THE COMING COTTON CRISIS

“WHEN ONE TUGS AT A SINGLE THING IN NATURE, HE FINDS IT ATTACHED TO THE REST OF THE WORLD”

John Muir had it right. Everything is connected – despite corporate powers that would have you think differently.  Everything we do and every step we take impacts some other fragment of our world. We are tied together in a string that is never ending.

I get up early – 5:00 a.m. – even on weekends.  On Saturday morning, two of my favorite programs are the U.S Farm Report at 6:00 a.m. and This Week in Agribusiness at 7:00.  Why? Here is a little background before I get to the importance of cotton and crops and connections.

My great-grandfather was a farmer.  But that was back in the days of hand-gathering of eggs, hand-milking of cows, the storing of milk in spring houses, wood burning stoves, rising at 3:00 a.m., breakfasts that were feasts, and the good old out house.

Grandpa Brewer – I am German on both sides of my family – would take me out to the old hen house to gather eggs.  I was so little, and I remember walking into the old rickety hen house with him – all confident that I would be able to do this.  It smelled acrid – ammonia – and there were all these clucking, ugly looking hens.  He would tell me to just slide my hand under the hen and pull the egg out.  I would try, but the hen would peck me, and I would jerk my hand out and wimper,  from both fear and disappointment.

I will never forget, Grandpa always said to me, “Girlie – he always called me “girlie” – you just have to do it this way – they won’t hurt you.”  And then, he would slide his weathered, brown hand under the chicken and pull out an egg.  The chicken didn’t even make a sound or try to peck him.  I never could figure it out.

And, man, I hated that out house.  I would almost subject myself to a burst bladder before I would get  up in the dead of night and troop out there to that old-fashioned “port-a-potty.”  I was scared to death – it was a dark woods – at night – with noises.

But I loved my sleeping quarters – no air conditioning in those days.  I would climb up the old wood stairs to the second floor, and I would climb into a bed covered with a down-filled comforter.  And, I would sink and sink.  The down-filled comforters would swallow me up.  To this day, I have never felt such a comforting feeling of security and lightness and softness.

And I loved the spring house.  It was a dark, cool place with a small rippling, bubbling slice of cold crick running through it.  I barely remember its contents but the wooden shelves were lined with jars of canned goods and the milk was sunk deep into the little path of water that ran through it.  My great-grandfather didn’t believe in becoming “modern”  although he finally caved and got indoor plumbing and refrigeration.  But he never gave up on his old wood cook stove.  To the day he died at 93, he cooked with that huge, black, cast-iron giant that lived in his kitchen.

He milked his one cow, he slopped his hogs, he gathered his eggs, he raised his vegetables, he hooked up his one horse to his sleigh to gather wood.  We would go out in the winter and gather wood and load it onto the sleigh, and his faithful horse would haul us all back to the house. We were cold; we were tired; but we were elated that we had come home with wood for the cook stove and the old fireplace.

And the breakfasts, unbelieveable.  We had a table that groaned with food – sausage and gravy and biscuits, eggs, pancakes, sausage, potatoes, sorghum molasses, home churned butter, and so many other things.  That is where I began my love affair with sorghum molasses.  It isn’t molasses; it is molasses cut with sugar syrup.

There is nothing better than home made biscuits – hot from the wood burning stove – and sorghum molasses mixed with butter spread on the hot biscuits – melting into the flaky biscuit.

During the depression, my Grandfather and Grandmother lived with him.  My Grandpa on my mother’s side was a Baptist minister but times were hard, and they needed the farm to survive.  Farming kept many alive through the Depression.  Good, simple, and hardworking people.

Now, to the connection between cotton and farming and the attachment to the rest of the world.  The south has been known for cotton production.  But cotton is no longer king of the Mississippi delta.  The southern states are starting to look like the Midwest.

Photo Credit:  Wikipedia

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The Agriculture Department estimates that 8.8 million acres of cotton will be planted in the United States this year, down 7 percent from 2008 and 42 percent from 2006.  It will be the lowest cotton acreage since 1983, an anomalous year when farmers cut acreage after a string of bountiful harvests that created a surplus.  Nowhere has the slump been greater than in Mississippi, where farmers decreased their cotton planting to 365,000 acres in 2008, from 1.2 million acres in 2006.

The decrease in cotton production is due to the increasing demand for corn needed for ethanol production.  So the southern states are converting cotton producing acreage to corn producing acreage.  And, fewer acres of cotton means an ever-increasing reliance on foreign producers of textile products and continued loss of American jobs to outsourcing.

Cotton, once king in the south,is now fast becoming a secondary citizen.  And, just like John Muir said,”WHEN ONE TUGS AT A SINGLE THING IN NATURE, HE FINDS IT ATTACHED TO THE REST OF THE WORLD.”

We tug at alternative fuel production and we impact the value of crops related to ethanol production, which, in turn, makes it more valuable to plant corn instead of cotton, which, in turn, simply decreases cotton production for clothing, which, in turn, increases reliance on foreign textile products – more goods from foreign countries – more outsourcing of American jobs.

We are connected, and everything we do is connected to something else.

