Face Time With Gil Franco – (Post humous post: “A Nuclear Free World”)


Just yesterday I was agonizing about what issue to focus on and write about and subsequently post for “The Trouble With Milk.” There are literally so many political and social issues swirling around in my head that I have probably written ad nauseum about them on Facebook.  My friends and I agonize over a particular political event or bill and it’s very existence, then ostensibly verbally castrate the offending politician in a manner of comments below a status in a lexicological way we find ourselves clever, jovial but mostly “united’ under a cause or idea.  Ultimately we ruminate on ‘the way things SHOULD be and this process usually ends up in a  call to arms to create facebook page that underlines our point.  Two such pages were recently bourne this way, “Hey G.O.P., Get OUTTA MY VAGINA!”  and also the “Todays GOOD news!.”

The first one was a result of Republican party backing of rhetoric that spawned a bill poised to take away the medical benefits for contraception for working women.   The later came from a rant that fostered a virtual tidal wave of people tired of bad news, depressive stories and shock reporting.   One pal and I posited that surely there are more ‘good and hopeful’ stories in our lives than the media cares to highlight, so maybe WE SHOULD MAKE A PAGE!!! of course! of course!  that’s what we do!!!  We are page making activists!  This page would tell the world about all these good things that happen in our world!  I Posted about some photographers’ kind and species accepting encounter with a family of wild mountain gorillas,  My friend posted about the failed abduction of a small girl and the eventual capture of her would-be kidnapper.  I have to say, it did (and does) raise one’s spirits reading all the ‘good outcome stories’ on that page.    As I was looking inward at all the prosaic clutter in my gut and the angst I carry for this world, I actually  heard someone whisper my name in  my ear.  It but a breathy sound and very near.  I’ve been conditioned to disbelieve such things but something told me this was quite possible actually audible!  But who and why would someone say my name?  I did not recognize the voice.  I was all alone and  shrugged  it off not wanting my mind to wander into all things “paranormal” because this would no doubtb ilicit a frantic call about ghosts and hearing ‘sounds’ in the house’ to my poor husband concerned with fighting traffic on his way home.  I picked up my iphone and to my mild surprise it was lit up with the screen  open to ‘Favorites” (I have never seen that screen) it was on the O/S of the phone in the Contacts section.  It read “Gil Franco  franco19352002@aol.com”  Well, this was my father’s email address!

We used to trade articles via email, messages of hope and status on his condition and mine on the kids and family.   Maybe these were serendipitous happenings meant to put me on a path to think of him i thought.  My father died from A.L.S. better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  In a weird way after he was diagnosed I thought , ‘Gee, one of the biggest craziest baseball fans,  was God was an extremely black humored chap so dedicated to his schtick that even in these dire circumstances we would care to pin such an ironic moniker to this poor man? Anything for a joke.  Or was he an angry god thinking of some earthly misstep my father may have taken? Either way my father looked at this disease as that terrible thing that got him, but at least he was in the company of Lou Gehrig.  I touched the lit up line with my father’s name and email address. The sun had just set and the blue glow set off the entire room.  I selected ‘facetime” just for a lark, half wondering if i’d hit the roof if his face would appear.  What if I actually talk to him!   I stared at my own face as the phone reflected back the words, “calling Gil Franco” and the phone attempted to  resolve for about two minutes, and I let it.  I even posited what  I’d say ” Hi dad!  Did you hear about Mitt Romney and can you believe that Rick Santorum?  Wow!  It’s been one really reprehensible primary hasn’t it!” What do you think about Geraldo Rivera’s remarks on Treyvon Martin?   I was sure my dad wasn’t missing a thing.  He was quite possibly the most well written arm-chair activist in his tiny his corner of Central California penning a column called “Left in America” for The Tule River Times.  Politics were a drama, a game and constant fodder for jokes, but also ideas for change and peace.  He wrote till his heart’s content.  That is until his body lost control slowly and he became a locked in soul.   I turned off the phone and swallowed that little lump in my throat that had begun to form. Immediately I knew what I was supposed to write or at least had an idea.  I had a picutre more like it. Of the box that was the only thing I was given when he died.  I received all of his writing.  His entire library of rants, prosaic letters to the editor that spawned full op ed articles that clearly won him liberal fans in the area.  I retrieved a few of the articles and re-read the first five.  I settled on one about A Nuclear Free World.   I have never been able to supply the familiar friendly word flow that yet can gently turn on a dime and cite facts suporting one or another statements as my father could. while I have a great personal remembrance for political events and their place in our American timeline, my father’s recollection was unparalled.  He also had a photographic memory, a love of metaphor and a passion for a better world.  For these reasons I selected this particular article.  At the time of my father’s writing career, it was just he and an underwood typewriter and although computers came into our homes, he preferred to tap out his ruminations and drive them down to The Times’editor.  Receiving a computer from me a couple of years before he got sick he quickly learned the world of email but still refused to pen his articles on keyboard. Nudging him into cyberspace, and one of his professor friends wrestled some of his better rants from his clutches and  posted them on his “progressive writer’s bloc” website,

