During a campaign rally at the Anaheim Convention Center in California last Tuesday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders took aim at one of the largest worldwide corporations. In his usual fiery yet pointed style, Sanders said:
“Anybody make a living wage working for Disney? It’s an example of what we’re talking about when we talk about a rigged economy….Disney pays its workers wages that are so low that many of them are forced to live in motels because they cannot afford a decent place to live. People are asking is it right that at Disneyland you have a CEO making $46 million while they’re paying their workers starvation wages.”
This didn’t sit well at all with House of Mouse CEO Bob Iger, who decided to privately bully Senator Sanders through a Facebook message.
“To Bernie Sanders: We created 11,000 new jobs at Disneyland in the past decade, and our company has created 18,000 in the US in the last five years. How many jobs have you created? What have you contributed to the US economy?”"
Oh, did I mention that Iger just happens to be a Hillary Clinton supporter who has made multiple donations to her campaign at $2700 a pop? And that his annual personal income from his Disney job is a whopping $46 million? And that corporate fat cats like him will be held financially accountable under a Sanders administration?
With these facts in mind, now it is crystal clear why he’s gone on the attack against Bernie Sanders.
Rather than keep it quiet, the Sanders campaign made Iger’s bullying public. So naturally many of Hillary’s rabid supporters have come to Iger’s defense, lavishing praise as if he has scored a crushing blow against the big evil socialist dragon. It must be nice to live in a self-contained bubble of complete rose-colored ignorance.
I guess Iger doesn’t get that a mere 18,000 jobs in five years’ time is NOT an impressive number to be boasting about.
Like most bullies who are full of hot air and bluster but prefer to hide in plain sight behind shills who will stupidly take the bullets, Iger launched his minions/paid spokespeople on Bernie, trying to discredit the Senator by claiming that:
“Mr. Sanders clearly doesn’t have his facts right. The Disneyland Resort generates more than $5.7 billion annually for the local economy, and as the area’s largest employer has added more than 11,000 jobs over the last decade, a 65% increase. These numbers don’t take into account our $1 billion expansion to add a Star Wars-themed land, which will create thousands of additional jobs across multiple sectors.”
Uh, Bob, it’s me again. Oh you know, your dreaded enemy Common Sense. 11,000 jobs in a decade is still NOT an impressive number to be bragging about. Notice how there is no clarification that these jobs are permanent and for all we know, these could just be temporary jobs that have since been discontinued. The Disneyland resort may have added millions to the local economy, but for whom? Chances are the smaller businesses that struggle to survive against corporate competition didn’t benefit much, if at all, from this so-called boon.
Of course, not one person in the mainstream news media has addressed the fact that Iger, his spokespeople and Clinton supporters failed to address either of the primary complaints Bernie Sanders made against the House of Mouse; namely the noticeable lack of a livable working wage for the common people who are employed with what seems to be slave wages and the constant outsourcing of manufacturing under the belief that Americans don’t want those jobs. They’d rather have us believe that Bernie is a crackpot who has no concept of modern reality and the world we live in while they do.
This is yet another example of the increasing attitude of Us Vs Them that the rich have waged against the poor and middle class in this country, with no end in sight. Then again, what would Iger or Hillary Clinton know about the financial strife of the common American worker? They came from well off backgrounds and have only gotten richer than horse manure over the years.
Let’s do a little income math. As stated earlier, Iger’s personal income topped $46 million while the so-called “common woman” Hillary made a whopping $27.8 million from speeches and financial interests alone. Her husband Bill made a colossal $140 million in personal income last year alone. Let’s contrast that to Sanders, who in a joint tax filing with his wife Jane made a mere $200,000 in personal income last year.
Gee, I wonder why Bernie has his finger on the pulse of what is truly happening to the nation’s poor and middle class and not Hillary or any of the rich cretins who repeatedly kick us down and step on our backs in order grab more moolah from the sky.
Iger, Hillary and their ilk have zero clue what it’s like to count coins while praying that it’s enough to buy a loaf of bread or a quart of milk. Nor do they know what it’s like to find themselves so financially strapped that sometimes the choice comes down to food or maintaining shelter. They don’t know what it’s like to have to part with personal possessions just to gather together a few bucks for necessities. They likely never pounded the pavement and spent hours online in a fruitless search for job, any kind of legal job.