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About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
This entry was posted in Biofuels, Ethanol, Farming and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to THE COMING COTTON CRISIS

  1. Iceironman says:

    Anyone with 1/2 a brain could tell that ethanol was not the answer. It is not a bad sub for MTBE or other things but not the answer. Just like wind and solar are not the answer. Cotton will be fine the markets will correct. That is what is great about the free market system, less cotton, higher price. Higher price, more folks plant it. The system works

    Here is a long term soln that I know you will love, because it is from Mitch Daniels, he is on the front lines of energy production.

    http://archives.chicagotribune.com/2009/mar/24/news/chi-ap-in-xgr-coalgasificat

  2. Andy says:

    Great story about your great-grandfather. I enjoyed reading about your life experiences with him.

  3. Ice:

    The free market system won’t work if during the time cotton is not planted, corporations up their outsourcing and don’t bring anything back but cheap products.

    In case you haven’t noticed, corporations simply pack up and move or open plants where the staple item – such as cotton – isn’t needed to produce clothing. They simply won’t pay the higher price if it ever does recover.

    The free-market system is detroying American lives, not helping them. The outsourcing of jobs and shutting down factories here to make the ever almighty profit is decimating the American workforce.

    Like I said, try to find items made in the US. I used to be able to count on almost everything being made here – now I can’t find much at all.

  4. Andy:

    Thank you. Sometimes I really miss those childhood days on Grandpa’s farm.

    It was hard work, and we didn’t have the modern conveniences, but we always had fun.

  5. mark says:

    Yes, the failure and unintended consequences of a government program involving huge government subsidies proves the free-market doesn’t work.

  6. L. Marine says:

    Charlotte-this is probably not the place to teach economics but without profits there is no incentive for anyone to invest. Without investment there are no factories or other businesses to provide jobs-the only enterprise that can create jobs or continue without profits is government at various levels. They just raise taxes or borrow the money with our children and grand children left with the debt.
    All of the jobs here or around the world were created using the investment of funds saved by the business owner or borrowed from others(who saved them)who expect a return for the use of their money.With no profits or returns,people would just put their savings in the mattress and NO jobs would be created! Profit is NOT a dirty word despite what our liberal and Socialist friends may think or preach.

  7. Iceironman says:

    So, say it with me “I am a SOCIALIST, and communist in waiting” Free markets dont destroy anything. Goverment involvement does. Substities sustain the weak producer, and feed America. If you want to pay 8 dollars for a pack of hot dogs, get rid of the substities.

    Based on my advanced knowledge of agriculture, take corn back to 4 bucks, cotton up up and higher yet and your cotton is safe. Watching one 5 minute ag report does not make you an expert. And, in spite of your hating of big business, they actually use speculation to purchase their cotton well in advance, even years. This is called speculation. Another word you have been taught to hate. So the price of cotton doubles, they have already purchased at a lower price, making a variable input, a fixed cost somewhat.

    Free markets always will work, it is when govt gets involved that things get screwy.

    I will bet you cotton is grown in more acres in the south next year, want that bet.

  8. Iceironman says:

    Mark, the only thing substities prove is that gov. gets involed so you wont whine about food prices. The free market would work fine and make people work harder and smarter to produce food, and to be able to affod it at the supermarket.

    Get rid of govt regulations in the auto industries, do you think they would be more profitable? Unarguabley the answer is yes. Unions gone. Rediculous 35 mpg averages gone.

  9. L. Marine:

    I don’t remember saying that there shouldn’t be profits. I am just wondering if the free-marketers have any point at which they would say the profit is too high or that the corporations are too powerful.

  10. Ice:

    Again with the blaming the unions. Have you paid any attention at all to the statistics I have provided on unions?

    They are only 7.5% of the private labor force – hardly enough to destroy the whole country. Frankly we need more unions to counter-balance the outrageous power that the corporations have accumulated by swallowing up company after company.

    Is there any point at which you would acknowledge that corporations are too powerful – or do you prefer that they take over the world just like they are doing now?

  11. Ice:

    Would you care to point to the place in my article where I said I was an expert? Please stop fabricating positions that I have not taken.

    As to a free market – you have got to be kidding. There never has been a true free market just like there has never been a true communist system. If you want a free market where goods and services are not controlled, then perhaps you think that marijuana and other drugs should be available.

    After all, why have government control anything at all? Or do you want to pick and choose what the government does?

    Good Lord, please read about communist systems, socialist systems, and capitalistic systems. All three are theories since no pure system has ever existed. You seem to throw out any number of statements aimed at generating fear.

    If you understand something, there is no need to fear it. But I guess that would be too tough for Republicans and conservatives to do. I mean, after all, they need to have something to grasp onto at this point.

  12. Andy says:

    @Iceironman-

    You said:

    “So, say it with me “I am a SOCIALIST, and communist in waiting” Free markets dont destroy anything. Goverment involvement does.”

    My response:

    Ahhh yes… the big, bad, evil government. If govt would just get the heck out of the way, the whole world would be much better off.

    Please stop with this fairy tale. The scenario you paint gives one the impression of an all-out free-for-all, where no government intervention equals total bliss. Keep in mind, we are not living in the 1800’s here. One cannot just hop in his or her covered wagon and start a new homestead out on the prairie free from any impeding, meddlesome government. The world is interconnected now. We have real issues facing our country and planet which require careful planning, responsible thinking and mutual consideration for all parties involved.

    Case in point – the whole “socialism” and “communism” labels and rants are getting very old. And even more disturbing, I smell just a faint hint of McCarthyism in some of these claims.

