Partisan purchases

Boycotts used to be a joke. With a handful of historical exceptions (Montgomery buses, grapes), it has traditionally been very difficult to translate politics into purchasing power. That has changed in a sudden and dramatic way.

In a Forbes post I outline how the emerging Trump resistance seems to dovetail with another force I described over a year ago on GOPLifer: the dawn of a possible 4th Era of Capitalism. Old assumptions about the essentially non-political nature of economic decisions may be falling apart in ways that will extend beyond the Trump Era. A group of people who are politically under-represented, even perhaps disenfranchised in a counter-intuitive sense, have found their power. It has been sitting in their wallets all along.

We might not return to an era when you bought a cup of coffee without considering its political impact.

***

Bonus material: In case you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at Budweiser’s Super Bowl Ad

144 Comments

    1. “We’ll always lose…”

      YUGELY!

      It seems that those who need to penetrate potus mind are not bothering with the usual protocol….an oxymoron in this administration…instead, they’re buying ads on networks he likes to watch, because they are they assured potus will hear their message…

      Sigh……

    1. I didn’t watch the game but saw a few of the commercials plus the GaGa performance…which didn’t impress me as making a statement, but this ad was surprising….84 Lumber…Here’s the download for the “rest of the story”. I guess the message was to make us more aware of the struggle immigrants go through to reach America….Here’s the link to the full video: http://journey84.com/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=MSN_B_SuperBowl_Commercial_MB&utm_term=%2Bjourney%20%2B84&utm_content=Commercial#whole-story

      1. Mime, I live about ten minutes away from 84, Pennsylvania. The Hardy family founded and continues to run 84 Lumber. They are an eccentric group, to say the least, and I had always assumed they were conservatives. Albeit, conservatives with heart. They give a LOT of money to local organizations, and almost single handedly rebuilt downtown Uniontown, PA. They are committed to the arts and have just awarded a huge commission to one of my favorite artists, Atticus Adams, a Pittsburgh sculptor.

      2. Yes, the Hardys are Republicans and both father and daughter said they voted for Trump….which in light of the beautiful, sensitive ad on the “journey” seems a contradiction…the daughter was flummoxed that anyone would see the ad as “political”? They/she may be real nice, but if she can’t figure that connection out, she’s more typical of the less informed potus base.

        Their story is a wonderful one (the Hardys) and they seem like nice people…just can’t reconcile a vote for T with having the sensitivity to pay $15m for an ad of this type.

    1. From a highly respected researcher Eliot Cohen, this entreaty to “the better angels within us all”.

      Eliot A. Cohen is the director of the Strategic Studies Program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. From 2007 to 2009, he was a counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. You may recall that he coordinated an open, signed letter in March, 2016, by 121 national security experts who stated their opposition to DJT as the Republican nominee for president.

      https://warontherocks.com/2016/03/open-letter-on-donald-trump-from-gop-national-security-leaders/

      It is now two weeks into the tenure of DJT, President, and Dr. Cohen once again is speaking out against the man he views as “an unmitigated disaster for American foreign policy.” Undeterred, Dr. Cohen states:

      “Some Americans can fight abuses of power and disastrous policies directly—in courts, in congressional offices, in the press. But all can dedicate themselves to restoring the qualities upon which this republic, like all republics depends: on reverence for the truth; on a sober patriotism grounded in duty, moderation, respect for law, commitment to tradition, knowledge of our history, and open-mindedness. These are all the opposites of the qualities exhibited by this president and his advisers. Trump, in one spectacular week, has already shown himself one of the worst of our presidents, who has no regard for the truth (indeed a contempt for it), whose patriotism is a belligerent nationalism, whose prior public service lay in avoiding both the draft and taxes, who does not know the Constitution, does not read and therefore does not understand our history, and who, at his moment of greatest success, obsesses about approval ratings, how many people listened to him on the Mall, and enemies.”

      https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/01/a-clarifying-moment-in-american-history/514868/

  1. Off topic but highly amusing, KelleyAnne Conjob tries to play the victim card:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/02/04/i-misspoke-one-word-kellyanne-conway-calls-her-critics-haters-after-bowling-green-fiasco/?tid=pm_politics_pop&utm_term=.12d65c9865a3#comments

    This calls for not just the nano-violin, but the whole microscopic orchestra and tiny, tiny full chorus. You are so outraged that so many people hate you? Well that’s what you get for insulting the intelligence of all thinking people with all your blatant lies (excuse me, alternative facts), your deflections, and your complete inability (like your man-child boss) to show even an atom of graciousness about your electoral college victory. That’s what you get when you show no quarter to a Time reporter who got a report wrong (and corrected it) but then demand mercy when your claims flunk the truth test. Now I’m not down with anyone making death threats (those people are punk-ass cowards), but I absolutely do grok why you are persona non grata with so many people. I don’t like you either; I have this aversion to grossly dishonest people. You deserve the scorn and the mockery being heaped on you, and I’m enjoying the all the snarky wittiness of the Internet that is aimed at you. Here’s a radical idea, give honesty a try. Take it from someone who practices it, it’s a great way to avoid nastiness. Also you don’t have to worry about keeping your story straight.

    P.S. Chelsea Clinton is a grown up now, and she’s quite capable of dealing if you drop the Fabrege egg treatment.

  2. I wish I was comforted by the possibility of a “new” order, but as noted in The Guardian piece, unless this nationalist populism movement burns itself out globally, we are looking at a whole new paradigm in governance.

    I hope and work for change while knowing how hard this is going to be. It would be interesting to project a future piece on what might follow a collapse of this nationalistic authoritarian regime.

    1. It’s impossible to tell what’s going to come of it, but one thing is absolutely certain. Reality is going to going to come down, cruel and merciless, like a hammer on those in power and there won’t be any talking their way out of it.

      Republicans want to pass a massive business tax cut this year. Fine, let’s say they do that. That additional revenue is going to be poured largely into funding automation that will only increase the rate at which jobs are automated out of existence. Carrier, which Trump lavished so much praise on, is a perfect example. How do we know this? They said it themselves, clear as day:

      http://ktla.com/2016/12/08/carrier-will-use-tax-benefits-from-trump-deal-to-fund-automation-ultimately-cutting-more-jobs/

      To be clear, I’m not saying the monumental level of hurt that’s coming will play to Democrats’ benefit, not at all. Frankly, both parties have long outlived their usefulness and need to be replaced with a better system, but the point I make is that people’s anger and despair will be directed at those in power. Take that in conjunction with coming the coming demographic wave and things are likely to get very, very interesting in the next few years.

      The new order is coming. We just don’t know what the hell it looks like yet.

  3. Update on the fire that consumed the mosque in Victoria, TX. Over $1M has been donated for rebuilding, which speaks more loudly for the goodness remaining in America than the heinous act of those who torched the building.

    It should come as no surprise that AP reports that an official request for an investigation into the cause of the fire has resulted in:

    “Victoria Fire Marshal Tom Legler asked for help from the Texas Fire Marshal’s Office and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to determine what caused the blaze. Hashmi said authorities have told him it was too early to speculate.”

    Let those words wash over you……”too early to speculate”….no response from the TX Fire Marshall or the federal ATF….could it be that the new red state and federal policy is to deploy agents to Chicago to demonstrate the power behind a tweeted challenge by potus but not to investigate the burning of a mosque days after the implementation of the refugee ban? As for TX, there are no words.

    “None whatsoever right now,” the center director said. “We don’t have any lead or information as to what started the fire and what happened. So I’m sure it’s going to be a few days, they told us, before they can come up with any answers for us.”

    Doesn’t appear anyone in an official position is in any hurry to find the culprits, does it? Thanks to all who donated. They are the bright spot in this story.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/01/30/a-fire-destroyed-this-texas-mosque-thousands-have-chipped-in-to-help-rebuild-it/?

