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Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See for full contents of our site

August 19, 2009



Excellent advice, but there's one more thing to do: go back where we started for single-payer. Pass it on the state level in as many states as possible. Social security came about that way - six states before national adoption. The most important amendment may be the one that establishes a state's right to pursue single-payer; we must not let the insurance companies abolish that right. I'm anxious about this issue but it's the one issue that truly is bipartisan (not because of the single-payer issue but because of the states' rights issue). - Sherry Stanley Verona, VA


A boycott probably wouldn't hurt the rank and file because

1. Not enough people will boycott to make a huge dent in WFM's sales. But the point is to make a noticeable impact, cut into profits, and increase pressure for a public option, if not single payer.

2. Most WFMs (I've worked at three different stores) can't afford to get rid of 'team members'. They're already minimally staffed, most often, so they're not in a position to lay people off left and right and still function.

Instead of looking at those who would boycott as hurting employees, perhaps anger should be directed toward CEOs and shareholders who make millions off their backs and then have the luxury to inflate their egos with Op/Eds in such papers as the WSJ.

I work at WFM but may decide to no longer make purchases there. I can't walk away from my job but I can take my business elsewhere.

More power to they who would take a stand for the millions who are uninsured and who also use their real names on this site. - Andrew

I am a Libertarian and I will not boycott Whole Foods. In fact, I will double my purchases if a boycott is even attempted. I will get in the face of anyone that decides to picket in front of Whole Foods.

I already participated in the boycott forum at Whole Food's website. And I do hope that a boycott goes nationwide. People like Mackey live high on the hog, and don't worry themselves about healthcare costs at all. Their executive perks usually pay for all of his premiums and then some.

If I ever walk into a Whole Foods Store ever again, it will not be in the rest of my lifetime. I can not support his rightwing ideology, and had I known of his political leanings earlier, I would have stopped shopping at his stores years ago.

Mackey is absolutely right. Pardon me while I take a moment to buy a few hundred shares of Whole Foods...

Wow. Just when we thought you lefties couldn't get any dumber, you surprise us again. We're boycotting you because the system you propose - which works perfectly - is so ideologically unsound to us showy hippies, who of course enable a capitalist system every day, but whenever we hear the words 'capitalism' or 'free market' or 'competition', we break out in a progressive rash just like we were told to by our hippie professors. There are people who are capable of rational thought and evaluating different ideas. Then there are ideologues. You folks are ideologues, and hilariously most of you are hypocritical ones. Keep believing your left-wing commie nonsense while living in a society brought to you by capitalism and the hard work of others. We need the comic relief.

I never get off my ass, but believe me, name the date of the boycott and i'll get off my ass. This shit disgusts me. This company needs to be shown who's boss, big time. I must've spent over $15,000 with this company.

I have never been a frequent shopper of Whole Foods but I switched my shopping preferences when I heard about the boycott and read Mr Mackey's editorial. I will not only shop Whole Foods on a regular basis but I will buy shares in a company that has a CEO who rewards his employees because it makes good business sense. Mr Mackey's philosophy makes sense to me and will not bankrupt this nation.

Just how long will
the liberal left wing nuts be able to go without their organically grown lettuce, carrots and meat that is "controlled-atmosphere killed" Not long. At least not long enough to starve a few of you knuckleheads.

If you boycott Whole Foods, it will be the rank and file employees who will be layed off, not the CEO. Use some logic - oh I forgot, liberals don't ever use that, just pie in the sky emotional idealism based on the irrational assumption that if you give money to everyone, the world will magically become a utopia. In fact, Whole Foods health coverage is way more generous than even the US Government employees health plan. You libs are such morons.

I will defend all you leftist wackos at the Progressive Review to tout your flawed socialist agenda. Of course, at the end of the day, either the drugs or chemicals you are ingesting with take their rightful toll on each and every one of you.

