Video Games Are Not The Problem


Video Games Are Not the Problem

Wal-Mart is removing the display of violent video games in its stores. There is no evidence that violent video games have any effect on violence in society. And I don’t think there ever will be. I play video games regularly and I promise you I have never at any time had any desire to shoot up a Wal-Mart.

This is a public relations move. They want to be seen as doing “something” even if that something has nothing to do with anything.

Some years ago, there was a movie called “They Might Be Giants.” It starred George C. Scott and Joanne Woodward. It’s premise is that the crazies might have a point. But that 1971 movie never envisaged the crazies in positions of power executing public relations strategies for the sole purpose of being seen to do something about a problem.

This is just a symptom of a larger problem. Logic, reason and experience seem more and more disconnected with our national life. There was a time when science told us that certain things needed to be done and we tried to do them. Now, if the science is inconvenient, a legislature will ban the mention of the research or its name or both.

Our current government is a slave to irrationality as long as that organizational stupidity is driven by campaign dollars.

And here we find our similarity, our guiding principle, money, the long green, the little greenback – the fly in our ointment. Money is the driving force in our hapless march to irrationality and destruction. It was the tobacco companies that taught us that evil can prevail simply by confusing the issue, buying their own experts, writing their own publications, and our energy companies continue the tradition.  

Wal-Mart wants to be seen as doing something but not any something that would cost them money. So, they ban the displays of violent video games but not the violent video games. They point their finger of blame at video games while not discussing their weapon sales. They point the finger at violent video games while selling pro-gun t-shirts on their web site. They are willing to advocate as long as there are no costs. They are willing to reform just as long as they have to do just about nothing.  

James Pilant

Is Wal-Mart a Criminal Enterprise? Read Ethics Bob’s Take on the Subject!


Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart « Ethics Bob

The headlines are from Saturday’s New York Times. The news article details how Walmart de Mexico—that nation’s largest employer—regularly paid huge bribes to Mexican government officials to approve permits for new stores; how senior management of the Mexican subsidiary was party to the bribery; how Walmart headquarters in Arkansas investigated the allegations of bribery, and how, when the investigations turned up hard evidence, hq proceeded to bury it.

Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart « Ethics Bob

Ethics Bob is using Wal-Mart’s recent bribery problems as a subject for class discussion in his business ethics class. I am using it in my business classes as well. I would be curious as to his classes’ response. Mine has been that there will be long term consequences for the company. Ethics Bob is tough on the company and he’s teaching business ethics where I am teaching the more generic business law. He may be getting a more critical response than I.

James Pilant

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A Useful Web Site if You Are Behind on Your Bills


I was asked to put this web site on my blog. I was a little worried because I’ve been asked before and the sites turned out to be less than reputable. However, I have visited this site several times and I find the recommendations to be intelligent and practical. The link to various companies that you might owe money like the major utility companies would be worthwhile even by itself. So, have a look and see what you think. If you like it, let me know. If there are problems, let me know. But I like what I see, and believe the advice and information to be useful to most people with debt problems.

I Cant Pay My Bill Pay | Make Payment or Get Help If You Can’t Pays

Managing overdue bills – So, if you’ve fallen behind, how do you go about paying overdue bills? Icantpaymybill.com offers an extensive research database and learning center for how to pay off bills and repair credit. We invite you to browse our library of bill paying tips and guides, and we’re confident that you’ll find a helpful resource that will allow you to get out of debt quickly and efficiently, and to get back to financial stability. Whether it’s credit-lending department stores like a Wal-Mart bill, a grocery store bill, or a Macy’s bill, or a utility bill like your phone bills, heating bills, or electric bills, this website has researched the best ways to pay, the worst possible outcome (creditors calling, repossession), and how other people who couldn’t pay that particular bill have dealt with the problem.

I Cant Pay My Bill Pay | Make Payment or Get Help If You Can’t Pays

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When Banks Break the Law, Families Suffer


Half million dollar house in Salinas, Californ...

Image via Wikipedia

We can see from the full article excerpted below that  the banks’ evasion of State recording statutes and poor internal bookkeeping has led many families to disaster.

I have read some bloggers who talk about deadbeat buyers but where are they now when it is obvious that widespread fraud and incompetence were common in the industry for years?

The decision of a family to buy a home is almost always the single most important financial decision of their lives.

Beginning in 2000, that investment became a chip in a Wall Street game of financial speculation. But the industry found that those chips were heavily regulated by law. Not like modern regulations but regulations older than this nation itself. The rules were that property ownership had to carefully recorded, geographically correct and a chain of ownership clearly established. Owning property was considered a critical part in an individual’s life and was protected by the law from injustice.

But this inhibited trading, so the industry created their own system of property transfer (MERS) and we know from the many lawsuits in sloppy or virtually non-existent records keeping to accelerate the process. Today, those injustices have come back to haunt middle class homeowners.

Please read the attached article and get a fell for what economic injustice feels like when the affliction has human face.

James Pilant

Foreclosure From Old Mortgages ‘Most Egregious Manifestation’ Of Broken Housing Market

Diane Thompson, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center, says she has defended hundreds of foreclosure cases, and in nearly all of them, the homeowner was not in default. “The record-keeping on the part of the mortgage servicers is not to be trusted.”
The problems grew from a lot of sloppy recordkeeping that began during the housing boom, when Wall Street built a quick-and-dirty back-office operation to process mortgages quickly so lenders could sell as many loans as possible. As the loans were later sold to investors, and then resold around the world, the back office system sidestepped crucial legal procedures.
Now it’s becoming clear just how dysfunctional and, according to several state attorneys general, how fraudulent the whole system was.
Depositions from “affidavit slaves” depict a surreal, assembly-line world in which the banks and their partner firms hired hair stylists, fast-food kids and Wal-Mart floor workers, paying them $10 a day, to pose as bank vice presidents, assistant secretaries and corporate attorneys.

Foreclosure From Old Mortgages ‘Most Egregious Manifestation’ Of Broken Housing Market

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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (via Gooseberry Bush)


These are my favorite lines from the post.

Wow! That’s interesting. So, apparently, Walmart has no responsibility for looking at these skewed numbers and wondering just why, exactly, that far more men than women are “qualified” to be managers. No one in their human resources department ever once questioned these statistics? Are we really saying as a country that we believe that men are innately more “qualified” to management 67% of the time? That’s not sexist. Of course not.

Those are also my thoughts. This decision is a travesty, a disaster.

Please read the article.

James Pilant

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back Two stories have made the news lately that involve women’s rights. The one step forward is Saudi Arabian women driving despite that country’s ban on women drivers. Despite the fact that there is not one civil, written law prohibiting women from driving, Saudi women who drive are jailed because of the ruling of conservative Muslim clerics. Some 40 women with int … Read More

via Gooseberry Bush

Does The Bottom Line Always Trump Ethics?


From Reuters, a comment from China Labor Watch:

“The case of Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, shows that corporate codes of conduct and factory auditing are not enough by themselves to strengthen workers’ rights if corporations are unwilling to pay the real price it costs to produce a product according to the standards in their codes.”

Acting ethically costs real money. It limits the return on investment. It complicates dealings with suppliers, competitors and often the government.

Doing the right thing is never cheap. The wrong thing can make you enormous sums of money in a world where this kind of behavior has no down side.

jp