Take back America: Boycott abusers and elect community-minded politicians

Uncle Sam & Rosie support Obama
Source Beverly & Pack on Twitter: Patriotic Uncle Sam & Rosie the Riveter support Barack Obama as the next president of the USA
With money comes power, and some have plenty of money, so watch out America: the Koch Brothers wealth increased by $12B in 2014. They’re after your food stamps and other nutrition programs. They want Obamacare dismantled … and same for the United States Post Office, Social Security and housing assistance programs. They want prison populations increased and public education, gone forever. They want to house our parents and grandparents in homes where they decide what food and care they will get. They want to own our food systems and determine how well we eat. They don’t even want us growing our own food, unless they sell us the seeds.

The uniting thread here is privatization. The Koch Brothers, the Walton Family (that owns Walmart) and their colleagues in ALEC want America to experience the type of crushing poverty portrayed by Dickens in Victorian England.

Your first defense against these monsters: vote out politicians loyal to their interests and vote in politicians who are community minded, accountable and responsive to the needs of the people they serve. That’s us. No excuses about why you don’t want to vote, don’t need to vote or won’t vote because your vote doesn’t count! It most certainly does count.

Giving up your vote is the same as giving 2 votes to the people who want to make you suffer: when an abuser-aligned voter casts a vote – and you did not balance out the election results with your own – you just gave the abuse voter double power. To achieve a more equitable and just society, you must vote. Raise your voice and exercise your right and power as a citizen of democracy.

Second line of defense: boycott the abusers. The sad truth is that a lot of the super-rich’s wealth comes from selling us toilet paper, cleaning products and other essential items. The items are essential, but we don’t need to buy it from people who use our own money against us. Learn what products the abusers’ companies make – and don’t buy them. Ever. Once they get their hands on your money, it will be used against you in every possible way.

New report: Walmart has hidden 10s of $BILLIONS of revenue to evade taxes

Walmart tax evasion reportAmericans for Tax Fairness has published their findings of a Walmart tax evasion investigation. I’m not devious enough to quickly understand how Walmart is doing this, and I sure don’t know if what it’s legal, but I’m glad to know eyebrows are being raised.

Their scheme goes something like this: Walmart has lied in corporate earnings filings about how much money they’ve sent overseas. They have stashed that money in secret accounts, mostly in Luxembourg, to avoid paying United States taxes on it. An interesting sidebar is that they now Walmarts wants to bring a lot of that money back into the US in order to expand their operation – again, without paying taxes on the earnings it represents. This just stinks, don’t you think?

I already knew Walmart and its owners are the scum of the earth. I can only hope that learning how little the Waltons are willing to share with the countrymen who have made them so rich will motivate people to stop shopping at Walmart. After all, it isn’t the bargain people think it is. As Politics USA writes:

Not only does Walmart keep their workers in poverty through low wages, kill small locally owned businesses when they move into an area, cause an increase in local taxes by getting sweetheart tax free deals from local politicians, tax dodging by corporate giants like Walmart increases taxes on small businesses by $3,200 a year.

Walmart’s no bargain

Oh, and then there’s the thing where Walmart solicits donations from shoppers so workers will have enough food for their Thanksgiving dinners. And let’s not forget that Walmart pays its workers so little, many need foodstamps to survive:

“The same company that brings in the most food stamp dollars in revenue — an estimated $13 billion last year — also likely has the most employees using food stamps.”

The name of the mammoth food stamp-reliant company is no secret: Walmart.

As journalist Krissy Clark notes in Marketplace’s valuable new series “The Secret Life of the Food Stamp,” Walmart benefits from food stamps in multiple ways, as taxpayers both underwrite the company’s food sales and also subsidize its payroll costs.

There is no doubt that food stamps (and a host of other public subsidies from Medicaid to home heating assistance to the Earned Income Tax Credit and beyond) reduce Walmart’s employment costs substantially. A study released last year by staff of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce found that a single 300-employee Walmart Supercenter may cost taxpayers anywhere from $904,542 to nearly $1.75 million per year.

Politifact answers the question: Just how rich are the Waltons?

Sanders tweeted that “the Walton family of Walmart own more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of America.”

The statistic correctly compares the combined net worth of the bottom 41.5 percent of American families with the six Walton family members. We think the additional points — that many people with a negative net worth are not necessarily poor and that percentages about wealth distribution can be deceiving — are important and interesting. Nevertheless, Sanders’ claim is solid. We rate it True.

Kathryn Longo and Leen De Weerd Mosley for sharing articles about the new report.

