Walmart Admits: ‘Our Profits’ Depend on ‘Their Poverty’

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/03/26-6

Critics cite irony of annual report filing: ‘This is a company that everywhere it goes it creates poverty’

Lauren McCauley

Although a notorious recipient of “corporate welfare,” Walmart has now admitted that their massive profits also depend on the funding of food stamps and other public assistance programs.

In their annual report, filed with the Security and Exchange Commission last week, the retail giant lists factors that could potentially harm future profitability. Listed among items such as “economic conditions” and “consumer confidence,” the company writes that changes in taxpayer-funded public assistance programs are also a major threat to their bottom line.

The company writes:

Our business operations are subject to numerous risks, factors and uncertainties, domestically and internationally, which are outside our control … These factors include … changes in the amount of payments made under the Supplement[al] Nutrition Assistance Plan and other public assistance plans, changes in the eligibility requirements of public assistance plans …

Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, is notorious for paying poverty wages and coaching employees to take advantage of social programs. In many states, Walmart employees are the largest group of Medicaid recipients.

However, this report is the first public acknowledgement of the chain’s reliance on the funding of these programs to sustain a profit.

According to Stacy Mitchell, senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, the irony of their admission is that Walmart “is the company that has done, perhaps, more than any other corporation to push people into poverty.”

Citing a Penn State study, Mitchell told Common Dreams that research has proven that “when Walmart opens a store, poverty rates are negatively impacted” and that the more stores that have opened in a particular county, the worse it is. “This is a company that everywhere it goes it creates poverty.”

In addition to their own worker’s low wages, Mitchell explains that Walmart, because of their enormous size and market power, have “held down wages for the whole sector.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/03/26-6

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All Around Bigot Pat Robertson: Jews Too Busy Polishing Diamonds To Fix Their Cars

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‘Shem***’ is not OK to use in any venue

From The San Diego LGBT Weekly:  http://lgbtweekly.com/2014/03/27/shem-is-not-ok-to-use-in-any-venue/

Trans Progressive

I’ve had a back-and-forth with Nicole Murray Ramirez at LGBT Weekly over RuPaul’s promotion of the term tra**y. We disagree on the pejorative nature of the term, but it says something that the former Tra**y Awards has changed the name of the event to the Transgender Erotic Awards.

“When we named the show the ‘Tranny Awards’ in 2007 the climate was different and the usage of the word ‘tranny’ was appropriate as a catchy title in an online porn event,” creator of the awards event Steven Grooby explained in a Cosmo magazine article. “As we aim to be inclusive of all areas of transgender erotica and are looking to broaden the appeal of the show to mainstream media, we believed it was time to re-brand the event.”

Even Jerry Springer recently announced that he’s going to stop using the term tra**y because the term has clearly become offensive.

But now RuPaul has gone clearly into antitrans pejorative use. In season 6, episode 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, he used, and encouraged the use of “shem***” by LGBT and straight people in how he and the drag queens on the show used the term.

There is no gray area, as there is with tra**y, on the use of the term shem***. This is a vile term that trans people (outside of the porn industry) don’t use to describe themselves. There are African Americans who refer to themselves by the n-word, and there are gays who refer to themselves by fa**ot, but essentially there just aren’t any trans people outside of the porn industry who refer to themselves as shem***s.

Of course, if one refers to gays as fa**ots, RuPaul takes offense. June 2, 2013 he Tweeted at Amanda Bynes about her use of the word fa**ots in one of her Tweets. “Derogatory slurs are always an outward projection of a person’s own poisonous self-loathing @AmandaBynes,” he wrote.

So when it comes to anti-trans derogatory slurs, RuPaul must either be a hypocrite or self-loathing – there is no gray area here. His use of the term shem*** in an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race is giving lesbian, gay, bisexual and straight people permission to use a derogatory, dehumanizing slur.

Apparently, RuPaul has no idea of how the term has been used by members of the LGBT and feminist communities to deride trans people. It was back in 1979 that lesbian and feminist Janice G. Raymond used the term in her book The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male. She justified the use of the term, describing trans women with the term “male-to-constructed female” and that trans experience can be boiled down to trans women’s “artifactual femaleness.” Raymond’s use of the term isn’t the only time the term was used to deride and dehumanize trans experience and trans people, but it epitomizes it.

Trans people deserve to be heard about which terms are problematic, defamatory and derogatory. We trans people deserve better from our LGBT entertainers than what RuPaul gives us; what he gives us is use of, and functionally working to normalize the use of, one of the most vile anti-trans pejoratives that function to dehumanize trans people.

