Walmart 'Too Big To Sue'

The conservative controlled Supreme Court ruled to throw out a class action lawsuit on sex discrimination against Walmart by a 5-4 margin. MSNBC host Cenk Uygur explains the implications.

 

Budgeting in the United States of Me

Taxes are a lot like salaries. If you paid someone $1 million a day (oh wait, we do) they’d scream bloody murder they should’ve gotten $1,ooo,ooo.o1. If you taxed someone 1%, they’d whine they shouldn’t have to pay more than 000.1%, with those whining the loudest being the people with the lowest tax rates and highest pay.

Perhaps the most oft-repeated charge against Obama bin Karl Marx and the Democrat Politburo is that they’re dangerous socialists. But according to a recent story from CNBC, a funny thing happened on the way to the Kremlin. If you look at their list of the 10 most socialist states, there’s a whole lotta red in Governors’ mansions. In fact, six of 10 governors sport big red Rs next to their names. BTW, the People’s Republic of California didn’t even make the list.

All the tri-cornered hats and tea bags notwithstanding, the charge that most states are tax and spend Central Bureaus is shaky too.

Despite the screeching about high taxes, Americans enjoy some of the lowest taxes in the western world. American companies pay the second highest taxes, but they don’t mention their taxes are high because American companies gorge on taxpayer-funded corporate welfare far more damaging than the most greedy, imaginary, Cadillac-driving welfare queen.

American Productivity: The Bee’s Knees
They also don’t say they’re not leaving the US so much because of high taxes, but because they can hire workers from Third World countries at pennies on the dollar relative to Americans workers. Oh yeah, American workers who are generally rated as some of the most productive in the world.

The uber-capitalist view on this is that government is inherently inefficient and can’t be trusted with a dollar and there is massive fraud out there to be picked like leaves from the Liberty Tree. However, everyone’s favorite tax and spend worker’s paradise, California, has the lowest number of employees per 10,000 residents.

And when it comes to California’s current economic pickle, it’s useful to remember that if California were a country, its economy would be the eighth largest in the world – somewhere around the size of Spain’s. Fixing California’s problems is as difficult as fixing the two national economies that’ve already gone off the edge – Iceland and Ireland. BTW, both have smaller economies than California’s. But take heart don’t tax and spender conservatives, if Ireland goes, we could overtake Spain. USA! USA! USA!

Plus, a remnant from the last misguided tax revolt is a draconian tax and spend process worse than the broke Eurotrash’s. You may have heard of it, Prop 13. Prop 13 makes it extremely difficult to raise taxes to support social programs, infrastructure projects, and most importantly, education. So, California’s educational system has dropped from best in the nation to sub-Alabama levels since its introduction, its roads look like mule trails to the Hindu Kush, and social and educational programs have taken the biggest hits in the sausage slicing process…in a state with more poor people than any other.

Rid the government of fraud you say?

That’s a dandy idea, but none of our erstwhile CEO/politicians can explain how much there is, where it is, or how to cut it. BTW, if we removed of all of it, the spending effect – like banning earmarks – would be like pissing into a hurricane.

Of course we could start cutting the continued contracts with known fraudsters like, Blackwater/XE, Halliburton, and dozens of others carbuncles on the ass of the American economy. But hey, what do I know…except that having worked in both the public and private sectors I can vouch for the fact that fraud, abuse, and waste in corporate America is roughly the same in government America after being scaled to their relative sizes.

Moossilini and the Gajillionaire
Yes, people have a right to complain when their tax money isn’t spent wisely and no one wants to pay any more than necessary (excepting gajillionaire Warren Buffet, but you know how crazy the unbelievably rich are). But there’s the rub. One man’s waste is another man’s essential. If it were easy, we wouldn’t have a problem – even if Moosilini says it is. Still, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

Yet, you can bet that when it comes to the cutting, some of the same folks who now complain righteously, albeit incorrectly, aren’t going to be happy.

Do you think that Granny holding the “Get Rid of Obamunist” sign is going to be happy when the people she voted for decide that her Social Security and Medicare are wasteful perks? How about those who are ready to send Junior off to college only to find that all that grant money went poof? And when Mom gets e-coli from some ConAgra-raised hamburger, treated with bum drugs, and it eventually kills her (without even the courtesy of a death panel) the FDA doesn’t look so wasteful anymore.

We are all Americans and part of the responsibility of every American is to chip something in for the common good of the nation – or we would be called the United States of Me.

Stop yelling about how bad you’ve got it.