I imagine there will be some who will cry out that Walt Disney would be shaking his head in disbelief. Sadly, little do they know that Walt would wholeheartedly approve of the modern Disney’s treatment of their employees. Walt was fervently anti-union and believed in slave driving labor for very little reimbursement. It was not unheard of for animators at the Disney studio to work 18 hour days, especially when a feature length project was in some stage of production. Such back-breaking labor was especially hard on the women employed as inkers and painters. It was a common sight for an overworked woman to pass out on the front lawn.
History has recorded several animator strikes at the Disney studio. The worst occurred during the time period when Walt Disney left for El Salvador on the sight-seeing mission that led to the Saludos Amigos/Three Caballeros double feature. The strike exploded into a full blown riot. Walt’s brother Roy did the sensible thing and gave the strikers what they wanted: better pay and more reasonable work hours.
How did Walt take the news that his brother had settled the strike? Naturally, he was furious. He felt his employees should have just been grateful to have a job at all. Sound like a familiar excuse espoused by the corporate world today?
Richard Fleischer, who directed 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for the Disney Studio in 1954, recalled in his autobiography that Walt had a penny-pinching, mean attitude towards his employees at times. He also recalled how Disney put the kibosh on a plum offer for him to direct the iconic Spencer Tracy western Bad Day at Black Rock in an attempt to keep him at the studio.
So what I’m trying to say here is very simple. The vile, often evil attitude of the Disney Company today is just corporate tradition at the House of Mouse. And it isn’t going to change any time soon.
By denying their workers a decent living wage and harassing those who dare call them out on it, Iger and his ilk have pretty much, like Walt Disney often did, told the common man and woman to drop dead. Perhaps the time has come to give them a dose of their own medicine. Tell them to drop dead, on a financial scale that is. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to spend our money on Disney product. Then maybe- just maybe- they’ll get the message that we little folk should be treated fairly.
Another step to combat this corporate terrorism is to stop supporting political candidates who are financially beholden to major corporations. The reason Bernie Sanders has struck a chord with so many in this election cycle is that he cannot be bought by the special interests. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has sold out so often to the rich and powerful that I’m surprised she doesn’t have a ‘For Sale’ sign tattooed on her forehead or posterior.
Written and Illustrated by Koriander Bullard
Tuesday morning, my husband and I went to go vote at the Optimist Club. I had brought with me plenty of ID for the both of us, including my electric bill.
We were sent to the “Liberty Precinct” table, where an elderly lady looked mine and my husband's names up in a giant book, which has the name and address of every citizen in Laurel County listed. After loaning out my John Hancock, I stood beside the table and waited my turn to vote.
I am despondent to say that my husband and I only made up five people inside the building at two o'clock, but I was assured that most of the county had voted earlier that morning, except for the veterans who mailed in a vote the week before. While this is a nice gesture, I was angry that more people were not lined up behind me, the way they usually are back in my hometown of Chicago. Am I really the only one who cares about the fate of my country?
My husband John went to the giant, black tablet we are required to use for voting. He cracked a joke about the fact that he was raised in Florida, and talked about how embarrassed he was that his home state was the site of the “Dangling Chad” incident.
Oh, how ominous we are before lunch.
After John stepped to the side, it was my turn to vote. An elderly man jammed a cartridge into the tablet's slot, tapped a key code in, and waited for the screen to say “welcome” before I was able to vote.
I looked at the giant, blue screen and it's white lettering, (ominous to those of us with computers) clicked on “Bernie Sanders” and hit “vote”.
The machine asked me to review my vote.
I was satisfied. I hit the green “Confirm Vote” button, and the screen thanked me before a reset.
I went home and anxiously watched my phone, waiting for the result of the primary.
And that was Tuesday, May 17th, 2016.
Today is May 23rd, 2016.
We still do not have the results.
CNN initially stated that Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton were tied at 1700 votes a piece.
One hour later, they erased 300 votes for Bernie, but kept the number stagnated for Hillary. They refuse to answer the question of where those 300 people just went.
Bernie is satisfied to have at least tied with Hillary, while Hillary declared herself the winner via Twitter one hour before the polls closed.
Thirty three counties in the state of Kentucky are reporting voter fraud.
Pike County had all of it's votes ERASED. For those keeping score at home, that's roughly 17,000 people whose votes were wiped clean.
More than half of the state is reporting they are STILL counting the votes from Tuesday, and therefore have not yet initiated a recount, though most counties are screaming for it.
After the polls closed at 6pm Tuesday, officials were insisting the primaries ~ traditionally an open vote ~ was now a “closed” vote, open only to “certain” people.