    It seems to me some the folks pounding their chest and throwing around these names may be advocating for social anarchy. Or maybe even harbor nihilist views ? Do you absolutely believe there should be no govt involvement whatsoever ? If so, as Charlotte stated previously, marijuana should be legal and so should other drugs. Also abortions should and would remain legal, driving drunk while going 160 mph on the interstate would be legal, and dumping toxic waste into the nearest stream would be perfectly fine too. Forget the police, firemen, Dept of Health, Building Code Inspectors, DNR, Armed Forces, FDA, etc. All those funny little, pesky things we call LAWS would just go to the wayside.

    Reality check here: Govt is needed and warranted, but how much we want the govt involved is a perfectly debatable issue.

    Let’s put it this way: I have kids, when I go into a restaurant to eat, I want to have some security knowing the sandwich I ordered and I am about to consume will be safe to eat. I want to know if I climb the stairs to eat outside on a second story deck, the stairs or the deck won’t collapse while myself and my children are climbing up them or eating on the deck. I also would like to have some peace of mind knowing the factory located a few blocks down the street is not spewing some smoke loaded with carcinogens out into the air that myself and my children are breathing in. Or when I take my kids for a swim in the lake, the water we swim in is somewhat safe and not loaded with pesticides or other harmful lawn chemicals that have drained into the lake from the last rainfall.

    I fear if these responsiblities were left up to the private sector or corporations, the almighty dollar bill would trump all or many of these issues. Corners would be cut, inferior products would be used, and the health and safety of the consumer would be compromised.

    I believe the majority of people in this country, and around the world, want the same thing: safe neighborhoods, good schools, clean air and water, safe food and the right to have their voices heard.

    In fantasy land, maybe corporations do the “right” thing all the time, but reality and history tells us otherwise.

  13. Iceironman says:

    Have you thought about what is going on? Yes we need oversight, yes we have had oversight, on everything curtisy of your govt. The oversight fails because a bunch of dueshbags are in power in Washington. So, they make more regulations, make cars unaffordable, companies non competitive, and consumer prices rise. You keep thinking govt involvment will make it ok. Like Social Security, Medicare, the post office, licence branch, you know, I dont mind govt involvement. Just give me these things and you can be as social as you want

    1. Keep my taxes low
    2. Give me an option on all purchases, healthcare, insurance, etc
    3. Get the hell out of the private sector.
    4. If they can account for EVERY dime of Obamas spending, let me know.

    Why do you guys think govt is so good and rescue you? Are you not grown up? Why the need for a saftey blanket.

  14. Ice:

    A point of clarification – the post office and post roads were set out in Article I, Section 8:

    Congress shall have the power:

    “To establish post offices and post roads.”

    Andy laid out some excellent reasons – and thank you, Andy for your great response – why we need safety blankets – be it health, safety, or social. I am certain you learned in college in economics that the reason for business is to make a profit. How do they word it? Ah yes, “what is the bottom line in business – profit.” The bottom line is not ensuring whether a product or construction or an item is safe – it is making a profit.

    Businesses tend to like profit, and anything that cuts into that profit is disliked. All those nice protections that Andy listed come at a cost to business. But, as much as businesses complain about government regulation, what do you thing they do in the end? They simply pass the cost on to the consumer.

    So, I guess, in the end, you have to decide whether you want to pay for safe food, safe facilities, safe automobiles, and on and on, for yourself and your family. Businesses generally won’t take those steps if left to their own devices.

    Many times, the companies you mention that become non-competitive are those driven out by the likes of the big-box stores – Walmart, Meijer, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Sam’s Club, etc. These stores through good old “free-market capitalism” have no sense of fairness – they don’t care. Walmart is one of the – if not the most – cut throat corporations in the world. I know your response will be – tough luck that is capitalism.

    And, if you want government out of business, then let’s take away patent rights, which are provided by the government pursuant to the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8. Read it, and I think you will certainly understand that the Founding Fathers did not have in mind what has occurred in today’s world of patents and copyrights – namely seed technology monopoly and pharmaceutical product monopoly.

    Monsanto and Syngenta have basically cornered the market on crop and seed technologies. See http://www.organicconsumers.org/patent/positech.cfm. Monsanto and Syngenta then challenge anyone who “infringes” on their patents – never mind the fact they are cornering the market.

    Let’s let the pharmaceutical companies compete on a level playing field without patent protection which drives up prices astronomically. For about 20 years from the date of the application, pharmaceutical companies can charge what they darn well please. At the end of their patent reign of highway robbery, the generics get a chance. Would you support leveling the playing field by taking away government-provided patent rights for both seed technology and medicine?

    Why not just let pharmaceutical and seed corporations research and develop without patent protection. Let the best company win. If they develop the technology first, they will be able to market it first and have a head-start on the others. Then as the other companies complete development, their products will be entered into the market as competitive alternatives. Forget the patent system, which simply shuts out competition. Is this free-market to you?

    Again, Ice, just where is it you would like to see government involved or not involved?

