Activist Energizing Important Offputting Updates—AEIOU—4/26/2013

Over 300 dead in Bangladesh factory collapse. Cracks had been found in the Rana Plaza building on Tuesday, but on Wednesday, workers were forced to go into the factory to work. Last November 24th, the Tazreen factory fire killed 112 Bangladeshis. Wal-mart, which sells many products produced there, refuses to compensate victims’ families, unlike European brands C&A, KiK, and El Corte Inglés which just committed 5.7 million dollars to the fund. But Walmart is not alone: Sears/Kmart and Disney also refused to contribute. In Wednesday’s collapsed buildings, companies named New Wave and Ether Tex Ltd. had factories that make goods for the world’s largest retailers, including Walmart. Workers at Bangladesh factories often make less than $40 a month but hey, Walmart just passes the savings on to us.

Canada’s Conservative Party government has, with the usual bend-over-the-barrel collaboration of the so-called Liberals, passed their own version of an “anti-terrorist” Patriot Act that outdoes even our own brand of “take my civil liberties…please”. I hope Canadians feel “safer” now. For a nice summary of the new provisions, visit http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2013/04/25/pol-eight-things-to-know-anti-terrorism-bill.html. I do find it so disturbing that no one seems to really demonstrate the logic of these “anti-terrorist” provisions, or that the general public is so unskeptical of government assurances that such provisions won’t be abused.

In the last campaign, I donated to Heidi Heitkamp in her successful campaign to become a U.S. Senator from North Dakota. The Senator, however, voted against President Obama’s gun control bill. Why did she vote that way? Well, she just couldn’t ignore the calls that came in from her North Dakota constituents 7:1 against the bill. And I always thought the essence of leadership was the ability to stand up against public pressure in matters of compelling moral obligation. It’s odd that Heitkamp didn’t mention in her public defense of her vote where she stood on the issue. Someone should remind her that when one is elected to national office, there is an implicit expectation that one doesn’t simply bounce in the direction of public opinion. I did e-mail Heitkamp’s headquarters, which includes me in their e-mail blasts, to ask for her rationale on the vote. Haven’t heard anything but perhaps I should send one more message thanking them for saving me money when Heitkamp runs for re-election.

 

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