[ensu] global fair trade postcards

  • From: matt.niedzielski@xxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: ensu@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 14 Feb 2004 21:31:19 -0500

The article may be long, but the link at the beginning to the postcards is 
worth checking out. Sending out the postcards to like-minded people to get a 
message across.

Matt

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http://www.globalfairtrade.ca/index.php?content=8&set=set1
Send a free e-card to a likeminded citizen!

Postcards with bite, but no bitter after taste!!

ARTICLE:

Corporate Limitations and Limiting Corporations

"We strive for operational excellence and work equally hard to protect 
the 
environment - our environmental record remains one of the best in the 
industry."

To kick off this comment on the state of the world, I thought it 
appropriate to cite Exxon Mobil's environmental policy.  You'll 
remember 
that they are the only major oil company that denies a connection 
between 
burning fossil fuels and global climate change.  Coincidentally, they 
have 
just been ordered to pay US$7 billion to 32,000 Alaskans who suffered 
from 
the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989.  The Texas-based conglomerate 
promises 
to appeal having twice overturned the judge's decision.  I suppose 15 
years 
isn't too long to wait for 'one of the best in the industry' to 
acknowledge 
its responsibilities.

In other news, Disney has contracted Microsoft to help it block illegal 
distribution of internet video and audio, claiming that the shift to 
downloadable digital entertainment is a form of "consumer empowerment" 
since it will allow us to carry Disney culture on our miniature players 
everywhere we go.   To empower used to mean "to give authority or power 
to; 
to give strength and confidence to" but now apparently means "to 
consume."  
How far have we come that Disney can keep a straight face while 
redefining 
one of the core ideas of civil rights movements of our time - and did 
they 
pay for user rights?

Given Disney's association with childhood innocence, its choice of 
Microsoft was a bit odd.  The monster Gates built is being cited for 
human 
rights violations by Amnesty International.  AI says Microsoft has 
enabled 
the Chinese government to repress free speech on the internet and jail 
offenders.  The United Nations Human Rights code for multinationals 
says 
businesses should 'seek to ensure that the goods and services they 
provide 
will not be used to abuse human rights.'  Microsoft responded with 'we 
are 
focused on delivering the best technology ? how that technology is used 
is 
with the individual and ultimately not in the company's control.'  You 
can't blame them for trying this on, it's the same argument used by our 
governments as they sell anti-personnel weaponry to abusive regimes.  
Afterall, how could Microsoft know that technology designed to find and 
track the use of words like democracy, dissident and Tibet would be 
used 
against dissidents in China, that bastion of civil liberties?

However, you can't blame Disney either since they no doubt began 
negotiations back when Microsoft was planning to launch the iLoo and 
wanted 
to get in on the deal.  The iLoo is a bathroom stall complete with 
wireless 
connection, waterproof keyboard, plasma screen and sponsored toilet 
paper 
covered in web addresses.  Microsoft (s)crapped the project after much 
heckling but I for one can't think of a better use for the Disney logo?

If you're concerned about entrusting your children's playtime and even 
potty time to corporations, don't forget about their health.  
SmithKlineBeecham, c.o.b. GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical giant, 
knew 
their anti-depressant drug paroxetine didn't work on juveniles.  They 
had 
the results of clinical trials back in 1998 that proved the drug was 
useless.  The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in 
the UK 
later demonstrated that not only did paroxetine not reduce depression 
in 
kids, its use was actually correlated with a greater incidence of 
suicidal 
thoughts.  When asked why they didn't release the results of their own 
trials to forestall the prescription of the drug for young people, the 
corporation responded, "It would be commercially unacceptable to 
include a 
statement that efficacy had not been demonstrated as this would 
undermine 
the profile of paroxetine."  (Translation: "If we had admitted it 
didn't 
work, no one would have bought it and we would have lost profits.")

But don't despair, former General Electric CEO, Jack Welch, is on the 
job 
for your children.  You'll be happy to know that despite not being able 
to 
keep all the perks he retired with 4 years ago - some people thought 
food, 
wine and laundry services in perpetuity in his US$15 million Manhattan 
apartment was a bit much - he has just signed a 'how-to-do-business' 
book 
deal for US$4 million with Harper Collins.  Jane Friedman, Harper CEO, 
thinks this is a great deal for Harper and our children because "young 
people grow up today wanting to be a policeman, a fireman, a CEO, Jack 
can 
teach to all of that."  I wonder if he'll syndicate a Saturday morning 
cartoon to extend his business and moral lessons for youngsters?

If he doesn't, no problem, the kids will still be able to learn about 
modern business practices and how to get rich with the game called 
Cashflow.  In this board game, the first challenge is to move from the 
'rat 
race' of working for a living to the 'fasttrack' where you make your 
money 
on stock and real estate speculation.  The moral of the game is that 
working for a living is a waste of time.

Working is certainly proving to be difficult for California supermarket 
employees who have been on strike for nearly 4 months.  Chains like 
Safeway 
want to cut health care from their unionized workers' benefits, 
claiming 
they just can't compete against non-unionized retailers like Walmart.  
Strangely, their non-competitive position hasn't prevented a 91% 
increase 
in profits over the last three years. 
 
These are just some of the stories I've come across in the last two 
weeks.  
I could go on about Coca-Cola selling pesticide-laced soda in India or 
Sony's retraction of an application to use 'shock and awe' as a video 
game 
trademark, but I think the point is made: Microsoft can control 95% of 
the 
global software market but can't control its use; Safeway can rake in 
healthy profits but can't pay for health care; Welch can live obscenely 
and 
then sell himself as a role model for children; Disney can steal the 
ideas 
of social justice but we can't reciprocate; GlaxoSmithKline can risk 
the 
wellbeing of children but not lost profits; and Exxon can choke the 
environment but can't cough up.  

If that's the best the mega-corporations can do, I'll have to 'empower' 
the 
alternatives in future.   

www.GlobalAware.org

Support Independent Non-corporate media!
Send a likeminded citizen a free e-card.  If you like what we do buy a 
pack 
of GlobalAware postcards:
http://www.globalfairtrade.ca/index.php?content=8&set=set1

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