    1. Mary, maybe it is too early to speculate. It’s only been about a week. Perhaps we shouldn’t speculate at all or jump to conclusions. Maybe the authorities want to be super cautious. Maybe they suspect something and are keeping mum until they have hard evidence. At no time did they say they were not investigating, only that they would not speculate. As the head of the mosque said, he was told they needed a few more days before they could give answers. Until then, it would just be speculation on anyone’s part.

      1. You may be correct, Tutta, “My” speculation as to the investigation process was colored by a different interpretation of the quoted remarks in the article in combination with the xenophobia I have witnessed over the campaign and most recently, the refugee ban order. This is the second mosque in TX to have burned within 30 days. It is not an easy time to be Muslim in America nor is it easy to know who to believe.

        I am heartened by the generosity of response by the Muslim community and all who have generously shared their thoughts, time, effort, and donations to help the congregations of the two TX mosques recover and re-build. To end on a more positive note, here’s an uplifting chronicle of the response to the Victoria fire.

        https://victoriaadvocate.atavist.com/mosque-fire

  4. So many good articles out today. Given the strong possibility that SCOTUS will be called upon to settle many challenges from potus to our constitutional rights, Chief Justice Roberts may find that even with the new conservative addition to the court, his greatest challenge may be protecting the Constitution and separation of powers.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/04/opinion/sunday/will-the-supreme-court-stand-up-to-trump.html?ref=opinion

  5. Peeps hereabout stopped sharing the Republican exodus stories, but Rep. Fukomoto from Hawaii is out:

    http://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/hawaii-republican-leader-vocal-trump-opposition-ready-leave-gop-n716071

    The flip side of this story, and what the headline really needs to be about, is the fact that her party ordered her to refrain from criticisms of POTUS for four years.

    I’m back to thinking that if POTUS lasts 4 years (which I think is more likely than most other people seem to think), the GOP will 100% Trump sycophants. The vice grip of party cowards and crazybase primarying will weed out the non-True Believers. The question is whether the ousted Republicans coalesce into a new thing, or whether they all go hide in a hole somewhere and leave the Democrats as the sole alternative.

    But my prediction success rate around this stuff is super low, so…

    Remember to write a letter to Rep. Fukomoto for standing up for her values.

    1. Between a rock and a hard place: “”I think there are a lot of Republicans feeling that way right now, that the forces against change are just so strong and that even though many of us believe there’s still something worth saving, we don’t think we that we can do it,” she said.”

      Fukumoto – you just nailed it. You may not realize it but you are already gone. As things start to get really tough within the GOP caucus, she may have company.

    2. Absolutely a Great article. I have selected points that are meaningful to me, but the entire piece is a compelling read. A question I have is whether T supporters will be able to separate their original decision to support this man from any source other than their personal disappointment. Thus far, they have doubled down on their support, completing the circle of justified denial that led them to discard reason in the first place.

      “in the right circumstances, compulsive liars can create compulsive believers, as Trump has done. “Overconfident individuals attained status” because their peers believed the stories they told about themselves. ”

      We have met the enemy and it is us.

      “Compulsive liars shouldn’t frighten you. They can harm no one, if no one listens to them. Compulsive believers, on the other hand: they should terrify you. Believers are the liars’ enablers. Their votes give the demagogue his power. Their trust turns the charlatan into the president. Their credulity ensures that the propaganda of half-calculating and half-mad fanatics has the power to change the world.”

      ” With Trump, the lies are a dictatorial assertion of his will to power. “I am in control,” he says, in effect, as he conjures imaginary crowds at his inauguration or invents millions of illegal voters so he can pretend he won the popular vote. “You may know I am lying. But if you contradict me, I will make you pay.”

      “Since the crash, economists have looked as a matter of urgency at how hierarchies encourage petty tyrants to brag their way to the top. They exhibit all the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder: a desire to dominate, overconfidence, a sense of entitlement, an inability to listen to others or allow others to speak and a passion for glory. ”

      ” One reason for pessimism is that Trump’s character may make him worthless as a man but a success as a politician in our time of cyber-charlatanism.”

      “…amid the despair, I hope I am not being naive in sensing new forces stirring and the will to fight back hardening. We are now at the beginnings of a new opposition movement, a liberal version of backlash politics, which feels the urgent need to drive the right from power.”

      “The alternative, and not only in America, is to go back to the despised and patronised working-class followers of the right. You should try to win them over in elections rather than march with the already converted at rallies. You should cordon off the true racists and fascists and listen to and argue with the rest with a modicum of respect. If that can happen, then perhaps the world will learn that the best way to end the power of compulsive liars is to break the compulsion of their followers to believe.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/05/donald-trump-lies-belief-totalitarianism?

    3. If things keep going as they are, there may not even be a Hawaii Republican Party anymore, at least not in any relevant sense. They were already badly in the minority in both chambers, but now they’ve been completely eliminated in the Hawaii Senate; Democratic across the board with not a single Republican voice, an achievement not seen in any legislative chamber since at least 1980.

      Regardless, I salute Rep. Fukumoto for her courageous stand. Surely it wasn’t easy to buck her party, but hers is the kind of courage we desperately need more of.

      1. Depends entirely on what the eventual outcome is, but Trump might actually earn a little gratitude as an accelerator (self-induced, some might argue) in the systemic destruction of our two-party system. Exacerbating weaknesses have exploded into near full-blown collapse and, as things progress, an answer isn’t going to be an option, it’ll be a necessity.

        Winston Churchill’s immortal words ring true: “Americans will always do the right thing, once they’ve exhausted all the other options.”

        On the upside, should we have another pool on when Trump leaves office? Let’s have some fun with this mess, what do you say?

      2. A question for the legal eagles here. The agreement signed by Iran and supported by six nations is described by the author of this lobelog post as follows: ” the … Security Council resolution enacted after negotiation of the nuclear agreement included only a hortatory clause “calling” on Iran to lay off the missile tests. It is at best a stretch to call the latest test a “violation” of this resolution, and it certainly is not a violation of the nuclear agreement or any other agreement that Iran has signed. ”

        Who, then, which organization is empowered or appropriate to determine “if” there has been an actual violation by Iran by firing a ballistic (non-nuclear) missile? – NATO? the U.N.?, the six signatories to the agreement with Iran? Is one nation authorized to take unilateral action in a multi-lateral agreement? Does Iran have rights of appeal for the singular action by the U.S.?

        “http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iran-nuclear-deal-reached-408871

      3. I mean no offense Chris, but you thought that Trump would be knocked out by the GOP, then you thought there would be Convention Red Wedding, then you thought he’d be ground to burger meat by the Clinton campaign machine.

        I’m no good at predictions but I’ve given up believing ‘this can’t last’ statements. It’s true that this level of stress and uncertainty can’t last in a society as a whole. But that doesn’t necessarily mean anything about Trump’s political longevity.

        As it currently stands, Trump and his base are perfect for each other. He needs somebody to praise him no matter what he does, while his base needs someone to megaphone their thoughts no matter what they are. This relationship will never end.

      4. “As it currently stands, Trump and his base are perfect for each other. He needs somebody to praise him no matter what he does, while his base needs someone to megaphone their thoughts no matter what they are. This relationship will never end.”

        I bombed at predicting Trump’s political demise too, so I’m in a believe-it-when-I-see-it mode, but there are a couple things that could end the relationship with all but the most hard core deplorable (i.e. voted him because he’s a petty asshole bully) element of the base. If he does trip off a health insurance death spiral and/or those manufacturing jobs don’t materialize as promised, he will lose support. These are things that would take a year or two to develop.

      5. >] I mean no offense Chris, but you thought that Trump would be knocked out by the GOP, then you thought there would be Convention Red Wedding, then you thought he’d be ground to burger meat by the Clinton campaign machine.

        I’m no good at predictions but I’ve given up believing ‘this can’t last’ statements. It’s true that this level of stress and uncertainty can’t last in a society as a whole. But that doesn’t necessarily mean anything about Trump’s political longevity.

