Monday, April 23, 2012

To Suggest We Allow Local Law To Dictate Our Norms While Upholding The Idea That America Alone Is Exceptional Is Just Plain Inexplicable

Article Analysis Assignment

First, read a news story from the newspaper or the Internet.  Answer the following questions regarding your news story: 1) What is the main issue, who are the main actors being discussed;  Then, choose one of the assigned articles you read for this week.  Answer the following questions regarding the assigned article: 1) What are the basics of this article (who, what, when, how, why, etc.);  2) What is the overall main point the author is trying to convince you of?  3) Do you agree with the author’s argument?  Why?  Why not?   Finally, tie together your news story with what you learned from the assigned article, textbook readings, podcasts, videos, etc. for this week.  Type your answers in the box below using your own words, no outline or bullets, complete sentences and paragraphs, single-spaced, full-page. 

This week I chose the article “Columbian President to Obama” because it is apparent the emphasis of this trip, certainly from the media focus, has been on the wrong syllable. Here is a helpful link no-one seems to have heard of or find titillating in the least:
Our nearest neighbor to the south, Mexico, is by common measure  notably near civil war and in some areas  run by dangerous drug cartels—what we may not have realized: six Walton family members, using tremendous wealth, are party to subverting civil society in the name of the all-holy profit margin. Until they are called to the carpet and given fair chance to repent financially, this pattern of corrupt misbehavior will continue to not only tarnish America’s image, but limit Mexico’s growth and development as well. And on down the multiplying line.
In case you don’t know what I am referring to, corporate giant and largest employer (IN THE WORLD) Wal-Mart is trying to excuse some pretty shady bribery (though tame in scale)  in our southern neighborhood. The story itself is in the New York Times; worth the read.
According to Forbes writer Tim Worstall, “This really is just the way of the world. Some places do things differently from either the way we do or the way that we think things ought to be done. I tend to think that domestic laws which fail to recognise this fact are doomed to eventual failure. For those different ways are going to carry on even if we or our companies can no longer operate there because of our own domestic laws. Yes, of course, we all have to obey the law and no doubt there’s going to be a torrid time as possible violations of the FCPA are investigated. My argument is simply that such laws as the FCPA and the Bribery Act shouldn’t exist.”
In response to this nonsense, I will direct your attention to incontrovertible evidence that this was not run-of-the-mill –“chai money”—bribery...this was targeted corruption—from Think Progress-“The Times examination included more than 15 hours of interviews with the former executive, Sergio Cicero Zapata, who resigned from Wal-Mart de Mexico in 2004 after nearly a decade in the company’s real estate department. In the interviews, Mr. Cicero recounted how he had helped organize years of payoffs. He described personally dispatching two trusted outside lawyers to deliver envelopes of cash to government officials. They targeted mayors and city council members, obscure urban planners, low-level bureaucrats who issued permits — anyone with the power to thwart Wal-Mart’s growth. The bribes, he said, bought zoning approvals, reductions in environmental impact fees and the allegiance of neighborhood leaders.” I feel especially bad for the non-corrupt—you know, the victims of the crime who are left with the costs of adjustment.
To suggest we allow local law to dictate our norms while upholding the idea that America alone is exceptional is just plain inexplicable. But there you have modern conservative thought on growth and development: keep government out of the way! Liberty!
Sachs points out what we can do instead of allowing further neocolonialism in the name of free market capitalism/democracy, an unjust misnomer if ever there was one. Using a series of nine steps he explains how extreme poverty might be eradicated. Since the Millennium, there is a discernible improvement in the long-term prospects for dealing with HIV/AIDS and malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, for example. Perhaps we could use a similar strategy to force patriotism from non-sovereign MNC’s. “Commit to the task-Adopt a plan of action-raise the voice of the poor—etc.” to help achieve redemption of the “declining” power the United States holds.
If we are to continue honestly asserting our dependence on good governance we must also soon assert that an unbridled free market is inhumane in the theory as well as the practice. Many sources point to the unhealthy dominance of the “jobs benefactor” in just about every American community by Wal-Mart. They appear as a whole Person--a whole Corporate Person, Mr. Romney--unrepentant, incorrigible, unwilling and unfit to maintain good relations further in Mexico, and the response to the illegal activity by thinkers like Mr. Worstall shows an inability to empathize with victims that is not only unhealthy, it represents downright meanness. Surely conservative of all stripes will jump at the chance to prosecu---aaaah  nope  I hope they get kicked out of Mexico like Rohrabacher  was kept out of Afghanistan by Karzai. In case the corruption abundant overseas wasn’t convincing. Not cool, Sam’s Kids. Not cool. The Waltons are clear quislings here—worse, Norquislings, as ALEC and Walmart are long-term partners in a “moral” legislative conspiracy against good governance.
From the Root:  “The six Waltons are worth more than $100 billion -- a wealth greater than the bottom 30 percent of Americans combined -- and with that wealth comes power and influence. Since 1990, Walmart's political action committee and the Walton family have given a total of more than $1 million to politicians with close ties to ALEC in state and federal races. Between 2006 and 2010, they gave more than $500,000 to the campaigns of ALEC alums currently serving in Congress.” In other words, a rather well timed strategy. Jeffery Sachs, on the other hand, while not World Bank president (though he remains a friend of Bono, which is pretty awesome) is pretty awesome.
PS- Democrats from the House, Waxman and Cummings, have launched an investigation into Wal-Marts’ activities sure to receive the improper emphasis in the “free press” (see: Pew Research Poll).

Source citation: first mover advantages --a competitive edge provided to firms or countries that first enter a new industry; these include advantaged gained from economies of scale, network effects and investment funds-- good governance a strategy adopted by the World Bank that emphasizes the elimination of government corruption that undermines investment and economic growth
 “2012 Walmart Annual Report - Chairman's Message
This year, we mark the historic occasion of Walmart's 50th anniversary. Our success over ... Good corporate governance is good business. As your chairman, I .

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