You could be working 14 hours a day in an Indonesian sweatshop to make shirts you’ll buy on the cheap at Walmart.

Always low prices…Always.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Budgeting in the United States of Me

Taxes are a lot like salaries. If you paid someone $1 million a day (oh wait, we do) they’d scream bloody murder they should’ve gotten $1,ooo,ooo.o1. If you taxed someone 1%, they’d whine they shouldn’t have to pay more than 000.1%, with those whining the loudest being the people with the lowest tax rates and highest pay.

Perhaps the most oft-repeated charge against Obama bin Karl Marx and the Democrat Politburo is that they’re dangerous socialists. But according to a recent story from CNBC, a funny thing happened on the way to the Kremlin. If you look at their list of the 10 most socialist states, there’s a whole lotta red in Governors’ mansions. In fact, six of 10 governors sport big red Rs next to their names. BTW, the People’s Republic of California didn’t even make the list.

All the tri-cornered hats and tea bags notwithstanding, the charge that most states are tax and spend Central Bureaus is shaky too.

Despite the screeching about high taxes, Americans enjoy some of the lowest taxes in the western world. American companies pay the second highest taxes, but they don’t mention their taxes are high because American companies gorge on taxpayer-funded corporate welfare far more damaging than the most greedy, imaginary, Cadillac-driving welfare queen.

American Productivity: The Bee’s Knees
They also don’t say they’re not leaving the US so much because of high taxes, but because they can hire workers from Third World countries at pennies on the dollar relative to Americans workers. Oh yeah, American workers who are generally rated as some of the most productive in the world.

The uber-capitalist view on this is that government is inherently inefficient and can’t be trusted with a dollar and there is massive fraud out there to be picked like leaves from the Liberty Tree. However, everyone’s favorite tax and spend worker’s paradise, California, has the lowest number of employees per 10,000 residents.

And when it comes to California’s current economic pickle, it’s useful to remember that if California were a country, its economy would be the eighth largest in the world – somewhere around the size of Spain’s. Fixing California’s problems is as difficult as fixing the two national economies that’ve already gone off the edge – Iceland and Ireland. BTW, both have smaller economies than California’s. But take heart don’t tax and spender conservatives, if Ireland goes, we could overtake Spain. USA! USA! USA!

Plus, a remnant from the last misguided tax revolt is a draconian tax and spend process worse than the broke Eurotrash’s. You may have heard of it, Prop 13. Prop 13 makes it extremely difficult to raise taxes to support social programs, infrastructure projects, and most importantly, education. So, California’s educational system has dropped from best in the nation to sub-Alabama levels since its introduction, its roads look like mule trails to the Hindu Kush, and social and educational programs have taken the biggest hits in the sausage slicing process…in a state with more poor people than any other.

Rid the government of fraud you say?

That’s a dandy idea, but none of our erstwhile CEO/politicians can explain how much there is, where it is, or how to cut it. BTW, if we removed of all of it, the spending effect – like banning earmarks – would be like pissing into a hurricane.

Of course we could start cutting the continued contracts with known fraudsters like, Blackwater/XE, Halliburton, and dozens of others carbuncles on the ass of the American economy. But hey, what do I know…except that having worked in both the public and private sectors I can vouch for the fact that fraud, abuse, and waste in corporate America is roughly the same in government America after being scaled to their relative sizes.

Moossilini and the Gajillionaire
Yes, people have a right to complain when their tax money isn’t spent wisely and no one wants to pay any more than necessary (excepting gajillionaire Warren Buffet, but you know how crazy the unbelievably rich are). But there’s the rub. One man’s waste is another man’s essential. If it were easy, we wouldn’t have a problem – even if Moosilini says it is. Still, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

Yet, you can bet that when it comes to the cutting, some of the same folks who now complain righteously, albeit incorrectly, aren’t going to be happy.

Do you think that Granny holding the “Get Rid of Obamunist” sign is going to be happy when the people she voted for decide that her Social Security and Medicare are wasteful perks? How about those who are ready to send Junior off to college only to find that all that grant money went poof? And when Mom gets e-coli from some ConAgra-raised hamburger, treated with bum drugs, and it eventually kills her (without even the courtesy of a death panel) the FDA doesn’t look so wasteful anymore.

We are all Americans and part of the responsibility of every American is to chip something in for the common good of the nation – or we would be called the United States of Me.

Stop yelling about how bad you’ve got it.

You could be working 14 hours a day in an Indonesian sweatshop to make shirts you’ll buy on the cheap at Walmart.