        As it currently stands, Trump and his base are perfect for each other. He needs somebody to praise him no matter what he does, while his base needs someone to megaphone their thoughts no matter what they are. This relationship will never end.

        Barring something truly earth-shattering, you’re probably right. Trump’s hold over the GOP is too strong. Republican state parties, like in Hawaii, are telling even their leaders to go along to get along or face the consequences. There’s no room for a compelling alternative or resistance to be formed within such a thing.

        Chris should give up on the idea of a Republican resistance forming within the party. It’s not going to happen. It either comes from the outside from voices like Evan McMullin, David Frum, Rick Wilson and others or it’s not happening at all.

        As for impeachment, we only get there on likely two conditions: Democrats somehow managing to retake the House and filing articles of impeachment (the idea that House Republicans would do it under virtually any circumstances is laughable) and citizens from all across the country sending the message that if their Senators don’t move to kick Trump out, we’ll kick them out. Doesn’t happen otherwise.

      6. The longer potus stays, the more the GOP can accomplish. They are joined at the hip and Republicans are not going to jeopardize their opportunity. They will hold their noses, keep saying (a la Ryan) “I don’t have an opinion on that”…code for “don’t expect me to tell you what I really think….” while using their majority to enact laws, re-design budget priorities, radically change entitlement programs, and end environmental and wall street programs and regulations they don’t like.

        I keep going back to The Atlantic Red State/Blue State article which prophesies the “trickle down of authoritarianism” from POTUS and Congress to state action. It is already happening in red state legislatures and their governors, as exemplified by any number of current examples, That is not all. Do not ignore the Koch empire, ALEC, the Heritage Foundation, etc. There is no higher calling for the hard right than to spend time and money to fundamentally re-design the political landscape to suit their agenda, and now they don’t even have to hide their efforts.

        Here’s the latest, but by far, not the only effort in this regard. We expect gerrymandering to increase, but what if conservatives have their eyes on a bigger prize? The electoral college itself? As 538 describes, that effort is quietly ongoing in red state legislatures. The “blue wall” has been broken and a “red map” is the goal. With a conservative majority expected on SCOTUS, it is unrealistic to expect that new legislative efforts to re-design the election process will be overturned.

        Like Fly, I acknowledge the long shot that Trump and/or the GOP will go too far, and the restless, energized, angry masses will rise up in 2018. I feel the energy, I see the bubbling up of lots of small groups of people who are new to political activism, and it gives me hope. Fly mentioned a health care crisis and/or jobs failure. I’d like to add a foreign affairs fiasco or an environmental disaster. None of these are worth the pain they will inflict on ordinary people for the ouster of either Team T or the GOP, but I agree it will take something catastrophic to mobilize a referendum revolt. Expecting reason and good judgement to emerge seems quaint.

        http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/under-a-new-system-clinton-could-have-won-the-popular-vote-by-5-points-and-still-lost/?ex_cid=Weekly

      7. I’m not making any predictions about a Republican resistance. This: *he’s gone or we’ll be living under a very different political order* just relates to a fairly obvious observation. Trump is blundering his way toward either an accidental overseas war or an accidental civil war. One of these dumb orders of his is going to result in some mishandled overseas attack or the much worse scenario – He’s going to put different federal or state entities at odds with each other in way that gets somebody killed and opens up a Pandora’s box.

        Stretch this situation across a long enough time frame and the body count will pile up. Here’s your equation:

        (Incompetence + malice) x time = the end of the existing political order.

        The only missing variable is this – how much time do we have? Based on two weeks worth of results, I find it very difficult to believe that we can endure four years of this and still keep the same flag, anthem and name.

  6. Here is an interesting twist. Arizona is proposing legislation to punish charities that help refugees that settle in the state. Since they were not able to stop the feds from settling people in the state they have instead have decided to punish those that help people that are here in this country legally.

    Let me start out with the statement that Arizona is full of a**holes.

    I have been boycotting the state since they passed their law forcing Hispaic citizens to carry proof they are citizens of the country. But is it really realistic to boycott states that act in this manner. Granted the states that do this stupid shaite are ones no one wants to visit or open a business in.

    http://tucson.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/gop-lawmakers-want-to-penalize-charities-that-help-resettle-refugees/article_bddbab70-cc5c-52df-8577-9181786714f1.html?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link&ICID=ref_fark

    1. Let’s not blame all of AZ citizens for the arrogance of some. Just as we can’t blame all TX citizens for the arrogance of Abbott, Patrick, Cruz, Paxton, Gohmert, members of the TXDOE, or the TX HHS, or (ooh, the list is getting rather long (-;). There are good people everywhere, witness this blog participants, but we have a very difficult political situation which appears to bring out the worst in people.

      A new trend is for states (red) , if police are required because of a protest, protesters will be charged for their time….Legislation to enable such is being proposed in many states….. How this reconciles with Free Speech will be interesting to watch unfold….This is why you want to donate to the ACLU – they’re the only ones who are standing up on issues like this.

      http://www.startribune.com/house-hearing-ends-amid-protest-after-bill-cracking-down-on-demonstrators-moves-forward/411660166/

      Freedom of speech is becoming less free. It will be interesting to see if all groups will have to meet the same requirements….

      1. People’s right to peacefully assemble as defined within the Constitution is obviously broad language, and intentionally so, IMO. I see the roundabout that some of these assholes are pursuing, but I think there’s a good chance that it could backfire spectacularly. It’s one thing to try and prevent people from attaining new rights, but an attack on pre-established rights is another beast entirely.

      2. Most people who are attending these protests are political novices. They don’t have the knowledge or resources to know how to challenge laws like this. That is where organizations like the ACLU become so important “if” they know what is happening.

        Republicans are bombarding us with EO, regulatory change, new laws….they have the resources to draft these laws and the chutzpah to put them out there. They know full well that most people lack the sophistication to protest.

      3. While true, not particularly relevant in this context. When you try to forcibly restrain and/or take away people’s rights, they get pissed off and act in otherwise unexpected ways. Perhaps they make sure to vote the next time or start becoming more politically active. Whatever the results, it’s like lightning a match and throwing it into an open barrel of kerosene. To put it another way, think of what would happen if Roe vs Wade were overturned. People would go apeshit.

        That aside, yes the ALCU is important and, if recent weeks are any indication, they will have all the resources they’ll need to keep the fight. An organization that previous racked in only a couple million dollars a year just raised 25+ million in a single weekend. People are paying attention and responding.

  7. Dan Rather had a good idea. Put a monument in Miami Florida with the names of all prominent climate deniers. Reading reports we may be close to a ice free polar sea in the summer. It would be a spectacle the whole world would see as the monument was buried by rising sea levels. The idea could be used for other issues. Shame often will work when other things do not.

    1. Super idea, Stephen. States are finding creative ways to fight back. Like the CA bill to require tax return disclosure to be eligible for ballot inclusion. Here’s another in response to the vindictive action just taken by TX Gov. Greg Abbott against Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez. The sheriff refused to detain people without warrants if they had completed their sentencing requirements. Abbott has withheld $1.5 million dollars for criminal justice programs in reprisal. Note that it’s not that Sheriff Hernandez won’t hold detainees, just that she won’t hold them without a warrant.

      An enterprising (democratic) legislator has come up with an idea: use a local foundation as a recipient of donations to replace funds for people who were served by the programs impacted by Abbott’s actions. Here’s the info in case you are inclined to donate or just curious about what is happening.

      https://www.texastribune.org/2017/02/01/sanctuary-fight-abbott-cuts-funding-travis-county/

      Here’s the non-profit foundation that can receive your donations if you wish to make them. Women’s and children’s programs as well as Veteran programs are being affected.

      http://www.austincf.org/

  8. We citizens of blue states or blue areas within red states are not fairly represented in terms of our votes in a presidential election due to peculiarities of Electoral College voting, or in votes for Representatives because of gerrymandering of House districts to dilute Democratic votes.

