Tidbits & Offerings
American Made – Is it an illusion?.....

Just the other day I signed an online petition attempting to push Wal-Mart into taking more than token responsibility for the April 2013 Bangladesh Factory Building Collapse, which killed 1,138 people and injured another 2,500. In response to this horrific disaster about 150 U.S. clothing companies signed onto the "Accord on Fire and Building Safety". Of course Wal-Mart was not among those. This is a legally binding agreement with Bangladeshi unions and global unions to ensure minimum safety standards at garment factories in Bangladesh. I noticed on the short list provided that one of the clothing companies was American Eagle. Not being a clothes hound I had never heard of these folks but having a portion of my brain still intact it did immediately cross my mind – Why is American Eagle clothing signing onto an agreement binding them to safety standards for garment factories located in Bangladesh?

And while we're following a thread that began about Wal-Mart.....

Is Amazon the new Wal-Mart?

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon is only the twelfth richest person in the U.S., as compared to the Walton family whose ranking begins with the 9th wealthiest persons on the entire planet. So perhaps it's not a fair analogy. Jeff has a lot of ground to cover to catch up – but he's without a doubt on the move. For several years now stories of Amazon's “unreasonable” expectations of employee's performance have been surfacing. At first they seemed to center specifically around holiday season – gotta get that Xmas rush out – and don't we all play into that hand...a big Yes would be honest. But that's not my point now. It appears that Amazon's brutal work conditions are celebrated year round as well as internationally. From freezing warehouses in Europe to conditions so hot that employees in a Pennsylvania facility were being carried out on stretchers by paramedics...there's just no pleasing your labor slaves. Ten hour shifts with only a 30 minute lunch and then employees are subjected to a search upon entering the canteen. Doesn't leave much time left to eat and walk back to your work-station does it? This list goes on and on. In Rugeley, England coal miners, who lost their jobs when the coal mine closed, refused to work at Amazon because of the horrible conditions..... need I say more? - YES

In January of 2013 AWS, the division of Amazon that handles the Bezos empire of Web-based infrastructure technology to customers known as cloud computing, won the CIA contract to build and operate a dedicated private cloud facility for a mere $600 million. He actually won this contract twice, first when the CIA awarded the contract and then again late in 2013 when a U.S. court ruled in favor of the CIA's contract with Amazon in spite of the complaint filed by IBM protesting on the grounds that their bid to do the same job, $57 million, was lower. Apparently it was determined that the Amazon contract was superior – about $543 million superior. I'm not a big IBM fan but my guess would be that they have a great deal more experience with security and the handling of sensitive, secret government data, so I can't help but ask the question – why would the CIA contract with the new kid on the block for more than ten times the cost and why would the GAO follow suit?

In another recent win for the Amazon King, Bezos purchased the Washington Post. If you don't already know the Post has a long history of taking the lead in breaking important stories and as such has been a powerful force in shaping the nation's politics and policy. A few such examples: the My Lai Massacre, Watergate and the recent Snowden leak of the NSA surveillance program, for which the Post was awarded the Pulitzer prize for public service for groundbreaking articles. So what does this tell us? Certainly that Bezos is a very smart business investor and he knows how to get what he wants. My concern is what does he want and where, if at all, is he willing to draw the line. I'm concerned to say the least about various, obvious areas of conflict of interest with regards to his new-found CIA connections, his sole ownership of a highly credible and powerful media news source and his technological advancements into our personal daily lives.....just a few tidbits to think about.

Suggestion: STOP "Googling"

For all who did not previously realize - Google is NOT our friend!

To seal the deal demonstrating Google's true colors, very recently they joined ALEC. So what is ALEC you might ask - American Legislative Exchange Council - in short, a closed door, member driven think tank of legislators and corporations keeping themselves busy creating, presenting and rewriting state laws via model bills that directly benefit huge corporations. A few examples of their areas of interest include: undermining environmental regulations, denying climate change, undercutting health care reform. defunding unions, etc, etc. Who's the largest contributor to ALEC - the Koch brothers of course, keeping company with their friends ExxonMobil, big tobacco, insurance company giants and the drug industry. Major players leveling the field against humanity, burning through billion dollar budgets, enacting self-serving legislation - all with a Non-Profit 501(c)3 status. Who said non-profits don't make money?

Recomendation: Try another search engine - Ixquick is very good and they Do NOT record user IP addresses or collect &/or share any personal data with anyone. If you have a personal favorite that doesn't record IP addresses or share personal data, let us know and we'll help pass it on. By the way, Facebook, Yahoo & Yelp are also ALEC members.

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