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You are here Editorials Bob Alexander It’s Happy-Time Again … And it’s Awesome!

It’s Happy-Time Again … And it’s Awesome!

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All the candidates are getting themselves good and greased up eager to be sodomized by their favorite billionaire in the hope there’ll be a hefty campaign contribution left on top of the dresser before the billionaire leaves the motel room.

Too harsh? How ‘bout this …

Hillary Clinton cares as much about “Everyday Americans” as I care about the microbes that live in the P-trap under the kitchen sink in the house across the street.

The moment she masters the art of time-travel she should go back to the years she sat on the board of directors at Wal-Mart. But this time she stands up to the world's largest retailer as they wage war against labor unions … instead of remaining silent. Then she could jump ahead and vote against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq. So until that magical day when Hillary Clinton commands both Space and Time … she gives me the dry heaves like all the other Republican Clown-Car-Candidates.

Almost $3 billion was spent on the 2012 presidential election. The 2016 election might cost as much as $5 billion. To put it another way … The cost of the 2012 presidential election was more than the GDP of Greenland,  but the upcoming election will likely surpass the GDP of Bermuda. I guess the only acceptable perspective is to realize Americans spend $6 billion every year on Christmas decorations.

Over the next 19 months we are going to be subjected to the same message, told progressively louder and louder and LOUDER, by Conservatives and Liberals alike, until finally our eyes and ears bleed continuously.

We must vote for (fill in the blank) because if (fill in the blank) is elected something so horrible will happen it defies coherent description. Conservatives quake in revulsion at the horrors a new Clinton presidency will bring as Liberals teeter on the brink of insanity because of the return of a New Improved Bush White House. As Woody Allen said, “More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.

I have quoted Jiddu Krishnamurti before, and I’ll do it again and again and again, until just a few days before my funeral, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

We understand the madness of American Politics. We can choose to participate. Or not. But that doesn’t extricate us from the profoundly sick society that spawned our political system. The profoundly sick society aka, The Dominant Culture, has hooks buried in us so deep, we don’t even notice them anymore. One of the things I realized about living in a “Consumer Society” was this: The first thing that was consumed … was me. We must spend almost all of our labor and our lives for the “privilege” of living within the Dominant Culture. And in return we can buy toys. Toys to distract us from looking too closely at the bargain we have struck with our masters. And we have perversely dedicated and designed our lives around these toxic toys.

QUICK! Throw away your phones regardless of how smart they are.

Wait … can’t do that … they’ll end up in a poisonous mountain of electronic waste routinely exported by developed countries to developing ones … often in violation of international law. Until you can find an eco-friendly recycling center, throw your phone in the drawer and never buy another one again.

We will now pause until the irate spluttering dies down. But the irate spluttering will never die down. I have heard too many times people proclaim how indispensable their phones are. My whole life is on my phone! In a report released by the Online Publishing Association in 2012, the standout statistic was that 68 percent of smartphone owners said they "couldn’t live without their smartphones."

We know these phones are toxic. We know because one of the selling points of the iPhone 4 and 5 was they were among the least toxic smartphones. We’re being sold a toxic toy that is proclaimed to be “good” because it is less toxic than its predecessors.

And we inherently accept the toxicity of the toy with every selfie, tweet, text, and all the other crap apps that go along with the primary purpose of just making a goddamned phone call. It’s too effing convenient to leave it in a drawer. We must trade in the old iPhone, and buy the new iPhone, and then a year later buy the new new new iPhone, without any goddamned iDea what the hell we’re really doing. But … See all the wonders it can perform. And just how toxic is it anyway?

Some pregnant women living near a plant that supplied special minerals to the personal electronics industry have miscarried; some gave birth to children who were sickly, or mentally disabled, or blind. Other children in the village developed leukemia. But we don’t care about what happens in Malaysia do we? There are over 1.9 million kitten videos on YouTube to be watched … on our phones.

If the toxicity of the toy won’t deter us from owning one, what if we bring slave labor into the discussion?

A 2014 report released by Not For Sale in the U.S. and Baptist World Aid in Australia, found that of the big electronic firms like Apple, Microsoft, Sony and Samsung, only Nokia can prove that it pays its factory workers a living wage. And it gets worse. The Global Slavery Index published in 2013 stated there were 30 million slaves in the world today.

Slave labor. It’s a simple two-word phrase that should make us recoil from buying a new toxic toy. We think of ourselves as a moral people but what if we’re just as willfully morally blind as the folks who sipped mint juleps on the veranda while the slaves picked our cotton? China has an estimated three million slaves working to create electronics … and designer handbags.

If we won’t give up our toys because they’re made from deadly crap, and we can’t imagine living without our toys even though they are assembled by slaves … Consider this: According to a recent study published in the journal British Occupational and Environmental Medicine, using a smartphone more than 15 hours a month can triple your risk of getting brain cancer just over a span of five years. Now will we finally throw them in a drawer because they might make us sick?

No. I don’t think so. The toys corporations entice us with … the toys we play with … create a reality that is more real and more powerful than all the misery that exists in a village in Malaysia. Every Single Time.

I don’t own or use a smartphone.

I can think I’m better than you for about one tenth of a second.

Our family owns seven computers. Seven! Collectively there are 24 hard drives spinning around inside them. The manufacture of hard drives is an extremely toxic process giving cancer to women in Thailand who assemble them. They work 60 hours a week and are paid about $270 a month.

We own seven monitors as well as a 60 inch television. When they stop working I can’t throw them away … they are classified as hazardous waste.

I can no more turn off the computer, or stop watching movies in HD, as anyone else can ditch his or her smartphone. We’re hooked Good and Proper. We are the willing participants in a profoundly sick society. Who cares who wins the presidency when we can’t even figure out how to put our toys away?

 
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