where one article remains today, with a note about his passing.   But now, dad…welcome to my blog. I hope everyone enjoys this piece.  Even though it was written in 2002, it is strangely applicable for this time. It is as timeless as you are.

‘A NUCLEAR FREE WORLD” by Gil Franco

The recent revelation that North Korea, has violated agreements with both the United States and South Korea by failing to end its nuclear program is being interpreted by some as strengthening the hand of the Bush administration to attack Iraq.  These rogue, erratic states that comprise the infamous “axis of evil” obviously cannot be trusted, some say, so let’s stop messing around and just knock ’em out.”

But rather than making a compelling argument for a military solution (or solutions), the new complication in North Korea actually points out the absurdity of seeking military solutions.

The U.S. military is well aware of the horrendous costs of a war with North Korea, and this has, in the past, tempered the military option.  Perhaps this is also why the immediate U.S. response has been measured and reasoned.  Seeking help from our allies in the region to find a peaceful solution.

But what sense does it make to have a foreign policy that says we’ll negotiate with North Korea, a state that is conceivably more of a threat because it already has such weapons, but we’ll preemptively strike Iraq because we THINK it MIGHT be developing these weapons?

Unfortunately, many countries around the world have or are developing weapons of mass destruction.  We can’t possibly go around the world waging selective preemptive strikes against them.

That would, without a doubt, not only signal perpetual war, but also global destruction as attacked nations unleash their deadly weapons not only on our allies but on us as well.

We must also remember that our goal right now should be to break up the terrorist network that attached us on September 11 – not be the unilateral global vigilantes.

The only way to deal with Iraq and North Korea is to use diplomacy, regional pressure and the United Nations as ways to press for disarmament.

In addition, we cannot ask countries to selectively disarm.  In areas of intense , such as the Middle East and East Asia, there must be regional disarmament.

Finally, we can’t continue to say that other countries must not develop weapons of mass destruction while we, by far the mightiest military power on the face of the Earth, continue to refine these deadly weapons.

In fact, we are now developing more ‘useable’ nuclear weapons and have outlines a scenario for their use against Iraq.

To make the world safe from weapons of mass destruction, the United STates must begin to live by the same set of rules we would like to impose on others and seriously embark on a course that will truly lead us to a nuclear weapons-free world.

(Page 4, THE TULE RIVER TIMES, November 7, 2002 )

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Some things don’t belong in a uterus…


Some of the things that don’t belong in a uterus are religion, Misplaced moral outrage, The G.O.P’s hankerings to limit access to contraceptives.  In our great country a woman can have control over her sexual life, her decision on when to have children.  We have choice. It is afforded us by law. The G.O.P.’s agenda asserts, though in a convoluted manner, that they ‘just trying to give employers the option to ‘not pay for contraception if they do not agree religiously.’ is hogwash.  Let’s call it what it is. It’s attempt to limit access, to control women’s lives, to invade their privacy.  At the 30,000 foot level, it seems to me to be but another step in a plan to bring church and state closer into alignment.  Do we really want to blur those lines?  How blurry does the G.O.P. want them? As blurry as  Iran? and Afghanistan?  Seems Ironic. It is very important to separate church and state.  In our great country, we have freedom to have religious expression, to bind ourselves with it, if we so choose, yet also the guarantee that our great country will not bind us with it. Allowing employers to decide whether we can or cannot have control over our uterus’s is absurd, and NOT what our forefathers wanted when they specified the need for separation of church and state.  If a company has the choice to forego contraceptive benefits based on ‘moral conviction’ then are we saying that further objections to sanctioned coverage can upend more women (and men’s) rights in our country.  This picture is about women right now, but the bigger picture is the blurring of church and state and potential loss of rights for all people based on ‘moral convictions.Image‘ 

