Friday, May 05, 2006

Wal-Mart: The Evil Empire

Several years ago, the K-mart store in the city of Marina California closed down. The building has remained unused since then. Wal-Mart offered to open a store in its place and some of the local leftist (and not so local leftist) have been sniveling.

While I didn’t follow the initial arguments too closely, I was soon to notice it was the usual cast of local left-wing neo-Marxists doing most of the whining. Reading the letters to the editor in local papers, I saw the authors were the Usual Suspects. That alone makes me more prone to support the store.

I know some Conservative activists have sometimes complained about the store. From what I’ve read, the complaints are due to the store providing the “morning after” birth-control and sometimes abortion-inducing pill, the store’s sucking up to the queer lobby and its selling of “pornographic” magazines like Maxim, Stuff and FHM. I personally don’t see what makes it much different from many other retail stores.

Several Sundays ago, I attended a showing of the Robert Greenwald film, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. For those of you who don’t recognize Greenwald’s name, he’s the leftist filmmaker who’s produced such films as Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election, Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War, The Big Buy: How Tom DeLay Stole Congress and several other left-wing films. He’s also a co-founder of the group Artists United to Win Without War (AUWWW). Needless to say, his involvement doesn’t add much to the credibility of the anti-Wal-Mart side.

The showing of the film and following discussion was put on by the Citizens Against Wal-Mart in Marina. The flyers distributed at the event complained of Wal-Mart’s low wage jobs, its competition with local businesses, traffic and environmental (A red herring often used by anti-business socialists) problems, increased “light” pollution and several other real or perceived problems.

The movie started off showing several family businesses, apparently owned by Republicans and Joe Average-types being forced to close because of Wal-Mart. I would assume that is often the case whenever a large store moves into a community.

The movie complained of the high number of Wal-Mart employees on public assistance and of its hiring of illegal aliens. (I managed to keep a straight face after hearing liberals complain about something they usually support) One of the practices Wal-Mart allegedly engaged in, I thought was a bit sleazy. Wal-Mart supposedly hires many part-time workers so as not to pay the benefits of a full time employee. The film also claimed Wal-Mart harasses anyone who attempts to join or start a union.

The film described the brutal and inhumane condition of workers in Red China. Like pretty much any store, Wal-Mart sells many products made in Red China. I had a very hard time seeing why they chose to bash Wal-Mart over its dealings with Red China when one barely find a product in ANY store not made there.
(I recall going to a local Republican Party picnic where each table had a small plastic American Flag on it, with “made in China” printed on them. Disgusting)
At the end of the film there was a question and answer period. I asked, except for Wal-Mart’s anti-union activity, what made them any different from any other large chain store? One of the hosts of the program answered, Wal-Mart is the largest store of its type and they set the example for all other stores in the U.S.

Basically, I’m left without much of an opinion either for or against Wal-Mart. I’m sure had there been as many left-wing activists as currently pollute Monterey bay, they would have opposed the K-Mart store that the Wal-Mart will be replacing


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