“This One’s on Me”–The Facebook way of giving

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Well, it’s December, and a good portion of the population on this planet considers this last month of the year to be the “season of giving.” Whether you believe, as does Fox News-friend Bill O’Reilly, that there is a war on Christmas–or don’t, or believe in the 10 days of light also known as Hanukkah, or any number of religious or even non-religious designations for the season, most of us have a similar mindset–to be a bit nicer to people, more courteous, a little sunnier (unless, of course, that sun happens to be that glowing yellow face that many think is the sun but is only the smiley-guy at Walmart on Grey Thursday/Black Friday). It’s true, most people are warmer, not due to global warming or climate change but because there’s something in the air–roasted chestnuts, pine, chimneys putting out that aroma that says “it’s time to come together, stuff yourself, and give.”

Now this does not apply to all, and what I find ironic is that many of those who promote themselves as good, religious Christians (note to Mr. O: there are tons of people who do consider Christianity a religion and not a philosophy) and are in the position to give so much because they have so much, don’t. Unless it is to themselves, or people like them in their circle who do not need…anything. Among this group would be the Koch boys, Jamie Dimon, those CEOs at Hostess, Appleby’s, Papa John’s Schnatter, and of course, those who reign supreme in stinginess, the Waltons, that hardworking, inheriting cabal whose total wealth is equal to, what is it, 30% of the American population–give or take a few hundred thousand–which I believe is around 93 million people? And they’re expecting you to “give” them even more within the next few weeks by buying more stuff at their emporiums.

See, I grew up watching those tug-at-your-heartstrings, black and white Christmas movies–most notably Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Those films never depicted people mowing down each other to get to the newest outrageously priced pair of celebrity athletic shoes to give to their loved ones. No $55,000 handbags put out by the Olsen twins for all to covet. No pepper spraying, no stabbing, and definitely no deaths by gunshots in the name of giving. No, those films proffered that one should give from the heart, with no expectation of getting. Right?

Well I intend to give this year (and I have very,very little in terms of material wealth), but I am going to do it with the intention of getting. Because I want something, actually, a whole lot of somethings. I want lions, tigers, bears, rhinos, whales, wolves and all their fellow creatures to continue to exist on this planet. I want Native Americans to have indoor bathrooms. Yep, I want each and every one of them to have access to privacy and nearness with no interference from inclement weather on the way to do their private business. I want no one to be homeless, but if that’s not possible, I want people to have shelter, as Bob Dylan said, “from the storm.” I want people who want to go to school and want to learn to be able to do so without fear of crushing debt stopping them. I want clean water to drink, clean air to breathe and no freakin’ fracking. None! I want my food labeled as to what’s in it. I want animal abuse (actually, abuse of any kind) to be gone from the face of this ball we inhabit called Earth. My list is endless, and I try with every fiber of my being to do what I can, and this is how I intend to do it this year: For every one of those people called “friends” on that social media phenomenon called Facebook, I am taking one dollar and putting it towards their causes. Now, I don’t have thousands of Facebook friends, as many do, so I don’t have to put out that much money, (which is good, because I don’t have much).

But this is how “This One’s on Me” will work: a Facebook friend of mine is a delightful and passionate woman who loves all animals, but posts quite a bit about horses. So there you go–one dollar goes to Wild Horse Preservation on her behalf. Friends going to school fall into the school/loan debt category, so I’m picking the Rolling Jubilee, an organization buying up loans and forgiving them for folks. There are environmental groups, like Bill McKibben’s 350.org, tirelessly fighting for the very earth we walk on–that’s where the bucks go for my tree-hugging friends. For my veteran friends–where will I send their dollars, Wounded Warriors Project, Operation Homefront? there are as many needs as there are causes to fight for them. Speaking of fighting, there are legal groups doing work pro bono that could use some dough, if for nothing else than to buy coffee to keep them going on to write briefs and legal stuff, ink for their computers. I know people who use their own computers and printers who need ink to continue fighting the good fight.

One dollar per FB friend–not a lot of money, but if “This One’s on Me” takes off, it could mean a whole bunch of money for deserving causes. I know some of you accept and seek out friend requests as rabidly as vulture capitalists swoop down on companies, leaving you with lots and lots of friends. If you can afford a buck a friend, great. If not, just divide your friends into groups with similar passions and causes and send a buck-per-group to appropriate organizations.

Use that same passion for acquiring FB friends to do some good in this world (unless you believe in the Mayan calendar prediction going around, then you needn’t bother). Remember, give a buck and let your FB people know what you did in their name.

Who knows, if we start now, “This One’s on Me” just might catch fire–speaking of which, there are firefighters groups, burn victims, reforestation projects…see how easy it is? Let’s give it a go. After all, ’tis the season, and your Karma will thank you.

Happy Birthday, Papa John Schnatter

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What do you give to a man who has everything?

Comeuppance, that’s what!

The season of giving is approaching faster than ever this year, due in no small part to the crass commercialization of the holidays by big money-grubbing corporations. As you probably know, the day after Thanksgiving — Black Friday — is the biggest jewel in that profit tiara, and happens to fall on Friday, November 23 this year.

What you probably don’t know is that November 23 also happens to be the 52nd birthday of one John Schnatter, CEO of Papa John’s Pizza. Yes, that John Schnatter — the 40,000 sq. ft Castle-living, 22 car garage owning ruler of all he surveys. He of the “ I will have to lay off people due to the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) because it will cost 14 cents more per pizza” fame.