Why Egypt’s progressives win


This Youth in Revolt….   Aristotle said, “In democracy the poor will have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, and the will of the majority is supreme.”  Clearly the idea of Democracy is a fire in the heart.  It is the call for freedom from the chains of subordination.  It is a call for justice for ALL PEOPLE, not JUST the rich.

It is a call for a level playing field for all people, or at least a demand for a government that works for ALL and endeavors to take care of all of the classes.   The disproportionate wealth in Egypt is obvious and the people will take no more of Mubarak’s policies.

All governments should be reminded that they work for ALL of the people and that they are in power to lead as is a representative entity of the people. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  The greatest power that a people can have is the power to choose, and this is now what the Egyptians are asserting.  Their power to choose. They choose for Mubarak to step down.

Why Egypt’s progressives win – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.

Women has been at the forefront of the organization of the protests at Tahrir Square.

The Worst Horror has shown it’s face…Conklin Farms


You may have not heard the news yet, but one of the most cruel animal abuse cases has just been brought to light.   In the news today (5-25-10)  “Conklin Dairy Farms” in Plain Ohio has been caught on tape performing some of the most cruel treatment ever to be perpetrated on animals.   A group called “Mercy for Animals”  put together an investigation of the processor and has revealed historically heinous practices going on at this dairy farm.

WHAT THEY DO THERE IS  SHOCKING.

This video SHOULD make each and every one of us commit to a campaign to bring this company down.  We NEED to send a message to companies like this that they CANNOT COMMIT these acts!  The people pictured laugh about kicking in cows faces, stabbing them with pitch forks!

One guy even takes a hook and puts it THROUGH A  COW’S NOSE!!  and then tethers it to a pole to punish it.  The abuse continues, he  begins beating it in the head with a steel pole. These “workers” are on tape laughing about these acts.  They obviously  openly ‘enjoy the act of maiming and torturing these animals.  They boast about it to the undercover investigator.  These acts are  EVEN WORSE than I am portraying.  I ask you to watch the embedded video in it’s entirety.  It’s not easy, but we need to understand what is going on, AND…. WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!  We can do it.  5 million people are stronger than Conklin Dairy Farms.  Five million people can make a loud noise.  We can put these guys out of business.  Let’s not let them continue to do this to innocent animals.

They do not deserve to be in business.  THE OWNER IS EVEN CAUGHT PERPETRATING THE SAME TREATMENT ONTO HIS ANIMALS!!!  These workers and the owner deserve to be behind bars.

I am not suggesting sending money to Mercy For Animals, (that is your decision, it’s helpful of course but that’s not the point of this post),…… I AM ASKING FOR EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU TO:

TWEET

TALK

FACEBOOK

BLOG

POST TO YOUR WEBSITES

and use any other social networking system to tell EVERYONE that this farm MUST BE STOPPED, and these practices in general MUST BE ERADICATED.

When we,  at “The Trouble With Milk,”  find out what the distribution chain is for Conklin Dairy Farms,  we  will publish it.   We will identify and all of the ‘brands” that their milk goes into and suggest demand boycott.  We will go into grocery stores and speak with store owners and managers to let them know that if they continue to carry milk and milk products that utilize milk from Conklin Dairy Farms that we will not purchase groceries at their location.    If need be, we will also protest at the site.

Please be committed to helping by using your powers of communication in  the effort to bring down this horrible company.

Click on the link and be angered to action.  Even if you’ve never done it before, there’s no time better than now.   We are so connected with the web and social networking, we should be able to do this.  Don’t forget to watch the other investigations by Mercy for Animals.  They are amazing.  We thank them for bringing this cruelty to light, so that we can fix it.  I will be publishing information that I turn up, dates, news and updates.  I will publish suggestions on how to use social networking to bring this issue more-so into the forefront of our news services.