There were already
a lot of reasons to avoid Hole Foods. They are trying to become an illegal monopoly (although the anti-trust laws haven't been enforced in a long time). They claim to support local food yet are stingy in supporting local farms. They sell a lot of overpackaged overpriced stuff that is not very green. They are a notorious union-buster.

Hole Foods has tried to wreck a lot of locally owned health food stores. Healthy economies are based on cooperation, not excessive greed. I'm glad to live near several locally owned health food stores and that our town has kept Hole Foods away. It's also good to grow some of your own food, that is the best approach. I wonder how many extreme libertarians know anything about how to grow their own food?

There just seem to be a few problems with this proposition.

One is that I generally think Obama is trying to cram through isn't so much healthcare reform, as a handout to the health insurance industry.

Two, do you think there is a CEO in charge of a major grocery store chain that doesn't think the same way? They may not publicly espouse it in the WSJ, but here in New England, most of our chains are foreign owned and most of our CEOs are right leaning.

Three, many of the people who shop at Whole Foods feel that they have removed themselves from the grasp of fate by "eating well" and exercising, and thus are likely to support this view. That's not reality, but many who shop at whole foods think they're better than their fellow, fatter citizen, and think, hey, yeah they should take better care of themselves to save on healthcare cost. Amazingly, few of them think about overhead costs associated with private insurance, or really anything other than themselves.

And yes, I shop at Whole Foods and will continue to do so until someone shows me that Shaws or Stop and Shop is demonstrably better or has more enlightened corporate leadership. - Lars

Your calling for a boycott
of Whole Foods has prompted my decision to do all of my shopping there. An individual should be able to enjoy his First Amendment rights of free speech without having to be threatened by assholes like yourselves.

I find the workers at Whole Foods are usually pretty smug hipster doofuses, with those fake rectangular black rimmed glasses, whereas those at Trader Joe's are friendly, happy, peppy people. Perhaps this is a reflection of how they are treated. So don't feel too badly for the WF employees. Apparently they don't need us anyway.


I've been in the shower saving the rainforest for a long time, and didn't even know it.


What do all of those cities have in common (with the singular exception of Kalamazoo, Michigan)? A comfortable climate. Example: when I visited Key West, Fla., many years ago, anyone who fell asleep on the beach was subject to arrest. As for the placement of San Francisco and Berkeley on the list- it's due to the enduring popularity of the myth that progressive values and liberal tolerance go hand in hand with being a soft-headed, easy touch for freeloaders and vagrant small time criminals. That's an erroneous assumption. In fact, it's a popular right-wing canard.

Productive citizens in the Bay Area (most of them, whether Republicans can stomach that fact or not) are tired of being hit on by transients with no more of a game plan for their lives than "let's see if we can sponge off some liberals" (and yes, most of the homeless in the Bay Area are from somewhere else, particularly the youth.)

The vast majority of progressives and liberals have long since learned to reserve their progressivism and liberal tolerance for people who are at least trying to make something out of their lives.

My take: if you think that your unemployment and destitution is due to the injustices of the present political and economic system, and you think your vagrancy amounts to a protest against that injustice, go panhandle somewhere like the suburbs of Houston or Washington D.C., instead of dumping your burdens at the feet of the employed and taxpaying population of San Francisco, and blaming them for not taking better care of you.

If you think you have a guilt trip worth laying on someone, at least go lay it on the people who did you in, in the first place - Cab Driver


"For example, rationing fan Peter Singer wrote in the New Times Magazine, 'In the current U.S. debate over health care reform, 'rationing' has become a dirty word.' "

A better example of sophistry you will not find. "Rationing fan"? Who are you kidding? Peter Singer is not a "rationing fan" but a rational man

He's enlightened enough to realize--as his article exposes and explores in detail--that we already ration health care by means of our dollar democracy.

Singer is not a "fan" of rationing, he's merely an observer of a blatant reality hidden in plain sight.