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“Our Only Hope Will Come Through Rebellion”

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Disturbing New Report: Air Pollution Killed 7 Million People in 2012—Or About 1 in 8 Premature Deaths

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/26/stillbirth-murder-miscarriage-pregnant-women-criminals

Imagine if Jackie O got arrested for losing her son after smoking. Now meet the woman facing life in prison for something like that


theguardian.com, Wednesday 26 March 2014

Seven and a half years ago, a Mississippi teenager named Rennie Gibbs went into premature labor and delivered a stillborn baby girl named Samiya. Initially, experts attributed the baby’s death to the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. But when traces of a cocaine byproduct showed up on the autopsy report, a medical examiner declared the stillbirth a homicide and cited cocaine toxicity as the cause. Shortly afterward, the 16-year-old Gibbs was charged with murder, specifically “depraved heart murder”, a charge that can carry a sentence of up to 20 years to life in prison.

Since her grand-jury indictment in 2007, Gibbs’s team of attorneys has been fighting for the charges to be dropped on both technical and legal grounds. The defense argues that there’s no scientific proof that cocaine use can cause a stillbirth – and that the “depraved heart murder” statute did not apply to unborn children at the time of Samiya’s death. A decision is expected any day now as to whether the Gibbs case will finally proceed to trial or get dismissed. If it does go to trial, and Gibbs is convicted of murder for being 16 and pregnant, then a dangerous precedent may be established that should make anyone with a uterus feel very afraid.

This week, I spoke with one of Gibbs’s attorneys, Robert McDuff, who told me that he volunteered his services to the public defender assigned to the case back in 2009 because he was concerned about the implications for women everywhere if the prosecution is successful:

It’s ridiculous that this teenager is being prosecuted for a murder charge not justified by either law or science. If she can be tried for allegedly taking drugs during her pregnancy, what is to stop other women who miscarry or suffer a stillbirth from being prosecuted because they smoked cigarettes or drank alcohol or just didn’t follow their doctor’s orders?

Central to the Gibbs case is whether her alleged cocaine use directly caused her baby’s stillbirth. A recent ProPublica investigation by Nina Martin goes into some detail on this aspect, outlining serious doubts surrounding the medical examiner’s conclusion that drugs were the cause of death. The reliability of the examiner’s work has been called into question before, and at least four murder convictions based on his evidence have been overturned.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/26/stillbirth-murder-miscarriage-pregnant-women-criminals

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One Percenter Convicted Of Raping His Infant Child Dodges Jail Because He ‘Will Not Fare Well’

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/30/robert-richards-rape_n_5060386.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013

by  Ashley Alman
03/30/2014

A Delaware man convicted of raping his three-year-old daughter only faced probation after a state Superior Court judge ruled he “will not fare well” in prison.

In her decision, Judge Jan Jurden suggested Robert H. Richards IV would benefit more from treatment. Richards, who was charged with fourth-degree rape in 2009, is an unemployed heir living off his trust fund. The light sentence has only became public as the result of a subsequent lawsuit filed by his ex-wife, which charges that he penetrated his daughter with his fingers while masturbating, and subsequently assaulted his son as well.

Richards is the great grandson of du Pont family patriarch Irenee du Pont, a chemical baron.

According to the lawsuit filed by Richards’ ex-wife, he admitted to assaulting his infant son in addition to his daughter between 2005 and 2007. Richards was initially indicted on two counts of second-degree child rape, felonies that translate to a 10-year mandatory jail sentence per count. He was released on $60,000 bail while awaiting his charges.

Richards hired one of the state’s top law firms and was offered a plea deal of one count of fourth-degree rape charges — which carries no mandatory minimum prison sentencing. He accepted, and admitted to the assault.

In her sentence, Jurden said he would benefit from participating in a sex offenders rehabilitation program rather than serving prison time.

Delaware Public Defender Brendan J. O’Neill told The News Journal that it was “extremely rare” for an individual to fare well in prison. “Prison is to punish, to segregate the offender from society, and the notion that prison serves people well hasn’t proven to be true in most circumstances,” he said, adding that the light sentence for the member of the one percent raised questions about “how a person with great wealth may be treated by the system.” (Though perhaps it provides more answers than questions.)

According to the The News Journal, several attorneys claimed treatment over jail time was a deal more typically granted to drug addicts, not sex offenders.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/30/robert-richards-rape_n_5060386.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Linda Perhacs

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