Wal Mart

Fox News just (11am, Sat. May 1) had a show about how tough life was for Wal Mart. Steve Forbes, as a guest on the show, lamented how unions forced poor Wal Mart into providing health benefits for its workers. Any guest on the show commenting against the mega-giant corporation was promptly interrupted and shouted down by the host of the show. This is, of course, during the supposed "news hours" of Fox news not the "commentary hours." The pundits raved about how many jobs Wal Mart creates in communities, with no mention of all of the jobs and businesses destroyed when Wal Mart moves into a community. In addition, no mention was made by a single guest about how many jobs are lost because Wal Mart's products don't come from Amercan workers, but rather from outsourced sweat shops and quasi slave labor in other countries. Instead, the broadcast was designed to make Wal Mart a poor victim and villify unions. What is unfortunate, is that so many Americans do not ask the tough questions: Where do these good prices come from? Where do we get our cheap products? These are moral questions.

Political Bribery

If you didn't catch it amist the health care debates, the Supreme Court was hearing testimony regarding your election laws yesterday. Mr. Olson, representing the Republican point of view, was arguing that a corporation should have the same speech rights as an individual when it comes to campaign finance. Here is part of the exchange between Ruth Ginsberg and the council:

Ginsberg: Mr. Olson, are you taking the position that there is no difference in the First Amendment rights of an individual? A corporation, after all, is not endowed by its creator with inalienable rights. So, is there any distinction that Congress could draw between corporations and natural human beings for purposes of campain finance?

Olson: What the Court has said in the First Amendment that corporations are persons entitled to protection under the First Amendment.

Ginsberg: Would that include todays mega-corporations, here many of the investors may be foreign individuals of entities?

Olson: The Court in the past has made no distinction based upon the nature of the entity that might own a share of a corporation.

Ginsberg: Nowadays there are foreign interests, even foreign governmnets, that own not one share but a goodly number of shares.

Olson is making the argument that a corporation, even if 95% of it is owned by the Chinese government has the same rights as an individual citizen of the United State--but more of a right --because these organizations have hundreds of billions of dollars and an individual citizen has a lot less money. What Olson is arguing is that we need to let the wealthiest people control the political process. Now this is not new, because that is how things operate now--unless the Supreme Court does something. But, because they presently represent a right-wing ideology, they will probably allow these foreign and corporate interests to buy the political process.

Is a corporation an individual? Or doesn't it represent many individuals and constituencies? Doesn't it have obligations to all its shareholders? Or can a corporation spend unlimited funds on an election based upon the political leanings of the person running that corporation? This makes one person up to millions of times more powerful than another in this society just because they run a corporation.

Add this to lobbying, 527s, and other political action groups, and the individual has little say in who actually gets elected.

Erin Burnett at it again

Remember Erin Burnett of CNBC telling us that poisoning our children may be worth it to keep prices down at Wall Mart? Well she's at it again on a show on CNBC which re-aired Thanksgiving day at noon. In the show, "The Billionaire Inside," she interviews Donald Trump. She says:

"Donald has a story here that going to excite people...that sometimes getting to the top you don't always have to be nice and sometimes when people do bad things to you it's alright to do bad things back"

Trump responds:

"... if you really have a problem with someone, you have to go after them and it's not necessarily to teach that person a lesson it's to teach all the people that are watching a lesson: that you don't take crap. And if you take crap, you're just not gonna do well. can't take a lot of nonsense from people, you have to go after them."

At the end of the show a bullet point list of how to be successful was shown on the screen telling us to remember: Revenge can be good.

As a life long Republican and a true representative of the corporate side of the party, Trump not only has proclaimed publicly that "greed is good." In fact, Republican leaders and spokesmen readily proclaim that the market place is what makes America great. Unfortunately, it doesn't. Just because someone makes millions off of a "pet rock," and yet the marketplace doesn't reward the school teacher, doesn't mean that the pet rock is more valuable to America. In fact, the biggest money maker on the internet is pornography. Does that mean that it is what makes America great?

Unfortunately the Religious Right is in bed with these folks in order to win elections. On the one hand they preach in Sunday School to "turn the other cheek" and remain faithful in marriage, and on the other hand they need those who are actively fighting these ideas in order to support their agendas. In order to do this, the Religious Right took a dangerous turn back in the 70s and began to preach the doctrine that God somehow supports greed. The desire to reconcile the wealth of America (that was originally gained on the backs of slaves, and today, outsourcing--another type of slavery) with their religion became only possible with a change of doctrine regarding money. Preaching in fundamentalist Christian churches took a turn that was based on gaining financial success and prosperity for the few "that God had chosen in the world to be blessed."

However, America is starting to wake up and see the immorality of having such a great divide between the rich and poor, those that have and have not, and the salaries of corporate CEOs verses their company's employees. No, Erin, and no, Donald, America doesn't need to be a country of greed and revenge.

The Financial Face of Republican Morality

Many of you may remember a few weeks ago when thousands of toys were sent back to China for safety reasons. Some had poisonous paint in addition to other dangers. A number of American businesses who outsource the building of these toys from China were affected. The outsourcing of course is done because we can't find American workers who will work for nine cents an hour. But nonetheless, was there any kind of moral response to what happened?

All one had to do is turn to CNBC, the all day financial channel, that spends most of their time interviewing people with the stock exchange in the background. One of the primary figures on CNBC, Erin Burnett, was commenting on the toy recall and said the following on August 10, 2007 (no I am not making this up):

"I think people should be careful what they wish for on China. If China were to revalue its currency, or China is to start making, say, toys that don't have lead in them or food that isn't poisonous, their costs of production are gonna go up and that means prices at WalMart, here in the United States are gonna go up too."

Again, businesses, are there to make money at any cost. According to the Republican model, if we destroy the environment along the way, or now, according to Ms. Burnett, kill a few kids to keep the prices down at WalMart, that's the price we have to pay. When are people going to wake up to the monster labor markets have created, utterly destroying true capitalism. Consumerism seems to have that kind of blinding effect.