Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What if Bush had ran into Ahmadinejad at the urinal?

Big news today at the annual general assembly meeting at the United Nations in which every nation’s leaders meet for a grand spectacle. Of which, the first day includes a lunch hosted by the Secretary General. If anyone remembers, this is where Castro ran over to Clinton and made him shake is hand (the only U.S. president to shake hands with Castro). The fear of such a horrible thing happening again enticed Bush as well as Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in making sure they would not meet. Imagine if they had somehow run into each other at the buffet table or the urinal. It would truly be an event to capture. What if they started gossiping about how they have so much in common? Well, it indeed didn’t happen and Bush, as well as Ahmadinejad had their security make sure that they would be no where near each other; Ahmadinejad actually skipped the lunch in order to avoid such an event. Hilarious stuff, I must say. In addition to this teenage worries and little boy fears, Bush made his speech only hours from his arch enemy, unfortunately our incompetent disgrace for a President didn't take much more then twenty seconds into his speech to mention 9/11 and the ‘war on terror' while Sudan is sitting across from him, with thier people dying in a horrible genocide, amazing how our President has embarrassed the people of this country. On a side note, did anyone thing about the fact that every world leader in the entire world is sitting in one building? I’m just wondering because, it would be quite easy to create instant world chaos, but luckily (to most) nothing happened. Although, the latter would be much less devastating then the possible catastrophic world event of two world enemies meeting at the urinal.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Cameras vs. Textbooks

It’s not usually a hard choice in the academic field, especially in affluent communities, unless referring to high schools. My school has decided to make my senior year even more exciting with the addition of hundreds of tiny surveillance cameras positioned in hallways, the parking lot, and all over the school.

Like many, I became weary of the cameras at first sight during registration; little did I know they would be positioned throughout the entire school. I suppose the purpose of them is to go back on tapes after an incident such as a fight or vandalism. The problem with this is that Northville High School has all most no fight and no vandalism; unlike Detroit which may see several each day in each of its many high schools.

My first hour started as it had during the previous year, in the broadcast room. Something seemed different this year though; every monitor to every video editing system was broken. Not to mention every TV in the entire building that required reprogramming in order to be able to display the morning announcements which my class and I work so very hard to produce every morning, not to mention every student the class was required to participate in the reprogramming. Without the proper equipment, the morning news might be much lacking capered to years past.

Continuing on my day in a usual senior fashion, disobeying minute rules about cutting in line and not raising my hand to talk, I went on ignoring the cameras existence. My AP U.S. History class met during the last period of the day (4th Block), the experience was overall good, and the teacher enjoyable. One major problem stuck out in my mind though: there are not enough textbooks for every student!

One witty student goes on to say “we can afford $500,000 for cameras but not a textbook for every student?” To which most in the class pleasantly agreed. And though the book dilemma will be solved, it won’t be solved without much time and much bureaucracy. The teacher goes on to say “it will probably take up to seven weeks.” Leaving students educations behind in the name of “security.”

The school board recently sent a letter home to all parents warning them of “budgetary challenge[s],” that will cut “areas, such as operations and maintenance,” but promise to “work diligently to keep the cuts away from the classroom,” later comparing the school to “any other business.”

If this statement is in fact true, then why have academic and technology areas been cut while “operations,” I’m concluding, of surveillance cameras have ten folded. The reason must be buried in the intuitive nature of the school district to protect itself against what it views as a threat. That threat happens to be the very thing it claims to hold in its best interests: students.

Monday, September 04, 2006

An American Labor Day (Just Remember it’s About Labor)

Labor Day has long been known as the end of summer, the mark of a three day weekend, and a day filled with many barbeques, family outings, and lake-house trips. What many forget, though, is what exactly Labor Day is celebrating. It is not simply the “end of summer,” but rather a celebration of the working man and women in America and all he/she has accomplished. In addition to the latter, I would also like to add an additional observance: the constant class struggle between rich and poor, employee and employer. This struggle has not ended recently and will not end soon, it has been ongoing for over five millennia and will continue one throughout the millennia unless labor recognizes the struggle as more then simply a matter of better wages and job security, but the rather for the end to the oppressive capitalistic society.

A common misconception among the mainstream has evolved naturally in order to protect itself from a rebellion: that a capitalist society, by nature, awards its people with a better way of life as long as the economy flourishes. This concept of economics, to a capitalist, is based on Gross Domestic Product, and Employment. The latter, by no means, represents an accurate survey of economic status.

In much the same way, propaganda has engrained itself into high school textbooks, the every day working man, and both political parties. These capitalist theories have always been strongly entwined into everyday life, and into almost basic human nature, that this system we life in is the only way.

