Monday, April 29, 2013

At least 380 People Lose Their Lives in Building Collapse in Banglasdesh

The above headline is not really news, as it happened about 5 days ago. There is no longer a rescue mission, but a recovery mission in Bangladesh, in which the death toll will most likely rise dramatically. This tragedy has not been covered 24/7 on the major television news networks, but at least it has been given more than a few seconds mention.

I am sure that the majority of Americans did not pay too much attention to the news of the building collapse and I am very sure that the majority of Americans could not pinpoint Bangladesh on a map of the world, if they have even ever heard of it before.  So with most people the tragedy was not close to home and the victims were poor and Muslims , so little attention was paid to it.

The truth about this tragedy is that it is closer to home than we think. Those killed were young men and women and children, who were employed as garment workers in a garment factory. They made the very clothes that Americans and Europeans buy at Walmart and other clothing stores. These are the clothes that are sold in department stores at a relatively inexpensive price. The reason why clothes made in Bangladesh and other poor third world countries are so cheap is that the garment workers are paid about $38 a month for six 12 hour days a week. And why are the clothes we buy made in Bangladesh, Vietnam and China? The answer is that the cost of labor is extremely cheap as compared to the US and elsewhere. Garment factories in Bangladesh make clothing for American and other Western companies, who wish to lower the cost of producing a product, while at the same time  making a profit for the shareholders. If we own shares in Walmart or other such companies our shares do better, the worse the garment workers do!

Fortunately the owner of the garment factory was arrested for willfully neglecting the safety of his employees. The less he pays his workers and the less he pays for their safety, the more money he gets from his American and European clients, who gladly look the other way on safety measures. It is odd that in a third world country like Bangladesh the owner responsible for this tragedy was arrested and will likely spend his life in prison, if convicted, while  the owners of the West, Texas fertilizer plant that exploded recently, will probably not even have to spend an hour in jail.

The next time you purchase an article of clothing look at the label and see where it was made. Also if you own shares in American companies that outsource their work to Bangladesh and other third world countries find how how much money the workers there make and compare it to what you paid for the item. Then think back to this tragedy.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

North Korea: China's Frankenstein Monster.

Photo courtesy of Globaljuggler 

The world, and especially South Korea and Japan, today seem to be playing a waiting game to see if North Korea will provoke a war on the Korean peninsula. Tensions in that area are as high, probably as they ever even been since the cease fire which unofficially ended the Korean War. Kim Jong-un, the portly new leader of the Communist state is the grandson of Kim Il-sung, the founder of the  Kim family dynasty.

Kim Il-sung came to power after the death of his father Kim Jong-il and at first offered hope that tensions would be reduced. However, he has been ratcheting up the bellicose rhetoric and threatening to destroy the United States and South Korea. Kim Jong-un's father and grandfather often raised the tensions in the area making threats, but suddenly cooled down and even entered into talks with
South Korea, the US, China, Japan and Russia to dismantle North Korea's nuclear program in exchange for food aid and economic assistance. According to experts on North Korea, the new leader is trying to prove himself to his people and to reassure his and the military's strangle hold on the North Korean people and force the US into talks that would result in more aid. To the rest of the world this seems odd, as normal governments warm up to those they seek to assist them, not threaten them.

North Korea is one of the poorest nations on earth and definitely the most secretive and technologically backward countries of the world. And the government wants to keep it that way. While the communist regime develops nuclear weapons and strengthens the military the citizens of North Korea are constantly starving as a result of famine. South Korea and even the US has given food aid to alleviate the extreme hunger, but the aid seems to go directly to the army and party officials. It is widely known that the Kim family, the generals and high members of the communist party live a lavish lifestyle, while ordinary citizens have been forced to eat dirt. There have even been reports that some families have resorted to eating their children in order to survive.Everyday devices such as computers, wide screen TVs, cars, cell phones ipods etc. are unknown in North Korea. There are only 2 stations on the few TVs , which broadcast a constant barrage of propaganda and military music. There is no Internet, where they can come in contact with the rest of the world, but an "intranet" which can only be used inside the country and is strictly controlled by the government.

