If we want to get rid of feudal lords in America, as I wrote about yesterday, we should start with Wal-Mart. Believe me, this won’t be an easy task. The smiles that Wal-Mart features in their advertisements are a facade, hiding pure ruthlessness and greed.
If Wal-Mart was forced to pay their employees an actual living wage, they would undoubtedly have to raise their “everyday low prices.” Their low priced business model is based on the assumption of unrequited servitude by their employees, ergo paying decent wages means they lose their competitive edge which they’ve demonstrated time and again they will do anything to retain.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on FOSS Force. Reprinted with permission.
The internet activist group Demand Progress has released a short 2 1/2 minute video on YouTube that explains the implications of the legal wranglings between student Supap Kirtsaeng and textbook publisher John Wiley & Sons in a case that’s already gone before the U.S. Supreme Court and is now awaiting a ruling.
At issue is the reselling of new textbooks purchased cheaply abroad in the United States. Kirtsaeng, a Thai graduate student in the U.S., sold textbooks published by John Wiley & Sons on eBay that had been purchased by relatives in Thailand. The publisher is claiming copyright infringement, and so far has won all rulings in the Federal courts.
Many of you already have a pretty good idea to what ends Monsanto will go to spread their poisonous genetically modified crops. The company is playing hardball and they plan to win at any cost. Unless we bring them down soon, they’ll pose a larger threat to human life than global warming, world overpopulation and all forms of pollution combined. What Monsanto wants is nothing short of complete control of agribusiness on a global scale, through their patented genetically modified seeds combined with their chemical herbicides and pesticides.
Exactly how far will they go? Ask Percy Schmeiser, he’ll tell you.
There’s a video that’s been making the rounds, David Versus Monsanto, that tells the story of Schmeiser, a 70 year old farmer growing canola, or rapeseed, in Saskatchewan in the Canadian Midwest. In 1997, he found that some of the canola growing on his farm, from seeds he’d been developing for decades, had taken on the properties of Monsanto’s patented Roundup resistant variety of canola due to cross pollination from nearby farms.
People in the government are now telling us we’ll be perfectly safe taking our meals using radioactive silverware.
You think I’m joking, right? Wish that I were, but I’m not. The folks who think we have no right to choose whether our food’s been genetically modified, are now trying to sneak a move behind our back that will end up unleashing tons of radioactive metal into the scrap market. Over the years the government has accumulated thousands of tons of the stuff that was used in various types of nuclear tests and even in warfare. Now the Department of Energy (DOE) would like to lift legal restrictions on the recycling of nuclear contaminated scrap, so the stuff can be melted down into consumer goods.
Will a radioactive spoon heat our soup for us? Or will a glowing radioactive zipper mean fewer awkward moments getting undressed in the dark after things get hot an heavy?
In case you’re one of the two or three people who hasn’t heard the story yet, it goes like this…
A few days ago Alois Bell, a pastor at Truth in the World Deliverance Ministries Church, was part of a group of twenty who dined at an Applebee’s in St. Louis. All in all, they spent over $200, and when it was time to go they evidently asked for separate checks. Ms. Bell’s check came to $34.93. Because there were over eight people in the party an 18% tip was added automatically in keeping with Applebee’s policy–an additional $6.29.
Ms. Bell, however, remembered that when Jesus admonished his flock to “render unto Uncle Sam what is Uncle Sam’s,” he didn’t say anything about giving a little to the poor, hard working young woman who just bent over backwards trying to make sure the experience of dining at Applebee’s was as wonderful as it could be given the fact that it was, after all, Applebee’s. So, in the spirit of Christian charity, Preacher Bell struck out the $6.29 that the computer had nicely computed and printed on her check and wrote in a big fat zero.
Today I ran across an old article, originally posted in 2010, 16 Facts About Walmart That Will Blow Your Mind by Ujala Sehgal on Business Insider. Actually, the piece was more slide show than article, but it succinctly explained some rather scary facts about this giant retailer. I thought I’d take this opportunity to go over some of the facts laid out in the article, with my own observations thrown in for good measure.
1. Walmart has more full-time employees — 2.1 million — than seven times the population of Iceland.
My first thought when I read this was about the irony of comparing any aspect of Iceland with Walmart.
Iceland was hit hard by the so-called “great recession” of 2007–2008. Prices on their local stock market dropped by 90 percent, inflation rose 18%, while unemployment increased by a factor of nine. Oh, at the same time all of the country’s biggest banks failed. However, Iceland has recovered nicely, not by bailing out the banks and leaving their private citizens to sink or swim. Instead, they concentrated their efforts on helping people get out from under crippling mortgages and prosecuted the bankers.
Guess what? It worked. According to Bloomberg their economy is now a shining example for the rest of us:
I remember when Americans were customers. We bought things because we wanted them or needed them. We would have laughed in the face of anyone with the audacity to suggest that it was our patriotic duty to consume, as Bush did after 9/11. If we were faithful to a brand, that faithfulness was brought about by value or product superiority. Companies worked hard to persuade us to become their customers, and they knew better than to insult us by assuming we were forced to use their products no matter what.