Saturday, November 30, 2013

Wal-Mart y nosotros. Flash fiction contest. Cars, cards n carbines.

Wal-Mart on Santa's naughtiest list and on the Toltecs'

W-M protesting Santa worker arrested
Wal-Mart started Xmas before Pavo Day this year on Wheel of Fortune. So I was reminded earlier than usual of the place I most hate shopping at. I almost never do. Maybe five times in as many years. Por qué?

I feel it is unconscionable for me to help make the 10th-of-1% even richer, just so I can save a little money, while Wal-Mart workers suffer. There's more than a U.S. latino connection; there's also a Mexican-Toltec connection explained below.

On their website, Wal-Mart brags: "Our U.S. workforce is about 1.3 million associates. 37% of our associates in the U.S. are minority, including more than 169,000 Hispanic associates." What they don't brag about, are facts like these:

Wal-Mart workers associating
"Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private sector employer, is also the biggest consumer of taxpayer supported aid, along with McDonald's. In many states, Wal-Mart employees are the largest group of Medicaid recipients.

"They are also the single biggest group of food stamp recipients. Wal-Mart’s associates are paid so little that they receive $1,000 on average in public assistance."

You can Google Wal-Mart employees & welfarefood stampslosing Americans jobscutting workers' health insuranceundermining public education, and funding right-wing agendas. Or read about workers marching yesterday in front of the store, chanting in English and Spanish and carrying signs with messages like “Livable Wages Over Greed.”

The information and evidence seems endless. Goes on for pages and pages of reasons for Hispanics, Chicanos, mexicanos and others to drive twice as far to another store, rather than contribute to this company's cash flow. Read the entire NYTimes piece here.
Now, for some of the money you spend at Wal-Mart that goes for bribes. As was done in Mexico City in the sacrilege that follows.

Teotihuacán & Wal-Mart

In an article a year ago entitled "The Bribery Aisle: How Wal-Mart Got Its Way
in Mexico", The New York Times uncovered that Wal-Mart's more accurate slogan should be: Save Money for bribes; Live Better on welfare. First for the, on Welfare:

"Wal-Mart de Mexico was an aggressive and creative corrupter, offering large payoffs to get what the law otherwise prohibited, an examination by The New York Times found.

"Wal-Mart de Mexico arranged to bribe an official to change the map before it was sent to the newspaper, records and interviews show. When the map was published, the zoning was redrawn to allow Wal-Mart’s store.

"The NYTimes traveled to dozens of towns and cities in Mexico, gathered tens of thousands of documents related to Wal-Mart de Mexico permits, and interviewed scores of government officials and Wal-Mart employees, including hours of interviews with lawyers.

"The Times’s examination reveals that Wal-Mart de Mexico was not the reluctant victim of a corrupt culture that insisted on bribes as the cost of doing business. Nor did it pay bribes merely to speed up routine approvals. Rather, Wal-Mart de Mexico was an aggressive and creative corrupter, offering large payoffs to get what the law otherwise prohibited. It used bribes to subvert democratic governance — public votes, open debates, transparent procedures. It used bribes to circumvent regulatory safeguards that protect Mexican citizens from unsafe construction. It used bribes to outflank rivals.

"Through confidential Wal-Mart documents, The Times identified 19 store sites across Mexico that were the target of Wal-Mart de Mexico’s bribes. The Times then matched information about specific bribes against permit records for each site. Clear patterns emerged. Over and over, for example, the dates of bribe payments coincided with dates when critical permits were issued.

"Thanks to eight bribe payments totaling $341,000, Wal-Mart built a Sam’s Club in one of Mexico City’s most densely populated neighborhoods, near the Basílica de Guadalupe, without a construction license, or an environmental permit, or an urban impact assessment, or even a traffic permit.

