Fuzzy Math that Would Make Enron Execs Blush

Who would you say is the most repugnant corporation in American corporate history?  Is it Enron, who gave record amounts to the Bush-Cheney machine and bankrupt millions of investors?  Halliburton, the shameless war profiteer?  Or Wal-Mart, the company that has done more than any other to drive down wages in America and has set a new low for how it treats its employees?

It’s a tough choice.  The competition is fierce.  But lately I think Wal-Mart has been giving the others a run for their money, especially when it comes to cooking the books, deceiving the public with smoke-and-mirror statistics, and generally screwing over citizens and taxpayers.  It’s no secret that Wal-Mart treats its employees horribly, but Progress Ohio has uncovered troublesome data showing that the retailer is costing the Buckeye State taxpayers tens of millions on health care and welfare.  

You see, Wal-Mart claims that only 2.6% of their workforce and their dependents rely on Medicaid – that appears to be a flat-out lie. If Wal-Mart’s figure is correct, we would expect only 1,385 Ohio employees to be on Medicaid.  However, more than 15,000 of Wal-Mart’s Ohio employees and their dependents are on the program.  Unless Wal-Mart’s Medicaid enrollees have 10 dependents each, Wal-Mart’s official number is suspect beyond reasonable doubt.

That’s a lot of dough in a state that is under a lot of economic stress.  Wal-Mart makes billions each year and Ohio is suffering mightily, yet Wal-Mart would rather enrich executives (4 out of 10 of the richest Americans are Waltons) and send billions to China rather than provide decent benefits to hard working Americans in Ohio.  What is wrong with this picture?

If this concerns you as much as it does me, please join me at WakeUpWalmart.com  to help get our priorities straight in Ohio and America once again.  

The Ohio Benefits Report has been altered from the original publication. Appropriate changes were made to this diary to reflect those changes on Oct. 6, 2009.

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Wilderness Walmart Fight Rages On

Here’s an idea: Let’s build a shopping mall on the National Mal in Washington, or even better, how about a McDonalds on Half Dome in Yosemite Park? Don’t these sound like good ideas? Well if you’re saying NO, then you probably agree that they make about as much sense as the proposal to build a Wal-Mart Supercenter on the grounds of the Wilderness Civil War Battlefield.  Robert Duvall agrees also and spoke out earlier this year:

Just last week, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, and six nearby residents filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Orange County. The suit challenges the August 2009 approval of Walmart's proposal to plant a massive super center unacceptably close to the historic battlefield.

Video is via the Civil War Preservation Trust, and there is more after the fold:

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Help Needed Defeating Wal-Mart on Battlefield

Last week Virginia's Orange County Board of Supervisors vote to approve the building of a new Wal-Mart Supercenter within the historic boundaries of the
Wilderness Battlefield – and one of the most significant battlefields of the Civil War.  The Civil War Preservation Trust has been fighting Wal-Mart on this location for over a year – seeking an alternative location and compromoise – and after last week they desperately need everyones help to stop Wal-Mart from moving forward and opening the door to further destructive development.  

Even State Senator Creigh Deeds, the Democratic candidate for Virginia Governor, has written a letter to the president and CEO of Wal-Mart pleading with him to move the location off the historic battlefield.  Wake-Up Wal-Mart is helping in this fight and you can too by also writing a letter on the Civil War Preservation Trust's website and also help spread the word yourself.

More from Blue Virginia and the Washington Post below:

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The Steroids Era and Wal-Mart

When we look back on The Steroids Era in baseball, we’re going to see a bunch of players who broke the rules and grew to an unnatural behemoth size, and how the people who were supposed to provide oversight either turned a blind eye or even encouraged it.

Well, if you think about it, wasn’t our economy in sort of a similar Steroids Era?  Real estate prices were pushed to unsustainable levels, Wall Street raked in unhealthy and astronomical profits, and our SUV’s looked like they had a case of elephantitis. 

The poster child for the Excess Economy was Wal-Mart, the king of suburbia that built Big Box Supercenters anywhere it could find cheap land, introduced oversize shopping carts for its Canyero-driving customers, bought cheap goods in bulk from China, and was the darling of Wall Street.

Like in MLB, the oversight into Wal-Mart’s unprecedented behavior didn’t exist.  Bush was Bud Selig.  So while Wal-Mart may have broken records, it left an ugly legacy on the American economy by destroying small towns, short-changing workers, and selling out American vendors in favor of China.

I’ve had enough with The Steroids Era, and so that’s why I’m doing some work with Wake Up Wal-Mart this summer.  Like in baseball, it’s time to reform the system and restore American tradition in our economy.  Join us if you’re sick and tired another so-called “record breaker” juicing the system. 

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Labor Violations, Bogus Standards in WalMarts Chinese Supplier Factories - via China Labor Watch

In a new investigation from the China Labor Watch (CLW), “Wal-Mart's Road to Sustainability: Paved with False Promises?”, the CLW reports on the Wal-Mart's extreme exploitation of foreign factory workers – amongst many other egregious acts they've detailed.  

The CLW has found, as a result of investigations from April to June of this year, that violations at one of Wal-Mart's suppliers, the Huasheng Packaging Factory, include:

• Elaborate system to cheat Wal-Mart audits.

• Some workers make only $0.51/hour, 60% of the minimum wage.

• Poor working conditions: workers inhale large amounts of paper particles and other debris.

• Twelve workers live together in cramped dorms

• Workers not paid overtime wages.

• During busy period, workday is 11 hours or 77 hours per week, and overtime is mandatory

Please help us by taking action and voicing your concern about Wal-Mart, and please continue reading for more from CLW's press release.

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