.Up Against the Wal-Mart

Hello, it’s been awhile. Many strange and unsettling things have been happening over the past month and, well, where does one begin? How about with Wal-Mart, and the Sonoma County District Attorney? Got a press release earlier today from Joseph Langenbahm, the spokesman, who announced that D.A. Jill Ravitch and 22 other district attorneys around the state had settled with the mega-corporation over a lawsuit that teed off on plastic products sold in California “that were misleadingly labeled as ‘biodegradable’ or ‘compostable’ in violation of California law.”

Whoops. Wal-Mart’s now on the hook for $940,000 in penalties and pay-outs. Here’s some backdrop provided by the DA’s office: Back in 2004 the state passed a bunch of laws under the Public Resources Code, which limited the sale of plastics marked as biodegradable on the reasoning that degradability is a relative term subject to the whims of the environment within which the plastic is deposited. For example, landfills don’t have a whole lot of oxygen in them, “which can significantly hamper the ability to biodegrade,” according to the D.A.’s office. Without proper labeling to indicate as much, the claims are “inherently misleading to consumers purchasing plastic products based on an assumption that the products will quickly biodegrade after disposal.”

Now Wal-Mart is forbidden, as in verboten, to offer labeling on plastic products that claim the product is biodegradable, degradable or decompostable, according to Langenbahm’s missive (the ruling also applies to an outfit called Jet.com, a WalMart subsidiary). The penalty is split three ways: $875,000 in civil penalties for Wal-Mart; a $50,000 payout to CalRecyle “to fund testing of plastic products marketed to consumers as compostable or degradable,” and another $15,000 in civil penalties from Jet.com. The county’s windfall in the suit is not insignificant, as the Sonoma County’s Consumer Fraud fund “will receive $89,000 as a result of the resolution.”

Speaking of frauds, and in other news—the end is near? China, whose many and inexpensive plastic products find their way to Wal-Mart, not to mention Trump-run gift shops, is ratcheting its nuclear profile and pointing big bombs at California as Steve Bannon declares that there’s definitely gonna be a war in the South China Sea, stay tuned. I’ve always said that America would never sanction a war against China, given our national fixation on Chinese takeout. I am not so sure Gen. Tso would agree, the chickenhawks are unloosed and it’s getting downright freaky out there.

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