"But there is no better example of Wal-Mart de Mexico’s methods than its conquest of field in view of the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacán, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Times found that Wal-Mart de Mexico executives approved at least four different bribe payments — more than $200,000 in all — to build just a medium-size supermarket. Without those payoffs, records and interviews show, Wal-Mart almost surely would not have been allowed to build."

La Bloga encourage readers to check out the entire article. It's an incredible investigative piece of what use to be done in this country as journalism. How this company abuses its "Hispanic", and other, workers; how it degrades Mexican heritage; and how it supports causes and beliefs that are opposite those of La Bloga are sufficient reasons for me to remember Wal-Mart this holiday season. And drive right past them, wondering about bribes in the U.S.

A Merry Little Apex Christmas Flash Fiction Contest

An Apex Publications announcement about their contest:

"All entries must have to do with Christmas, but have a distinctly Apex slant – dark science fiction, fantasy, or horror.
Submit between now until December 16th.  250 word limit. Email entries to: with the title and author name in the subject line. Story should be in the body of the email.

"Winning story being published on the Apex blog on Dec. 23rd. Besides getting their flash fiction published on the Apex blog, the winner also receives the following fantastic prize pack: a short story (up to 5,000 words long) critiqued by Apex owner/publisher Jason Sizemore, payment of 5 cents a word, and a one year subscription to Apex Magazine.

To make sure that everyone has a merry Christmas, all entrants will receive a free issue of Apex Magazine. Just let us know in your submission email which issue you would like and we will send it. Search our back issues to see which one you’d like."

Cars, Cards & Carbines anthology

La Bloga amigo, Mario Acevedo, just announced a KickStarter campaign for: A high-octane anthology of short fiction from top, genre authors.

"The goal of this campaign is to publish an anthology of new short stories by some of the best writers [including Mario] in speculative fiction. The anthology will be released as an E-book, a trade paperback, and a limited edition hardcover, available only to campaign contributors.

"Cars, Cards & Carbines grew from a desire to see more of the kind of stories that set my little writer brain on fire as a kid, merged with adult sensibilities, complex themes, and sheer literary awesomeness. We think you'll agree that the author roster is capable of pulling that off.

"This anthology was originally conceived as Mad Max meets Maverick and The Wild, Wild West, by way of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, but the concepts now go much farther than that. Each story will do something unique to incorporate those three themes, without restrictions on genre. The award-winning/bestselling authors have very different writing styles and work in numerous genres.

"One cool thing about putting together this kind of anthology is the way the three elements of the theme can be stretched. Cars can mean hot rods, getaway cars, train cars, mine cars, horse-drawn carriages. While originating from a Poker theme, Cards can be expanded into things like credit cards, tarot cards, programming cards, green cards, and more. And of course Carbine literally means a short-barreled rifle used generally by cavalry, but could easily reach into all sorts of firearms across almost any milieu.

"Put these three together, throw in these authors, simmer, and the possibility for action and adventure is limitless. Stories will be all over the genre map, from noir to weird western, steampunk to cyberpunk, science fiction to straight-up horror.
And let's not forget the cover artist, World Fantasy Award winner Alan M. Clark, who's set to paint a full wrap-around cover.

"The more money we raise, the more stories we can publish and the more we can pay our authors. Every dime beyond the initial goal goes into more stories and higher pay for the authors.

"We have a long list of rewards and crunchy goodies: signed books by our authors and editors, Tuckerizations (writing your name into a story), story and novel critiques for writers, and even launch parties with your favorite author/editor as the host. There's definitely more to come, with some surprises along the way. So buckle up, throttle up, and get ready for a thrill ride."

There will be no open submissions; by invitation only.
Dec. 15, 2013 – Campaign ends.
Nov. 15, 2014 - Ebooks sent to contributors.
As of today, the campaign had reached $1,835 of the $13,500. Go here for more info.

Es todo, hoy,

1 comment:

Katalina4 said...

Good for you! Walmart is not getting any more of my money either, for exactly the reasons you've stated. If only we can make the boycott grow....