  15. Iceironman says:

    Golden rice, govt didnt make them develop it. Airbags, govt didnt make them develop them, Onstar, govt didnt make them do it, Pasturization, govt didnt do it, Seatbelts, govt didnt make them, Helmets, govt didnt make them. Turn signals, govt didnt make them. Brake lights, govt didnt make them. Elevator emergency brakes, govt had no involvment. Runflat tires, govt didnt force this. Anti lock brakes, no govt involvment.

    there are so many saftey devices on powertools, mowers, autos, etc that I could not possibley name them. There are so many developments in food saftey and storage I could not name them. The point is you have the system backwards. Companies and individuals create saftey products and develop methods to aid people and protect them, then the govt mandates it. You act like Build a bear would just assume use sharred glass in its stuffing if it was cheaper than cotton, not a lot of return business would take place. If a customer has a bad experience at a resturaunt, the word travels and soon the place is out of business.

    So you want a pharm company to spend billions on Research and Development and then release the drug, only to have a hack company down the road make a generic within a week? Sounds like a great way to stay in business. You obviously dont realize that a competitive company could diagnose what is in the drug in less than a week and start in. I guess I will wait for Steven King to write a book, wait till it comes out, photo copy it and sell it as mine. That would be fair? Patents give us reason to create without threat of being hacked, and justify us spending our lives inventing.

    Yes I want govt out of business, they should not give bailouts, they should not own stock, they should not steal from one producer to give to another(cap and trade) under the guise of global warming hoax. Picking windmills over coal because of special intrerest groups like GE. Talk about govt and corporate sleeping with one another. The congressmen who vote for windmills also own stock in windmill and alternative energy. Suprise Suprise. So yes lets get govt out of business, but protect there R and D dollars.

    Cap and trade will send companies oversees, something you and I agree is not good, right? Even Virginias govenor is for cap and trade, but admits if done only in Virginia, it would send business running. Same thing is going to happen to the US because we are on a global structure. Run companies run. I wouldnt mind the cap and trade if the govt would say “we guantee you this will create jobs and reduce the temp on the earth by .6 degrees in 4 years” But they wont, because they know it wont do crap to the temp of the earth. What a bunch of egos. Once again the govt takes the consumer out of the picture and pics its favorite. How are all of those shovel ready projects? Last I checked there was about 700 billion stil sitting in Washington, but remember if we didnt pass that bill it was all over. If we passed the bill, unemployment would stay under 8%. WRONG. What a mess we have made of this country.

    As of May 8, less than 8 percent of the spending scheduled for fiscal years ’09 and ’10 has taken place.[2] That 8 percent ($37 billion) had been spent almost entirely on Health and Human Services until the week of May 1, when $12 billion was spent in one week by the Department of Labor. Before the week of May 1, just 3.3 percent of scheduled ’09 and ’10 spending had occurred

    Go ahead, take it back to D vs R. I am above that, I think it is nothing more than a game to the people in Washington, Pelosi, Reed, Dodd, Gingrich, and the whole group.

  16. Andy says:

    @Iceironman-

    You said:

    “Why do you guys think govt is so good and rescue you? Are you not grown up? Why the need for a safety blanket.”

    I don’t think govt is always “good”. Unfortunately, there is corruption and shady characters involved in ANY type of government. But, this is not a reason for me to throw in the towel, and say: “Govt sucks, we are all “grown up”, and the citizens don’t need a “safety blanket”.

    I’ll have one more go at this, but I do realize I have to consider the mind set of an anti-govt, pro big business, advocate.

    I’m sticking with the whole kids concept because this is one that is dear to my heart. The truth is: I really, really love my kids. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say the majority of Americans probably feel the same way.

    Our toddler was sick this past spring and required medical attention. There is nothing worse than seeing your child in pain. We drove him to the hospital, where a team of nurses (registered nurses) and doctors (board certified) attended to him in ways my wife and I could only dream of. Although, we were stressed and worried, we feel our son received excellent care while he was admitted. Would we have received this care had strict govt regulations and govt mandated credentials for medical facilities and medical professionals not been required by law ? What if any bloke on the street could claim he or she was a doctor of medicine ? What if the Dept of Health was not surveying medical facilities such as hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, clinics, etc ? Believe me, profit is the driving force behind many of the CEO’s who manage the thousands of hospitals and medical facilities across the nation. I fear if there were not strict govt guidelines on how patients should be treated and cared for, the quality of the care people received would suffer.

    Another example: children’s toys. Remember this whole lead-based paint ruckus last year ? There was a huge public outcry from parents who were shocked to find out a lot of the toys being imported from China contained lead-based paint. Again, my children are toddlers, and I sure as hell don’t want them putting a toy in their mouths that contains lead-based paint. Could consumers rely on the toy manufactures who want to save a few bucks on labor and have the toys made over seas, to do the right thing ? Hell no ! Let’s be honest – money was the main goal here – not the consumers or users of the products who just happened to be children in this case.

    Here’s another one: The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration)
    I don’t think I’m asking too much to be sure that the plane my wife and children are riding on has passed regular inspection tests that are mandated by the govt ( Yes, how dare that big, bad, old govt require the private sector to do this. Damn commies !)

    If you remember not too long ago, airline darling Southwest Airlines, found itself in deep water for not complying with federal regs for failing to perform mandatory routine safety checks on some of their planes. Since I fly Southwest a few times a year, this sent up a huge red flag for me. Do I want myself, my wife and children flying an airline that was knowingly jeopardizing passenger and crew safety by not performing regular safety checks? If the FAA did not enforce these checks, would the private sector comply voluntarily ?

