Saturday, February 19, 2011


I've been reading the book, Yellow Dirt
by Judy Pasternak, the story of how the Navajo nation was exploited and abused because it was our nation's desire to have more uranium than any other nation on earth. And so we do. Tons and tons of it. Far more than we could ever conceivably use. They've done the math and the War Department has quietly stored it away; next to the mountain of $200 hammers that was ordered and never used. Okay, the hammer part isn't true. But it could be.

As I read about the cover-ups and outright lies by government agencies once it was discovered that mining uranium might be harmful to your health, (Duh!) I couldn't help but think that that was another time where Wikileaks was needed. But it hadn't been 'invented' yet. As one agency after another discovered what was happening to the health of the miner's and their families, they quietly put the files away and pretended that they had never seen them. Shameful! There are still some people that think that revealing those kinds of secrets is unpatriotic; those people should have to live in radioactive homes, drink radioactive water and breathe radioactive air. Just as the Navajo people have had to.

Speaking of illness and of governmental agencies; yesterday we had to buy another month's supply of a pain med. We paid $14 for what the pharmacy said was over $400 worth of Gxxxxxxxxn. It's close to $15 a day. It's almost the same with Fxxxxxxl as we pay $45 for $300 worth. That would be $10 per day for that one. Medicare was taking up the slack. And this is just two medications out of the half dozen or so that I take. I haven't added it all up but I would imagine that without Medicare we would have to spend over $800 a month for meds. From what I've read, the $800 figure is low and that many others would have to pay much more than that on a monthly basis. Lucky us. We're also lucky because there is just one of us taking medication right now. What happens ten years from now when, hopefully, we'll both be around and taking meds? I can imagine that if it weren't for Medicare, we would be spending 2k a month or more.

Where am I going with all of this? Still musing.

When it comes to Wikileaks I am a fan. The fact is, you cannot trust your government. Ever. All governments lie. Big or small, they all lie. Think about the citizens of Bell, California. Those people would have LOVED a Wikileaks story about the grand scale theft that was taking place in their little town. Look at our own national history. It's been one lie after another and that's just the ones that have been caught. Caught without Wikileaks. I'm not saying that we are not a wonderful nation. We certainly are. And I cannot imagine living anywhere else. But we can only go downhill if we ignore the lies and tell ourselves that that's the cost of freedom. No, it's not! You certainly can't tell the people of Guatemala that ignoring the lies of Dulles, the CIA and United Fruit Co. gave them any freedom. (1954)

Maybe it's my imagination, but I don't think it is…I think that we have become far too accepting of lies. Politicians lie routinely because they are not being called to account for the lies. In 'my world', news media would be tasked with ferreting out the truth. A politicians story would never make it to print or broadcast without the basic research being done. And when I say politician I mean every government spokesperson. Dog catcher to President. Everything that goes into a newspaper or news broadcast, including letters to the editor, should be verified. How can you call it 'news' if the basic tests for veracity aren't followed? The way it is now, the 6:00 O'clock news should start this way; "Good evening. Welcome to KWIZ's 6 O'clock Opinion".

Back to the topic of Medicare and Social Security (SSI). Okay, SSI isn't going away today or next year or the year after that. It's good for another twenty years at least. And with minor tweaks…adjusting the tax rate so that upper income earners pay into it just as much the lower income earners do. Basic fairness. The program will go on easily into the next century. But there are those who see 'fair' as being socialism or worse. People who don't know anything at all about socialism. These same people want SSI to go away. And they are trying to convince my children and grandchildren that it makes sense to throw away the lifeboats on a ship that might sink. Now we happen to be quite lucky as I have a pension from the Carpenter's Union and my wife has one from her teaching days. We add that to our SSI and we're doing okay. But…the same people that want to throw away the lifeboats also want to sink the unions. I don't like imagining life without SSI or my union pension. But that is the life these con men want for my children and grandchildren.

I didn't grow up in a union family. But I did grow up in a family that respected labor. I was the first union member in the family and no one thought it was odd that I was. If, at the time I became an apprentice, I had a choice between union or non-union and I chose non-union…they certainly would have thought it odd. Or stupid. But I became a union carpenter apprentice and then a journeymen, foreman, superintendent, etc, etc. And I paid into my pension all of those years, just as I paid in to my SSI account. I used to see the dollars for those two benefits on my paycheck stub and I would often wish that I had the money right then. I needed it! But I couldn't have it and somehow, through the years, we got along without it. Now I'm retired and there isn't the smallest possibility that I could go back to work as a carpenter…but my pension and my SSI are here for me. I paid for them to be here. They aren't coming to me freely. It's actually my money. Money that the union wisely kept for me and money that the government was supposed to do the same with. I certainly wouldn't have done it. In fact, I was surprised when I did retire and asked for my union pension. I thought I might have a few bucks. I had more. I praise the union every time I think about where we might be if they hadn't looked after me.


  1. Ima Wizer6:53 AM

    Another fact about Navajos is that we exploited their land and we used them for Navajo Code Talk that many think helped win the war! W/o them, who knows what would have happened.
    They are surely a gentle people who believe in the earth, the 4 directions, 4 seasons, 4 stages of life....the eternal God's Eye (the emblem on the state flag of New Mexico). We could learn so much from them if we weren't still so bigoted, racists and selfish!
    Right on WikiLeaks, too!

  2. Yellow Earth is a great book and tells the story of the Navajo...they are a gentle people that have been abused ever since the 'white' man met them. The Code Talkers came back from the war as heroes and found their land had been destroyed in the hunt for more uranium.