Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Wednesday, August 4, 2010


(A public service message from a passing cephalopod)

Government of the people, by the people and for the people has perished from the earth and now lies decomposing in corporate boardrooms across America. 

We can thank the recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, which grants corporations the unlimited right to influence the vote. Our worst fears have been confirmed.  Best Buy and Target, two of the nation’s largest retailers, are the first to take advantage of the Court's ruling.

Best Buy and Target have contributed $250,000 to the Minnesota Governor's race of Tom Emmer, a far-right Republican who supports an Arizona-style immigration law, wants to abolish the minimum wage, abolish abortion rights, and abolish gay rights. Emmer even gave money to a fringe group that condons the persecution and execution of gay people!

One would think such extremist and offensive positions would be of grave concern to mainstream retailers such as Best Buy and Target. Don’t count on it! In a statement on Target’s website, the Chairman, President and CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, says:
Target has a history of supporting organizations and candidates, on both sides of the aisle, who seek to advance policies aligned with our business objectives, such as job creation and economic growth.
Bullshit! Read between the lines: Business objectives come first; profits come before human rights; profits before common decency; profits before principle; profits before people … these are the values of Best Buy and Target.

The stakes are far higher than one candidate in one contest in one state. Other corporations are waiting in the wings and watching … ready to jump on campaign bandwagons nationwide; and voters will be outspent and outgunned in every instance.

How can we push back? One way is to boycott these companies. Vote with your pocketbook; vote by cutting up your store credit cards; vote by returning store merchandise; vote by writing protest letters; vote by redoubling campaign contributions to the candidate of your choice; and vote on election day.

Without an angry consumer backlash, other corporations will learn that they can pour money into any election to buy the outcome they want — without paying a price with their customers or shareholders. We cannot afford to let Corporate America buy our elections and our conscience. Any other ideas on how to strike back?


dmarks said...

The ruling in Citizens United restored the heart of the First Amendment by getting rid of laws which criminalized the people voicing criticism of those in power.

While I disagree with the corporate person part of the ruling, I agree strongly with the anti-censorship part of the ruling.

I support the right of the people in these companies to criticized politicians without going to jail for it, just as I support your right to call for a boycott. That's the way to deal with the problem of Target and Best Buy. Not by censoring.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Dmarks - getting rid of laws which criminalized the people voicing criticism of those in power

The decision did no such thing. It didn't empower people. It empowered corporations. In a country where money talks, the people have LOST POWER to corporations that have the money to talk the loudest.

In ruling that now considers corporations as legal persons, the currency of REAL PEOPLE has just been devalued ... while the inequality between HAVES and HAVE NOTS has widened further.

dmarks said...

It did empower people. This is exactly what it did. People, as you may know, organize into unions, interest groups, and other corporations. The First Amendment says nothing to strip away right of free speech for anyone at all with anything to do with these groups.

If you don't like what someone says, ignore it. Don't censor it.

Lost sight of is the actual case itself: some people decided to criticize Hillary Clinton, and ran into censorship laws.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

"Lost sight of is the actual case itself: some people decided to criticize Hillary Clinton, and ran into censorship laws."

Wrong, they ran into campaign finance laws, not into censorship laws ... big difference.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

In today’s news: Target CEO Apologizes For Company's Support Of Tom Emmer. Big f**king deal. The Democratic candidate for governor of Minnesota is former U.S. Senator Mark Dayton, the great-grandson of George Dayton who founded Dayton-Hudson, the parent company of Target. How’s that for irony.

Evidently, Mark Dayton is too liberal for Target’s CEO, Gregg Steinhafel. As Senator, Dayton voted against the Bush tax cuts and against the Iraq war.

Steinhafel is a total schmuck. I am continuing my boycott.

dmarks said...

"Wrong, they ran into campaign finance laws, not into censorship laws ... big difference."

Not at all a difference here: these particular campaign finance laws demanded censorship. That's what it is all really about: rigging laws in order to find a way to silence unwanted expression.

From Wikipedia: "provisions of the McCain–Feingold Act which prevented the film Hillary: The Movie from being shown on television within 30 days of 2008 Democratic primaries."

Banning something being shown on TV? It's hard to see that as anything other than censorship.

BJ said...

Here's why the Target and Best Buy Boycotts are gaining momentum, and not dying off or fading away. The most interesting part, I think is in paragraph 12... Best Buy's published "Code of Business Ethics"... really?

Target Promo said...

I totally agreed with Dmarks that "getting rid of laws which criminalized the people voicing criticism of those in power"

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