    And again, one more for you: food. I’ll give you a specific incident. Just this past year a full-blown salmonella outbreak took place because a peanut processing plant in Georgia failed to provide clean and acceptable working conditions in their peanut processing plant. In an effort to save on costs and make a few more bucks, tainted peanut butter was shipped out regardless of previously testing positive for salmonella. Former employees of the Peanut Corp of America who were aware of the unhealthy conditions were quoted as saying: “ I never ate the peanut butter, and I wouldn’t allow my kids to eat it”.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-peanut-newfeb04,0,1819241.story

    Another worker at the peanut processing plant stated: “ I saw a rat roasting in peanut butter.”

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/02/03/earlyshow/health/main4771754.shtml

    The sick thing was the owner of the plant, Stewart Parnell, had a history of harboring these types of working conditions. It was only when his plants were inspected by govt agencies (Dept of Health, FDA) that this catastrophe was finally stopped.

    Fortunately, the Peanut Corporation of America is no longer in business. But to the hundreds of people who were sick and the nine people who lost their lives because of the corporations negligence, it should have came much sooner.

    These are just a FEW examples of why there is a need for govt oversight in the private sector. I will say it again, private industry or human beings for that matter, don’t always do the “right” thing. When greed and money go up against product and consumer safety, a lot of times corporations are too tempted to favor their own financial interests.

    Govt agencies are far from perfect, but I am glad they exist to help ensure the quality of our food, the safety of our planes and the many other products and services we as consumers come in contact with on a daily basis are safe and acceptable.

  17. Andy says:

    @ Iceironman-

    Sorry to take up some more time, but I did forget to mention one HUGE govt issued mandate which directly affected business owners (primarily in the southern part of the US who owned fairly large plantations):

    The Abolition of Slavery.

    I think its safe to say, a majority of the plantation owners (private sector) were more than a little peeved when Republican President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862. Even more so, when the 13th amendment to the US Constitution was adopted three years later which officially abolished slavery, I bet it REALLY pissed them off. After all, they (plantation owners) had highly profitable business ventures going, and why should the feds dictate to them how they operate in the private sector ?

    How dare that federal govt stick its nose into the private sector and free all of the thousands of slave workers who busted their butts (free of charge, for hundreds of years) for all the wealthy plantation owners ??

    Yep, keep the gov’t out of business. I’m sure all the plantation owners would have eventually came around and done the right thing had the govt not became involved.

  18. Iceironman says:

    Andy nice try. That is more of a human rights guanteed by the constitution affair. That would be like 50 years from now and look back at abortion and how hidious to think someone would rip a human being from the womb (dont forget,it is the norm now,but in time we will be a little more PROGRESSIVE), and me arguing that the govt shut down abortion clinics by getting all up in their “business”.

    Now if you will excuse me, I am going to continue to read Obamas energy bill, the bill that had 300 pages at 3 in the morning and was voted on by 4 pm the same day. If the thing is so damn good why was it burried on Friday afternoon? Why couldnt the American people read it first. Or hell for that matter it would have been nice if a few congress people got to read it. Reminds me of a song, smoot criminal by MJ.

    We are talking about a looming cotton crisis? How about the looming American dollar crisis and the mass exodis of business from the US if Cap and tax goes through

  19. Andy says:

    @Iceironman:

    I’m pretty confident the wealthy plantation owners who made tons of money off of slaves for many, many years did not view the abolishment of slavery as a “human rights” affair.

    I’ll go out on a limb here, saying the plantation owners probably viewed it more as an infringement on their pocket books than anything else. Remember, before slavery was outlawed, slaves were considered to be their owners’ PROPERTY. And he who owns lots and lots of property has the ability to make a lot of money.

    And yes, what a great thing to have the climate bill pass the House. I read in your previous comment where you expressed your displeasure with wind power and GE by stating: “Picking windmills over coal because of special interest groups like GE.”

    So, you don’t think switching to green energy sources such as wind, solar and hydro is a good idea because companies will make a profit from them ?

    Do you not think the coal companies are in “bed” with the politicians too ? I can assure you there are plenty of coal and oil lobbyists who contribute heavily to political candidates who push their agendas. Here’s one: Exxon Mobil. Plenty of lobbyists representing nothing but the oil company’s “best” intentions I’m sure.

    And just how do you think they continue to dominate the “TOP TEN CORPORATE EARNINGS OF ALL TIME” list anyhow ? Good old-fashioned, Midwestern work ethic ??

    http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_wires/2008Jul31/0,4675,EarnsOilGlance,00.html

  20. Iceironman says:

    Andy, clearly if abortion was banned, abortion doctors would not see it as a human rights case. After all, they are cleaning out wombs everyday. To the abortion doctors it is a money grubbing sceem. Do you get the comparison. If you put an abortion DR. out of business, their next interview may be difficult when they cant say how many lives they have saved or wounds they have heald. Kinda puts an abortion doctor on the outs.

    Andy, my point on GE is that they are trying to squeeze out coal. Here is the difference. Coal has brought this country power with a set amount of cost that we are willing to pay, with some impact on the environment. GE is forcing through government a wind and solar plan that is not proven and cannot possibly support our communities and cars (if they are to be electric). And Andy, If you think there will ever, ever, ever be more hydro power in this country you are a fool, or you need to get on the conservative side. Hydro power is great, but the environmental groups consider this 10X worse than nuclear. Oh did I say nuclear, the cleanest energy available, thats right France, you know the ones we model health care after are using nuclear.