Every citizen in Kentucky is demanding a recount.
And how is the Democratic Party handling this?
By demanding that Bernie split his delegates with Hillary.
Now we all know that Kentucky is a corrupt state. In fact, since it's a “Commonwealth” it's legally considered to be it's own country almost, playing by it's own rules. Just last year, Governor Matt Bevin was sworn into office right after the word came out that the election was rigged. The state acknowledged publicly that voter fraud had taken place, but they declined to initiate a recount, though petitions online are swimming in signatures for it.
But to not only rig the tablet machines, but to also suddenly declare this a “closed” vote right after people already voted is just plain sloppy. It's like the criminal responsible wants to be caught in the act.
But why? Why go through the trouble of making it crystal clear you are rigging the election? Why make it so obvious, unless this is to distract us from an ever worse problem down the road?
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have both been outed by the press for having their “people” rig the machines on their behalf. They are both corrupt with a long history of fiscal failure and demeaning outbursts towards minorities and the LBGTQ community and incorrect monologues about the internet, marijuana and a woman's right to choose. In this progressive day and age, it makes no sense to have either in office when we are trying to evolve as a country.
Allowing either to have whatever they want is the same as letting the screaming brat at your kid's birthday party have a “special” toy for themselves, or letting them go first in the activities. It's a stupid, immature move that is done to appease the brat, but as we all know, will not make said brat happy or quiet, and instead just ruins the party for everyone else.
This is not the time to sit back and let them have what they want.
We are adults. Act like it.
As an adult, we need to stand up and say “NO”.
NO you may not rig my election.
NO I will NOT sit back and let you corrupt this free land our forefathers fought for.
NO you do not get to rule my country.
If you're too adult to let the screaming brat have whatever they want at your kid's party, then you are also too adult to sit back and let other people make your votes for you.
Don't make excuses.
Don't pretend your vote doesn't count.
Be an adult and fight back.
One way we can start is by contacting our state election boards and demanding a recount.
In Kentucky, dial 502-573-7100 8am to 4pm Mon-Fri.
Koriander Bullard is an author, cartoonist and human rights advocate. Keep up with her on Facebook!
On Thursday, May 5, 2016, the New York City Council passed a bill that they claim is for the good of the environment and for all New Yorkers. However, this bill will do nothing more than further hurt an already financially strapped working poor and middle class struggling to make ends meet.
Wrapping themselves around the flag of being environmental do-gooders, Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito championed a five-cent tax on plastic and paper bags. Initially, a ten-cent per bag tax was planned, but it was slashed to five cents.
Initially, it was believed that several thousand angry New Yorkers stampeding City Hall with the same fervor that bulls do at a rodeo was the reason why the proposed tax was slashed in half. Sadly, the truth behind the reduced amount was that Mark-Viverito was one vote shy of a majority yes vote and scrambled to flip no votes.
The bill passed with 28-20, with three Council members abstaining from a final vote. Two Democratic Council members flipped their vote from no to yes last minute, giving Mark-Viverito enough of a majority to ensure passage of the bag tax.
In other words, more political games played at the expense of regular people like you and me. I wonder what sweetheart deals were cut to gain those extra yes votes. We’ll find out in due time!
Champions of this bill have gone on and on about environmental responsibility and how this tax is necessary to reduce one’s carbon footprint. While I am definitely in favor of preserving and saving our environment, I am against politicians who exploit environmental change to gain what they are truly after: milking consumers for more money than they can already afford.
There are two reasons why I don’t believe NY lawmakers have environmental interests at heart. For starters, if environmental waste truly was the utmost concern, the City Council would have voted to ban the bags outright, not merely levy what is tantamount to a fine or purchase fee to each plastic or paper bag used.
The second reason may be a more cynical and sinister one. Recently, I read the bombshell book ‘Nation on the Take’, in which former lobbyist Wendell Potter describes in detail the ways that special interests and corporate businesses have bought their way into government. With that in mind, I firmly believe that the reusable bag industry paid off NY legislators to turn this tax into law. After all, every champion of this bill stresses that all New Yorkers should purchase reusable bags immediately.
Mayor De Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito and the bill’s champions all deny that this bag tax is indeed a tax, citing that the city won’t be claiming one penny of the extra revenue a five cent bag tax will accumulate over time. While they may not immediately claim the bag tax money, just wait until tax time comes around. That extra revenue will certainly be taxed, going into governmental coffers.