    Withholding our purchasing power is one way to make ourselves heard. Like it or not, money often speaks louder than words in our culture.

    Political boycotts aren’t new, BTW. My mother still refuses to buy Heinz ketchup because of Theresa Heinz Kerry. Irony–Kraft Heinz gives more than 2x as much to GOP candidates as it does to Democratic candidates, and I believe that has been the customary breakdown for years.
    Of course, knowing that I was totally on board with my parents boycotting Heinz.

    1. There’s an interesting challenge before SCOTUS right now that deals with a particular aspect of elections. America’s election process has been the source of a great deal of political creativity by Republicans. They’ve been working around their declining white voting numbers for a long time. As an aside, just recently, the small city of Pasadena, TX won a huge victory against the city council. Fortunately for the plaintiffs, they had a fair judge. That is not always the case, as we all recognize. It will be interesting to track the AZ case decision.

      Here’s a synopsis from the AZ case that the SC will hear.

      PUBLIC INTEGRITY ALLIANCE, INC., an Arizona
      nonprofit membership corporation; BRUCE ASH, an individual;
      FERNANDO GONZALES, an individual;
      ANN HOLDEN, an individual; KEN SMALLEY, an individual,
      Petitioners,
      v.
      CITY OF TUCSON, et al.,
      Respondents

      “http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/16-730-cert-petition.pdf

  9. So. Having thought this issue over some more from my first doubting post and regarding WX Wall’s and Piranha’s posts below, I realize part of the issue is that Americans tend to be consumerist and have very little concept of personal finance and investment. Millennials are the first generation in generations who have significant messaging that doubts the fiscal future, both because they’ve been held back by literally the second worse stock market crash after the Great Depression and also because the media preaches uncertainty and unsustainability for much of their entire lives. What they DON’T have is good education or training on fiscal responsibility, even on the personal finance level.

    Conscientious consumerism without having a strong foundation in personal finance is like weight-lifting without stretching and core exercises: it allows you to throw a lot of muscle around but risks that you’ll pull something, and the long-term strengthening of the activity is doubtful. You have to get your body in order before you turn to strength training.

    From here I could write a primer on personal finance (I’ve done many times), but more to the point the question I’m asking is how could we go about putting activists’ financial ducks in a row the way we do with other activist tactics?

    1. It is lamentable that many in the millennial group are also significantly underwater with student debt. You can cite their lack of personal financial awareness, but what responsibility do their parents have? Ultimately, many parents signed on to their kids’ debt and thus two generations are in trouble.

      Expectations are a hard thing to tamp down, but many young people graduating college today are finding out the hard way that they made some poor decisions along the way. They are also victims of laws that have allowed government to prosper excessively from their pursuit of educations. One could debate the choices these students have made in which the relationship of cost to future earnings has been ignored, but there still seems to be an expectation of walking into lifestyles that their grandparents and parents worked their entire lives to achieve.

      Maybe I’m missing your point, but what we’re talking about here are choices – good ones, bad ones and unlucky ones. They all have consequences. I love the fact that this age group is grounded in inclusion and diversity. That, to me, is a major contribution they will make in future leadership opportunities.

    2. An aside:
      How come I have to spend so much time on teaching more than most students EVER want to know about quadratic equations and the like, and don’t get to teach real-life financial stuff like how mortgage interest works, credit card interest works etc., i.e. stuff that my students would actually care about?

      –frustrated algebra teacher
      (Answer: so they pass their SATs.)

  10. There’s one caveat: almost without exception, every “socially active” corporation so far, either on the left (e.g. Silicon Valley icons like Salesforce.com, Uber) or those on the right (chik-fil-A, Hobby Lobby), were led by their original founders.

    A founder is very different than a manager-CEO. Successful founders usually have tremendous force of personality, and succeed by not caring what a thousand people say about their chances to succeed or how to run their business. It’s not unusual that they get involved in politics which is tailor-made for their types of personality (a-la our current president :-).

    Manager CEOs, OTOH, are almost the exact opposite, are very cautious in public statements, run by consensus, and are more skillful bureaucratic players than they are bull-in-the-china-shop types.

    Therefore, I’m not surprised that many of these founders have gotten enmeshed in political statements and activism in a way that their peers that aren’t run by founders (e.g. Microsoft) avoid.

    1. Accidentally posted this lower down, here it is more directly related to your comment, WX Wall:

      Good point. I’m also uncertain just how far outside Silicon Valley much of the louder “I’m here to do two things, save the world and make money. And I’m all flushed up with money…” sorts of behaviors happen, plus I’m not overwhelmed with Silicon Valley’s world saving prowess in practice.

      I think one thing worth pointing out is all the studies / op eds about how ‘Millennials’ seem to care as much about the social value of their work as they care about its market value.

      Though largely villified for that stance, it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the long run as the old guard retires and dies and the new guard, raised in an era of Pax Americana and stable markets on decades of education and media that consistently preaches the moralism of self-representation in career and lifestyle matters, becomes not merely the dominant purchasing but also the dominant leadership force.

      This is just one subset of what a lot of thinking I’ve been doing about just how much Trump can really change our society. He and his Droopy-jowled septuagenarian cohorts were all in their 20s when Jim Crow was ended, meaning they had already developed and been raised in a strong assumption of how certain constructs were supposed to work. Many born after Reagan, however, have a ‘common sense’ notion that the idea of treating minorities differently is inherently immoral, even if that notion doesn’t really match practice.

      But a cynical side of me notices that Silicon Valley preaches saving the world and ‘coding for girls’, but is still predominantly white, male, rich, and Balkanized.

      One of the big clouds hanging over my head is just how possible it is for such a large, complex, and diverse country as the United States to devolve into Iran, as Chris’ oranges metaphor goes. I can see Russian kleptocracy; at worse I can see Turkish authoritarianism; but straight up dominionism seems significantly difficult to attain with just too many flat-out not-having-it citizens.

      1. Piling on….in which direction, Chris? I see Thiel having an outsized influence but Elon Musk and others in Silicon Valley seem to be quite happy with the financial benefits they see emerging from the Republican economic plan. The rub seems to be with visas for the talent they require to make their businesses profitable.

      2. Sort of as an aside, I sense a great opportunity for rational republicans (like you :-), in Silicon Valley. While Silicon Valley founders are deep blue socially, on economic terms, they’re increasingly Republican. While garage startups don’t worry much about economic regulations (they’re exempt anyway), established Silicon Valley companies are increasingly reliant on policies like H1B immigration, free trade deals, outsourcing, IP protection, and even anti-labor policies (like the pending wage suppression class-action suit) that are more in-line with Republicans.

        It wouldn’t take much to turn much of the money in Silicon Valley (if not the rank-and-file) away from the Dems. Someone like Bernie going up against a socially reasonable Republican could turn at least the upper echelon of Silicon Valley into a reliable Republican base. (Very similar to NYC, where many Wall St executives are deep blue socially but blood red economically).

    2. WX Wall, The Guardian piece I linked above speaks directly to your point about CEOs and the skillset and mindset they perfect to attain the pinnacle of corporate power.
      With the real possibility that future presidential candidates will hail from the corporate world versus emerging through elected office (and thus having “some” experience in how governing works), we need to pay attention to the shifting dynamic in where future nominees are being groomed.

  11. I usually have not mixed politics and business. Certainly I would try to avoid doing business with anyone I knew flouted worker/environmental standards, but if you kept the profile low politics-wise I wasn’t prepared to make an issue about it. But if you’re going to be loud and proud about your support for discrimination (looking at you ChikfilA ) or actively litigating to take away people’s choices (looking at you, Hobby Lobby), then thanks for making it easy to spot and avoid you.

    Amazon is tough though. I love books, and they’ve been a great source for books I could not find anywhere else. And Bezos owns WaPo, which I now support with my subscription.