    Bottom line, coal is in bed with govt. But coal gives me dependable electricity at an affordable, PROVEN price. To quote Obama “Energy costs will necessarily SKYROCKET”

    Another thing you libs are not considering. Once we start trading Carbon credits, wont that be like those evil banks that were trading and buying derivitives. A product that has no real world value. Thats all right, I will ask you a straight up question…..Will you buy carbon credits from me, after all they are carbon credits, just as good from me as they are from the government or a corporation???

  21. Andy says:

    @Iceironman

    You said:

    “And Andy, If you think there will ever, ever, ever be more hydro power in this country you are a fool,…”

    Really, have you ever heard of the Gorlov Helical Turbine ? Its a pretty cool invention which harnesses the power of waves or any water currents for that matter, converting the energy from the flow of water into electricity which will in turn be used to power many of our homes, cars and businesses across the US.

    http://www.nrdc.org/OnEarth/05spr/gorlov1.asp

    And guess what ? Its a form of hydropower !

    The problem I see here is some of us are still living and thinking like we are in the 20th century. Coal and gas were engrained into not just Americans, but the majority of the world’s way of life. Do you think Exxon Mobil and Peabody Coal actually want us to move to more environmentally safer and renewable energy sources ? Over the last 100 years the oil and coal industry has spent billions of dollars making sure Americans KEEP their addition to oil and coal, so the corporations will be the ones to reap the rewards. Remember: Exxon Mobil occupies the top TEN spots on the top TEN list of all time for corporate earnings.

    But, there is hope. Everyday, people are becoming more and more concerned about the harmful and devastating effects coal and oil are having on our planet. I believe the majority of people want to make the switch from fossil fuels to clean energy not just because it makes sense environmentally, but because it is a national security issue as well. After all, why should we keep making countries who wish American’s harm more and more wealthier ??

    The beauty is this: through science, research and development NEW ways of harnessing more environmentally acceptable energy sources are coming. You are fooling yourself if you think they will not be a major player in America’s future energy needs.

    You also said:

    “GE is forcing through government a wind and solar plan that is not proven and cannot possibly support our communities and cars (if they are to be electric).”

    Wind and solar power ARE proven and only continuing to grow around the world. Its just a matter of time, before more and more countries obtain a sizable amount of their electricity needs from these types of sources:

    http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6102?emc=el&m=239273&l=5&v=ca5d0bd2df

  22. Iceironman says:

    Andy, I guess I come across wrong. I would love for this country to be driven by windmills, solar, hydro and the best form of energy production NUCLEAR.

    My issue is that we are hurting as a nation, 10% unemployment soon. Inflation is coming. I pay Social security that I wont recieve anything back on. If healthcare goes thru, my taxes will go up. If cap and tax goes thru, my taxes and expences will go up. If cap and tax goes thru, carbon emission will be taxed (by the way you and I emmit this). If cap and tax goes thru, companies will leave the US even faster. India and China have no intention of following this practice. Leaving us strapped.

    I also dont like votes being bought and paid for such as Mary Kaptur from Ohio. You see Ohio is a coal producing state. Jobs and resource depend on this. Not just the coal industry but the businesses that need the power to function. So Mary decides she wont listen to the masses, and votes for the job killing, energy tax. So much for change we can believe and and reading bills line by line. 3.5 BILLION to buy her vote. Pretty expensive.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jul/01/sweetener-helped-sway-vote-on-house-climate-bill/

    Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go knit a sweater, you see, we are comming off of the coolest June in quite some time. Yesterday it got up to 68 degrees. You watch when they bring the climate change bill to the floor again. Wana bet sometime in mid August on word of a heat wave comming in???

    Here is some science that was not acceptable for Obamas plan so it was not included.
    http://cei.org/cei_files/fm/active/0/DOC062509-004.pdf

    Just 30 years ago they scared us into believing the earth was cooling
    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,944914,00.html

    Ozone story correcting the science of only 5-10 years ago.
    http://www.buzzle.com/articles/203904.html

    You dont have to read all of these. The point is that–Dont you get tired of feeling like the media and govt are trying to scare you daily? Who do you believe? You believe Al Gore, fine, but dont forget to look at the peer revied article I attached that says over the past 11 years we have cooled. Remember that hurricanes were predicted to be more severe and more common, Nope, they backpeddled on that too. I dont know who is right? My gut tells me that there is no man made global warming. My gut says politicians and big business want a chomp of a trillion dollar a year carbon credit sceme. Then, once again we have big business and govt trading something that does not exist or have real value, like derivitives and so on. Believe what you want, just dont forget to stick your head out the window and see for yourself.

  23. Ice:

    Good to see you were not at a loss for words while I was in Florida.

    I am not sure it even matters at this point what to say in response to you. Anything that “we” libs say is disagreeable to you, and you will fight it to the end. You really should stop pigeonholing all Dems as liberals.

    As an aside, I just finished watching the “Last of the Mohicans” again. Great movie. I had a chance to visit one of two sites in North Carolina on my way home from visiting one of my sons: either Biltmore or Chimney Rock. I am so glad I chose to visit Chimney Rock.