Shame on you - Monkey Muffins


It couldn't be simpler: the gains from technology were always meant to give the human species increased leisure time, time to pursue higher learning, or to do more fishing or playing with your kids or whatever trips your trigger. The natural progression is simply to reduce the number of hours in the workweek for everybody. If everyone gets fair pay (that is if we outlaw over pay and under pay), there is plenty of wealth being produced for everyone on the planet to have great quality of life while working fewer and fewer hours. - Pay Justice

The elephant in the room on unemployment has been there since automation began. Eventually, industry will need few, if any, workers to get their products out. This sounds like a very profitable idea.

Unfortunately, this would likely lead to 50% or more unemployment. People without jobs will not be able to buy these products regardless of how efficiently they are produced and the whole economy will come crashing down again.

We need to do some serious thinking about how to provide the unemployed with enough income to drive the economy. Any ideas?


What's next, outlawing Xerox machines because you could copy pages from a book? Outlawing pencils and pens because they could be used to write down things found in copyrighted printed material? And what about the transfer of information to storage in our brains through the use of our eyes? I think the whole concept of copyright and patent needs revisiting with the new electronic age. - Dave


I don't understand how "god" is "shunned" in a city with over a hundred Christian churches. - Robbie


"All The King's Men" has as little to do with Huey Long as, well, Obama has to do with socialism.

I think the 1941 eulogy by Sen. William Langer (R-ND of all things)is closer to the mark:

[][][] I doubt whether any other man was so conscious of the plight of the underprivileged or knew better the ruthlessness of those in control.

And it was because Huey Long knew how to fight, knew how to fight fire with fire, knew how to combat ruthlessness with ruthlessness, force with force, and because he had the courage to battle unceasingly for what he conceived to be right that he became an inspiration for so many in their own fight for a square deal, and the object of such relentless persecution on the part of his enemies.

The fight he waged was such a desperate one that even in death he has not been immune from attack. So we find that 5 years after his body had been lowered into the grave -- that grave which will forever be a shrine for those who love decency, honor, and justice -- attempts are still being made to besmirch his character.

This is not fooling the farmer, the worker, the small businessman; it is not fooling the child who can read today because of the free textbooks that Huey Long obtained; it is not fooling the citizen who can vote today because Huey Long abolished poll taxes.

These people know from Huey Long's life that, as they fight for the better things, there will always be the inspiration that fighting with them in spirit will be that fearless, dauntless, unmatchable champion of the common people, Huey P. Long. [][][]

He was the people's scoundrel - Mairead


I am a female offender. I have two children at home and I have successfully completed my states required counseling. In my state I will be required to register for life. I can not imagine going into the sherrif's department when I'm 60 or older to register. I have committed myself to doing what I need to do to keep myself from hurting another child. My children, that were born after my conviction, should not be punished for my mistakes. I cannot go to their school unless I have permission from their principal. Therefore I cannot properly support them in their education. I agree that violent or repeat offenders should be monitored but I think that we should also worry about the neighbor that has not been caught. I don't know what numbers are but I am sure that for every one that has been caught there are more out there that have not. My other concern is that as an offender I am continually being punished for one crime. No other criminal offence has a registry. I wish that I had the money and the confidence to make this problem more widely understood instead of the myths and assumptions that are so prevalent in the world of sex offences.

I know first hand how useless most of these laws are and how yes they do in fact hurt the people around the offender. I am a person who many years ago committed these crimes. I was put on a lifetime of registration. I've taken responsibility for my past actions and vowed to never harm another child again. I've been offense free since 2001. I do agree that yes there are some very bad people out there who do need extensive monitoring if they are going to be out in public. But there are also some out there who do rehabilitate themselves and try to go on with their lives. Most do have families who depend on them like myself. As stated in this commentary, there are better ways to have sex offender laws. I feel that when it comes to the registries they should take into account if the person has committed any more crimes and base the length of being on the registry on those facts. I still have children who love me and depend me on me to support them and as things are, I will always suffer financially because I can never get a truly good job because of the registry. My children don't deserve that do they. Yes, I agree it was my fault but how far do we go with it? There are a lot of people out there in this country who commit sexual offenses who are good people. They make some really bad choices and don't see the damage they are doing to the victim and others around them.