It’s very easy for politicians who are financially well off to believe that this bag tax won’t harm people’s wallets in a meaningful way. After all, most, if not all, of them don’t have to worry about where next month’s bill money will come from. They won’t have to count coins, praying that there’s enough to buy a loaf of bread, quart of milk, sack of potatoes or whatever staple food they can hope to last for a few days to a week. I doubt they know or remember what it’s like to sometimes have to choose between a meal and rent. They likely didn’t have to sell off large chunks of their personal possessions just to scrape together a few bucks for sheer survival.
I doubt that they realize the impact of a five-cent per bag tax on plastic and paper bags will have on people who have to stretch every dollar or coin to the breaking point. Most telling is that not one politician in support of this bill has told the general public that five cents is just the minimum charge for this bag tax. A loophole contained within the bill allows stores to charge whatever they please as a bag tax if they wish to do so. What’s to stop an especially greedy store owner from charging as high as $1 per bag? Nothing!
The bill’s champions claim that those people on food stamps, WIC or other forms of public assistance will be exempt from the bag tax. What they also don’t tell you is that this isn’t a total exemption. If these poor people dare to purchase a household necessity that is not covered by food stamps or public assistance, such as detergent or toilet paper, they will be fined 5 cents or more per bag. Not exactly much of an exemption, is it?
Liquor stores are exempt from the bag tax law as are pharmacies. If environmental concerns were truly paramount, then one should wonder just why these stores are exempt, especially since paper and plastic bags are still being used. If financial concerns are taken into account, it sacrifices the large revenues that would be accumulated should a bag tax be applied to these outlets.
As far as the claims that plastic bags are responsible for the largest chunk of waste in New York City, the facts tell a far different story. Plastic and paper bags are responsible for barely 2% of NYC’s overall waste and only 1% of city litter. So a bag tax would not make much of a dent in the waste problems of the city.
What the City Council and Mayor De Blasio won’t tell you either is how this bag tax will hurt the livelihoods of over 1800 working families whose main breadwinner works in plastic bag manufacturing and recycling centers located in New York City. Meanwhile, the reusable bag industry has outsourced the majority of production overseas, so those in the plastic bag industry who will find their salary cut or jobs eliminated won’t have any luck getting a job in the reusable bag industry.
One final kicker in this entire situation is that Mark-Viverito, the primary champion of the bag tax and the person most responsible for pushing its’ passage through the City Council, admittedly doesn’t even use reusable bags! She claims that the passage of the bill will now force her to do so, but I believe her about as much as I believe pigs will start flying in the bright blue sky. I don’t believe any Council members that voted yes will ever use reusable bags instead of plastic. After all, they won’t feel the pinch of five cents or more per bag each shopping trip.
This bag tax is all about one thing: milking more money out of a city filled with people whose wallets have already been wrung dry. These politicians don’t give a damn about the environment, just filling the city coffers come income tax time, when this new “bag tax” becomes taxable revenue. It’s yet another sign that the regular people just don’t matter to those in power.
Dumbfounded, I read the morning newspaper over and over, hoping I had skipped a line or read too fast. But alas, what I had read was no mistake.
Matt Bevin, Kentucky's “Fearless Leader” who had just been elected Governor in last year's hotly debated and quite a bit rigged election, had just cut 4.5% of the state's funding for universities.
Now this news came on April first, hence where I initially thought there had been perhaps a prank in the paper, or a mistake on my behalf. I had also hoped this would be a joke not just for the fact that it was April Fools' Day, but also because the paper also had a story about how Kentucky had some of the worst test scores in the nation.
“Surely...” I thought to myself. “If Kentucky has the worst test scores in the nation, or at least among the worst, then wouldn't it behoove them to do the opposite of cutting the education budget? Shouldn't this be the time that Kentucky, rich in it's own histories, would instead kick-start the education budget and raise it by 4.5% instead of the opposite?”
Of course, I was thinking too highly of the red state, which also boasts one of the highest cancer mortality rates in the country, one of the top 20 homeless rates in children under the age of fifteen, and has been dubbed the meth and rum capitol of America, the latter proving most amusing when you factor in that Laurel County didn't lift it's alcohol prohibition until just two months before this news broke.
Curious, I wanted to know where the 4.5% of my tax dollars once used for education was going. If I'm spending 6% on Kentucky's internet tax on top of an additional 6% every time I go to the grocery store, plus a generous handout I'm giving Uncle Sam out of every pay check and the handsome 10% that just came out of my 401K plan on cash out with the additional and variable 10-to-20% I'm looking at next year with that one loan I took out from it, then I'd like to know where that money is going.