    Watching the movie reminded me of an old Native American proverb, so I dug it out for you. It is very simple:

    “We do not inherit the land from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

    Get it yet? Everything we do impacts this earth. You express concern about your children’s future – well, there won’t be any future if we don’t have an earth.

    You also have initiation of safey laws turned around. Guess what triggered a revamping of the meat-packing industry? It wasn’t good, old, socially conscious corporations – it was a novel written by Upton Sinclair called “The Jungle.”

    It led to passage of acts that required safety regs for the meatpacking industry so workers didn’t continue to lose fingers and hands to equipment or get pulled into huge machines. The condition of the meatpacking industry was unconscionable, but the corporations didn’t care. The workers were expendable and whatever ended up in the meat products – well, ended up in them for the public to consume.

    Your faith and belief in corporations is unrealistic and downright naive. Corporations want to make a profit, and they will do it in any way they can. You have got to be kidding when you attempt to give credit to companies for implanting safety regulations. This is where those nasty old lawyers come in – lawsuits tend to get the attention of miscreant corporations every time. Hit ’em in the pocket book, and they listen.

    The other driving force in safety regs is Congress and consumer groups who put together statistics to show that certain measures would decrease injury and death. Remember the Ford Pinto? Ford did what is known as “bean counting” and decided it was cheaper to pay out for injury and death from exploding gas tanks resulting from rear-end accidents than to correct the defect.

    Again, thinking that corporations will actually take steps to ensure the safety of its purchasers is ridiculous. Corporations could care less about safety unless they are smacked up side the head by a huge settlement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Pinto.

    And one last thing, no one will stop corporations from going overseas, but, if that is what they want to do, then put penalties on them, tax them at a higher rate, and put tariffs back on the products imported. Maybe that will make them stop and think about what they are doing.

  24. Iceironman says:

    It is pretty ridicuolous to think that “Corporations could care less about safety unless they are smacked up side the head by a huge settlement.”

    How many jets would Leer sell to the consumer if they had say even 3-4 crashes a year due to poor workmanship or defective products?

    How many hot dogs would you buy from a company if they were rotten?

    How many times would you go back to a resturaunt if you got sick there?

    How many vehicles would ford sell if the steering didnt work and the brakes failed?

    I actualy knew you would bring up the jungle, it is a liberal mecha kinda like silent springs. The only thing silent now is the MILLIONs of Africans dead because of milaria, how many deaths due to ddt?

    Last I checked, people were still losing arms, legs (one of my co-workers), eyes, feet(my neighbor) fingers(about 1/3 of farmers I see). Last time I checked factories were still putting out inferior products and they pay the price. Even with all the govt regulations.

    Lawyers dont help develop saftey, they are only looking after their bottom line, they dont give a rats backside whether someone dies. If lawyers cared so much they would get real jobs and engineer safer products.

    I think regulations are not as much for the corportations you hate but the little guy.

    If Kroger has a meat recall, It kills their business nationwide in their meat dept and grocery area. This means they need to provide a superior product to avoid this devistation.
    If Joes meat market lets a little bad meat slip by, yeah a customer may lose faith, but for the most part he may be ok. This guy is who the govt needs to watch over as much or more than the big companies.

    And once again you want to raise taxes on companies that are here, if they cant compete, they leave and you want to tax them more. Makes alot of sence. How is that working out for MI. What if corportations said drop your tax on me and we will not only lower prices, but that will lead to more sales and thus in this recession we will need to hire more people??? And where is all of that tax money going, my social security???

    I do care about the future of the earth, but until China does something the only thing my kids have to look forward to is a country 20 trillion in debt, high inflation, high energy prices. The dollar not being the world currency because it has no value. And when we all change over to the light bulbs you libs tout as the green idea, we as a nation will only lower global energy use by .0016%. Seem rational to me. And again, if this energy bill is so great, why intro it at 3am and vote 12 hours later, if it was so good why did Obama need to buy votes when he said he was different and earmarks were a thing of the past. It is scary how radicle you guys are, yet still use gas, electricty, and drink bottled water, buy Priuses which caused alot of environmental damage when being made and the batteries have to go somewhere with that lead and mucury.

    Bottom line. Taxing producers and giving to losers is not what America is about. Govt has a role in oversight not ownership. Let the consumer judge whether he wants a Camero or a Prius and make the taxes the same on both.

  25. Ice:

    The recalls exist because the government – both state and federal – have set up systems of regulation. I can’t believe you honestly think that corporations would take these measures if they weren’t forced.

    So what would you do? Have no safety regulations at all? Let the corporations run all over the consumer and the worker? Let’s say there were no regs. How would you ensure that the restaurant served safe food? If you got sick, and all other restaurants also did not need to follow regs, then your choice would be to take your chances or stay home? How does this fit into businesses making a living if all consumers decide to stay home?

    Is that what you really want? No regulations and all consumers just take their chances on anything they do? Flying, eating, sports, buying, entertainment? When you talk about death – how many deaths do you want before action is taken to protect workers and consumers? Would you like to live in a world of fear where every action you took could lead to potential illness, injury, or death because no regulations exist?

