Observations on the world today.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Quite a Hairy Pickle 

I received this email from my republican sister tonight:
Shortly after reading the following e-mail content, I happened to look at the label of a jar of Heinz sandwich slice pickles. Yep...."Made in Mexico" Check some of your Heinz products.

"Sen. John Kerry keeps talking about U.S. corporations leaving this country and setting up shop in foreign countries, taking thousands of jobs with them. He is right, because that has happened. However, he is trying to blame it on George W. Bush.

As far as I know, Bush has not moved one factory out of this country because he is not the owner of a single factory.

That cannot be said about Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz-Kerry. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Kerrys own 32 factories in Europe and 18 in Asia and the Pacific. In addition, their company, the Heinz Company, leases four factories in Europe and four in Asia. Also, they own 27 factories in North America, some of which are in Mexico and the Caribbean

I wonder how many hundreds of American workers lost their jobs when these plants relocated to foreign countries. I also wonder if the workers in Mexico and Asia are paid the same wages and benefits as workers in the United States.

Of course they're not. However, Kerry demands that other companies that relocate should pay the same benefits they did in the U.S. Why does he not demand this of the Heinz Company, since he is married to the owner?

If Kerry is elected, will he and his wife close all those foreign factories and bring all those jobs back to America? Of course they won't. They're making millions off that cheap labor.
I wrote back with the following:
This is the most ironic Kerry attack I have ever seen. First, John Kerry is not a Heinz, his wife was. Second, Teresa was a Heinz only by marriage. Third, neither she nor her husband have anything to do with the operation of the Heinz company. And fourth, the Heinz family is a republican family. They are huge contributers to the Bush campaign. Therefore, all of the criticism of them sending American jobs overseas is actually criticism of a republican Bush supporting family.

But, the irony really comes into play when you understand what most of this really is. The Heinz company has numerous American factories. Most of their overseas production is for overseas consumption. There is nothing wrong with that. And you are just as likely to find American made Heinz ketchup in Mexico as you are likely to find Mexican pickles in America. And Heinz actually pays it's Mexican labor very well. This simply misses the point of what the actual criticism of "outsourcing" is all about.

The problem with outsourcing is when an American job is lost simply because the labor is cheaper overseas, and for no other reason. In the case of the Heinz companies, part of the reason for having factories in Mexico is that the growing season for cucumbers is longer in Mexico and the vegetables have to be fresh when made into pickles for reasons of quality control. But still, there are busy Heinz factories in America. Several of them in fact.

Most Kerry supporters realize this and will not be swayed from voting for him because of this email-chain smear. All that it accomplishes is forcing the GOP supporting Heinz company and their American employees to loose some business from their erroneously offended republican customers.
I hope she sends it back along the trail. It had about 200 email addresses that it had been forwarded to along the chain.

Which brings up another point. I have received innumerable emails of this type over the past several years. Some criticizing Hillary or Bill Clinton. Some critical of the Red Cross or some other altruistic organization. And every time, when you research the claim, it turns out to be nothing more than an urban legend. Or worse - an intentional defamatory lie. But I have never received a similar letter critical of anything republican. Never once have I received an email telling me about how Cheney is still on the Halliburton payroll. Not once have I received a letter telling me that Jerry Falwell has a checkered past. Nobody has ever sent me an email alerting me to the possibility that George Bush was selected to be president at a meeting of the Bilderburgers. And if anyone ever did, I would fact check it before clicking "forward," and I doubt that I would even click then.

What sickness lurks in the conservative mind that compels them to do these things?


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