      1. In short time, I learned that Linda Bean and her sister, Diana, each donated $15K to potus’ campaign. (as you noted, far in excess of the $5k cap, but, who’s counting?). I feel a $30K donation from a business is significant and I also believe that had the sisters not been so generous in their support for a candidate that clearly made many Maine residents so uncomfortable, the LL Bean BOD would have never issued the statement they did asserting their independence.

        Clearly, the “boycott” had an impact. Isn’t that the point?

      2. Good point. I’ll just never, ever, ever darken the door of a Linda Bean lobster role franchise. Promise!

        Actually–there be monsters. What if you are unlucky enough to get singled out by Trump, even in a positive way? Could be a business killer. Sad!

    1. Reason has to prevail in decisions like these. As broad as Bezos business empire is, I think he gets more points for investing in a newspaper then allowing it the journalistic freedom to pursue news as they see fit. It doesn’t hurt to let them know how you feel (which I did in a polite comment) but there are “bigger fish to fry”. Frankly, there are ordinary (in more ways than one) people who are much more objectionable to me than a merchant who is sells millions of items from all over the globe. I do confess to a long-time boycott of Koch Industries products. It’s not something I am vocal about, I just avoid buying their products as much as possible. Anything can be taken to extremes, even boycotting. As Bobo says: breathe………

    2. Good point. I’m also uncertain just how far outside Silicon Valley much of the louder “I’m here to do two things, save the world and make money. And I’m all flushed up with money…” sorts of behaviors happen, plus I’m not overwhelmed with Silicon Valley’s world saving prowess in practice.

      I think one thing worth pointing out is all the studies / op eds about how ‘Millennials’ seem to care as much about the social value of their work as they care about its market value.

      Though largely villified for that stance, it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the long run as the old guard retires and dies and the new guard, raised in an era of Pax Americana and stable markets on decades of education and media that consistently preaches the moralism of self-representation in career and lifestyle matters, becomes not merely the dominant purchasing but also the dominant leadership force.

      This is just one subset of what a lot of thinking I’ve been doing about just how much Trump can really change our society. He and his Droopy-jowled septuagenarian cohorts were all in their 20s when Jim Crow was ended, meaning they had already developed and been raised in a strong assumption of how certain constructs were supposed to work. Many born after Reagan, however, have a ‘common sense’ notion that the idea of treating minorities differently is inherently immoral, even if that notion doesn’t really match practice.

      But a cynical side of me notices that Silicon Valley preaches saving the world and ‘coding for girls’, but is still predominantly white, male, rich, and Balkanized.

      One of the big clouds hanging over my head is just how possible it is for such a large, complex, and diverse country as the United States to devolve into Iran, as Chris’ oranges metaphor goes. I can see Russian kleptocracy; at worse I can see Turkish authoritarianism; but straight up dominionism seems significantly difficult to attain with just too many flat-out not-having-it citizens.

  12. Here’s an inspiring message from a woman about women. I think those who participated in the Women’s March (men, as well) will appreciate the feeling behind the words because – you.were.there.

    “I had forgotten how important it is to be with other women. Talking about sisterhood and woman power and all that sounds crunchy and cheesy as hell, but I understood it when I stood and felt the power of that crowd. I felt it while we laughed and made posters together. And I am sorry if any of our sisters felt un-included from that march. It means so little, but you are welcome in my space if you believe that your junk has nothing to do with your worth as a human being. I’ll work harder to make space for you.

    I had forgotten how important relationships with other women are. I hadn’t spoken to our reached out to my friend in DC for over a year, and she opened her home to me in a heartbeat. When I friended one of my marching buddies on Facebook, I realize she was one of only a handful of women I’m connected to on that platform who has a different skin color than me. When some of the older women sang marching songs from fights they fought before, but I didn’t recognize, I felt it.”

    https://ragingchickenpress.org/2017/02/01/womens-march-washington-taught-need-spend-time-women/

    1. I will say that one disappointment with the March in Boston was that it was mostly a vast sea of white faces. Don’t know if that was the case in DC. I know old-time feminism has been accused of fixating mostly on (middle class) white women’s concerns. We need to fix that about ourselves.

      1. That has been commented on in FB postings. A practical reason could be black women don’t have the support system to leave home, kids as easily as white women do. Plus, as we learned from the lack of Black turn out for Clinton, if they do participate in a march, it will be one that they can draw a straight line to their specific needs.

        One day, women of any race, ethnicity will be able to join arms to achieve common goals. We are not there yet although we have made progress. My hope is that organizers of these protests/marches will reach out to get more minorities involved. Trust is tough. Some of the finest people I have known in my long life are black by birth but I honestly never think of them in a racial context. They are simply admirable people who I respect and enjoy being with.

        A pox on those who seek to segregate us.

  13. “The two most influential social liberals in President Trump’s inner circle — daughter Ivanka, and son-in-law Jared Kushner — helped kill a proposed executive order that would have scrapped Obama-era L.G.B.T. protections, according to people familiar with the issue.”

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/ivanka-trump-and-jared-kushner-helped-thwart-lgbt-rights-rollback/ar-AAmBrmU?li=AA5a8k&ocid=spartanntp

    I realize that many of you feel that boycotts are an effective politically. Thus, Hobby Lobby, Sisters of the Poor and Chick-fil-A are fair game when it comes to issues that you care about.

    However, the grabyourwallet site is urging you to take action on companies carrying Ivanka Trump products. Considering that Ivanka is socially liberal in the way she influences her father, doesn’t boycotting her come across as petty and vindictive?

      1. Ha, Texan! One of my favorite expressions!

        Unfortunately, we can’t pick our parents. Ivanka seems to be a sincerely nice person who probably feels like her loyalties have been divided.

        Honestly, does boycotting companies that carry Ivanka’s products really send any kind of message besides that you want to punish anyone with any kind of connection to Trump?

        Some more people (including Elon Musk) and companies to boycott:

        http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/here-are-the-17-executives-who-met-with-trump-for-his-first-business-advisory-council/ar-AAmAGKe?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartanntp#page=18

        Selective boycotts can serve their purpose, but when you start boycotting multiple companies that create good jobs, you risk creating economic pain to many people.

        There’s another expression I find appropriate:

        Cutting off your nose to spite your face.

      2. The consequences of voting for potus are vast. People like yourself who think on a much grander scale than most, and who has been deeply involved on a personal level in the political process, understand the gravity of what Trump’s election means. I will say this again: even though I knew it was going to be very bad, it is worse, far worse than I could ever imagine. It makes me veer away from people who have admitted they voted for this man. Their vote, their support has not only impacted my life, it is helping destroy the laws and democratic institutions that are critical to our nation.

        If recognition of this danger sounds like “desperation” (Tutta, tu very much for that subtle dig ), so be it. All I can say is: watch.

      3. I personally don’t like boycotts for the express reason it mostly effects the person behind the counter versus the executive behind the desk. Hobby Lobby has cool shit , cheap cool “stuff “, I have shopped there and will again if the need rises.

      4. “Unfortunately, we can’t pick our parents. Ivanka seems to be a sincerely nice person who probably feels like her loyalties have been divided.”

        She couldn’t choose her parents, but absolutely she did have a choice about being part of the campaign. She actively worked towards getting him in office, so she owns that and the backlash that comes with it.

      5. @Objv: >] “Selective boycotts can serve their purpose, but when you start boycotting multiple companies that create good jobs, you risk creating economic pain to many people.

        There’s another expression I find appropriate:

        Cutting off your nose to spite your face.

        Chase two hares and you’ll end up catching neither.

        Keeping our focus on the big fish, Trump himself, is our singular priority and to that end, attacking him from as many angles as conceivably possible is basic battle strategy. Collateral damage is, unfortunately, unavoidable and people will get caught in the cross hairs. That’s already the case.

        Mass protests on the scale we’re seeing have unjustly interfered with the ability of people to use roads, airports and other things. That will continue to be the case. Regrettable, but necessary.