Always low prices…Always.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Ready Left, Ready Right, Ready on the Christmas Firing Line

It’s that time of year when fundamentalist Christians exercise their stupid muscles by declaring there’s a War on Christmas, Commanding Generalissimo Bill O’Reilly presiding.

For a group of people who regularly brag about their strength and moral superiority, these people are some of the most self-righteous, creme brulee-spined I’ve ever seen. In their headlong rush to see imagined slights behind every scotch pine, they – as they quite often do – forget several pertinent facts.

Christians make up 70-80% of the American population, yet they are so offended by people saying Happy Holidays they boycott any business bold enough to challenge their God’s alleged right to drive everyone else from the manger on the public square.

This seems a bit odd since their claim to rightness rests on their Big Kahuna, a force so powerful He can smite those who quibble with him like squashing a bug or a Muslim underfoot. If He’s so offended, why don’t Christians celebrate the annual cleansing of heathens by hell-fire, brimstone, and 50% off sales at Macy’s instead of Christmas? Where the hell is the perpetual lightning storm they keep predicting will come?

Their position on this is that Christmas is their holiday and that since they are the predominate religion – let’s call this the “American is a Christian Nation” gambit – no one has the right to say Happy Holidays, even if by ‘holidays’ they mean multiple Christian holidays.

More Christian Holidays Than You Can Swing Incense At

But here’s the thing. The American calendar allocates more days to Christians than any other religion. Of course, you have the Big 3 religious holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. You also have – depending on the year – roughly 52 Sundays a year, and if you’re Catholic a similar number of Long John Silver’s Fridays. When you throw in minor Christiancentric days, like Ash Wednesday, Fat Tuesday, Palm Sunday, and all the lesser Saint, crab feed, and spaghetti dinner days , most of the days already belong to Christians. They get 364 days a year to hog all the food and fellowship and have crab boils, spaghetti dinners, bean dinners, and bingo.

If they had their way, Jews, Muslims, Wiccans and all the other religious and irreligious would get bupkis, including having Christmas and Thanksgiving as a plain old day off , “NO TIME OFF FOR YOU! Make a hole, manger coming through! Stop stealing my tax money you heathen!”

I guess someone has to work the Black Friday, 3 am doorbuster shift at Walmart, because Christian Conspicuous Consumption day seems to be popular – some might even say holy – with the Jesus sect.

Commandment 11 – thou shalt buy a 51-inch plasma HD-TV marked down 50%.

Even if the common fundamentalist complaint that there is  unwarranted government interference in their lives, the rest of us could make the same argument.

Christians are free to pray, celebrate, sing hymns, and have as many cheesy midnight Christmas Eve pageants as they like. Besides, BONUS, it keeps the little Christian whelps off the street where they may run across a stray socialist bully who will beat them like a rug.

Christians Already Rule the Roost
Christians already rule the roost. They are the predominate faith of the country, as they point out with the frequency of parrots on truth serum. All the rest of use ask is that we can call a holiday a holiday.

Look my fine biblical friends, if being able to squat on the taxpayer-funded public square is so evil, why don’t the majority Christian legislators rise up against the Goliath atheists and Ramadan-celebrating Muslims and smite the Constitutional law  – that document to which these Americans pledge fealty only second than they do to the Bible.

Even as an atheist I could care less whether Christians return an innocent pleasantry like “Happy Holidays” with a rude punch in the pickle and a reminder that, “It’s Christmas dammit you scummy heathen” – so long as the pickle they’re punching isn’t mine.

I don’t begrudge them “In God we Trust”, because a buck is a buck…and when you throw into the collection plate it’s prelabeled so God can tell it’s his.

I don’t even care if you pray in school. All I ask is that you do it quietly on your own time because tuition is getting too damned expensive and, as you like to remind me, it’s time to root out fraud and inefficiency from America’s educational system – sort of a no deity left behind thing.

So go ahead and grumble about your persecution. Say Merry Christmas, even on Independence Day if you want. Truthfully, I don’t care. I’m more secure in my atheism than you appear to be in your Christianity. I love you as I would my brother, even though I don’t subscribe to the book advising so therein. But sometimes brothers need a little cuff behind the ear and some tough love. So here it is:

For Christ’s sake, er, goodness sake, stop you incessant whining about an imagined etymological affront. It’s peanuts beside a guy dragging a cross around, wearing rose bush thorns on his head, and telling the nitwits pounding 10-pennies into his palms, “Here, let me help you with that.”