Thriving local economies means more health & resilience

walmart never respectsWalmart and Target say they help communities overcome health issues and the ill effects of poverty but the reverse is true.Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Stacey Mitchell writes about the difference between communities with thriving local economies and those dominated by Big Box retail giants:

study found that counties dominated by a few big firms have … less engaged citizens than those in which economic activity is dispersed across many locally owned businesses. “We find that residents of communities with highly concentrated economies (ed note: where big box stores predominate) tend to vote less and are less likely to keep up with local affairs, participate in associations, engage in reform efforts or participate in protest activities at the same levels as their counterparts in economically dispersed environments (ed note: where small businesses proliferate)…”.

Sociologists Stephan Goetz and Anil Rupasingha have linked this decline in civic participation to Walmart specifically. With each Walmart store that opens, social capital erodes, their research finds. Communities with more Walmart stores have lower voter turnout and fewer active nonprofit organizations. In their latest study, published in June, they’ve documented a correlation between Walmart and the presence of hate groups.

Still other research has linked the regional market share of large retail chains with higher rates of poverty, infant mortality, and crime.

Why is local ownership so nourishing to the social and civic fabric of communities? One (reason is) local business owners themselves. Their personal and financial interests are tied to the community’s well-being and, as a result, they are often active in various civic endeavors. While small business owners gain prestige and influence by contributing to community improvement, corporate managers garner status by advancing the company’s interest, even at the expense of the community.

Another reason is that cities with a strong entrepreneurial culture and local control of economic resources have more capacity to solve problems on their own and are more resilient and adaptable in times of distress. Those that are dependent on outside corporations have little ability to marshal resources to overcome challenges.

Why block Walmart from north Jersey expansion?

Walmart exploits workers
Why is another Walmart in north Jersey a bad thing? Start off by considering these thoughts Rita Louie, Pomona’s Deputy Mayor, shared on Facebook at Dont LET WâL-MâRT RUIN Our TOWN.

Too big, too offensive, too risky, not needed, will put small businesses under, will change the character of the Rt202 corridor forever (in a bad way), will bring crime, cost taxpayers alot of money, destroy our infrastructure, destroy already suffering property values, 18 wheelers going down 202 at pre-dawn hours to make deliveries, traffic backed up onto the PIP in both directions, the remainder of Pomona will become blighted when all the stores close and we will be left holding the bag…shall I go on? Is this worth the risk so you could get a cheap shirt made in China?

In a 2008 post I asked Is Wal-Mart helping you “live better?”, and I’m sure the answer is still, “No.” In 2007 I blogged about Nation-state Walmart store police using harsh interrogation tactics against employees, and in 2011 I blogged on the Green Wei about how Walmart exploits us. Walmart employees tell their stories about experiences working for Walmart and living in the communities that it has torn apart at walmartat50.org.

If you look carefully at the real impact Walmart has on communities, you’ll know why it’s a really bad idea to let them get a foothold where you live.

Is Wal-Mart helping you “live better?”

Your tax dollars are still subsidizing Wal-Mart’s health care crisis. Your good jobs are still being shipped overseas so Wal-Mart can import over 70% of its goods from communist China. Your neighbors are still earning poverty-level Wal-Mart wages so America’s richest family can line their pockets with Wal-Mart’s $12 billion in profits.

Are you living better yet?

If you’re not, visit Wake Up Walmart and have a look at their suggestions for what you can do about it.

Nation-state Walmart store “police” use harsh interrogation tactics

Excerpt from article by Barbara Ehrenreich.

Justin Kenward, who worked at a Target store in Chino CA for three years, wrote to tell me about his six hour interrogation, in 2003, by the store’s “Asset Protection” agents, who accused him of wrongly giving a fellow employee a discount on a video game a year earlier:

After about an hour of trying to tell them that I don’t remember any thing about that day let alone that transaction, I had to use the restroom. I asked if I could and was denied. This goes on for about another hour when I say “Look I have to pee, bad, can I go to the restroom?” Once more I was told no. So I stand up and start walking out the door, and was stopped. At this point I thought to my self “They’re looking to fire me!” So I start to think of ways that transaction might have came to be. I say something like

“I would never give a discount unless an L.O.D. (Leader On Duty aka: a manager) or a Team Lead (aka: supervisor) told me to ……” I was interrupted and told that it sounds like I was trying to place my mistake on other people. 3 hours in to this and still needing to pee I was told that I need to write an apologetic letter to the company with the details, every detail, that we just went over and then I could use the rest room…

Kenward not only lost his job, but faced charges of theft. Jump to article.