October 2015, Week 3


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Dispatches From the Culture Wars - Strictly Business Edition

October 20, 2015
portside (October 20, 2015)

Refugees; Exxon is Exxon; VW &amp; business ethics; Bye bye centerfold; WalMart sucks eggs

		How Fear Slammed America’s Door on Syrian Refugees - Molly O'Toole (Defense One)
		Exxon's Climate Lie: 'No corporation has ever done anything this big or bad' - Bill McKibben (Guardian)
		How Could VW Be So Dumb? Blame the Unethical Culture Endemic in Business - Edward L Queen (The Conversation)
		China—Not Online Porn—iIs Why Playboy is Dumping Nude Photographs - Josh Horwitz (Quartz)
		Free Market Laughs In Lying GOP’s Face: Greedy Walmart Heirs Lose $41B, Costco Profits Soar - Randa Morris (Addicting Info)

	How Fear Slammed America’s Door on Syrian Refugees
By Molly O'Toole
	October 7, 2015
	Defense One
The United States, which accepts more refugees per year than any other country, has all but closed its door to the millions of Syrians who are part of the world’s largest refugee crisis since World War II. A recent decision to admit more Syrian refugees this year opened that door a crack, but the Obama administration insists that national security concerns constrain it from going further. Yet officials at more than a dozen agencies could not point to any specific or credible case, data, or intelligence assessment indicating that Syrian refugees pose a threat.

	Exxon's Climate Lie: 'No corporation has ever done anything this big or bad'
By Bill McKibben
	October 14, 2015
	 In the last three weeks, two separate teams of journalists — the Pulitzer-prize winning reporters at the website Inside Climate News and another crew composed of Los Angeles Times veterans and up-and-comers at the Columbia Journalism School — have begun publishing the results of a pair of independent investigations into ExxonMobil.
	Though they draw on completely different archives, leaked documents, and interviews with ex-employees, they reach the same damning conclusion: Exxon knew all that there was to know about climate change decades ago, and instead of alerting the rest of us denied the science and obstructed the politics of global warming.

	How Could VW Be So Dumb? Blame the Unethical Culture Endemic in Business
By Edward L Queen
	September 26, 2015
	The Conversation
Volkswagen intentionally deceived those to whom it owed a duty of honesty. It fraudulently misrepresented its automobiles to be other than what they were. Most significantly, it intentionally chose to do so and went out of its way to commit the wrong.
	The sheer brazenness and conniving that went into Volkswagen’s actions are probably what shocked people the most. This was a highly technical and sophisticated operation that basically taught the emissions system how to distinguish between road travel, typical idling and idling while undergoing an emissions test.
	No spin can mitigate that fact. There is and can be no claims of confusion or misunderstanding, no failures to communicate. This will erode people’s trust in Volkswagen as a company to a degree that the failures of other companies may not have experienced. In the Volkswagen scandal, just like the story about price gouging in pharmaceuticals that broke the same week, consumers are confronted with the stark reality of corporate malfeasance.

	China—Not Online Porn—Is Why Playboy Is Dumping Nude Photographs
By Josh Horwitz
	October 13, 2015
	Playboy’s recent decision to stop publishing nude photos marks a watershed moment in media, as the porn pioneer buttons up and turns its back on what made it famous. But the company’s core has had little to do with pornography for a long time.
	Even with the government’s tough attitude to pornography, Playboy earns 40% of its revenues from China, according to the New York Times.
	Across the country, it’s not uncommon to see men and women wearing t-shirts or carrying handbags donning the Playboy Bunny. Playboy-branded retailers take up space in high-end department stores and dingy street shops alike. Earlier this year the company made a further push in the Middle Kingdom, signing a 10-year licensing agreement with Handong United the oversee manufacturing and distribution of Playboy-branded items, and to increase its retail presence to 3,500 locations.

	Free Market Laughs In Lying GOP’s Face: Greedy Walmart Heirs Lose $41B, Costco Profits Soar
By Randa Morris
	October 15, 2015
	Addicting Info
On October 15, the value of Walmart stock plummeted to a 30-year low. In a single day, the Walton heirs lost more than $11 billion. The huge loss came on the heels of the company’s annual shareholder report, which revealed that instead of the one to two percent profit increase Walmart promised its shareholders, the company is projecting losses as high as 12 percent.
	Republicans call Walmart’s greedy, exploitative business model “good business sense.” According to their bullshit economic theories, Walmart should be rolling in the cash. Instead Walmart is gushing money faster than a sieve gushes sand.
	On the other hand, according to republican economics, a company like Costco should be losing money hand over fist. But that’s not happening either.


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