It is Facebook’s shop and can do what they want. However, I think it was a stupid move on Facebook’s part. They should reconsider.
3. Wells Fargo has been in the news this past week. One of the nation’s largest banks. One that needed bailing out during mortgage crisis.
No one from Wells Fargo or any other bank went to jail for mortgage wrongdoing. We were told at the time by our government that the banks …were too big too fail…too big to prosecute.
I thought it was bullshit then and think it bullshit now.
Wells Fargo has agreed to pay a $185 million fine for “widespread illegal” sales practices. 5,300 employees involved. Management down the ladder of responsibility. All discharged.
Wells Fargo had a program encouraging employees to increase the bank’s business. For several years. The employees opened millions of bank and credit card accounts for existing customers without telling them. Purpose: To meet sales goals. Customers were billed with fees.
The bank also transferred funds from customer’s legitimate account to the phony one without telling the customer.
The banks got away with financial murder in 2008. They continue to get away with wrongdoing. Always on a gigantic scale. When caught, the punishment is always a civil fine. No one ever goes to jail.
I say forget the fines. Charge devious bankers criminally. Convict them. Throw them in jail.
It won’t take long for banks to stop screwing around with personal funds and taxpayer dollars.
Let CEOs and other high-ranking officials spend some time in jail. The chicanery will end immediately.
No one wants to do jail time.
We do not do it. Probably because the banks and lobbyists own what is supposed to be our Congress.
It was just reported that the Wells Fargo employee running the unit to increase sales retired in July. After 27 years service. At a time when Wells Fargo was working on finalizing the investigation and civil consent order. Her name, Carrie Tolstedt. A top echelon person. She walked away with a $124.6 million pay out. Which proves wrongdoing has its benefits. Perpetrating a fraud pays well.
4. This one does not make sense: FDA recently banned the anti-bacterial chemical triclosan from soap. However, FDA said it was safe to use in toothpaste.
Colgate Total has been using triclosan in its toothpaste since 1997. Colgate feared the FDA was gong to come down on them following the FDA’s ruling re soap.
Colgate prepared a detailed report showing the chemical was safe and beneficial in its toothpaste. The triclosan is used by Colgate in conjunction with fluoride. The report indicated that after six to nine months use of Colgate Total, plaque was reduced 41 percent, gum inflammation 22 percent, gum bleeding 48 percent.
Rolf Haldren, director of Environmental Security at Arizona State University, has tracked triclosan for years. An expert. He finds FDA’s position hard to understand. Soap on hands results in only a very small amount getting into the body. Whereas through the gums “chemicals get rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.”
FDA justified its decision re the soap by taking the position that long-time exposure to triclosan could lead to new strains of resistant bacteria. It could also disrupt normal development of the reproductive system and metabolism.
Soap, yes. Toothpaste, no. Hard to understand.
You should be aware. FDA is sensitive to big corporations and lobbyists. Like Congressmen. Influenced.
5.This is disgusting. I have been writing about the problem for five years. Recent news set forth the federal government was going to stop using private corporations to run its jails. The reasons simple. Poor quality service, brutality, money charging the prisoners, etc.
Private jail corporations also used for juvenile prisons in many states. 41 to be exact. Not good. The system is turning into a debtor’s prison for children. Poor families cannot pay the court costs and fines. They do not have the money. Children go to jail because the court costs and fines have not been paid.
Interest runs on the court costs and fines. The children’s confinement costs like room and board added to the unpaid court costs and fines. Medical, too.
Private jails are a business. Nothing for nothing. As a result, the children spend significantly more time in confinement than original sentence. No pay, no get out. The children are in effect punished for parents’ poverty.
This is America?
6. Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics has kept track of employment in the public and private sectors since 1939. There was a time when manufacturing jobs out-numbered government workers.
Government workers grew in numbers. Eventually overtaking manufacturing jobs. Last time there were more employed in manufacturing than government work was 1989.
Employment gradually changed from 1989 to August this year. Government workers include federal, state and local governments. In August, government employees totaled 22,213,000; the manufacturing sector, 12,281,000. 9 million-plus difference.
An example of cost of government increasing at same time manufacturing jobs disappearing. One of the reasons for decrease in manufacturing jobs being NAFTA, jobs going to China and other countries.
7. Numbers can be manipulated. To arrive at any conclusion desired.
Let’s talk about unemployment.
The unemployment rate is low. Obama deserves the credit. He got it down from 10 percent to 4.9 percent—a respectable number.
The way unemployment is calculated however results in an erroneous result. Not a real one.
The labor pool used for calculation does not include the aged and those no longer looking for work. If so, the unemployment percentage would be significantly higher.
Obama is not playing with the numbers. Presidents and the federal government going back at least 50 years have used the same system. The one that comes up with a lower more favorable number.
Attention is directed to those unemployed and no longer looking for work. A classification in itself. They are referred to as prime age workers. Those between 25 and 54.
Eighty three percent of prime age workers did not work last year. Contrast last year with the early 1960s when nearly 100 percent of prime age workers had jobs.
Stated another way, nearly 100 percent of prime age workers were employed in the early 1960s. In 2015, only 17 percent.
Another way to look at it, one in six prime age workers employed.
Most prime age workers are not working because they have given up. After looking and looking and looking for work and not being able to be placed.
Trump is correct when he says the 4.9 percent number is not correct. Hillary knows it, but is silent. Understandable. Obama knows it. Everyone in government knows it. I suspect most of us know it, but do not think about it.
Enough for today.
As Porky Pig of old would say, that’s it folks!