How about we play a little guessing game?
Did the 4.5% of my taxes I worked ever so hard for go to:
c.) Food Stamps
d.) A giant, float-less boat in the middle of nowhere
If you answered a, b or c, *BUZZ* Oh I'm so, so very sorry. You must have been a caring, compassionate person, and therefore incapable of spending Kentucky's budget correctly. Or as they say “round these parts” a bleeding heart liberal.
If you answered “d” *DING DING DING* Winner winner, Kentucky Fried in Lard Chicken dinner with a side order of diabetes tea! You chose a float-less boat in the middle of nowhere! Now that's the spirit! Who needs to waste money on science and history books, when you can have a giant boat incapable of surviving a light rain, let alone a ferry ride across a small pond!
Yes folks, the 4.5% of my taxes that used to be allotted for universities and school programs has now been squandered on a life-sized replica of Noah's Ark, currently grounded in Williamstown, and is set to open as a for-profit theme park this July.
While Bevin is taking credit for the idea, he was not alone in making this float-less boat a reality.
The $92 million dollar park was actually supposed to open in 2014 with help from our states Creation Museum, which teaches people that science is “garbage” and “fake” and that their misunderstanding of the repeatedly man-edited, King James edition of the Bible is the only “true” book of history, denouncing even other translations of the Bible as “fakes” as they demand (and this is not a joke) $30 per adult to tour the museum and have a total stranger preach to you. Kids ages five and up can get in for $16 a head, while baptized babies are free.
What halted progress for these last two years was that pesky old United States Constitution, which prohibits the state from granting funds to a religious production on this scale, that meandering “Separation of Church and State” that soulless-ginger Thomas Jefferson wanted enacted, and that silly old Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits an institution such as this from denying non-Christians work. Denying a man work based off of religion unconstitutional?? How dare that government step in, why that's as American as the Jewish Middle Eastern man hanging crucified and dead on my China-made Jesus pendant I got at the Walmart!
Well thankfully, US. District Judge Greg Van Tatenhove doesn't believe in all that liberty junk, as he upheld the decision to cut our childrens' education funds and use state tax dollars to make this float-less Ark possible.
Aside from the $92 million already sunk into Noah's Amusement Ark, a mouth-drying $18 million is coming from the state extra, plus $11 million dollars has been eked out to rip up the local flora and fauna, creating an additional highway road on Interstate I-75 to provide faster access to the float-less boat.
Mike Zovath and Kevin Ham of the “Answers in Genesis” team, responsible for the Creation Museum and Noah's Money pit Ark, are pleased to inform we, the taxpayers, that in keeping with the spirit of Bevin's donation, they will only hire Christians to run the museum, discriminating against non-Christians in the ways of obtaining employment through them, but if you plan to drop $30 a ticket on a float-less boat, you can visit the Ark even if you are a non-Christian.
No word yet on a special concession for Jesus Christ, who is actually the King of the Jews, making him the single most Jewish potential patron of the Christian-run Ark.
Now for those playing the home game, here are some fun facts!
Jesus was actually baptized by Jewish preacher: John the Baptist in Matthew 3:13-17 for those keeping score at home.
Noah's Ark by the way sailed for 40 days circa 2348 BC.
Jesus was born between 6 BC and 4 BC.
Christianity didn't even exist until sometime after 31 AD.
Noah and Jesus were both Jewish.
So my tax dollars just went to a state-funded float-less boat, that wouldn't actually hire the two people it's in honor of, because by the Bible's own standards, they are non-Christians.
But we'll be glad to accept Jesus and Noah's $30 a ticket at the door, plus 6% sales tax.
And don't worry. The 6% from Jesus and Noah's ticket sales aren't going to fund anything generous like education or food, though Jesus might actually like the idea of helping the poor, silly as that sounds.
It's going to the gift shop, where for $10 an up plus another 6% sales tax, you can buy Jesus a t-shirt that reads “I was on Noah's Ark and all I got was this lame t-shirt” and a matching key-chain, with the image of a penguin next to a lion on a boat in the Middle Eastern dessert. (The Ark is said to have landed between Syria and Turkey.)
No word yet on how Matt Bevin wants to explain how a lion and a penguin got on a boat in Syria and why the boat is being re-created in Kentucky.
Koriander Bullard is an author, cartoonist and human rights advocate. Keep up with her on Facebook!