The Obama farce has wakened me from a lifetime of passivity. I've been "apolitical." Not anymore. I'm looking for places to march and rallies to attend. Fear-mongering propaganda isn't going to stop me. The corporate steam roller has got to be stopped now. Our planet is literally being destroyed.

From caving to AIPAC, kissing bloodsucking health insurance lobbyist ass, threatening the admittedly annoying free speech of tea baggers, reneging on peace, wrecking the US and world economies at the behest of his imperial buddies, being the most pathetic laughable prostitute on endless nauseating TV appearances (we should call him president rerun) continuing indefinite detention and extrajudicial torture and execution, and now proclaiming he has the power to circumvent the legislature via signing statements, is there a more deserving candidate for worst president in history?


The reason kids liked spaldeens so much as opposed to other rubber balls was that they bounced much higher. If dropped from head high the regular balls bounced up to the waist. Spaldeens bounced to mid chest. They were also thicker rubber and stood up to more abuse. - Greg


I think cops convicted of unlawful behaviour should serve the time of those they assault and/or wrongly accuse.


China's one child policy
is killing girls regularly, by letting the parents leave them in orphanages, where the girls are often poorly cared for. Also testing for baby gender before birth has caused many girls to never be born. China's birth rate is running about 122 boys per 100 girls, which in future will leave a lot of men wanting wives. This leaves a lot of men without families, which sounds like a very easy population to draft into military service. Of course China's rulers could promote homosexuality as an alternative to finding a wife, but I won't hold my breath.


The interesting thing is that in today's environment Woody Guthrie's or Bob Dylan's success would not be possible since much of their music - particularly melody - was taken from what used to be called public domain.. It doesn't take much of an ear to recognize "Ramblin' 'round as an adaptation of Huddy Ledbetter's "Goodnight Irene". Thank god ASCAP is a relative latecomer.


What's with the hatin' on Scientologists? Compared to the crimes perpetrated by Jews, Christians and Muslims, the Scientologists are jaywalkers.


Is AP willing to determine
who has first used each of the five word phrases in every story that they write? If they claim such copyright ownership, they would have to accept that others would too. They would not only need to search the Internet, the dark web, all books, magazines and documents under copyright, and all audio.

I just tried out a five word string from an AP story on Google. There were some 64,000 hits on "with a strong buyers market". Selecting the next five word string by dropping word one, and adding word six results in the string "a strong buyers market in." This string got 32,700 hits. The next string is "strong buyers market in place", which got 6700 hits. A total of 103,400 hits on just the first three strings. So on Google alone we have identified some 103,400 possible owners of five word phrases that AP has to check to determine who owns it. Then they must open negotiations with the owner, or change the wording and start over again.

I don't know what the length of the average AP story is. Perhaps it is 500 words. Then there are 495 possible five word strings. Each AP story probably then has millions of possible partial owners. They are not necessarily the copyright owners of the smaller phrases. Some interesting law could develop here. AP could end up spending many years, as well as untold sums of money, to publish a single story. Then there would also be the copyright fights between owners of five word phrases that are make up larger word strings

AP should hire a mathematician who understands combinatorics to explain this to them, as they are getting into numbers of problems that they can't even count, never mind solve.

Additionally, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act provides rather stiff penalties for those who improperly claim copyrights that aren't theirs. AP could end up with more lawsuits and fines against them than they could defend, or even count.


Anonymous The Joker Is Wild!!! said...

Funniest thing in 24 hours reading about a "Libertarian" who would deny someone elses' Liberty of where they should spend their money, and threaten assault via "would get in their [boycottees] face(s) [sic].


August 19, 2009 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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January 9, 2010 8:16 PM  

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