    No thanks – I will take government regulations any day as opposed to allowing corporations rule the consumer. By the way, government does not mandate a “quality” product – it mandates a “safe” product. There is a world of difference. Quality products can be unsafe and what are considered low quality products can be safe. Take canned vegetable, for example, many name brand companies produce the same product for the known brand label – Del Monte – and also produce the product for a specific store label such as Kroger.

    The well-known brand labels have been subject to recall right along with the store label brands of products.

    Meat recalls are not due to lack of superiority in the product as you state – the recalls happen because the product is unsafe. Kroger doesn’t increase the superior quality of its meat product – meat is meat is meat – they are forced to make sure the meat product is processed in a safe way which has nothing to do with producing a superior product in and of itself.

    Having worked in my Mom and Dad’s meat department, I doubt you will find too many ways of grinding hamburger or cutting up pork chops or chicken. It is the safety measures that protect the workers and the consumers – not the superior quality of the product.

    And, yes, I know some people are still losing limbs, etc. It isn’t possible to eliminate all accidents, but the regulations ensure that many will be avoided. I also know that farmers and other workers sometimes don’t pay attention to the understood rules – i.e. shut the equipment off before you work on it. In that case the farmer and/or worker is at fault.

    I suppose you disagree with OSHA?

    As to DDT – it has been banned worldwide for agricultural use by the Stockholm Convention, so we must not have been the only ones concerned about its deadly effects. It is still used on a limited basis for disease control.

    The worst thing that has happened to the American worker – certainly not the corporations – is the hundreds of free trade agreements that have been put in place. These have been promulgated by Republicans and Democrats alike. Free trade simply lowers our standard of living as our workers try to compete in a world where many of the exploited nations pay their workers .44 cents an hour or less. The governments of these upcoming countries don’t care about the environment or human rights or work conditions.

    How nice that corporations have used these developing nations to fit neatly into their quest for an ever-increasing profit margin. Corporations have worked hand-in-hand with those who believe that the free-market is “God.” Again, blame is on all sides for this trashing of our American workers.

    We are quickly approaching a divided society of professional and semi-professional occupations with the rest slotted into low-paying service occupations. You don’t seem willing to take me up on my challenge of finding American-made products. Go out and do all your shopping for one day and tell me how many American-made items you find.

  26. Iceironman says:

    I didnt say govt should not regulate at all. What my point is that companies start as a person with an idea, driven to make a high quality, safe and high demand product. The person does well, and they become a corporation. Now they are evil? I dont think you know too many hard working ceos who developed their own companies. These folks are driven to provide safe products and great working conditions. Govt regs are great for the once or twice a year they are imposed in the food industry, they cant save you in between visits to a market or restuaunt. My point is also that govt is already regulating enough, they just do a piss poor job at everything. Moving some jobs overseas sucks, we agree on that. But increasing taxes on corporations in America only serves to increase this. Making a new factory is almost impossible to do and still turn a profit in this country so they go to Mexico. There are more factors than just the White mans greed” as Obama stated. Cap and trade will send jobs overseas, simple as that, all for a cause not justified.

    I actualy have found a host of products made in the US. I put one company of interest in a blog here but then hit enter and lost everything, no post. I will write about it again. I guess with my simple background of being in agriculture and an avid outdoorsman I run into things being made in America. By guys like me that will eventualy be called scum because I have built a successfull business.

  27. Ice:

    Let me clarify my disgust with corporations. I know that all businesses start out small; I appreciate that, and I applaud entrepreneurs and those who are successful.

    It is when that small business grows and grows to the point that it has national and international control over markets that I stop lauding its success. When corporations become larger than countries, they become economically dangerous to the health of all businesses.

    Microsoft is a good example. And, yes, I know Bill and Melinda Gates do wonderful things with their billions – of course what they give is tax deductible.

    But anyways, Microsoft is about 92% of OS’s used in desktops. Very little competition in this situation. WalMart – my most hated big corporation – started as a one-man business and has literally driven hundreds of smaller competitors out of business. I realize you see this as the “too bad, that’s capitalism” mantra, but I see it as one person creating a monster that has reached the size where it is capable of more power and control than the government.

  28. Iceironman says:

    No corportation can have more control than the govt. Power comes from revenue and knowledge. I can chose not to go to Walmart, I cant chose not to give govt taxes. Govt ruins all competition.
    Cant we just vote out our reps? No, thats right, they are funneling money back to the districts.

    The only way we can have corporations with more power than govt is when the highest leaders are corrupt and looking after themselves more than the country. That is pretty common today, citizens would rather break the country for free healthcare than suck it up. I remember a man once said, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. Too bad that statement today would be politicaly incorrect. You mean tell people to support themselves-crazy?

    You really shouldnt hate bricks and mortar. That is what Walmart is. If we dont like them, we dont go. When govt gets involved it gets a little more than scarry, like the closing of very successful car dealerships in favor of others (related to congressional districts?). Talk about taking out the competition. I would rather have a company take out another by being creative and thinking outside the box than the govt forcing the successful one out of business (Cap and Trade)

  29. panel says:

    Excellent. Now he can pollute the world to an unheard of level. The production of photovoltaics is the single greatest producer per watt of toxic chemicals of any power producing technology. Also, the effective life of panels in real world installations makes them barely able to produce more than the energy needed to manufacture them. Good luck scaling up that technology. The key to energy efficiency is reduction of consumption. Just another case of believing that technology itself can necessarily improve our lives without intelligent application.

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