Please be with me In commited action,

Christina Long

P.S.  In the begining days of this blog, I asked many friends to vote on a name for my blog.  At the time I submitted about 20 nonsensical names that I hoped would describe nothing and yet anything that I wished to write about.  As of yesterday, the name of this blog has come full circle.  I was called to action when I found out about Conklin Farms.  I told my husband.  “How strange…I’m dedicating all my action to bringing this farm down, to ending this abuse…and I already have a blog called, “The Trouble With Milk!”

Hot Air on Global Warming


Hot Air on Global Warming.

John Coleman, the weatherman at KUSI in San Diego, has by his own rough estimate performed more than a quarter million weathercasts. It is not a stretch to say that he is largely responsible for the shape of the modern weather report. As the first weatherman on ABC’s Good Morning America in the late ’70s and early ’80s, Coleman pioneered the use of the onscreen satellite technology and computer graphics that are now standard nearly everywhere. In 1982 Coleman used his spare time—and media mogul Frank Batten’s money—to launch the Weather Channel. The idea seemed quixotic then, and his tenure as president ended a year later after an acrimonious split with Batten. But time proved Coleman to be something of a genius—by the time NBC Universal bought it in 2008, it had 85 million viewers and a $3.5 billion price tag.

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Those were the first two acts of Coleman’s career. On a Sunday night in early November 2007, he sat down at his home computer and started to write the 967 words that would launch the third. “It is the greatest scam in history,” he began. “I am amazed, appalled, and highly offended by it. Global Warming: It is a SCAM.”

What had set him off was a football game. The Eagles were playing the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, and as a gesture of environmental awareness—it was “Green Is Universal” week at NBC Universal—the studio lights were cut for portions of the pregame and halftime shows. Coleman, who had been growing increasingly skeptical about global warming for more than a decade, finally snapped. “I couldn’t take it anymore,” he told me. “I did a Howard Beale.”

Skepticism is, of course, the core value of scientific inquiry. But the essay that Coleman wrote, which was published on the website ICECAP, would have more properly been termed rejectionism. Coleman wasn’t arguing against the integrity of a particular conclusion based on careful original research. Instead, he went after the motives of the scientists. Climate researchers, he wrote, “look askance at the rest of us, certain of their superiority. They respect government and disrespect business, particularly big business. They are environmentalists above all else.”

The Drudge Report picked up Coleman’s essay, and within days its author was a cause célèbre on right-wing talk radio and cable television, beaming into Glenn Beck’s CNN show via satellite to elaborate on the scientists’ conspiracy. “They all have an agenda,” Coleman told Beck, “an environmental and political agenda that says, ‘Let’s pile on here, we’re all going to make a lot of money, we’re going to get research grants, we’re going to get awards, we’re going to become famous.’ ”

Soon Coleman was on the conference circuit, a newly minted member of the loose-knit confederation of professional skeptics. His interviews and speeches that have been posted to YouTube have, in some cases, been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

Click the link above  (Hot air on global warming)  to read the next pages…

Globe Lust: “Coal-fired plants – what do they mean to us?”


Coal Mining in America, The way it's done...not good.

Globe Lust:

“Coal-fired plants – what do they mean to us?”

By Beverly Franco  –  Los Angeles Environmentalist / Activist

I often ask myself, if we are burning coal to provide electricity, where does the coal come from and at what cost? Not just the cost in dollars, but in social and natural capital.

Social capital is the human equation that we need to include and consider in every decision. Add natural capital – which is the impact of the decision and/or project on nature.  Both of these need and must be considered before focusing on the financial capital of any undertaking, no matter what it is or involves.

These two very important and vital capital investments should rule and guide all of our decisions, whether its here or in another country – around the world.   Each person’s humanity needs to be considered, as well as the natural world we all live in.  Can we afford the long-term costs in the human equation?

So, we are back to coal – that black stuff that I remember watching come down the coal shute into the basement which was part of our house in Madison, Wisconsin. My understanding of what it did was limited by this 8 year old’s simple and as yet, uneducated mind. I knew my aunt and uncle used it to heat this large two-story house we lived in. I don’t recall being cold, so guess it did the job. I wasn’t into questioning then. Now, I’m trying make up for lost time.

