What a scream John Tierney is! I howled with laughter when I read this New York Times columnist’s recent comic piece promoting Wal-Mart for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Yes, with perfect dead pan delivery, Tierney asserted that no one “is doing more to alleviate third world poverty than Wal-Mart.” Seriously! Not even Voltaire at his satirical best could have come up with such a farcical plot. I’d love to see John take it to the road.
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The right-wing pundit playfully claims that third-world poor folks are lucky to get $2-a-day jobs in urban sweatshops making stuff for Wal-Mart, because this is better than the dollar-a-day drudge of working with their own families back in poor rural villages. Yes, getting poked in the eye is so much better than getting shot in the head.
Wouldn’t it be fun for John to meet Ana Barahona? She’s one of the lucky sweatshop workers that Tierney wrote about. Ana was recently brought from Nicaragua to the U.S. by the women’s labor group, STITCH, to talk personally about how it is that Wal-Mart helps impoverished workers. “I wanted to vomit,” Ana said when she visited a U.S. Wal-Mart store and saw some $30 slacks that she’d been paid 12-cents to make.
Ms. Barahona tells of having to work with toxic chemicals without protective equipment, getting only two bathroom passes a day, sometimes forced to work 24-hour “shifts” with no overtime pay, and being subject to firing if she gets pregnant or “too fat.” Oh, and that $2 a day that Tierney heralded? Ana says the factory deducts $1 for lunch and about 50-cents for transportation, so the women skip lunch to “have something left.”
This is Jim Hightower saying… It’s always helpful to have six-figure pundits like Tierney tell us how great it is for impoverished people to work in sweatshops. I say, let’s put him in one for a year! Then we can all laugh with him all the way to the nearest Wal-Mart, where he can buy some of that “cheap stuff.”
“Let ‘Em Eat Op-Eds!” Austin Chronicle, October 27, 2006.
“Shopping for a Nobel,” The New York Times, October 17, 2006.
“A Nobel for Wal-Mart,” The New York Times, October 20, 2006.
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