Merry Christmas!

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

Weekly Mulch: Local Food—Where Sustainability Meets Self-Reliance

by Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium blogger

Last week, environmentalists and food advocates warily welcomed the news that Walmart plans to expand its local, sustainable food program. The company announced it would double its sales of locally grown food by 2015 and, in new markets, would source from small and midsized producers. Given Walmart’s market share, this announcement is generally understood to be a positive development for the sustainable food movement.

Sustainable food, however, has grown beyond the dictum to eat simply locally and organically grown food. Farms have sprung up on rooftops, home canning of fruits and vegetables has taken off, and composting is de rigueur. A common thread runs through this movement, one with a long tradition in American life—a preference for self-reliance.

“Independence is for Neanderthals”

In her new book, The Resilient Gardener, Chelsea Green author Carol Deppe writes about her garden not just as a local, sustainable source of food, but as a tool for building a sustainable community.

“The resilient gardener knows we have our ups and downs, as individuals, families, societies, and as a species,” she says. “The resilient garden is designed and managed so that when things go wrong, they have less impact.”

Deppe argues that growing staple crops like potatoes, corn, beans, and squash, and learning how to store vegetables and save seeds will help communities thrive, even in times of erratic climates.

“I aim for appropriate self-reliance, not for independence,” she says. “Independence is for Neanderthals.”

Communal eating

Yes! Magazine’s Vicki Robin has been feeding herself only with produce from a friend’s farm and a handful of other necessities sourced within a 10-mile radius of her home—which is on an island in Washington State. She’s been documenting her “10-mile diet” since the beginning of September, and as it came to a close in early October, she wrote: “The overall news is that we are actually on our way to at least partial food self sufficiency on the island, and could get closer with some changes—if we eat what we can grow here and not insist on what cannot grow here….”

From the farm to the city

For Robin, eating locally often meant eating food grown by neighbors. For city-dwellers, “local” is much more flexible. In New York City, for instance, local food at the city’s Greenmarkets can come from more than two hundred miles away, as farmers make weekly drives from upstate New York, Vermont, or southern New Jersey.

Although urban farms have drawn attention as a innovative solution for localizing food production, no one is arguing that a city could feed itself entirely from its rooftops or empty lots. It may not even be wise to dedicate large chunks of city space to agriculture, as Daniel Nairn argues at Grist: Cities need to be dense to promote energy efficiency. Jason Mark, editor of the Earth Island Journal, also writes at Change.org that most urban farms, so far, are not supporting themselves financially.

Sustained by subsidies

For American agriculture across the board, subsidies are a key to financial sustainability. The USDA has funded the growth of corn and soy megafarms in the Midwest, and earnings from outside jobs supplement the incomes of many small or midsized farmers. So far, outside support for urban agriculture has come primarily from private foundations, although earlier this year Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) introduced a bill that would create an Office of Urban Agriculture within the federal agriculture department.

Still, increasing outside funding for urban agriculture may not be the key to sustaining it. “The question of whether farms can become self-sufficient has major implications for the larger drive to create a green economy,” Mark writes. For the green economy to work, it has to be self-reliant.

Mark highlights Dig Deep Farm in the suburbs of San Francisco, CA, as an example.

“To reach profitability, we have to reach a lot of people,” Hank Herrera, one of the farm’s owners, told Mark. “Our goal is to have enough productivity to reach scale, to have the poundage to really feed people.”

To that end, Herrera and his partner, Abeni Ramsey, are looking for more corners of land in the vicinity of their farm to convert into growing space.

Farm ecosystems

Communities sustained by good food practices extend beyond humans to the natural ecosystem of worms and insects that lives in the dirt, helping to enrich and clean it. As Sara Rubin writes at Campus Progress, “A farmer attentive to natural systems will often rejoice over a handful of soil packed with the tiny squirmers, but mostly because it’s packed with microscopic critters, too. An entire ecosystem of beneficial fungi and bacteria and tiny insects can be active below the soil surface.”

That community of underground wrigglers contributes to the resilience of human communities, too. Healthy bugs and bacteria crowd out dangerous pathogens that have led to food-related outbreaks of salmonella, for instance, in the past few years.

Environmentalists should welcome Walmart’s new-found dedication to local foods. It shows that the first battle for a sustainable food system has been won, freeing up time and energy to develop new, exciting projects that will ultimately strengthen communities, not corporations.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Mulch for a complete list of articles on environmental issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Pulse, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

 

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