        Boycotting companies that Trump’s affiliated with will hurt innocent people that don’t deserve it. You’re right, but Dear Leader’s unmitigated chaos, if not contained, threatens to do far, far worse.

        I won’t use such cliches like “we have no choice”, but this is the burden we’ve all brought on ourselves by opting into this fight. I’m ready and willing to bear it. Anyone else needs to be resolved for the same.

    1. Sorry, no dice.
      Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner is officially employed by the Trump administration, and she appears to have a powerful role as an unofficial advisor. They’ve both moved to D.C. Interestingly, she (as well as her father) also promised to resign from the management of her businesses after DT was elected; hadn’t happened as of last week.
      Absolutely I see her as a representative of the current administration (not a “mere daughter”, and as such, is acceptable as the target of a boycott.
      Remember, no one is obligated to spend money on her goods.

      As far as being the “socially liberal activist” of the Trump administration, I would argue that she is a better businessperson than her dad, and could see the writing on the wall. This EO would not have played well with a large part of her customer base. She’s already been dropped by Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. Do you really think she wants to absorb more friendly fire from her father’s administration?

    2. IOW, you’re saying she’s a “good Nazi”?

      Ivanka and her husband were integral parts of Trump’s campaign, working feverishly to get him elected. They continue to be active parts of his administration, either with a formal title (like Kushner), or behind the scenes. For cryin’ out loud, they moved to DC even though their business interests lie in NYC. She owns her father’s policies as much as any other campaign / administration official like Bannon.

      Now, you could argue that boycotting Ivanka’s companies isn’t the best way to force her to change her positions. Fair enough. There may be more effective means. But that’s different than saying she doesn’t deserve whatever financial pain her work in the campaign and administration might lead to.

    1. The problem there, at least in America, is once these doors open, it is very hard to shut them again. The very fact that potus selected Jerry Falwell, Jr., of the ultra conservative religious Liberty University as chair of a Council On Higher Education is indicative of a much bigger plan. We are fighting for the minds and hearts of Americans – if the plan is for the far right ti embark on a journey to permeate higher education and thus influence entire generations, future leaders will groomed and ready.

      Warning – for all who don’t want to read something dark, avoid this piece. For all others, it’s an update to Dark Money, showing how the same forces are deeply entrenched into the current administration.

      “In April 1938, President Franklin Roosevelt sent the US Congress the following warning. ‘The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism.’ It is a warning we would do well to remember.”

      http://www.monbiot.com/2017/02/04/dark-arts/

  14. Chris, I was about to argue with you regarding the whole libertarian concept that corporations can and will exert pressure on social constructs. Based on the sole fact that large corporations’ behaviour and decision-making best emulates that of a psychopath, I won’t dive into that.

    What I will simply say is you vastly overestimate the will of consumers to make ethical choices. The vast majority don’t have the time, intelligence, nor resources to investigate products and services they may wish to purchase, with regard to the political and social choices made by the corporation. They investigate price and quality, and that is a stretch. Sure, high profile issues they remember, in the short term, but long term, no.

    1. Calling corporations ‘psychopaths’ is a provocative metaphor, but it’s not pragmatic in the long run. If corporations exhibit sociopathy, governments exhibit schizophrenia and NGOs compulsive disorders.

      You can’t resolve these mental metaphors with pharmacology and psychoanalysis, so flipping the metaphor back to technical analysis allows you the ability to take on methods of advantaging businesses with more values than mere stockholder return on investment. I’m still agnostic about how much and how effectively this can be done.

  15. For the Religious Right, Trump is a useful idiot. Whether it’s appointing a SC Justice who will play to their views or outright promising to repealing the Johnson Amendment (a provision in the tax code named after Lyndon Johnson that prevents 501 (c)(3) – universities, churches and really any non-profit organizations – from endorsing or opposing any political candidates), their leverage over him is clear in how much he caters to their dearest wishes.

    Now let’s imagine a future scenario with two major players, one being the collective of individuals, one that is far more secular than what we see today and the other being a collection of self-described religious groups, but one that is far more openly politically active. In a country where the line between separation of church and state is far more blurred and one where an active citizenry openly organizes against interests they disagree with; with the power to force economic outcomes, what would happen?

  16. BREAKING NEWS: From Seattle Times,1622 Pt, 20170203

    A federal judge in Seattle has ordered a halt to enforcement of President Trump’s controversial travel ban on citizens from seven predominantly Muslim nations.

    U.S. District Judge James Robart at a court hearing Friday ruled in favor of Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who filed a lawsuit to invalidate key provisions of Trump’s executive order. The order indefinitely blocks entry to the United States for Syrian refugees and temporarily suspends entry for citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries.

    The temporary restraining order was granted on a nationwide basis, Robart said.

    The link is:
    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/federal-judge-in-seattle-halts-trumps-immigration-order/?utm_source=The+Seattle+Times&utm_campaign=8caf80c880-Alert_BREAKING%3A_Federal_judge_in_Seattle_orders_na&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5beb38b61e-8caf80c880-122532297

      1. Here’s the latest on the immigration E.O. BTW, not a “peep” from Republicans about all the E.O.s…..The hypocrisy screams…….

        It is worth noting that a converse ruling by another judge on this order has set up the means for SCOTUS ruling….Not sure if potus will take it there until he has his 9th justice on board, but the other side may force it….Note that State is going to reinstate all the revoked visas. What a fricking disaster. For a little humor, consider watching Bill Maher’s take. Google it if you’re interested. Warning – it’s Maher so coarse language is present, but the humor is priceless.

        http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/03/politics/federal-judge-temporarily-halts-trump-travel-ban-nationwide-ag-says/index.html

    1. Hey, West Coaster, I like how you guys think out there! In CA, two members of the Legislature have offered bills that would require any candidate for POTUS to disclose tax returns in order to get on the ballot….A novel solution at the state level…be careful what you ask for states-righters! Let’s hope it passes and is modeled in other states…as it’s obvious the repubs have no interest in pushing disclosure and potus never intended to do so. I am reminded of Dick Cheney’s infamous stall on revealing the names of the members of the Energy Task Force…took a decade to be revealed….stalling (tu Mitch) seems to be a favorite tactic of the right…….

      http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/12/22/1613825/–Trump-s-refusal-to-disclose-his-taxes-prompts-clever-legislation-in-California

  17. I used to be quite vocal about the whole conscientious consumer dollar vote thing, but the fact is when you’re already a frugal, careful and non-materialist person you tend not to buy from evil companies anyway.

    Turns out that companies that only focus on profits regardless of value tend to make total shit. There are people out there that insist Chik-Fil-A’s waffle fries are something special but to me they have the taste and consistency of greasy cardboard. Similar conclusions come out of most “Well I’d boycott that but frankly I already don’t spend money there because…” thoughts.

    But the fact is that the power of boycotts and divestiture are similar to the power of protest — they don’t matter unless you communicate clearly to the person who needs to hear them*, and they have to be backed up by some sort of organized, tactical campaign.

    The #GrabYourWallet campaign is good because it explicitly asks you to contact the companies involved and tell them WHY you’re no longer shopping with them and WHAT they’re losing. Their scripted missive is something like “Hi Amazon, normally I’d buy [product x] from you but because you have Trump’s brand of luxury goods featured, I have decided to buy [product x] from [company y].” Rinse and repeat each time you buy something you know you’d normally purchase from Amazon (again, I can’t participate in this very often because I maybe make two purchases a year from Amazon).

    A woman I know is actively sitting down with bank managers asking them to divest from DAPL. This is pre-Indivisible activism so she was one of the first people I reached out about learning how to campaign against people currently in power. Her side is that the divestment comes from multiple directions: it’s not only her telling banks to divest from DAPL, other organizers are telling investors and bank customers to divest from those banks because they’re invested in DAPL. Still others are telling customers to divest from investors who invest in banks who invest in DAPL. The result is the bank is getting messages from customers, investors, and protestors to divest. A few of them have.