North Koreans are so brainwashed that they actually believe people in the US and South Korea are starving in the streets, while North Korea is a utopia. No one knows how many people are being held in the vast prison system, as political prisoners, for crimes such as possessing a cell phone, listening to  foreign radio stations or viewing  
western videos. One thing that is unique about the treatment of political prisoners in  North Korea is that not just the person accused of the crime is imprisoned, but that persons children, parents and oft times grandparents are also imprisoned.

For most people the actions and behavior of North Korea is not only intolerable, but also inhumane. How did North Korea come to this point where they not only were admitted to the United Nations, but now thumbs  their nose at the UN and threatens the nuclear destruction of  its neighbors and the US and her allies? How can a country that values the continuance of family dictatorship over the lives of it's citizens be allowed to do so and also to threaten the lives of millions of people? I believe those questions should be asked of China. Equipping a million man army and developing a nuclear weapons program costs millions of dollars. So how does a country whose citizenry are starving afford to do this? The answer is China.

At the beginning of the Korean War, China entered the war to battle the United Nations forces, even though China was a member of the United Nations. Ever since that time China has vetoed every resolution that may have condemned or even reprimanded North Korea. China has politically and economically supported North Korea, in spite of its brutality towards its own people. Because of China's behavior North Korea has continued its reign of terror and uncivilized behavior toward the rest of the world and ignored the UN. In 1945 China created a monster, much like Dr. Frankenstein did. Now that monster, North Korea, is threatening the stability in that area of the world, as well as threatening the lives of its neighbors. Now China is in a bind, as it finally has become a major player on the world stage.

China is worried about the collapse of the North Korean regime for two reasons. If the regime collapses thousands of  starving refugees will flood across the Chinese border seeking food and asylum. This would put a serious damper on the booming economy of China. Secondly if the North Korean regime collapses  the two Koreas would unite and China would have a democratic neighbor which would most likely have American bases. Both of these scenarios are unacceptable to China. China's support for North Korea in the past, in my opinion, is criminal, with their support for the brutal and murderous regimes of the Kim family. Will China finally abandon its support of North Korea and join the world of civilized, responsible nations in thoroughly condemning North Korea? Or will it choose to continue to support a fellow communist nation only because it is communist, despite the possibility of millions of lives being lost, just to make sure a free and democratic nation is not a neighbor?

We will have to wait and see how this situation develops and how the world can deal with North Korea. It is time for ideologies to take a back seat to saving and improving the lives of millions of North Koreans who have been kept in a prison of darkness and brutality.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Another Supplement to Melt the Fat Away

Last year I wrote a post called "I've Joined the Raspberry Ketone Craze",which described the big diet fad that was fueled by Dr. Oz's recommendation on his TV show. In that article I explained that I joined that fad and purchased raspberry ketones and did not lose an ounce. Well a few months ago the same neighbor who called my attention to Dr. Oz and raspberry ketones came to me about Dr. Oz's latest weigh loss miracle, Green Coffee Bean Extract. I must say that she believes every word that Dr. Oz says. Being quite skeptical after trying raspberry ketones I spent some time researching green coffee bean extract and what Dr. Oz had to say about it. I found this video on You Tube and after seeing it I was willing to give it a try, especially after hearing that I could lose weight without dieting or exercise.

I ordered exactly what Dr. Oz recommended, 50% chlorogenic acid with no fillers and 400 mg. I took these a half hour before meals and continued my routine of exercise and eating habits. I followed this regimen for 13 weeks. And guess what? Absolutely nothing happened. I did not lose an ounce and in fact I gained weight!

I must say that I really did not expect to lose any weight, as I believe there is no quick way to melt away the fat, other than eating less and exercising more. What I did wonder about is what Dr. Oz. gets out of promoting these "weight loss wonders". I am sure I am not the only lazy idiot out there who forks over big bucks to lose weight effortlessly, just on the word of Dr. Oz. I must point out that I do not watch his show, but many people I know hang on his every word. If you look at the many brands of green coffee extract, you will see the words, "recommended by Dr. Oz", so someone is making a lot of money from people who listed to these health gurus.

As I have said before and all nutritionists and physical fitness experts have said a million times over and over, don't look for a miracle pill to lose weight. Use exercise, proper nutrition and common sense to lose weight.

Ablog about liberal politics andsocial issues