Welfare reform, for example, won little success in helping the poorest people out of poverty. The true goal of the reform becomes clear when connecting the dots to see a picture of war, and oppression. Poor mothers, who were once dependant on welfare, now work over forty-hours a week to support their children, while their children become entangled in crime and drugs. With little chance of working their way out of poverty, these poor children look to these things not because they are of minority or they do not work hard enough, but rather simply because they are poor. Conservatives will cite the relationship between youth crime and drug-use to the breakdown of the family unit. Though this might be true, they refuse to acknowledge why that breakdown has occurred, and that reason is none other then poverty.

The misconception that economies grow with help from the rich investing, therefore creating jobs, therefore creating more wealth and so on, has also become part of everyday life. The capitalist believes that cutting welfare teaches the lesson of hard work and determination; but instead leaves behind the poor to become exploited by the rich for their own personal gain. The elite everywhere, for all of human civilization, have never placed the interests of others ahead of their own. They are in a constant struggle, not for the benefit of humanity, but rather for more and more profits. To a capitalist, this sounds great, for the more money the rich have, the more money they will invest, and the more the economy will grow, the more jobs will be created. But, the size of the economy and the number of jobs, by no means is an accurate meter of a successful people with a high standard of living.

Free trade, for example, has cost American’s thousands of hard-working, good-paying jobs in order to exploit the southern impoverished nations of Africa, Latin American, and Asia; leaving thousands of laborers here in the States to work at low-paying service jobs with little or no representation from unions. Urban industrial areas have been left in ruins, a stark reminder of what used to be.

Not only has free trade dramatically and negatively affected the U.S., it has also had unprecedented affects on third-world nations, especially in the global south. Without the relief needed to build strong economies with thriving industries independent of western corporate interests, these impoverished nations must free themselves from the choke hold of free trade and the industrialized nation’s interests in exploiting their workforce. Creating employment in poor nations does not dramatically affect the overall economic status; that goal may be achieved by building strong industries that can compete with western corporations to create a fair world market. Currently though, all profits go back into the hands of massive multi-nationals and executives.

One many argue free trade’s effect on the global economy as positive, but in reality free trade may only successfully be achieved once the socio-economic status of the entire world has been homogenized into a fair and successful economy, benefiting each and every member of the planet. For, in reality, we are not just members of each of our own nations, but rather the earth community as a whole.

Political bickering aside, there does indeed exist a problem in the United States, as well as the rest of the world. That problem that the wealthiest and most impoverished members of this earth community have become so far removed from each other that the two are all most not of the same community, but rather of separate dimensions, and this is not and should not be true.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Organic Wall-Mart?

The recent news of Wall-Mart going “Organic” has sparked many applauses and much criticism. The effects of the world’s largest company going organic will have unprecedented effects on small farmers and the local economy. Co-operatives such as Organic Valley and groups such as Organic Consumers Association have shown much weariness towards the big move, citing the past effects Wall-Mart has had with local farmers and markets.

In her recent article, Liza Featherstone (The Nation.) brilliantly constructs a clear picture of the effects of this massive change in the organic consumer market. Small farmers and local markets will be profoundly effected by such a move my Wall-Mart because of the eminent loss of customers to lowers prices because any consumers complain of the high price of organic products, but that price is well worth the good effects. “Organic is not overpriced; rather, conventional food is cheap because its costs are passed along to the environment, small farmers and the health of those who eat it,” later stating that the reason consumers can’t afford the food is because they aren’t paid enough and don’t have health insurance, further continuing the debate for national health care, and fair wages.

Featherstone later explains the effects not only on small farmers, but also on quality and standards. Many shoppers will be happy to find affordable organic food on Wall-Mart shelves but, she asks consumers to recognize that the lowering in price means lowering in quality. “Wal-Mart's low prices would, ultimately, mean lower standards,” she says, sitting Horizon’s organic milk production which resembles more of a conventional milk factory because of their cruel treatment of Cows. The Cornucopia Institute's Mark Kastel points out: "Standing in 90-degree heat. No shade, no water. These animals are living very short lives.”

Not only does Wall-Marts conquest on organic food have an effect on local farmers, and the quality of the food produced, but also on the environment; citing that most of Wall-Marts organic food will travel thousands of miles, accentuating the problem of our energy and global warming crisis.

The effects are not all negative, for many positive effects exists such as transforming thousands of acres of farmland into organic environmentally friendly land, but the problems associated with such a massive store like Wall-Mart cannot be excused.

To read the Liza Featherstone’s article “Is Wal-Mart Big Green or Big Mean?” click here.

One Year.

I simply cannot believe it’s been one year of ‘truth and ignorance’ and the blog of Aric Miller. I just wish I would have accomplished more in transforming my blog into a more standardized system with many, many more readers. I’m still working on it, but have a long way to go, and over the last few weeks I have been making massive improvements to the entire blog.

Odd to think how though my core ideas have change, those ideas have matured substantially and my writing has grown stronger and less elementary. Hopefully those ideas will mature further, as I enter into my final year of dreaded high school, move on into college.

Hopefully this blog will grow substantially during this year and gain new readers, so if you are one of those few readers then please, please tell your friends and enemies about this, even though I know you won’t.