    That sort of shit takes a lot more cohesion, planning, gumption, and frankly the resource of free time and access to travel to be effective, and DAPL is still well enough funded to continue. But therein lies at least an idea of the effect a broad, basically institutional attack on commercial chains can cause effects.

    The Uber vs. Lyft thing I’m going to have to disagree with you that Lyft came ahead; it’s too soon to know. Uber did the right thing and go out quick; Lyft is majority owned by one of Trump’s most infamous corporate lackeys, Carl Icahn, and that news is getting out there, albeit slowly. Time will tell. The sorts of people I know who are still punishing Uber under ‘it’s too late, you already failed’ sort of thinking are the extreme leftists who’ve been railing against Uber since the app became downloadable anyway. They hate Silicon Valley.

    Last point: any (attentive) reader of The Intelligent Investor took great heed to Graham’s admonitions that you pay attention to the value a company actually brings to society as well as the value it has on the ledgers. One marketing guide I read long ago (I think it was Blue Sky Theory but I don’t recall) mentioned that the marketing company won’t take clients if they look up the company’s investor relations page and the investor relations page says that their company’s values are to raise shareholder value. The reasoning behind this was that any conscientious investor with an eye toward long term value will look for the companies that explain what need they’re resolving, what service they’re providing to their CUSTOMERS, not their investors. And whereas true Graham style ‘value’ investors are rarer than Icahn-style corporate Machiavellians, they tend to have longer term successes while the corporate Machiavellians tend to burn out and crash fast.

    We’ll see how this sums out in the long haul, but my personal experience is, Americans aren’t even aware how much money they put into things on a daily basis, and I feel like an odd man out as the sort of person who literally tracks the cost of a pound of bacon and has picked his own stocks. I don’t trust most people to have this sort of attention span: they always ask me for advice on personal finance and other related money matters, but they never follow through with it. Politics is different because it gets people riled up. True and well-achieved long term corporate value governance from the every day consumer is likely to be far more flighty and ephemeral.

    * “Then are protests against Trump ineffective because Trump isn’t listening to them?” “No, Trump protests are messages to everyone else.”

    1. I don’t know why you would think other people don’t price bacon and pick their own stocks. Some do, some don’t. Paying attention is sometimes focused by interest….those who may have a managed portfolio and are happy with their return on investment might instead focus in another area. I’m weird in that I read equipment manuals … but don’t always send in the warranty card….I don’t judge people about things like that. Your point, as I appreciate it, is to do the things well that are important to us. None of us can do it all. Me, least of all.

    2. Aaron-

      This whole nonsense about maximizing shareholder value is recent: it was a sustained effort by a group of conservative economists started in the 70s.

      Until then, the typical stated ethos of corporate leadership was customers first, employees second, and investors third.

      This change in thinking has been so successful that people actually think it’s part of corporate law that CEOs *must* maximize shareholder value. Nonsense. A corporation can be formed for whatever purpose you choose. Investors can choose to give them money. As long as you’re transparent about your intents (we intend to lose money for the next 10 years, i.e. Amazon :-), no law prevents you from running your corporation the way you want.

      1. Yep, and the original lenders to Bezos? Laughing all the way to the bank….Amazon is a classic study of a creative business that refused to march to banking dogma. Those who took a chance have been rewarded handsomely. I wish I had been smart enough to buy stock in this company when I could afford it !

      2. WX Wall:

        I’m interested in your counterpoint, so I would like a source. I’m not calling out ‘source’ to doubt your point I just want to know more about corporate history.

        Benjamin Graham wrote The Intelligent Investor in 1949 and updated it in the late 1960s to deal with recent trends in shareholder-aimed versus society-aimed values. The thread has been there for a while even if it were more codified and clearly stated in the late 70s and 80s.

      3. Aaron-

        Here are a couple of sources for background on shareholder value theory:

        This one is excellent, and uses IBM as a case study of all that’s gone wrong with this new philosophy.
        https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/maximizing-shareholder-value-the-goal-that-changed-corporate-america/2013/08/26/26e9ca8e-ed74-11e2-9008-61e94a7ea20d_story.html?utm_term=.a83d1afe50cb

        This one is has a little more history:
        https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/businesses-focus-on-maximizing-shareholder-value-has-numerous-costs/2013/09/05/bcdc664e-045f-11e3-a07f-49ddc7417125_story.html?utm_term=.1ff8f5dd3507

        This one is more of a polemic about why shareholder value theory is bad for business in the long run:
        http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2016/04/03/the-economist-defends-the-worlds-dumbest-idea/#7dc5332670bb

        People forget that corporations are a legal entity created to serve a public purpose. The idea was that as the industrial age took hold, allowing people to pool capital together in new industries that benefited from economies of scale (e.g. steel factories, clothing mills, etc.) created greater social benefit than a bunch of people trying to do the same things on an individual scale. Therefore, corporations were created to allow this to happen. There’s no reason to have corporations unless businesses benefited from economies of scale and capital pooling. The initial corporations didn’t even have limited liability (its directors were personally liable for any decisions the company took, including debts incurred). They were strictly a capital pooling mechanism. Since then, corporate law and idealogy has evolved to such a state that many people accept that we the people need to serve corporations (for our own good, natch).

  18. Tutta, Chris can speak for himself. I believe businesses have both corporate and social principles, which in the past, have been in sync with societal norms. Things are upside down now with confusion over who stands for what. We are watching as the pillars of our democracy are being overturned in record time. Government can a powerful force for good; however, when led by selfish people, it can do great harm. That’s where we find ourselves right now.

    We are in a very difficult environment. People who have never felt comfortable nor the need to be involved in political activism are finding themselves marching and protesting. Likewise, businesses are having to tread cautiously to avoid offending their customers who are demanding that they speak out against what is happening. The Uber/Lyft story and the beautiful ad Anheuser Bush developed prior to the release of potus’ divisive immigration order, shows how businesses are getting caught in the cross-hairs on social issues. (Page B3 of Chronicle today has story which quotes a marketing firm on the dilemma A-B faced due to pure timing. “…in this polarized world, it (the ad) could easily upset half the country and be seen as political and stepping into something they don’t want to get into….It’s a new complicated time.” I didn’t take the ad negatively but evidently others did and that’s unfortunate.

    Like you, most people want government to function efficiently, fairly, and quietly in the background. I am very optimistic about how engaged so many people are, but I cannot ignore the serious reasons compelling their participation. Each of us is doing everything we can to make a difference while knowing that our efforts alone are not be enough. This is where business can help. Like many of us, business is being placed in the position of having to be very careful in their messaging. I’m grateful for their participation. We need all the help we can get.

  19. Dammit Budwiser, now I have to forgive you for that reverse-snobbery at craft beer drinkers ad from last year!

    But since they bought up Karbach, I can toast them with some Hopadillo and Rodeo Clown.

    And seriously, great, great ad. It reminds you of what America is supposed to be, and it made me smile despite all the anger and cynicism I’ve been feeling.

  20. I think consumer habits are too fickle and too trend-based for us to depend on corporations to be the main developers of social capital and social responsibility.

    Consumers may be angry today over a certain practice, and then they forget about it and move on to the next source of outrage.

    Corporations would be like marionettes jumping every time consumers change their minds.

    I prefer the consistency and predictability traditionally provided by government, with consumerism and even journalism playing roles in keeping everyone honest.

    1. Walk around my town and look for someone carrying a Chick-fil-a bag. There’s a restaurant here. Someone must be going. But no one is talking about it. No one ever brings that stuff to an event. No one in a neutral setting like at work or a school event ever says, “hey let’s stop by Chick-fil-a.” And that flare up was what, five years ago? Six?

      I think you’re right about the way this stuff used to work. It feels different now.