Now my understanding and my questioning has broadened and I want to know where the coal comes from for the carbon-producing coal-fired plants and what is the damage to acquire that coal?  The damage to the miners who have gone down into the mines for many years – it’s a living, but the end result for those miners was and is black-lung disease, which means a reduced quality of life and early death.

Now we have MTRMountain-top removal, where the coal companies, with deep pockets, blast off the tops of mountains. When you blow up something, what happens? There is debris, fallout that has to go somewhere.  Imagine turning on your kitchen faucet and seeing black water coming out, or attempting to take a shower and the same thing happening. You are now dirtier than you were when you  stepped into the shower!   Waterways, rivers, streams and the water are things we need to survive.  Yuk!  Now picture a “pond” filled with sludge – a by-product of separating coal from rock. This is what the residents of West Virginia. Kentucky, and Tennessee live with.

I’m well aware that there are always hazards around us, but some could be prevented.  Like the coal industry, in its wake, does shovel its waste into open pits, leaves abandoned mines, and huge slurry ponds like the one that burst its banks, December 2008 in Kingston, Tennessee, sending a billion gallons of toxic goo into and across the Emory River, covering 300 acres six feet deep. And there are more sites that threaten the land, water, and lives of the citizens in these areas.

In West Virginia, where this latest MTR is underway by Massey Coal. The last mountain standing is Coal River Mountain in the Coal River Valley. Residents are fighting to stop this and have formed Coal River Mountain Project to explore wind energy instead of blasting the mountain to kingdom come or to hell, whichever way you want to call it.  Massey has already received the necessary permits to blast away.

The residents of this valley are also very, very concerned, not only about their water supply, which is still fresh and drinkable, for now. But less than 100 yards from the site where earth-shattering explosives are being detonated by Massey Coal, lies the Brushy Fork Impoundment – the largest lake of coal sludge in the Western Hemisphere. The instability of such impoundments is a disaster waiting to happen.

Its important to point out that, more than likely, the coal will be gone in 20 years, but what will be left if its all been blown up and the waste hasn’t gone anywhere?  The lack of vision for a viable future is subverted by money, and its called greed.

Personally, I find it harder and harder to sleep in my cozy, electrified and comfortable home, while others are not so comfortable or safe.  Its called Bearing Witness, a Quaker axiom – once you know, you can still chose to turn away but not from ignorance.  We know now and we can chose to act, to make change, to demand change. Its in our power and it’s the right thing to do.

In Arizona, Hopi and Navajo Native Americans are trudging toward a future that might include electricity. Electricity that is generated by solar and wind.   Electricity that, until recently, didn’t exist on the reservation where they lived, even though many worked for Peabody Coal-fired plant! For 30+ years Peabody has used the Black Rock aquifer to transport the coal, called slurry to a station that supplied the electricity for southern Arizona, Nevada and California.  Did you note that the  Native Americans did not have electricity, all the while 50% of the residents were working at this coal-fired plant? Now that aquifer is history and the company, Peabody, has closed down the plant instead of going to the expense of installing scrubbers to capture the polluting carbon being emitted by the plant. Imagine, if you will, what 30+ years of emitting that has done to our atmosphere, to our lungs?

Ignorance on the part of many, myself included, helps to continue this voracious and insidious habit of supporting our comfort zones, while at the terminus of the process, many go without.  Children doing their homework by daylight, quickly, or using kerosene lamps or candlelight.   Where is the outrage?

My children didn’t suffer that. Just flip a switch, turn on the faucet.

Get your pencils out to write down the name of the organization that the Hopi and Navajo have formed to bring in their own electricity, their own employment by way of wind and solar farms utilizing the monies from cap-and-trade? Sandia Tribal Energy Program.

Hopis and Navajos will generate their OWN power!

Edison has fought this, as they believe the rate-payers should get this money. If the savings from cap-and-trade can be passed on to our first citizens to be self-sustaining and self-supporting, it’s the right thing to do. And, maybe, its about time that was the agenda, for us all.

Lights, fresh water, jobs. Add in dignity and respect, and we all have hope.– Beverly Franco, Writer and Green Activist