Yep, John Schnatter’s birthday is right around the corner, and here’s a way to celebrate it:

Click on the following link (PDF), download this special birthday message, print a bunch of copies (spend a couple bucks at Kinkos if you don’t have a printer — your nation will thank you), then on Friday, November 23, mosey on over to your local Papa John’s Pizza. As people go in, smile and hand them a copy. Who knows, once they discover what kind of man Papa John Schnatter really is, they just might turn around and go get their heartburn somewhere else. 

If there’s no Papa John’s nearby — no problem. Just go to a shopping area and hand them out to people as they forage for the best Black Friday specials. If you’re feeling really industrious, place a copy on car windshields. Hey, even if you’re just walking the dog, drop off a copy or two at your neighbors’ houses.

Help to educate the public on what this modern day Scrooge is up to.

By alerting people to Schnatter’s actions and comments, you will also cause other companies to think twice before following Papa John’s lead. After all, CEOs hate public exposure even more than they hate minimum wage laws.

But hey, forget about other CEOs — this is John’s day! He’s a bully, he’s mean-spirited, and obviously very, very greedy, so let’s give him a birthday he won’t soon forget.

“Stuff”: an open letter to Bill O’Reilly

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Election night.  Bill O’Reilly says the reason President Obama was re-elected is because 50% of the population want “stuff.”As much as I hate to admit it, O’Reilly is correct.  I do want “stuff.” Here’s the “stuff” I want:

1.   Respect–for my gender.  I’m a woman, and I’ve seen the dismissal of      my gender, which, while not given the equality we deserve for years, has not only been held in stasis recently, but has been attacked, ridiculed and reduced.

2.   Respect–for my business.  Not to be taken advantage of by bankers (as an individual and taxpayer.)  When I rely on a loan officer’s expertise to assist me in acquiring a home loan I expect him not to use his knowledge as a weapon against me.  I expect not to be lied and stolen from.  I expect him to be worthy of the trust I give him.  I also expect him to have the decency to blow the whistle if his superiors order him to do otherwise.

3.   Respect–for my work.  Acknowledgement that is I work for you I am helping continue your business, helping make it sustainable and profitable.  do I want what you get?  No.  but without me you wouldn’t get what you get.  while I work for you and am glad to have a job and be productive you should appreciate me for my participation in keeping your business going.

4.   Respect–for my vote.  That I will not be told lies that are patently false and are being debunked before my eyes, yet you continue to espouse them.  That when I go to vote, my vote will not be erased.  My vote will not be manipulated.  I will not be told to go to the wrong polling place, or get a call telling me that my day to vote has changed when it hasn’t.  Iwill not be made to stand in lines for hours on the hope I will abandon my vote, my voice.

You see, Mr. O’ Reilly, the stuff I want has nothing to do with government handouts, entitlements or whatever else you had in mind.  Simply put, the “stuff” I want is respect for my humanity and a fair shake.

There it is, Mr. O’Reilly.  Any compassionate, caring and respectful person would understand the “stuff” I want…which explains your error.

Legitimate Rape

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As I tried to scrape the remnants of my chin off the floor, I wondered how in hell ANYONE (let alone Representative Akin, a person representing the public and promoting it’s welfare) could utter the words “legitimate” and “rape” together?

So I began to look at how we got here–no, not from the “egg” status, nor “evolution v creationism,” but to the current state of our U.S. of A.

First, I looked up the definition of “rape”-to seize, take by force, violate, assault, well, you should have the picture by now.  The after effects of rape listed: demoralization, depression, diminished self-esteem, etc.–clearly NOT a place any sentient person would want to visit.

I wondered if there was something fundamentally wrong with us as Americans that would cause such a prominent Republican, one of our two major political parties to have such a wrongheaded and cruel conception of rape.

So I reflected on the beginnings of our country.  Settlers came over, decided they wanted this continent (no, not to share it, to OWN it.)  So what did they do?  Mowed down anyone and anything in their path–Native Americans (aka “savages”–Indian Removal Act, anyone?), decimation of their food supply, the buffalo, reservations, look it up.  then came the railroads, pushing westward and taking whatever they wanted.  And leave us not forget the oil companies, with Standard Oil and those Rockefellers at the helm–always with force, nothing conciliatory about these guys.

Funny too, all this done by men.  Everyone besides these men were forced to live with the repercussions of their bullying stampede.  And so this form of rape continues in various forms to this day.

Steps have been taken to stop, or at least diminish this type of “legitimate rape.”  There have been successes,  However, in the last 30 years during Republican administrations, huge strides were made to remove hard-won protections of people, lands and laws that deny “legitimate rapists” the type of assaults they have been perpetrating since the day the first white man disembarked.

The rapists have done an admirable job, what with the financial industry–banking in particular–kicking people out of their homes, taking over their property, oftentimes illegally, (starting to sound familiar?), private prisons and voter suppression (to name a few.)

They even created a HUGE lobbying agency called ALEC for their one-stop-legislative shopping needs, where the legitimate rapists write the laws and all a state, local or federal representative has to do is remove the letterhead, replace it with their own and march it to the floor of their particular legislature.  ALEC takes care of this.

ALEC, which stands for the American Legislative Exchange Council, is both well-funded and totally devoid of scruples.  Did I also mention that they are very, very cunning?  what they have done is not to only “legitimize” this sort of rape and plunder, but to “legalize” it as well.

Enmeshed in this kind of mindset, I can see how someone like Todd Akin can put the words “rape” and ‘legitimate” together and feel just fine about it.  Along with that offensively absurd statement, he added that the female body has ways to “shut that whole thing sown” to prevent pregnancy.  Of course, there are no facts to support this.

There is, however, a fact that has held fast throughout centuries: if everyone votes–everybody–we may not be able to wipe out all kinds of rape, but we sure can shut down this particularly ugly, nasty and violating ALEC-type “legitimate” rape…of all people.

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