      1. Pretty much, yes. It has been de-legitimized more or less permanently.

        No one would ever in a million years bring that to a corporate lunch unless you wanted to see your career go down the drain. They can’t open new franchises up here anymore.

        They were exploding across the country a few years ago. They had plans to challenge McDonalds and Burger King. Now they find themselves constrained to the SEC/Waffle House belt.

        We each get one vote at the ballot box, but not in the marketplace.

      2. It IS different now. If nothing else, in people’s willingness to actively make choices. I can go to Michaels instead of Hobby Lobby, etc. The 2016 election may have awakened the rural voter, but it has also turned on millions of people who I believe are not looking at short-term solutions. They are engaged – especially women. The antics and actions that the Republican Party and this administration are taking are being noticed. Most important, I think people are starting to understand how politics works and how they can impact outcomes.

        We can only hope, Chris. There is too much at stake to be passive.

      3. Chris, now YOU are starting to sound like my boyfriend.

        He thinks consumer pressure can fix everything, that everything will just fall magically into place.

        I think consumer pressure can be helpful but is too inconsistent, and that government can be a more stable, regulating force, for extended periods of time.

      4. In fairness, I’m not sure I like this scenario any more than you do. A pivot toward a weaker public sector with corporations picking up the slack also promises to be remarkably undemocratic. If my money is my vote, then lots of people with less money lose influence they might have had in an older order.

        Governments are weakening. And having Trump in office will almost certainly accelerate that process and make it cut deeper. It may be nice to have companies that are nicer, companies that seem to care about the environment, fight persecution of minorities, and so on. But as government power fades, our alternatives for constraining corporate power may weaken.

        There’s another piece coming on this one.

      5. Understandably, we can lament the need to encourage business to get involved (I note that Republicans have been doing so with great success for decades although their purpose was usually financial self-interest, not social issues…excepting those who were enticed via the pro-life movement and anti-climate change.)

        We no longer have a “perfect social order”. How else can one deal with what is happening without employing every tool in the box? It doesn’t mean we have to like it, but how else will ordinary Americans fight back?

      6. Chris, what I get from you is that this new move toward corporate social action and away from government social action is a good thing, something that for the moment has taken on a desperate quality (see: Mary “Mime” Guercio), but that in the long run may be a positive change for society, with less dependence on government.

        I just hope one does not replace the other, and that both continue to work in concert with each other, with one taking a more active role when the situation demands it.

        I’m with Bobo. I need to think positive, not desperate. And Chris, that’s one thing I admire about you — that you always see the good that can come from a bad situation.

      7. Hey, that’s ok, Chris, potus loves Chicago….Your city is about to get 20 members of the Alcohol, Traffic and Firearms agency …. just coincidence, of course…nothing to do with potus’ threat to send in the feds to address the violence….not the ATF whose budget has suddenly received a boost after years of budget cuts and lack of operating with an acting director…. no coincidence a’tall.

        Seriously, I hope the ATF can help with Chicago’s problems but my cynicism is on high alert as for the reason they’re arriving……..

      8. For all its worth, the Chick-fil-A boycott seems to have backfired in many areas. Chick-fil-A just opened it’s first franchise where I live. There is always a line of cars outside the takeout window (except on Sundays) and my husband has gained five pounds.

        I couldn’t find much information on recent Chick-fil-A profits, but it seems that its franchises have been extremely profitable in the years after the boycott took place.

        The biggest danger to Chick-fil-A is one common to the rest of the fast food industry. Despite the perception that Chick-fil-A is healthier, it is still poor food nutritionally. I don’t eat there – not because of any boycott but because I don’t like fast food.

        On the other hand, my husband finds the location (five minutes from our house) all too convenient.

      1. I don’t trust THE government, but the concept of government in general as being a potential force for good, as long as the people in charge have good intentions. Just make sure you vote for the right people.

        Consumerism and corporations are too fickle to depend on.

      2. Tutta! Government is not “bad”; people who run government and misuse its authority are “bad”. It still requires that one watch and react to abuses. And, of course, cast informed votes. What Chris is advising is that businesses have to be more responsive to consumer activism because it is a competitive environment. I have learned to speak up and try to do so in a way that is respectful (assuming you are being treated in kind), constructive and informative. I don’t waste people’s time. (except for my long posts..) Believe me these marches, calls, letters are making a difference – even if it’s difficult to see immediate results. The fact that so many people are speaking out is important, the media loves it and cover it. It may not stop a vote but it serves notice that people are watching which is empowering to others. At this juncture, that’s all we can do. Those who supported this man and his party may be thrilled but as time goes by, they will either see the danger and damage being done to our country or not. If they don’t under this man, there is no hope of ever reaching them. There are people you have to simply ignore.

      3. Mime, what I take from Chris’s article on Forbes, and from previous blog entries, is that he’s calling for corporations to actually take the place of government as the source of social capital, not just play a role. That’s what I don’t agree with.

        I’m not against boycotts. I just don’t think boycotts and such are the new solution to everything, especially when the boycotters are fickle.

      4. Again, I disagree. When the NC Legislature and Governor signed into law the egregious bathroom bill, mandated that local counties could not implement their own policies in this regard, there was an exodus of businesses from that state. Their employees were offended. Their corporate principles supporting equal opportunity and forbidding discrimination were abridged. They left and it has cost the state over $600 million dollars SO FAR! (https://www.google.com/url? )

        It shouldn’t have to be this way, but when you have a government that is abridging rights all over the place, “who” is left to make a significant impact? If there is one thing that Republicans understand, it is bottom line costs. In a perfect world, social capital would always be an individual, personal thing. We are far, far gone from that Nirvana.

        This is war. It will require that people and companies stand up. So far, I am very proud of both, but we still have people in office who have majorities who are able to do exactly what they want regardless of any of us. The least we can do is make them uncomfortable and the best we can hope for is that we overturn some of the worst abuses. We simply see this situation differently. I think our country is in crisis. That requires major effort. I’ll take every participant who will stand up and fight back.

  21. I have seen managers lose their job or be demoted over riling up their workers. I also have seen recruitment tools of being social responsible use too. I watched the company I worked for follow environmental rules when it was more costly than the paying the fine. Top talent usually are sensitive to company culture. Acts like that help recruitment good people. And the call for a boycott of Starbucks encourage many people like myself to patronize them more frequently since I identify culturally with the company. Living in the boundary of blue and red America I have friends and family who lean both ways. I am waiting for Trump and Red policies to negatively effect the red fraction. Then I maybe able to encounter a more open mind that is persuadable. Nevertheless the demographic trend will eventually drown out Red America . This last white backlash is not going to change things long term. And frankly growing up in Red America and living most of my adult life in Blue America, I prefer the Blue.

    1. Mary,
      I’ve seen this grabyourwallet.org list and actually found myself somewhat disappointed. I kind of get the idea of targeting businesses that sell trump family goods, but that doesn’t really address the vast sums of money that really feed the beast.

      It’s a curious juxtoposition to say boycott Amazon.com which is based in Seattle because some tiny fraction of their business is channeling ivanka trump products, and the company itself is not a pro trump. On the other hand a company like Las Vegas Sands contributed $43milliion of its own funds to repbulicans…. thats the list that needs coordination. Maybe I’ll start it

      1. Hey, go for it! I was simply correcting the link. I know there are limitations, and I spoke to that point in my remarks to Amazon. Far better to target a major potus endorser. With Koch industries, whose goods I have personally avoided buying for years (way before any of these current sites), I doubt Koch noticed but it made me feel as though I was doing what little I could as one person.

        What cannot get lost here is how this administration is deliberately causing confusion, anger, fear by the manner in which change is being announced. Executive Orders are coming out daily that deal with substantive changes; agency input has been ignored, orders have had to be walked back or clarified, people’s lives are being upset in serious, personal ways. This wasn’t necessary, it is all for show. This isn’t television, it’s real life. And real people are getting hurt. That makes me mad.

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