There's an old saying that what goes around, comes around. There are a few others along the same lines, like, ye'll reap what ye sow and what goes up must come down. Or, as the late, great Lowell George wrote, "Be careful what you say on the way up 'cause you could meet the same people on the way down."
You're wondering why I've come over all sweet revengey on you when none of the monsters we've discovered in the past 7 yrs - Bush, Cheney, John Yoo, James Inhofe, Donald Rumsfeld, etc etc - is facing any accountability whatsoever. Not so. Wal-mart is about to be hoisted on its own petard. So to speak.
About 15,000 videotapes of Wal-Mart executives at work and at play over the past 30 years have suddenly become available to the public thanks to a series of blunders by the retail giant, which paid too little attention to the company it hired to make the tapes before abruptly terminating their relationship two years ago.
The company, Flagler Productions Inc, depended on Wal-Mart for 90 percent of its revenue at the time the plug was pulled in 2006, and had just moved into a new 20,000-square-foot building in its home base of Lenexa, Kan.
At first Flagler thought it was facing bankruptcy, but then realized the footage it was sitting on could be a goldmine. It offered the tapes to Wal-Mart, but the retail giant was willing to pay just $500,000 for the lot, and Flagler turned the offer down.
Now they are available -- for a price n to researchers, labor rights campaigners and lawyers looking for dirt of all kinds. It's turning into quite a lucrative business.
Yes, kids, videos of the dirt-makers making dirt are for sale to the highest bidder - the highest, that is, who isn't Wal-mart. And who might be bidding? Lookee lookee.
A Kansas City lawyer representing a 12-year-old boy who suffered extensive burns when a gasoline can bought at Wal-Mart blew up in her face was astounded and delighted to find footage of employees making jokes about their gasoline cans blowing up at a Christmas party.
The lawyer, Diane Breneman, is hoping to present that footage in court to challenge Wal-Mart's claim that it couldn't have known the gasoline cans it sells "presented any reasonable foreseeable risk."
Another lawyer pursuing a multibillion-dollar sex discrimination lawsuit has found clips of Sam Walton, Wal-Mart's founder, and other top company officials lamenting the lack of women executives -- sentiments that the lawyer believes bolster his argument that Wal-Mart knew of the problem but failed to act.
Oops. Starts to make the mere $half-mil WM offered look a bit on the cheap side, don't it?
But wait. WM isn't the only one to be smarting. Attachment to the Great Satan doesn't look good on a supposed liberal's resume, and this one is liable to be on YouTube minutes from now.
The archive also includes footage of Hillary Clinton, who served on Wal-Mart's board from 1986 to 1992, praising the company to the skies -- a position she has since sought to mute.
"I'm so proud of this company and everything it represents," Clinton said at a store opening in Arkansas in 1991. "It makes me feel real good about what we've been able to do."
Like what? Remember, dear old Hil used to be a corporate lawyer. Wal-mart's corporate lawyer, for one. Did she help them crush another attempt to unionize? Is that what she's "so proud of"? Or slam workers trying to get the healthcare she now says (during a campaign) she wants them to have? Is that what makes her "feel real good"? Because it couldn't be for creating the health care she didn't create or increasing the safety of workers that didn't increase or forcing WM to pay the living wage it still doesn't pay. So what, exactly, is she so proud of?
But the big payoff is going to come in the proof they can provide (and have already begun providing only days after they went on the block) that Wal-mart is everything it has spent a small fortune in PR trying to claim it isn't: a bunch of greedy, unscrupulous liars who despise their own workers and train managers to rip them off to keep costs down.
Among other crimes.
The next time a WM spokesperson denies that Wal-mart did something underhanded, shady, or just illegal, immoral and unethical, we'll be able to shift into the videos to see for ourselves.
This can't be good for them. Send your favorite WM exec a carton of Pepto-Bismal. S/he's going to need it.
Oh, and btw: you can get in on the act, too. For pretty short bread.
Flagler is now cashing in, charging $250 a time for video research, and there are plenty of takers.
I don't know about you but Flagler is going in my Bookmark file. Permanantly. I'm saving my pennies for the first one as we speak.